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Forgotten Power: The Lord’s Supper and the Biblical Pattern of Revival

 

The Chronicler divided his first work, the books of Chronicles, into two major historical sections. The first describes the establishment of the divine pattern for temple worship under David and Solomon (1 Chron. 11–2 Chron. 9). The second section, the rest of the work (2 Chron. 10–36), details the waves of apostasy, idolatry, and disloyalty to the Lord—but with glorious examples of revival.

The Chronicler’s description of David’s reign focuses on the restoration of the ark of the covenant to its proper place as center of Israel’s worship. The ark is brought to the newly conquered capital, Jerusalem, by its proper Levitical and priestly escort. David then sets in place all that is necessary for the priests to perform the daily sacrifices of the Mosaic law. As a result, David’s kingdom is strengthened and expanded (1 Chron. 18). The high point of this first section is the dedication of the temple under Solomon. During the praise songs by the singers and musicians God sets his seal of approval on the temple with his special presence as a cloud of glory that occasioned the original “fallings”—that is, the priests faint away under the power of God as the temple ceremony proceeds (see 1 Kings 8:11).

The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang:

“He is good; his love endures forever.”

Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God. (2 Chron. 5:13–14)8

This was followed by Solomon’s dedicatory prayer, which includes a lengthy supplication asking God to forgive any future sins of the people and pleas for future restoration and revival:

When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near; and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, “We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly”; and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen … then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you. (2 Chron. 6:36–39)

Sometime during the week of dedication the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and reaffirmed Solomon’s request in words that have been often quoted in recent decades:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chron. 7:14)

 

The Three Revivals of the First Temple

After Solomon’s reign came the kingship of Rehoboam. He “did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord” (2 Chron. 12:14). In his greed for power he foolishly forced the northern tribes into rebellion and divided the kingdom into the northern part, Israel, and the southern, Judah (including the city of Jerusalem). The national decline actually began under the latter part of King Solomon’s reign, when he allowed the allure of foreign wives to dampen his fervor for the Lord (1 Kings 11). This is not mentioned by the Chronicler, who wishes to present the reign of Solomon as perfect.

After the reign of Rehoboam’s son, Abijah, Asa inherited the throne of Judah and immediately began warring against the creeping idolatry that had settled on the land: “He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles” (2 Chron. 14:3). Then, after a decade of peace and prosperity, the Ethiopians attempted to invade Judah. Asa called on the Lord and routed the invaders with a much smaller army. The Judean army sacked the enemy camp and took many cattle (the mobile commissary of ancient armies). As King Asa made his triumphal return, he was met by Azariah, a man on whom the “Spirit of God came,” who gave Asa words of prophetic encouragement: “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (15:7).

The messenger’s words encouraged Asa to initiate another wave of reform and idol cleansing. Many from the northern kingdom flocked to Judah “when they saw that the Lord his God was with him” (2 Chron. 15:9). Asa then proclaimed a Passover-like feast, and the captured Ethiopian cattle were sacrificed before the Lord—and served as the entrée. During this feast Asa led the people into a renewal of their covenant with God:

They took an oath to the Lord with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side. (2 Chron. 15:14–15)

The period of prosperity and religious faithfulness continued under Asa’s successor Jehoshaphat. Unfortunately, the kings following Jehoshaphat were less faithful to the Lord. The decline became precipitous under the reign of Ahaz, who not only cast idols to worship but also sacrificed his sons as burnt offerings to those very idols—the deepest level of apostasy (2 Chron. 28:2–3). The Chronicler details the defeats and disasters suffered by the kingdom of Judah as a result of Ahaz’s apostasy. These events set the stage for the greatest of the First Temple revivals, under Ahaz’s son Hezekiah.
 

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Category: Church History, Summer 2003

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include, Quenching the Spirit (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), and Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He and his wife Carolyn continue in their healing, teaching and writing ministries. He is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook AnglicalPentecostal.blogspot.com

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