It is becoming more clear by the day that our world is facing a time of great peril. As an example, in just the past two years, we’ve seen many news headlines trumpeting the possibility of the global financial system disintegrating into chaos. – In addition, we’ve seen cataclysmic events take place such as the devastating earthquake – created tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Indonesia in 2004. — And just this month, we watched as Haiti was decimated by another large earthquake, again killing hundreds of thousands.
It seems that no matter where you live or who you talk to, regardless of their political or religious affiliation, all seem to sense that something more ominous is about to come upon us.
Having said this, I believe that God is in control of all events. When looking again at the economic crisis, we’ve seen governments around the world pledge some $2 trillion to try and stabilize the global economic meltdown, but it still remains on very shaky ground.
To the point, the outlook for the world in many areas has become so grim, I see only two possible outcomes from the viewpoint of a believer:
1)God is either using all these crises to bring about a great revival, -or-
2)He is soon going to take His church home (Rapture) and begin the Tribulation countdown.
After much study and prayer, I believe we are headed for the second option. Like most, I would love to see revival break out. In fact, some of my Christian friends and acquaintances hold to the view that the Lord is going to pour out a “latter rain” revival. – Some other folks believe the church is going to take over the world for Christ. — But I just don’t see the Bible pointing to such an outcome.
We know for a fact that there have been countless revivals throughout the church age. Here is a list of eight that stand out as having the greatest impact:
◆The Pre-Reformation Revival — 1300-1500
(Lollards, Wycliffe, Hus, Savonarola)
◆Reformation — 1517 – 1560
(Zwingli, Luther, Calvin)
◆The First Great Awakening — 1740-1745
(Harris, Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, Brainerd)
◆The Second Great Awakening — 1798 – 1832
(Finney, Nettleton, Beecher, Matteson)
◆The Layman’s Revival — 1857 – 1861
(Palmer, Lanphier, Moody)
◆The Great Welsh Revival 0f 1904
◆The Asuza Street Revival of 1906
◆The Jesus Movement — 1967-1973
The obvious thing to me that makes revival hard to grasp as a possibility now is the word of God’s repeated mention of spiritual darkness as the hallmark of the last days. Several prophetic scriptures describe the last days as a time of great apostacy. Here are three examples:
2 Thessalonians 2:3 says,
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
Matthew 24:24 states:
For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.
Revelation 3:10 says,
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.
Another scriptural obstacle to a revival is the fact that we are in the “Laodicean Age”. Dr. David Reagan recently gave a good outline of how the seven churches described in Revelation, Chapters 2 and 3, present a prophetic view of church history:
“The last of the churches mentioned, the one that represents the church of the end times, is the church at Laodicea. It is pictured as a church that is neither hot (healing) nor cold (refreshing), but rather is lukewarm or tepid (Revelation 3:15-16). In short, it is a church that is apathetic. Jesus also pictures it as a worldly church enamored with its wealth (Revelation 3:17). The Lord is so dissatisfied with this church that He declares, ‘Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth’” (Revelation 3:16).
But I believe the greatest obstacle against revival is man’s growing acceptance of sin – his immunity to repentance. Look back at the aforementioned historic revivals and see how they diminish in number and scale over the years. — A key problem is that revival today means getting something from God. People who flocked to the so-called revivals at the Toronto Airport Vineyard Christian Fellowship and Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola were mostly looking for an emotional or physical blessing. — A decade later, it’s hard to argue with the simple fact that these events have been marked as questionable practices, and have had nearly zero impact on society.
In the revivals of the past, saints were given their marching orders to reach the lost for Christ. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, was very direct about how to win souls: “You have nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work. Observe: it is not your business to preach so many times, and to take care of this or that society; but to save as many souls as you can; to bring them to repentance, and with all your power to build them up in holiness without which they cannot see the Lord.”
To sum up, the world will see revival. In fact, the Bible predicts a future revival that will dwarf all others. — Once millions of people realize that they missed the Rapture, they will find true faith. – The terrible and trying conditions of the Tribulation will cause many to quickly reach a level of dedication where they will be willing to sacrifice their lives for the gospel.
But we Christians must do everything we can right now to advance the Kingdom of God before the Rapture takes place. — Look to your loved ones, your friends and neighbors — anyone who is either not saved or taking their salvation for granted, and tell them to wake up! – Difficult times are upon us, and Jesus said in Luke 21:28, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Until next time,