This has been the most spiritually intense season I've ever lived through. We've only reached the midpoint of this year, yet many of us are ready for 2020 to be over. First there was the coronavirus lockdown in March, then George Floyd was killed in Minnesota in May—and riots erupted amid peaceful protests. Now, medical experts say a second surge of the virus is heading our way, just in time for the presidential election.
Put on your seat belts, my friends. I don't expect the second half of this year to be any easier.
How do we navigate tough times? One thing that helps me is meditating on God's prophetic promises. When the skies grow dark, I remind myself of what God has said about the future. The apostle Paul told Timothy that the prophecies we have received can be like weapons, by which we "fight the good fight" (see 1 Tim. 1:18b, NASB). God's prophetic words pull us through bad times.
Watching the news depresses me. So I've been listening to special prophetic messages that were given to Christian leaders about a coming of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Over the past century, revivalists received powerful words from God about what He will do in the last days. Here are five of them:
- William J. Seymour, the humble leader of the 1906 Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, shared a message in 1913 saying that God would send an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that would begin 100 years later. He said what happened during the Azusa days (which birthed the global Pentecostal movement) would be dwarfed by the coming outpouring. It's interesting that around 2013 Western believers began to hear about the most sweeping revival in the world today in Iran. (You can learn more about Seymour's prophecy here).
- Maria Woodworth Etter, a powerful evangelist who died in 1924, led the famous Stone Church revival in Chicago in 1913. During those six months of mass conversions—which attracted people from all over the United States—Etter prophesied that something far bigger was coming. She declared: "We are not up to the fullness of the former rain, and when the latter rain comes it will far exceed anything we have ever seen." (For more information, go to this video message from her great-great-grandson).
- Faith teacher Kenneth Hagin shared a vision and prophecy in 1963 of a global outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In a video that is archived online, Hagin says he saw in the spirit a rise in communist ideology, even in the United States. But then he saw a "ball of fire" coming from heaven. "When it came to the earth, it divided into small sparks of fire, and I saw an army of men rising up," Hagin said. "It seemed as though their hands were fire, and there sat upon their heads a tongue of fire—tongues of fire leaping. Before the worst shall come, in the day of darkness, there shall go those who shall carry the fullness of my truth and the fire, not only to the states of this nation but to many other places" (watch full video here).
- Lester Sumrall, an American evangelist who died in 1996, spent some of his younger years with British revivalist Smith Wigglesworth. In a video message, Sumrall says Wigglesworth prayed for him in 1939 when Sumrall was 25. He said Wigglesworth described a vision of a global revival, saying: "I see revival coming to planet earth, maybe as never before. ... It will be untold numbers, an uncounted multitude. Nobody will be able to count those that will come to Jesus. ... The dead will be raised. The arthritic will be healed. Cancer will be healed. ... No disease would be able to stand before God's people. And that it would be a worldwide situation, not local, but it would be a worldwide thrust of God's power and thrust of God's anointing upon mankind."
- Pentecostal evangelist, Tommy Hicks, was the leader of a revival that shook the nation of Argentina in 1954. In a meeting in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1961, Hicks shared a descriptive vision of a global revival. He said he saw a huge army of Christians who fanned out across the world. "As they marched forth," Hicks said, "tens of thousands, even millions seemed to come to the Lord Jesus Christ as these people stood forth and gave the message of the kingdom."
Hicks continued: "I saw these workers as they were going over the face of the earth. When one would stumble and fall, another would come and pick him up. There were no "big I" and "little you," but...they seemed to have one thing in common—there was a divine love that seemed to flow forth from these people as they worked together. ... God said, 'I will pour my Spirit upon all flesh,'...And to every man and every woman that received this power, and the anointing of God, the miracles of God, there was no ending to it."
All of these words confirm the promise of a latter rain mentioned in Joel 2:23b, which says: "He showers down rains for you, the early rain and the latter rain, as before." The Bible is clear that before Jesus returns there will be a final glorious ingathering, resulting in the greatest spiritual harvest in all of history.
The promise has been confirmed over and over. God will send a fresh outpouring of the Spirit. No wonder the devil has unleashed so much fierce opposition at this time. I know the warfare is intense, but please don't lose hope. Hold on tight to the promise. Our best days are yet to come.
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
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