The Kingdom and the Coming Revival.





In the Multitude of People is the King’s Honour

(Prov. 14: 28).



THERE exists at the present time a very general expectation among the people of God that the last days of this gospel-dispensation (which are now upon us) will be marked by a Revival of world-wide scope.  This expectation is “in the air.”  One meets with evidences of it on every side.  Men of proved conservatism and sobriety declare openly their confidence that an unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Spirit is close at hand.  The Great Commission Prayer League of Chicago is distributing in all parts of the world circular letters urging the Lord’s people to join in prayer for a great revival, and publishes a list of prominent teachers and preachers who are looking for it.  As I write these lines there lies before me a leaflet written by one of the most spiritual and enlightened of the servants of Christ I have been privileged to know.  It is entitled World-wide Revival; and the writer thereof reasons out of the Scriptures, and without any strained or fanciful interpretations, that there is to come, “in the last days, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come,” a God-sent, world-embracing Revival, a season of unprecedented blessing, in which God will, according to His promise, pour out His Spirit upon all flesh; and that the result will be the ingathering of “the fulness of the Gentiles.”  Our brother points out that it was in the darkest hour of Jewish apostasy, and just before the overwhelming judgments of God swept the land with the besom of destruction, that the great ingathering of the Jews, beginning with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, took place.  Therefore we may expect that the final outpouring of the Spirit, which is to embrace “all nations and kindreds and peoples and tongues,” will occur in this dark hour of Gentile apostasy, on the eve of the day of world-wide judgments.


I fully share the expectation referred to; but my belief is that, as in revivals of the past, there will be not only a special manifestation of the Spirit of God, but also the proclamation of some special and definite message, whereby the people will be pricked in their heart, and constrained to ask, “What shall we do?”  And what will that message be?






About twenty years ago a book was published by one who had tens of thousands of readers, on the western side of the Atlantic.  Its title was “The Next Great Awakening”; and the author’s purpose was to show that the revival for which he was looking would come through a world-wide preaching of the long neglected subject of the Kingdom of God.  He recalled that the theme of John’s preaching, whereby the whole nation of Israel was aroused, was the near advent of the Kingdom of heaven; and that our Lord’s “very first public utterance related to the Kingdom,” and we would add that His first private instruction (John 3.) related to the same subject.  He pointed out that “Christ refers to the Kingdom no less than forty-five times in Matthew alone, and in the Synoptic Gospels more than a hundred times”; that Christ called the message which was to be sown in all the world with a view to the great harvest, “the word of the Kingdom”; that “after His passion His theme was the same” (Acts 1: 3); and in a word “from first to last the burden of His discourse was the Kingdom.”


These are weighty considerations.  But there are others which appeal to the present writer with even greater force.  Thus, it is the opinion of many of our teachers (as the one already quoted) that a firm foundation for expecting a great revival, and at just such a time as this, is laid in Joel 2: 28-32, where we find the promise of God that He will pour out His Spirit on ALL flesh.  This promise justifies the expectation of a repetition of the events of pentecostal times in Judea, not, of course, as to details, but as regards the mighty working of the Spirit of God in connection with a general “prophesying” or preaching of the Divinely appointed message.  In view of this we should carefully note that Pentecost was preceded by a period of forty days of preparation, during which the Lord was instructing His disciples in “the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God”; that Peter’s pentecostal message reached its culmination in the great announcement that God had made that same Jesus Whom they had crucified “both Lord and Christ” (Supreme Ruler and King); and that thenceforth the message which (in the view of some who witnessed its stupendous effects) “turned the world upside down,” was the preaching of the Kingdom of God, the proclamation “that there is another King, one Jesus” (Acts 8: 12; 17: 6, 7; 19: 8; 20: 24, 25; 28: 23, 31).


This is “as it was in the beginning”; and hence we feel confident that so it will be also in the end of our era. For we believe there is a special significance in our Lord’s reply to His disciples’ question concerning “the end of the age.”  That reply is of far greater moment to us, who are on earth in the time of the end, than it was to them.  He said: “And this GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM shall be preached in ALL THE WORLD, for a witness to ALL NATIONS, and THEN shall the end come” (Matt. 24: 14).  The words “all the WORLD,” “all nations,” are commensurate in scope with the “all flesh” of Joel’s prophecy concerning the outpouring of the Spirit.  Thus the preaching of the Word of the Kingdom and the outpouring of the Spirit were to be co-extensive, and embrace all creation.  And the reply of Christ is the more important because it is the only thing in the way of an indication or sign of the end.  All the signs given in our Lord’s discourse on Mount Olivet (though this is not always perceived by those who expound it) relate, not to the far-off event of His second advent, but to the nearby event of the invasion of Judea and the destruction of the city and sanctuary by the armies of Rome.*


[* See the writer’s recently published volume, The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation, Hamilton Bros., 120, Tremont Street, Boston, U.S.A. (To be had of Thynne & Jarvis. Price 8s. net.)]


And further we should not fail to note that the parallel passage in Mark’s Gospel reads thus: “And THE GOSPEL must first be published among all nations,” which shows that “the gospel of the kingdom” is a specific name for “the gospel,” and not “another gospel,” as some teach.






Having in mind such passages as “Where the word of a King is there is power” (Ecel. 8: 4), and “The Kingdom of God is not in word but in power” (1. Cor. 4: 20), and “The Kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14 17), we are deeply convinced that the lack of POWER in the preaching of the gospel in our day, and the paucity of the results attending it, are due primarily to misplaced emphasis.  The apostles in their preaching gave prominence to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and to His exaltation as the Anointed of God, the promised Heir of David’s throne, to the position of Supreme Ruler.  But the emphasis in the gospel-preaching of our day is upon the benefits to be obtained through believing in Jesus Christ.  It is forgotten that the King’s honour is of far greater importance than the welfare of His people. “Only believe” is the burden of the preaching to-day, the royal authority of Jesus Christ being generally ignored.  It is because of this that we do earnestly plead for a return to the manner of preaching that gave Christianity its existence among the nations, and its power, at the first.  The Holy Spirit is just as ready now as then to bear a mighty testimony to the preaching of Jesus Christ exalted, glorified and enthroned in heaven, “angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him.”


Furthermore, we urge consideration of the important fact that God’s salvation is not primarily for the benefit of sinners, but for His own glory and the honour of His beloved Son.  The Shepherd seeks the lost sheep for His own sake, rather than theirs; and their recovery is His joy and wealth.  The Scripture at the head of this paper declares a great truth: “In the multitude of people is the King’s honour.”  The saved are to be a “multitude of people” - yea, “a great multitude, which no man can number,” and they are to be gathered out of every nation under heaven - not so much that the sum total of the blessedness of God’s creatures may be increased, as that the King may have the greater honour.


The usual appeal for sending the gospel into the un-evangelized parts of the earth is based upon the sorrowful fate of those who die without Christ.  But the true appeal should be that the eternal purpose of God and the honour of His Anointed demand the salvation of a vast multitude of people.  This appeal is rarely heard.


Now it is chiefly because the salvation of a great “multitude of people” is for “the King’s honour” that we confidently look to Him, “for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things,” to augment greatly the Kingdom of His dear Son through the mighty working of the Spirit of God, and the preaching of the Word of the Kingdom.  For that great multitude, out of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues, was seen by John “before the throne of God, and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7: 9, 10).  Many of these have yet to be gathered, for these are peoples and tongues not yet reached by the gospel.  But they will be reached.  For the King’s honour demands it.


Salvation is the special responsibility of the King; “where is any other [your King] that [He] may SAVE thee?” (Hosea 13: 10).  Moreover, He plainly foretold just what this promised [future] salvation was to be, saying, “I will ransom them FROM THE POWER OF THE GRAVE, I WILL REDEEM THEM FROM DEATH” (verse 14).  Accordingly, when the fulness of the time (as predicted in Daniel 9: 25) was come, their King appeared.  Moreover, He came to them precisely as foretold, “Just, and having salvation” (Zech. 9: 9).  But they “received Him not,” because they had been misled by their teachers, those blind leaders of the blind, into the vain expectation of a kingdom and a salvation of earthly character.*  For they “knew Him not, neither the voices of the prophets” (Acts 8: 27).  But God exalted Him with His right hand to bea Prince and a Saviour”; and let it be noted that it is a PRINCE that He gives to Israel (Acts 5: 31) and to the Gentiles also (id. 11: 18) repentance unto life, and the forgiveness of sins.


[* That is, they mistakenly expected the ‘a kingdom and a salvation of earthly character’ at Messiah’s FIRST Advent -  before the time when Israel will be redeemed at His Second Advent, when He will then enter into His millennial glory, (Luke 24: 21, 26; Rev. 11: 17, 18; 20: 4.) – Ed.]


More to the same effect might be added; but we must close, and in doing so will but briefly call attention to a few additional points in connection with the preaching of the Kingdom of God.  In the first place it gives prominence to the lordship and authority of Christ, which should ever have the precedence in our preaching over God’s mercy to sinners, which is secondary.  Furthermore, it testifies to men, their state of rebellion and enmity against God, and calls upon them to be reconciled to God through the death of His Son, and to place themselves under the royal authority, as well as under the royal protection, of Him Whom God has raised [out] from the dead and glorified.  It puts God’s salvation in its true light, by proclaiming deliverance for the captives of sin out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son.  Thus, in that great gospel address of Acts 13. (given no doubt as a model) Paul’s subject throughout is Christ; and only at the very end (vv. 38, 39) are the benefits to believing sinners declared.  Furthermore, the apostle in speaking of “the glorious gospel of the blessed God.” Which had been committed to his trust, closes with a glowing ascription of homage “unto the King” (1 Tim. 1: 9-17).  Likewise, in expounding “the gospel of God concerning His Son,” he gives prominence to the fact that He “was made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1: 1-3), and his last words to Timothy on this great subject are these: “remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel” (2 Tim. 2: 8).*




* It is remarkably confirmatory of Mr. Mauro’s contention that the Lowestoft revival, which broke out on Advent teaching, ceased when the preaching of the Advent ceased.  If the Kingdom is really imminent, manifestly the preaching of it, and of all that clusters about it, is of a practical importance unsurpassed; and if revival is to precede the Parousia, it is difficult to see how the Spirit could or would choose any other pivot for the last great trumpet-call of God.




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It is my belief, says Mr. D. E. Hoste, the Director of the China Inland Mission abroad, that just as when Judah was on the downgrade towards deepening apostacy, and final judgment, the Lord from time to time raised up a king who restored the law of the Lord, so now, if only His children stir themselves up to intercede in persevering faith and condition of heart, He is prepared to raise up men and women to do a great and deep work of cleansing and uplifting the church.  Then, through a cleansed and uplifted church, to work salvation among the nations of the earth, in gathering out from them great multitudes.


Let us pray continually for a revival of sound doctrine, a revival of the authority of the Holy Scriptures, based not on an inherited orthodoxy, but on an experimental knowledge of their power and truth in the lives of believers; and then for a revival of the conviction of sin and of coming Divine wrath and eternal judgment against impenitent men, who refuse to submit themselves to obey the light presented to them, whether in nature, conscience or Scripture.


The Lord looks for intercessors; He is easy to be entreated.  Again and again we find in Scripture that when about to smite in judgment He stayed His hand - for a time at any rate - in response to the intercession of godly man or remnant.


May we he kept from despondency or apathy that virtually says, There is no hope!  A solemn responsibility rests upon God’s believing [and obedient] children at the present time, to take hold of Him in interceding “prayers and Supplications.”