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The Consuming Presence

“… that the nations may tremble at thy presence!”
—Isaiah 64:2

The Second Article of the 1973 Humanist Manifesto revealed its position on the Christian faith with unabashed clarity: “Promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful. They distract humans from present concerns, from self-actualization, and from rectifying social injustices. … There is no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body.”

Since those words were written our country, and our world, have seen a steady erosion of biblical values. The election of Joe Biden as President of the United States—though some say, quite convincingly, by fraud—is a testimony to the lateness of the hour. Joe Biden has signed a record number of Executive Orders, a reflection of the Democrat Party’s intractable desire to remove all the moral advances of the Trump Administration. This statement in no way should be taken as indicating that I give wholehearted assent to everything that you can think of about Donald Trump’s personality and character, any more than I would give wholehearted assent to everything written in sacred Scripture about King David’s personality and character. Trump’s core values and platform, however, resonate with Christians.

God’s Consuming Presence And His Prophets

In every age, and at every time, God raises voices that speak out with moral clarity and a powerful anointing that challenges and addresses the moral freefall of the culture. In his 2017 book, God’s Prophetic Voices to America, Dr. David Reagan mentions several, such as David Wilkerson, Francis Schaeffer, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Erwin Lutzer, and Jonathan Cahn, among others.

These men of God come from a variety of backgrounds, but all traced our problems to rebellion against God and His order. Schaeffer wrote A Christian Manifesto, which was a direct response to the Communist Manifesto of 1848, the Humanist Manifesto I of 1933, and the Humanist Manifesto II of 1973—all of which made man the final arbiter of right and wrong, good and evil.

Solzhenitsyn, the Russian dissident who gave a rousing speech at Harvard in June of 1978, arrived on campus a hero, but outraged the intelligentsia because he was considered “an orthodox Christian ayatollah.” He chided the Western world, including America, for losing its courage in confronting evil and said our foreign policies were based on “weakness and cowardice.” And then he caustically added, “Should one point out that from ancient times, declining courage has been considered the beginning of the end?”

Five years later, in May of 1983, when he received the Templeton Prize, he gave an address titled “Godlessness: The First Step Toward the Gulag.” Solzhenitsyn reminisced about his childhood and said, “More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

A Warning To America—Past and Present

In a 13-minute on-camera video released on social media, messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn shared a prophetic warning. He began his presentation by citing George Washington’s prophetic warning to America that he gave during his very first presidential address to the nation: “The propitious smiles of heaven cannot be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right that heaven itself has ordained.”

Cahn reminded Americans that we have done what we were warned not to do , but still so many are confused about why the blessings of Heaven are being removed from our land, leaving us to face violence, division, and godless leadership. Cahn then addressed President Biden: “This day will pass. The applause of men will fade. This administration will inevitably be over. The world will pass away but you will stand before God and give account. For it is written in His Word that we will each stand before God and give account.”

The saints of God have always coveted God’s presence. David said, “in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11). Moses, for example, knew the necessity of the presence of God and said, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence” (Exod. 33:15). Sometimes the Lord’s presence is somewhat hidden. We may look for it and even strain for it. “And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). God made His presence known by a whisper—inaudible above the din and confusion of the times, but very real, nevertheless, for those who will listen carefully. 

God’s presence will bring success in any endeavor. This is especially evident in the Great Commission. Jesus gave an encouraging promise to His disciples and said, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20). The Commission was challenging. The disciples really did not know the full extent of the Great Commission. They did know the expanse of our Lord’s words to them. But in the first couple of centuries, when one’s view of the world was limited, and into the twenty-first century, when we can see Planet Earth from outer space, the words “I am with you alway” give comfort and strength. 

When Jesus told His disciples about His continuing presence He did not promise that He would be with them in the same way that He was during His earthly ministry. Jesus said He was going away and that He would come again at some future time to “receive you unto myself” (John 14:3). In John 14:26, Jesus explained the Source of His disciples’ power in the present age: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

The Holy Spirit would bring power to God’s servants, and conviction to those who heard the Word of God. From a small and unassuming beginning, the people of God would bring the Good News to every part of the planet.

The Lord Jesus Christ, however, did not promise ease and safety during this age. We read of the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7) and of the challenges the Apostle Paul faced (2 Cor. 11:16–33). When Paul was in Troas he received an invitation from the Lord to go into Macedonia. In Acts 16:10 we read, “And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.” The Lord was present in the sense that the Lord blessed Paul’s witness to Lydia, as the Lord opened her heart (Acts 16:14).

An Awakening to Confront the Catechism of Revolution

We are living in a day of intense spiritual conflict fueled by a revolution against all that is good and holy. No one can deny that. The stakes are high. The enemy is dangerous, but as we have said at the opening of our broadcasts for almost nine decades, “God is still on the throne and prayer changes things.”

Prayer warriors do more than pray, however. They are the faithful remnant who willingly count the cost of faithfulness. Jesus did not die to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous. During times of danger, uncertainty, and challenge the issue becomes one of God’s presence—His consuming presence. “Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down…to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!” (Isa. 64:1–2). God has many names, yet here it is singular – “thy name.” The singular is intensive, the sum of the glorious attributes of Almigty God. Are you that faithful remnant whom God will use in these last days? 

We see ominous signs all around us. There is rebellion against God’s created order. Those who identify with Christianity and conservative issues are demonized. What will a God-hating government impose on the people of God? Their rage seems to know no limits or restraints. It is fiendish and devilish. This is the time to call on God, that He may rip open the heavens and make His presence felt on earth in a most dramatic way.

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Larry Spargimino

Dr. Larry Spargimino is co-host of the SWRC broadcast and joined the ministry in 1998. Larry researches and writes books and articles for the ministry, assists on tours, and helps answer listeners' theological questions when they call the ministry. Larry holds a doctorate from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and pastors a local church.

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