In the May issue of The Forerunner, we began a point by point discussion of the path that revival takes upon the earth using Isaiah 60 as a framework for our study. Having progressed through the first four verses, I will briefly recapitulate the principles we covered.
Revival Principle #1
In the time of deep spiritual decline, Christ radiates the Father’s glory in unusual power and demonstration toward the Church, thus recovering His testimony and advancing the revived Church to triumph in her struggle against sin, and in doing so eradicate spiritual darkness.
Revival Principle #2
This dynamic out-raying of the Father’s glory coincides with a marked decline in the spiritual and moral fabric within a nation or people’s group. Therefore, the Church being “revived” under such deplorable conditions, becomes a distinct witness of holiness and righteousness to convict the impenitent and arrest moral atrophy
Revival Principle #3
As Christ’s divine imperial rule is evidenced through a revived Church, the lost are now drawn irresistibly to the perfect love of God now clearly displayed by the Church. The result being spiritual awakening or power evangelism, a great harvest of souls!
Revival Principle #4
Even as great spiritual awakening is loosed through a revived Church, so to the fresh spiritual vitality of such a Church reawakens her wayward sons and daughters, bringing great joy to the family of God, as they turn their hearts to the Father.
Completing our overview, let us press forward in beholding the ever-increasing scope of revivals in the earth.
Revival Principle # 5
“Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged. Because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come.
“They shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee. They shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory” (Isaiah 60:5-7).
Just as a revived Church triumphantly testifies of the glorious perfections of an exalted Christ to the helpless masses of depraved humanity, so too, revival and spiritual awakening affects righteous societal change. In the above verses we read, “the forces (societal change) of the Gentiles shall come to thee.” These same verses speak of gold, flocks, dromedaries, rams, in other words, the very economic life of Gentile nations being brought to the feet of a revived Church.
There can be no question, that the mass conversion of whole people groups or large population within a given nation, could not help but to righteously leaven a given society. This is not to suggest that every aspect of a culture can be reconciled. Indeed, certain areas of society are born in diabolical designs which promote idolatry and anti-Christian agendas. These elements are judged purged, and shaken out of a spiritually awakened and reformed society.
Revival Principle #6
“And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee. For in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favor I had mercy on thee” (Isaiah 60:10).
Our sixth revival principle is what I commonly refer to as the Nehemiah factor. Notice our verse describes the sons of strangers (those not in covenant with God) helping to rebuild and restore the Church’s place in society. One could legitimately ask, “What fellowship hath light with darkness?” or “How could the depraved lend any help or value to that which is distinctly holy? The answer is found in Nehemiah 2:5-9.
“And I said to the King, ‘If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah, to the city of my father’s tombs, that I may rebuild it.’
“Then the king said to me, the queen sitting beside him, ‘How long will your journey be, and when will you return?’ So it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time.
“And I said to the King, ‘If it please the king, let letters be given me for the governors of the provinces beyond the river, that they may allow me to pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress which is by the temple, for the wall of the city, and for the house to which I go.’
“And the king granted them to me because the good hand of God was on me. Then I came to the governors of the provinces beyond the River and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent me officers of the army and horsemen.”
Notice that King Artaxerxes, a stranger, one alien to the ways of Jehovah, nevertheless gives Nehemiah, the one charged with recovering the Lord’s testimony, physical supplies and equipment in his divine task of restoration. Given to Nehemiah was a governmental decrees, papers served to all governors and magistrates giving secular authority to what heaven had already mandated, as well as raw materials, finance for construction, and an army to protect Nehemiah’s mission, all this was marshalled on behalf of the work of God.
This scriptural precept is repeated often throughout the Scriptures and is common in the day of God’s power. Consider King Cyrus, King of Persia, who gave charge charge to Ezra and the Israelites in captivity to go out and rebuild the temple of God, to restore the priesthood, and effectively pave the way for Nehemiah’s mission (Ezra 1:1-11). Or look upon the favor granted Joseph as he ascends in prominence in Pharaoh’s royal court, eventually becoming the Prime Minister of the Egyptian Kingdom (Genesis 39-47).
A more recent example can be found in the annals of American history, in the friendship of Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield. Despite the attempts of many Christian historians to Christianize the life of Benjamin Franklin (posthumously), factual evidence gives no public record of Franklin’s acceptance of Christ as Savior and Lord.
We also know the dynamic testimony and uncompromising separation of the life of George Whitefield, whose sermons struck through the hearts of men like bolts of lightning through dried timbers. Despite the potential for conflict that two so markedly different men might have, Franklin was captivated by the powerful oration of this gifted man of God.
So great was his admiration that Franklin was quick to publish Whitefield’s sermons as well as give large amounts of financial assistance to help Whitefield build orphanages for boys. Why did Franklin, this stranger to the evangelical work of God, a devout humanist, support the labor of Whitefield? Simply put, he saw it as good for the Country!
Revival Principle # 7
For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron. I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness (Isaiah 60:17).
Here find spiritual awakening in its ever-increasing influence, bringing a civic or governmental righteousness. “I will make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.” Many Christians have poured enormous energy, both time and money, in efforts to bring moral and spiritual influence to reform our government. While these efforts have been large, with laborious lobbying, rising rhetoric, and feverish fund raising, the impact made upon the government can be measured only in the smallest of increments.
This is not to say these efforts are in vain or without worth. However, one must realize these efforts, even when raised to a higher ration of success, can only at best bring a reformation of public policy. On the other hand, a nation which is influenced by a revived Church, with large numbers of “spiritually awakened” countrymen, will not only reform public policy, but will transform the entire structure of government including the lives of our public servants.
Thus to behold a transformed government in our desperate day requires more prayer aggression and less political action! It is better to define the battlefield for public policy in the womb of desperate prayer, than to lower our higher spiritual (and thus more powerful) position to the level of egocentric politicians who like the sons of Ninevah, cannot discern between their right hand and their left.
One could say, “Faith if it hath not works is dead.” True enough, and at no time will this author ever suggest an abandonment of civic participation! However, the witness of a revived Church requires tremendous spiritual resources especially in time spent with God, marked by corporate purging and power enduing visitations of the Holy Spirit.
Thus if we are not making our priorities conducive to an increase of spiritual life, then the Church will never be that distinctly holy witness which will challenge the corruptions of man’s governmental institutions. Make no mistake; it is the Church alone which is the light to expose governmental corruption, the salt to preserve godly government, and the leaven by which government is to be pervaded with.
Revival Principle #8
“A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I the Lord will hasten it in His time” (Isaiah 60:22).
Finally revival and spiritual awakening promote a dramatic increase in the kingdom of God on earth. Notice our verse declares, “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation.” This depicts an immutable law or principle of the kingdom of God. That is, this principle is always true of Christ’s kingdom whether or not the Church may find herself in times of spiritual decline or prosperity.
This principle is repeated in Matthew 13:31-33.
“He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds; but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
While this testimony of the kingdom transcends the spiritual condition of the Church, nevertheless, revival “hastens” the path of the kingdoms increase in the earth. “I the Lord will hasten it in His time!” Thus to speed this witness of the kingdom in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, to every tribe and kindred on this terrestrial ball, not only in word but with power, requires the hastening of revival and spiritual awakening upon the Church!
“Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power” (Psalm 110:3).
My hope and prayer is that the patterns of revival as depicted in Isaiah 60 will become a practical tool in your life of intercession. Below I have given a simple outline to assist your prayers for revival. Share it with a burdened friend!
Revival (Church Life)
1. Pray for the Church to behold and exhibit Christ’s glory on earth (Isaiah 60:1).
2. Pray for the testimony to arrest spiritual darkness (Isaiah 60:2).
3. Pray for power evangelism to be evidenced due to the increased testimony of a holy Church (Isaiah 60:3).
4. Pray for the backsliders to return to a distinctly spiritual and relevant Church (Isaiah 60:4).
Spiritual Awakening (Societal Life)
5. Pray for the revived Church to awaken a slumbering society and leaven every aspect possible (Isaiah 60:5-7).
6. Pray for the sons of strangers, though still unsaved, to recognize the need of the moral influence of the Church in society (Isaiah 60:10).
7. Pray for spiritual awakening to transform government (Isaiah 60:17).
8. Pray for a dramatic increase in the witness of Christ’s kingdom, hastened by spiritual awakening (Isaiah 60:22).
Next: The path of revival in your personal life.