Home > Bible Study, C. H. Spurgeon, Judges, Old Testament, premillennialism, typology > Christ’s First and Second Comings:  In the Type of Ehud

Christ’s First and Second Comings:  In the Type of Ehud


As I continue listening to Alan Cairns’ sermons, now in a series on the book of Judges, I notice a lot of similarities in the Spirit in him and qualities in Charles Spurgeon.  Cairns’ ministry was about 120 years after Spurgeon, yet many common preaching features. From a sermon on Judges 3:  allowing the Spirit to lead in determining what to preach on for any given Lord’s Day, rather than  rigid, scheduled, pre-planned series; and remarks about those who had sat under his preaching ministry for many years, and still unmoved and not saved.  Cairns, like Spurgeon, also believed Revelation 6, the first seal, was referring to Christ and not the AntiChrist (unlike most other premillennialists), and had a very optimistic view regarding the great spiritual blessings we now have.  Like Spurgeon, Cairns firmly stated his belief in the future millennial reign of Christ, yet expected great things of God, true revival, in this age.

Apparently Charles Spurgeon never preached a sermon on Ehud, the second of the Judges of Israel.  But if he had, the sermon would have been quite similar to this one from Dr. Cairns in 1989.  In “The Train of Christ’s Triumph” we see Ehud as a type of Christ, and both Christ’s First and Second Comings in the story of Ehud in Judges 3: Ehud’s individual work and victory over Eglon; and then, his blowing the trumpet to rally the people to follow him. In this type, we see freedom from sin and judgment, fellowship (they followed Ehud), and the people as followers in the king’s army.  

First, Ehud did the conquering work, slaying Eglon — like Christ’s defeat of Satan at Calvary.  Here, the mighty message of freedom; the bondage of sin broken by the power of Christ, and our reconciliation and redemption.Then, Ehud blew the trumpet, rousing the people to leave everything and to follow him.  The trumpet can be seen as a representation of the Lord Jesus Christ:  having triumphed at Calvary, calling to people to leave all and follow him.
Fellowship:  Ehud’s trumpet blast announced what he had done, and for the people to leave their sheepfolds, their earthly occupations, their fears and worries of Moab, to leave all–and come out in open fellowship with this mighty conqueror.  Christ’s victory, the reality of this type:  the victory only profits those who have been brought into fellowship with Him.

The Crusade of Victory:  Ehud’s leading the people, can be seen as a type of the progress and triumph of the Gospel.  Christ led His church, the New Testament church.  We are reminded of the essence of the Christian life:  to enter in experimentally, into what Christ has accomplished for us at Calvary.  Pentecost was their first taste of victorious service for Christ.  Then, in Acts 1:8, the apostles were given their commission:  in the conquest of Calvary.  They are going to conquer them (Jerusalem, Judea, the world) with the gospel.  He has gone into His Eglon, and come out victorious.  He’s the conqueror.  Those men could challenge the world, and conquer the world, and they did. 

Judges 3:27 describes the mountains of Ephraim; and the children of Israel went down with him from the mountains.  A spiritual application and type here also:  When God’s people spend time in the mount with their conqueror, then they come down with irresistible power.  

In the first part of Ehud’s story, he slayed Eglon.  Christ’s First Coming was in humiliation, largely unknown, unheralded.  In the second part of Ehud’s story, he blows the trumpet.  Here we have a picture of Christ’s Second Coming, with power, with hosts and armies of glory, and the blowing of the last trumpet. 

The full sermon is powerful, convicting, and well worth listening to.  Cairns brings home the importance of the Christian’s experience, the power of God for the Christian church, and the importance of serious prayer.  Cairns — again, very similar to Spurgeon’s sermons of optimism with reference to this age — noted that the church no longer had the vision of God’s word for His church, the vision had been lost — because of a peculiar notion of the Second Coming and millennial reign.  ‘Well, we can expect nothing too much in this day and age, and we’ve postponed all expectations until Christ’s victories until the millennium.'”  

Cairns considered the reason why we don’t see revival, but instead apostasy:  this is all an excuse for carnal laziness.  God had given a mandate to the apostles, and a message, and a promise of the mighty results that He would give.  

Nothing in scripture says that God has withdrawn the message, the mandate, or changed the promise.  A cloak in most cases, for our own carnality.  Cloaked in the respectable garments of theological language and theological excuses.  …. The Lord Jesus Christ is not coming back for a church in defeat, or a church in reverse-gear or a church that has only the memory and the theory of the power of the Holy Ghost.  He’s coming back for a church whose lamps are trimmed, whose witness is bright, whose experience of God is real, and whose knowledge of revival is intimate.  He has never changed that.

From our viewpoint today, over 30 years later and the apostasy of the professing church increasingly more apparent, I observe that, yes, God still has that message, mandate, and promise — and yet, clearly God has used that “carnal laziness” to bring about what He has purposed for the last of the last days, that this age would end in failure, in increasing apostasy– and not in revival.  Yes, God does have His people, who have real experience of God, the virgins whose lamps are trimmed.  But such will not be the characteristic of the majority, of the overall professing Church.  As God has also purposed and revealed in His word, the people at the Second Coming would be asleep (both the virgins with their lamps trimmed, as well as the others who did not have oil), and “when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”  (Luke 18:8

Amid his words about the trumpet, that call to challenge the world and to conquer this world for God, Cairns acknowledged that God is sovereign, and He does not promise that every day will be a Pentecost.  Along with mention of the 1850s Prayer Revival in the US, and emphasis on the importance of prayer, he related a story about a preacher in Romania (then behind the Iron Curtain) and their real persecution and hard suffering, and that man’s interaction with a Western-thinking evangelist.  The only places where revival occurs today, are places where people are poor, and where their lives are in danger.  It is not happening in the West, because of the carnality of God’s people at ease.

We are still in God’s good hands, in spite of this.  After all, in Revelation 5, it is the Lamb who opens the seals, it is He, the Lamb, who unfolds these terrible events.  We’re in the hand of our Savior.  The seven trumpet blasts in Revelation represent serious, solemn markers of God’s progressing purpose during the last of the last days, this last period before the return of Christ.  We look forward to the last trumpet, that time of deliverance from sin and bondage, and entering into the full enjoyment of that deliverance. 

Biblical eschatology must include Christ’s First coming.  Sensationalism comes from forgetting Christ’s First Coming and speculating about dates and ideas that are not even in the Bible–such as the notion of Russia being in the Bible (when it is not, the similar sounding word does not mean Russia), and since the US isn’t mentioned in the Bible it’s going to be blown to bits.  Here I also recall J.C. Ryle’s emphasis upon both “the cross and the crown.”

Some more great observations from this sermon, and the hope we have:

… those not premillennial, you don’t believe Christ will reign upon the earth.  I’m not too worried about it; you’re going to learn.  It won’t keep you from heaven, but will make life a little more difficult for you.  … the childish rubble they will come up with to try to deny that 1000 year reign of Christ.  He came, He conquered, He gives His church a mandate, a message, and a promise, and He’s coming back in mighty final glory.  Do you have that hope?  Has your soul ever been gripped with those things?

  1. Gerry
    September 10, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    Hi Lynda

    Interesting comparisons between Spurgeon and Cairns. I really don’t see any Biblical warrant for a widespread revival of the church, and in fact the opposite is explicitly and repeatedly spoken of clearly by Paul, especially as Christ’s return nears, the Apostacy being one of the signs he points to.

    Part of that Apostacy is spoken of by the Lord Himself where he answers the question as to the signs of His coming again by referring to “lawlessness”, anomia in the Greek, that is antinomianism.

    I agree with Cairns assessment as to carnal laziness as being part of the cause, but it seems to me that worldliness, carnality simply, that is a love of this world more than love to God is the real reason.

    That is in fact the the reason scripture gives: “lovers of (worldly, carnal pleasures) more than lovers of God”.

    We have discussed elsewhere the lack of communion with God even acknowledged as valid more less widespread in today’s church, contrary to scripture, Spurgeon and the best of the Puritans.

    In the absence of such communion it isn’t any wonder that man prefers worldly pleasures, most know nothing else, and of course not knowing the surpassing greatness, the transcendent power and peace of communion with God, not only in the congregation but also it’s leaders and teachers, we see what we do today.

    If people would just read their Bible unfiltered by false teaching they would see a different church spoken of than the dead dry orthodox thing which now passes for what is right.

    Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever, and He still does all the things you read of in the Bible in those who have faith and pray and deny themselves and obey and live holy lives. He is just as real, just as present, just as available as He always was, but men don’t want Him, they want the world.

    Nothing new under the sun…the times of the Gentiles are almost done, they have had their 2000 years of probation and and just as PAUL warned in Romans 11 they grew conceited though “grafted in” and are now about to reap the reward of that conceit.

    As to Cairns comments on the non premill believer, I think the Lord had something a bit more harsh to say about the masters of His house who did not warn their households about His return.

    And Paul, when he spoke of those that taught falsely to the Thessalonians about the timing of Christ’s return being right after the antichrist is revealed, said that they spoiled the faith of some.

    How is this really different than those who today teach the very opposite of what Paul here warned of?

    Gerry

    Come Lord Jesus.

    • September 11, 2021 at 6:44 am

      Hi Gerry,

      Agree regarding revival and apostasy, as we’ve previously discussed. It particularly strikes me, how similar Cairns and Spurgeon were in their thinking. In their great focus on experiential Christianity and revival, and evangelistic zeal (and ability to bring out types/pictures of Christ from various biblical texts), they neglected this other area of God’s truth, that the “last of the last days” would be characterized by apostasy — which we are seeing in greater extent than earlier generations.

      The quote from him about the non-premill believers, was directed toward those listening to him in the congregation, at that local church — not church leaders. Those remarks came just after a few sentences of strong criticism of those who taught against premillennialism, and the amazing lengths that such teachers would go to, to twist and deny the obvious of what the text plainly said.

      Regards,
      Lynda

      • Gerry
        September 11, 2021 at 8:09 am

        Hi Lynda

        Thanks for the additional clarification by way of context, it makes more sense.

        It is interesting that both these able teachers neglected the Word’s teaching on the last of the last days, but then even 30 years ago when as you note Cairns taught these things the end was not so obvious as it is now.

        I have repeatedly thought to myself how rapidly things have deteriorated in the last 10-20 years and never would have thought to see what we see now, at least not so “soon”.

        In Him
        Gerry

      • September 11, 2021 at 8:29 am

        Agree, the great acceleration, the deterioration, we’ve seen in such a short time. Today especially brings out such a contrast — as people remember Sept. 11, 2001, now 20 years ago.

        Even then the country had a weak and more emotional response against the terrorism, more focused on the tragedy itself than denouncing the evil. Yet the leadership and the common people of the country were so strongly united in what had happened, people supporting each other. The technological changes (such as the development of smart phones then 6 years away, and social media then also several years future) as well as societal, just since that event, I would never have predicted at the time.

      • Gerry
        September 11, 2021 at 10:12 am

        Good points…and good also to be reminded of how the now pervasive smartphone was yet 6 years away, and social media (an oxymoron, for it is in fact on balance, I think, anti social) also not yet a reality.

        I am reminded of Daniel 12:4

        4 ¶ “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

        This verse I believe gives us some insight into the times in which we find ourselves; for surely we see a great increase in “knowledge”, both of good and evil, and we see “many running to and fro”, on various presumed critical missions, one of which is to save this “waxed old” earth through politics and technology, the false gods of “many”.

        But of special interest I think is the plain statement that these words, their meaning, are sealed up until the time of the end.

        If indeed we are at the time of the end then it follows that these prophetic words are no long inscrutable as they once were, and the immediate context, being increased knowledge suggests that the things we see are in fact part of that unsealing of them.

        If this is true, then the blind insistence on amillennial teaching, contrary to the plain language of the Word, is all the more inexcusable.

        The Lord once asked the rhetorical question: “How can you believe, when you seek the approval of men more than the approval of God”. The answer of course is that you cannot.

        It has long seemed to me that the amillennial crowd is much more interested in the approval of their peers, than the approval of God. The very fact that they label post Trib premillennial truth as “pessimistic” is telling; and I would reply that those who see what the early church called “the blessed hope” as a pessimistic thing are deceived.

        Gerry

      • September 12, 2021 at 8:20 am

        Yes, good points. Another observation of the difference in time periods — in this sermon, Cairns mentioned the objection of some about how we now have television, as an excuse for why we no longer see the great works of God in revival. His response was, do they really think that television would have been a problem for the apostle Paul and the other leaders of the early church?

        Yet, related to Daniel 12 about people running to and fro, and knowledge increasing — the more recent technology, especially the smart phone and things we use with it, is by its nature very interactive (unlike the earlier work of technology, TV). Even unbelieving scientists, as well as some who are professed believers, have observed that the smart phone technology has actually affected and changed peoples’ brains and the thinking process; such things as very short attention span and the impulse to “jump” from one train of thought to another–brought on by the habit of scanning through one item online and then clicking on links. At times in the past I have noticed this, too, and have to fight that brain-impulse to jump to something else. People today, with their brains so affected by the technology they use, are much less able to really ponder and meditate upon the word of God in the great depth that those of previous generations could; we see it in the secular realm, too, such as the difference in literary ability and thoughts today, as compared to letters written in the 19th century (such as by soldiers during the Civil War).

        So, yes, we see the greater meaning in these texts such as Daniel 12 — people running to and fro, in their busy-ness and their very short attention span; and knowledge increasing, all the information daily coming at us via the technology.

        And yes, amillennialism clearly goes back to seeking approval of men, wanting to be well thought of by others — in the Reformed world, amillennialism is considered “respectable,” whereas premillennialism is associated with dispensationalism, rather than considered by itself within a covenantal, historical premillennial framework, and premill view is thus considered weird and not respectable.

        Lynda

  2. Gerry
    September 13, 2021 at 8:45 am

    I like and agree with your analysis of how smart phones have worsened man’s tendency toward shallow thinking, especially with respect to “the things of God”.

    Having said that though we have always since the fall found something to do and think about other than Him. In this regard I think of Bunyan’s spiritual interpretation of unclean animals being those that “divide the hoof”, that is make a change in their life by a shallow, superficial understanding of Gods Word, not one based, rather, on a careful regurgitation of it, and chewing on it in meditation as does the “clean animal”.

    And so we have a picture of the professor of Christ, but not the possessor of Christ: one who runs around spouting about the sinners prayer for example, and who “casts out demons and does many things in His name”, but who, never the less, He, Christ, says “He never knew”, calling them “workers of lawlessness”.

    These are those that James tells us look into Gods Law and then “immediately forget what sort of man they are”, rather than those who “continue therein”, that is looking closely and deeply into that Law of Liberty, chewing on the meaning of each commandment, to see and pray over the deep foul things that law reveals in our hearts which must be mortified if in fact they are at war with “the world, the flesh, the devil”.

    Bunyan, without much in the way of “technology”, other than the printing press, which at that time was used to print cheap trashy books and booklets which he and other Godly preachers complained of as one great distraction of that day, knew about the shallow nominal “Christian” that is so prevalent today.

    Cairns is right to point out that TV is just an excuse.

    In the time of the early church it was circus, the games in the coliseum, analogous to our sports addicted society.

    I once met with the elders of a “conservative” PCA church while they were studying the Westminster catechism. We got to the sabbath a day of rest pursuing God as it’s aim, and they were highly offended when I suggested that Tim Teboe, who makes much of his “Christianity” was yet breaking the sabbath by working as a QB on TV on Sunday to entertain the masses. Never mind his Arminian missionary parents who traveled around the world spreading a false gospel. And all of this from “elders”, while studying the very confession of the faith that rightly shown a bright light on These things as an offense to Gods Law.

    Unclean animals: dividing the hoof, but not chewing the cud.

    Gerry

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