This is a continuation of a previous article: What is Revival Anyway?: A Simple Definition. What does it mean to say that revival is ‘God visiting his church’? After all, He is always with us and all Christians are suppose to be a ‘Temple of the Holy Spirit’ with his presence dwelling within, right? So what is so different about ‘God visiting his church’?
One of the Scriptures that has always affected me greatly is the call of Isaiah in Is. 6. Isaiah up to that time had probably lived in or close to King Uzziah’s court since he wrote the book on the King (I Chron. 26:22). He had probably been in the Temple many times and felt the presence of the Lord, but that day was different for Isaiah, God visited his temple and specifically visited Isaiah and everything changed after that.
You say: ‘well that was ‘Old Testament’ what does that have to do with us? Besides that was God commissioning a prophet, something special and unique.’ Answer: I believe that God is going to visit his church in a unique way and call his entire church to be his prophetic voice to a culture and people in need of repentance.
You ask: ‘What does entire church mean?’ Answer: the entire ‘Body of Christ’- Protestant, Orthodox, Charismatic, Catholic, Pentecostal, Anglican, Reform, Baptist, Evangelical and every other faithful group you can name or Christian denomination you can think of. Many will respond and some won’t, but for sure it should be interesting and controversial.
Now back to ‘God visiting his church’, what does that mean and really look like? We can always look at revivals in the past and read about how God has visited his church before. However, there always seems to be something different or unique about each visitation and revival.
An article in the March 2007 issue of Charisma Magazine (now in the archives) by Robert Heidler and Chuck Pierce is full of good insight about what it means for God to visit his church: “Watch for the Next Great Awakening”. Read the whole article, it is tremendous!
In their article, Heidler and Pierce identify three levels of God’s presence found in the Bible and find revival in the third category:
God’s omnipresence. When we speak of God’s omnipresence, we mean that God is present everywhere. No matter where you go, He is there.
God’s indwelling presence. When you trusted Jesus, the Holy Spirit came to live inside you. If you know Jesus, the Spirit of God is present in you in a way that is different from His general presence everywhere.
God’s manifest presence. God’s manifest presence becomes apparent when God reveals Himself in a given time and place in a way that is discernable to your physical senses. God is always here, but we don’t always discern Him. When God manifests His presence, He makes His presence known in a tangible way.
When God manifests His presence to His church corporately, we call it revival. Revival is the glory of God coming into His temple.
Many of us have experienced God’s presence in church services and conferences and yet no one would claim that it was revival. The changes to many leaders who experienced the renewal at Toronto were tremendous and are still affecting the church, yet it did not really touch society as a whole in North America.
So what makes true Revival different? I believe that it is a matter of degree. When you read about ‘The Great Awakening’ in America’, the presence of God filled the church and brought repentance that spilled out into the street. When Charles Finney walked into a factory in 19th century New York, God’s manifest presence came in with him, the work stopped, people repented, the whole city was changed, and 500,000 came to Christ. When revival came to Wales it was said by children:
“Don’t you know? Jesus lives here now!”
What we are talking about when we say that revival is ‘God visiting His church’ is a manifest presence of the Lord that is life changing for everyone present. A tangible presence that brings repentance, healing, and anointing that flows with every member out the back door of the church and touches families, neighborhoods, cities, and entire cultures and nations. *Top