What is Revival?

What is Revival?

Since the inception of the church when revival fire first fell, and three thousand were added to the Church in just a day, revivals have punctuated the history of the church, resulting in rejuvenation of believers, transformation of individuals, communities and even nations and people won to Jesus.

People that study revival tell us that the fire of revival between one revival and the next is never the same.

The Welsh Revival in 1904-05 was marked by mass conversions and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The Hebrides Revival in 1949, saw many lapsed Christians return to the Lord, and was marked by a great sense of the fear of the Lord.

The Azusa Street Revival in 1906 was characterised by unity: the coming together of blacks and whites in an day when people’s skin colours divided and whites imposed segregation. The revival was also marked by the power of God. Thousands experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the miraculous power of God was wonderfully evident. And mission

In more recent times in 1994 the Toronto Blessing was marked by a glorious sense of Father God’s heart and love for His own people. 

Different as these historic revivals are in phenomena and results that occurred, they are widely accepted and recognised today as authentic revivals in their own right. 

There is one feature common to every single revival no matter what its unique expression or emphasis. This common feature is the Manifest Presence of God. People who have been in a revival always reflect that God Himself is unmistakably present. What they are referring to is that there is a very tangible, undenyable, wonderful sense of the Spirit of the Living God presencing Himself in the midst of what is taking place.

In the Great American Awakening, Jonathan Edwards wrote of Northampton, a town which George Whitefield passed through during the Great Awakening, “The town seemed to be full of the presence of God. It was never so full of love, nor so full of joy; and yet so full of distress, as it was then. There were remarkable tokens of God’s presence in almost every house. Our public gatherings were beautiful.”  

Of the revival associated with D.L. Moody it was noted, “At the next service, which was half past six in the evening, it seemed, while he was preaching, as if the very atmosphere was charged with the Spirit of God.”

For the revival quester, the Manifest Presence of God is our main compass bearing which will enable us to embark on a certain heading that will lead us to our desired destination. It is our homing beacon. Knowing this will also help us to recognise the many authentic expressions of revival when they happen, even if they are different to what we are familiar with.

Revival, biblically speaking, is the continuity of the gospel of the in-breaking of Heaven. As heaven breaks-in into our present existence in revival we experience some dimension of God’s future rule and reign in our lives or in our midst. In what we recognise as revival the in-breaking of heaven is not momentary, it is sustained for a period of time.  In light of this I want to propose a definition that revival is the sustained in-breaking of the Kingdom of God.

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