Rev Dr Edgar Mayer – Living Grace Lutheran Church, Toowoomba – Date: 26 April 2015
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Temporary Revivals Permanent
Show two video clips of the Toronto Airport Church:
Video clip 1: John Arnott shares about the beginnings of the Holy Spirit outpouring. It was like a bomb went off and it kept going off night after night. It was scary but, twenty years on, he was now waiting and crying out for another wave because the move of the Holy Spirit was no longer as explosive and scary as it was back then. It was no longer “everybody”.
When revival broke out at Toronto in 1994, Pastor John Arnott told his daughter Lori: “Honey, we are having the revival of my dreams. It is happening. I need you to get up here as quickly as you can.” And so she came – actually moved back home from Texas because of it. Here are Lori’s own words (transcript from the 20th anniversary celebration in Toronto in 2014): “My Dad called me – maybe day two – and he told me what was happening and because of my experience at Kathryn Kuhlmann meetings as a little girl, he taught me the value of the anointing and to understand the presence of the Holy Spirit and for him to say to me: ‘Honey, you need to come because the revival that I have prayed for all of my life is happening in my church.’ I think that I might be the only person on the planet who never had to doubt the sincerity of that comment because I know my Dad and he would never ever – ever – exaggerate and say that if it wasn’t true. And what I said to him was: ‘Dad, but how is it different?’ And he knew what that meant and he said: ‘Honey, it’s the same – it’s just everybody.’”
[According to Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “Revival is nothing but a large number of people being baptized with the Holy Spirit [or experiencing testimonies of God’s salvation, healing and power] at the same time” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Joy Unspeakable, Eastbourne: Kingsway Publications 1984, p189-190).
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Joy Unspeakable, Eastbourne: Kingsway Publications 1984, p51: The difference between the baptism of the Holy Spirit and a revival is simply one of the number of people affected. I would define a revival as a large number, a group of people, being baptized by the Holy Spirit at the same time; or the Holy Spirit falling upon, coming upon a number of people assembled together. It can happen in a district, it can happen in a country.]
Video clip 2: The ministry time was anointed and there was a queue of people reporting healing miracles and John Arnott was ministering with confidence and joy and authority. The whole auditorium was one with him in faith and doing the ministry together. Yet, when he was crying out for another wave, the wave did not come – at least, not yet.
Did anything go wrong at Toronto? Are they crying out for another wave of the Holy Spirit because somehow the first wave fizzled out? After riding the wave of revival for twelve years of nightly meetings (except Mondays), did the Holy Spirit withdraw from them? When “bombs go off” here at Living Grace – a Holy Spirit tsunami wave comes (scary but glorious) – are we to expect the same – a Holy Spirit ride that is going to be wild but will not last? Are revivals temporary phenomena that fizzle out over time? That would be so disappointing!
Doesn’t the Bible say that we keep being changed into the image of Jesus Christ from glory to glory by the power of the Holy Spirit? Are we not promised that we will be baptized with the Holy Spirit which means that we will be immersed and drenched by the Spirit and is this not promised to us as an ongoing experience of being immersed and being immersed again with the Holy Spirit so that we will never thirst – never become thirsty – but always have rivers of living waters flowing from our bellies? Are we not being encouraged to desire new spiritual gifts – especially the greater spiritual gifts that carry more spiritual power? Does the Bible not say that of the increase of his government there is no end?
1 Corinthians 12:31: Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. / 1 Corinthians 14:1: Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.
2 Corinthians 3:7-11: Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
2 Corinthians 3:18 [Phillips]: But all of us who are Christians have no veils on our faces, but reflect like mirrors the glory of the Lord. We are transfigured by the Spirit of the Lord in ever-increasing splendour into his own image.
John 4:13-14: Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 7:37-39: On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
John 15:5-8: I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Isaiah 9:7 [KJV]: Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end …
Matthew 16:18: And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
[Then, there is also the whole question of spiritual inheritance and the promise that there can be a generational increase.]
How can this increase in Holy Spirit giftings, the increase in Christ-likeness – increase in maturity and being in step with the Holy Spirit – be true but (at the same time) revivals are temporary – at least, the phenomena of Holy Spirit outpourings at revivals are temporary? How do you get your head around this apparent contradiction: a revival wave of the Holy Spirit does not seem to last – is temporary in nature – but (at the same time) we keep getting drenched (filled, immersed, saturated) with the Holy Spirit and increase in the fullness of the Holy Spirit? How can revivals be temporary when the presence of the Holy Spirit with us and his increasing power among us are promised to be permanent?
Maybe it is best to clarify what we mean by the word “revival”? Maybe there is a way forward once we understand the nature and purpose of a revival. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes:
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Puritans, Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust 1987, p1-2: There is no need to take any time in giving a definition of what is meant by revival. It is an experience in the life of the church when the Holy Spirit does an unusual work. He does that work, primarily, amongst the members of the church; it is a reviving of the believers. You cannot revive something that has never had life, so revival, by definition, is first of all an enlivening and quickening and awakening of lethargic, sleeping, almost moribund church members. Suddenly the power of the Spirit comes upon them and they are brought into a new and more profound awareness of the truths that they had previously held intellectually, and perhaps at a deeper level too. They are humbled, they are convicted of sin, they are terrified at themselves. Many of them feel that they have never been Christians. And then they come to see the great salvation of God in all its glory and to feel its power. Then, as the result of their quickening and enlivening, they begin to pray. New power comes into the preaching of the ministers, and the result of this is that large numbers who were previously outside the church are converted and brought in.
So the two main characteristics of revival are, first, this extraordinary enlivening of the members of the church, and, second, the conversion of masses of people who hitherto have been outside in indifference and in sin. (There are many other consequences which I do not stay to mention, such as the needed provision of larger church buildings, the establishing of new causes, large numbers of men offering themselves for the ministry and beginning to train, and so on.) Here, then, in its essence is a definition of what we mean by revival.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Revival, Basingstoke: Pickering and Inglis 1986, p105: And then another characteristic is that a revival is something that comes, lasts for a while, and then passes. This is most interesting because it emphasises that revival is a definite action of God. It comes suddenly or gradually, works to some great climax and then it ends perhaps suddenly, perhaps gradually. There is something discreet about it. Sometimes you can give the very date of its beginning and the date at which it ended, and that, as I say, is significant because it establishes once more that revival is the work of God and that it is not something which belongs to the realms of mere psychological experience. With the latter, as long as you have the stimulus and the factors, you continue to get results, but in revivals that is not the case.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Revival, Basingstoke: Pickering and Inglis 1986, p118-119: From time to time in the long history of the Church there have been these visitations, these outpourings of God’s Spirit. Nothing is clearer in the history of the Church than that. Indeed, that does seem to be the history of the Church. There was a great outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. That visitation persisted for some time, but then it began to wane and finally vanished. The Church got into a powerless condition, so much so that some people thought the end had come. Then suddenly God poured out his Spirit again and the Church was raised up to the heights once more. For a time that persisted, but then it, too, gradually passed. So the history of the Church is a sort of graph of ups and downs. That has been happening throughout the running centuries.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Revival, Basingstoke: Pickering and Inglis 1986, p135-136: Sometimes, for example, the most extraordinary gift of speech is given to people during a revival … This man listened, and he came back to his own church completely transformed as a preacher. He went into the pulpit the next Sunday, and they really could scarcely believe that he was the same man. All the hesitation had gone, all the impediment had disappeared. He spoke with freedom, with authority, and with a power such as they had never known from him before … Abilities have been given – the gift of discrimination, the gift of understanding, the gift of planning, Here, in this realm of the mental, quite astonishing powers have certainly been given to people for a temporary period.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Revival, Basingstoke: Pickering and Inglis 1986, p235-236: No, it is God in his sovereignty, and, perhaps, you see it supremely in the way the revival comes to an end. It may have been going for a number of months, and the people are rejoicing. It is wonderful, and they really think that they can keep it going. Suddenly God stops it. And the foolish people try to keep it going, but they cannot. They try to work themselves up, they try to pray as they did before, they try to sing, but suddenly it is gone, the Spirit that was given is taken back. That is the sovereignty of God.
Stuart Piggin: Firestorm of the Lord, Carlisle: Paternoster Press 2000, p11: Revival is a sovereign work of God the Father, consisting of a powerful intensification by Jesus of the Holy Spirit’s normal activity of testifying to the Saviour, accentuating the doctrines of grace, and convicting, converting, regenerating, sanctifying and empowering large numbers of people at the same time, and is therefore a community experience.
It is occasionally preceded by an expectation that God is about to do something exceptional; it is usually preceded by an extraordinary unity and prayerfulness among Christians; and it is always accompanied by the revitalization of the church, the conversion of large numbers of unbelievers and the diminution of sinful practices in the community.
Stuart Piggin: Firestorm of the Lord, Carlisle: Paternoster Press 2000, p139: Occasionally in revivals, the sovereign God comes upon one of his humble servants to endow them with an extraordinary gift. For example, in the Welsh revival of 1859, David Morgan was given a prodigious memory. He awoke one morning at 4 a.m., aware of a marvellous illumination of his mental faculties, especially his memory, with which he was able to recall in intercessory prayer the names and spiritual history of hundreds of converts and their needy relatives. One night, less than two years later, the Lord dispossessed him of this extraordinary gift.
Revivals are sovereign moves of God which raise up again a dead church. They revive and restore what had been absolutely lost (e.g.: knowledge of salvation [see Luther and John Wesley], the loving fatherhood of God [Toronto], spiritual gifts such as the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues [Azusa St], healing and prophecy [charismatic renewal], etc.). A most radical but fitting picture of revival in the Bible is the vision of dead bones. The people of God – the army of God – had become a people without any faith and hope in God. The church was dead – useless as an army/an agent of God – and only a revival miracle was going to restore them. God took the initiative and this is what happened:
Ezekiel 37:1-14: The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”
When God moves like that, every corpse is made alive. Every dead bone is restored. Everyone responds. In this way, revivals are sweeping breakthroughs – (almost) irresistible – leading people to repentance that is almost involuntary because the life-giving presence of God is so strong. The other day, I heard a pastor tell the story where the presence of God came (intensified) in a meeting so much that everyone was down on their face – humbling themselves before God and worshipping – even the mockers. Revival times can be like that:
Stuart Piggin: Firestorm of the Lord, Carlisle: Paternoster Press 2000, p13: In August 1969, a mission entitled ‘Free Indeed’ was held at Wudinna, a little town in South Australia. A revival in which the glory of the Lord was perceived to descend to the earth, in this case very literally, accompanied the meeting. There was a sense of the presence of God brooding over the whole geographical area. A farmer who had not been going to the meetings, although his wife was, was out on his tractor ploughing when great conviction came upon him and he got down in the dust and gave his life to the Lord.
One of those transformed in a great revival among Aboriginal people in Australia that began in 1979 also testifies to God’s descent to be with his people on earth:
… the glory of the Lord was so low – it really came and lived with people, spoke with people. When I say low – the glory of the Lord covered the whole area – it came right down to earth. Kids can tell you they received the touch. Old ladies can tell you [about] that first touch. People are saying today, Why can’t we go back … to that first step – that time of glory. The Lord Jesus had magnified Himself through common people – would you like to call us third world people? It wasn’t somebody that told them to be like that, but God chose these people for His own glory to be the witness for Him concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit and people need to get back to the first touch [quoted from John Blacket: I will Renew the Land: Island of Fire].
Studies in Australian Christianity Volume 1, Re-Visioning Australian Colonial Christianity: New Essays in the Australian Christian Experience 1788-1900 (Editors: Mark Hutchinson and Edmund Campion Sydney Centre for the Study of Australian Christianity 1994), Chapter 8: The History of Revival in Australia by Stuart Piggin: Third, like many other features of Australian culture, revivals have often been imported from overseas. There were clerical and lay immigrants who had experienced revival in their home countries before coming to Australia. In 1838, August Kavel, for example, arrived in South Australia with a group of German Lutheran settlers. Kavel had been pastor of Klemzig in Prussia from 1826, and there his Pietistic preaching had been used to promote a spiritual awakening. People came from parishes many miles away to be saved and the local ale houses were deserted.
David Hogan: The River of God, From a Message in November 1996 at Christian Outreach Centre in Brisbane, Printed in Renewal Journal, Number 9, 1997: I visited an outlying village. It took 4 hours in a 4 wheel drive and then 2 hours on foot, uphill. It’s very remote. There’s no radio, no T.V., and no outside influences. I was sitting up there in this little hut on a piece of wood against the bamboo wall on the dirt floor. Chickens were walking around in there.
The pastor walked up to me. He’s a little guy, and he was trembling. He said, “Brother David, I’m really afraid I’ve made a mistake.” I hadn’t heard of any mistakes. I was wondering what had happened in the last few days. He’s got four little churches in his area.
He said, “It’s not my fault. I apologise. I’ve done everything right, like you taught me. I pray everyday. I read the Bible. I’m doing it right. What happened is not my fault.”
I said, “What happened? Come on, tell me what happened.” He was trembling. Tears were running out of his eyes. He said, “Brother David, I got up in our little church. I opened my Bible and I started preaching and the people started falling down. The people started crying. The people started laughing. And it scared me. I ran out of the church.”
That’s what I was looking for. That’s what I was waiting for, when God came in our work, not because somebody came and preached it, not because I said it was okay or not okay, because I was neutral about it. I knew it was all right, but I wanted to see it in our work not because I ushered it in, but because the Holy Spirit ushered it in. And he did.
I got together with my pastors and we made a covenant to do a month’s fast in September 1995. This was as well as the 3 days on and 3 days off fast that we had been doing that year anyway, so we were ready for whatever God wanted to do. That year every day at least 365 people were fasting.
God hit me on the third day of that month of fasting, but I continued the fast and on the seventh day he hit me again greater than I’ve ever been hit in my life up to that point. But we continued fasting for the whole month.
Psalm 47:4-5 says, ‘There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God. God is in the midst of her…’ I found the river. It’s real. The Shekinah presence of God has come into our work. There is a river of God wider and deeper than we know.
The minute you think you are accomplishing something is the minute you should repent. Find ways to keep yourself humble. Look for ways to not be a ‘big shot’ and to stay in the river. We are the habitation of God, Zion, God’s people. He wants us flowing in the river.
It doesn’t matter what’s around us – bullets, knives, disease, the state of the economy. It matters that our eyes are fixed on Jesus. When the Holy Spirit fell on us there was war around us. Bullets were being fired. People were dying.
I don’t have words to describe what happened to us when the Holy Spirit fell on us on Friday 27 October 1995. If you had been there, you wouldn’t have words to describe it either.
It’s an awesome thing I’ve been able to witness. The river of God is here, and it’s full. There’s plenty for all.
We were in an awesome time. I didn’t know how deep we were in the river of God. I’d been fasting for a month, and I didn’t know what was happening. So I decided to get my pastors together in each section. We had groups of about 30-75 pastors in each section. I went into the most conservative area of our mission first, because I wanted to see what would happen.
At the first meeting, with about 75 of my pastors I got up, I opened my Bible, and I shared one or two verses. Suddenly I felt, that’s enough. They’re used to me preaching two hours sometimes, but it hadn’t been ten minutes.
I said, “Stand up.” And they stood up.
I said, “Receive the River of Life.”
You should have seen it! It looked like someone was hitting them with bats in the stomach and the head. But nobody was touching them. People were lying over benches, forward, backward, all over the place. I was trying to help, but I couldn’t help. People were just flying everywhere. And these were ministers.
So I went through all the sections like that. I got into one section, and they were glad to see me. They hadn’t seen me in a few months. I stood up. I opened my Bible. I read one verse about the fire of God, and the people started shaking.
I thought, “Oh God, this is way out.”
So I said, “Stand up.” They tried to stand up. Some of them couldn’t stand up. I just said the word “Fire.” And the whole place fell.
It was getting more and more scary to me. But people were getting healed without anybody touching them.
A man in that meeting had been deaf for 27 years. I didn’t know the man. He fell over and hit his head on a bench, and fell underneath the bench. He got up from there after a few minutes and he took off running out of the room. His ears had unstopped and he was running from the noise!
After I had been through all the sections, introducing this softly, it finally came time to call all the pastors together from the whole work. A couple of hundred of our pastors came. I wish you had been there to see what we saw! It was amazing.
On the first day there were about 200 pastors there, and the whole church that was hosting us. That made about 450 people. The first day was awesome. God hit us powerfully. There were healings. I was happy. The people were encouraged.
The second day was even better. It was stronger. I thought we were peaking out on the second day. I got there at 8 o’clock in the morning and left at 10 o’clock at night, and there was ministry all day. We were fixing problems, and God was working through the ministry. It was wonderful.
But I tell you, I was not ready for the third day. We were coming in from different areas. The Indians were all there. I didn’t know they had been in an all night prayer meeting. I didn’t know that the Holy Spirit had fallen on them and they couldn’t get up. I didn’t know that they had been pinned down by the Holy Spirit all night long, all over the place, stuck to the ground. Some of them had fallen on ant beds, but not one ant bit them.
I was staying about 45 minutes away. I got in my 4 wheel drive and as I drove there I began listening on the two-way radio. Some of our missionaries were already there, and were talking on the two-way radio saying, ‘What’s happening here. I can’t walk.’
As I listened to them on the radio I felt power come on me. And the closer I came, the more heat I felt settling on me. I could feel heat, and I had my air conditioner going!
When I got to the little church, I opened the door of the truck and instantly became hot. Sweat poured off me. I was about 300 yards from the church. The closer I got, the more intense was the heat. I could hardly walk through it, it was so thick. I’m talking about the presence of God. That was 7.30 in the morning!
I walked around the corner of the building. People were all over the place. Some were knocked out. Some were on the ground. Some were moaning and wailing. It was very unusual, and I could hardly walk. By the time I got to the front of the church where the elders were I could hardly walk. I was holding on to things to get there. I could hardly breathe.
The heat of the presence of God was amazing.
The people had been singing for two hours before I got there. At 8.15 on the morning of October 27th, 1995, I walked up there and lay my Bible down on that little wobbly Indian table. Hundreds were looking at me. Some were knocked out, lying on the ground. I could hardly talk.
I called the nine elders to the front and told them the Holy Spirit was there and we needed to make a covenant together, even to martyrdom. We made a covenant there that the entire country of Mexico would be saved. They asked me to join them in that pact.
When we lifted our hands in agreement all nine fell at once. I was hurled backward and fell under the table. When I got up the people in front fell over. In less than a minute every pastor there was knocked out.
We were ringed with unbelievers, coming to see what was going on. The anointing presence of God came and knocked them all out, dozens of them. Every unbeliever outside, and everyone on the fence was knocked out and fell to the ground. There were dozens of them.
From the church at the top of the hill we could see people in the village below running out screaming from their huts and falling out under the Holy Spirit. It was amazing.
We always have a section for the sick and afflicted. They bring them in from miles around, some on stretchers. There were 25-30 of them there. Every sick person at the meeting was healed: the blind, the cancerous, lupus, tumors, epilepsy, demon possession. Nobody touched them but Jesus.
There was instant reconciliation between people who had been against each other. They were laying on top of each other, sobbing and repenting.
I was afraid when I saw all of that going on. I looked up to
heaven and said, “God what are you…?” and that was the end of it. He didn’t
want to hear any questions. Bang!
I was about three or four meters from the table. When I woke up some hours later, I was under the table.
When I finally woke up my legs wouldn’t work. I scooted myself around looking at what was going on. It was pandemonium! When some people tried to get up, they would go flying. It was awesome.
We had five open-eyed visions. One small pastor was hanging onto a pole to hold himself up. He was there, but he wasn’t there. He said to me, ‘Brother David, look at him. Look at him, Brother David! Who is it? Look how big he is! Oh, he’s got his white robe on. He’s got a golden girdle.’ It was Jesus.
He said, “Brother David, how did we get into this big palace?” I looked around. I was still on the dirt floor. I still had a grass roof over me, but he was in a marble palace, pure white.
I crawled over to look at him. He was seeing things we could not see. Another of the elders, a prophet from America, who had been working with me for thirteen years, crawled over and we were watching this pastor who was in a trance. It was amazing.
The three of us were inside something like a force field of energy. Anybody who tried to come into it was knocked out. It was scary.
The pastor said, ‘He’s got a list, Brother David.’ And he started reading out aloud from the list.
I was looking around, and as he was reading from the list people went flying through the air, getting healed and delivered. It was phenomenal, what God was doing. And he’s done it in every service in our work that I’ve been in since then. It’s been over a year. It’s amazing. Wonderful.
Rev 22:1 says, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
I saw that river. I actually saw the river, its pure water of life from God’s throne. If I could see it again I would know it. I saw it. I experienced it. I tasted it.
God came because we waited, and listened. We didn’t jump in at the first sprinkle. We will keep it through prayer and fasting.
When God moves in a revival, he is mighty and sovereign and decisive – breaking through on all levels – but (and we have to acknowledge the fact) only for a season. Then, there is a change and there is no longer a mass resurrection of dead bones or “bombs going off” every night but a more steady continuation of God moving among us. Yet, this is no cause for disappointment because God has not lost interest in healing and saving people. The work is to continue – our relationship with him is to intensify – but differently. Before I illustrate what I mean with the help of the Bible, I tell you one testimony which – in my view – captures the essence of revival and what is meant to come after revival:
Jonathan Welton: The School of the Seers, Shippensburg: Destiny Image 2009: How would you feel if a well-known prophet stood you up in a church service and prophesied that you would begin to see things in the spirit, that you would have a gift for discerning spirits, and that God would even teach you about being a “seer?” As many of you probably would be, I was excited, confused, and soon-to-be quite freaked out. To give some clarification, I have included the exact prophecy I received from Prophet Dennis Cramer:
March 7, 2002 – You’re a young man with a tremendous call upon his life, very, very strong call you have had some rumblings lately of prophetic ministry. And you thought maybe you were losing your mind. You thought, Lord, my mind is going off. What’s wrong with my mind? You’re also a man that is going to begin to discern spirits more than you ever wanted to. So, the Lord told me to tell you, Jonathan, you are not losing your mind; you are simply beginning to discern spirits as never before. There is a good prophetic call upon your life … But also, as I said, especially discerning of spirits.
March 9, 2002
Jonathan, you have a strong seeing edge already developing in your life. You are uncomfortable with this because you don’t know what you are seeing. It’s caused you some distress. You’ve almost begun to feel a little rejected. But the Lord says all He is doing is teaching you about being a seer. Your own unique seeing gift and dimension. The Lord says just keep your mouth shut; don’t get too verbal about what you are seeing because you are still in the beginning stages of understanding this. So, the Lord says a seeing dimension is going to be well developed in your life in the years ahead.
The day that I received this word, I began to see things in the spirit around me. I had never had this gifting activated before, and so I was very startled with this new experience. I began to see colors in the spirit, words imposed over the physical things in front of me, body parts randomly appearing, fire or water descending on things, places, or people. I would on occasion even see angels or demons. When I first started seeing these things, I was surprised and even confused. I had to grow, learn, and come into understanding about what was happening. Even now, as I reread the second prophecy from Dennis Cramer, I see such wisdom in his statement, “The Lord says just keep your mouth shut; don’t get too verbal about what you are seeing, because you are still in the beginning stages of understanding this.”
When I first started seeing these things, I was surprised and even confused.
I was really taken aback by this whole new gifting, especially since I didn’t have anyone to mentor me in seeing at the time. There are precious few in the Body of Christ who are willing to share their experiences. The Lord had to personally teach me about the things He was showing me.
About a month after Dennis Cramer prophesied over me, the frequency of the visions began to diminish, and again I was confused. I thought, did I commit some sin that is hindering my seeing ability? Have I done something wrong? What is happening to my gift?
The Holy Spirit showed me that in the previous month He had
sovereignly demonstrated to me the potential of my seer gifting. Now the Lord
would teach me how to activate my gifting. In the spirit I saw a large switch,
much like a typical wall-mounted light switch. On the switch were the words “On” and “Off,” and then in my
spirit I heard the meaning. In the first month the Holy Spirit had flipped my
switch “On” to enable me to see in the spirit realm around me. Now He was
flipping my switch to “Off,”
and things would be totally normal again. The Holy Spirit told me that He would
teach me how to flip the switch myself.
With all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we have a role in activating them. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will move sovereignly and heal someone, but most of the time faith must be activated. When we read the Gospels, we often see Jesus telling people to take an action – to show themselves to a priest, to wash the mud from their eyes, or to pick up their bed and walk. These were each acts of faith that, when activated, released the gift of healing.
If the Holy Spirit tells me to give a prophetic word, then I
must take part in cooperating with the Spirit and deliver the word. When you
activate faith, then you have stepped over into the things of the Kingdom
realm: healing, prophecy, miracles, discerning of spirits, and so on. The Lord
was moving me from relying only on sovereign experiences, into activating my
faith to believe for the gift of discerning of spirits to function (see John 5:
8; Mark 2: 9; John 9: 11; Luke 17: 11-19).
From my personal experience I can tell you that when God first opens your spiritual eyes as He did mine, it can be very scary, even terrifying. When it first started, I was not expecting to see into the spirit realm. I wasn’t against such experiences – I was just unaware of them.
I would look at a fellow believer and see a background of
illuminated light behind him, or I would see a nonbeliever and a darkness or
cloud of depression on him. I would see large demonic presences hovering on or
above certain buildings. I would see large warrior angels standing guard around
certain buildings and churches. There were times I could see angels dancing
among us at church during worship. At other times, I would see the worship get
cut off by a speaker who was not following the Holy Spirit’s leading, and I would see very
sad expressions on the angel’s
faces. It looked as though they were crying because they knew what we were
missing out on by worship being cut short. I would see angels carry in
strange-looking internal organs that they would put inside of people, and then
those same people would later testify to having been healed. I found these
experiences overwhelming, and I want to clarify that I didn’t read any books that encouraged
or directed me in any of this.
Six months after Dennis
Cramer prophesied into my life, and five months after God began to teach me how
I could activate my gifting, the Lord led me into the next level of training.
I took an opportunity to intern for Evangelist Randy Clark for a month in Brazil. While there, I met two seers who greatly encouraged me in my gifting. The first was Pastor Gary Oates. He had traveled with Randy the previous spring and had his own powerful encounter, which activated his spiritual eyes.
His story and experiences are similar to my own, especially in the sense that neither of us were seeking the ability to see – it was something God chose to give us. He is an excellent example of modern seership. God sovereignly opened Gary’s eyes in an encounter where Gary had an out-of-body experience, and the Lord took him to Heaven. He writes about this in his book, Open My Eyes, Lord.
The second person that I
met was one of the foremost worship leaders in Brazil. The Lord has blessed him
with a very strong ability to see into the spirit realm. When we met, I asked
him to lay hands on me and pray for an increase in my gifting. He was in a
hurry to get the worship service started, but he still took a few minutes to
pray for me. After he had prayed, he went off to lead worship. The following is
what happened to me in that evening worship service.
I don’t usually respond physically to the Holy Spirit, not because I am unwilling, but I do not easily experience rolling, falling, laughing, or the other manifestations that people have in response to the Holy Spirit. Understanding that about me will help you understand how powerful the following experience was for me.
As worship began, I saw two angels standing on the stage, and they were unlike anything I had ever seen. They were about 15 feet tall, and there was fire coming out of them – six feet in every direction. I was standing in the front row of the church with Randy, so I was closer to the stage than the rest of the crowd around me when the closest angel began to walk toward me. I wanted to turn and run or get out of his way, but I was unable to move.
He came straight at me and reached out his hand. When he touched my chest, I collapsed to the floor on my side in the fetal position. The spiritual fire from his touch remained on me, causing me to create my own puddle of sweat on the cement floor of the church. In that moment, I began to see more clearly in the spirit than ever before.
The church held about 6, 000 people, divided into six sections of chairs. Over each section I saw another angel of fire about the size of a human man, and the fire only emanated out of them about six inches. As the worship intensified I saw more of these smaller angels come down through the ceiling and join the crowd of worshippers. The worship grew so intense that at the height of worship, while the fire angels continued to join in, the crowd looked like a field of grass on fire, an extreme wild fire of worship…
The Lord taught me about activating my faith and “flipping my switch”. In this activation I direct you to prepare your heart for the Lord to teach you about flipping your spiritual switch. As a symbol of activating your faith, I recommend that you anoint yourself with oil. Go to your cupboard or pantry and find some olive or other safe food oil. Take a small dab and place it on yourself – you could put it on your forehead or wherever. As you do this, say this prayer in your own words:
Lord, I receive your anointing. I desire to grow in my walk with You. I open my heart for more of Your work in and through me. I desire to fulfil the call on my life. I ask for Your anointing to run down upon me now (see Ps. 133).
When God called this young man to be a seer prophet – to see in the Spirit – he sovereignly made him function in the fullness of the prophetic gift (at least on a very high level). He began to see colours in the spirit, words imposed over the physical things in front of him, body parts randomly appearing, fire or water descending on things, places or people. He would see angels and demons but after one month the fullness of the prophetic gift diminished. In fact, God had flicked the switch of the prophetic gift to “on” for a month and then turned it “off” – not to stop the gift from operating but to encourage the young man to take responsibility for what God had given him:
The Holy Spirit showed me that in the previous month He had sovereignly demonstrated to me the potential of my seer gifting. Now the Lord would teach me how to activate my gifting. In the spirit I saw a large switch, much like a typical wall-mounted light switch. On the switch were the words “On” and “Off,” and then in my spirit I heard the meaning. In the first month the Holy Spirit had flipped my switch “On” to enable me to see in the spirit realm around me. Now He was flipping my switch to “Off,” and things would be totally normal again. The Holy Spirit told me that He would teach me how to flip the switch myself.
I think that this is what happens in revival and what is meant to continue after revival. When the church is dead, it cannot help itself. It cannot do anything. And it is the same for each person. If you are ignorant and dead in your faith (maybe not completely dead but I myself was certainly dead in terms of my knowledge of so much of the Christian life – dead to the Holy Spirit mostly), you cannot help yourself but then God sovereignly – lovingly – powerfully – shows you what is possible – how the Christian life is meant to be lived – and then he expects you to wake up, learn, grow in faith and remember what God is willing to do because God wants to keep moving in the fullness of revival power, only now with our cooperation – as we exercise faith and allow him to work through us. [This week, I had a pastor tell me that God did move mightily and supernaturally called him into the ministry but now he did not have to continue experiencing that much of God because it was no longer necessary.] [In revival, worship is so compelling but God receives more honour, glory and worship when we cooperate with him even after the sovereign move of revival intensity.]
Where is this in the Bible? I think that we have the clearest expression in the history of God’s people – God’s rescue of his people (the people of Israel) from slavery in Egypt and their conquest of the Promised Land. The people of Israel were dead – without faith in God who had made a convenant with their ancestors. They had forgotten their history and worshipped idols and suffered as slaves in a foreign land. They didn’t pray to God but God was moved by their pain and misery. His own love and faithfulness compelled him to show mercy to his people and revival broke out.
Revivals can always look a little differently from one another. In this case, God appeared to one of the Israelites – Moses – in a burning bush, granted him miraculous signs to make an impression before Pharaoh and his people (his staff would turn into a snake and then back again, his hand would become leperous and then be healed again, water would turn to blood) and then God, on his own, conquered Egypt with the supernatural force of ten national plagues, climaxing in the supernatural destruction of Egypt’s army in the sea while he would make his own people walk right through the sea on dry ground. God granted that his people – without lifting a finger themselves – would plunder the Egyptians as the Egyptians voluntarily loaded them up with gold and silver at their departure.
Exodus 3:2: There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.
Exodus 3:7-8: The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey – the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
Exodus 3:12: And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Exodus 3:19-22: But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.
And I will make the Egyptians favourably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. Every woman is to ask her neighbour and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”
Exodus 4:1-9: Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied.
The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.
Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”
Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.
“Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.
Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”
Exodus 6:2-9: God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”
Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labour.
Exodus 9:1-7: Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back, the hand of the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field—on your horses, donkeys and camels and on your cattle, sheep and goats. 4 But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.’”
The Lord set a time and said, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.” And the next day the Lord did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.
Exodus 12:11-14: This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.
God moved to resuce his people from slavery in Egypt and – right from the beginning – he promised them their own country – a land flowing with milk and honey. And he took them there with more revival phenomena along the way – supernatural food every day (manna, quail, water), God’s presence in the glory cloud and pillar of fire for guidance and protection.
Exodus 13:20-22: After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
Nehemiah 9:19: Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. [See also Nehemiah 9:12; Numbers 14:14; Deuteronomy 1:33.]
Exodus 14:4: And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” / Exodus 14:13-14: Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Exodus 14:15-31: Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”
Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.
But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
Exodus 15:26: He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
Exodus 16:2-5: In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
Exodus 16:13-15: … and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.
Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.
Exodus 16:31: The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.
Exodus 17:5-7: The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarrelled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
God did everything for a dead people. He revived them – set them free – and was careful not to ask too much of them. Even in Egypt, the people were called God’s army – his divisions (Exodus 6:26: 12:51) – but they were not ready for any fighting. In this revival – as in other revivals – God had to do everything for them.
Exodus 13:17-18: When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
But then it changed. God defeated the might of Egypt by himself but the conquest of the Promised Land was to happen with the cooperation of his people. In Egypt, they stayed in their homes and did nothing (except complain) while God struck the rest of the country with plagues but, in the conquest of the Promised Land, they were meant to take up a sword and enter the battle themselves. The victory would not be any less supernatural because they always depended on the power of God to defeat more powerful enemies and giants but they would have a role to play – activate God’s favour by faith and obediently acting on their faith with courage.
Numbers 14:5-12: Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”
Deuteronomy 2:7: The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.
Deuteronomy 8:1-5: Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.
Deuteronomy 29:2-6: Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them: Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear. Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”
Deuteronomy 28:1-14: If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:
You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.
The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.
Joshua 3:9-13: Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.” / Joshua 3:14-17: So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
Joshua 5:1-9: Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.
At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.
Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt—all the men of military age—died in the wilderness on the way after leaving Egypt. All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness during the journey from Egypt had not. The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the Lord. For the Lord had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.
Exodus 23:20-33: See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.
I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.
I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you. Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods. Do not let them live in your land or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you.
Deuteronomy 9:1-6: Hear, Israel: You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. The people are strong and tall—Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you.
After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.
[Leviticus 18:24-25: Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.]
Interestingly, the revival phenomena of the glory cloud, pillar of fire and manna disappeared. The Bible says that as soon as they entered the Promised Land, the manna stopped. Yet, when these revival phenomena stopped, it was not a signal for a lesser season in God. He remained powerful and they were actually now in the Promised Land. Yes, previously, God conquered Egypt in one glorious blaze of instant success while the conquest of the Promised Land would take years of fighting and would happen only gradually rather than in one massive campaign but God still thought that his people were better off taking possession of the Promised Land rather than wandering in the desert around the same old mountains.
Joshua 5:10-12: On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan.
Joshua 6:2-5: Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” / Joshua 6:27: So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.
Joshua 10:12-14: On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:
“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar.
The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!
Joshua 13:1-7: When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over. This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites, from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite though held by the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron; the territory of the Avvites on the south; all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek and the border of the Amorites; the area of Byblos; and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.
As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, and divide it as an inheritance among the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh.
Joshua 21:43-45: So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
Joshua 23:9-16: The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very careful to love the Lord your God.
But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you.
Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. But just as all the good things the Lord your God has promised you have come to you, so he will bring on you all the evil things he has threatened, until the Lord your God has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.
Joshua 24:11-13: Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.
[Judges 2:8-23: Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.
Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands. Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their ancestors did.” The Lord had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua.]
The same principle of what happens in a revival and what is to come after the revival is taken up in the theme of God’s presence. When God rescued his people from Egypt, he was present among them in the glory cloud and pillar of fire. They could see the manifestations of his presence and experience his protection and guidance hands-on. They did not have to do anything for God to be present with them – especially when God came to them at Mount Sinai – but this was to change after the revival season. Once they were spiritually alive again, God’s people had a role to play in maintaining and stewarding God’s presence among them. God would draw near to them but they would need to draw near to him also – cooperate and not quench his presence. God showed them how to meet him at the Tabernacle – the tent of worship – where they would bring sacrifices, make atonement for their sins and worship in obedience according to his instructions.
Exodus 19:3-6: Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
Exodus 19:9: The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” …
Exodus 19:16-19: On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.
Exodus 20:18-21: When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
Exodus 25:8-9: Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.
Exodus 26:30: Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain. / Numbers 8:4: This is how the lampstand was made: It was made of hammered gold—from its base to its blossoms. The lampstand was made exactly like the pattern the Lord had shown Moses. / Hebrews 8:5: They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” / Acts 7:44: Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen.
Exodus 29:42-46: For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the tent of meeting, before the Lord. There I will meet you and speak to you; there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory.
So I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.
Exodus 40:34-38: Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.
[It is also interesting to reflect on the exodus from Egypt as prefiguring the exodus from the kingdom of darkness which Jesus accomplished through the cross (cf. Luke 9:31). Both times, the revival was worked by God alone and then God’s people were and are being encouraged to live out the new life by cooperating with God by exercising faith and courage. Like the people of God in the past, we are in the process of taking possession of the “Promised Land” because God rescued us from “Egypt”.]
Do you understand the principle? In a revival, you don’t have to fast much and pray for God to move mightily in a worship service. He is going to be there and overwhelm the dead bones of his people but when the awakening comes and understanding (after the season of revival), we are to learn how to draw near to him with repentance, faith, prayer, holiness and obedience. Coming back to the testimony of the young prophet, we have a role to play in flicking the switch back to “on”.
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.
Mark 11:23: Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.
James 5:16: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
What does this mean for us? It means that there is no contradiction between revivals that are temporary and the permanent increase of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power among us. God is not going to rescue us from Egypt to abandon us in the Promised Land. He is going to be as powerful as before but now with our cooperation and this is amazing. We remain on the high level of God’s power in conquering the enemy – sin, sickness, death and the devil – but proceed a little more steadily because it’s no use conquering something that we cannot yet occupy. [What would we do with a mass revival in Toowoomba? Could we look after that many new converts – Baby Christians?]
According to Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “revival is nothing but a large number of people being baptized with the Holy Spirit at the same time” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Joy Unspeakable, Eastbourne: Kingsway Publications 1984, p189-190; cf. Acts 2-3) and we know that being baptized with the Holy Spirit is promised to every Christian and belongs to the “normal” Christian life. Revival may be a sweeping move of baptizing many with the Holy Spirit but it is qualitatively not different from the “ordinary” Christian existence and life in the church. / Stuart Piggin: Firestorm of the Lord, Carlisle: Paternoster Press 2000, p14-15: What Jesus does in a revival is to pour out the Holy Spirit in an unusual and remarkable way. But it is unusual and remarkable only in the sense that it is an unusually powerful manifestation of the normal work of the Holy Spirit – which is to awaken, convict, convert and confirm. It is not an abnormal manifestation of the power of the Spirit through his extraordinary gifts: healing, prophecy, tongues, and so on. These may or may not accompany revival, and therefore are not the essence of revival. The essence of revival is, again, an intensification of the Holy Spirit’s normal work of awakening, convicting, converting and confirming.
Reflecting further on what we have said, this may also explain that we have rather powerful revival meetings when we do conferences in other places (e.g.: Portland, Victor Harbor, Better Blokes) but a more steadily powerful anointing here at Living Grace. In other places, God has to move in a sovereign and sweeping way (with revival phenomena to attract and challenge pride) because there is so much unbelief and “deadness” while here at Living Grace we are meant to know how to come forward for healing and minister to each other in the power of the Spirit.
[There are revivals and their power continues in the church but there are also seasons which vary from one another. In his own ministry, Jesus had revival in Galilee but persecution in Jerusalem before revival came to the capital through his disciples and the Spirit of God which he poured out after his ascension.]
[Certain people seem to carry a “mantle” of revival and breakthrough – cf. Elijah, Samuel, the Judges, etc. – but, again, this mantle can be passed on – cf. Elisha.]
John Arnott and his church, as we could see in the videos before, may no longer be in revival but they have lost nothing of God’s power. He and many others – all across the world – have learned to flick the switch to “on” (permanently) and move in the Spirit’s power for healing and salvation and experiencing the heavenly Father’s love. They have not been going backwards and neither will we. Amen.