What Might Revival Look Like?
Speaking for myself (and others who have voiced the same), it too often seems like our attempts to bring about change and the healing the world desperately needs these days isn’t working so well. We do our best to make a lasting difference in others, but results are temporary. Backsliding is common. Hurting people end up circling the same mountain time and again, hindered in their journey forward in Christ (Deuteronomy 2:3). Now, with the pandemic, social distancing, and social disruption, hearts are getting more and more offended and hardened. Everyone is increasingly cautious. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t come in an unprecedented way to help us out, we’re sunk.
This certainly fans my prayers for revival. Because I'm convinced (like so many others), that revival is what we need. Not an annual event scheduled and planned by man, but an unexpected outpouring of the Holy Spirit where lives are gripped with the same heart-pricking conviction those multitudes at Pentecost experienced in Acts 2. We need godly sorrow (repentance) that brings about change (2 Corinthians 7:10). No more backsliding, but radical, lasting change.
I also think many would agree that in this revival the truth of the gospel must be preached—nothing watered down, no modifications, no additions. And no apologies. To do that, we need faithful men and women laboring (by God’s grace) to get the unadulterated Word out there so the Holy Spirit can work effectively. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him (Acts 5:32).
We also need increased and fervent prayers to lay the groundwork. It always seems to boil down to that vital component, doesn't it? But praise the Lord, a growing number in the church are getting on board.
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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Do I believe that a revival will stop the end-time events from happening? that all evils will be forever stayed and our present land healed if we pray hard and effectively enough?
I used to. Visions of sugar plumbs danced around in my head at the mere mention of revival.
But these are historic times we’ve entered into. There are events ahead of us the likes no one has ever before seen. The only way our land will ever totally be healed, is for evil to be once-and-for-all eradicated. And that’s not going to happen without the battles foretold in the Word. Thus, things are heating up at warp speed until God’s divine plan is fully carried out. His kingdom must come and His will be done (Matthew 6:10). This present evil world system must be replaced with new (Revelation 21:1). Every knee must bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Romans 14:11).
We do have scriptures promising revival before it’s all said and done—scriptures like Isaiah 60:1-5. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee . . . the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. The backdrop to this revival will be darkness covering the earth and gross darkness the people. I’d say we’re getting closer.
We also have Acts 2 (AMPL), starting with vs.16 . . . this is [the beginning of] what was spoken through the prophet Joel . . . it shall come to pass in the last days . . . And I will show wonders in heaven . . . the sun shall be turned into darkness , and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.
Taking these into consideration, I’ve been asking the Lord, “What might this end-time revival look like?” When God says He will heal our land, what might He mean exactly? I decided I'd best dig into scripture and past history to draw some insight.
I'd say that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2) was our first barometer. Throughout Acts, God poured out His Spirit with mighty signs and wonders, miracles, healings, deliverances. The dead were raised, the blind saw, and new converts added (and multiplied) to the church daily. All this glory was happening against the backdrop of persecution that started during Jesus' earthly ministry. The enemy hammered back at the church with threats, persecutions, and deaths.
In Revelation 6, we see martyrs waiting in the throne room till those who are to be added to their number are complete. Chapter 7, those who come out of the Great Tribulation are standing before the throne, arrayed in white robes. Revelation 22:11 says, He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. Sounds to me like the church will be going through some stuff, and not just the warm fuzzies I once associated with revival.
We can also pull much from past revivals like those with Jonathan Edwards, Charles Wesley, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody, Azuza Street, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham (to name a few). These outpourings happened for a season, and were limited to concentrated areas on the map—yet they touched and revived the masses who flowed to them. The Holy Spirit was tangibly present with signs and wonders. Lives were radically changed.
With these historic examples in mind, my imagination is spurred to paint a picture something like this:
This revival we're asking for might look like God hitting the pause button in the world’s escalating end-time chaos. A window to heaven opens in certain locations. Glorious light slices through the darkness as God’s presence hits earth. Although Satan and his cohorts continue to rage all around—within these heaven-touching-earth pockets, the miraculous happens.
The church is strengthened to fight the good fight, to finish her course, and keep the faith—even if some, like Paul, might do so from prison. The church (during this revival pause) is also anointed to preach the gospel with the witness of the Holy Spirit confirming with mighty signs and wonders.
People who sat in darkness will see His great light (Matthew 4:16). Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19). Lives will be infused with God’s life-giving, life-changing, delivering, healing, refreshing power, and multiple thousands will be added to the church during that glorious window of time.
Have I hit the bullseye in how things will be? I'm sure not. Because like I said, we are in unique times. But ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and it keeps me praying for revival to come!