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Exposition: The Hope for Revival

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Exposition: The Hope for Revival

Despite the challenges presented by the world's condition and the church's Laodicean indifference just prior to the rapture, many Christians hold high hopes for a major revival prior to the rapture. They base this hope in part on the promise of God's grace as seen in Romans 5:20:

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Outside of perhaps the time preceding Noah's flood and Sodom's destruction, when will sin abound any more than the seven-year tribulation and the period immediately preceding it? This abundance of sin guarantees God's grace will be at its peak during this time. Many Christians expect to see God's grace exhibited not only by the forgiveness of sin but also by the Holy Spirit's activities in reaching and converting large numbers of the world's lost masses. Joel's end-time prophecies strengthen these expectations:

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (Joel 2:28-29)

During the ‘end-times', God promises the Holy Spirit will operate in unprecedented ways. While the context of the verses do not indicate whether the Holy Spirit's activities transpire before or during the seven-year tribulation, it is clear that His actions immediately precede Jesus' return. His actions, and the resulting revival, could occur just prior to the tribulation, during the seven-year tribulation, or both. Most likely, the fulfillment of Joel's prophecies starts prior to the tribulation and continues into the full tribulation. Extra-Biblical statements further fuel expectations of a major end-time revival. For example, in 1889 the famous missionary to China, James Hudson Taylor, reportedly foretold two future world wars and a major worldwide revival. This revival just preceding Jesus' return would emanate in Russia before spreading to Europe and then the rest of the world. Bishop Aristocoli also made similar pronouncements about a future Russian revival lighting the way for the rest of the world. Whether predictions like these prove legitimate, they continue to serve as hope and inspiration to missionaries throughout the world and help nourish the hopes of a coming worldwide revival.