John & Carol Arnott: "The Coming Revival"
People often ask what actually happened when the Holy Spirit fell on us in 1994. After all, there had been plenty of other meetings and plenty of other pastors who had seen things like we were seeing; laughter, shaking, falling down, speaking in tongues—these are all things that have characterized revival throughout church history. What made our meeting that night with Randy Clark different?
When we talk about what makes a revival, of course there are all kinds of definitions. There are all kinds of ways the Holy Spirit can—and has—shown up at various times. For us at the time, we didn’t know right away that this would become a “revival”; we simply knew it was the visitation of the Holy Spirit we had been so hungry for because it was so deeply satisfying to the hearts and souls of so many.
God shows up in lots of ways. For us, it looked like people not being able to stand up under the power. It looked like uncontrollable laughter breaking out. It looked like a roomful of people speaking in languages they hadn’t learned.
What will happen when this next wave hits? What will happen when the glory comes? What will it look like? How will it impact the world around us?
Signs of Revival
Before a tsunami occurs, there are signs that point to the event. Scientists have ways of predicting where and when the phenomenon will occur. Today, two things serve as predictors of a coming tsunami wave of revival: a growing number of believers, as well as the rise in persecution of believers.
In their book Waves of Revival, Fred and Sharon Wright point to two components of a major revival; one is an emphasis on “essential truths about the nature and purposes of God that have been ignored, discarded or lost by successive generations of professing believers, well-meaning church leaders, and theologians.” In other words, the tsunami serves to bring the church back on track.
The second component , according to Fred and Sharon, is that revival is spurred on by “hungry and desperate people.” It is spurred on by a people so desperately in love, so hungry for more, that they can’t talk about anything else. They can’t focus on anything else. Their Bridegroom is on the way, and they want everyone to know it.
This coming revival, we believe, will help to usher in the second coming of Jesus—the Bridegroom coming for His Bride. The latter part of the book of Revelation describes a wedding; Revelation 19:7 tells us that the “marriage of the Lamb has come.” We’re getting ready for a wedding.
Throughout history, each wave of revival is characterized by a few things. First of all, what we would call the manifestations of the Holy Spirit seem to be consistent throughout each revival—early Anabaptists were known for falling down under the anointing; John Wesley felt a “warming” in his heart at the presence of the Holy Spirit; many at Azusa Street spoke in other tongues.
When the Spirit fell on us in 1994, we had an outbreak of laughter, of shaking, of falling to the floor. It’s still happening, both in Toronto at Catch the Fire and now all around the world, as those who have been touched by the revival spread the joy to their home countries and hometowns.
Second, all of these waves of revival were characterized by healing and deliverance. In 1727, the Moravians began a 100-year-long prayer meeting in which hundreds were healed. In 1894, Smith Wigglesworth was overcome by the Spirit, which led to a healing ministry that spread around the world for the better part of 30 years. In the 20-plus years of our revival, we’ve seen cancers healed, limbs grow out, and deaf ears opened. Heidi Baker’s ministry, which was sparked in large part by her visit to Toronto in 1997, has seen thousands healed in Africa.
Revival also affects society at large in that it sparks a passion for justice. Out of the revival birthed through John Wesley came a young man named William Wilberforce who, empowered by the Spirit, would see the abolition of slavery in England during his lifetime.
Our friends Bill and Beni Johnson pastor Bethel Church in Redding, California. Recently, the city of Redding was in a bit of a budget crunch and wasn’t going to be able to pay some of their fire and police personnel. Bethel Church paid a large sum of money to the city to help Redding keep their staffing intact. I know this flows out of Bill and Beni’s Holy Spirit-empowered way of thinking.
Finally, revival sparks a desire to see those who don’t know Jesus as their Savior brought into the family. Evangelism flourishes during times of revival; ours has been no different. It’s as if those who have fallen in love and are anticipating a wedding want everyone else to come too.
For the Glory of God
The point of revival isn’t the manifestations of the Spirit, although we certainly enjoy them. It’s not to have nightly meetings for 12 years, although we enjoyed that too. The point of revival is simply to see Jesus glorified in the earth. When He is lifted up, all people will be drawn to Him (see John 12:32).
As the wave of revival rises over the earth, the name of Jesus is brought to light once again.
Surrounding each revival was an emphasis on a particular characteristic of God. In the Reformation, we saw the restoration of the truth that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. During the First Great Awakening, we saw the restoration of the importance of the Great Commission. In the Pentecostal Revival, we saw the restoration of the emphasis on the Holy Spirit. And during the Father Heart Revival (Toronto), we saw the restoration of the absolute truth of God’s Father heart and desire for intimacy with us, His children.
We believe this next great tsunami wave of revival will be about the Bridegroom and His Bride, that it will serve as the invitation to a wedding—to the Wedding. To the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
The Coming Revival
You see, even though Christians make up the largest religious group in the world, it’s still not everyone. Billions of people still don’t know the love of their heavenly Father. They don’t know that they are sons and daughters of a King—of the King. They don’t know that He desperately wants to heal their hearts, bodies, and relationships. They don’t know that He desires to be their source of truth, their source of joy, their source of peace. They don’t know that they are invited to a wedding where they get to be joined in oneness forever to the most beautiful, most faithful, most wonderful Bridegroom there has ever been. We believe that this next wave of revival will serve as an invitation to that wedding.
This revival will be characterized by a global harvest of souls. In this age of air travel and technology, there is almost no people group that hasn’t already been reached for the Gospel. When Heidi and Rolland went to Mozambique over 20 years ago, there were several tribes in the north that were categorized as unreached people groups, and many across the region had never heard the name of Jesus. Heidi and Rolland, empowered by the Holy Spirit and full of the Father’s love for the people, have spent their time, energy, and resources taking the message of a loving heavenly Father out into the “bush bush”—the remotest places in Mozambique—several times a week. In the years since they began this journey, thousands upon thousands of people have heard the Gospel message and received salvation.
We know that there are still places and people who haven’t heard this message of love. We know that there are still billions who have heard but have rejected it. That’s okay; Jesus loves them too. As many as will go into unevangelized places, many will go to those who have heard and have not yet believed. After all, we’re inviting people to a party.
What will it look like? It will look familiar in some ways. When the infinite God of the universe encoun ters a finite being such as us, things tend to happen. We tend to respond. But I also believe that, as David Ruis prophesied so many years ago, we haven’t seen anything yet. We believe the glory of the latter house will be greater than the former. This revival will eclipse what happened in the book of Acts—the greatest revival to date.
Getting Ready for the Wedding
In preparing for the next wave of glory, our primary task is to keep the wicks of our lamps from burning out. The way we do that is by making sure we have enough oil, enough intimacy with the Lord through the Holy Spirit, to keep our fires burning.
Isn’t that exactly how a bride would prepare to meet her bridegroom? She would make sure she was truly get ting to know him, truly seeing him in face-to-face encoun ters. When we were dating, we lived about an hour and a half away from each other. We would often meet halfway and spend the evening holding hands across a restaurant table, gazing into each other’s eyes and telling each other how much we wanted to be together. We were preparing for marriage.
As lovers of Jesus who are preparing for our final wedding with Him, we should be spending lots of time gazing into His eyes, with Him gazing into ours. We should tell Him over and over again how much we love to be with Him and how we can’t wait to be one with Him forever—and hear Him say all those things to us.
This revival will be one that ignites a fire for intimacy with the Lord. It will ignite a passion to see our oil lamps fully ready for His coming, so that when He does come for the Marriage Supper, He will say, “Come with Me, My Bride. I know you. I see you. We have spent so much time face to face with each other, that I knew you the minute I saw you. Let’s go and be one forever.”
And we will be so in love with Him that we will invite everyone we know to experience the same intimacy with Him. We will spread His love to China and Iran and Turkey and North Korea and Africa, and billions will come to know Him— and to love Him.