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The Last Act

The Last Act poster

“To this end was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” —1 John 3:8

It is absolutely necessary for Jesus Himself to return to this earth, in order to finish the task that He set out to do, as stated in this text. Here on the earth, is where God has been blasphemed, here is where men have sinned, here is where the devil has had his run as the god of this world, here is where he is prince of the power of the air, and “goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” So it is here the Son of God must be manifested to destroy the works of the devil.

Any man that conceives of Jesus Christ as having only to do with the forgiveness of sins hasn’t taken in the scope of sin.

Now Jesus Christ came not only to Calvary, to put away sins, but to buy back a world cursed because of sin and to destroy the works of the devil.

When men think that Jesus simply came as a pattern for men, or that He came to simply show a way of life, they only put into it part of what this mighty Christ has come to do. He was manifested to destroy the works of the devil. If you are not figuring on the power of the devil, then I say you are leaving out a great percentage of the forces that go to make up the acts of men’s and women’s lives, for the devil and his hosts are manifested in this world, and the works of the devil are manifested all around us.

Mighty, wonderful creation of God is the devil, and he fell, and because of his fall, God had to put blackness and darkness over the face of this earth. Then He said, “Let there be light,” and again, “Let the waters divide themselves into one place, and let the dry land appear,” and then after the fruit trees and the flowers appeared, he said, “Let us make man in our own image.”

An Important Factor

He starts in with the human race, and the very first factor that comes in after this marvelous regeneration and creation of God in the Garden of Eden is this hellish sparkling monster, the devil himself, to put up temptation in the face of perfection, when God had said it was all good. Think you this one must not be dealt with?

Any man that does not admit him as a factor, cannot come to a satisfactory conclusion in his reasonings about life. It does not matter if you are the most high-flown psychologist in the world today, and have a chair in the greatest university, you haven’t begun to estimate the forces that work in a human brain, and the powers, and the forces, and the factors that enter into a human life, until you take into your consideration, and into your figuring, the fact of the devil, and of his aims, and his influence.

Yes, the devil is a factor that must be taken into consideration. Has man been able to conquer him in his own strength?

Let me ask you by what kind of philosophy or logic do men believe that if they cannot beat him this side of death they can beat him when their spirits have left the body? If there is no redemption in Jesus Christ that makes you bigger and more powerful than the devil, and if, in the redemption of Jesus Christ, there is not that power that puts the devil under, then you are going to be under the sway of the prince of the power of the air after death.

No being was ever created by the hand of God that is as big and mighty as the devil. If your salvation does not have in it the pulling down of the devil and putting him from his place of power, and putting you in a place where you are far above every evil principality and power and every evil name that is named, then you have no hope of a salvation in the future that is going to deliver you from the power of the devil.

There is a force in the world that has taken man down the toboggan. How are you to get rid of that force? In order to make the world safe for men you have to do away with that force that now operates in the hearts of men. His satanic majesty sits and rules in the hearts of men and women, lifting up the hearts of men to get their own way and desires at any cost; to take, to conquer, to murder, if needs be, to this end, and Jesus is coming from the Gory world to reign and rule, with a program that includes the smashing of the power of the devil. Without a program of that kind there is no peace for humanity.

You may talk peace until you are black in the face, but until you get that old boy that is the prince of liars, the father of murderers, and the mother of harlots, the producer of lust for power,—until you have chained the devil, you will never find peace in this world. The only one that can bring peace is Jesus, for He can put out of commission every factor that goes against peace, and give us peace that passes all understanding. The power and the might are in Him.


Insubordination is the root and seed of sin. If God is God, He must be first. The devil’s sin was that he said, “I will be like the most high.” He wanted God’s place of authority. His temptation to Eve was, “Then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods.”

Mankind has chosen to be as gods and much of the preachment of our times addresses men as gods instead of followers of him (the devil) who would take God’s place in the hearts of men. Oh, search your heart! Has God full right of way within? The work of Jesus in the soul brings about this glorious state.

Let us look at that great picture in God’s Word of King Ahasuerus, Vashti, his queen, and Esther, and let us look at it in this light of insubordination. Ahasuerus, reigning from India to Ethiopia, over 127 provinces, a world emperor, makes a feast to all princes, and all his servants, the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and the princes of the provinces being before him. He shows to these the riches of his glorious kingdom, and the honor of his excellent majesty many days. Then he turns in on top of that and makes a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan, the palace, both great and small, and entertains them in the court of the palace gardens, where were white, green, and blue hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple. These were strung from silver rings on pillars of marble. The chairs were of silver and gold upon pavements of red and blue, and black and white marble. They served the wine in cups, each one of them differing from the other in beauty and design, and nobody was bored, but had all things according to each man’s pleasure.

The king was open-hearted, giving freely, entertaining lavishly, and showing his power, his might, and his grandeur to all his guests. That is the first act of this Bible picture.

The first act of God is to do this same thing. The stars, tonight, if you would look up at them and say to God, “What are they for?” He would answer, “I only wanted them for your pleasure. Enjoy them as you please.”

“I make the moon to come up in the evening hour.”

“What for, Lord? What practical good is it?”

“I just want to show you what I can do, and how mellow I can make light.”

“And there are the brook, and the birds singing their early morning matin, and the streams murmuring over the rocks,—what for, Lord?”

“They are just for your joy.”

“Wander up through the hills and into My mighty mountains where I have split the granite rocks through which the little streams make their rugged way. Look again, up through the pines and the tamaracks, to the clouds that dress their tops. All these are there for your pleasure.”

“Go and bore out the gold and silver, use them as you choose, take the timber and the rocks. Shape them to your own liking.”

Tonight, if you could go out in a canoe, on a little lake rimmed around by a border of trees, and there in the moonlight, lie on your back and forget that the earth was around you, God would become immensely big to you, because of a world of space studded with stars.

I think it is going to do the soldier boys a world of good simply to sleep underneath the stars. If I wanted to take a vacation I would ask you to give me back my old saddle, and the little old Pinto, and I would pull the old blanket out and throw myself down on the prairies of Wyoming, and lie there while the pony took its night meal and snorted, and the coyotes yelled in the distance, and look up into God’s stars where there is no smoke between, and no murmur of man. There the stars seem to come down and kiss your soul and you are rested.

God’s Handiwork

Oh, we have forgotten God in the mad rush of the city. God wants to display Himself. God says, “Come in and worship me and see what I have made. Look at the smallest things you can see with your microscope, and as far as you can go with your telescope. I have given it to you, come in, take and enjoy.”

Ahasuerus in the next act spoke to Vashti, his queen, as God spoke to Adam and Eve. Oh, how proud God was of them the day they were made. It is a wonderful thing to make an automobile and run it without seemingly any pulling or pushing, to see it run right off, but, oh, how the angels must have rejoiced when they saw Adam get up and walk, and Eve walk out. They must have held their heavenly breath to see that pair with intellect, and emotion, and will, spirit, soul, and body, the creation of God. Oh, may God somehow in a minute of time today change your mind from any dull, sordid idea of life, and show what He made us for in the first place.

What a wonderful creation it was! God looking upon it said that it was good, God said to them what? In substance, “I have created for you every pleasure, and made you each for the other and for me. I deny you nothing that will give you joy, only that which holds death.”

So, Ahasuerus, the king, had put upon the queen his crown, and the jewels, and the apparel, and every luxury, and she had maidens to attend her, and a beautiful home, and every wish of hers was granted. She had only to ask for what she wanted and it was hers.

Now on the great day of the feast he sends messengers to her with a request. “Men,” he said, “I have shown you my halls, my gold, my art treasures, my carpets, my bedrooms, my clubrooms, my gardens. I have shown you all the power of the king, but I have kept he best until the last. I want to show you my queen.”

He sends for Vashti, saying, “Put on your crown and your lovely apparel that I have given you, and come out before the men. You are fair to look upon, and I want them to see you.”

Oh, how God would love to exhibit humanity, before the angels, for the praise of His glory. Just wants to show Himself off in us. God hungered for a place in which He could put His power, and His love and grace. What else but humanity can show the joys of God?

All the king said to Vashti was, “Come in and show them what I have given you,” and she refused.

God Or Self?

The human race has fallen on that proposition and turned God down. Vashti took her own way, and “all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way.” What are you showing off today? You look at your life today before a mighty, loving, just God, and you will find out what sin is. You never have taken time to show off God? You want to show off what you can do? That is sin. God made you for a purpose. Have you never fitted into it? Condemnation of banishment has been passed on the whole world, because “we all like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way,” like Vashti. This was the decree after Vashti’s sin, “That Vashti come no more before the king.”

What is God going to do with men who obey not? Can they turn Him down and do exactly what they please, and still expect favor with God? Can you have a home where the father sits at the breakfast table, and says, “We will do this,” and the mother at the other end, with the children at her side, says, “Shut your mouth. I will do to suit myself.” Is that home? No, it is not. That is no home, and heaven would be hell if God could not speak right down the line and have “Yes, “yes,” “yes,” all the way along. Can He do that in this world? No. This world has caught the devil’s spirit of “No” to God and “Yes” to self. Jesus came to change that “No” to “Yes” and thousands testify that in their own heart, He has done just this work.

When did this Saviour ever come into your heart? Name the day, the hour when you opened up your heart and said, “I will mind you, and take the precious blood to cover my past, my refusals, my disobedience.” When did Jesus reconcile you to God? Have you taken Him as your Lord to obey?

I Take Him

Someone was telling me a beautiful story of the war. He said, “We had been talking to an English officer, a kind of a church-man, proud of his church-anity; but when we had talked to him about a personal Jesus, and giving his heart to Him, he did not know what we were talking about. There were about a thousand in the crowd he was in, and they were commanded one morning at three o’clock, to go over the top. They had been resting in the trenches awaiting the command, and the captains had been going up and down, and the lieutenants, saying, “At the signal, go.” The fever was on, and at the signal every man leaped from the trenches and away he went.

They sky rockets were exploding all around them, and finally, right in front of that thousand men, as they made their way about two hundred yards from the trenches, they came to the ruins of a church, the walls of which had been battered down by former battles. On one of the walls, part of which had been left standing, was a crucifix, showing Jesus on the cross, and just as the men were passing, a rocket illuminated the ruins. The men burst into singing the old hymn, “Come all ye faithful.” Spontaneously they sang, but this young man did not join in the singing. The tears were running down his cheeks, and the men saw him, with both hands up, walking straight against the fire. He had thrown his gun on his back, and looking at the crucifix he said, “I take Him, I take Him, I take Him.”

Pulling the gun around, he walked into his death with the rest of them. I say to you, there is all the difference in the world between hearing about this Jesus and opening your own heart to Him.

Vashti disobeyed, and that is the sin of the world—we will not accept. Jesus said that the Holy Ghost should come into the world and convict men of sin because they believe not on Him.” That is the sin of humanity—God calling to men through His Son, and men turning their backs on Him, the only one who can settle their problems.

Now Vashti is banished, and humanity is banished from the presence of God because of disobedience. God says, “What shall we do? Let sin go on?”

No. He must have somebody in this world that will mind God at any price, at any cost. So finally, over the town of Bethlehem, the angels singing above the manger, and out among the shepherds, the song rings forth “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace and good will to men.”

That is a different note than had ever been sung on Earth, “Glory to men on the earth,” had been sung. “Hurrah for man. Hurrah for the big things that he has done.” Generation after generation has sung glory to men. History is one long echo of a man’s confidence in himself, but each succeeding generation thinks it can save man. “We will do it,” they cry. “On into it! Hurrah for men”—and then they are gone. Babylon has gone, Persia has gone, Rome has gone, Greece has gone—Europe is in the conflict, America is to the front, and now we say, “We will do it. Hurrah for men!”

But men’s boasting will all be stopped, when they see the coming conqueror. The angels, when He was born, sang, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will to men,” and thank God, it will be that when Jesus comes back again to take His rightful place here in this old world. He honored the Father, He came to do the will of God, He said to the devil, “It is written,” “It is written,” “It is written.” He said, “Lo, in the volume of the Book it is written of me, ‘I came to do Thy will, O God.’” This one walked among us, thank God, with feet like ours, and hands like ours, and a body like ours. He absolutely did the will of God and not His own. Humanity was banished for disobedience, but here is the desired one of God’s heart. God has the one He has been looking for through the centuries!

Just so, Ahasuerus calls for a virgin. She comes forth, not gaudily arrayed like the rest, a type of Christ. Ahasuerus doesn’t pick her for her jewelry or perfume, or the way she combs her hair, for she leaves the things behind which the world would use and refuses to go through those hellish kind of maneuvers to attract the king, and comes in modestly in her own Jewish garments, and stands before the king, a sweet, pure maiden, and is accepted.

Jesus Christ came, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, saying, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has not where to lay His head,” without reputation, enduring the shame as they spit in His face, and the heavens opened, and God said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Man’s Day

Look again at the great courtroom. Here sits Ahasuerus on the throne, and Esther as queen. Look at this flashy fellow, with all the decorations from his shoulder clear across his chest, with his mustache curled and his whiskers fixed up in fine shape, and the plug hat they wore in those days (whatever it was), lined with silk and edged with gold, and a gold-headed cane, and a dog following him. He boasts. He struts. They announce him as he comes out of the palace and down the walks, “Here comes Haman. My he is some potentate, that fellow. He has more power than any man outside of the king. All he has to do is to name it, and it comes to pass.”

Haman, the great name of Haman—here is your devil. He has power. Seems to be getting along glowingly. When the king wants something done he does it. What does this old Book say about the devil? God says, “He was perfect in wisdom and beauty until the day iniquity was found in him.” Then he began to say, “I will be as God. I will sit in the congregation.” In other words, “I will sit in the hearts of the people.”

When the devil got stuck on his beauty and power, he was thrown out of heaven. He hasn’t his job, and he wants your job, and he is without a body, and wants to take a man’s body, and work his work through humanity. Satan entered into the heart of Judas, so he could get up and stick Jesus in the back, the very Son of heaven.

The Fidelity Of One

Now Haman comes on the scene, everybody yelling, “Long live Haman, wonderful Haman, great Haman, great Haman!” There is just one little fellow down there with black curly whickers and a hooked nose, and a pair of black eyes under a shaggy brow. He looks up and says, “I wonder who that fellow is, taking himself so seriously?”

“Hurray for humanity,” yells the crowd, but one man says, “Praise the Lord! Glory to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of the covenants and promises, who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt and across the Red Sea, and will yet bring them into their land.” A little Jew in captivity, Mordecai is saying this.

He stands like old Daniel stood when they told him not to pray. This little man stands for God.

Haman comes along and whispers to the man near him, “Is that fellow bowing?”

“No,” comes the answer. “He is not scraping, he is not bowing—he is not that kind.”

Haman sets the men on him, to watch him, but he does not scrape, he does not salaam, he does not bow. He is looking up. You can cut his head off, but he will not bow to man. He bows to God, believes in the sacrifice of blood, and does not believe in the power of man. He knows man has turned to his own way, and refuses to add one little bit to the pride of man, but goes on in his good way toward God.

The fellows come in to Haman, and say, “Haman, you have all kinds of power. Make that fellow knuckle!”

“I will not only make him knuckle,” says Haman, “but every one of his kind. He is one of a gang of Jews. We have a lot of Jews who think they are smart and won’t bow. We’ll see whether they will or not.”

He commences his work. There is murder in his heart because they will not bow. Would you be foolish enough if you were a Jew of that day, to just act as if Haman wasn’t a factor at all?

You might as well take out of Shakespeare’s plays Iago and Lady Macbeth, for you haven’t anything to explain these tragedies without them. You can’t explain life without taking Satan into account. Go ahead and talk of the tenderness of Esther, and the power of Ahasuerus, but here is the fellow you have to watch, and unless you put him out of commission, you won’t have anything left. Just so, unless Jesus destroys the works of the devil, there will be no peace on Earth.

Haman had started a low-lived conspiracy a little while before, and Mordecai the Jew tipped it off to the servants, and had them tell Esther, and she told somebody else, and authorities took the fellows out and hanged them; and Haman said, “I am foiled, but I will get that old Jew yet.”

Oh yes, don’t forget the devil stood there when that crowd stood around crying, “Crucify Him.” Don’t forget that the devil had entered into the heart of Judas and made him take the sop, and gave him an ambition for that silver. Because of his ambition, the devil said, “Judas, I will give you what you want if you will give me what I want.” They made up a committee of two, and Judas went to Jesus and kissed Him, and then the devil said, “Ha! What do I want to do with you? I am through with you now.”

He whispered the ambitions into his head and told him what he could do with the money when Jesus died; but when Judas had given the kiss, the devil said, “Ha, you old fool!” And that is what he will say to you.

God pity you. I wouldn’t wait any longer. I would run and take Jesus Christ that died for me and loves my soul!

Judas, with the rope around his neck, took one leap from under the sycamore tree, over the bluff, and down he went, and his bowels gushed out of him.”

Old Saul, when he realized that his throne was gone, fell on his sword.

The world, when it sees the prince of Peace coming, will call on the rocks and the hills to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him that sits on the throne. God help you to draw back the curtain today and see that Jesus comes to destroy the devil and give you life, and all you have to do is to take the blessing. Let Him come into your heart.

The devil, like Haman, is waiting to put his last blow over—and it is a wonder. He just wants men to hold off long enough until they will worship a man, “And then,” he says, “I can get into a man. I got into Judas, and I can get into another. Just worship a man.” He will fix him and give him mighty power, mighty cunning, mighty cunning. Wait until he gets his way. The system is working now toward man power, and heading up very fast indeed.

Haman said, “I will now use all my power against this Jew, and Jews who refuse to bow to men.”

He went to the king and said, “This is the thing to do,” and affixed the king’s signature to the decree that every Jew had to die.

An Intercessor

Poor old Mordecai commenced to pray and talk to God, and to deal with God, not with men. He doesn’t start any little scheme to do away with Haman. He knows there is some other power to do away with Haman, and sends word to Esther, saying, “Esther, intercede for us. Go in to the king.” Oh, that men would see that Jesus has the ear of God! “He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” His death putting away our sin, gives Him power of pleading.

Esther said, “I am queen, and have all this power, but listen—I go unto the king, and I have no right to go in. Unless he lifts his sceptre, I am a dead woman. But I am going in for my people, and if I perish, I perish.”

In that dark garden hour, Peter goes over to John and says, “Listen, John.”

“Yes, what is it?” John asks.

“There is something spattering on the ground there. What is it? It sounds like blood, but it is dark. But it cannot be blood—He cannot be bleeding. Go closer.”

They go closer, and hear the agony and groaning out of the Master’s heart, and they come and hold each other for fear, and say, “What is the trouble?”

They didn’t dare go near Him, for the groaning showed it was not physical ailment, but His soul was poured out unto death, and He was going to go into the dark abominable pit of death there against your sin, to travail in birth for a new race.

Peter and John say, “Can it be blood? No, it must be water. He is sweating, that is all. He is wringing His hands, and His muscles are taut, and He is sweating.”

Soon a little light appears, and they look again, “It is blood!”

They hear Him say, “Thy will be done,” and they see Him with the blood running down His face. He goes to the cross to go in between the penalty for sin, called “death,” to take it upon Himself, and set a people free. From the moment He went into death and then into the throne room and onto the throne with God, things have put on a different look.

And now Esther goes in to the king, and from the minute Esther goes in, things begin to happen. The king gets news, and events begin to revolve the other way.

We were reconciled to God by the going in of Jesus for us. Now because Esther is going in, Mordecai has some standing. Now if God has let Jesus Christ in, who bore my sin away in death and had a body like mine, and He is on the throne today, if I identify myself with Him, thank God I have standing before the throne of God.

Esther was a Jew, and queen—Mordecai was a Jew. Jesus was God and man, and if I dare to call Him mine, I am “accepted in the Beloved.” That is the way to get in. He, as a man, has gotten into the place of power, and soon will come out with power against all our enemies.

The Reckoning

Things began to happen then. The king got news of what Mordecai had done, and he called immediately for Haman. Now comes the reckoning hour. He says to Haman, “Listen. A certain man has done a wonderful thing, and I want to reward him. What will I do for him?”

Haman, like the devil, thought there wasn’t anybody as big as he was. That is what the devil thinks today. Hasn’t learned his lesson yet. “Why,” he says, “if God has power, I have it.”

“If Ahasuerus has power,” Haman says to himself, “I will have it.”

“I’ll tell you what to do,” says Haman. “Put your crown on his head, and your apparel on him, and then put him on your horse, and let him ride through the streets, men shouting before him.”

That has been the ambition of the devil. He wanted God’s crown and God’s clothes and God’s power. That is what he wanted. He said back there, “I will be as God, and sit on the mount of the congregation, and wear God’s clothes.” And man today wants the same thing.

Haman said, “That’s what you do, oh king.”

“All right,” said the king, “do it to Mordecai.”

Oh how his hellish heart began to roll and beat, and how he began to sweat and hate. Yet he did not dare show his hand, oh no. He hated with a deadly hatred, but he put on a smile and fixed himself up, and had to go ahead leading the horse, and yelling, “This is what the king does to one he delights to honor.”

Yes the devil things we Christians are his underdogs, but the tables will turn soon. God will “destroy the works of the devil.” The devil will have to say some day, “That is what God does for those He delights to honor.” And he will be humiliated, and taken to the pit and chained, and later cast into hell fire preserved for the devil and his angels.

Thank God for such a victory in Christ Jesus! He is the one that gives the victory.

And now Haman comes to his last time. The net is coming around him. He is still around the throne. The devil is still around in the air, and hasn’t been cast down to Earth yet. He will be before long, but the saints will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, thank God, before that.

Haman comes in. There sits Ahasuerus the king, and here sits Esther the queen, and they have old Haman between them. Esther reveals the whole business, and says, “There is a plot on, Oh, king, and the plot is to kill every Jew in the realm. Oh king, I am a Jew.”

The Victory

The plot of the devil is to have this old world for his own, but Jesus presents to the Father His hands and His side, and says, “I am a man. I died for them. Give them to me, those who have trusted in me.”

The Father answers, “They are yours.”

Ahasuerus says to Esther, “They are yours, and your life and the life of every Jew in this realm. Who did it?”

She points the finger at that man. King Ahasuerus discovers that he not only tried to kill the Jews, but was even after his own queen.

The devil not only wants you, but he was after Jesus Himself. He entered Judas to get Jesus. Do you think he won’t try to get you? God pity the poor foolish men and women here tonight who think the devil does not go around as a roaring lion to get them, if he tried to get their Saviour, tempted Him forty days and nights, haunted Him constantly, and at last got a man to stick the dagger and shove Him into the jaws of death, don’t think he won’t try to get you.

But hear me while I tell you that Jesus Christ has conquered him, and you may have life through the death of Jesus Christ, and victory.

The crisis hour comes. The finger points to Haman; the king’s finger points to doom. Esther’s intervention saves a people from a death decree, and a kingdom without Haman or his works is ushered in. Come Lord Jesus with Thy kingdom. Come quickly! Destroying all “the works of the devil.”