Ta Jeunesse : The Occult

The Occult: An open door which cannot be closed.

Extracted and Translated from the online Magazine Ta Jeunesse.

Very trendy ! Occult practices are not news, even if today they knew how to renew themselves, evolve, and adapt to their times. They are to be found, unbeknownst to us, in many domains. Some movie successes have opened a gap in initiating a large audience. That’s what I call today “the generation Harry” or the era of young wizards and witches. Uncertainty about the current COVID situation , or the difficulty to project ourselves into the future, have in fact encouraged these various practice. The rise of online social networks in the Covid period has been widely exploited by these wizards of the new generation ! Through the world, a community of magic adepts formed on the platform Tik Tok. They show to their subscribers how to create spells, incantations, magic potions etc A perfect manual for the sorcerer’s apprentice! For many, astrology or cartomancy have become a real passion!

But why such success? 

Would the occult practices bring responses to human needs? What about people who claim to have a gift of clairvoyance, medium, healer, etc. ? Do you believe it comes from God, or from someone else ? Finally, the Bible warns us against these practices, do we still have to this into account today ?

The Bible:

The Book of Hosea, written around 715 BC, already speaks in these terms: “My people consults his wood, and it is his stick that speaks to him! » Hosea 4:12 In this verse we see that the occultists of the time used a stick to predict the future. That shows us that the practices occult are not new! Some explanations To decipher the future, and enter in touch with the supernatural, it is essential to go through an intermediary. It is a man or a woman, who serves as a bridge between the visible world and the unseen world. He’s the key person. We speak of clairvoyants, soothsayers, astrologers, mediums and wizards.

The other possibility to enter into contact with the occult is through ones own gifts. Some discover their gift by chance in wanting to help, relieve a loved one, still others, by an initiation. But the most frequent means of transmission is family inheritance.

occult practices are widespread today and include

• TCI (TransCommunication Instrumental – communication with the dead)

• Astral projection or travel

• Spiritism / turntables

• Mental suggestion

• Telepathy (transmission of thoughts)

• Astrology / horoscope

• Cartomancy

• Shamanism

• Divination

• Automatic writing

• Fetishism

• Role playing

• Black / white / red magic

• Ouija boards

• Transcendental meditation

• Numerology

• Premonitory dreams / visionaries

• Fire cutters / hypnosis / magnetizers

And God’s thoughts on this ?

Basic English Bible : Deuteronomy 18 ( old testament)

10. Let there not be seen among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter go through the fire, or anyone using secret arts, or a maker of strange sounds, or a reader of signs, or any wonder-worker,
11. Or anyone using secret force on people, or putting questions to a spirit, or having secret knowledge, or going to the dead for directions.
12. For all who do such things are disgusting to the Lord; and because of these disgusting things the Lord your God is driving them out before you.
13. You are to be upright in heart before the Lord your God.
14. For these nations, whose land you are taking, give attention to readers of signs and to those using secret arts: but the Lord your God will not let you do so.

Explanation of Deuteronomy 18:10-14

1. “That we don’t find in your house person who passes his son or daughter by fire” (allusion to human sacrifice)

2. “Person who engages in divination” (astrology – reading in the lines of the hand, the crystal ball, etc.)

3. “Who draws omens” (cards – tarot cards, etc.)

4. “Who uses occult techniques or sorcery, (astral projection or “astral travel”, suggestion mental, astrology, use of horoscopes) who casts spells” (white, red or black magic)

5. “A person who consults those who invoke the spirits or predict the future” (consultation and occult practice are both forbidden)

6. “A person who questions the dead” (spiritualism)

7. They leave no doubt possible as to the position of God on this subject! Only Christ has the ability to take you out of the occult world What to do if you have been in contact with some form of occultism?

The answer lies in one word: “Jesus Christ”. Him only can release consequences direct from an open door to occultism: Jesus Christ saves. Jesus Christ forgives. Jesus Christ restores.

1 John 3

7. My little children, let no man take you out of the true way: he who does righteousness is upright, even as he is upright;
8. The sinner is a child of the Evil One; for the Evil One has been a sinner from the first. And the Son of God was seen on earth so that he might put an end to the works of the Evil One.
9. Anyone who is a child of God does no sin, because he still has God’s seed in him; he is not able to be a sinner, because God is his Father.

Matther 28:18

16. But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had given them orders to go.
17. And when they saw him they gave him worship: but some were in doubt.
18. And Jesus came to them and said, All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.

Ephesians 1

7. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;
18. And that having the eyes of your heart full of light, you may have knowledge of what is the hope of his purpose, what is the wealth of the glory of his heritage in the saints,
19. And how unlimited is his power to us who have faith, as is seen in the working of the strength of his power,
20. By which he made Christ come back from the dead, and gave him a place at his right hand in heaven,
21. Far over all rule and authority and power and every name which is named, not only in the present order, but in that which is to come:
22. And he has put all things under his feet, and has made him to be head over all things to the church,
23. Which is his body, the full measure of him in whom all things are made complete.

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Ta Jeunesse: Magazine for young Christians. Ta Jeunesse is an edition of SBG (Biblical Society of Geneva) which is a non-profit association founded in 1917 whose primary goal is to make the Bible accessible to all at the lowest possible cost.

Bible References : Basic English Bible : Hosea 4 ( old testament)

8. The sin of my people is like food to them; and their desire is for their wrongdoing.
9. And the priest will be like the people; I will give them punishment for their evil ways, and the reward of their acts.
10. They will have food, but they will not be full; they will be false to me, but they will not be increased, because they no longer give thought to the Lord.
11. Loose ways and new wine take away wisdom.
12. My people get knowledge from their tree, and their rod gives them news; for a false spirit is the cause of their wandering, and they have been false to their God.
13. They make offerings on the tops of mountains, burning perfumes in high places, under trees of every sort, because their shade is good: and so your daughters are given up to loose ways and your brides are false to their husbands.

Revivals in the Bible: Pentecost in Jerusalem

Bible Study : H. E. Alexander, 1950_06_02 translated from French

Revival : Pentecost in Jerusalem

Bible Study : H. E. Alexander, 1950_06_02 translated from French

The New Pentecostal Revival in Jerusalem

For this message I have chosen a text from the book of Acts: “For the promise is to you, to your children, and to all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call” (2 :39). I do not intend to go into all the details of Pentecost, but rather that we let ourselves be carried away by the waves of the torrent of grace which has been flowing since then.

My wish is that we can always throw ourselves into it without ever looking back. Neither do we want to seek the childhood gifts of the Church of Christ; it would be to generate quarrels between brothers, and to nourish illusions about ourselves. This would undermine the true work of the Holy Spirit, for the apostle Paul himself declares in the Epistle where he deals with the disorders of the Church of Corinth: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child … when I became a man, I made childish things disappear” (1 Corinthians 13:1 1 ). But we want to enter into the life of the Holy Spirit which the day of Pentecost has made possible, to understand what are our privileges and responsibilities brought to light on that day, and to walk in the way laid down in order to accomplish the works prepared by Christ.

The promise is for us and ours, for all who are far away. There is no limit: “…as many as the Lord shall call.” These are the other sheep “not of this fold” (cf. John 10:16), whom Jesus wants to bring and whom we must seek. I think this promise of Acts goes hand in hand with that of John 3:16. It is one of the most comprehensible in the entire Bible; it is aimed at all groups in society. Its blessed echoes resound to us through the centuries, its effects are still felt today, the source is as abundant as before, the river continues to flow, the strength and the life are in no way exhausted.

As I consider the great historical day of Pentecost, I have the following three thoughts:

  1. God has his hours
  2. God has his conditions
  3. God has his instruments
  4. God has his hours

He is master of his plans, he watches over his children, he provides for their needs at all times. In the Old Testament we have encouraging evidence that God speaks to all successive generations; Moses and David tell us this (cf. Psalm 90:1; 71:18). Readers, God is watching over you. He wants you to be filled with the Spirit. If you are Christ’s, you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit (cf. Ephesians 1:13), but you need the endument of power from on high to be burning witnesses of the love of the Lord Jesus. , ready to leave everything to follow him (cf. Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). Remember that there are still millions of Gentiles who do not know the Bible or the Saviour. This multitude awaits the preaching of the cross.

God has his hours.

Moses had written that Pentecost would come fifty days after Passover; it came on the exact date (cf. Leviticus 23:15-17). When we look back, we who have already lived a few decades in the service of God, do you know what we see? Each defining moment was placed at the right time, each event took place on time. We discover a paternal order in all directions of our lives; one action followed another, a positive decision changed a situation (cf. Romans 8:28 ).
Moses had written that Pentecost would be a feast, and it was so that people thought the disciples were all drunk; But no ! that wasn’t it. The apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians: “Do not get drunk with wine: it is debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (5:18).
The prophets had said, “I will pour water on the thirsty ground, and streams on the dry land” (Isaiah 44:3). Dear Christian friends, we all complain of dryness and sterility. It hasn’t rained for a long time, even the dew is so lacking that our testimony is like cracked earth. Let’s take this promise of Isaiah for ourselves!
Jesus Christ had promised that in that day the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He came, he magnified the divine Savior and filled the disciples to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth.

God has his conditions

For such a vital and important event as Pentecost, I have looked for conditions in the first two chapters of Acts. I have found only one that seems to sum up all the others: “On the day of Pentecost they were all together in one place” (Acts 2:1). Without having the space to study it thoroughly, I thought of the Gospels, and this is the first time that we read in the New Testament that the disciples were all together in one place. It is true that Jesus had spoken to them along these lines (cf. Matthew 18:20). Even more, he had clearly told them that if two of them agreed on earth to ask for anything, it would be granted to them by the heavenly Father (cf. Matthew 18:19). But have you noticed the little word “IF“? The master knew the mindset of the disciples: their jealousy, their rivalries, their selfishness. So he may be saying this with a heavy heart: If two agree.

I am very fond of music and I have in front of me an instrument that the piano tuner uses for his somewhat annoying, but interesting work. I wanted to learn how to tune a piano too, and I started by watching and listening. Then I went to a store to buy this instrument which they didn’t want to sell to me at first, because it risked losing a customer to a craftsman… One day when I was alone in the house, I closed doors and windows and I started by spotting the notes that sounded the most out of tune; I did exactly as the tuner did, it was quite right, my ear was satisfied. I thought: Alright, let’s move on to the next note! When I approached the octave, I played a chord… it was terrible! By tuning a note, I had it completely out of tune with the others. I ended up leaving things as they were and calling the specialist because I was worried that I had spoiled my piano.

Do I need to explain the illustration to you? We try to tune in with each other, I’ve tried to tune in Christians myself; I’ve been successful with a few, bless God, but for others…I think it’s best to bring in the Tuner.

I say this very seriously: Do you know that the Tuner took three years to tune the Pentecost piano? Three years with men – these fishermen from Galilee – tough and independent. Peter often tried to tune the other notes, but he almost broke the strings! Some wanted to be first while others preferred to stay behind. When the hands of the Lord touched the keyboard of this small community, there was one note that sounded particularly out of tune: this disciple who claimed to be the first. So the Lord took the key until he learned to be the last. Others insisted on working in their own strength. The result was a terrible noise, but the Tuner took his key, and with infinite patience, never spoiling the strings, he finally made them realize that a service is only effective in the power of the Holy Spirit. One note kept coming back: the disciple who was desperate to save his life. You know those pieces of music where a note is repeated. You understand what I mean: in the midst of the concert of Christians there is this note of selfishness which recurs so often. But the Tuner of our life wants to teach us how to lose it. Among the disciples, rivalry was one of the strongest and most cared-for notes. Dear friends, the misunderstandings of the disciples – and today of evangelical works – can go so far as to dispute the souls of men and the crown of Christians. Those who persisted in serving two masters represented a very false note. The divine Tuner continued his patient work for three years; and when he finished it, you could almost say he had failed… The Disciples keyboard was even worse after than before! But the Lord knew that another comforter, the Holy Spirit, was needed to continue the work after His own hand—the one holding the key—was pierced.

With the Lord risen, the years of preparation have served their purpose. At the cross secret desires are unveiled, lessons are learned, divided hearts are fully decided. And to be completely sure that the teaching given is understood, the Lord leaves them alone for ten days. When the tuner came home one day, I watched him again. When he had finished, he said to me: “Now it is better not to touch the piano for a few hours. Leave him alone for now!”

When the master Tuner ascended into glory, he placed the keyboard of his disciples in an upper room for them to be silent and pray. But on the day of Pentecost the Spirit came, the endowment of power

was given to them. We see them all in perfect accord; so what happened? The Holy Spirit touched all those chords and out came beautiful music, a perfect chord, a great variety of harmonies, a sweet and strong melody with major and minor notes. So the multitude is seized and wonders!

Speaking today of this renewal, it is understood that the conditions have not changed since then: no power without agreement! You who have received it in prayer, act and go now in the direction that God shows you! There are times when the Lord gives a great measure of agreement among Christians; it’s a miracle! Let us then allow the divine Tuner to continue its work and spiritual harmony will increase. When the blessing is there, let us remain attached to the Lord so that this music will spread throughout the Church of Christ. And all together we can concentrate our efforts on the great mission field that is the world.

God has his instruments

I place before your eyes the attuned disciples, and the first thing that strikes me in these empowered lives is faithfulness to others. The disciples are loyal to each other, courageous before the world. Think about what Jerusalem was like at the time of the crucifixion. God uses Peter – who had yet trembled before a young woman by denying his master – to proclaim repentance and the forgiveness of sins in a hardened and hostile capital. We know the rest: “Those who accepted his Word were baptized; and in that day the number of the disciples increased to about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). Dear readers, the power coating highlights:

Faithfulness in our testimony. The disciples, having become fishers of men, seized every opportunity, insisting on every opportunity, favorable or not (cf. 2 Timothy 4:2). The love they felt for each other (cf. John 13:34-35) allowed God to awaken consciences and touch hearts.

A great simplicity in our own life. New converts persevered in the teaching of the apostles, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer (cf. Acts 2:42). They ate their food with joy and singleness of heart. Do you know why the world pushes us away? We are too rigid, too complicated and far too religious. Some people imagine that God turns them into angels, and hearing their words and their prayers, one could almost believe it! But their language is not real, their sentences are but resounding brass (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:1). If the world laughs at us sometimes, it is perfectly right; let’s not give him an opportunity to mock but let appear “what is true in him and in us” (cf. 1 John 2:8) if we want to convince him.

Fertility in our service. There were three thousand conversions at Pentecost, and millions more followed wherever the disciples went. The persecution recorded in Acts 8:1-4 caused the disciples to scatter through Judea, Samaria, and even as far as Phenicia and the island of Cyprus. It is said of those who overstepped the bounds of Israel that “the hand of the Lord was with them, and many believed and were converted to the Lord” (Acts 11:21).

Liberality in our hearts. In Acts 3:6, Peter said to the lame man, “I have neither silver nor gold; but what I have I give to you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk.” All the fullness we have received from the love of the Lord, all the incomprehensible riches of the grace of God release a spiritual and material generosity that communicates Christ to others. Peter was not necessarily a poor man; he had a wife and a house, but at the end of Acts chapter 2 we learn that the disciples had shared all their possessions. I’m sure Pierre had also done his part. This is why he could declare in all truth: I have no more money, but what I have I give to you : Jesus of Nazareth.

Firmness and courage in the midst of difficulties. In Acts chapter 4, the disciples come face to face with their accusers to say, “Judge whether it is right in the sight of God to obey you rather than God” (Acts 4:19). No obstacle stopped them, nothing made them tremble. The Holy Spirit filled them so much that they could not be silent. “We cannot but talk about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

Power in prayer. I should have started with that. See that first prayer meeting after Pentecost? What a meeting! For the third time we find the phrase: “They lifted up their voices together to God” (Acts 4:24 ). It was as if Jesus had just been resurrected. No wonder the place where they were was shaking. When the agreement is of this quality, the sky opens, the Lord stretches out his hand and acts (cf. Acts 4:31-37).

In conclusion, I remind you of the image from the beginning. The torrent of grace is still flowing. Readers, do not get tired, do not be discouraged and do not stop. Ten thousand may fall by your side, but you will remain standing. Others may go back, but you will always go forward. You will learn to make your difficulties stepping stones to climb higher, near the Lord. If giants oppose, you will win. In the night you will see the light. In the storm, you will have peace.

Revivals in the Bible: at Sychar

Bible Study : H. E. Alexander, 1950_05_02 translated from French

Summary: The whole story brings out our Lord’s warning: “Do you not say that there are still four months until the harvest? Behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and behold the fields which are already ripefor harvest” (John 4:35). Everything is absolutely flawless in the service of the Lord Jesus and in this simple and beautiful New Testament scene. The power of life that is in the Son triggers something perfect! The conversation with the woman of Samaria, the words addressed to the disciples, the contact with the men of Sychar, everything bears the divine mark.

Revival at Sychar

Bible Study : H. E. Alexander, 1950_05_02 translated from French

The revival at Sychar contrasts with that at Nineveh, and the whole account brings out our Lord’s warning: “Do you not say that there are still four months until the harvest? Behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and behold the fields which are already ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). Everything is absolutely flawless in the service of the Lord Jesus and in this simple and beautiful New Testament scene. The power of life that is in the Son triggers something perfect! The conversation with the woman of Samaria, the words addressed to the disciples, the contact with the men of Sychar, everything bears the divine mark.

The Lord chose this event to give one of the most important teachings of the Gospels about missionary work. In the society of that time, women had no place, let alone a woman of this type. Nevertheless, the Lord saw in her the immense harvest that was to follow on the day of Pentecost. He already saw you in that soul, he saw the multitude of pagans who were to enter the Church. Four thoughts emerge from this wonderful story:

Wake up time
Obstacles to waking up
The sources of awakening
The Manifestation of Revival

Wake-up time

We know that the hour of revival draws near and the harvest is ripe when there is distress and anguish, when age-old supports crumble and people no longer know where to turn and to whom to surrender. Then the suffering and the difficulties intensify so much that the human heart allows itself to be touched by the grace of God or is hardened definitively.

What does the word harvest mean in the Bible? It is used as a picture of times of judgment (cf. Revelation 14:15-16), except in Matthew and John where the Lord gives it a sense of grace.
Thus, as he was aware of Nicodemus’ ignorance about the new birth – this deeply respected doctor of theology was not a hypocrite – he knew in advance what weighed on the heart of the Samaritan woman. In chapter 5 we find a man sick for thirty-eight years who waited for the movement of water to be cured. What a picture of the man under the law, conditioned by others, by circumstances, weak and always paralyzed! In chapter 6 we see a hungry multitude that the disciples wanted to send away to buy food. But Jesus does not do that. He knows the needs of the crowd and has the power to satisfy them in their entirety. In chapter 7, it is the feast in Jerusalem. The holy city is invaded by religious people who fulfill their duties sincerely and faithfully. But that does not bring them closer to the Savior, on the contrary, since they work to earn their salvation. We see a world weary of its religion and yearning for the following year, hoping for better. In this context, Jesus manifests himself as the one who refreshes and removes burdens (cf. John 7:37-39).
But let us go further, because the Gospel of John is filled with the same message until chapter 12. In chapter 8 appears a sad case; sad not because of the adulterous woman, but because of the men who accuse her. Jesus does not say a word to them and only writes their sins on the ground, because he does not engage in dialogue with the hypocrites. You know the rest: touched in their conscience, these men leave one after the other, and Jesus finds himself alone with the woman to grant her his grace, because he came to save and not to judge. In these different cases, the harvest was ripe, the hour of awakening had come. And for all these Jesus says the hour is coming (cf. 4:21). Let us not repeat like the disciples that there are still four months; let us not risk finding ourselves with those who say: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8: 20).

Obstacles to waking up

“The Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that he was making and baptizing more disciples than John” (John 4:1). Filled with wisdom, he who discerns the intentions of all men, including those of the Pharisees and the disciples, leaves Judea for Galilee. Let’s dwell on this fact.

Thus envy is already born among the Pharisees! Elsewhere in the Gospels we find rivalries between the disciples of the same Master and between the parents of the disciples. Is there a climate of competition between our Works, between Christians in their work for questions of numbers, place, prestige? These conflicts engender mistrust and animosities and block any revival movement. Remember what the Master said, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Do you know that this spirit of division can prevent the awakening in Nicodemus, hinder the deliverance of the Samaritan woman, oblige the man who has been sick for thirty-eight years to begin again a thirty-ninth year of infirmity, rule out the possibility of feed the crowd, keep the rivers of living water from flowing?
But that’s not all, we read in John 4:27: “Thereupon his disciples came, and they were amazed that he was talking with a woman. However, no one says: What do you ask? or: What are you talking about with her? “The Lord touches the heart of the Samaritan woman in a totally divine way and reveals the root of the evil in her life with gentleness and firmness; as for the disciples, they arrive with their knowledge, their experiences, their habits and their morals…Amazed to see the Savior of the world speaking with this woman, they show harshness and selfishness towards men and God . Too often we keep to ourselves the blessings with which we have been enriched, and we judge with ignorance and prejudice those whom the love of the Lord wishes to win. What would you say if you learned of the conversion of a person whom you consider unworthy and defiled? When revival comes, God does amazing things that humble man and lay bare his pride.
Another obstacle to awakening is the misunderstanding of the disciples: “Meanwhile the disciples urged him to eat, saying: Rabbi, eat. But he said to them: I have food to eat which you do not know. So the disciples said to one another, Has anyone brought him something to eat? Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work” (4:31-34). They do not understand the meaning of the language of Jesus and do not understand the work of God.
Do you know that food which is to do the will of Him who sent us? It is the divine food that enables us to survive in the midst of difficulties and to triumph in the midst of opposition.
Doing the will of God will lead us to take a direction other than that of our will or that of others. The cross will always be the cross: a beam that crosses another, one that looks up and down and the other left and right; they intersect and collide in the middle! If we want to follow the Lord of the harvest, the Savior of the world, we will be crucified with him, we will no longer do our will. We will cease our clever arrangements, we will follow his thoughts and not ours. This food is fully satisfying.

The sources of revival

We believe in dew and dawn. These two miracles have been happening daily since the world exists, and they are done without any noise. You have never heard the dawn. If you go out early on a summer morning, listen up. Even if you have the most fine tuned hearing, you do not perceive any sound, you do not hear anything. The best blessings are those seen, not just those heard! In verse 6 it speaks of Jacob’s well; it is there that Jesus, tired of the journey, rested. This is also where he found the Samaritan woman and where all the conversation took place.
What is this well of Jacob in Sychar? I have three simple and straightforward things to say:
a) This is the place Jacob came to after his struggle at Peniel, after God had defeated him by dislocating his hip and changing his name to Israel (Genesis 32:24-32).
b) It is the place where Jacob arrived after reconciliation with his brother Esau (Genesis 33:18).
c) This is the place where Joseph rests, awaiting the resurrection, after his bones had been brought back from Egypt (Joshua 24:32).

a) There is no revival without repentance (cf. Hosea 12:5). There may be Christians among you readers who struggle with God and do not know it. The circumstances are against you; you are fighting and you do not know that you are fighting against God. Your family is against you; you are resisting, and you do not know that it is God who is fighting against you. Your strengths, as you call them, are your weaknesses to God. He wants to dislocate your hip, change your life, bend your will. Stop saying no, give in to the Savior, he wants to give you a new name like he did for Jacob.

b) There is no revival without reconciliation. That of Jacob with Esau is an image of all that remains in suspense in the relations between brothers in Christ. Jacob went all out. We read in Genesis 33 that after putting his children in mind with their mothers, “he himself passed before them; and he bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he was near to his brother” (v. 3). Then the latter, touched by his humiliation, ran to meet him and kissed him. They both even cried. And Jacob could say: “I have looked at your face as one looks at the face of God” (v. 10). Where are we with this story? Let God work in our hearts before presenting our offering to Him (cf. Matthew 5:24).

c) There is no revival without resurrection. In the Gospel of John, it is an encounter with the Lord himself. The inspired record purposely mentions the absence of the disciples at Sychar. As was often the case, Jesus was alone with this woman, later alone with the crowd.

The springs of awakening flow in a face to face with. the Lord. We can be blessed collectively, but the personal encounter between God and us is even more important. It is because Jesus and this woman were apart that Jesus was able to accomplish his work in her.

This individual encounter with Jesus leads to the acceptance of his Word. The Lord awakened this woman’s spiritual thirst by telling her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again” (John 4:13 ). However sacred the memory of Sychar, however blessed the historical facts, it is not the past that satisfies and suffices: “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty, and the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life. The woman said to him, “Lord, give me this water” (vv. 14-15).

Our heart is like Jacob’s well. He is impenetrable, but the Lord has the ability to look into the most secret corners. In yours as in mine, there are depths that we sometimes ignore. The revelation is unpleasant but essential. We will then be able to say: “Lord, give me this water, so that I will no longer thirst, and come here no more to draw” (v. 15). When this prayer rises from a heart thus exercised, the word of Psalm 81:11 answers: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth, and I will fill it.”

The Samaritan woman believed Jesus’ promise; so the Lord goes further by laying bare his moral life with this imperative: “Go…call your husband, and come hither” (John 4:16). Unmasked, the woman takes refuge in the past, traditions and the law: “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem” (v. 20). This woman acknowledges her sin and proves it with the following statement: “Come and see a man who has told me all that I have done; would it not be the Christ?” (v. 29).
The Samaritan woman put her trust in Jesus. She accepted his judgment and she gave up her pitcher. Her job may have been to draw water from the well, but her discovery is so great that she parted with her jug ​​to go and bear witness to Jesus to the people of the city. We all have a pitcher to leave behind. It can represent many things; however the strength that is in Jesus Christ enables us to leave them.

The Manifestation of Revival

Reading the chapter shows us that the whole city was touched by the grace of God. All the people came out. Let’s see a little in detail.

“The woman left her pitcher and went into the city” (v. 28). What does going to his city mean to you and me? It is witnessing in our family, our environment, our Church, our Work, in obedience and fervor after having put our affairs in order. Are we ready to bring reproach in the world and also in the Church?
“They went out of the city and came to him” (v. 30). Grace has removed the barriers, the truth has broken the chains of prejudice so that the inhabitants come to Jesus in broad daylight and in the eyes of all.
Several Samaritans in that city believed in Jesus because of this formal declaration of the woman: He told me everything that I did” (v. 39). We are asked a question: When we are in heaven as part of the redeemed community, how many will be there because of us? The answer depends on our commitment to the Lord and our declaration of faith in our city.
The story ends on a note of general blessing: “He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of his word; and they said to the woman: It is no longer because of what you have said that we believe; for we have heard it ourselves, and we know that he is truly the Savior of the world” (vv. 40-42). You better understand the title of our study; all the signs of a visitation from above are there:
– he stayed there two days: he is present in person;
– they believed because of his Word; it engendered faith;
– we have heard it ourselves: no intermediary between the Lord and us;
– we know that he is truly the Savior of the world: the dazzling revelation of his glory and his grace have banished doubts.
The Lord Jesus received in this city a welcome that he did not find later in Galilee, despite many miracles and evident signs. No extraordinary facts are mentioned to Sychar. His presence and his word were enough to wake up an entire city in perdition.

Revivals in the Bible: At Nineveh with Jonah

Bible Study : H. E. Alexander, 1950_04_02 translated from French

Revival at Nineveh with Jonah

Revive me according to your word. Psal 119:25b

Reading it carefully, we are constantly amazed. Jonah is an extraordinary man who had an unusual experience, and the fact that there was an action of the Spirit of God in Nineveh is simply miraculous! From this account emerge three divine principles of utmost importance, and I am convinced that it is because of our ignorance of them that our prayers have so little biblical orientation, spiritual authority and efficacy; they give us a key to discern the times in which we live:

  1. The inexorable justice of God
    against the sins of the nations as such. Each one, responsible for her own sins, will render an account of them to God and will reap what she has sown. There will be a judgment of nations (cf. Matthew 25:31-46) as there will be one of individuals (cf. Revelation 20:11-15).
  2. The Unfathomable Mercy of God
    to nations that repent and to authorities that honor the God of heaven. If there is repentance, blessing follows immediately. Civil authorities who respect God in a country are in turn blessed, even if their representatives are not converted.
  3. The individual responsibility of believers
    with regard to the salvation of their nation by the proclamation of the Word of God. If there is a personal commitment, this does not exclude the collective task of the Church towards the country which shelters her. As long as the throne of grace is established in heaven, the Holy Spirit works in grace on earth, and God can delay the day of final judgment because of the lost, as he will shorten the time of judgment because of the elect. (cf. Matthew 24:22).

Some Christians are so preoccupied with the return of Christ that the very idea that God can yet awaken a nation does not reach their thoughts. They are so full of dogmas and patterns as to this return that they have no concept of the blessing that God can yet bestow upon his Church. Reading the book of Jonah, with the commentary of the Lord Jesus Christ, reveals to us three fundamental laws:

  • God can neither bless nor employ his servants except obedience.
  • There is no hope for men except repentance.
  • The manifestation of divine power comes through the preaching of the cross and resurrection of Christ.

No blessing apart from obedience

The more we read and meditate on this text, the more riches we discover in it. The four questions posed by the sailors to the fleeing prophet are inspiring:

What is your occupation? (cf Jonah 1:8). The question is simple and the answer also because it is in daily life that living faith manifests itself. At home, in the office, at the factory, in the factory or in the fields; in study, in the army or in the service of God. Our generation wants to see the sign of obedience in our activities because that is where God wants to grant repentance and save souls. This is why turning one’s back on all selfishness, one must testify to the power of the resurrection and announce the message of God!
Where do you come from ? (1:8). It is Scripture that answers: “Hear me, you who pursue righteousness, who seek the Lord! Look to the rock from which you were hewn, to the hollow of the pit from which you were taken” (Isaiah 51:1). “That’s what you were, some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11 . Since that is where we come from , will he not save others also? It is up to you and me. Will we obey? It troubles us deeply when we think from whence the Lord has drawn us and saved us by grace, and with what nonchalance and indifference do we leave so many to wander without God. This inability to suffer proves that we are no better than Jonah, and that we are no better than him!
What is your country ? (1:8). Most of us enjoy freedom of speech and material prosperity. Our cities are not all destroyed and neither are our families, but we must not forget that others do not have these privileges. However, the society with its current wealth increasingly resembles the great city of Nineveh. And we there in the middle? Will we continue to have the same feelings as Jonas? Flee, sleep or show complete indifference?

What are your people? (cf. 1:8). What part of God’s people do we belong to? What is our Work and what is our Church? Let us think of their origin, the blessing of the beginning when God raised them up. Are we still worthy of it, are we maintaining the level? Are we truly reformed by the Word of God today? Or have we moved from strength to form, are we living on theories? I insist… do we show off what we have in Christ Jesus, do we give to others what we have or, sheltered behind a reputation, do we flee from the presence of God, selfish, clean righteous like Jonah ? Does it take the storm to wake us up, the miracle to stop us?

No hope except repentance

First a few words about Nineveh to better understand the great work that took place there. The first type of Antichrist, Nimrod is the origin of Nineveh (cf. Genesis 10:8-11). Called “valiant hunter before the Lord” (cf. v. 9), he was in fact only a rebel and a tyrant. The Bible uses the term great city five times in connection with Nineveh (cf. Genesis 10:12; Jonah 1:2; 3:2; 3:3; 4:11). It is interesting to read in the book of Daniel that Nebuchadnezzar saw a great tree where the birds of the sky had their nest (Daniel 4:12), and that in Matthew 13:31-32 we have the parable of the mustard seed becoming a tall tree where the birds of the sky used to nest. This tree and the birds symbolize the development of evil in the world of Christianity. The book of Revelation depicts wickedness reaching its peak in the expression: “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth” (Revelation 17:5). Nineveh, like Babylon, represents all that is corrupt, powerful, and opposed to God.

In Nineveh dwelt Sennacherib, the king of the Assyrians, an enemy of God and his people. The book of Jonah tells us that by this time the wickedness of the city had reached to the dwelling place of God (cf. 1:2). We find this expression three times in Scripture, in Genesis 18:20-21 for Sodom and Gomorrah, in Jonah 1:2 for Nineveh, and in Revelation 18:5 for Babylon. As we can see, it is not a question of simple wickedness, but of a state of revolt such that it accumulates up to the sky. Every time we read that in the Scripture, judgment immediately follows. Nineveh is one of three cities – along with Tire and Sidon (cf. Matthew 11:21 and Luke 11:32) – mentioned by the Lord Jesus as a warning to our generation.

At Nineveh, Jonah preached divine mercy amid the harshest warnings. We read it in Jonah 4:2: “I knew that you are a compassionate and merciful God, slow to anger and rich in goodness, and who repents of evil”. A century later, when Nahum announced the destruction of Nineveh, judgment did indeed fall. Nevertheless, the prophet suddenly cut off his message with this word of hope: “Behold on the mountains the feet of the messenger who announces peace!” (Nahum 2:1). There was still room for repentance!

At Nineveh we have the demonstration of God’s mercy. Let us not forget the words of Ezekiel: “I am alive! saith the Lord GOD, what I desire is not that the wicked die, but that he change his ways and live” (33:11). The Ninevites repented and God granted mercy, if only because of the one hundred and twenty thousand men who no longer had a point of reference as to good and evil (cf. Jonah 4:11).

In Nineveh, there was a servant of God, a repentant and obedient Jonah to announce the Word of God. Thus, when the Word is announced with power, it creates a great need which it answers. This is why the inhabitants of Nineveh repented. If we are silent, this miracle will not happen. Let us leave Nineveh for a moment to judge ourselves: where is the spirit of repentance in our Church, in our Work? Where are the Christians who beat their chests, who stop in their life and their service to seek the face of God? Where are the hearts touched, the consciences exercised by the Holy Spirit, and where are those who begin to suffer for the lost world instead of condemning it? The Church cannot repent if its members do not repent, and the nation cannot repent if the Church does not repent. But if believers are sensitive to the voice of the Spirit and change their attitude, no boundary can hold back the blessing. The power of God is always greater than the deepest evil, so much so that revival can break out unexpectedly. May God deliver us from all fatal pessimism and heavy indecision.

I come back to the prophet whose story concerns us directly.

Jonah had a specific calling (cf. Jonah 1:1-2); he was of the tribe of Zebulun to which was attached this promise: “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your races, and you Issachar, in your tents! They will call the peoples on the mountain; there they will offer sacrifices of righteousness, for they will suck the abundance of the sea and the treasures hidden in the sand” (Deuteronomy 33:18-19).

Jonah was called a second time (cf. Jonah 3:1); let us read this account carefully and recognize how sobering the case of Jonah truly is . God called us once, but have we responded fully, are we taking action? There are Christians who go through storms and shipwrecks, they flee before the Eternal, but God who called Jonah a second time also wants to call them back. Will we answer today? It is frightening how accustomed we can get to the words of commitment in a hymn or prayer and remain stationary.

Jonah prays to the Lord his God when he is in the belly of the big fish: “For me, I will offer you sacrifices with a cry of thanksgiving, I will accomplish the wishes I have made: Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:10). In the trial and punishment due to his disobedience, he awakens to reality and, thrown back on the sand, he finds communion with his Lord, the privilege of being his messenger. Transformed by this strange experience which somehow represents death and resurrection with Christ (cf. Romans 6: 1-11), he left to accomplish the urgent mission with this multitude ready to benefit from the mercy of God.

3 No divine power apart from the cross

This short book is extremely rich. If God wants to spare the city of Nineveh, he does not spare his disobedient child. Three times in this book it is said that Jonah “fled from the face of the Lord” (cf. Jonah 1:3 and 10).

If he flees, it is because of his selfishness and his nationalism. It is at the beginning of chapter 4 that the prophet reveals himself as his own righteous man and shows the bottom of his heart. He is very angry because God has shown mercy to the pagans. He recalls that he preferred to flee rather than proclaim the judgment. At the very moment when God gives grace to Nineveh, he asks to die! The message that God entrusted to him does not at all agree with his theological conceptions, however exact and orthodox they may be? Nor does God’s attitude correspond to his religious ideas. Harsh for repentant Ninevites, he shows sentimentality for a shrub. He manifests joy only for personal and physical relief. God rebukes him severely. What a warning for us! The world is ready for revival, but believers are not. They hinder the work of God by their narrow conceptions, their cherished dogmas, their ingrained habits.

If he flees, the world wonders: “Why did you do this?” (Jonah 1:10). Unbelievers perceive the disobedience of Christians more than is believed. We are so much like Jonah: deserters, sleepers, and oblivious, while judgment is at the door and hangs over the world.

If he flees, God bars his way and his plans fail. He is the cause of the storm that threatens the lives of others as well as his own misfortunes. How many runaways in the Church of God where it is easy to be zealous for all kinds of activities instead of being and doing what God requires! How many storms among the Christians caused by a “Jonah on the run”. How many divisions produced by disobedience to God.
If he flees, God finds him in an extraordinary circumstance, in the belly of the fish! The revival of Jonah preceded the revival of the Ninevites. Identified with Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection, he was a blessing to men.

In conclusion, the Spirit of God showed us first a sleeping Jonah, then a shaken Jonah and finally an awake Jonah. Following his encounter with God under the waters and in the night, Jonah could be a sign for a great pagan metropolis with the following result: …Let them cry out to God with strength, and let them all turn back from their wrong way and from the acts of violence of which their hands are guilty… God saw that they did so and came back from their wrong way. And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not” (Jonah 3:5-10).

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Revivals in the Bible: In Jerusalem with Ezra

Bible Study : H. E. Alexander, 1950_03_02 translated from French

Revival in Jerusalem with Ezra

The revival in Jerusalem under Ezra exhibits two characteristics recorded twice in Scripture (cf. 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 and Ezra 1:1-4).

1 King Cyrus of Persia received direction from God in heaven.

Isaiah, naming this monarch in advance in his prophecy, calls him from the Lord: my shepherd, my anointed (cf. 44:28 and 45:1).
So God uses a pagan king to carry out his will when his people are no longer able to understand it: “The last shall be first, and the first shall be last” (Matthew 20:16 ).
As God awakened the spirit of Cyrus in the past, he wants to do the same today so that we listen to his call to us: to go before the world and its great distress to bring it the Word of life.

Despair and destruction reign in many places, and from the midst of the ruins rises a cry: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20). In the midst of the dissolving spirit of this century, men seek what is immutable.

The present events are of such a nature that all the people of God should understand that they must act while they can. In the world there is a gigantic spiritual struggle between the powers of heaven and those of hell, the divine Word warns us of the designs of Satan: the crushing of the nations and their seduction. The current upheavals tend towards a double climax: the fall and the judgment of Satan, the victory and the reign of Christ here below. Let us therefore wake up to present reality! Let us know how to pray so that God still grants a time of freedom for the dissemination of his Word and the salvation of a multitude of people. God wants to answer the prayers rising from the hearts of his children. Only a deep spiritual awakening among the people of God can bring a remedy to the distressed world. The circumstances of our time are crying out from the rooftops. Will we hear? Will we act?

2 Cyrus undertook construction work.

When the antediluvian world was heading towards ruin, God instructed Noah to build the ark. This work is being accomplished despite everyone’s incomprehension (cf. Hebrews 11:7).
Moses was instructed to build the Tabernacle “in this great and awful wilderness,” according to Deuteronomy 8:15. If Solomon built the Temple in a time of peace, Ezra and Nehemiah rebuilt it under threats, ridicule and intrigue. Thus the divine plan of redemption is accomplished despite the decline and the opposition of men.

No Christian with an open heart and an awakened conscience can remain passive before the millions of men and women who ignore the Savior and his Gospel; he must arise and labor to build the spiritual edifice formed by the redeemed.

Readers, he wants to employ you. In Jerusalem the walls were destroyed and the gates of the city were consumed by fire. Rise to raise up the walls of testimony; may the world again see the gates of truth, enter them to find salvation! Many are the breaches in a wall, which make people believe that souls can enter by another door (cf. John 10:1) than Jesus Christ!
Let us give men the Word of God by which they can approach him. In the midst of the destruction, let us advance in the work of construction. The order and the means are given to us: “Who among you is of his people? May his God be with him, and may he go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the house of the Lord, the God of Israel!” (Ezra 1:3). And now, let’s take a close look at those who responded to that call.

Who are they ?
“The heads of the families of Judah and Benjamin, the priests and the Levites, all whose spirits God awakened, arose to go and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:5). In the first verse of this same chapter we read that the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, and now those whose spirit God has revived obey the proclamation. Often the world is ready for revival, but the Church is not because of the weakness of its testimony. Are we ready for the awakening of our spirit by God? The answer to this question can have important consequences. It is an operation that only the Holy Spirit can perform, a deep and individual work that affects the heart and the conscience. This revival leads back to a right notion of God and of oneself; this awakening frees us from deadly routines, stagnant ruts. Our way of living, working and speaking must be reviewed under the light of the Holy Spirit so that it can bring about the necessary transformations.

“I know your works. I know that you pass for being alive, and you are dead” (Revelation 3:1 ). God makes us lucid about our spiritual state: the absence of conversions for a long period will worry us; we will be disturbed and we will no longer excuse the mediocrity of our testimony, the low level of our churches.

When God awakens our spirit, the result is suffering that brings us before him and prompts us to pray until he intervenes with those around us who are entrusted to our care. Christians who accept that God shakes them in this way recognize in this grace the price of revival. The text tells us that those whose spirits God awakened belonged to the three tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi. Two prophetic passages describe them to us:

a) the prophecy of Jacob (cf. Genesis 49), and

b)the blessing of Moses (cf. Deuteronomy 33).

Jacob predicts that the scepter will not depart from the hand of Judah until he who is to reign comes victorious in battle (cf. Genesis 49:10). Moses’ blessing further provides that Judah will always find the ear of the Lord open to hear and to help (cf. Deuteronomy 33:7).
As for Benjamin, it is predicted that he will be a skilled warrior despite his smallness. This will earn him a special blessing (cf. Deuteronomy 33:12).

Jacob describes Levi as cruel and wicked by nature; but the blessing of Moses reveals what the grace of God has made of it: Levi is separated from men, consecrated to God who entrusts him with the priesthood (cf. Deuteronomy 33: 8-11). The words written about these three patriarchs also characterize the one who allows himself to be touched by God: he has the spiritual vision of a glorious future, he lives at the source of the Lord’s abundance and in the fight, however weak- he, he is helped by God who protects him from enemies. Those who undertook the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem experienced it (cf. Nehemiah 4).

“Then the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem” (Ezra 3:1). This is the result of a profound work of God, a profound manifestation of revival! Let us note here that the Holy Spirit accomplishes what men cannot produce despite all their desires and efforts.

The first phase of revival is marked by spiritual unity. This bringing together of hearts is so different from the superficial cordiality with which we are often satisfied without having true communion! Outward cordiality, while ulterior motives persist, and the past remains paved with the memory of actions and words that belie any true unity. We save appearances, we invent artificial comparisons, such is not the work of the Holy Spirit.

The second phase of revival begins when people reconcile in truth. Believers open up to each other: we see ourselves in a new light, we stop imagining false things or taking inaccurate reports seriously. We begin to think just the opposite and we discover that men and the devil have done their work of division by spreading false rumors that separated what God wanted to unite. Nothing saddens the Holy Spirit more than the reluctance that persists in our mutual relationships. However, the powerful flow of Calvary flowing in hearts purifies and finally delivers from this murderous poison.

The third phase of revival prompts troubled consciences to confess to the brother or sister the evil said about him (cf. Matthew 5:23-24). We will go even further, the wrongs committed will be repaired, personal ties restored, otherwise all talk on this subject will be empty words and our prayers one form of piety added to another.

What are they doing ?

“And they restored the altar to its foundations…and they offered burnt offerings thereon to the Lord, both morning and evening burnt offerings” (Ezra 3:3). This is where you have to start. Have we restored the altar to its foundation in our lives?

We have listened to sermons on the cross, we have talked about the cross, we have sung hymns on the cross, but this does not necessarily mean that it is effective at the center of our being. The cross… two beams that intersect, one horizontal, the other vertical, and in the middle is the One who gives his life for us. The Holy Spirit wants to conquer our hearts in order to set up there the liberating cross from the power of the flesh. The latter – capable of evading everything and deceiving everyone – can no longer escape it. At the cross, divine will intersects with rebellious human will, and divine thoughts oppose proud human thoughts. On the cross, Jesus Christ identifies us with him and his victory becomes ours. Let us restore the altar to its foundation: God waits to give grace and deliver.

“All their neighbors gave them silver, gold, effects, cattle, and precious things, besides all freewill offerings” (Ezra 1:6). Those who left Jerusalem for Babylon offered themselves voluntarily, and those who remained helped those who left with their gifts and liberality. This, in all its simplicity and effectiveness, is God’s plan for the working Church.
The revival is not intended to fill the meeting rooms in the first place. Its purpose is to send messengers of the cross far away. If he visits us, it will result in vocations and departures. That’s the hallmark of all true revival. This is also the reason why many do not really want it. A lady said to me some time ago, “I would gladly send my child to the youth group, but I am afraid that you will make him a missionary!” When the Holy Spirit does his work in the lives of Christians, they spontaneously give themselves for the lost world. What a contrast with the selfishness that reigns in the religious world!

“All those around them encouraged them…” (Ezra 1:6). It sometimes seems that Christians make it their task to discourage each other, to interrupt each other’s work, to harm each other’s activities, to oppose or boycott them…

Let us learn from the various stages of revival in Jerusalem and encourage one another. We will be led to change our methods, our attitudes, to avoid duplicity, hidden antagonism and the search for personal interests. The Spirit of God is a spirit of life, holiness, joy and peace. It melts hearts into one, it unites minds that henceforth vibrate in accordance with the will of God.

The divine Word describes the results: “They sang, celebrating and praising the Lord with these words: For he is good, for his mercy to Israel endures forever! And all the people shouted with great joy in praise to the Lord, because the foundations of the house of the Lord were being laid. But many of the priests and of the Levites, and of the aged heads of families, who had seen the first house, wept aloud while the foundations of this house were being laid before their eyes. Many others made their joy burst out with cries, so that the sound of shouts of joy could not be distinguished from the sound of weeping among the people, for the people uttered loud cries, the sound of which was heard in the distance” (Ezra 3:1 1-13).

We can easily imagine this scene. A revival cannot occur without rejoicing, without an abundance of praise and prayer. Hearts are united, tongues are loosed to sing the praises of God and testify to his power and his love. Do we encounter certain dangers? Yes, but the One who creates this movement of life also knows how to control it and the leaders receive the gentleness and delicacy that go hand in hand with spiritual discernment. If they let themselves be warned by the Word, if they are nourished by it, it will be their safeguard because it is the lack of biblical teaching that causes certain abuses and deviations that allow foreign spirits to burst into the Church. . He who sends the revival is ready to give vigilance to those who allow themselves to be torn from sleep: “I am persuaded that he who began this good work in you will make it perfect for the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1: 6 ).

Such was the revival that God gave to his people in the days of Ezra. Times, circumstances, places may change, but the spiritual laws are the same and the practical teaching has lost none of its freshness.

Which of you is his people? May he respond, may he dedicate himself to this task and may his God be with him! Let him go up… let him build!

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