"Then he answered and spake unto me, saying,, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts. Who art thou, 0 great mountain, before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a Plain." Zechariah 4: 6-7
ZECHARIAH was just an ordinary man of no particular lineage so far as we know, upon whom God laid a burden. In accepting that burden as from God and so proclaiming it, he was a prophet. Ecclesiastical rites do not make prophets, they are created by God out of burden and obedience. Zechariah shared with Haggai the burden of God in a period of national depression. Jerusalem had been lying waste for seventy years, the people had been swept into exile and most of them had died there. Another generation had been born in captivity and their task was the rebuilding of the temple, You will notice the position of:-
who came back from exile. They are represented by Joshua the high priest. Joshua was evidently a good man, but he had no spiritual drive, and when the people's hands slacked in the task, he evidently did not rebuke them. It was left to these two men, Haggai and Zechariah to carry the tremendous inspirations of God to the people. This much may be said to their credit: when this word of God came from these two prophets God stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel and Joshua for the task.
You will notice, however, that this great text, so familiar to everybody who knows anything of their Bible, is addressed not to Joshua the high priest, but to Zerubbabel
One would have supposed that a message of this kind would be for those in the religious world, but it is addressed to the political head. To all intents and purposes Zerubbabel was the Prime Minister in Jerusalem, the capital city. It reveals to us the great opportunity that came to this statesman and which we may surely believe is coming to our own Government today. The ministry of angelic beings to Joshua, the high priest, in chapter 3 is important. Before God could get a word through to the politician there had to be a purging of the priest. In God's sight he, clothed in filthy garments, represented the nation. But mark this, the purging of the nation could only be through the purging of the priesthood.
is the primary sorrow in God's heart. If blessing is to come to the nation then cleansing must first come to the ecclesiastical organisation. It is so today. The Bishops seem to be of one mind in this at any rate, that no matter how many Romish practices are introduced into Protestant Churches the incumbent shall not be interfered with. The law can be broken with impunity and nothing will be done.
The hypocrisy of such conditions will be apparent. Recently the Archbishop of Canterbury was telling bankers and business men how to conduct their business on Christian principles. Well, you cannot extol the virtue of honesty in business if there is dishonesty inside the ecclesiastical system. And Free Church leaders are likewise content to utter no murmur or protest.
at this moment is that of Zerubbabel. The Prime Minister has recently uttered some weighty and indeed heartening words. In the name of the Lord we would tell him that he stands at a great opportunity if he knows how, by the grace of God, to seize it. But let him heed what was said to Zerubbabel. "Not by might." The word indicates " hosts " or " armies." I believe that God providentially uses armies. Indeed He is here termed the "Lord of hosts." His hosts are not, however, of flesh and blood, but of the invisible angelic world. They are mighty indeed and invincible against every device of man.
While, therefore, we are thankful at last to be an armed nation, with adequate defences and abundance of weapons for attack, we want to impress upon Mr. Churchill that the task before him is one that mere weapons of war cannot carry through to a successful conclusion. Even " unconditional surrender " by Hitler, Mussolini and Tokyo will not solve our problems.
is still formidable. Its power is reinforced, I firmly believe, by Satanic energy, and we are addressing ourselves to a colossal task. It cannot be carried through alone by might, nor can it be carried through by power. That means personal power, human leadership.
Now we have a great Prime Minister. I believe God is providentially using, him as an instrument of His purpose for the limited emergency. His personal influence is tremendous, and wherever he goes he is an inspiration. But great as is the force of his personality, the Prime Minister needs to know that he can, not carry us through to a permanently triumphant issue merely by personality or even by personality enthusing a mighty host. The issue is
saith the Lord of hosts. As surely as Zechariah was commissioned to say this to Zerubbabel so we are commissioned to say it to Mr. Churchill. The issue lies with the Holy Spirit. The struggle upon which we are engaged is such that no marshalling of armies, no exertion of human personality can carry us through. Mighty hosts of darkness are in the vanguard using the armies of the Axis for their own devilish ends. Those mighty hosts will quail before nothing but the Spirit of God. But you must remember that the Holy Spirit is:-
That is to say, He does not exercise His power in mid-air, but He lives in and through human personality that has been regenerated by and into the life of God's Son. Mr. Churchill may not understand that, he may not believe it. We would say to him that a Christian is not a man whose name is on a religious register. It is the one upon whom, on his faith and repentance, Jesus has conferred His own Divine life from heaven and that life is reigning and sovereign in his own experience day by day, moment by moment. He may or may not have been christened, confirmed, immersed, or anything else, but he has been sealed by the Holy Ghost from heaven. It is that Divine life in human personality that is invincible and can and will carry through every purpose of God in the world. The man who believes this has a mighty assurance.
shall become before him a plain. 'The difficulties confronting us today are colossal. At the least if we are to be carried through to victory the shedding of blood will mount to a river. Thousands of our young men who today are strong and well, the joy of their loved ones, will die for their country in the next nine months. To have any part in ridding the world of this terrific scourge may be worth while, but let us not underestimate what it all means in blood, and sorrow and devastation in the lives of those who will be bereaved of husbands and sons.
If there is a way by which this great mountain can be dealt with, a way which is superior to the power of arms or human personality, then we ought to exploit it by every means within our power. If there is the power of the Spirit active and mighty, omnipotent and invincible, if this power can come to our aid, then the leaders of religion in this country ought to be doing something about it.
The truth of Scripture brooks of no impedimenta from any ecclesiastic. There is the power of the Holy Spirit living through redeemed men and women which is greater and mightier than armies or human personality. What a tragedy for such a truth to be inside Scripture and the people who profess to be the leaders of religion in the country to bc saying nothing about it! What matters the ethics of bankers and business men compared to this? Why spend time discussing abstractions about the post-war world when we ought to be doing something in the realm of the Spirit touching the present war cursed world?
From Nebuchadnezzar's time, if not before, God's ancient people have suffered at the hands of their more powerful Gentile neighbours. A Gentile power true to the tyranny of the centuries, at this moment is wreaking its cruelty upon helpless millions of Jews on the continent. Old people, women and children are being subjected to every form of cruelty that a wicked and cruel tyrant can devise. Concerning this terrible fact blighting Europe today many things can be said. First:-
is inside religion. Germany has promoted religious thought in this century which has been heartily embraced by many in this country. Germany is today what she is because her religion is what it is! The assertion that the race was evolving out of the slime into perfection is now proved without any question to be a deception, contrary to Scripture and contrary to fact. If Europe today has evolved, in God's name where was the race when it began? How has it managed to persist? Dr. Joad now acknowledges that he is forced to the conclusion that evil is inherent in human nature. That means that evolution is a myth, for if it inheres how will it be eradicated?
The Archbishop of Canterbury is presumed by the masses to speak with religious authority. Will he allow Dr. Joad to make confession and withhold his own confession? Will he do with this question what he did over Sunday theatres? Concerning Sunday theatres he is reported to have expressed the view that under certain conditions Christians would agree to Sunday opening. If it had been left to him the Home Secretary would by now have issued the defence decree breaking down yet another bulwark of our country. It was left to the chorus girls and actors to make a fight for the Sunday while ecclesiasticism hid its head in the sand and feared to make a stand. The second thing we may say is that
is equally certain. " He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye." The truth is perfectly simple and plain. Hitler has sealed his doom by the treatment he has meted out to the Jews. God is on his track! Whether the Allied Nations get him or not is of small moment. He may have planned in the last resort to end his life. By that he will escape from men. But he will plunge more deeply into the hands of God. For his treatment of the Jews, of those whom our Lord called in Matthew 25 His brethren, judgment will be Divinely and eternally executed. There is then here
This terrible mountain can become a plain before Zerubbabel. The politician, facing staggering situations, such as now confront Mr. Churchill, can have a message from God, not through Joshua, the ecclesiastical representative, but through Zechariah, the man of God raised up to be God's prophet.
All through the Scriptures God has by-passed clericalism. The prophets of the Old Testament seldom belonged to the religious orders; they were men disowned by the priests, condemned by the people, but they were the voices of God to their generation. Our Lord went to His Cross at the instigation of the leaders of religion. Paul was hounded from city to city not by drunkards and harlots, but by synagogue zealots whose own spiritual life was dead.
That is the condition in England today. The people do not know it. Nobody tells them. Their eyes are blinded. In this grave hour nobody declares with strong conviction that God's people can do something beyond the power even of armies and statesmen to roll down this terrible mountain of tyranny and wickedness in Europe and to make it a plain.
of Canterbury has a great opportunity if he has the courage. Courage he will need! He must take hold of this mighty fact that a nation can never be cleansed until the Church is cleansed. Is he willing to do something about it? Is he ready to address himself to the task of putting the Church of England in order? For example, there is no question that we are forbidden to make any graven image of any kind in connection with worship. For idolatry the Jews were sent into exile. The Jews were not chastised because they had no religion, but because they were idolaters. Idolatry cries out to God for judgment. With this clear teaching of Scripture before us who can doubt that images of our Lord in churches are an offence to God?
The people who pass our churches by and think that God and religion are of no importance do not realise that the idolater is a menace to national prosperity. In such times as these when we are facing possibly the destruction of one million human beings in this year, we cannot permit silence where God demands utterance.
of our people do not know the significance to our national fortunes of the things that arouse Divine anger. Terrible as the drink situation is in Britain, the idolatry in our churches is worse. Has the Archbishop the courage at this grave hour to order that in accordance with the commandments of God every graven image, every crucifix, must be removed from the churches and humble confession made to God of this grievous sin? Has he the courage of Gideon to begin at home? Idolatry, so plainly condemned in Scripture, is a menace to our victory in war and will hold back God' s blessing in this fateful hour. It is, therefore, the concern of every man and woman who has an interest in a husband or a son on the field of battle, in the air or on the sea.
have but to look at the Bible for themselves to see that idolatry is the predominant sin of Scripture and is anathema to God. In such a situation therefore it is to be hoped that the common people will be aroused to see that they can no more be disinterested in what is going on inside churches than they can ignore the steady toll of our ships and of our gallant seamen by U-boats. They may not realise it, but the U-boat peril and every other peril will soon be settled when God's Spirit has His way. This terrible mountain that is frowning over the world can be reduced to
Does the Archbishop believe it? If he does not then he may be sure that the parish churches which are none too full at present will, after the war, be verging on emptiness. England will lose its soul, the masses will go on without God. God will be merciful to them, for they were never told, but His judgment on organised Christendom in this country may be as devastating as His judgment on the Greek Church in Russia.
Communism in Russia is the product of a church given over to idolatry and clericalism. It failed to be the voice of God to the people, and the candlestick has been removed out of its place. It will happen in England unless the people of God take up the matter with far more serious concern than at present. Hitlerism can be beaten on the home front by the people of God believing in God's word and bringing themselves into line with the work of the Spirit. Has the Archbishop the courage to give religious folk in this Britain of ours a lead? We can win this war on our knees. We can intervene with God to the saving of thousands of lives. At least such a possibility ought to be explored. The first step must be
by God's people and especially by his ministers of all denominations. We have all been less than we ought to have been. We have been prayerless, we have talked in our pulpits of every conceivable subject save the Lord Himself, when He intended us to be ambassadors for Christ and His witnesses alone. We have need to go before our people and tell them of our sorrow and our repentance before God. If rivers of blood are to be averted then rivers of repentance must flow from those who profess to be Christians.
The Archbishop must stir up people to see that God's people need cleansing in the precious blood. They need to come in humble confession and pour out their hearts before Him, pleading for mercy. But has the Archbishop the courage to do it? He might find if he attempted to do so that his position, eminent as it is, was untenable. The powers of hell would be on his track because they would know that at long last he was really challenging the power that is throttling the world and paralysing the life of our own beloved land.
The issue, however, is clear. If God declares He will do mightier things by the Spirit than even by armies and human personality then we must take Him at His word. If we do not we dishonour Him, we fail our country in a great hour and the blood of men will be on our hands. If we arise to our supreme privilege at this moment we shall know in Britain an outpouring of the Spirit and a rallying of the national life that seems to be impossible. If we fail we may be sure that the post-war world will have less place for God than it has now! Christians in Britain, however, must press on. If Archbishops and Bishops ignore the call of God, there is no need to suppose that the work of the Spirit is confined to such exclusive channels as they presume to bless. As always when the established order fails, as it is failing now, the ordinary rank and file of those who love the Lord can stand in with God in the Name of His Beloved Son for the victory. The moment is ripe for action and we need not wait for another to give us a lead. Here is the promise, let us act upon it.
The first step is to go before the Lord as a Christain and make humble confession of sin before God. Do it in secret. Give time to it, go down on your knees and if need be on your face that God will forgive you for all your uncleanness as a Christian. Let that act on your part come from the depths of your being in the utmost sincerity. The next step is to lay hold of God continually reminding Him of this promise and declaring that you have faith as a grain of mustard seed for the removal of this mountain. Hold on to God as you go about your work, in the street, in the bus, plead that this terrible mountain of Hitlerism shall be dissolved into a plain, wiped out!
Then tell other Christians that you believe God in this matter. Plead that the Satanic energy behind the Axis power may be speedily broken. Tell your Rector, Vicar, Minister. Ask him for a meeting in your church where everybody can come to lay hold of God in believing prayer. Write to your friends, send them a copy of this booklet and get them to act! Set the fires ablaze wherever you know there is a heart that just needs a spark. Pray for Christians that their eyes may be opened to these things. Pray for our Statesmen that they may see that God really counts and indeed can Himself carry this awful struggle through to a speedy conclusion. If the Archbishop has not the courage for a mighty hour like this then the common rank and file of those who love the Lord must give themselves to the task. If God is shining the light into your heart, if you are seeing the vision,i f you are conscious that to bring this war to a speedy conclusion and to save the shedding of blood is worth while, if you do, then get to God on your knees, get others to join you and send up your prayer, day and night that God will move mightily by His Spirit to remove this great mountain and as you pray, believe! Whether Archbishops, Bishops, and Free Church leaders have the courage or not see that you, as an intercessor, stand in the gap !
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