if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven ....... 2 Chronicles 7:14

Revival?

Spring in the Mountains of Judea

Spring in the Mountains of Judea

Please note, this page is not "everything you ever needed to know about Revival", but a challenge to some of the vague teachings on the subject you might come across. You are urged to check what you hear against scripture, like the Bereans.  "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. "    (Acts 17 v11)

What is Revival and should we be seeking it?

When something is revived it brought back to life. It is debatable if the non believers around us can be revived, since they were never spiritually alive. Their need is to be born again to become spiritually alive. It is Christians who may need reviving , having been born spiritually but then fallen asleep.

When we pray for revival we should expect something to happen to us in our churches, not the unbelievers out there. Once we have been revived, then the effects will be seen out there.

Reports of genuine revivals suggest they have been sovereign moves of God, triggered by people earnestly seeking God and His glory, in humility and brokenness. They have not been organised, advertised, televised and generally hyped up.

Take, for instance, the Hebrides Revival of 1949-53.
Most conspicuously, this revival followed fervent and sustained prayer, not for revival, signs and wonders but of concern for the spiritual state of the community. When God started to move in His sovereign power, people fell under conviction of sin first inside and then outside the church. Wonderful worship etc only followed after the Holy Spirit work of conviction and salvation.
We tend to look for a man to regard as the leader. In the case of the Hebrides Revival it was Duncan Campbell (1898-1971). But as Duncan Campbell said, in his book, "When the mountains flowed down" . . . .

1 "At the outset, let me make it clear that I did not bring revival to the Hebrides. I had the privilege of being there and in some small way leading the movement for about three years but God moved in the parish of Barvas before I set foot on the island."

2 "Although there was an awareness of God and a spirit of conviction at this initial meeting, the real breakthrough came a few days later on Sunday night in the parish church. The church was full, and the Spirit of God was moving in such a way that I couldn't preach. I just stood still and gazed upon the wondrous moving of God. Men and women were crying out to God for mercy all over the church. There was no appeal made whatsoever. After meeting for over three hours, I pronounced the benediction and told the people to go out, but mentioned that any who wanted to continue the meeting could come back later."

3 "Of the hundreds who found Jesus Christ during this time fully seventy-five per cent were saved before they came near a meeting or heard a sermon by myself or any other ministers in the parish. The power of God, the Spirit of God, was moving in operation, and the fear of God gripped the souls of men - this is God-sent revival as distinct from special efforts in the field of evangelism."

The following are extracts from the account at http://www.sendrevival.com/pioneers/Duncan_Campbell/when_the_mountains_flowed_down.htm

It was during a series of meetings in 1949 on the island of Skye that Duncan received an invitation to preach in Lewis, the largest isle of the Outer Hebrides. The Christians of Lewis sensed the growing apathy toward spiritual matters among their church members and among the young people of the island, most of whom avoided church altogether. In the village of Barvas in Lewis lived two godly elderly ladies, Peggy and Christine Smith. Peggy was blind, and her sister was crippled with arthritis. Because they were not able to attend services in the village church, they met with God in their cottage. There they received the promise: "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground." One night Peggy sent for the minister, Rev. James MacKay, and told him that God had revealed to her His promise of revival. She asked that he call his elders and deacons together for special prayer. They met for months at night in a barn, pleading with God for an outpouring of His power in their midst. Yet, despite their prayers and efforts to interest the Barvas youth in spiritual things, not a single young person attended services.

During one prayer meeting a young deacon rose to his feet and read from Psalm 24: "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord." He closed his Bible, looked down at the group of kneeling men, and said: "Brethren, it seems to me just so much humbug to be waiting and praying as we are, if we ourselves are not rightly related to God." There among the straw the men confessed their own needs and received assurance that the Lord would certainly visit Lewis in revival.

Duncan Campbell was the man they invited to conduct meetings in Barvas. Tired and hungry after his journey, Duncan nonetheless agreed to address the Christians who had gathered at the church that night. He never got his supper or his sleep that night. After preaching to a congregation of about 300, Duncan closed the service and the crowd dispersed. As he left the pulpit area, a deacon beckoned him to the church door. There Duncan saw that the entire congregation remained outside. Others had arrived at the church also, drawn by deep conviction. The entire crowd, now about 600 people, packed the church once again and stayed until the early hours of the morning, so great was their hunger for the Word of God. When Duncan finally left the church, he received the news that there were 200-300 people from neighboring villages gathered at the police station where they knew there was a God-fearing constable. Duncan went to the station and found there men and women on their knees praying to God for mercy. As Duncan was always eager to point out, this was not man's effort, but "a manifestation of God that moves sinners to cry for mercy before they go near a place of worship."

With his cap in his hand John, the local blacksmith, rose to pray, and in the middle of his prayer he paused, raised his right hand to heaven, and said: "Oh God, You made a promise to pour water upon him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground, and, Lord, it's not happening." He paused again and then continued: "Lord, I don't know how the others here stand in Your presence; I don't know how the ministers stand, but, Lord, if I know anything about my own heart I stand before Thee as an empty vessel, thirsting for Thee and for a manifestation of Thy power." He halted again and after a moment of tense silence cried: "Oh God, Your honor is at stake, and I now challenge You to fulfil your covenant engagement and do what you have promised to do." Many who were present witnessed that at that moment the house shook.

The most outstanding example of God's anointing upon a young boy called Donald was in Bernera, a small island off the coast of Lewis. Duncan was assisting at a Communion service; the atmosphere was heavy and preaching difficult, so he sent to Barvas for some of the men to come and assist in prayer. They prayed, but the spiritual bondage persisted, so much so that half way through his address Duncan stopped preaching. Just then he noticed this boy, visibly moved, under deep burden for souls. He thought: "That boy is in touch with God and living nearer to the Saviour than I am." So leaning over the pulpit he said: "Donald, will you lead us in prayer?" The lad rose to his feet and in his prayer made reference to the fourth chapter of Revelation, which he had been reading that morning: "Oh God, I seem to be gazing through the open door. I see the Lamb in the midst of the Throne, with the keys of death and of hell at His girdle." He began to sob; then lifting his eyes toward heaven, cried: "O God, there is power there, let it loose!" With the force of a hurricane the Spirit of God swept into the building and the floodgates of heaven opened. The church resembled a battlefield. On one side many were prostrated over the seats weeping and sighing; on the other side some were affected by throwing their arms in the air in a rigid posture. God had come!
See also http://www.gospelcom.net/npc/Campbell.html

National Revival

The concept of restoring our country (Britain for the author) to its status as a Christian nation is not scriptural. God only ever dealt with one Nation - Israel, and it is Israel that is the subject of popularly quoted scriptures promising of revival and restoration.
Britain was once more godly than it is now, but it was never a "Christian nation". The number and fervour of the Christians had an impact on national life and there was also a "Christian" veneer applied to the history of the nation's affairs. Evangelizing the world was concurrent with and confused with colonial conquest of the world.

Islam believes in claiming territory, where the goal is achieved once Islam has sufficient adherents and influence to impose Shria law in the land. This is not true of Christianity! Jesus said "My kingdom is not of this world" and he called his followers to be light and salt in a dark world. He did not say we would capture nations for God, even though we can aim to win people of a nation for Jesus. We should also note that God's covenant with Israel as they entered the Promised Land,  in Deuteronomy chapters 26 to 30, included curses with the blessings. If  our nations were under the same covenant, we would be suffering those curses right now, not the blessings!

    "God on our side"? See Joshua 5, when Joshua met the leader of God's armies, We can be on God's side if we are in line with His purposes, as Britain was during World War II, but that did not mean God loved Britain and hated Germany.
Another popular revival verse is;
" if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2Chronicles 7 v14)
This encapsulates a great principle but, taken in context, it refers to God's program for Israel and not the Church.
If you claim God's promises, don't forget where you got them from and put them back afterwards.

The basis for a national relationship with God is laid out at the end of Deuteronomy.  Here are listed all the blessings that would attend obedience to the Torah and the punishment that would result from disobedience.  Although Israel's ownership of the land is permanent,  her right to live there is conditional on righteousness.  Disobedience resulted in death and expulsion from the land.  If our western nations were relying on such a covenant with God we would be about due for the fury of God and being handed over to our enemies until we came to repentance.

Latter Rain Theology - from an article by Thomas Ice

A significant influence within Evangelicalism is the re-emergence of "latter rain" theology, which says that a global revival will take place before Christ will be allowed to return. It teaches that the Acts 2 outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the "early rain" but the "latter rain" outpouring of the Holy Spirit will occur at the end-times
The phrase "latter rain" is taken from Joel 2:23 & 28 .
Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. . . . . . . "And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
James 5v7 is sometimes used to back this up;
"Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains."
Always read verses in context!   In these verses, the rains are referred by as illustrations rather than as promises of anything.
In the context of revelation through the seasonal feasts of the LORD, the latter rains finish around Passover, while the early rains start after Sukkot, and it is Sukkot which speaks of end times and ingathering. Context does not support the idea of latter rains before the last ingathering.

"Latter rain" theology

Latter rain" theology incorporates the teaching that the Church is now spiritual Israel, and can claim the blessings given to Israel. (Replacement Theology)

Restoration

The idea of restoration is associated with Latter Rains theology. In the page Gap there is a diagram showing the sequence in which the church lost spiritual power and in which it is being restored. However, this is not to suggest that God is restoring these things on a timescale, any more than it says He took them away. God is surely waiting to restore to us every lost blessing that we have the faith to ask for. Hopefully, the church is growing in faith and trust in our God. See also Bad Theologies

Revival or Apostasy?

Latter Rains teaching follows the assumption that the church must have been made perfect before Jesus returns for her to take her as His bride.   But does the New Testament give us grounds to expect the Church Age to end with Revival, before Jesus returns?

Revelation 19 v6-8, "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)"

Ephesians 5v23, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."

Revelation 19 v9, "Then the angel said to me, "Write: `Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' " And he added, "These are the true words of God."

But are these scriptures actually saying that the church will be made perfect ready for Jesus return, in order to be his bride, in a latter rains revival? Can we rely on this and carry on as we are, or are we responsible for being ready for his coming?

Scripture talks frequently about believers falling away and the need for staying awake, like the wise virgins in Matthew 25 v1-6, which Jesus used to speak of the time of His return,

"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
"At midnight the cry rang out: `Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' " `No,' they replied, `there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'
"But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. "Later the others also came. `Sir! Sir!' they said. `Open the door for us!' "But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

All this appears to suggest that the spotless church which Jesus comes for will not be the sum total of those who regard themselves as the church, including those who have fallen away. They will not be brought back in a great End-Times Revival but will be left out. Jesus will take those who stayed awake and ready. Jesus message to the churches, in Revelation, is all about being careful to remain faithful. He also speaks of taking away lampstands (churches). But the New Testament does not say even one word about an end-time "latter rain" revival for the church

There are also variants on the belief that Revival set out westwards from Jerusalem, to Europe, to America and is still heading westwards through Asia to culminate back in Jerusalem after overwhelming Islam in the 10:40 window. This assumes a geographical pattern, which ignores all West to East movements. Also, if it has taken 2000 years to reach China and Korea, could it take another 1000 or more years to complete its path?

Important principles of God's intervention

Donna Lasit, of Hillsong, starts one of her songs,

"I say on Sunday how much I want Revival.
But then by Monday, I can't even find my Bible.
Where's the power .... The power of the cross in my life?"


Tommy Tenny wrote a book called, "The God Chasers", in which he explores the issues behind this question. 

In the first chapter he describes his experience of the time when God's presence took over a church; some might call it a revival. He then proceeds to examine the implications of really hungering for God and pursuing him. 

This, he contends, is what God desires and will respond to. He likens it to his little daughter chasing him but being unable to catch him. But when she then calls out to her Daddy, she captures his heart and he turns and scoops her up. God longs for us to desire him like that.


In subsequent chapters Tommy Tenney considers, among other topics,
No bread in the "House of Bread" - how our churches tend to offer crumbs rather than The Bread, which is why people are not flocking in.
"There's got to be more" - rediscovering the manifest presence of God.
"Dead men see His face" - the significance of the answer Moses received from God,".... There shall no man see me and live."
"Dismantle your Glory" - the burial of man's glory is the birth of God's glory.
Moses' 1500 year pursuit of God's glory.

The message is that we need to be chasing after God, himself, and not just his gifts or blessings, realizing that it will cost us our lives and our glory. Since God told Moses that no man can see God and live, it suggests that only a dead man can see God. Perhaps this principle lies behind Paul's, "I die daily". It seems that if we want to experience God's presence and power we must be so desperate for Him that we can let everything else be consumed - to die to the things so precious to this world. This must be the answer for the Laodicean church - the lukewarm church. Revival doesn't come cheap.  

Revival depends on us - we can't shop around for a church where it is happening.

The Heavenly Man   by Brother YunReading the story of Brother Yun, one is struck by the miraculous works of God in the Chinese House Church movement.  The Holy Spirit moves like He did in the early church in a way we tend to believe does not happen today.    This moving of the Holy Spirit is in the context of real spiritual battle and the enemy is fighting back.  It seems logical that spiritual outpourings and persecution can not be far apart.   Perhaps we should be prepared for Persecution if we seek Revival.

 

An End Times Revival which is in scripture

Romans 11 v11-15, "Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?"
And also Romans 11 v25-26,
"I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, . . . ."
and Zechariah 12 v10 ,
"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, . . ."

Remember that Jesus said to Jerusalem, "You will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.'"   Matthew 23 v39, quoting Psalm 118 v26.    It will be the Jews who will usher in the return of Jesus!

Signs of the coming of the Messiah?

Quoted from the July 2003 "Exploits" newsletter by Christine Darg

"Throughout Israel preachers of righteousness are calling Israelis from every walk of life to repentance. The manner of life of many of these Orthodox Jews is exemplary and often enviable. Mealtimes are centered around the Word of God and not a television set. In fact, many Orthodox parents do not permit televisions in their homes to guard against defilement. While the Church is meant to provoke the Jews to jealousy, there is little in the modem Christian's lifestyle that would arouse envy among the Jews. In the West, Christian divorce rates reportedly now exceed those of the secular world. 

One of the new Orthodox Israeli preachers (a former soldier now dressed like a Sephardic rabbi) gives evangelistic-style "altar calls" for Israelis to repent. Women who previously may have dressed carelessly are invited to don headscarves and to dress modestly. In these meetings testimonies abound. Formerly barren women tell how they were blessed to conceive healthy babies since repenting, returning to Judaism and adjusting their personal appearance. Men are invited to wear prayer shawls and phylacteries."

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me . . . (Zechariah 12:10) 

"Look, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of YHVH.  He will turn the hearts .. . . . . . "   Malachi 3 v23-24  (or 4 v5-6)

Doesn't the above report remind you of the role of John the Baptist?

This is in addition to the advances being made among the Messianic Jews in Israel.

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