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Where There Are No Intercessors Judgment Is Poured Forth!
Reprinted from October 1952 Herald of His Coming
The great spiritual dearth from which the Church languishes is the result of the iniquities of those who bear His name. "Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity"(2 Tim. 2:19). For this reason many prayers are unanswered. "Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isa. 59:1-2).
The Church has departed from holy humility. The pride of life has taken its place. "He hath shown thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8).
The Lord admonishes us to lead a holy life. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14). This means a life free from sin. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Cor. 7:1). The purity of Daniel’s heart and life was the secret of his success as an intercessor before the Lord.
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Cor. 6:17-18).
"Ye Are the Light of the World"
God did not intend the Church to be without the power of the supernatural. The design of Christ in establishing the Church was that she should give light to this dark world. The world is making great and marvelous preparations for a death struggle. At the same time the Church is facing the greatest crisis in history. God is calling for intercessors to stand in the gap, ones who will take upon themselves the burden of the world dying in sin.
"Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, as when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence" (Is. 64:1-2).
Those who would do the greatest service to mankind in this hour of need, must take time to watch and pray. To rule with God in the realm of intercessory prayer is the greatest of ministries. That we pray too little is a confession of sin we must make. How strange that our highest privilege, holding fellowship with God in prayer, is to so many a matter of form without the power!
Watchmen on Zion’s Wall
"For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth…I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth" (Is. 62:1,6,7).
Trial Turned to Triumph
As Queen Esther and Mordecai fasted and prayed to avert peril, so must we today fast and pray. "When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and bitter cry" (Esth. 4:1).
Queen Esther said, "Go gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish" (Esth. 4:16). Thus it was that imminent peril became a triumph. The intercession of Queen Esther and her people saved the Jews from impending destruction.
Intercessors of Other Days
Intercessory prayer by a faithful remnant has always preceded every outpouring of the Spirit. There has always been a faithful remnant.
The Lord appeared to Moses, "in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush." And God said, "the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me" (Ex. 3:9).
David was constantly interceding for the people. "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary" (Ps. 63:1-2). When he remembered the state of affairs he said, "I pour out my soul in me" (Ps. 42:4). What petitions and what praise and thanksgiving he sent up to the throne of God!
This Scripture describes the whole-souled manner in which Daniel interceded for his people who were even then in Babylonian captivity. "And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes…and said, O Lord…We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments" (Dan. 9:3-5).
Nehemiah learned of the distress of the remnant in Jerusalem. Then said he, "I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven" (Neh. 1:4). The result was that Artaxerxes, the King of Persia, sent Nehemiah with men and resources to rebuild Jerusalem.
When King Josiah "heard the words of the law…he rent his clothes," and travailed for his people. A glorious reformation followed which purged Judah of idols, and the passover was kept as never before. Judgment was stayed as the Lord said, "Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God" (2 Chr. 34:27).
Martin Luther was not the only one who wrought the Reformation. In the dungeons of the Inquisition, the canals of Holland, the green fields of England and in cottages and palaces of all Europe were those who read their Bibles in secret and cried, "How long, O Lord?" At last the answer came which shook the Vatican from pinnacle to foundation. Always in the history of the Church there has been the travail before the birth.
There was travail of the Spirit at the grave of Lazarus. "Jesus…groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see…Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave…And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me" (Jn. 11:33,34,38,41).
"The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Rom. 8:26-27).
Jesus spent entire nights in intercessory prayer. He wept over Jerusalem, and overcame at Gethsemane. He is the High Priest who is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Heb. 4:15). Today He is at the right hand of God interceding for us. "He ever liveth to make intercession" for us (Heb. 7:25).
Abraham pleaded for the wicked city of Sodom. If only ten righteous people in all that city could have been found, judgment would have been stayed.
Moses was ever interceding for the children of Israel. He is the type of the great Intercessor, our Lord Jesus Christ. After the children of Israel had made the golden calf, Moses asked forgiveness for their great sin even at the cost of blotting his own name out of the "book which thou hast written" (Ex. 32:32). "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" ( Jn. 15:13).
The greatest revival in history is at hand, but before it can come, some must deeply feel its overwhelming need. "As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children" (Is. 66:8). Before spiritual children are born into the Kingdom of God, there must be travail of the Spirit! He who would bring men to Christ must first feel an agony of desire that souls should be saved!
The Lord said to Ezekiel, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof" (Ezek. 9:4), In the destruction that followed no harm came to those who had the seal of God in their foreheads. They were the intercessors upon whose hearts lay the burden of the sinful nation.
God is calling people to stand in the gap for our nation and a world that is facing imminent judgment! He is calling intercessors to come out and be separate "and touch not the unclean thing." Many who have been called are living careless lives. "Many are called, but few are chosen" (Mt. 22:14). "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Lk. 21:36).
Paul did not hope to win by the careless life. He said, "but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14). With all our hearts let us NOW seek the Lord "until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest" (Is. 32:15).
"I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:11-13).