By Jeff Ziegler
Published May 1, 1990
In traveling across the United States and Great Britain, I have had opportunity to hear many a serious inquiry concerning the nature of revival and spiritual awakening. Most often these questions revolve around what our expectations should be when revival indeed comes to the Church and what effects spiritual awakening brings when it dawns upon the nations.
The views which I shall present are in harmony with those of the great Puritan expositor Matthew Henry and the revivalist Jonathan Edwards, whose ministry spanned the First Great Awakening. I take this approach because many of the modernistic approaches to interpreting the prophecy of Isaiah, especially chapter 60, willfully ignore any application of its principles to the Church, thus robbing from the Church the glory and grandeur of her inheritance and absolving her of responsibility for revival and spiritual awakening.
This approach not only rightly includes the Church’s participation in Isaiah’s picture of revival, but shows that it is only through the Church and the dynamic power of the Gospel that there can be any hope of seeing the great blessings of this chapter brought to fruition. As you read this, my hope and prayer is that you will begin to pray for a revival that affects every sphere of society and establishes a dramatic increase in the kingdom of God on earth.
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee” (Isaiah 60:1).
Oh, what an awe inspiring vision this sweet sentence gives! Can you see it? Does it capture your heart? God’s people, the elect, the Church of God, rising in the light of Christ’s holy perfections, to exhibit and be animated as a testimony upon the earth! I can think of no greater more beautiful picture of revival coming to the Church, than the glory of God coming to the people of God!
Yet even in the light of such resplendent vision, many Bible scholars and historians depreciate and limit the value of this verse and the entire sixtieth chapter of Isaiah. They do so by declaring the sum of all which is spoken of in these passages as a foretelling of Israel’s deliverance from the Babylonian captivity and her subsequent restoration in the land.
There can be no doubt that Israel was indeed delivered and restored from her captivity under great and inspired leaders such as Nehemiah and Ezra, but the scope and vision of these passages are far greater than this single event. Their magnitude and force are of such a spiritual dimension that only a revived Church working exploits in the power of the Gospel could ever bring a comprehensive fulfillment of Isaiah’s all encompassing declarations.
Thus to relegate Isaiah’s far-reaching global vision to a past age and one specific event can only spell disaster for a generation of Christians who so desperately need revival.
Isaiah’s vision contains many revival principles that we can expect to be fulfilled by the Church when revival and awakening come in the fulness of God’s power. We will consider just four of these principles.
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee” (Isaiah 60:1-2).
Revival Principle #1
In a time of deep spiritual decline, the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ dawns upon the elect in unusual power and His character is recovered and expressed among His people.
Revival is not a planned evangelical meeting! Rather it is a unique and dynamic out raying of the Father’s glory through Christ toward the Church as a testimony of His supremacy upon the earth. Winkie Pratney describes revival as, “God springing a convicting surprise upon His creation.”
If you genuinely long for revival, then begin seeking the glory of God – His divine character. Pray with faith and the unction of Moses, “Lord, show me Thy glory.” The Lord Jesus Christ, by the very nature of His loving character, will grant you a mighty transfiguring and reviving, for the Lord Himself has always shown His desire in regards to His beloved ones seeing the glory of God.
Revival Principle #2
Revival comes when moral decline is rampant among the nations and there is a gross or greater spiritual darkness among the people.
This gross darkness is a hellish numbing agent which parches the sinner’s conscience, leading both individuals and whole nations into a senseless, demonic stupor, seemingly impervious to Gospel light. This malignant malaise is hell’s most potent weapon for it atrophies the Church, thus leaving whole people groups spiritually neutered. Nevertheless, it is in the midst of such carnal chaos that God sends revival to cheer and to guide His downcast, despairing remnant.
Consider 18th century England just before the Great Awakening. On the average every third house was a gin house or affected by drunkenness. Violence and sexual promiscuity was widespread and having dramatic increase. The Church was morally corroded and consistently ignored by the masses. Yet under these deplorable, nation-ruining influences, God sovereignly raised up uncompromising men having revival vision, both in England and America, thus heralding unprecedented spiritual awakening.
The testimony of Christ was recovered and held high in that generation. Will not the God of the Great Awakening, the God of revival perform the same in our day? For all who are despairing at the disrepair of spiritual life in the Church, take heart and pray in faithful anticipation for the King of Glory to revive the house of His glory.
Revival Principle #3
When the greatness of Christ’s glorified testimony is revived in the Church, the lost are awakened in large number.
“And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side” (Isaiah 60:3-4).
Our third revival effect is that of power evangelism or Great Awakening. “The gentiles (the unsaved) will come into thy light.” Notice that because the Church is alive with the light of Christ’s character, she now shines as an ascended beacon of righteousness! No longer scorned or ignored, a great harvest of souls is wrought. The triumph of an awakening is always loosed through a revived Church.
Jonathan Edwards once wondered aloud at the prospect of the First Great Awakening continuing unabated, with the glorious consequence being that there would be no one left in 18th century America to save. Such is the the overwhelming dynamic of revival and spiritual awakening upon our vision. Do you have the faith to pray with this vision before you?
Revival Principle #4
Revival also brings a restoration of those who have backslidden in the quagmire of soulish, selfish living and have left the Church for the attractions of worldliness.
“Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side” (Isaiah 60:4).
Can there be any greater heart joy to see the Church’s prodigal sons and daughters return to the God of their Fathers? In the day of revival, the Church again becomes a relevant and distinctly spiritual voice both to those who have rejected and spurned Christ’s love and to those sincere children who have tired of lifeless religion and have left the fold.
If you have a genuine concern for the heritage of the Church, I can think of no greater reason to pray for revival in the Church! Revival is the surest way to prevent and arrest decline and worldliness in our families and churches. It is time to pray for a revived Church receiving her wayward sons and daughters back into the fold.
It is time to prepare the fatted calf for a feast of revival joy for the return of those dead in trespass and sin that they may be alive again in Christ – that the Church will once again be enlarged and nurse her sons and daughters at her side!
In a future issue we will continue to examine Isaiah 60 and see how revival affects economics, government and the kingdom of God.
Jeff Ziegler is president of Christian Evangelistic Endeavors, a ministry dedicated to bringing a great and mighty revival to the Church and spiritual awakening throughout the nations. C.E.E. sponsors Intensive Revival School, a two year discipleship training program designed to prepare students for the ministry. Revival Flame, a bi-monthly newsletter published by C.E.E., contains articles written by staff members and revivalists of old concerning revivals past and present.
If you wish to receive Revival Flame completely free of subscription cost, you may do so by writing to the following address:
c/o Christian Evangelitic Endeavors, Inc.
35155 Beachpark Dr.
Eastlake, OH 44095
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Revival and Spiritual Awakening
Your comments are welcome!
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)