Questions of Interest – Revival

Is there any reason why we should, or any good reason why we should not, expect a world-wide revival before the end of the present age?

May we expect a worldwide revival before the coming of the Lord? Huge, enthusiastic conventions have answered this question with a vociferous "Yes!" and the echo has reverberated to the ends of the earth. But what say the Scriptures? Their reply will be one of unerring precision, unbiased by pride in human achievement. But we shall need a prayerful and diligent spirit in order to read their predictions aright.

What do the Scriptures lead us to expect? On the one hand, that "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived," that "they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to them teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Tim. 3:13; 4:3-4). This the Holy Ghost declared nineteen centuries ago, and "Higher Criticism," New Theology, Theosophy, Millennial Dawnism, Seventh Dayism, Mormonism, Christian Science, etc., with their hosts of adherents, have fulfilled the word to the letter.

From such a mass of spiritual corruption and apostasy no revival can be looked for. The evil leaven will work with its baneful influence until the professing church is spued out of the Lord's mouth as an unclean thing (Rev. 3:16). The outlook could not be darker for Christendom, for the profession which has the form of godliness without the power. There is not a feature of it that is acceptable to God. Its sole aim is the glory of man, and God has declared that no flesh shall glory in His presence.

Yet, in spite of all this, those who love the Lord have a glorious hope. The bright and morning star shining amid the deep gloom casts its beams into their hearts. The Lord is coming again, quickly coming, and in connection with this hope we may expect revival.

To His disciples, before He left them, the Lord Jesus said, "I will come again." These words were as balm of Gilead, administered by the great Physician, to their broken hearts and troubled spirits. From the day of His departure from earth they longed and looked for His return, because they loved Him. Just as the hope of His coming again had a prominent place in the hearts of His people at the beginning, even so, if we read the last book of the Bible aright, will it be immediately before His return. The prospect of His coming will be precious to them according to the measure of their love for Him.

It is a revival of this kind, of love to the Lord Himself on the part of His own and of earnest longing for Him, that we may expect, rather than a world-wide gospel movement. Such a revival seems to be involved in the fact that the Bride, in concert with the Spirit, cries "Come" in response to the Bridegroom, and that the final word of all is — "Even so come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:17, 20).

This revival of earnest longing for the Lord may not be widespread, nor attract the attention of the world, nor be chronicled in the columns of the newspapers; but it will be a great reality in the lives of those who come under its gracious influence. It would appear that three things will result from it: (1) Separation from the world: there will be a going out to meet Him (Matt. 25:6). "Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself" (1 John 3:3). (2) Faithfulness to the truth: there will be a holding fast to the Word, a cleaving to the Name of the Lord (Rev. 3:8, 11). (3) Evangelistic zeal: for it is written, "Let him that heareth say, Come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17).

Those who are thus revived will surely be maintained by the grace of the Lord and the power of the Holy Ghost, and will continue quietly, and perhaps unnoticed, to witness for Christ. Undoubtedly He will bless their testimony now, as He will assuredly recompense them with an abundant reward in the day of His appearing.