It seems that war follows revival and I’m not just referring to the schisms and heresies that so often plague movements in the aftermath of an outpouring. Indeed, both the First and Second Great Awakenings in America were followed by the Revolutionary War and the bloody Civil War between the North and South. Is there possibly a link between these two radically different events? Their proximity to one another is indeed intriguing. Nevertheless, when it comes to the restoration of Israel and how it corresponds to that of the Church in the Twentieth Century, it would seem that War and Revival are not only connected but are two sides of the same coin.
In 1897, Theodore Herzl burdened by the persecution of Jews in Europe founded the World Zionist Congress in Basel Switzerland. This was the official beginning of the re-gathering of the Jewish people back to their ancient homeland as predicted by the prophets of Israel. Around the same time there was a stirring among Christians worldwide which culminated in the Pentecostal Revival of Azusa St in 1906. This Revival rocked the church worldwide as millions were baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues and prophesied. And while this was happening to believers, Jews in the Holy Land were experiencing the revival of the Hebrew language after thousands of years through the tireless work of Eliezer Ben Yehuda. Both of these happenings were sovereign restorations of the Holy Spirit regarding the nation of Israel and the Body of Christ preparing both for the end of the age and the return of Messiah. And this parallel restoration has continued to our day.
World War I
In 1901 the Sultan of the Ottoman Turks, who ruled the land know as Palestine, slammed the door shut to Theodore Herzl and the Zionists with regard to any notion of a Jewish State in his territory. The British were much more supportive of the Zionist cause, due to the strong influence of Evangelical Christians in the government. Nevertheless, the Zionists were at an impasse and there was no way forward for the Jewish State idea. Then in July of 1914, triggered by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, World War 1 began. By the time it was all over in 1918, the Central powers of Germany, Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, that had resisted Herzl, ceased to exist and the British were in control of Palestine and given a mandate to create a Jewish State. Therefore regardless of the political reasons so often spouted for the cause of the war, the impasse regarding the return of the Jews and the formation of a Jewish State was resolved. Thus the plans of the Almighty cannot be thwarted (Job 42:2) and if war is needed to change the minds of nations and alter their influence over territory then it will happen.
Fishermen & Hunters
Herzl and the early Zionists went throughout Europe encouraging Jews to come back to the land and build and plant but few listened. These were the fishermen spoken of by Jeremiah who would be followed later by the hunters uprooting the Jews of Europe.
“Therefore behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers. Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen,” declares the LORD, “and they will fish for them; and afterwards I shall send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and from the clefts of the rocks. For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.” Jer 16:14-17 Emphasis Mine
The British eagerness to create a Jewish State diminished over time. They became biased toward the Arabs for whatever reason as is clearly illustrated in the famous White Papers of the 1920’s and 30’s. The Arab riots and violence against the Jews in the land made it clear that they were not going to agree to a Jewish State and when the British responded with the Peel Commission, which heavily favored the Arabs, they rejected that as well. At the same time the European Jews were not responsive to the Zionist message of return and were unwilling to give up their situation in Europe for a desert farm. Again the plan of God for the restoration of Israel was at an impasse. Neither the nations nor the Jews themselves would co-operate and it would take the horror of war to convince them otherwise.
World War II
In 1939 World War 2 began in earnest when Germany invaded Poland and Britain and France were forced to get involved. The British fought hard and clung to life and had it not been for the Allies it is doubtful they would have succeeded. By the end of the war Britannia’s rule of the waves was definitely over and the brutal Nazis themselves were the ones being hunted. The British hung on in Palestine and continued to oppose the return of Jews even after the Holocaust. Yet they came, hundreds of thousands because they had nowhere else to go. God promised to bring them back and back they came from Europe and all the lands of the Middle-East. The British were finally forced to accept reality and in 1947, as unbelievable as it sounds, the United Nations Partition Plan was adopted giving way for the formation of the State of Israel the following year.
When it comes to the idea that it took two world wars to re-establish the State of Israel, many even Christians, are offended. It is hard for them to conceive that God would allow such human suffering and carnage to fulfill His plan. Yet the nations themselves are the ones who did the killing and the maiming and the butchering to satisfy their own schemes and desires. They are the liars and the cheats who betrayed the Jewish people down through the centuries. They are the very ones who either perpetrated the Holocaust or pretended not to notice and even turned away the ship loads of desperate survivors from their shores. How dare they challenge the Almighty who in His infinite wisdom uses even their treachery and deceit to fulfill His good promises? Make no mistake about it friend the kingdom is the Lord’s and He rules over the nations (Psalm 22:28).
The War of Independence
The UN Partition plan of 1947 not only made provision for the creation of a Jewish State in a tiny sliver of the land, it also supported the creation of an Arab Palestinian State in a much larger area. The Arabs rejected the plan while the Jews accepted it. Thus when the Jewish State was declared in 1948 it was immediately attacked by five Arab armies determined to destroy it. Yet, despite all odds Israel not only survived but increased its territory and the Arab nations were forced to retreat. They did not give up their determination to destroy Israel however, and in 1967 they would try again.
Signs in the Heavens
The book of Genesis tells us that God created the sun and the moon not only for lights in the heavens but also for signs (Gen 1:14). Throughout history there have been many such signs marking significant events. For instance, when Jesus was born there was a star (or a conjunction of planets) that appeared to the Magi telling them a king was born. Also, when Jesus was crucified there was an earthquake and darkness fell over the land for three hours (Luke 23:44). This may have been an eclipse of the sun. In any event, when the State of Israel was reborn after nearly two thousand years, in fulfillment of Bible prophecy, and then immediately facing distinction, a series of four “Blood Moons” known as a Tetrad began. Now it is not unusual for lunar eclipses (Blood Moons) to occur but it is extremely rare for them to occur consecutively on Jewish feast days. The last time it happened prior to 1949 was in 1493 during the Spanish Inquisition. Could this merely be a coincidence or was it a heavenly sign? You can make up your own mind. But on Passover and Tabernacles of 1949 there were Blood Moons and the scenario repeated itself on the same feasts in the following year.
Revival in the Church
In 1948 during the miraculous rebirth of the State of Israel, a simultaneous outbreak of revival was occurring in the Church. The great Healing Revival as it was known, began in the United States giving birth to many ministries and groups including the evangelist Billy Graham. At the same time there was an outbreak of revival in North Battleford Saskatchewan which became known as the Latter Rain Movement. Though excesses and false teachings that came out of these movements (as is the case with all revivals), they were a mighty work of the Lord restoring the church. An emphasis on the Holy Spirit, the ministries of the church as opposed to dead structures, and the laying on of hands and prophecy were perhaps the lasting fruit of this wave of revival.
Six Days of War
In the book of Daniel Chapter 9, God revealed to the prophet the future of Israel right to the end of the age. From these Scriptures it is very clear that the people had to be in the Land, re-united with the city of Jerusalem and worshiping in the Holy Place (Temple Mount – Dan 9:27). In 1948 the people were restored to the land, but not fully. They were not united with the Old City of Jerusalem – the Biblical city that the prophets and Jesus Himself wept over. There was a barbed wire fence between them. Once again Bible prophecy regarding Israel’s restoration was at an impasse. There was no way forward. However, barbed wire fences and armistice lines cannot thwart the plan of God. In June 1967 war broke out again with the Arab armies. It lasted for six days and not only did Israel pull off a stunning victory but the tiny nation captured the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and of course the Old City of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount. Soon the barbed wire was forgotten, the Jews were in control of the Holy Place after two thousand years and the prophecy of Jesus regarding the end of the Gentile dominance of the city was fulfilled.
It must be noted however, that though the nations of the earth were involved in the armistice agreements of 1949, the impasse regarding Biblical prophecy was local. It was Israel’s neighbors that were preventing the plan of God from moving forward. Thus a local conflict was sufficient to achieve the desired result, and to underscore the significance of the event from heaven’s point of view, the Blood Moon Tetrads appeared again on Passover and Tabernacles for the second time in the Twentieth Century.
The Charismatic Revival
It is hard to pinpoint the beginning of the Charismatic Revival in the 1960’s because it was so widespread and it began in different ways and different places. However, it is safe to say that by 1967 a full scale, far reaching revival was underway that once again shook the church and restored much that was lost. People in all denominations and non-denominations were filled with the Holy Spirit and there was a heightened sense that Christ was preparing the church for His soon return. Perhaps one of the most significant movements to come from the Charismatic Revival in 1967 was the Messianic Jewish Movement – helping the church open its eyes to what God was doing in Israel and delivering us from the blindness of Replacement Theology.
For the next twenty plus years the Charismatic Movement continued to grow and prosper and Israel got acquainted with its acquisition and the difficulties of maintaining it. Then in the early nineties two more significant events in the plan of God for Israel and the church took place. In part two of this article I will attempt to complete the chart and what is likely unfolding before us. As tension arises on the Temple Mount, war explodes in the Middle-East and Blood Moons appear again on Passover and Tabernacles, it seems clear we are entering the next phase. Israel is again at an impasse with the nations who oppose the plan and purpose of God. The sky is indeed red and threatening and a great storm is brewing. Is the stage being set for World War III and another great wave of church revival?