We started this series of posts discussing events in the Middle-East and the connection between war, prophetic fulfillment, and revival. Now as the summer winds down and September looms, we are poised to see a major escalation of all three. On September 13th, the 29 of the Hebrew month Elul, there will be another solar eclipse. This is also the beginning of the Jubilee year of 2015/2016. The last Jubilee was 1967 which was also the last time the Tetrad of Blood Moons appeared on Jewish feasts. And we all know now how significant that year was for the restoration of Israel and the Church. Now something even more significant may be about to happen. As we look at the prophetic events remaining, we have solid evidence of what is on the horizon for Israel and the nations. I want to conclude this series then by examining what may be the next move of restoration for the Body of Christ.
We have already concluded that revival is like a giant tsunami, five hundred years old, that has been crashing waves to the shore with increasing intensity. We have also discovered a pattern in these revivals and a restoration of truth and practice that seems to correlate with the foundational doctrines of Hebrews chapter 6. These are as follows:
The Reformation – Repentance from Dead Works (1500’s)
Anabaptists – Instruction about Washings 1 – Water Baptism (1600’s)
Holiness Movement – Faith toward God (1700 & 1800’s)
The Pentecostal Revival – Instruction about Washings 2 – Baptism in the Spirit (1906)
Latter Rain/Healing & Evangelism Revival – Laying on of Hands (1940’& 50’s)
Charismatic & Toronto Movements – The Resurrection/Coming of Christ – Preparing the Bride
Though this observation is somewhat speculative, it is difficult to dismiss since the restoration of these truths did occur in that time period and they have since become part of the fabric of church life. Therefore it is extremely likely that the next wave of revival will be about the remaining doctrine in this list after which the Bride of Christ will come to maturity. That was the original intent of the writer of this passage. He was calling for the church to press on to maturity without having to relay this foundation over and over. Presumably then, once it has been restored by the Holy Spirit, there will be a mature church that emerges at the end of the age. This would mean that there are two more waves of revival to wash over God’s people, and since they are the last they will be very close together. In any event it is certainly a fascinating time to be alive.
Days of Apostasy
Talk of a revival restoring a doctrine of Eternal Judgment would be most unwelcome in many church circles today, including those who cherish and pursue revival. We are living in an unprecedented time of liberalism and apostasy. Day after day we hear of Christians departing from the faith and either condoning or practicing sexual immorality. More and more pastors and leaders are undermining or questioning the authority of Scripture. Also preaching seems to be focused more on making people feel good that educating them in the faith. Rather than confronting sin in a loving way, we are encouraged to have a “conversation” and realize that “we are all on a journey.” It used to be that preaching warned people they were on the road to hell unless they repented and came to Christ. Now, what worked so well for Billy Graham and led millions of souls to Christ, is considered legalism. We are told that Christians “should be known for what they are for rather than what they are against.” And whenever one brings up the issue of false teaching, there are many who immediately flinch. Any thought of false teaching or Christian celebrities being confronted is “negative.” They find the thought of challenging the message of anyone who “loves Jesus” as divisive or against the Father’s Heart. Of course we know there are many who sow division and strife in what they say and write, particularly on the internet. The so-called Heretic Hunters are everywhere with poison on their lips. However in reaction to them the church seems to be refusing to confront anything no matter how outrageous it is. Consequently, everyone does what is right in his own eyes and accountability and judgment are considered dirty words.
The Counter Move
It is beginning to appear that around the year 2000 war was declared on the church from within. Just as we were experiencing an incredible wave of refreshing, filling us with God’s love and power, the Harlot church began to emerge from within our very own ranks. Perhaps the “Hyper Grace Movement” and the “Emerging Church Movement” are the most dangerous, since they promote heretical teachings that are leading to large scale apostasy. However, there are other theologies that have experienced a resurgence with the dawn of the 21st Century that are also deeply troubling. They may not necessarily lead to apostasy, but they are nonetheless toxic when it comes to the authority of Scripture and one’s ability to discern between the True Bride and the Harlot. Nevertheless, there is one thing they all seem to have in common – one common denominator with regards to the future. There is no judgment in sight. From those who say that God no longer cares about sin to those who say everything is getting better in the world, talk of coming judgment is anathema. Even among those who participate in revival and pursue it with passion, talk of Jesus coming to judge is spoken of as “doom and gloom.” Furthermore, anyone who believes that God is judging a nation, particularly America, is rebuked for being judgmental and lacking faith for revival. “God doesn’t do that anymore,” we’re told. Are you beginning to see the problem? It is a counter move of satan. It seems as though hordes of demons have been released to thwart the next revival. Obviously, they know what’s coming!
The Sifting of Revival
When we think of revival we remember the good things. Revival changed our lives and brought the presence of God near to us. It transformed the church in such an awesome way and brought fresh zeal and love for God, not to mention the restoration of Biblical truth and practice. But anyone who has been through revival knows there is another side to it. Revival brings huge sifting as people receive it and others reject it. Many are offended and rise up against revival saying it’s the devil. Whole churches, families, and movements, are split and new denominations arise. By the time the revival begins to wane, the landscape is not only littered with new churches and solid restoration, there are also a fair number of heretics. And as the waves of revival have been accelerating in the last Century or so, this phenomenon has increased. Someone once said, “Revival will make you or break you.” This is absolutely true and it is one of the purposes of revival. When people are sifted and shaken often they reject what God is doing and become hardened against the Holy Spirit. Others who receive revival become prideful and begin to think that their new revelation is all that matters. In a reactionary way they throw out the truth from previous revivals and wander into error. But those who receive revival while holding onto truth previously restored, are the ones who move forward in the will of God. But they must stay humble and be prepared to receive the next wave. History reveals that they often do not. Luther rejected the Anabaptists, and the Anabaptists rejected the Methodists, and the Methodists rejected the Pentecostals, and the Pentecostals rejected the Charismatics, and the Charismatics rejected the Toronto wave. Thankfully there is always a remnant that receives revival. Nevertheless, those who reject what God is doing today usually miss what happens tomorrow. And since revival never comes in the way we want it to, it behooves us to remain alert and prepared for what the Lord wants to do.
“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31 NASB
While the world says there’s no judgment, and now many in the church appear to agree, the Bible is clear that God has fixed a day when He will judge the world in righteousness. The sound of that judgment continues to draw close. Those who reject this have lost their way and missed the whole point of revival. Thinking it was all about them and their good feelings and double blessings, they have misinterpreted the signs. They have even begun to think that they have control of revival rather than the sovereign hand of God. While it is true we must continue to walk in what God has poured out, and the Holy Spirit has not pulled back from us, there is more restoration yet to come.
Jesus said that He had come to cast fire on the earth and there are two kinds of fire that He was speaking of (Luke 12:49, Mt 3; 11). There is the fire of purification and the fire of judgment. He will baptize or immerse those who love Him in fire, and the fire of His judgment will consume the wicked. Thus the fire that we are now receiving, is not merely about blessing or signs and wonders, it is about purity and holiness. We are not talking about religious activity or man-made holiness, but the purging fire of God making us pure. This is the sifting that is among us. It is the refiner’s fire that will refine us as silver and purify us as gold (Mal 3:2). The judgment has begun with the house of God and then it will be poured out on those who do not obey the gospel (1Pet 4:17). The Lord is indeed coming soon, but who can endure the day of His coming? Who can live with a consuming fire? Who can live with continual burning? (Is 33:14). Those who receive His righteousness and walk in it. Those who surrender all to Him and walk in integrity of heart. Those who cast off the ways of the world and seek only the agenda of the Father. These are the ones that will receive this wave. These are the ones who will enter into maturity with their lamps full of oil waiting eagerly for the Bridegroom. The rest who reject the message of the soon coming judgment, trusting instead in their “positive” message of making the world a better place, will line up behind the False Prophet and the Antichrist! Are you ready for the coming revival? Are you ready for the next wave? The great and awesome Day of the Lord Is near!