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TRIBULATION AND REVIVAL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, August 23, 2009

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).


The Book of Revelation presents a very dark picture of the immediate future. Most of the book speaks of the Great Tribulation, the last seven years of this present age. Mankind will be ruled by the Antichrist, and God will pour out great judgments on the world.

But there is a bright spot in this dark and horrible time. Our deacon, Dr. Chan, read the prophecy of this in Revelation 7:1-14 a moment ago. That bright spot in the Tribulation period is the greatest revival of true Christianity that the world has ever seen!

Revivals have often been sent by God in times of great trouble and apostasy. The revivals recorded in the Book of Acts came under the oppression of the Roman emperors, and great heresies within many of the churches. Christians were beheaded, tortured and thrown to the lions in the first century. Many of the churches embraced heretical teachings in those days. But, in the midst of all this trouble and apostasy, the Spirit of God was poured out, and tens of thousands of people were converted. They poured into the churches in the Book of Acts! In the sixteenth century, during a time of terrible persecution by the Inquisition and great spiritual darkness, the great Reformation revival was sent by God to turn millions to Christ. The eighteenth century was a time of great apostasy, spiritual deadness, and revolution. But, again, during this dark period, God sent revival in the First Great Awakening. During the turmoil and confusion and heresy, immediately prior to the Civil War, God sent revival in the Third Great Awakening. Revival, unprecedented in Chinese history, is going on right now, as I speak, in the People’s Republic of China, and in Southeast Asia, under the terrible persecution of Communism, in the midst of heresies and apostasy in false cults that have sprung up there. None of this has stopped the revival in China!

While it is true that God sometimes sends revival during times of peace and prosperity, He often does so in times of trouble and despair as well. And this will be true in the seven-year Tribulation, at the end of this age.

We must not think that the apostasy of our age is what stops revival. Peter told the converts on the day of Pentecost that the revival power of the Holy Spirit was not only for them, but

“To your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39).

And so, we see the greatest revival in the entire history of China going on right now, even as I speak. The promise is truly for “as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39).

The Devil is always active, particularly in times of revival. We find in our text that

“The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”
       (Revelation 12:17).

The “dragon” here is Satan. Verse nine tells us that:

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…”
       (Revelation 12:9).

The “woman” in our text refers to Israel, and the Jewish people. Israel is spoken of figuratively as “the woman which brought forth the man child” (Revelation 12:13).

Here in the Book of Revelation we learn three important truths about the great Tribulation revival.

I. The first thing we learn from the great end-time revival in the
Book of Revelation concerns the 144,000 Jewish evangelists.

They are described in detail in Revelation 7:1-8. We are told that God will “seal” them “in their foreheads” (Revelation 7:3). This doubtlessly refers to the “sealing” of the Holy Spirit at conversion. The Apostle Paul said,

“After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13).

And so, these Jewish believers will also be sealed, their hearts kept by the power of God. Oh, may God Himself send revival to the Jews!

We are specifically told that there will be 144,000 of them. Dr. Harry Ironside said, “The hundred and forty-four thousand are composed of twelve thousand from each tribe of the children of Israel. There is not a gentile among them” (quoted by James O. Combs, Rainbows From Revelation, Tribune Publishers, 1994, p. 79). Jewish people today do not know which tribe they came from, but God knows. And He will seal with the Holy Spirit 12,000 from each tribe, making 144,000. As our text indicates, these 144,000 Jewish believers will “have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). That means they will preach the gospel of Christ. Dr. Tim LaHaye correctly says, “The 144,000 witnesses will be preaching the same message that the Apostle Paul or the Apostle Peter preached, the same message we preach” (quoted by James O. Combs, ibid., p. 80).

In Revelation 14:4, these 144,000 Jewish evangelists are described:

“These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4).

Christ described their evangelistic work when He said,

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).

This will be the same gospel message that the Apostle Paul preached, according to Acts 28:31. We are told about Paul 

“...Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Acts 28:31).

So, the first thing we learn about the great end-time revival in the Book of Revelation concerns the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, who will proclaim the gospel throughout the world at this time.

II. The second thing we learn from the great end-time revival in the
Book of Revelation is that an unprecedented number of
Gentiles will be converted.

Our deacon, Dr. Chan, read from Revelation, chapter seven, a few moments ago, these words,

“After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne…These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9, 14).

Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, a respected Bible scholar, says,

Following the vision of the 144,000 Jews, John saw a multitude of Gentiles from every nationality and language group standing before the throne of God. The expression [“after this” in verse 9] means that the salvation of these myriads of Gentiles follows chronologically the 144,000 Jews and there is a cause and effect relationship…These Gentiles are identified as those who have come out of the Great Tribulation. They are saved Gentiles for they have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. Since they follow chronologically the ministry of the 144,000 Jews, the implication is that they are Gentiles who become believers as a result of the preaching of the 144,000 Jews (Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology, Ariel Ministries, 1993, p. 768).

It may seem hard to believe that 144,000 Jewish people will be converted to Christ in such a short period of time. It may seem even harder to believe that an uncountable number of Gentiles throughout the world will be converted by their preaching. But this is exactly what the Bible predicts will happen during the Great Tribulation. This is the great end-time revival prophesied in the Scriptures. This will be the fulfillment of the promise given by the prophet Joel:

“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. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call” (Joel 2:28-32).

III. The third thing we learn from the great end-time revival in the
Book of Revelation is that no amount of apostasy or
persecution can stop God from sending revival.

The Antichrist will be a God-hating dictator who rules the whole world in this coming time of apostasy.

“And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name…And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:6-8).

The Bible tells us that the Christians will be “beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God” (Revelation 20:4). They will be “slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held” (Revelation 6:9).

Yet, even in that coming time of terrible persecution and apostasy, God will send revival. This really should not surprise us. God sent revival to the churches of the first and second centuries under the terrible persecution of Roman emperors like Caligula, Nero, Hadrian, and Trajan. Yet, the more they persecuted and killed the Christians, the more God sent revival – and uncounted thousands were converted. No amount of heresy, paganism, or persecution could stop revival from coming then – and no amount of persecution or false religion can stop revival now – if God chooses to send it! Tonight, while I am speaking, the greatest revival in the whole history of China and Southeast Asia is going on. Literally millions of Chinese, and other Asians, have been converted to Christ in the last few years, under severe persecution from the Communists. Dr. Eddie Wang said,

We have obtained overwhelming evidence from Voice of the Martyrs, one of the most respected organizations in the world, that the Christians in China are still being severely persecuted. In February of 2003, Voice of the Martyrs obtained a top secret document proving that the Chinese government has an ongoing, systematic campaign to expose and destroy unregistered Protestant churches. [They] have been accused of being evil cults by the Communist regime. Most of these house church groups have thousands of members. Many preachers and Christians have been arrested and put into prison or labor camps, some were severely tortured, some beaten to death or executed…It has been estimated that since the early 1980’s the following has taken place among the 60 million house church members: 2.7 million arrested; 440,000 jailed; over 10,000 tortured to death; 20,000 crippled by torture; 200,000 in hiding or are missing; 750 on a black list; and 1.3 million heavily fined. At least 52 key house church leaders and hundreds of Christians have been arrested in the first four months of 2003. Some of our co-workers are still suffering in labor camps for the Lord (Dr. Eddie Wang, Christian Way Missions, Inc., Greenville, South Carolina, newsletter, September 2003).

How can it be that a mighty revival is taking place in China under such persecution? How can it be that mighty revivals occurred under the Roman emperors? How can it be that the greatest revival of all will occur under the horrible persecution and apostasy of the Antichrist? The only answer is this: revivals are miracles, sent by God. Without the miracle of revival there would be no living, vital Christianity on earth.

Can churches in the Western world have revival? Can churches in America have revival? I do not think so. I doubt that they ever will. Yet we must set ourselves to pray for revival each day in our own church. And we must evangelize the lost with the greatest urgency. Others may continue to sleep, but we must trim our lamps and be ready! 

Conclusion

The Book of Jonah was given to us primarily to show that God can send revival in the most difficult places, under the most hostile conditions. The people of Nineveh worshipped a fish god. They were hardened pagans. Jonah fled from preaching to them at first. Then he realized,

“Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).

The realization that “salvation is of the Lord” led him to obey God. He went to Nineveh and preached an awakening message of judgment. Nearly 600,000 people were converted in an astonishing move of God. That is revival!

The sole purpose of this sermon is to encourage you to believe that revival is possible today. Pray for it with all your heart on a daily basis. The message of the gospel is still the same:

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”
       (Acts 16:31).

Some people say that II Thessalonians 2:3-12 teaches that there can be no revival in the Tribulation – but they are wrong. Yes, “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (II Thessalonians 2:11). But this refers to those who reject the revival in the Tribulation. Just as it is today, those who refuse to repent and reject Christ at that time will commit the unpardonable sin and be given up by God (cf. Romans 1:28). Make sure that you do not commit the unpardonable sin. Repent of your vile, sinful mind-set. Come to Jesus and be washed clean from your sin by His precious Blood!

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers’ sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Revelation 7:1-14.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Old-Time Power” (by Paul Rader, 1878-1938).


THE OUTLINE OF

TRIBULATION AND REVIVAL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).

(Acts 2:39; Revelation 12:9, 13)

I.   First, we learn that 144,000 Jews will be converted and become
evangelists, Revelation 7:1-8; Ephesians 1:13;
Revelation 14:4; Matthew 24:14; Acts 28:31.

II.  Second, we learn that an unprecedented number of Gentiles will
be converted, Revelation 7:9, 14; Joel 2:28-32.

III. Third, we learn that no amount of apostasy or persecution can
stop God from sending revival, Revelation 13:6-8;
Revelation 20:4; 6:9; Jonah 2:9; I Corinthians 15:3-4;
Acts 16:31; II Thessalonians 2:11; Romans 1:28.