With the serious falling away among Christian people apparent in our day, many despair of ever again seeing a real Holy Spirit revival. But Peter, moved by the Holy Spirit, shows us that the prophecy of Joel is for the church age (read Acts 2:14-20). The church age began on the day of Pentecost, and continues to today. God promises, “It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh” (v. 17).
We should never be discouraged, but we have failed God, and we should get solemn about it. God wants us to realize that revival is needed, that when we meet His conditions, revival will come, and that it must be prayed down. There is a time for rejoicing and shouting, but it is after the solemn assembly. See Joel 2:12-27.
God is faithful. As we humble ourselves, and pray, and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways, He will hear from heaven (2 Chr. 7:14), even in these days, “for with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).
As we think of the awful sins among professing Christians today, and the abounding iniquity that prevails, it is well to remember that even after the Jews had rejected the Lord Jesus, had crucified the Son of God – even then God sent a mighty revival and gathered in a remnant of the Jews, beginning on the day of Pentecost and continuing for several years thereafter before He, for a time, cut them off.
Just so, in these last days God will send a revival, a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, when souls shall be saved, and the wise virgins shall be made ready for the coming of the Heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus.
A “John the Baptist” Remnant
In a time of Israel’s sore declension, God sent John the Baptist to “prepare the way before” the Lord (Mal. 3:1; Isa. 40:3). John, one man, was a forerunner of Jesus. The church is one body but with many members. God works through groups of people in the church age. It will not be some one outstanding prophet who will prepare the way for the Second Coming of Jesus. But God, raising up a remnant, will send them forth in the power of the Spirit to sound the alarm (Joel 2:1) and get the hungry and humble Christians ready for the Coming of the Lord, with lamps all trimmed and burning, and vessels filled with oil – filled with the Holy Spirit.
John the Baptist’s coming was foretold (Matt. 3:3), but it also took prayer to get the prophecies fulfilled. In fact, he appeared on the scene directly in answer to prayer, for the angel told Zacharias, “Thy prayer is heard; and thy wife...shall bear thee a son...John” (Luke 1:13). So revival must also be prayed down. Though prophesied in the Book of Joel, yet the revival will come directly in answer to prayer. See Luke 18:1-8 and Joel 2:12-17, with Joel 2:18-29. “I will yet...be enquired of...to do it” (Ezek. 36:37). The Lord says, “Ask...” (Matt. 7:7).
John was born at a time when it appeared most unlikely that a child could be born, for both Zacharias and his wife were old, and Elisabeth was barren (Luke 1:5-7). In like manner this end of the age revival which we now look for, will come in the midst of a “desert” condition (Isa. 40:3; 43:19), when such a thing seems impossible.
The “desert” condition prevailing in so many churches today is one of the signs – not of the final state of the church – but of the condition the church will be in when revival from heaven comes. “I will even make...rivers in the desert” (Isa. 43:19). “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed...” (Isa. 44:3). Let us not take away anything from these prophecies of God.
It was said of John that he should “go before Him [Jesus]...to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children...to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). This is the work of God’s revival remnant in these last days before the Second Coming of Christ – to turn the people back to God, and to stir them up to get ready for the Lord’s returning!
God Is Calling the Hungry
Today, it is to those who are hungry for more of God, to those who are grieved because of the fearful conditions existing among God’s people – it is to those that the Lord is speaking. And from that remnant will He yet call a people to go before Him in the power of the Holy Spirit to prepare the way for the Second Coming of the Lord. Let us believe the message of God’s Word, though our faith may be tested (Luke 18:7-8).
Let those who are praying for revival be encouraged. God wants us to be concerned about the prayerlessness, lack of love, gossiping, shallowness, frivolity, worldliness and slothfulness of professing Christians in these awful days. God notices and approves when we are “grieved for the affliction” (Amos 6:6) of His people. See how He marks and spares those that “sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst” (Ezek. 9:4-6).
He Satisfies the Longing Soul
God, who has put that “cry” for revival in our heart and soul, that same Holy God is faithful to answer that heart-cry of His own Blood-bought people “which cry day and night unto Him” (Luke 18:7). So let us “always...pray and not...faint” (Luke 18:1).
The same Holy Spirit who inspired Joel to write of the coming revival is stirring up the hearts of the hungry and humble saints of God in these last days to pray and believe and hold on for the fulfillment of those promises that God will restore the things which the church has lost (Joel 2:25-27), and that He will give us the rain from heaven – the harvest rain – the outpouring of the Spirit to prepare us for the Coming of the Lord, even the former rain and the latter rain in the first month (Joel 2:21-32).
Hold on in faith, praying the prayer for revival which the Holy Spirit has put on your heart until God answers. Then continue walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), and in faith and obedience until Jesus comes!
Do Not Let the Foolish Virgins Steal Your Oil!
Jesus says, “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matt. 9:29). Cherish every bit of faith you have, every bit of hunger for revival that God, by the movings of His Spirit, puts into your heart. Trim your lamp, my brother, my sister, and parley not with those who have no faith for revival. Obey the urgings of the Holy Spirit deep in your own soul, and pray through! “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord...And He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth” (Hos. 6:3).
“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain...for the day of the Lord...is nigh at hand...Gather the people...assemble the elders...Let...the ministers of the Lord, weep...and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them....
“Then will the Lord be jealous for His land, and pity His people. Yea, the Lord will answer...And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion...shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call” (Joel 2:1-32).