My wife Barbara and I watched the Dove Awards for Christian music last night. We enjoyed it more than ever, and toward the end of the event, it occurred to us that the whole evening was more like a beautiful worship service than a display of human achievement. It was truly a night of glorious praise and worship of our Great God and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Before announcing the award for “Best Artist of the Year”– Amy Grant confirmed our feelings by saying this:
I heard a lot of artists whose music was new to me, and I feel a kind of energy in the music of the Church that I have not felt in all the years of making music.
It comes as no surprise that in Bible times, when wars were to be fought, the musicians were sent out in front. It’s a powerful place to be. [2 Chronicles 20:20-23]
The winner was Hillsong United for the album that includes the incredible worship song, “Oceans.”
Near the end of the event they announced the “Best Praise and Worship Album of the Year.” It went to Kari Jobe, a vibrant young worship leader who is known for encouraging huge audiences to praise the Lord and experience His presence.
We were especially pleased with this worshipful event, and are hopeful that it is a harbinger of a great End Times Revival. With this in mind, I am including the conclusion of our latest book, The Church in Prophecy and History: Revelation Commentary Chapters 1-3.
Final Thoughts about an End Time Revival
If you have read this far, you probably have the same earnest longing that I do for a great revival in our days. Is such a desire realistic? Yes, because God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). In the book of Jonah we learn that even in such an evil place as Nineveh, the capital of Israel’s enemy, the Assyrians, God wanted those who had never heard the truth to have the opportunity to believe and be saved. The prophet Jonah did not want the Assyrians to have that privilege, so he fled from God. After he had been caught, and then released from the great fish, the Lord sent him to Nineveh, and he did warn the people there to repent and turn to God. To his amazement, a great revival broke out, and huge numbers believed in the Lord. Nineveh was still eventually destroyed for its evil history, but at least those who would believe in God were given the opportunity to believe.
Earlier, in Noah’s time, God not only told him to build an ark, but also to preach righteousness to the people. In their case, the Bible says, their thoughts were “only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). None of them repented and believed except for Noah’s own family.
Our generation is complex. There are places like parts of Central and South America, Korea, and parts of Africa where there are revivals going on now with amazing numbers of believers winning others to Christ. In China the underground church has grown exponentially and is spiritually strong in spite of persecution. Europe and North America, the bastions of the truth during the Missionary Age, have slowly grown apathetic. It is worse in Europe, where many of the churches have become taverns or mosques, but it seems that the United States is following in their footsteps.
How does God see our present world? We can be sure He still loves all of His creatures. Through His Son He has already provided salvation for all who will receive it.
Like the Laodicean Church, there is still an opportunity for lukewarm Christians to be revived. But will we? Our young people desperately need to know the truth about Jesus, and a great many of them do not understand the Gospel.
We cannot schedule a revival, nor do anything great to make it happen. But we can repent of our worldliness and pray:
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
Critics might point out the fact that this verse was given in Solomon’s days to the Chosen People. But can anyone doubt that God would treat His adopted children in the Church (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5) the same way? Writing to the Corinthians, Paul made it clear that the things that happened to Israel are examples to us (1 Corinthians 10:6-11).
To put it another way, if we care about the souls of people—including our own relatives and friends, how can we not earnestly desire for them to come to know the Lord? How could we not pray for the right circumstances in their lives to point them to Christ? Why would we not pray for another mighty revival for their sake?
In conclusion, here are some of the promising developments of this present time that could lead to a world-wide revival, or to many smaller renewals. In future years, if we are still here, we will look back and notice whether or not they produced the desired result. If not, we will compose a new list and publish an updated commentary.
Missionary activity – (See the extensive notes about the Missionary accomplishments of the Church in Chapter 3, verse 8). Even though missionary work has declined, there are tens of thousands of highly-trained, incredibly-devoted missionaries still taking the Gospel to the masses using all the methods that have been produced in the past, and utilizing advanced technology to finish the task of providing Scriptures to people everywhere. Most of the best results in our generation are the work of indigenous leaders in nearly every country of the world. Who knows when something very powerful might begin in some inconspicuous place that would lead to a wild-fire of revival and evangelism!
Heroes of the Faith – People love heroes, especially in sports and entertainment. There are many dedicated, courageous Christians in government, the media, education, science, and other fields. Some of them might have the platform to influence great numbers of young people for Christ. Time will tell.
Prayer movements – There are many prayer movements today. Some of them are led by young people. This is especially significant since bright young people and young adults have been leaders in past revivals, and it is primarily for their sake that we desire to experience such a renewal. Historically, major revivals have often come from college youth movements.
Christian music – Just as most the great hymns of yesteryear were the product of revival movements, so inspiring new music, performed by exceptional young artists, are making an incredible impact on people today.
Christian movies and videos – The Jesus Film Project (mentioned in Chapter 3, verse 8), which has been seen by more than 6 billion viewers, is still being shown to approximately 3.8 million people per year in more than a thousand languages.
Actually some of the highest-grossing movies on the big screen have been Bible epics or faith-based stories. In 2004 Mel Gibson shocked the movie industry by making the blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ.” It became the highest grossing R-rated film in the United States. (It was rated R because of the violence Our Lord suffered.) The most popular 2013 TV series was “The Bible,” with more than a million viewers. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the producers of that series have now released the biblically-accurate and moving “Son of God.” And they are planning on a follow-up series in 2015 on NBC called “A.D.: After the Bible.” An independent film, “God’s Not Dead,” had surprising success at the box office and delivered a powerful Gospel message for young people and young adults. Several other Bible or faith-based movies are in process, and the trend is seen as a surprise movement from Hollywood.
Television and Radio keep improving with new applications and technological advancements. TBN, CBN, Sky Angel, Daystar and other TV satellite networks reach most of the planet with Christian programming.
Trans World Radio (TWR) is the largest media ministry, and it is still expanding. They project that by 2015 they will be able to deliver Christian content to nearly 60 percent of the people in the world in their own language.
Salem Broadcasting is another extensive provider of Christian content, but there are hundreds of smaller networks and Christian stations that also feed the mind and spirit of Christians. Some of these programs are Christian talk radio. These informative broadcasts help inform Christians of important events that could lead to revival, and mobilize the Christian community for action when necessary.
As mentioned above, The Internet has become the preferred source of information for many people. Web based videos now rival television’s viewing audience. An almost unfathomable number of videos are now available via YouTube and other providers using smart phone service and the Internet. Some of these “go viral” and can suddenly and unexpectedly be seen by millions of viewers. Many of these spontaneous successes have been Christian stories or messages.
Books– Solomon said “Of making many books there is no end” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Printed books are less popular at the moment, but Amazon.com had started a new free book publishing service to stimulate the production of new literature. This upsurge will not just appear on paper, but will be electronically transmitted instantly and inexpensively to computers and smart phones all over the world.
A new thing–something we have not yet considered–might be the most likely form that the Lord, the ultimate creative genius of the Universe, will use to launch an end time revival. The Bible story is a continuous progression of new things from God’s own hand. The Creation, the Flood, the call of Abraham, the birth of Isaac when Abraham was 100, Joseph’s rise to power in Egypt, the burning bush, the Exodus, manna in the wilderness, supernatural conquests, the prophets dreams and visions, the star that led the Magi, the human birth of the Son of God, Jesus miracles, the apostle’s miraculous ability to speak in other languages on the Day of Pentecost, and so many other innovations demonstrate the endless variety of God’s dealing with mankind.
The whole chapter of Isaiah 43 reminds believers of God’s creativity. Here are just two verses from that chapter:
“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:18-19
What will the Lord do in our times to bring about a revival? Will we be part of it? Please join me in asking the Lord to allow us to be involved in whatever He is going to do!