"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts."
Is revival to be a powerful and miraculous move of God? Or is it just a series of special services? Is it a time to go through the motions with a little more vigor? ...is it an extra nice service? ...is it a flash-in-a-pan service with some emotion? Or is it a move of God that makes the devil shudder?
The latter rain revival is a move of God that is powerful, miraculous, and makes the forces of evil hide from fear. The enemies of God know better than we do the tremendous power of a move of God's Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit should flow and be used of God mightily to save souls, change lives, restore blessings, and build the true church of the Lord.
Ireneas, who lived from 115 to 202 A.D. was a pupil of Polycarp, who had been student of John the apostle. Ireneas wrote of the revival in his day:
"We hear many brethren in the church having prophetic gifts, and speaking in all sorts of languages through the Spirit."
Tertullian (160-220 A.D.) speaks of spiritual gifts (including the gift of tongues) being manifested in the revival of his day.
Francis of Assisi
Revival changes people. Francis of Assisi, in the 12th century, was a simple man. He wore a brown woolen robe, and a rope belt. He was an ex-soldier, and a former playboy. He was changed when he met Jesus. He was freed from his pleasure seeking, and became an apostle. His preaching was moving and inspiring. It is said of his preaching:
"his words were like fire, piercing the heart"
(Fischer, "Reviving Revivals," page 78)
Francis Assisi took a band of 12 and stirred a revival in Italy, Egypt, and Spain. His number of followers in this revival grew to thousands of "brothers" traveling with him to spread the Word of God.
Martin Luther in the 16th century, was born on November 10, 1483. He was a member of the Catholic church during the time when the church was a military power, hated and feared, and religious in name only. The church was hypocritical, flippant toward God, and was selling "indulgences" to allow people to do horrible sins with permission, and "guaranteed" forgiveness.
He read a tract by John Huss, and came to realize that many of the doctrines of the church had no Biblical basis. He found true salvation to be a right relationship with God. He put upon the door of an university, a list of "95 theses" of the false church practices that he had found. He was tried by the church, sentenced to death, but he escaped.
One of Martin Luther's main teachings was that all believers are priests to God. From this man of God, who had the fortitude to stand up against false doctrine of the established church, and to announce the priesthood of all believers... a great surge of revival broke protestants away from the heretical teachings of established religion. Revival starts with the courageous men of God who proclaim and point out the sins within the church, and announce that God wants a people that escape religion, and find relationship with the Lord.
John Wesley was born on June 17th, 1703, and died in 1791. He went to Georgia to convert Indians in 1735. In 1738, on his way back to England, he wrote in his diary:
"I went to America to convert the Indians, but oh, who shall convert me,... I have a fair summer religion... I can talk well... and believe myself while no danger is near. But let death stare me in the face, and my spirit is troubled..."
When he was 35 years old, on May 24th 1738, while writing about the book of Romans, John Wesley became truly saved. He began an aggressive evangelization of his country. He would rise a 4 a.m. and by 5 a.m. he was preaching to men on their way to work. Between 1739 and 1791, he traveled 225,000 miles (mostly on horseback) and preached 50,000 sermons. He wrote 223 books. This man of God had real revival because of his untiring commitment to the Lord.
This great revivalist (1714 - 1770 A.D.) was, as a boy, a self confessed liar, a thief and a gambler, addicted to filthy talk, and liked to mimic ministers of the gospel. He had a voice that was so powerful that it was "rumored that you could hear him for five miles."
In 1733 (at 19 years of age), he was invited by Charles Wesley to join the "Holy Club" at college. In a book that he read, he found that all he had believed was wrong. He said:
"God showed me that I must be born again or be damned... shall I burn this book (Bible)... or shall I search it?"
At 21, he preached his first sermon before 300 people. In the crowd was his mother, relatives, and even Robert Raikes (the founder of the Sunday School). He became a popular preacher. He attracted the rich and the poor, he drew from the high class, and from the low class of his day. He preached with such great feeling, that it was said of him:
"you must listen, whether you like it or not."
George Whitefield preached with great feeling, and sometimes had crowds of 30,000 who could hear his booming voice without aid of any speaker system as we use today. He would rise a 4 a.m. and preached morning, afternoon, and evening on Sundays. He ministered the gospel from 6 a.m. and at 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. He preached again at 6 p.m. on Saturday night. This was twelve sermons a week. He preached at least 18,000 sermons for the Lord. This man had a relationship with God, and this relationship drove him on to minister to the needs and seek the salvation of others in his day. Revival comes with such relationship, and the commitment that goes with it.
This great evangelist preached mostly before the Civil War. He lived from 1792 until 1875. He won over a half million people to the Lord. He was tall (6'2"), blue eyed, and from a non-Christian farming family. He had a humor and zest for life. He was rugged, athletic, and personable. He became an expert marksman, and no one could outrun him.
Charles Finney accepted Jesus as Savior in the fall of 1821, when he was 29 years old. God spoke to him directly as he was studying the Bible, and brought him to salvation.
One day he saw Jesus standing in his dark room. The room became as bright as day, and he felt the Holy Spirit baptize him. He said of this experience:
"I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushings of my heart..."
A church choir member, came to his door, hearing his shouts and weeping, and asked if he were sick. He replied:
"No, but so happy that I cannot live."
The first man that Charles Finney spoke to the next day was a judge of the town. He was so much under conviction, that he could not look Charles in the eyes. He accepted the Lord as Savior a few days later.
At one village near Antwerp, New York, there was a revival that began with such great conviction, that Finney says:
"An aweful solemnity seemed to settle upon the people; the congregation began to fall from their seats in every direction, and cry for mercy. If I had a sword in each hand, I could not have cut them down as fast as they fell. I was obliged to stop preaching."
One day Charles Finney was traveling by train through Houghton, New York. As the train passed through the town, the Holy Spirit fell upon the sinners of the town. Men in the bars fell on their knees under conviction. One reporter decided to follow Finney to figure out where the power that was seen about this man of God had come. The reporter finally came to the conclusion that the source of this power was from the many hours of prayer that Charles Finney had with his Lord. Revival demands people who will intercede and pray as such.
Charles Finney said:
"God is one pent-up revival."
D.L. Moody lived from 1837 until 1899. By 1860, when he was 23 years old, he had given up his shoe business of $5000 a year to live by faith ($150 the first year). Henry Varley said:
"Moody, the world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to Him."
Moody took that challenge and sought to be the man who would be so consecrated. He was one of the past centuries greatest soul-winners. He was not, as some call, a "chocolate soldier" for the Lord, who "run and melt when the heat is on..." He consecrated himself to serving God. Revival demands people who will be that consecrated.
He was once a British plumber. He worked as a volunteer in the Salvation Army. He had a stout face, and wore a dark suit. He constantly smiled, and always carried a Bible. He had a great healing ministry, and was used of God in the miraculous raising of the dead.
Most healing evangelists of our day, look back to this great man of God as one of the greatest healing evangelists. Though he was sick every day of his life, he prayed for many others who were sick (some with the same ailment that he had) and saw the Lord miraculously heal them. Real revival calls for people who will look beyond their own needs to the needs of others.
W.J. "Daddy" Seymour
This black, one-eyed preacher came from Parham's Houston Bible school. There he learned about the new outpouring of the Holy Spirit with the initial physical evidence of speaking with tongues. He became so excited about it, he started off to California to tell others, without having yet experiencing it. He had been invited to come from Texas to Los Angeles to hold revival meetings.
In a little Nazarene church he preached his first sermon on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That next night he found he had been locked out of the little church, they did not like such a message. Some Baptists who lived at 214 No. Bonnie Brae St. invited Bro. Seymour to hold meetings in their home. The number grew, and on April 9, 1906, the power fell and seven received the baptism of the Spirit. It was noised abroad of what God had done, and the crowds grew. People were saved, healed and filled with the Spirit.
They began to look for a bigger place. They found a discarded building on Azusa St. The building had been vacant for years. It had partially been converted to a tenement house. There was a large, unplastered barn-like room on the ground floor. On one side of the building was a tombstone shop, and on the other side a stables, and it was near a lumber-yard. There was no one to complain near-by of the all night meetings.
Seymour received this baptism of the Spirit himself at the revival he held in Los Angeles at Azusa St. that lasted for three years, day and night. He was not a great speaker, not a famous person, but when he stood to speak, the people could feel the power of God move into the room. There were no instruments of music, no choir, but at times bands of angels could be heard by some. Without advertisement of these meetings, crowds came from all over the world during this 3 year service. Seekers for healing were taken upstairs and prayed for in a prayer room. Another large room was used for Bible study. A long room with chairs connected by long redwood planks was used for people to pray and seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. People of many nationalities came, and heard others there praying in tongues in their native language. Brother Seymour sat usually behind two empty shoe boxes. He would put his head down inside the top of one during most of the service. There was no pride there. Occasionally, he would raise his head, and preach a spontaneous sermon.
One reporter was sent to get a sensational story at these meetings. He thought he would find a sort of circus there. A Spirit filled woman spoke about a sinner who needed to turn to God. Then she began to speak in tongues in the native language of the reporter. He was dumbfounded. He asked the woman how she knew her language, and she said she didn't. He told her, that in that language, she had given a good description of his sins. He then went and told his boss that he could not write the story that they wanted. He offered to write a true story if they chose to allow him, but they did not so choose.
Revival calls for the everyday people of our age to become excited about the blessings of God, and seek to tell others.
The Encyclopedia Britannica states that the glossolalia (speaking in tongues) "recurs in Christian revivals of every age... e.g. among the mendicant friars of the 13th century, among the Jensenists and the early Quakers, the converts of Wesley and Whitefield, the persecuted protestants of the Cevennes and the Irvingites... Real revival will again see another fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and tongues (amidst other gifts) will be evident.
The Welsh Revival in the late 1800's
This revival started with 20 intercessors, and ended with over 100,000 being saved. The drunkenness of that area was cut in half. Many taverns went bankrupt. The police had to be laid off in many towns, for crime subsided to almost nothing. The pit ponies in the coal mines of the area, stopped work, because they could not understand the orders of the drivers (the men had cleaned up their language so much from their foul-mouth language came now speech laden with the blessings of and to God).
The Revival in India of 1905-1906
This revival saw meetings held for 5 to 6 hours long. The Christian population increased 70 per cent. In one service on October 22, the whole front half of the church people fell on their face to the floor. They cried before the Lord. It sounded like waves or strong wind in the trees. This prayer lasted for 4 hours. During the next two weeks, they continued in prayer and Bible study. Almost everyone in town became saved as a result of this move of the Lord.
In 1903, there were 100,000 Christians in the nation. By the end of the year there were 300,000. In 1965, on the island of Timor, four nights before an attempted communist coup of the nation, God poured out His Spirit. The coup was averted, and instead evangelistic teams went all over the island. The sick were healed, the dead were raised. Water was turned to wine, and food was multiplied. Some men ate poison fed to them by antagonists, and were not harmed. To reach one group of people across the river, the Christian evangelists walked across the 30 foot deep river to win them to the Lord. There were 30,000 Christians on the island before that revival in 1965, and at its end there were 100,000.
In one of the meetings of the evangelist Barnham in the 1950's, Barnham told the congregation that God would heal the first 20 people to come forward. For the first one up there, the Lord gave a word of knowledge to Barnham, and he told her that God would heal her if she would give up her adultery. The man behind her objected, and said he was her husband. Barnham told him that God would heal him too, if he would quit running around with his secretary. Then the evangelist told the congregation that every hidden sin would be revealed, so confess their sins before they came up for healing. He turned back to the healing line, and everyone had left the line. In one service 9 deaf-mutes were healed. God demands a new holiness during revivals, and will convict sin, or judge it.
Latin American revivals
In 1900 there were 50,000 evangelical Christians in Latin America. In 1930 there were 5 million. In 1960 there were 10 million. In 1970 there were 20 million. The revival continues to multiply, and churches of 20,000 people are common in South America.
South Korean revival
Paul Yonggi Cho pastors the Full Gospel Church in Seoul. Cho's church is now near 750,000 people He had a church that holds 75,000 people and ten services need to be held every Sunday to reach all the people. There are prayer meetings held 24 hours a day in a building that holds 10,000 people. He has more than 200 assistant pastors. There are 5000 home meetings a week in the city by the church. The nation is now over 20 per cent Christian.
In 1900, only one in 13,000 Africans were Christian. In 1980, it was one in three. At the rate that they are now getting saved in Africa, the whole continent would be Christian in the year 2000.
C.T. Studds, of one service in 1914, said:
"Whole place charged as if with electricity... men falling, jumping, laughing, crying, singing, confessing, some shaking terribly... best described as a spiritual tornado... people were flung to the floor, ... yet no one was hurt... people trembled under its power..."
The 1857 Revival
In Coleraine, a schoolboy became troubled in class. The schoolmaster decided to send him home. An older Christian boy was to walk him home. The older boy led the troubled youngster to the Lord as they walked . They returned to school, and the boy testified to the teacher of what had happened. The class overheard. One by one the boys went out of the room, the teacher went to see where they were going. They were found near a wall on the playground on their knees. They prayed silently for a while. Then they began to cry out bitterly. The girl's in class heard this and in a short time the whole school was on its knees. Neighbors and passers by came in, and they too fell under the conviction power of the Spirit. Every room in the school was soon filled with people praying and repenting.
Topeka, Kansas in 1900
A small Bible school opened in the town in 1900 with about 40 people. It was called Bethel College, and its only textbook was the Bible. They soon studied the baptism of the Spirit, and were asked to find what evidence there was of someone being filled with the Spirit. They all came to the same conclusion, that speaking in another unknown tongue was the first evidence of the in-filling. They went to the "prayer tower" where they prayed in 3 hour watches. Day and night intercession went on. Miss Agnes N. Ozman was the first to receive. On January 2, she began to pray in tongues. A Bohemian that was present said she spoke in his native language. Later after that great revival, the school disbanded and took the message as evangelists to different parts of the world.
Galena, Kansas 1903
One night in a tent meeting, the Holy Spirit manifested in the unknown language of one in the service... a heavenly song. The interpretation came. The tent was then filled with angels, and they were even seen by the sinners in the crowd. Two nuns said the song in tongues was in perfect Latin. This revival grew and spread to neighboring towns.
A.G. Ward in Canada
In 1907, A.G. Ward (father of C.M. Ward), came to Fisher River reservation in Canada. The interpreter did not show up, so A.G. Ward began to speak in tongues, and it miraculously came in the language of the Indians.
Great Britain in the early 1900's
A few Christians began to hold meetings in Sunderland, for revival and enduement with power. In 1907, the power fell. In 1908, showers of the latter rain blessing became a downpour. In 1910, the downpour became a flood. Thousands were baptized in the Holy Spirit. In one service in 1933, on an Easter, 1000 were baptized in water, there were 72 guaranteed cures of cancer, 20 cripples were healed, 17 were cured of blindness, 18 deaf people suddenly were able to hear, and 70 had useless limbs restored.
In 1907, at Kilsythe,Scotland, revival came. One report read:
"Revival fires are burning in Glasgow, crowds flocking to services, hundreds are being converted, remarkable healing testimonies, blind eyes opened, running wounds dried up, paralysis, rupture, tumor, growths disappear under the power of God."
In 1906, in Germany, two evangelists came to Mulheim. They put up a large tent, and 2000 were saved in a few weeks. Then many began to be filled with the Spirit. There were many healed of heart disease, the lame walked, lepers were cleansed, gall stones disappeared, the deaf heard, the blind could see, the dead were raised. In one service in 1908, 55 people were filled with the Spirit.
In 1906, Miss Nettie Moomau, a missionary to China heard of the Azusa St. revival. She went to see what was happening, she prayed and received the infilling of the Spirit. She returned to China and the revival was born there. There were healings, demon possessed were freed, epilepsy was healed, one man with a leg 2 1/2 inches shorter that the other was healed, and the blind could suddenly see.
In 1926, in Minchow, China, W.W. Simpson called to have Pastor Chow pray for a dying woman. They prayed, and she was saved. The next day, she died. She became cold and stiff, but men kept hands on her and prayed. After a while one word came from the dead woman, "Faith."
They prayed harder, and finally one woman said, "This dead woman will stand on her feet today, sit up tomorrow, and walk on the third day." Immediately, the dead woman revived and stood up. Having never heard the Bible, she preached for 2 and a half hours, proclaiming the judgments of the book of Revelation. The whole of her family was saved.
REVIVAL HAS IMPACT
God wants to shatter sin. Just as a karate champion can shatter a stack of bricks or boards, God can use His immense power to break what we think is impossible. Revival is an irresistible power that breaks through the impossible situations .
God periodically alters human history by His sudden movements of the Holy Spirit. Revival is God's military maneuver that attacks sin, breaks its hold, and takes its former victims and enlists them into the battle on God's side.
We are at that point in the latter rain revival. Revival is a power that interferes with the normal course of life... It takes people who are heading for destruction, and turns them toward God. It may seem impossible to get the changes that we want, but God knows how to turn this world around, and the latter rain revival is how He will do it.
Be part of this revival, and those things which happened in the early days of the latter rain revival will seem small compared to what is about to happen.
"Ask ye of the Lord rain, in the time of the latter rain."