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A Startling Summons in the Night

June 12, 2009

By D.P. Holloway

Most of us know of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, one of the “Minutemen” in New England at the time of the War of Independence. He hung the lantern in the Old North Church, mounted his steed, and raced through the countryside to warn, “The British are coming!” That was the night of April 18, 1775. And Paul Revere was none too early, for at 2:30 in the morning the Battle of Lexington began. This little nation was stirred to action by that startling summons in the night.

Our nation has faced many crises since that time. I well remember my reaction when the announcement came on November 11, 1918, that an armistice had been signed. What rejoicing! I knew that my two older brothers would soon be returning from the battle scenes of World War I. And I remember that Sunday evening when I first learned that Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the Japanese. I was about to enter my pulpit in Cleveland, Ohio, when I heard the news. I fell upon my knees and wept like a child. I visualized the horror, suffering and destruction that would be inflicted upon our own people and on the nation that had struck the first blow. When Japan finally surrendered and the victory had been won, I wept again, but this time for joy.

An even more startling announcement than any of these is made by Paul the apostle. “It is high time to awake out of sleep,” he says, “for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:11,12, KJV). What is the apostle talking about? He is speaking of that wonderful day — the day of the second coming of Christ!

The startling summons of this verse is a call to watchfulness. We must watch to keep our lives holy, because the day is at hand. Jesus may come at any moment — no one knows just when. “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). And since He will come unexpectedly, we must watch at all times, lest coming suddenly He find us sleeping (Mark 13:35-37).

— Adapted from “A Startling Summons in the Night,” originally published in the March 7, 1954, Pentecostal Evangel.

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