I’ve hesitated to post this because it involves something I’ve not previously experienced, and something that I’ve seen abused and misused in the past by others who have made “prophetic” claims. I can only submit this for consideration, in the hope that I’m not going off track. I’ve also been reluctant to jump on the corona virus bandwagon, considering it’s been given more than enough publicity everywhere else.
In recent months I’ve occasionally woken in the morning with particular phrases stuck in my mind.
The first time it was straight from scripture and related to a cancer diagnosis I’d been given: “To live is Christ, to die is gain”.
I’ve shared some of that on my blog recently, how I came to the understanding that God’s will relates to the first part – that life in service to Christ here and now is the preferred option, over the “selfishness” of going to be with the Lord.
The second time it was again scripture: ” God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. This led me to study the context, which took me into some realities of the new creation we have become, that requires us to take off the old and put on the new. I’m still learning the consequences of that and how it SHOULD be reflected in our lives and ministry of the gospel. I’ve also been sharing some of that.
Most recently it wasn’t a phrase of scripture, but a simple and seemingly obvious statement, considering what’s happening in the world at the moment. “Things are going to change”.
The following morning, there was a “flood” of thoughts continuing on from that, the first was “things are not going to return to ‘normal’, along with the term “tipping point”.
I got out of bed to write these things down and the phrase “bringing down nations” was added.
Then finally, “revival has started, but not in the form expected” brought an end to the morning “flood” of phrases.
I shared these things with a few trusted brothers and sisters to get their impressions.
To me there seems to be a flow – starting with something I personally needed, then on to truths applicable to the wider church, regarding our identity and God’s equipping of His saints for ministry. Then finally (so far) putting those things into a context of urgency.
I can only see my health diagnosis and the medical prognosis as part of a personal shake-up I needed to get me on track in preparation for wider change in the world.
It’s now a week later and I’ve come across a few claimed prophetic views of the current virus situation. Most of them are predicting that it will all be over very shortly – prior to Passover, which is only about two weeks away. That’s a message that seems to have been grasped by the US President too – looking at returning business to usual by Easter. All of that in spite of what’s evident in the world right now, and particularly in the US which has just been reported as currently having the most cases of COVID-19 in a single nation. An end within two weeks would clearly be a miraculous outcome.
Those prophetic views have been expressed by several high profile individuals who all expect “revival” to come out of the current crisis. However their views of revival tend to focus on NATIONAL revivals – a turning around of nations (the US in particular since that’s where those expressing that “prophetic” insight are located).
While the optimistic outlook of a miraculous end to a world health catastrophe would be very welcome, and I would be pleased to be proven wrong, I don’t share that optimism.
One reason is that I find the “revival” they expect is based on a false hope. Revival has been on the minds of many in charismatic/Pentecostal churches for as long as I can remember, since my first association with them in the mid 1970s. I recall how much I longed for revival – basically because I thought it would make it easier for my family to hear the gospel and be saved, without me having to say much to them.
I see no reason for expectation of national revivals in scripture – apart from the many clear prophecies about Israel turning to the Lord AS A WHOLE NATION in the very last days. I suspect some of the expectation for revival in our own nations has been fuelled by a misapplication of promises made to and about Israel.
One example of this is the common reference to 2 Chronicles 7:14, “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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
That is a promise/directive given specifically to Israel, a people of God who actually HAD a land to be healed – a land given to them by God Himself.
While disciples of Jesus are God’s people, we have no land to which that promise can be applied – the nations in which we live are not ours. We are part of God’s Kingdom and His Kingdom is not of this world. And can we really consider that anyone with current “wicked ways” could be thought of as a disciple of Jesus?
In this world believers will have trouble, not acceptance and comfort, something that we in the west seem to view with aversion, having never really suffered in the way those in the early church did and those in other nations currently do.
It seems to me that the current emphasis on national revival is focused on politics and political outcomes. I believe that contrasts significantly with God’s focus on His Kingdom and those who claim to represent it. And it is among those representatives that revival is needed – to stir up, experience and share the abundant life Jesus came to give, to encourage others to migrate from the world’s Kingdoms to God’s Kingdom. There is no answer through worldly politics or politicians, and I suspect that the association of evangelicals with partisan politics will backfire as the sandy foundation of their political expectations are exposed.
Things are going to change and will not return to “normal”, no matter how much some people may expect and insist that we’ll push through the current situation and get things back on track on the other side. Whether that change is in process now or not, scripture makes it clear that it IS eventually coming, and in a much more disastrous way than anything we’ve experienced so far.
As for the term “tipping point”, it’s one I came across a few times over the days following my own reference to it, I assume it refers to the earlier two statements regarding change.
There will be a bringing down of nations – whether politically, economically, or in any other natural way, I’m not sure – but hopefully it will mean a bringing down of nations in the esteem and expectation of Jesus’ disciples, redirecting their attention and hopes solely upon His Kingdom.
Revival has started but not in the form expected – I can only write from personal experience that my commitment to God has been significantly revived, ignited by the need to face adverse personal circumstance in my own life. Maybe others are being faced with similar experiences.
As for revival beyond the personal, and particularly regarding any expected “end time ” revival upon the earth, I’ve long seen that as being associated with the kind of intense persecution against the saints prophesied in scripture. As persecution causes many uncommitted to fall away, this “pruning” of fruitless branches will lead to more fruitfulness in those branches that remain, those who are genuinely committed to Christ.
That increased fruitfulness will lead to a more genuine witness of, and bringing more people into, the Kingdom.
But that kind of revival OF THE CHURCH is far different to the “glorious” nation-changing move of God that seems to be the expectation of others.