Revival – Divine Visitations
To Revive Saints and to Awaken Sinners
The following is an extract from Understanding Revival and Addressing the Issues it Provokes by Mathew Backholer and Revival Fires and Awakenings by Mathew Backholer (plus additional information used by permission).
The Words – Revival and Awakening
The word ‘revival’ first came into the English language in 1702; the standard definition being: an awakening in or of evangelical religion. The word ‘revival’ comes from the Latin word ‘revivere’ meaning to live, to return to consciousness, to reawaken or a renewal of fervour, ‘but strictly speaking’ so wrote G. J. Morgan in his book, "Cataracts Of Revival", ‘it means to bring to life again, to reanimate and has to do definitely with the Christian.’
There can be no reviving of those who are dead in trespasses and sins; those who have never lived, cannot be reanimated. But wherever there is a reviving of Christians there will always be the conversion of sinners.
The word ‘awakening’ first came into the English language in 1736 when Jonathan Edwards’ published a letter referring to a ‘general awakening’ amongst his flock at Northampton, Massachusetts, New England, during 1734-1735 when virtually the whole town was converted. In the context of Edwards’ letter, it meant: an awakening of conscience among the people.
To Revive – to Quicken, to Live
A. Skevington Wood in his book, “And With Fire” noted that ‘revival [in the Holy Bible] is throughout associated with varying forms of the root "haya," to live. The general sense of the verb usually (though not uniformly) translated “to revive” is to quicken, to impart fresh life [as in Ecclesiastes 7:12, wisdom “giveth life” to them that have it].’ Whilst ‘a whole series of usages suggest the idea of recovery or restoration [as in Genesis 45:27, Jacob their father “revived”].’ Wood also noted: ‘In Hosea 14:7 it is used with reference to grain, and they shall “revive as the corn” ’ and Joab “repaired” the rest of the city (1 Chronicles 11:8), another connotation of revival. ‘On many occasions, forms of this selfsame root appear in passages, which relate to resuscitation from physical death [as in 1 Samuel 2:6 and “maketh alive”…and “bringeth up”].’
In the book of Psalms, the same verb relates to personal or communal revival. The note in "Hebrew-English Lexicon" by Brown Driver and Briggs states: ‘To revive the people of Jehovah, by Jehovah Himself, with fullness of life in His favour’ as in to “quicken me” again (Psalm 71:20) and “quicken us,” and we will call upon they name (Psalm 80:18-19).
During the World Wars, the Chinese of China had a Five Year Plan of advancement with the motto commended to every member: ‘Lord, revive Thy Church, beginning with Me.’
The Greek word for revival is "anazorpureo," which means to stir up or rekindle a fire which is slowly dying, to keep in full flame. It is used metaphorically when the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, ‘…Stir up the gift of God which is in you…’ (2 Timothy 1:6).
Revival is essential for the life and well-being of the Church. Revival glorifies God, vindicates His name, uplifts Jesus Christ, gives the Holy Spirit His rightful place in the Church, raises the high and holy standard of the Body of Christ and saves sinners who become part of the Church.
Revival can be a church saturated with God spilling out into the community and transforming lives. Revival is a deep work of the Holy Spirit touching the lives of saints (Christians) and sinners (non-Christians), sometimes simultaneously to bring about the quickening and reviving of the saints followed by the saving of sinners.
Revival is the Church being saturated with God – it is primarily intended for the Church so that they can be revived into a true, proper and correct relationship with God. From this, revival begins to affect those who are outside of the Church to a lesser or greater degree. Theologically and historically the river of revival begins amongst the Church (the Body of Christ, Christians), but will naturally flow outwards and brings to life those who are dead in their trespasses and sins (non-Christians) because God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. During times of revival, Christians always get revived before sinners get converted because that is a spiritual law of revival.
On very rare occasions, the exception and not the norm, revival can be for those who are completely dead in their trespasses and sins. This is what happened in the case of the city of Nineveh who repented under Jonah’s preaching, (the reluctant revivalist) who declared, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” It was also seen in the Samaria Revival under Philip the evangelist (Acts 8:5-8) and amongst the Angas Tribe in Nigeria in the 1930s.
Revival is a visitation of the Holy Spirit, a quickening, a bringing to life. It is God rending the heavens and coming down, the hills melting like wax before His presence. It is water being poured out on the thirsty and floods on the dry ground. It is a turning from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, a casting off of the works of darkness; thus the light of the world (Christians – Matthew 5:14-16) burns brighter and thus aids the Church to be without spot or wrinkle until the glorious day of His appearing.
In times of revival, the fundamental truths of Jesus’ eternal Son-ship, the virgin birth, His sinless life, His death, resurrection, ascension, second coming and the judgment (and heaven and hell); alongside, repentance, the new birth, faith in Christ and total consecration are always preached.
Evangelism and Revival
J. Edwin Orr said, “In times of evangelism, the evangelist seeks the sinner, in times of revival the sinners comes chasing after the Lord.”
Selwyn Hughes, founder of Crusade for World Revival (CWR) wrote: ‘Evangelism is the expression of the Church; revival is an experience of the Church. Evangelism is the work we do for God; revival is the work God does for us.’
Revival cannot be put together, manufactured or produced. If it can be planned, orchestrated and be turned on or off then it cannot be revival. Revival cannot be worked up, but it needs to come down. Revival is not an organised event, though out of an organised event, such as an evangelistic campaign or during effective evangelism, revival can break forth. The object of evangelism is to seek lost souls, whereas revival revives dry and weary souls, transforms saints, saves sinners and can change entire communities.
The Upheaval of Revival
Revival is not the romantic ideal which many Christians make it out to be. Just as Jesus came as a babe, He will return as a Judge with a sword in His hand and if we are not living right before a holy and just God, when the Refiner comes, the Holy Spirit, He will scorch / chastise before the floods will be poured out.
Revival can be traumatic for Christians within the Church as it really rocks the boat and sifts and shakes. The blessing of revival is to cut free and deliver, for the cleansing, purging, sifting, shaking and restoration of the Church. Judgment always begins at the house of the Lord (1 Peter 4:17) and if we are not living right, then look out!
Revival can be a solemn commotion and a divine disorder all at the same time; with some rejoicing that the Holy Spirit has come whilst others are on their faces before a holy God, weeping and confessing their sins, looking to the cross and pleading for pardon in fear of the wrath to come.
Used by permission from Understanding Revival and Addressing the Issues it
Provokes by Mathew Backholer and Revival Fires and
Awakenings by Mathew Backholer, with additions.
‘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 will forgive their sin and heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Recommended Revival DVD:
Great Christian Revivals
The Ark of the Covenant: Investigating the Ten Leading Claims
Global Revival: Worldwide Outpourings - Forty-Three Visitations of the Holy Spirit
Revival Fire - 150 Years of Revivals: Spiritual Awakenings and Moves of the Holy Spirit
Samuel, Son and Successor of Rees Howells: Director of the Bible College of Wales
The Exodus Evidence: The Bible’s Exodus
Understanding Revival and Addressing the Issues it Provokes
Thus says the Lord: “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour
out My Spirit on your descendants and My blessing on your offspring” (Isaiah 44:3).
Overview of Revival
What is Christian revival?
Why we need Revival
The Link Between Missions and Revival
Revival – The Divine-human Partnership
Revival Scriptures - Conditions
Holiness and Revival
How can we see Revival?
Why Revival Will Always Be Controversial
The Next Big Thing
It’s Time For Revival!
Prophecies for the United Kingdom
Visions of Revival for the UK, Europe and Beyond
Great Christian Revivals
ByFaith TV Revival Clips
Revivalist Rees Howells
Talking Revival on Live TV
‘O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do it for Your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many,
we have sinned against You’ (Jeremiah 14:7).