Quick Facts About Revival

Biblically, four things are true about revivals: 1) they start with the communication of God’s Word and the positive reception of it, 2) they can be personal or corporate, 3) they lead to regeneration of the lost and godly reforms among the saved, and 4) they often don’t last beyond one generation. These four points will be demonstrated in the following examples.

An Example of Personal Revival

bible-scrollWe observe a personal revival in Psalm 119, where the Psalmist positively received God’s Word and it led to holiness of conduct. The psalmist said, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word” (Psa 119:9). He then said, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Psa 119:11). When God’s Word was received into his heart, it reformed his behavior for the better. He went on to pursue God’s Word further so that it might work in his life, revitalizing him. He said, “My soul cleaves to the dust; revive me according to Your word” (Psa 119:25), and “This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me” (Psa 119:50), and “I am exceedingly afflicted; revive me, O LORD, according to Your word” (Psa 119:107), and “Plead my cause and redeem me; revive me according to Your word” (Psa 119:154).

Other examples include Jeremiah, who said, “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart” (Jer 15:16). And the two disciples who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus and recalled their experience, saying, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).

Three Examples of Corporate Revival

Josiah Hears the LawFirst, we see an example of corporate revival in Judah during the reign of King Josiah (2 Ki 22:1). The revival began when a copy of Deuteronomy was found in the temple and was read to the king who responded positively to its message (2 Ki 22:8-20). King Josiah then read God’s Word to his people. Scripture reveals the king “went up to the house of the LORD and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests and the prophets and all the people, both small and great; and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD” (2 Ki 23:2). Apparently the leadership and people responded positively to God’s Word, as they followed King Josiah in many good and godly reforms. The benefit was that Judah was largely purged of idolatry and the temple restored to its proper place of function (2 Ki 23:1-25). However, after Josiah died in 609 B.C., his reforms did not last, as the four subsequent kings all did evil in the sight of the Lord, and this led to Judah and Jerusalem being destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.

Second, Jonah preached God’s Word to the Ninevites, and “the people of Nineveh believed in God” (Jonah 3:5). The king of Nineveh responded positively as well and directed his people, saying, “let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands” (Jonah 3:8). The result was that God relented of His threat of judgment and the city was spared (Jonah 3:10). Unfortunately, subsequent generations rejected God and His Word and fell back into their sinful ways, and the Assyrians destroyed Israel nearly 37 years later in 722 B.C. This shows that the faith of one generation is merely the faith of one generation, and that believing and humble parents do not guarantee believing and humble children. Eventually, God destroyed the Assyrians in 612 B.C.

Paul PreachingThird, Paul taught Scripture in Ephesus for two years (Acts 19:9-10), and “all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord” (Acts 19:10). Paul’s preaching was received by many, which led to regeneration and social reforms. Luke tells us, “many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone” (Acts 19:19). The result was that “the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing” (Acts 19:20). Paul eventually left Ephesus after a great conflict (Acts 20:1)[1] and the church continued as a model of godliness (see Paul’s letter to the Ephesians). However, within two generations they had lost their fervor, and Jesus said of that church, “I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev 2:4), and He called them to “remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first” (Rev 2:5a). Again, this demonstrates the point that the faith and zeal of one generation does not automatically flow into the next, as subsequent generations must choose the Lord for themselves in order for the Lord’s approval and blessings to follow.

Preaching God’s Word Does Not Guarantee a Positive Response

Sadly, there were some generations of people who were not receptive to God’s Word, and this resulted in the Lord’s judgment falling upon them. For example, Noah preached God’s Word for one hundred and twenty years with very minimal results (2 Pet 2:5), and God’s judgment fell upon the world in a global deluge, with the result that only “eight persons were brought safely through the water” (1 Pet 3:20). Jeremiah preached God’s Word for twenty-three years, but his generation would not listen. Jeremiah said, “these twenty-three years the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened” (Jer 25:3). The result was that Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians and went into captivity in 586 B.C. Of course, there’s no greater display of grace and truth than our Lord Jesus (John 1:14), yet the majority of those who saw Him and heard His message rejected Him (Matt 12:24; John 3:19; 12:37), and judgment fell upon that generation (Matt 23:37-39). The result was that Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70 when the Romans attacked the city and destroyed the temple.


For revival to be true according to Scripture, whether personal or corporate, it must start with the communication and positive reception of God’s Word. When there is positive volition in the hearts of people, it will lead to regeneration of the lost through evangelism, and godly reforms among the saved.

Dr. Steven R. Cook

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[1] Because of an evil man named Demetrius (Acts 19:24), and the spread of his lies (Acts 19:25-27), there was a great riot in the city that disrupted Paul’s ministry (Acts 19:28-41).

Something Wrong with America

We all recognize there is something wrong with the world and mankind. Our news channels never fail to keep us up to date on all that is destructive, harmful, or corrupt in society. If they are not telling us about some political scandal, they are surely informing us about the atrocities of war, crime, racism, murder, pollution, dangerous viruses, poverty, social inequality, or some other crisis that never seems to go away. And, it seems, where a crisis cannot be found, one can be artificially manufactured and perpetuated, all for the purpose of advancing some narrative that keeps ratings high. When I turn on the news I am reminded of the adage, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Furthermore, the ABC’s of news organizations—like all secular institutions—will offer Anything But Christian solutions. Their operating assumptions are either God does not exist (atheism), or does not care to be involved in the affairs of mankind (deism), so we are left to slug it out and find our own solutions to life’s problems. The constant internalization of negative news—albeit accurate—without some biblical context or divine solution only serves to create psychological and emotional disequilibrium, which, if left unmanaged, can cause lasting damage to self and others. Without divine revelation to provide proper context, we can become mentally and emotionally miscalibrated. The need for absolute truth as a standard of right is required if we’re to make a proper assessment of what is, and a willingness to conform to that standard if national health is to be achieved.

sheep-wolfSadly, most Americans have developed a Pavlovian response to our problems by looking to our political leaders for our solutions. However, our national problems are not first and foremost political, social, or economic, but spiritual. Much of the blame for America’s decline lies at the doorstep of the Christian church which, for decades, has been playing silly games, wasting time on selfish pursuits and superficial activities while America descends into spiritual darkness and chaos (especially the megachurches). Churches, rather than being centers of biblical learning and worship, have become places where we go for Broadway-style entertainment and motivational messages devoid of biblical content. TV charlatans teach us to regard God as a rich and powerful friend who desires to bless us if we’ll “sow a financial seed” to their ministry. Tragically, there are many fools who keep giving to these false teachers, who spend their money on lavish homes and private jets, while the Bible continues to be distorted for selfish ends and the poor and needy continue to go without. Furthermore, it seems like most of our so-called Christian seminaries and universities are producing liberal pastors who deny the inerrancy of Scripture and who preach that God is only love and peace.[1] God is love and He certainly prefers peace; however, He is also righteous and holy, and as such, He is a consuming fire to be respected. Those who fail to take God seriously will surely feel His heat.

As Christians, we bear some of the blame for the national mess we’re in (some more than others), for we have let the light of Christ and His Word grow dim in our culture. We often treat the study of God’s Word lightly, thinking what we get for one hour each week at Church (assuming we get even that) is sufficient to offset the worldliness we expose ourselves to through humanistic music, literature, and TV the rest of the week. In this way, we fail to guard our hearts from the invading darkness (Pro 4:23). Most Christians spend their days listening to secular news commentators and worldly-minded politicians rather than doctrinally sound pastor-teachers. Such a pattern is lopsided. As a result, we think our battles are political, social, or financial, when in reality, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12). Most Christian men have failed, being more concerned with earning a paycheck and advancing up the social ladder rather than sacrificially serving as the spiritual leaders in their homes, churches, and communities. And most Christian parents have abandoned their duties to raise their children in the fear of Lord, having relinquished their children to the public education system, which is little more than a humanistic indoctrination factory that churns out little socialists and communists who desire a big government because the God their parents worship is too small to guide their lives. Turning our children over to be raised by a purely secular society is tantamount to child abuse. As Christians, we have failed to communicate truth and model the virtues of biblical Christianity, and in this way, we have ceded ground to the enemy, for as goes the Christian, so goes the nation.

Key to HopeBut it’s are not over yet. It is bad, but there’s hope of turning things around if we humble ourselves and start living as we should, calling others to turn to God as well. There is an answer in the Bible, which provides us an explanation concerning why the world is the way it is, how we should respond to it, and what the future holds. Hopefully, there is enough positive volition in the country to turn things in the right direction. However, we cannot and will not affect real or lasting change without first bringing God and His Word to the center of all we say and do. This demands a commitment to learning Scripture and living by faith in all aspects of our lives, praying, and modeling Christian virtues. Without making God and His Word central to our lives, everything will continue as it is, and inevitable decline will lead to destruction. It’s just a matter of time.

Dear Father, I pray for Christians and churches across our land. I pray for revival. Shake us and wake us to the current state of affairs and to reality that we must turn to you, the God of all creation, if things are to improve. May we commit ourselves to learn your word and live your will. I pray we learn to walk humbly by faith, to live righteously, to share the Gospel with those who will listen, to pray for others, to live with an open hand to the poor and needy, and to seek your will in all matters. I ask these things in Jesus’ name, amen. 

Dr. Steven R. Cook

Related Articles:

  1. The Gospel Message
  2. What is the Church?
  3. The Righteousness of God
  4. Choosing Righteous Friends
  5. Improving Culture – An OT Example
  6. Improving Culture – A NT Example
  7. Righteousness Exalts a Nation
  8. Satan as the Ruler of the World
  9. Satan’s Evil World-System
  10. The Sin of Idolatry 
  11. Demons and How They Influence mankind
  12. Holy Angels and How They Influence Mankind
  13. Restoring Fellowship With God
  14. Steps to Spiritual Growth
  15. The Filling of the Holy Spirit
  16. The Righteous Lifestyle of the Believer
  17. Theological Categories of God’s Justice
  18. Choosing the Faithful Way

[1] I graduated from a liberal Baptist university that nearly destroyed my Christian faith. Unfortunately, there were other students who embraced the liberal way of thinking, and week after week I would hear their messages on the radio as they preached the misleading garbage to their flocks.