Revival: Is It Coming to America?
Revival is what many people in America want. That’s not necessarily a bad thing of course. The only real question, as we attempt to bring this short series to a close, is whether or not God wants it to happen. That may seem like a ridiculous question to even consider. Of course God wants revival, doesn’t He? That depends on several things, most importantly, what His plans are for this point on His prophetic time line and calendar.
In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul tells us many things related to God’s end times calendar. In verse three, he states quite clearly and succinctly, “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first…”
“It” refers to overarching apostasy or rebellion that the Lord showed Paul would occur prior to the beginning of the day of the Lord. We’ve written a seven-part series on the subject of “day of the Lord” that highlights what we believe the Bible teaches about that subject. Our belief is that the day of the Lord begins with the start of the Tribulation period. Paul is saying that cannot begin until a great “falling away” (apostasy, rebellion) occurs and after that, the man of lawlessness can then be revealed. First things first.
Paul warned first century Christians that in the latter days (the end of this current age), Christians should expect not revival but a general rejection of God that will permeate society. This will affect even the visible Church (Christendom) where lots of people fall away (depart) from truth. Truth in general will come to be seen as “untruth” throughout society. This is certainly happening now. Politicians and leaders constantly lie to people and get away with it even though many know that they are lying. Militant representatives from special interest groups force their agenda on society. This is the norm and shows no sign of abating.
So when we speak of revival, clearly we think that revival throughout society would bring glory to God. That certainly makes sense. At the same time, how can we honestly expect “America” as a nation to repent? For that to happen, the corrupt leaders of this nation would have to be willing to admit that they are lying and living lives of one falsehood after another. They would then have to agree that their behavior is reprehensible, fully opposed to God’s truth. Once they admitted this, they would then have to literally turn from that behavior and endeavor to live a life that speaks the truth. Certainly, nothing is impossible with God, but we have to consider His revealed plan in determining whether or not this type of national revival is something we can expect in America.
If Paul is correct, then it is clear that things will progressively become worse throughout society, including America, as we move toward the time of the beginning of the Tribulation period. Just considering one passage from Paul – Romans 1:28-32 – tells us what he thought the end times would look like, prior to Christ’s return.
“28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.“
This attitude is permeating society and fast becoming the norm. It would appear then that God is not only allowing things to take a turn for the worst, but is enabling this to occur, as noted by the phrase, “God gave them over to a depraved mind…” in verse 28. Based on this fact – that God literally throws people over to depravity – and Paul’s words from 2 Thessalonians 2 about the great apostasy or falling away that will permeate all of society, it is very likely that we will not be seeing any form of national revival, either in America or in other nations. Paul’s letter to Timothy explains this in greater detail, about society’s tone during the end times (cf. 2 Timothy 3:1-5).
What we need to remember is that God appears to be allowing Satan to do whatever he can to bring his promises of Isaiah 14 (“I will be like the Most High“) to fruition. In doing so, God is forcing Satan to become quite public about his intentions to make himself like the Most High. Once fully out in the open – via the Antichrist during the Tribulation – God will squash Satan publicly, in full view of the entire universe.
Instead of considering these things though, we want something different. We want America to get back on track. We want the world to understand that God is God. While these are good things, it doesn’t appear that they will come about because God has His own plans in achieving His purposes, though clearly, the world will understand eventually and ultimately that God is God, but it will be done in God’s way and in His time.
Paul has told us that at some future point, every knee will bow to God (Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10). The problem is that we want God to do things our way and we want Him to do it now. This is when He says “no,” simply because His way is infinitely better whether we can or are willing to see and admit it.
If we cannot expect national revival, can we expect anything? Absolutely. We can expect that God will continue to “revive” the hearts of those who are already His. He will strengthen us, draw us closer to Him (as we lean on Him), and work within us through the Holy Spirit to recreate the character of Jesus within each true Christian. Beyond this, God will continue to call individuals (not nations) to Him for salvation. In other words, God will continue adding new members to the ever-growing invisible Church.
I would hasten to add that the main reason Christians and conservatives want to see America “back on track” and redirected back toward our founding principles is because it makes life much easier for us Christians, doesn’t it? We’ve been blessed beyond measure here in America and we are now seeing that come to an end. It isn’t taking God by surprise, though it is taking too many Christians by surprise. This tells me that these same Christians are not familiar with what God has to say about the days that lead directly up to the Tribulation.
I do not see in Scripture where God will send a national revival to America or any nation, with the possible exception of Israel (but that’s another set of articles). While He will always work to save and revive individuals, revival on a national scale does not appear to be in the picture. In fact, it would appear that things in society are going to become even worse than they are now. Instead of shrinking from that, we need to prepare ourselves mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to endure what is coming. We will endure only by the strength of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Shrinking from what may lie ahead only makes things worse.
We need to stop asking God to do something He likely will not do and we need to start recognizing the signs and understanding the times. God will not leave us high and dry. He will certainly not give us more than we can bear. We need to embrace that truth and live accordingly.
Instead of praying for a “revival” that would simply give us a false sense of security (because it wouldn’t last if we are in the months and years leading up to the Tribulation), we need to start asking God for strength and discernment for the days ahead. Our job – the Great Commission – still needs to be fulfilled.
I would hasten to add that for those Christians who focus inordinately on politics, you will likely miss many opportunities to be a witness to those who are in desperate need of Christ. Whether we like it or not, the prevalence of evil in society shows us the needed reality of salvation for those who are lost. We need to take the appropriate tone and attitude into that mission field every day.
It would seem that national revival is not coming. Are you okay with that if that is God’s design? If not, you should probably get on your knees until you are okay with that. God is still working. He is still drawing people to Himself and He wants to use you to help accomplish that. If you’re too busy dealing with politics, then He probably can’t use you and you’ll have to answer for that.