You're Missing the True Revival
You’re Missing the
Every few years, Evangelical Christianity gets hyped up by and engaged in various crusades for “revival.” Louie Giglio has made an impressive career out of these seemingly bi-annual, national “revival” campaigns. Other prominent ministers, such as Jentezen Franklin, routinely echo these forecasts of revival for the American Church. Jentezen says that the fruit of revival is “when a church grows!” How wonderful.
John Piper describes revival as: “God doing among many Christians at the same time or in the same region, usually, what he is doing all the time in individual Christian’s lives as people get saved and individually renewed around the world.”
Around the world, Evangelical leaders are routinely calling for and (seemingly falsely) prophesying when revivals will occur. This great revival is expected to be an outpouring of passion from within the Church, which is alleged to then result in everything from bursting our pews with new members to giving us more miracles-on-demand. While all of that may be great, there’s one major problem:
That’s not a Biblical revival.
In fact, the Bible only describes anything resembling a “revival” (a righteous reanimation of God’s spiritually dead people) in a relatively small selection of prophecies. None say anything about America, Sunday church attendance, emotions, altar calls, medical healings, or evangelism. In fact, the Revival the Bible describes is so utterly divergent from our popular Christian forecasts that it makes me wonder if the current Church would even recognize the true Revival when it occurs.
The most vivid prophecy of revival is found in Ezekiel 37. There, God details how His spirit will breathe life into the remains of Israel. Ezekiel then describes how the newly reanimated people of God will be united, return to the physical land of Israel, divest from idolatry and other sins, and ultimately experience an “everlasting covenant of peace” under the sovereignty of God. This hasn’t fully happened yet, so it’s the Revival I’m most excited about.
Hosea 6 contains another popular prophecy about the ultimate Revival. The first two verses include the oft-misquoted poetic lines: “Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him.” It’s great — but usually used out of context. Hosea is explicitly addressing the Israelites. His entire book is about how God will punish Israel for their sin and then revive and restore them back to their land and covenants with Him. It’s not talking to “Gentiles” — and it’s definitely not promising us more of the American church experience.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But John, what about, ‘If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land”!?
I too love that verse. And it sounds great at our conservative political rallies. I mean, who wouldn’t want America to be healed (#MAGA)? But again, there’s a problem: Context.
When reading Scripture (or, really, anything for that matter), you should always consider who is saying what to whom. That famous “heal their land” promise was made by Yahweh to Solomon, the King of Israel (see 2 Chronicles 7). In short, God was promising the Israelites (“My people”) that if/when they repented from their sin, he would heal the Kingdom of Israel (“their land”). That promise then closes with God again promising to bless those who obey Him with a covenant under His sovereignty. It’s baseless conjecture and a gross example of Replacement Theology for anyone to assume that the stated promise of Israel’s revival applies to anything other than the people and land of Israel.
Elsewhere in the Bible, there are other references to the eventual Revival of God’s people. (For the studious, I’ll put the full list below.) In all of these verses, we get a clear picture of what true Revival will look like. It always involves four things:
The people of Israel (i.e. people who are in covenant with God);
A return to obedience to the commandments of God;
The restoration of the literal land and nation of Israel; and
The power of the Holy Spirit.
Thus, true Revival is easy to define. Biblical Revival is: Israel turning back to God through obedience, God restoring the land of Israel, and God’s Spirit being poured out on Israel.
As it turns out, the Bible is fairly clear about what happens when God's people are "Revived." Actual Revival looks a lot less like Charismatic fortune telling, Louie’s T-shirt sales and rock concerts, and Jentezen’s promises of full attendance on Sunday mornings, and it looks a lot more like what's happening right now in every corner of the earth.
Worldwide, believers are rising.
With only the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the last decade has seen millions of believers come to realize their share in the eternal covenants with the God of Israel. (The Salvation of the “New Covenant,” after all, is defined as being strictly between God and Israel, which leaves us no option but to join ourselves to the identity of Israel.) They’re beginning to make honest efforts toward obedience to all of God’s commandments, including the long-forgotten commandments pertaining to the Sabbath, appointed times, food, sexuality, and charity. And God is literally returning millions of people to the Promised Land, which has itself become miraculously revived.
I hear from believers in Pakistan, South Africa, Kenya, Jordan, and Mexico who are teaching the Torah to their children. I’ve seen thousands of Asian believers descending on Jerusalem for the Feasts of the Lord. I’ve literally pruned vineyards, picked oranges, chased chickens, and planted olive trees on the once lifeless hills of Israel. I’ve been blessed to keep the Sabbath with tens of thousands of believers across America. Everything God has promised for our Revival is happening. Now.
The Revival is already here, whether or not our favorite speakers know it or even know what to look for.
2 Chronicles 7