The Church at War conference coming up in November which will see the premier of the Antichrist and His Ruin documentary as well as an exceptional line-up of speakers and preachers. (For more information about the conference, please see here. For the documentary, here).
The theme of Antichrist can evoke different reactions, perhaps because of modern sensational teachings on the subject. To give us some context as we consider this theme, here are some thoughts from Pastor Jacob (with quotes within from Bunyan’s work Of Antichrist and His Ruin):
“Antichrist endeavours to usurp Christ’s headship over His Bride, the church, ‘to prostrate her to his lusts, to deflower her, and to make her an adulteress.’ Antichrist ‘hath turned the sword of the magistrate against those that keep God’s law,’ rendering the state’s sword ‘the ruin of the good and virtuous, and a protection of the vile and base.’”
1 John tells us that every spirit that does not confess that Jesus is the Christ is an antichrist spirit, and that many antichrists have come. An antichrist spirit seeks to usurp the authority of God and his Christ in the lives of all people, but it especially rears its head against faithful churches.
For the conference in November we want to re-present a hymn by 17th/18th Century hymn writer Isaac Watts to the church. Watts wrote many beloved historical hymns such as Joy to the World, I Sing the Mighty Power of God, and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. His father was a contemporary of John Bunyan and was, like Bunyan, twice incarcerated for his non-conformist faith. Watts was a teenager when Bunyan died and was undoubtedly influenced by his life and ministry.
In light of this, we want to reintroduce to the contemporary church his hymn “The Ruin of Antichrist.” Drawing from Isaiah 63:4-7, and perhaps with Bunyan’s book Of Antichrist and His Ruin in mind, the hymn speaks of God’s ability to defeat the spirit of antichrist in any age and ends with a refrain of praise from the people of God to their deliverer. The lyrics within quotes God speaking in the first person, with the final stanza being the hopeful response of the people.
Here is Watts’ text:
“I lift my banner,” saith the Lord,
“Where Antichrist has stood;
The city of my gospel foes
Shall be a field of blood.”
“My heart has studied just revenge,
And now the day appears;
The day of my redeemed is come
To wipe away their tears.”
“Quite weary is my patience grown,
And bids my fury go;
Swift as the lightning it shall move,
And be as fatal too.”
“I call for helpers, but in vain;
Then has my gospel none?
Well, my own arm has might enough
To crush my foes alone.”
“Slaughter and my devouring sword
Shall walk the streets around,
Babel shall reel beneath my stroke,
And stagger to the ground.”
Thy honours, O victorious King!
Thine own right hand shall raise,
While we thy awful vengeance sing,
And our deliv’rer praise.
We have set the hymn to a newly composed tune, aiming for something anthemic, so that the church of 2022 can again sing this as a bold declaration of the sovereignty of God over the spirit of antichrist.
If you or your church is interested in learning this historical hymn text, here are some resources to help you along the way: