One of the cool things about being up at the Cane Ridge meeting house a couple weeks ago was refamiliarizing myself with the manifestations that occurred in people as they encountered the presence of the Lord. God’s Presence is an overwhelming experience for the flesh—bringing a myriad of responses and emotions to the surface, often simultaneously…
Thinking briefly about the last several Awakenings the world has seen, it is interesting to see how the Lord uses “something old, something new” to awaken His church and to woo a lost world toward Salvation and the full Gospel experience. From a North American view, consider:
The First Great Awakening (1731-1755, with “waves” until about 1790) was marked by Conviction, as the Holy Spirit made the Word come alive again in churches and cultures that were thick with ritual, but light on the experience of God. The early Methodists were on the forefront of this revival where Word and Spirit together grabbed the hearts of multitudes both in Europe and in the Colonies that became the USA.
The Second Great Awakening (1801-1860) was marked by more demonstrative experiences—as people barked, shook, collapsed, and loudly repented in the Presence of the Living God. Being overwhelmed by the Presence of God is very Biblical; but the world hadn’t seen such outward expressions since the early days of the Church.
The Azusa Street/Pentecostal Revival (early 1900’s) was marked by the widespread rediscovery of the gift of Tongues. Everything manifested in the earlier moves manifested here—but with Tongues as a defining mark or manifestation.
The Charismatic Renewal/Jesus Movement (1950’s-1980’s) was marked by massive numbers of salvations and Baptisms with the Holy Spirit, as ALL the gifts of the Spirit became more normal and common (AGAIN!) in the Church.
The Church-based waves of the 1990’s up the present (Toronto, Pensacola, Redding, Kansas City Livingston; as well as many churches in China, Brazil, Argentina, and around the world)) have been marked by renewed expressions of JOY and ever-deeper worship along with all of the manifestations of the earlier moves…
Each move of God in the past 300 years has built on the move before—but always with a unique twist and added experiences. I think it is safe to say that the Last Great Awakening will combine all of what the Lord has been re-birthing in the Church with manifestations that haven’t been seen since the Book of Acts (like shaking buildings, healing shadows, or blinding encounters with the Lord), along with new manifestations that flow right out of the Heart of our infinitely creative God…!
If God were to manifest His Presence completely, it would kill us. Our flesh must be “hidden in the cleft of the Rock” – hidden in Jesus, to survive the Presence of Pure Holiness, Justice, Righteousness, and Truth. Yet Father seems to be revealing more and more—as He did in the beginning and is and will do ever-more-so before the Lord Jesus returns. It is overwhelming and humbling to be so close to the Presence of the Living God!!! It is amazing to know that you and I will see (and help shepherd!) the Final Great Awakening…!