Articles

The Future Glorious State of God's Church, by Jonathon Edwards
 

 Dear friends,

Below is a well known historical document written by Jonathan Edwards in
1748, related to the Great Awakening that transfomed New England at that
time. Two things are noteworthy in this article:

1. Jonathan Edward's conviction of the future glorious state of God's
church. The conviction of the coming glory of God in our midst is not a new
view of some pentacostal or charismatic Christians. It is a biblically solid
doctrine shared by many as far back as Jonathan Edwards.

2. The role of prayer in birthing this revival/spiritual awakening.
Needless to say prayer is not a substitude for holiness and obedience.

We continue to believe and expect the Glory of God to cover Cape Cod, as
water covers the sea with a massive harvest of souls into the kingdom of
God.

The Glory of God on Cape Cod team.

P.S. Coming soon: An article about understanding the Glory of God in our
midst.

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*"A humble attempt to promote the agreement and union of God’s people
throughout the world in extraordinary prayer for a revival of religion and
the advancement of God’s kingdom on earth, according to Scriptural promises
and prophecies of the last time." *By Jonathan Edwards**

* *(Scripture references have been changed to the New International version
except where Mr. Edwards refers to it in his text. These Scriptures have
been left in the King James because changing them would make some of his
points less clear)

*The Future Glorious State of God’s Church*

*"This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Many peoples and the **inhabitants
of many cities will yet come, and the inhabitants of one city will **go to
another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the LORD and seek **the LORD
Almighty. I myself am going.’ And many peoples and powerful**nations will
come to Jerusalem to seek the LORD Almighty and to entreat **him.This is
what the LORD Almighty says: "In those days ten men from all*

*languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his **robe
and say, `Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is **with
you.'"* (Zech 8:20-23)

In this chapter Zechariah prophecies of the future, glorious advancement of
the Church. It is evident there is more intended than was ever fulfilled in
the Jewish nation during Old Testament times. Here are plain prophecies
describing things that were never fulfilled before the coming of Messiah,
particularly what is said in the two last verses in the chapter where
Zechariah speaks of *"many people and strong nations worshiping and seeking
the true God," *and of so great an addition of Gentiles to the church that
the* *majority of visible worshipers consist of Gentiles, out numbering the
Jews ten to one.

Nothing ever happened, from the time of Zechariah to the coming of Christ,
to fulfill this prophecy. It’s fulfillment can only be in the calling of the
Gentiles during and following apostolic times, or in the future, glorious
enlargement of God’s church in the end times, so often foretold by Old
Testament prophets, particularly by Zechariah. It is most likely that the
Spirit of God speaks here of the greatest revival and the most glorious
advancement of the church on earth, the blessings of which will benefit the
Jewish nation.

Indeed, there is great agreement on this point, between this prophecy of
Zechariah, and other prophecies concerning the church’s latter day glory.

Consider Isaiah 60: 2-4, *"See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness
is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over
you.Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your
dawn. Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm."*

Without doubt, this entire chapter foretells the most glorious state of the
God’s church on earth, as does Isa. 66:8, Mic. 4:1-3 and Is 2:1-4.

*"In the last days the mountain of the LORD’S temple will be **established
as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, **and
peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let **us
go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. **He
will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ **The law will go
out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. **He will judge between
many peoples and will settle disputes for strong **nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their **spears into pruning
hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, **nor will they train
for war anymore."*

Nothing whatsoever has happened to fulfill these prophecies. Moreover, since
the prophecy in my text (Zech. 8:20-22) and the following verse agrees with
them, there is reason to think it addresses the same times. Indeed, there is
remarkable agreement in the description given throughout this chapter with
the representations of those times elsewhere in the prophetic books. Though
the prophet is at times referring to the future smiles of heaven on the
Jewish nation, yet the Spirit of God doubtless refers to events far greater
than these, of which these are but faint resemblances. The Jews had just
returned from the Babylonian captivity, Chaldea and other countries, and
resettled in Canaan where they were experiencing great increase of both
numbers and wealth. We find it common in the prophecies of the Old Testament
that when the prophets are speaking of the favors and blessings of God on
the Jews, attending or following their return from the Babylonian captivity,
the Spirit of God takes the opportunity from there to speak of the
incomparably greater blessings on the church, that will attend and follow
her deliverance from the spiritual Babylon, of which those were a type. The
prophet, in this chapter, speaks of God’s bringing his people again from the
east and west to Jerusalem (vs. 7-8), and multitudes of all nations taking
hold of the skirts of the Jews. Although this prophecy literally refers to
the Jews return from Babylon, its fulfillment cannot be seen there for no
such things spoken of here attended their return.

Therefore, it must refer to the great calling and gathering of Jews into
the fold of Christ, and to them receiving the blessings of His kingdom,
after the fall of the Antichrist and the destruction of the spiritual
Babylon.

* **The Power of Prayer:*

In Zech. 8:20-23 we have an account of how this future advancement of the
church should occur. It would come to fruition as multitudes from different
towns resolve to unite in extraordinary prayer, seeking God until He
manifests Himself and grants the fruits of his presence. We may observe
several things in particular:

1. THE NECESSITY OF PRAYER. Some suppose that prayer includes the whole of
worship to God and that prayer is a part of worship during the days of the
gospel when sacrifices are abolished. Therefore, this can be understood as a
prophecy of a great revival of religion with true worship of God among His
people, repentance from idolatry, and growth of the church.

However, it seems reasonable to me to suppose that something even more
special is intended regarding prayer given that prayer is not only
repeatedly mentioned, but that this prophecy parallels many other prophecies
that speak of an extraordinary spirit of prayer preceding that glorious day
of revival and advancement of the church’s peace and prosperity. It
particularly parallels what the prophet later speaks of the *"pouring out of
* *a spirit of grace and supplications" *as that which introduces the great
religious revival (Zech 12:10).

2. THE GOOD WHICH SHALL BE BROUGHT BY PRAYER: God Himself.

Scripture says, *"They shall go to pray before the Lord, and to seek the
Lord of Hosts." *The good that they seek for is *"The Lord of Hosts," *Himself.
If *"seeking God" *means no more than seeking the favor or mercy of God then
*"praying before the Lord," *and *"seeking the Lord of Hosts" *must be
looked upon as synonymous.* *However, *"seeking the Lord" *is commonly used
to mean something far more than seeking something from God. Surely it
implies that God Himself is what is desired and sought after. Thus, the
Psalmist desired God, thirsted after Him and sought after Him (Ps 63*): "O
God, thou art my God; early will I seek 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...My soul followeth hard after
thee...Whom have I in heaven by thee? And there is none upon earth that I
desire besides thee."*

The Psalmist earnestly pursued after God; his soul thirsted after Him, he
stretched forth his hands unto Him. All of God’s saints have this in common:
they are those that seek God. *"This is the generation of them that seek
Him." "Your heart shall live* *that seek God," etc..*

If this be the true sense of this phrase *"seeking the Lord of Hosts," *then
we must understand that God who had withdrawn Himself, or, as it were, hid
Himself, would return to His church, granting the fruits of His presence and
communion with His people, which He so often promised, and for which His
church had so long waited. In short, it seems reasonable to understand the
phrase, *"seeking the Lord of* *Hosts" *means not merely praying to God, but
seeking the promised restoration of the church of God after the Babylonian
captivity and the great apostacy occasioning it is called their *"seeking
God, and searching for Him;" *and God’s granting this promised revival and
restoration called His being *"found of them." *(See Jer. 29:1014)

The prophets occasionally represent God as being withdrawn and hiding
Himself: *"Verily thou art a God that hideth thyself, O God of Israel, the
Savior. I hid me,** **and was wroth." *The prophets then go on to represent
God’s people seeking Him,searching and waiting for and calling after Him.
When God answers their prayers and restores and advances His people,
according to His promise, then He is said to come and say, *"here *am I" and
to show Himself, and they are said to find Him and see Him plainly.

*"Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and
he will say: Here am I...But Israel will be saved by the Lord with an
**everlasting
salvation... I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me **in vain.’ I,
the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right. **The Sovereign Lord
will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will **remove the disgrace of
his people from all the earth. In that day they will **say, ‘Surely this is
our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is **the Lord, we trusted
in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.’ We **wait for you;
your name and renown are the desire of our hearts." *(Isa 58:9; Isa
45:17,19; Isa 25:8-9)

3. WE MAY OBSERVE WHO IT IS THAT WILL BE UNITED IN SEEKING THE LORD: *"the
inhabitants of many cities...yea, many people and strong nations." *Many
people from all over the world will unite to seek the Lord. From the the
prophecy, it seems reasonable to assume that this will be fulfilled in the
following manner: First, God’s people will be given a spirit of prayer,
inspiring them to come together and pray in an extraordinary manner, that He
would help his church, show mercy to mankind in general, pour out his
Spirit, revive His work, and advance His kingdom in the world as He
promised. Moreover, such prayer would gradually spread and increase more and
more, ushering in a revival of religion. This would be characterized by
greater worship and service of God among believers. Others will be awakened
to their need for God, motivating them to earnestly cry out to God for
mercy. They will be led to join with God’s people in that extraordinary
seeking and serving of God which they see around them. In this way the revival
will grow until the awakening reaches whole nations and those in the highest
positions of influence. The church will grow to be ten times larger than it
was before.

Indeed, at length, all the nations of the world will be converted unto God.

Thus, ten men, out of all languages and nations, will *"take hold of the
skirt of" *the Jew (in the sense of the Apostle), saying *"We will go with
you, for we have heard* *that God is with you." *Thus will be fulfilled, *"O
thou that heareth prayer, unto thee* *shall all flesh come."*

4. WE MAY ALSO OBSERVE THE MANNER OF THEIR UNITY IN PRAYER. It is a visible
and voluntary union that was first proposed by some of God’s people with
others readily joining in over time. Those who live in one city will declare
to those of another city,*"Let us go " *etc. Many of those who hear their
declaration will not only join with them but will make the call for the
unity in prayer known to still others. As a result, the movement will grow,
prevail and spread among God’s people. Some suppose that the words, *"I will
go also," *are to be taken as words spoken by the one making the proposal.
He states this expressing his willingness and desire to do what he is asking
his hearer to do. But this is to suppose no more than is expressed in the
phrase, *"come and let us go..." *itself. It seems more natural to me to
understand these words as being the consent or reply of the one to whom the
proposal is made. This is much more agreeable to the flow of the text which
represents the compliance of great numbers of people in this movement. And
though if these words are thus understood, we must suppose something
understood in the text that is not expressed: Those of other cities will
say, *"I will go also." *Yet, this is not difficult to conceive of as such
figures of speech are common in the Scripture (Jer 3:22; Ps 1:6-7).

5. NEXT, WE CAN OBSERVE THE MANNER IN WHICH THEY AGREE TO PRAY:

*"Let us go speedily to pray," *or, as it says in the margin: let us go
continually. Literally translated this means, *"let us go in going "*. The
Hebrew language often doubles words for emphasis (e.g., the holy of holies
signifies that which is most holy). Such doubling of words also denotes the
certainty of an event coming to pass. For example, when God said to Abraham,
*"in multiplying, I will multiply thy seed"*, God implies that He would
certainly multiply his seed, and multiply it exceedingly.

6. FINALLY, THIS PROPHECY GIVES US A PICTURE OF THIS UNION INPRAYER BEING
AN INVITING AND A HAPPY THING.

We sense God’s pleasure, and the results prove tremendously successful. From
the whole of this prophecy we may infer that it is well pleasing to God for
many people, in different parts of the world, to voluntarily come into a
visible union to pray in an extraordinary way for those great outpourings of
the Holy Spirit which shall advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ that
God has so often promised shall be in the latter ages of the world.

* **An Example From History*

Let me relate a brief history of what has happened in Scotland. In October
of 1744, a number of ministers in Scotland, considering the state of God’s
church, and mankind in general, believed that God was calling those
concerned for the welfare of the church to unite in extraordinary prayer.
They knew God was the Creator and source of all blessings and benefits in
the church so they earnestly prayed that He would appear in His glory, and
strengthen the church, and manifest His compassion to the world of mankind
by an abundant outpouring of His Holy Spirit. They desired a true revival in
all parts of Christendom, and to see nations delivered from their great and
many calamities, and to bless them with the unspeakable benefits of the
Kingdom of our glorious Redeemer, and to fill the whole earth with His
glory. These ministers consulted with one another on this subject and
concluded that they were obliged to begin such prayer and attempt to
persuade others to do the same.

After seeking God for direction, they determined that for the next two
years they would set apart some time on Saturday evenings and Sunday
mornings every week for prayer as one’s other duties would allow. More
importantly, it was decided that the first Tuesday of each quarter
(beginning with the first Tuesday of November) would be time to be spent in
prayer. People were to pray for either the entire day or part of the day, as
they found themselves disposed, or as circumstances allowed. They would meet
in either private prayer groups or in public meetings, whichever was found
to be most convenient. It was determined that none should make any promises
or feel under strict obligation to observe every one of these days without
fail; for these days were not holy or established by sacred authority.
However, to prevent negligence, and the temptation to make excuses for
trivial reasons, it was proposed that if those who resolve to pray cannot
take part on the agreed upon day, they would use the next available day for
the purpose of prayer.

The primary reason for this cooperation in prayer was to maintain, among
the people of God, that necessity of prayer for the coming of Christ’s
Kingdom, which Christ directed his followers to do. We are, unfortunately,
too little inclined to pray because of our laziness and immaturity, or
because of the distraction of our own worldly, private affairs.

We have prayed at times, but without special seasons for prayer, we are,
likely, to neglect it either partially or totally. But when we set aside
certain times for prayer,resolving to fulfill this commission unless
extraordinarily hindered, we are less likely to neglect it. The return of
each new season will naturally refresh the memory and will cause us to
remember these teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the obligations we
have as His followers. We will be renewed in the importance, necessity and
unspeakable value of the

mercy we seek from God, and by frequent renovation, the vision to pray will
be kept alive in our hearts at all times. Therefore, those ministers from
Scotland determined that such gatherings would help encourage greater
prayerfulness among God’s people for revival throughout the year. They also
believed that the quarterly gathering would encourage and strengthen people
to pray, especially if they knew that many other Christians in so many
distant places were praying for the same things at a same time.

It was thought that two years would be a sufficient trial period, after
which time would be given to evaluate fruitfulness of the endeavor. It was
not known but thought best to allow some time to make some adjustments if
necessary. The time period, though short, was thought sufficient to judge
its fruitfulness. Those involved would have the opportunity to communicate
their thoughts, and perhaps improve, on this manner of prayer. As for
promulgating this concert of prayer, the ministers decided to simply pass
the word through personal conversation, and correspondence with others far
away, rather than any formal advertisement in the press. At first it was
intended that some formal paper outlining the proposal should be sent around
for proper amendments and improvements, and then agreement. But after more
thoughtful deliberation, it was concluded that this would only give rise to
objections which they thought best to avoid in the beginning.

Great success seems to have met their labors for great numbers in Scotland
and England, and even some in North America joined with them. As to
Scotland, many people in the four chief cities, Edinburgh, Glasgow,
Aberdeen, and Dundee joined. There were also many country towns and
congregations in various other areas that participated. A Mr. Robe, of
Kilsyth, stated that "There were then above thirty societies of young people
there, newly erected, some of which consisted of upwards of thirty members."
The two years ended last November. Just prior to this, a number of ministers
in Scotland agreed on a letter, to be printed and sent abroad to their
brethren, proposing to them, and requesting of them, to join with them in
continuing this concert of prayer, and in the endeavors to promote it.
Almost five hundred copies of this letter were sent over to New England,
with instructions to distribute them to the Massachusetts-Bay area,
Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode-Island, New York, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Carolina and Georgia. Most were sent to a
congregational minister in Boston along with a letter from twelve ministers
in Scotland. Other copies were sent to other ministers in Boston, and some
to a minister in Connecticut.

The proposal, dated August 26, 1746, opens with an explanation of the
purpose and times for the concerts of prayer, and an entreaty to the
ministers to communicate their opinions after the two year period had
completed. The ministers then go on to assure their Bostonian brethren that
the concerts are not to be seen as binding; men are not expected to set
apart days from secular affairs, or *"fix* *on any part of ... precise days,
whether it be convenient or not." *Nor are they to be seen as *"absolute
promises, but as friendly, harmonious resolutions, with **liberty to alter
circumstances as shall be found expedient." *Because of such liberty these
prayer times cannot be judged to infringe upon those *"religious
times"*appointed by men. The letter also asked ministers to consider
composing and
publishing short *"persuasive directions" *regarding the necessity of
prayer, either by particular authors or several joining together. Without
such repeated reminders men are apt to become weary and begin to neglect
their duty. Ministers are also asked to preach frequently on the importance
and necessity of prayer for the coming of the Lord’s Kingdom, particularly
near or on the quarterly times.

The Boston ministers are to understand that these prayer concerts are not
restricted to any particular denomination, but is extended to all who have *"at
heart the interest of* *vital Christianity, and the power of godliness; and
who, however differing about* *other things, are convinced of the importance
of fervent prayer..."*

It was proposed that the prayer should extend for seven more years
and the ministers
agreed to this. However there was concern that zeal for spreading news of
the concert would wane because of the length proposed. Nevertheless, it was
agreed that the first period of time (two years) was too short. If persons
who formerly agreed to this concert should discontinue it, would it not look
like that fainting in prayer Scripture so ardently warned against? Would
this not be particularly unsuitable given the need of public reformation?
Those ministers in Boston said of this proposal: *"The motion seems to come
from* *above, and to be wonderfully spreading in Scotland, England, Wales,
Ireland and* *North America."*


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