The Ancient Pattern

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Note this in an excerpt from Mercy Before Judgment.

Before we examine God’s interactions with His intercessors, we need to identify a biblical pattern we will see in these interactions. The pattern we see in Scripture is basically this: Before God released His judgments, He would come to an intercessor and speak to them about His judgments. This revelation of the coming judgment provoked the intercessor to do two things:

  1. Stand before God to secure mercy for a remnant of those condemned for judgment. 
  2. Stand before the condemned to speak to them about God’s desire for mercy before judgment.

Something in the intercessor’s knowledge of God realized that the prediction of judgment was an invitation from God. The intercessor recognized God wanted a human intercessor to stand in the gap to secure mercy for a remnant before He released His judgments. The intercessor also understood God wanted them to plead with the people before the hour of judgment. When the intercessors acted according to this pattern, they secured mercy for a remnant before God’s judgments.

Throughout history, human intercessors have played a role in God’s desire to release mercy in the midst of His judgments. And, as we have seen, God is so committed to this pattern that the plan of redemption was based on His decision to choose a human intercessor—ultimately Jesus—to secure mercy for those under judgment.  This biblical pattern affects how we understand the task of the end-time church. 

We have been profoundly warned through the Scripture of the coming end-time judgment which will go far beyond any other judgment in history. While we do not know when God will release His judgments, we are expected to notice signs in the earth and recognize that the time is drawing near [1]. As we see God’s end-time judgments approaching, we need the same knowledge of God that the intercessors of the Bible had. 

If we know God the way His ancient intercessors did, our understanding of His coming end-time judgments will provoke us to take our place in intercession to see a generation given mercy before the day of judgment comes.

The Task of the End-Time Prayer Movement

The biblical pattern of mercy before judgment helps us properly interpret God’s activity in our generation. In the introduction, we identified two trends emerging in the church: prayer and the study of the end times. As we noted, the church has always been a people of prayer, but there has never been a prayer movement in history like what is emerging in the nations at this hour. At the same time, there is a growing interest in studying the return of Jesus and the events that accompany it. 

It is not an accident that the Lord is raising up the largest prayer movement in history and that the prayer movement is searching the Scriptures related to God’s end-time judgments. The increase in prayer in the church accompanied by a searching out of God’s end-time judgments is preparing the church for an end-time assignment: Like the intercessors of old, God is going to provoke His people to take our place in intercession to see a remnant delivered in mercy before the judgment comes. 

Mercy before Judgment 

Historically, God has repeatedly delivered a remnant from His judgments through the actions of an intercessor. The end-time church will be given the invitation to step into the place of intercession and secure mercy for a generation before God releases His end-time judgments. The dramatic increase of prayer underway is preparing the church for this moment.

God’s end-time judgments will go far beyond anything He has done before, and intercession must precede them beyond anything that has gone before. The biblical pattern forces us to ask a question: Do the Bible’s prophecies of coming judgments provoke us to stand before God and secure mercy for a remnant? If not, we do not yet know God in the way His ancient intercessors did. 

Right now, when most people think about the end times, they think about trouble and dramatic judgments. But we need to think about the mercy that comes before the judgment and how to appropriate that mercy through intercession.

[1] Matthew 24:32–33; 1 Thessalonians 5:2–5.

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