By Dr. Richard B. W. Ing
August 1, 2003
A GREAT “REVIVAL” OF THE PAST
In the days of King Josiah, a great revival roared through the land as people filled the temples to overflowing. The priests had discovered the long-lost book of the law and the king wept when he read it and vowed to bring back true worship of the God of Israel. He did everything possible to destroy the temples to strange gods and even killed the priests of Baal and other strange religions. He restored the Passover and all the people agreed to walk after the ways of the Lord. II Ki. Chapters 22 and 23. He spawned a great revival that lasted beyond his reign.
"Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of His great wrath.” 2 Ki. 23:26. Great destruction came in the midst of “revival.” God was angry at the people and even after many warnings by Jeremiah, the prophet, the people refused to repent of their ways. 2 Ki. 23:26. They could see nothing wrong. They wanted to kill Jeremiah for telling them there was a war coming. It went against their teachings. Jer. 26:11, 13. But God soon caused Babylon to invade Judah, destroy Jerusalem and God’s temple there, and take captive all of God’s people who were not killed.
Why was God so displeased about the great “revival?”
WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE “REVIVAL”?
The people were convinced that they were worshiping God correctly. They told Jeremiah, “Wherefore hath the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? Or what is our iniquity? Or what is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?” Jer. 16:10. In other words, “Why would God be angry with us? Our temples are filled with people and we are prospering. God is pleased. We have no iniquity or sin. You’re wrong! Show us what we’re doing wrong!” But, they didn’t know the ways of the Lord and His judgments. Jer. 5:4. They never departed from the things of the world and worshiped other gods too. Jer. 44:17, 23. The prophets and the priests did not preach the true word of God. They hardly preached repentance and obedience to the ways of God. They compromised and devised means to bring people into the temple that were not the old ways and they were covetous of one another. Jer. 6:13, 16. They loved attention and competed for the biggest temple. They did their own thing and preached, “Peace, peace.” Jer. 6:14; Jer. 8:11. They gave the people what they wanted, not what they needed and the people loved it. Jer. 5:31. People always love peace and prosperity messages. (One of the definitions of “peace” is “prosperity.”) It makes them feel good and they will keep coming back for more.
But there was war coming and Jeremiah knew it deep in his heart. He could not contain himself. Jeremiah cried, “My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of a trumpet, the alarm of war.” Jer. 4:19. His heart was pounding loudly and his insides were churning. He knew war was coming! BuT nobody would listen to him or take him seriously.
WE ARE HEADED DOWN THE SAME PATH
From time to time, the Barna Research Group, Ltd. conducts surveys on the current attitudes and beliefs of the church in America. These are some of the results of their 1997 survey:
- 34% of born-again Christians, 53% of all Christians and 73% of mainline Protestants believe that if a person is good, he will go to heaven. You don’t need Jesus to go to heaven.
- 66% of evangelicals don’t believe that the Bible is totally accurate; 74% of Catholics agree and 42% of all Christians agree.
- 28% of born-again Christians, 65% of evangelicals, and 40% of all Christians believe that Jesus was a sinner when He walked the earth.
- 52% of born-again Christians, 72% of Catholics, and 80% of all Christians don’t believe that the devil is real, that he is only a symbol of evil.
- 55% of born-again Christians, 61% of all Christians don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is a person, that He is only a symbol of God’s presence and power.
- 35% of born-again Christians and 39% of all Christians do not believe that Jesus rose from the dead bodily.
Although the survey was conducted ten years ago, the results are reflective of our beliefs today. In fact, out beliefs may be even worse now. Movies and books such as The Passion of Christ and The Da Vinci Code have eroded many of the truths in the Bible. Some modern “Christian” beliefs are pure blasphemy. We no longer follow the Bible or the ways of God. We are doing our own thing and the people love to have it so!
OUR OWN “GREAT” REVIVAL
A couple of years ago, two local TV news networks and local newspapers reported a Hawaii “revival.” They asked the pastors, “What do you attribute your success to?” One said, “Great music. Our musicians are almost professional.” Another said, “We have programs for everybody.” A third said, “We give sermons of current interest, things people can relate to.” The TV newscasters then interviewed two religion professors from local universities who attended a number of church services and asked, “What do you see different in these services?” They answered, “They no longer teach repentance, demons and obedience.”
The pastor of a large church recommends that you take a poll and find out what the people want and then tailor your sermons and church accordingly (Give them what they want, not what they need.). Most want to know about marriage, dating, how to be prosperous, how to have victory in life, etc. It is vain. People don’t come to church to cry; they want to have a good time. They want to feel good. This approach fills churches, but the people are embracing a different brand of Christianity from the old ways. They are being told that God is a God of love who will forgive them anything, and who loves to prosper His children. They are taught that God is a lovey-dovey teddy bear in a Santa Claus suit. “Become a Christian and Jesus is going to give you everything you ever wanted in life!” True repentance with weeping and sorrow for sins and a turning away from sin, is not in their vocabulary. They know not the God of righteousness and judgment.
Pastors teach a pre-tribulation rapture doctrine that claims that God will not allow His people to suffer tribulation or face trials. He will whisk us away from danger and tribulation to be in heaven with Him throughout eternity. They preach, “Peace, Peace, Prosperity. Peace and prosperity for God’s people. Tribulation belongs to the unbelievers.” Some claim that the church will be a glorious church soon. God is restoring apostles and prophets and we will rule the world. These are false and vain doctrines, never preached by the early apostles. The Bible says that war is coming and the church will be destroyed! Rev. 13:7, 8; Da. 7:21, 25. As a result, the new breed of Christians continue to fornicate, commit adultery, and sin in a myriad of ways. They come to church for the music and are taught that water baptism is optional and in order to go to heaven, all they have to do is repeat the sinners’ prayer. No repentance is required. The people continue to worship the world and have no intention of separating themselves or risking anything. They appear to worship God, but they fail to live the gospel. Their idols are money, sex and entertainment. There is no commitment to preach the gospel to the world or to carry their cross to follow Jesus.
One of the major approaches to entice young people into church is to tell them about the pretty girls and handsome guys. If you want to find a spouse, go to one of the big churches, a recent news article recommended. They come in droves. They know not the Lord and His ways and judgments. Jer. 5:4. A local newspaper published an article about going to church to find a spouse.
The percentage of Christians who divorce is even higher than that of non-Christians today. Many are “shacking up” and have illegitimate children, while attending church. Some have abortions and even go to fortune-tellers. They know not the ways of the Lord or His judgments because they have been taught that they can do anything they want and the blood of Jesus will wash them clean. All they have to do is say a sinners’ prayer and continue to attend church and their place in heaven is guaranteed for eternity. God understands them and loves them and they can have the best things in life because God wants to bless them as His children.
The pastors don’t believe there’s a war coming, and call it old-fashioned. Some nationally famous Christians have publicly declared that Satan is not real, that demons and the devil are only to help us conceptualize good and evil. One prominent televangelist said on nationwide TV, “If there’s a Satan, I haven’t met him yet.” That makes Jesus and the apostles liars. Pastors today compete with one another for the largest congregation and are covetous. They give only token attention to the poor and fatherless. Most of their money goes into buildings or to buy cars and buses. They may send a few dollars to the mission field, but that’s only conscience money. Fame and worldly success are their goals. The music is loud Christian rock. They dance heathen dances and play heathen music. They do their own thing and the people love it. Jer. 5:31. Pastors of large congregations spend millions buying a mansion or a penthouse for themselves, join posh country clubs and relish their new-found notoriety and successes.
In my trips overseas, I found that many Third World pastors emulate the big-time pastors in America that they see on television and their desire is to be like them. Whenever I give a message about repentance, holiness and following truth, I get opposition from pastors who sneer and speak against me under their breath.
God will send His servants to warn them and to tell them to repent, but they will not. In fact, they will speak against the Jeremiah’s of today and would like to kill them or shut them up. History is about to repeat itself.
God will judge His church. As in the days of Jeremiah, He will allow His church and people to be destroyed because of disobedience and rebellion. He has done it many times before. That’s His way and He has not changed. The enemy will soon come to destroy the Body of Christ, except for a faithful remnant. Christianity will be made illegal and the churches will be trampled down. Mt. 24:15 (abomination of desolation); Da. 8:11-14; Da. 9:26,27; Da. 11:31. Christians will be hunted down and killed.
The so-called glorious church of Jesus Christ is only a cheap imitation of God’s true church.
REPENT - JUDGMENT IS COMING SOON!
Yes, the end of the age is almost upon us. It appears that nothing will stop the destruction of the Body of Christ. It is inevitable, but God is determined to have His remnant of true and faithful servants. It is not within our province to second-guess God. Our job is to repent of our own sins and the sins of the Body of Christ. Joel 2:12-18 says,
Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind Him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the Lord be jealous for His land, and pity His people.
We have sinned grievously against the Lord. According to the Barna Research Group, the Body of Christ no longer believes in the God of the Bible. The people are far away from God in their hearts. They draw nigh unto Him with their mouth and honour Him with their lips, but their heart is far from Him. Mt. 15:8; Mk. 7:6. His anger and judgments are near. There will be no peace. There is war coming! God will allow His church to be destroyed and worship of Jesus outlawed. The abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel, the prophet, is almost here. Da. 11:31; 12:11; Mt. 24:15.
God is looking for His sanctified ones (Is. 13:3), His mighty army. Joel 2:1-11. They are those who have not departed from His old ways, who believe that the Bible is accurate in every way, that Satan is real and there is a well-organized demonic kingdom that is already warring against God’s people, that the Holy Spirit is a person and He dwells in us, that Jesus lived a sinless life, was crucified and rose physically from the dead.
Let us cry out to God, fast and weep before Him, confessing our sins and the sins of our people before it is too late. Pray for the gift of repentance that can only come from God. In Lamentations 2:14, Jeremiah wept after the destruction of Judah. He cried, “Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment.” Let us pray that God will discover (expose) our iniquity that we might repent and be not banished from His kingdom.
A REVIVAL COMING
Yes, there is a revival coming. In fact, there will be two revivals coming - a true one of repentance and truth on one hand, and a false one of compromise, good feelings and lies on the other. Which one will you embrace?