Words & Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876

But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
Revelation 2:25

God's call to each believer is to be obedient and faithful--not to seek a life of earthly success. Difficulties and defeats are a normal part of ever Christian's life. Our response to negative situations can either shatter us or they can intensify our perseverance and confidence in a sovereign God. It has been said that a mark of a champion athlete is not how he or she responds to a victory, but how a difficult loss on a previous day has been met...and overcome.

As was true of so many of Philip P. Bliss's gospel songs, this stirring hymn was inspired by an illustration used by Major Whittle, an officer in the American Civil War, while addressing a YMCA meeting on the text from Revelation 2:25. Major Whittle's illustraion was about a small Northern force of soldiers in charge of guarding a great quantity of supplies. They were being hard pressed by greatly superior Confederate forces. Finally the Confederate general, General French, commanded the Federal troops to surrender. At that moment the troops saw a signal from their general, on a hill some miles away. It said, "Hold the fort, I am coming." The story so captivated Bliss's interest that he could not retire that evening until he had completed both the text and the music for this rousing gospel song. It later became a great favorite in the Moody-Sankey campaigns both in Great Britain and in the United States.

This hymn was not written to encourage Christians to hide or be complacent. We know from Scripture that part of being a good soldier in the Lord's Army is marching onward, forward for Him. The focus of this hymn is our Commander now in Heaven Who has promised to return for us. Victory is certain! Our responsibility is to faithfully "hold the fort" in the midst of this sinful world of Satan's camp and to "occupy" till the Lord comes for us in the clouds (Luke 19:13).

Ho, my comrades! see the signal
Waving in the sky!
Reinforcements now appearing,
Victory is nigh.

See the mighty host advancing,
Satan leading on;
Mighty ones around us falling,
Courage almost gone!

See the glorious banner waving!
Hear the trumpet blow!
In our Leader’s Name we triumph
Over ev’ry foe.

Fierce and long the battle rages,
But our help is near;
Onward comes our great Commander,
Cheer, my comrades, cheer!

“Hold the fort, for I am coming,”
Jesus signals still;
Wave the answer back to Heaven,
“By Thy grace we will.”

*For Today*: Matthew 10:22; Romans 5:3; II Timothy 2:10; Hebrews 12:2, 6, & 7; James 1:12

Reflect seriously on these lines, "Christ's cause is hindered everywhere, and people are dying in despair. The reason why? Just think a bit--The church is full of those who quit." DON'T QUIT! HOLD THE FORT!


Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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