Dawn or Dusk: revival or not?
A 'word' received by Clifford Hill has attracted a variety of responses from Christian leaders in the UK in terms of what may lie ahead for us in the nation.
A 'word' received by Clifford Hill
"As surely as spring follows winter and as the light of day scatters the darkness of the night so will my Spirit scatter the forces of darkness that have spread across the land. The time is surely coming when you will see the hand of God move in this land again. My arm is not too short nor is my power limited, so be of good cheer little flock for I am with you always and the day will surely come when you will rejoice once again that the name of Jesus is being honoured in the public square.
There is much yet to happen that you will find disturbing as God-haters and God-deniers gain in influence in your nation as the foundations of Western civilisation crumble. Oh my people, children of the threshing floor, do not fear, for I will be with you and strengthen you in the times of hardship and suffering that lie ahead. As the institutional church weakens under the attack of the enemies of truth, so will I raise up and strengthen fellowships of believers who will learn to depend upon my Holy Spirit and to support one another in times of peril and hardship.
Now is the time to study the word of God, to learn my ways and know my purposes. Only my Spirit can drive away the fog of unbelief and the mist of uncertainty that hinders the work of the Spirit of God among you. Do not neglect to meet together for prayer and worship and for study of the word of God so that you may be strengthened for the testing times that lie ahead; bring everything before the Lord in prayer for the battle is not yours, it is the Lord's. He will not only direct your steps but he will strengthen you and carry you through the darkest hour until you see the joy of victory and release from oppression.
The day will surely come when the Spirit of the Lord will break out and overcome the darkness and the forces of oppression, bringing new life, and light, and health; and multitudes will hear the word and you will praise the Lord as those who have sown seeds with tears, bring in sheaves with cries of joy. Look forward to those days and learn to discern the signs of the times, watching for the coming of the Lord of the harvest. He will surely come and not be delayed."
There has been varied responses to the above from mature Christian leaders in the UK regarding whether we can expect hard times or 'revival'. In fact the answer could well be 'both'.
The word of the LORD came to me saying, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" And I said, "I see a rod of an almond tree." Then the LORD said to me, "You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it."
I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me ......
What God might do?
Our nation - and Scotland no less - is in open rebellion against God's statutes in most areas of political and public life. In Old Testament times God used both the Assyrians and the Babylonians to bring judgement on the northern and southern tribes respectively before going on to destroy the oppressors themselves.
We are seeing in our day the ambitions of Islam and multi-faith religion ally themselves with atheism and secular humanism to bring a combined assault on the Christian ethos and traditions which have underpinned much of our way of life and the laws which govern our land.
Meanwhile, as Christians pray for 'revival' there is often a sense – an unspoken but underlying expectation – that what God will do is produce a victorious all-conquering church with new converts flocking through the doors of Christian buildings.
In fact 'revival' might happen through times of serious persecution and refining as God 'sifts' His people in a purifying process.
It may well be that the any 'revival' which God sends will separate the church into an 'above ground' entity and an 'underground' church; with the former conformed to the spirit of the age and preaching a watered-down politically-correct message in order to stay within the law and protect its position - even charitable status - in the secular world – while the latter operates 'below the radar' with an uncompromised message of Christ and him crucified as the only way to God.
And when might He do it?
There is often the tendency to 'fit' God into our human time frames and perspectives; but of course the Bible warns us against this propensity. In the Lord's timescale, decades and more can easily pass. On the other hand events can move – as indeed they are today – very very quickly.
We need to guard against rash interpretations of events and keep our thoughts rooted in the inerrant word of God. However we also need to recognise and counter complacency and the distractions of daily life which might render us blind and so prevent us from recognising what is going on before our very eyes.
The Rev Dr Clifford Hill MA BD PhD is a sociologist and theologian. His pastoral ministry has been in inner-city areas of London including a long ministry in the East End during which he also held a Senior Lectureship in the Sociology of Religion in London University.
Clifford is the author of more than 30 books, covering a range of subjects including race and community relations, socio-political studies, biblical commentaries and research studies on the family, as well as many journal papers, tapes, CDs and other resources, including some written jointly with his wife Monica.
The Christians Together site policy is to encourage believers to 'weigh' all that they see, hear and read. It is important also to note the distinction between what God may be saying generally and then discerning how to respond (particularly and individually).
Clifford Hill / Editor, 03/03/2012