What the Alabama Courthouse Drama Means For Revival
August 28, 2003
My heart remains strangely pensive over the moving of the Ten Commandments monument in Alabama this week. This pensiveness is not my own. Symbols by themselves mean nothing and in fact most are nothing more than religious idols. In my higher spiritual understanding, the removal of every religious symbol—every steeple, cross, and painting of Jesus—would actually be a good thing for the Lord's people. Then we might start to see real Christianity. And we may yet….
Nevertheless, my spirit continues to brood over this event, not because of a symbol, but because of a corresponding spiritual reality I have sensed is related to it, and especially what that reality implies for our mission in North America as a kingdom people. What I sense is that things are going to become rougher, not smoother, for those who are named by the name of the Lord within this country.
We've heard a lot the last few years about "revival" coming to the United States. If this is true, then it is plain that whatever revival is, it is not about what is being envisioned by the multitude of ministries proclaiming its nearness. The problem with all the promises of revival in America is that what is really being envisioned is a revival of Christian Americanism, not a revival of the true faith.
If you want to know what the true faith is, simply read the New Testament. You might be surprised to find out there is no mention of America anywhere in it, except for that America would be classed among the nations as ever they are mentioned. Whatever the New Testament has to say about the nations, there you will find mention of America. But as to the true faith, it is about one thing: the establishing of Christ's authority over the human heart—at the cost of its attachment to the identities, possessions and peoples of this world—and thence over the physical world.
If you want to know what true revival is, simply read the New Testament. You'll be equally surprised to learn it has nothing to do with Christian leaders walking arm in arm with Roman politicians singing "God Bless Rome," or with Roman senators and Caesars setting up crosses next to the Roman eagle and acknowledging God as the founder of their empire. It has nothing to do with seeing God's blessing fall on the Roman stock market, or protecting the Roman dream of a chariot in every driveway.
Revival has everything to do with increased activation of Christ's authority over men—men falling in fear before an Almighty God, casting away their idols, burning their sorcery books, yielding up their wealth to the apostles for advancing the Message, changing allegiances from Caesar to God, and preparing for eternal physical life and the world to come.
Today's proclaimers of revival in America have a dilemma on their hands. (This includes all the "kingdom now" people.) The more we are being told about the imminence of revival or that the kingdom is "here," the worse things become in America. We see a few miraculous signs inside of four walls quickly upstaged by antics and theatrics and cry "It's here! It's here! Revival is here."
Yet nothing changes in the outer world. It only gets worse. "God wants us to believe revival is here." Yes, I know. This increased lawlessness is supposed to prove that revival is here. "Isn't it obvious? The devil is fighting harder, brandishing his evil everywhere. That means revival must be here, right? If revival were here, he wouldn't be fighting so hard, right? (Kind of reminds me of Saddam proclaiming how Iraq won the Persian Gulf War.)
Two Messages to Two Peoples
In my brooding over the removal of the monument in Alabama, I hear two distinct messages to two different groups of people. One is to the American (that is, the "americanized") church. The other is to the inhabitants at large of the United States.
The first message is to the church, for judgment begins at the house of God. To begin, it's time for the American intercessory-prophetic revival movement to come clean and realize that what they envision as revival is not going to happen. It's time for them to realize that what God calls revival and what they call revival are not the same.
God is not going to preserve the vain dream of a "christian America" any longer—where Christ is the adjective and America is the noun that receives the focus of adoration. God is tired of the phrase "God and Country," where He is forced to share center stage with a nation. (What indignity.) He is wearied of hearing his people sing "God Bless America" where he wants to hear them singing "Americans, bow to the Lord Jesus Christ and save yourselves from this perverse generation."
How bad is it going to get in America? It will get as bad as it has to in order for the end-time American church to give up its love affair with a human nation and make itself ready for the rule of the One who will not share His name with any people. How bad will that be? You tell me. You fill in the blanks.
Here is how you will know when revival has begun. When you see the churches begin tossing their American flags off their stages and out of their sanctuaries, you will know revival in America has begun. When you see churches begin surrendering their 501-c-3 credentials and stop reporting to the Babylonians on the gold and silver in God's house, you will know revival in America has begun.
When you see the American church stop playing up to politicians and presidential candidates to stand in awe of their glory, you will know revival in America has begun. When you see the American church take the American founding fathers off the same platform with the New Testament apostles, you will know revival in America has begun.
In short, when you see the American church begin to strip itself of its robes of American identity and natural heritage in order to wait only for the Bridegroom and to be called by His name, you will know revival has begun in America. And whatever has to happen to deprive the church of its trust in symbols and human religious culture to bring this about is going to happen.
It's really important to remember that, though God uses the nations to press in on His people until His people align only with Him, He nevertheless holds the nations to account for what knowledge they have of Him and how they respond to what they know.
The truth here is that the lost people and leaders of the United States—and of the whole world—remain accountable for acknowledging God's sovereignty over their affairs and for retaining what moral knowledge of Him they have been accorded through the presence of the gospel in their land—even though they do not know Him savingly. All mankind holds a basic knowledge of God and his requirements for which they are accountable, even though they do not have eternally redeeming knowledge of Him through Jesus Christ.
The interface between Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel makes this plainly clear.
The Lord used Nebuchadnezzer to bring judgment against Israel. That is how Daniel arrived there at all. He was a captive due to the disobedience of Israel. Still, God held Nebuchadnezzer accountable through Daniel for Nebuchadnezzer's acknowledgement of Him as Sovereign of the Universe and the One who ordained his kingdom in the first place. Nebuchadnezzer was judged for failing to do this, as was his successor Belshazzar. And Babylon fell.
The gentile rulers in the United States are more accountable than any people has ever been for the availability of the knowledge of God and His laws. They hold their own gentile-level accountability for that knowledge though they do not savingly know the Lord—without regard to the American church's faithlessness in holding a separated testimony in their midst. Every act on the part of American politicians and judges to deliberately remove the consciousness of God from public life is therefore an act subject to certain judgment, both in the present time and at the Lord's coming.
My personal sense has been and continues to be that there is something more than symbolic in the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama court building. The U.S. Constitution has been perpetually used over 40 years as a pretext for removing the consciousness of God from public life. Now, in removing this monument at the state level, my continued sense is that the gentile rulers of America have crossed an unseen prophetic line by which they have opened up the nation to a new level of danger, calamity and hardship.
Where Judgment and Revival Cross
One day, all mankind—all nations—will worship the Lord Jesus Christ. The issue is, on what terms and from what place? Will we worship through a redeemed separated heart around his throne? Or will we worship by force from our place of eternal separation "under the earth"? The ongoing interplay between the call to repentance and judgment is working in all the earth. The truth is that judgment is certain. But how will it come?
Repentance offers us the opportunity to side with God in judgment against our own sins before judgment falls on us because we remain aligned with our sin. The call to repentance remains on all nations. The amnesty possible through Calvary is still in force. Limited judgments are still falling. Final judgment is not here. But the limited judgments are increasing in nature and scope with each further rejection by the peoples of the earth, including America.
The rejection of the Alabama monument signals a new level of limited judgment upon the American people. Clearly the illusory revival of an americanized Christianity is not coming to pass, is not here.
But true revival is still on the way and will come, I believe. True, revival can avert judgment. But revival may also be born out of judgment. Clearly, there is no true revival in present force in the United States. There is only whistling in the dark. All indicators are that the many promises of revival will be born out of judgment. Certainly, nothing that has been called "revival" in response to those promises has come anywhere close to fitting the bill.
What will it look like then—this true revival? True revival in America will be in force when the American consciousness submits itself to the supreme awareness of Jesus Christ as Lord in the earth. We're not talking about people suddenly flocking to churches for a few weeks after a tragic event. We're not talking about soothing hopes and stroking pride in the belief of being "God's chosen nation." We're not talking about the shibboleths of "God and Country" uttered by politicians since America's founding. We're not talking about a revival of American civil religion, or fresh professions of the acknowledgement of "God," "Divine Providence," or what-have-you.
What we're talking about is the acknowledgement of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as Lord of the earth. We're talking about people leaving the pride of their humanity behind—their identity, their culture as well as their sin in this life—to become aligned with Jesus Christ. We're talking about people falling down to worship God at the expense of everything they are as a people in this world with all its fleeting meaning.
See, the "revival" we look for has to fit with the times and the seasons in God's plan for the ages. And the time we are in is that of transition of authority from the hands of men into the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ and His saints. This means the promised revival is not just about people getting "saved"—not even about people getting baptized with the Holy Spirit. We're talking about people making a complete conversion of identity and allegiance to the Lord of heaven and to the Lamb who sits on the throne. God will not accept anything less. The time for lesser things is past.
The beginning of the falling of the divine judgments on humanity is what will precipitate this class of revival. The world should understand now, and understand loud and clear—Be not deceived, God will not be mocked.
So yes, the stone has been rolled away. But a greater stone is arising to replace it. It is the stone cut out of the mountain without hands. It is the stone that will smash every kingdom and will fill the earth as the mountain of the Lord.
You want to challenge the knowledge of God in the earth? All right then. Bring it on….
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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