Intercession broke out. Travail ensued. Groanings too deep for utterance seemed to echo throughout the church—and then the spirit of the fear of the Lord fell on the entire congregation (Is. 11:2).
Everybody froze. The intercession stopped. The travail stopped. The groanings stopped. The church was silent. The spirit of the fear of the Lord permeated the atmosphere. There was an awe among us, a reverence for God. It was a holy moment. You could hear the proverbial pin drop.
In that moment, the Holy Spirit spoke something that shook me. He told me, "False revivalists would rise up in this hour." These false revivalists don't truly have a heart for revival or awakening or transformation. Rather, they are motivated by the potential profits in the latest church trend.
Listen to Jennifer's podcast on this topic: "A Prophetic Warning About False Revivalists."
Much like we saw false prophets arise amid a true prophetic reformation, and false apostles rise amid a true apostolic reformation, false revivalists are rising even as sincere believers are making an urgent appeal to heaven in desperation for a Third Great Awakening.
What Is the Fear of the Lord?
Before I move on, let's define the fear of the Lord by looking at some Greek and Hebrew words. One definition of the Hebrew word yare means "to fear, to respect, to reverence." The Greek word phobos can be translated "reverential fear." Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary defines it as "not a mere 'fear' of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him." That's intense!
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The fear of the Lord is to hate evil (Prov. 8:13). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7). The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him (Ps. 25:14). There is no want for them who fear Him (Ps. 34:9). In the fear of the Lord, there is strong confidence and a fountain of life (Prov. 14:26-27). By the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life (Prov. 22:4).
I could go on and on about Scriptures that talk about the benefits of cultivating the fear of the Lord in your heart, but I'll stop with this example as it relates to revival. Indeed, the fear of the Lord marked the early church in revival. Acts 9:31 tells us that "the churches throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and were built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied."
We yearn to see signs, wonders and miracles manifest today as they did in the book of Acts, don't we? But are we willing to pay the price the early church paid? Are we willing to die to self? Are we willing to relinquish control to the Holy Spirit so He can move like He wants to move? Are we willing to repent for the character flaws that hold us back? Are we willing to walk in love and unity with true believers who don't believe exactly the same as we do? Are we willing to war against the spirit of compromise that is raging against the church in this age? Are we willing to walk in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit?
False Revivalists Rising
We've seen false revivals before, so it's not altogether surprising that false revivalists would rise in this emerging move of God. I believe the fear of the Lord is what will ultimately separate the true revivalists from the ones who are looking to the latest wind of the Spirit for an opportunity to merchandise the saints.
I am praying for a Hebrew 5:14 reality in the body of Christ—that believers would have powers of discernment and would be trained to distinguish good from evil through practice. In these last days, we cannot take everything we see at face value. I am not suggesting suspicion. I'm advocating for righteous judgment, prophetic insight and spiritual perception. I'm pleading with believers to study the Word of God, fellowship with the Spirit of God and pray without ceasing. Ultimately, I'm just suggesting we do what the Bible says we should do:
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). You can't read a New Testament epistle without finding a warning about deception. Jesus Himself said, "For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect" (Matt. 24:24).
Unfortunately, it's time to add false revivalists to all the warnings. If you go to a meeting where something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. If people try to manipulate you for money, run for the door. If ministers are pushing people down at the altar and standing on top of their "slain" bodies—yes, there is a photo of such a thing on Facebook—from such turn away. God is bringing a Third Great Awakening to America marked by signs, wonders and miracles. We should expect that if the devil can't stop it—and he can't—he will try to offer a counterfeit move to fleece the sheep hungry for an authentic outpouring.