THE BEGINNING OF REVIVAL & ITS MEANING TODAY
Acts 15:16-18 (ANIV)
"After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things” that have been known for ages.
What a wonderful prophetic word quoting Amos 9: 11-12 from James, one of the first apostles. It was part of a reply brought in the Jerusalem council of leaders. They were considering an issue brought up by many Jewish believers, viz.,whether circumcision, part of the Abrahamic covenant should be applied to the new gentile believers as a mark of separation to Christ. Their decision dismissed this notion and a few simple rules were stated instead as the Holy Spirit directed them.
This prophecy was applicable to Jew and gentile alike as there was little activity advancing the kingdom of God to be found anywhere before the day of Pentecost when revival began in Jerusalem. The first church was a church without walls, fully the initiative of the Lord. Revival is always God’s initiative, “I will return….. I will rebuild… I will restore…that…men may seek the Lord.” In the last 30 years God has been so active in doing these things though not everyone has seen it or been aware of it. Yet, there is a build-up of the work of God increasing in many parts of the world such as never experienced before. It has become clear to many that the Lord wants to uplift His church out of the ordinary and more into His supernatural realm of the Holy Spirit. Many have recognised the signs of the times which Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24: 4-8. But this not all the picture. Surely Jesus was adding to the prophecies already given which tell us there is more to understand about these days.
Let us consider also Joel 2:26-28 (ANIV) :-
“You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.
"And afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”
Here is a prophecy fully about restoration and especially a greater experience of the Holy Spirit as a general and normal experience for God’s people. Let us keep in mind the restoration of the Jews to their own land. After 2,000 years in 1948 they became a nation again on their own land too. Having seen a great dispersion of the Jews up to then the Lord acted miraculously to begin to restore the Jewish nation. This is so clearly prophesied as is found in Ezekiel 36 which is such a clear account of the whole issue. As we were considering at the beginning restoration is for both Jew and gentile. Thus just as this Scripture applies to Israel it applies to the church which has fallen from the sparkling example in Jerusalem which we read of in the book of Acts. In Revelation 22:17 we see the church referred to as “the bride”. The Scriptures refer to Jesus as “the Bridegroom” in several places in the Gospels, e.g., Mark 2:19, John 3: 29. Without doubt the Father wants His Son’s “Bride” to be fully blessed and fully functioning before that great day of the Second Coming of Jesus. It is still true we have not been left “orphans”. The Holy Spirit has never left us but there is more and God is thus keen for us to have that “more”. Revival is certainly about this and creates the place where God can reveal His glory upon His people again. It is not about blessings and miracles particularly. It is about creating a holy committed people able to work WITH God because they are in deeper relationship with Him, secure in His love AND filled with His Spirit. So, what we are experiencing in our days is that the Lord is bringing about many more revivals for this purpose. Another aspect is that the Lord wants many, many people all over the world to become Christians, the fulfilment of Jesus’ prophesy:
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14 (ANIV))
So the church began with a spiritual harvest at the beginning! 3,000 people brought into the kingdom of God in Jerusalem on one day. The Holy Spirit brought the spiritual reign of the Lord back into His chosen people Israel after 400 years of spiritual barrenness. Now we will see, as in the beginning, in our day, the spiritual reign of the Lord increasing in Israel and the church together. Another harvest of souls indeed!
Royal Priesthood Ministries International in Malawi is part of the establishing the kingdom of God in this way. Our vision is for revival as described. It is wonderful to work WITH God in His purposes. God has not changed and loves His people so much to bring about an empowered church gloriously displaying who He is.