MEANING OF REVIVAL
The dictionary meaning of “revival” is an act of “bringing back or coming back to life, vigour, being, activity, consciousness, memory, good spirits, freshness, etc.” A dead person is revived or restored to life; a dormant person is brought back to activity; a weak person is revived to vigour; a dull person is restored to good spirits or freshness; an oblivious person is revived to memory; an unconscious person is brought back to consciousness.
An unsaved person is spiritually dead. He is a lost soul, as he has not been redeemed from the sin by the Blood of Jesus. He is to be born again in the Spirit of God. There are millions of souls in the world awaiting revival from their spiritual death, which came through Adam. On the contrary, a saved soul is spiritually alive. Nevertheless, he may be spiritually weak, dormant, dull, unconscious or oblivious. He has a name that he lives but is dead (Rev.3: 1). There are thousands of saved souls or born-again Christians in our midst, falling under this category. Though they are born again, yet they are spiritually dumb, deaf, and blind. They are dumb because they do not tell others about what Jesus has done for them or about the need for salvation through Jesus; they are shy of witnessing for Christ. They are deaf because they hardly discern the voice of Jesus through the word of God; they are hard of hearing either the footsteps of the coming Messiah from above or the heart-rending cries of lost souls down from the bottomless pit. They are blind because they do not perceive the suffering Christ in the garb of afflicted strangers who visit their houses for help or who remain sick or in prison (Matt.25: 35-40).
There are many saved Christians who slumber spiritually. They have lost their first love for God. Once they were zealous for God actively engaged in soul-winning or helping the mission fields. The spirit of deep sleep has now come upon them (Is.29:10).
There are many believers who have fallen unconscious spiritually and lost their senses. They have become indifferent to lost souls and the work in the Lord’s vineyard. They do not have the agonizing mind of Christ. Neither do they feel the agonies of the other members of the Body of Christ. “…Whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…” (I Cor.12: 26). They have no concern for the suffering missionaries on the mission fields or the poor saints in the House of God.
There is yet another category of Christians who are oblivious of their duties and responsibilities in the vineyard of God in this darkest hour as they give preference to the mundane things.
All these kinds of the children of God are likened to the children of Israel who have become “the dry bones” in the prophetic book of Ezekiel (Ch.1). Their lives are not different from the lives of the unsaved persons. They are like the dry bones in the churches of God, whereas the unsaved persons are like the dry bones in the world. Prophetically speaking, all these children of God represent the last or the end-time Church of the Laodiceans who were lukewarm and were neither cold nor hot. They are spiritually complacent and say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing”. However, the Holy Spirit points to them, “thou art wretched, and miserably, and poor, and blind, and naked”. The Holy Spirit who has been constantly grieved by the lives of such children of God is still standing at the door and knocking at their hearts, unwilling to desert them because of His long-suffering. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev.3: 14-22). The bride of the Song of Solomon sleeps but her heart wakes and hears the voice of her Beloved “that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night” (Song 5:2).
Since all these children of God are the individual members of the invisible Body of Christ, the Church, they are to be revived first. God will send a might revival to this world only through the revived members of the Body of Christ.
NEED FOR REVIVAL
The greatest need of the hour is revival without which souls would be doomed forever. If revival does not break out in a country, it will be plunged into turmoil and violence. God has to pour out His Spirit upon us. The devil is very active and awake. Hell is opening its wide mouth. Remember that while time is flying, souls are being lost; sinners are being thrown into the bottomless pit. Does not this thought move your hearts? Moreover, some of those, whom you might seek to save, are your own sons and daughters, your own flesh and blood. If revival does not break out, your own offspring will be lost in eternity.
Let us now meditate on the words of prophecy in the 37th Chapter of the Book of Ezekiel. Let us now look at a revived and glorified Church through the prophetic eyes of Ezekiel. Dear servant of God, the hand of the Lord is now upon you as you read this message and is carrying you out in His Spirit and setting you down “in the midst of the valley, which was full of bones” (Vs.1).
First, you must have a vision of the deep valley, which is full of the bones of the chosen people of God. They have a name that they live and are actually dead (Rev.3: 2). They are spiritually deaf and dumb or blind or dormant or unconscious as earlier seen. Through the prophetic eyes, you must “behold” the open valley full of the dry bones (Vs.2). See the many dry bones in your church, town or nation. Nowadays, the pastors do not see this vision because they are quite complacent with the spiritual state of the sheep under their care so long as they get tithes and offerings from their congregations or so long as the members attend the church-services regularly or worship God with a loud voice. On seeing the numerical strength on Sunday services, they presume that their sheep are spiritually well. They hardly realize that their sheep are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”(Rev.3: 17). In the eyes of God, these lifeless sheep are like the dry bones. The word of God calls them as such. Do not rate them, according to your own standards.
Dear evangelist, you should have the vision of the multitudes of such dry bones in many towns and villages in your nation and the whole world. You have not yet gone to preach the glorious gospel to these dead souls languishing in darkness. These multitudes would believe on Jesus only through your word and would become the sons and daughters of God or join the flock of Jesus (John 1:12 & 17:20). In other words, these unsaved and dead souls will never become the children of God so long as you do not obey the great commission of Jesus. Only through your word, the precious souls who were predestinated by God to be His children will be restored to the Church. “How shall they believe on Him of whom they have not heard?” (Rom.10: 14). As per Eze.37: 11, “these bones are the whole house of Israel” – the whole house of the chosen people of God under the New Covenant including those who would hear the gospel and would be saved.
The second aspect is faith. The Holy Spirit asks you, “Son of man, can these bones live”? (Vs.3). Logically speaking, the dried bones cannot be restored to life and there is no hope of reviving these bones by any human effort. In the past, you might have organized and conducted many retreats and revival meetings with the hope of reviving such dried bones but in vain. Though our hope is lost, yet the Lord is posing this question to test your faith. Let us confess through our mouth that God is able to revive them; they will live.
Dear servant of God, the Holy Spirit commands you to “prophesy upon these bones and say unto them, “O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord”. These days, we attach little importance to the gift of prophecy or the ministry of prophets. Less emphasis is laid on the gift of prophecy, whereas undue emphasis is laid on the gift of tongues as in the days of the Corinthian Church. Please note prophecy is as important as prayer. Prophecy can be distinguished from prayer. A prayer proceeds from man to God, whereas a prophecy proceeds from a holy man of God to another man or a people or a kingdom or a nation including animate and inanimate things as he is moved by the Holy Ghost (II Pet.1: 21).
An inanimate thing has the ear to hear the word of the Lord. For instance, the wind hears His Word and obeys Him (Mark 4:39). When you utter the word of God and command in Jesus’ Name, the inanimate things or the natural forces as moved by the Holy Ghost, will obey you. Please read Matt.21: 19-22. Jesus said, “If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done”. A prayer conveys man’s words, whereas a prophecy conveys God’s words. Prophecy is more important than any other human effort in reviving either lifeless children of God or dead souls.
Prophecy can change the course of history of a church or a nation. Prophecy can also bring about divine judgment and can cause the rise or the fall of a kingdom. Jesus spoke the words of prophecy to Jerusalem in Matt.23: 37-39 and accordingly the judgment of God devoured Jerusalem in A.D.70 through Roman destruction. A word of mouth from a holy prophet can either create or destroy a thing.
Be discreet in prophesying unto the people. Do not openly or directly address them as dry bones as this would lead to misunderstanding amongst the hearers. Be careful. You have to prophesy unto the dry-bones, not to the hearing of the bodily ear. As you are about to preach or intercede in prayers for others, you may speak the words of prophecy silently so that the spiritual ears and not the physical ears may hear them.
Verses 5 and six contain the prophetic message of God to the dry bones:
“Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live; and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord”.
It is none but the Lord who causes His breath to enter into the dry bones, and to create a new body with life, in response to your prophecy.
Ezekiel prophesied as he was commanded by the Lord (Vs. 7). A prophet must prophesy as he is commanded by the Lord. Every prophecy must be in accordance with the will of God. Today, there are many self appointed prophets who prophesy according to their own imaginations. They prophesy lies in His Name (Jer. 23:25). They steal God’s words and use their tongues and say, “He saith”. God has neither sent them nor commanded them. They cause the people of God to err by their lies (Jer. 23:30-32). There are some people in some churches who steal the Bible verses and say, “God saith” visualizing some particular person or situation in mind. The word of God should not be stolen from the Bible and handled so as to offend somebody whom you hate or to flatter somebody whom you like. The word of God is the word of truth, which should be rightly divided (II Tim. 2:15). Since the word of God is also the sword of the Spirit, it should be used only after much prayer.
When Ezekiel prophesied, there was a noise and a shaking and the bones came together, bone to his bone (Vs. 7). As you prophesy in Jesus’ Name, a noise will be heard, accompanied by a shaking. There may be an over-loud or disturbing sound, indicative of repentance and confession of sins by the individual members. There will be a noise, as you will hear penitent people weeping or mourning for their sins. God will shake the individual lives of the sheep under your care and they will repent of their sins and iniquities. There will be a shaking of the entire church, and repentant persons will weep or mourn for their sins and will make restitution of the wrongful gains. Such a shaking will be evidenced by a noise as you hear through the ear their weeping and living testimonies.
The scattered bones come together and the skeleton is restored. The skeleton formed symbolizes the structure of a Christian life being restored by the Blood of Jesus. The collapsed structure is being restored by the Blood of Jesus. In other words, upon one’s repentance of his backslidings, the basic structure of the spiritual life is being restored. Dear minister of God, is there any believer in your flock whose life has been overcome and destroyed or shattered by any deadly sin or any sin “which doth so easily beset us” (Heb. 12:1)? As you prophesy upon his dry bones in Jesus’ Name, a restoration is caused in his life by the Blood of Jesus.
Then the sinews and the flesh come up upon them, and the skins cover them above (Vs. 8). Formation of a new spiritual body takes place, which will be again filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. This body will have all the senses restored. This new body will hear and see Jesus through their spiritual senses and will have the agonizing mind of Jesus. It will feel the agonies suffered by the members of the Body of Christ.
The second part of the prophecy is mentioned in verse 9. You have now to prophesy unto the wind:
“Thus saith the Lord God; come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live”.
The first part of the prophecy creates a new spiritual man out of the dry bones, and the second part of the prophecy enables the life-giving Spirit to breathe upon the newly created man.
The wind symbolizes the Holy Spirit as per John 3:8. The life-giving breath comes from the four winds, which symbolize the quadruple Cross of our Lord Jesus that is lifted up towards the heaven. The Holy Spirit comes to us only because of the redemptive work of the Father through the Cross of His Son. We have the greatest privilege of possessing the Holy Spirit in our earthen vessels only because of the shedding of the Blood of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. The Holy Spirit and the Blood of the Cross are inseparable, because the Christian life is of the Blood of Jesus (Lev. 17:14). As you prophesy unto the wind in Jesus’ Name, a new anointing of the Holy Spirit comes upon the newly created spiritual man. This latter anointing will be greater than the former anointing.
Let us prophesy unto the dry bones and unto the wind in Jesus’ Name. Then we will see the re-generation of the thousands of lifeless believers who will “stand up upon their feet, an exceeding great army” (Vs. 10). This great army will stand on their own feet and accomplish great things for God. You need not goad them into evangelical work or prayer meetings. They will be zealous for God, filled with His Spirit and fire. Through this army, God will shake the nations and send a revival upon them.
Are you an evangelist intent upon doing the perfect will of God by reaching out the dry bones in the obscure valleys of your nation? If so, as you prophesy upon these dry bones and unto the wind in Jesus’ Name, during your Gospel out-reach campaigns, you will indeed hear a voice and will perceive a shaking in a similar manner. The scattered bones of the would-be children of God will turn into an exceeding great army of the soldiers of Christ. This great army will shake the whole world. This is a revival of the dry bones during evangelism by virtue of prophecy.
The third part of the prophecy, which is distinct from the previous ones, is mentioned in verses 11 to 14. The Lord finally commanded Ezekiel to prophesy unto the House of Israel who said “Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts”. This part of the prophecy is an open and direct one, and you can prophesy unto the children of God and to the hearing of their physical ears.
The God of Israel is the Hope of the hopeless. In your personal life, there may be dried bones, which made you lose your hope forever. You might have missed some blessing from God; you might have faced some defeat after defeat; you might have been in the grave dug by the cunning devil for a long time with no hope of redemption. Moreover, you hopes lie buried with no sign of resurrection. Dear child of God, you may now hear the prophecy. “Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, and shall put My Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land; then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.”
Dearly beloved, you will come out of your grave and step into the Promised Land. This is your own land, which has been hidden from your view by the Devil. There will be resurrection of the buried bones on this land. God will restore you twice the things lost by you or the years wasted in your life. You have to believe that God will place you in your land. A life of victory over sin and of power over all the powers of the enemy is available to you in this very world once God causes you to come out of the spiritual grave. You have to simply believe Him. The third part of the prophecy is promised only for those who trust in Him.
Glory of His Cross Prophetic Ministries (India)