Revival...or Reformation?


By Richard Wright

Let’s talk first about revival. What is it and what does it mean? It is a word that is extremely well known and used frequently around the world. Some believe that revival only comes as God wills, while others schedule God in for revival whenever they see the need. I personally believe that revival, in its truest definition, has come and gone for those of us who have come into a personal relationship with Jesus. Join me now in scripture study on this subject.

Psalm 85:6 “Wilt thou not revive us again; that thy people may rejoice in thee?”

Definition: “Revive” (Strong’s) 02421 hyx chayah {khaw-yaw'}: A primitive root [compare 02331, 02421]; TWOT - 644; v AV - live 153, alive 34, save 13, quicken 14, revive 12, surely 10, life 9, recover 8, misc 9; 262 1) to live, have life, remain alive, sustain life, live prosperously, live for ever, be quickened, be alive, be restored to life or health.

The word “revival” simply means “life”; “sustained life” or “everlasting life”. Therefore, if one has had a genuine “born again” experience with the Lord, he has had all the revival he will ever need. There should be no reason to keep seeking revival as long as we live in Christ. He has given us life forevermore. He has given all He has, and it is His life now in us. We live because He lives. It is no different than going to the altar every week and getting saved again. The only reason anyone would need revival would be if their original salvation experience was not real.

Hosea 6:1-2 says, "Come, let us return to the Lord. for He has torn {us,} but He will heal us; He has wounded {us,} but He will bandage us. (2) He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him.”

If we are living in a “revival” mentality, then we are back at the second day before the resurrection of Christ. This is the reason we seem to need so many revivals; we have not gone beyond the cross. The work of the cross has not had its effect in our lives or we would be living the “life” that our salvation has brought us.

Revival seeking is under the old covenant where there was no personal relationship with the Lord. It would seem to be needed today because many have not been shown the way to live the life without constantly needing the “revival goose bumps”, the chills and thrills that seem to be called the proof of true revival.

We are now experiencing the fact that we should even go beyond resurrection to the ascension. We should celebrate the resurrection, but we should also go on to ascension life. He promised to raise us up in the third day, not the second.

Let’s stop here and look again at one of our favorite scriptures. Ephesians 4:10-12 says, “He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) (11) And He gave some {as} apostles, and some {as} prophets, and some {as} evangelists, and some {as} pastors and teachers, (12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;....”

The “five-fold” ministries that we all embrace are not the “resurrection” gift ministries, but the “ascension” gift ministries. These ministries were not given until after Jesus ascended to be with the Father. He gave them to the body in order that His pattern for the establishment and maturing of His Church would continue. If the Church is still back at the cross, coming to the altar week after week, wrestling with their salvation, then how can we ever be in a position to receive the five ascension gift ministries?

I now understand fully why the five-fold ministries of Ephesians 4 have not been embraced for many years. Even among those who are preaching the restoration of the five ministries, there are still many who seem to have a fear of calling the ministries anything other than “pastor” or “evangelist”. This communicates that we do not believe what we are preaching on this subject.

The reason that apostolic government is not in most churches is obviously that they are still dwelling at the cross and have not moved on to the ascension life complete with all of the ascension gift ministries.

Why do we need to keep seeking that which He has already given us? This would suggest that we are keeping Christ on the cross. This would also suggest that what He has done for us is not sufficient.

We don’t need revival, we need reformation!

Now, let’s go from revival to restoration before we go on to reformation .

Acts 3:19-21 says, "Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; (20) and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, (21) whom heaven must receive until {the} period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.”

Definition: “Restoration” (Strong’s) 605 apokatastasiv apokatastasis {ap-ok-at-as'-tas-is} AV - restitution 1; 1 1) restoration 1a) of a true theocracy 1b) of the perfect state before the fall

This Greek word is found only here. If it really means what the Strong’s interpretation states, then this would mean that restoration would come after revival as the process to reformation. The only true theocracy is when God’s Word is followed exactly as stated. True theocracy under the new covenant would be that which was demonstrated by Jesus and His apostles after he made the statement: “I will build My Church” .

I will state again and again that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. The New Testament outlines quite clearly the description of the Church of the new covenant. There is a pattern for only one Church, not the hundreds or thousands of different kinds of free-will interpretation.

Now, lets talk about reformation.

Hebrews 9:8-12 states, “The Holy Spirit {is} signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing, (9) which {is} a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, (10) since they {relate} only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. (11) But when Christ appeared {as} a high priest of the good things to come, {He entered} through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; (12) and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”

Definition: “Reformation” Strong’s, 1357 dioryosiv diorthosis {dee-or'-tho-sis} AV - reformation 1; 1

1) in a physical sense, a making straight, restoring to its natural and normal condition something which in some way protrudes or has gotten out of line, as broken or misshapen limbs

American Heritage Dictionary, re•form (r -fôrm2) v. re•formed re•form•ing re•forms v. tr. 1. To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition. 2. a. To abolish abuse or malpractice in: reform the government. b. To put an end to (a wrong). See note at correct. 3. T o cause (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; persuade to adopt a better way of life. v. intr. 1. To change for the better. n. 1. A change for the better; an improvement. 2. Correc tion of evils, abuses, or errors. 3. Action to improve social or economic conditions without radical or revolutionary change. adj. 1. Relating to or favoring reform: a reform candidate for mayor

1. [v.] To save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences Redeem Absolve Convert Rehabilitate Save Rescue Evangelize

2. [v.] To make right what is wrong Correct Adjust Cure Fix Heal Rectify Redress Remedy Repair Straighten out Revise

3. [v.] To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects Rehabilitate Reorganize Straighten out Restore Reclaim Recondition Reconstruct Rejuvenate

4. [v.] To advance to a better state or quality Improve Come up to snuff Progress Shape up

5. [v.] To change or alter in structure, character, or substance Transform Metamorphose Transfigure Modify Adjust Convert Remake Reshape Differentiate Refashion Remodel Restyle

6. [v.] To effect changes in Alter

To conclude: The bottom line, or the true thrust of the true apostolic message to the Church today, is as Galatians 4:19 reads, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you--”. “Revival” never forms Christ in anyone, but reformation does!

Note that the word “revive” is only in the Old Testament. It is not found in the New Testament. Under the new covenant, we have “reformation” (or forms of the meaning of the word) in place of “revive” (revival is in neither the old or new).

If we are to ever see a Church flowing in unity and matirity that will change the world, we must accept and experience this current apostolic reformation. This reformation will effect the greatest change the Church has seen since the time of Martin Luther’s reformation. This glorious Church will then reflect the image of Christ to the world!