It’s quiz time, folks. What is revival?
Answer: strictly, it’s coming alive again, when
God’s people get up off their polypropylene stackable
chairs, get serious about re-examining their relationship with
the Lord, then have enough enthusiasm to tell unbelievers about
(We’re not talking about the latest fad in religious
franchises. Or membership drives. Or crusades. We’re
talking about getting back to our first love. Looking eagerly for
sign of His return. Believing that the gospel is great news
– and blurting it out in the checkout queue or at the
And that leads to the second meaning of revival. The
informal, colloquial one: where unbelievers actually
want to talk about Jesus. Where people get saved away from the
big meetings and altar calls, out in the streets or over a cuppa
in someone’s kitchen.
The first type of revival causes the second.
And – dare we suggest it – it’s up to you.
It’s not a matter of praying each night: ‘Lord,
save everybody, if it be Thy will; amen’ Or ‘Almighty
and most merciful heavenly Father, send forth Thy spirit upon
Whangarei, including Onerahi and the dens of iniquity in the
You must pray for you. Tell God you’re not satisfied
with being tastefully, inoffensively lukewarm, and rather
Revelation 3:16-ish. Then believe you have what you
asked for (well, you are praying in the will of God,
aren’t you?), and go and do something.
Frighten the next travelling salesperson who operates your
doorbell by telling him, her, it or them that Jesus is about to
return to Jerusalem, Israel. Ask a taxi driver if he knows where
he’ll go when he dies. Say ‘God bless you’ to a
shop assistant – especially if it is their first day: they
need a blessing.
Look – we’ve seen revival at work in Fiji. Sure,
Fijians are a religious people. There are Methodist villages,
Pentecostal villages, you-name-it they’vegot- it villages.
But, at the same time, Fijians are aware that the return of the
Messiah is dangerously close, and merely doing the three
services, ten percent, sing-clap-and-shout-amen routine
isn’t going to score a ticket for the rapture.
So they’re getting personal.
And it shows.
We’ve been caught up in the Fijian revival for the past
three months. It’s challenging: shopkeepers who regard
their business as a continual opportunity to preach Jesus; senior
government officials who expect God to guide them, and
don’t care who knows it; poor villagers who risk extreme
physical abuse to spread the gospel among hostile neighbours.
There were old women – staunch churchgoers – who
realised it was time to give up on the old ways and the power
they enjoyed from them. Firewalkers who turned their backs on big
money entertaining tourists with their ritual magic. And we found
ourselves eagerly talking about Jesus to a Moslem dentist as she
tugged out a temperamental tooth; explaining the mark of the
beast to the owners of a Hindu cyber café; preaching to a
bunch of minicab drivers. Then there was the Indian girl
possessed by the spirit of a snake; the soccer team at a hotel;
innumerable reception staff and security guards; high school
students; nurses’ groups; pastors...
If you’ll pardon a negative comment from a couple of
former Poms – it was quite an anti-climax to return to the
apathy of New Zealand believers who (in general; there are some
glorious exceptions) don’t allow a vague awareness that
Jesus said we should watch-or-something to disturb their
lifestyles. Or their denominational brand-loyalty. Or their
cultural blend of paganism and humanism. (How come the public
perceive Christianity as an NGO welfare agency; where the
man-in-the-street gives a Paul Holmes smirk at any suggestion our
supernatural God is real; yet Maori demons are referred to
– and prayed to publicly – with respect.)
But we digress.
The rapture is possibly the next prophecy to be fulfilled.
Are you ready?
Maybe we’re old-fashioned. But we squirm when we hear
people – believers – who (a) aren’t interested
in the Rapture, because they claim (b) all believers are
taken up when it happens.
Read the fine print. Nowhere does it say we’ll all go
together, and before you press the made-in- New-Zealand apathy
button – it’s too important to dismiss with an
antipodean she’ll-be-right. (After all, the Lord is coming
back for His Bride, for heaven’s sake. And the prime
quality that any bridegroom looks for in his beloved is passion.
If that’s missing, why should He bother?)
Okay, take a careful look at three sets of scriptures.
(1) Luke 21:14 sets the tone. Everyone reads Mathew 24. But
the venerable Dr. Luke throws in a verse that Matt the taxman
leaves out. ‘Pray that you might be counted worthy to
escape all these things’ (Including the tribulation,
no less) ‘and stand before the Son of
man,’ said Jesus. Worthy. This isn’t imputed
righteousness. The Greek is AXIOS or KATAXIOOMAI. Means
qualifying, deserving, merited. That’s works. You
don’t escape the Tribulation automatically. You don’t
get to stand in front of the Son of man automatically.
(2) Move over to Paul. He wrote about imputed righteousness
more that any other NT author. He also had a somewhat dramatic
conversation. But in Phil 3:10-14, while still comparatively
young, he says that he hasn’t qualified yet. Qualified for
The ‘upward call,’ no less. That’s
the rapture. (Ignore the King Jimmy’s ‘high
calling’...) Then, years later, in 1 Tim 3:7-8, he says
‘ I’ve made it!’ And so that we don’t
despair at the impossible task of beating (or equalling)
Paul’s track record, he condenses the qualifications down
to the bare bones: ‘... And not for me only – but
for all those who love His appearing.’
(There! Passion, like we said. Unlike one dear sister who told
us firmly and with never a smile: ‘I don’t want to be
raptured if my cat can’t come too’. Look – if
loving Dad ‘n’ Mum more than Jesus means you’re
not worthy – (Matt 10:37-38) – cats and other idols
will unquestionably disqualify us sure as death and taxes.)
3) According to Jewish understanding, the first mention of any
subject in Scripture sets the stage for all comprehension of the
In which case: have a good look at Enoch. The first man to be
raptured. Had his own personal ‘translation’, to use
the Biblical term.
So why did he go? Answer: He pleased God.
Ri-i-i-i-ight. So please God and go in the rapture, folks. But
‘pleased’ is a wee bit vague. So look in Hebrews
11:5-6. There’s a bit more detail: he used faith. You
can’t please God without faith. Okay – but
that’s still vague. Great for any number of
inspiring sermons. But in real life...?
Grab a Bible. There’s a crisp answer. Enoch was a
preacher. And what was his message? Not the flood.
Not the Jews in Israel worshipping in the Temple. What
Four thousand, five hundred years ago he was preaching the
Second Coming of Jesus. Read it. Jude, Verse 14 (there’s
only one chapter): ‘I saw the Lord coming with tens of
thousands of his saints: Coming in judgment. That’s
not the first coming; it’s the second.
And for that message he qualified for his own personal
That message took faith.
That message pleased God.
What are the chances, 4,500 years on, as this Age ticks out
its last few seconds, that the same message will produce the same
In other words: If we look forward to Jesus the Messiah coming
back to reign as King from Jerusalem, Israel, and we tell
others about it, we will ensure we go up to meet Him in the
Rapture. See you there?
George & Eileen Anderson can be contacted at
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