I want to show you that you were born into one of the most incredible seasons in global history. I also want to show you how to release the blessing God has for you in this remarkable era. Hold on to your hat….. this may blow your mind a little!
Numbers are incredibly important in the Bible.
Three is the number of resurrection. Seven The number of perfection or completion. Forty is a powerful number of transition in the Bible. God does a lot of stuff in 40’s!
The Number 500
Did you know the number 500 is important too? And most importantly, the number 500 affects you today, if you live within a few decades of 2017.
Throughout known biblical history, approximately every 500 years some radical change takes place between God and how He interacts with mankind. Let me take you back 8 groups of 500 to show you that something new is about to happen in the earth today:
Abraham. Approximately 4000 years ago God began to interact with a man called Abram (whose name he later changed to Abraham). It was Abraham who first understood the Gospel, he was the father of faith, in fact we today are called the children of Abraham, as we, like Abraham, received our righteousness through trust and not works. This was a significant announcement of God’s heart for friendship with man, on planet earth. God used the powerful pictures of giving Abraham a family (his wife was barren) and promising them a land of their own (they were nomadic). You only have to watch the news today to see how this historic and pivotal time has affected the world.
About 500 years after Abraham came Moses…
Moses. Moses was another remarkable “friend of God” – the one sent to set God’s people free, bring them God’s law, and help them enter the Abrahams “Promised Land”. He spoke face to face with God, shone at times with God’s glory, and is one of the greatest figures in our biblical history.
About 500 years after Moses came David…
David. David was the young “man after God’s own heart”. The worshipper in the field, who made Israel a worshipping nation. He was the first to remove the veil between the holy place and the most holy place, signalling that an unveiling of God’s powerful glory would one day come to the earth. Even though David failed morally, Jesus was still called “Son of David”, after this major patriarch.
About 500 years after David came the exile…
Exile. About 500 years after King David’s reign the Children of Israel are in exile, Jerusalem ransacked, the temple is destroyed and then later rebuilt, leading to 400 years of biblical “silence”, when it seemed God did not speak to the Jews. There was a waiting for a Messiah who came of course, in the form of Jesus:
About 500 years after the exile came Jesus and the early Church…
Jesus. Jesus is the most obvious of all great pivotal points in our history – when he came he split history between BC and AD, between Old Testament and New, between Law and Grace and between flesh and the empowerment of the Spirit! Jesus, the cross and resurrection IS the pivotal point of all history.
It is amazing that Jesus came just after the birth of the Roman empire, allowing the Gospel to spread rapidly along those straight Roman Roads. But about 500 years after Jesus the Roman empire declined and we entered the Dark Ages…
The Dark Ages. As the Roman empire declined, the “Dark Ages” began and along with it a demographic, cultural and economic deterioration. In this time the Church continued to spread beyond the old Roman reaches, but lacked the power of the Holy Spirit, miracles, signs and wonders of it’s early years – Church had become a bastion of humanised political power, financial gain and corruption, where people paid to have sins “forgiven” and to lessen time in purgatory. This was a “night-time” for the Churches true purpose, as it lost it’s child-like passion, so evident in it’s genesis.
500 years after the Dark Ages began, we find the Great Schism…
The Great Schism. In 1054 AD a Great Schism occurred, were there was a break of communion between what are now the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches due to arguments, infighting and the politicizing of power and authority across the Church. The Great Schism was essentially the “forerunner” of the Protestant Reformation, with a refusal to accept the unbiblical concept of the supremacy of Rome at its core.
After the Great Schism , and this now 500 years ago, came the Reformation…
The Reformation. Christianity Today states that “on All Saints’ Eve, 1517, when Luther publicly objected to the way preacher Johann Tetzel was selling indulgences (A way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins) he questioned the church’s trafficking in indulgences” and famously nailed his 95 Theses to a castle church door, calling for a public debate. Instead, Theses spread across Germany causing shockwaves as he questioned the authority of the pope, a move which ultimately led to the transformation of what we call “Church” today.
Luther was a man of faith who stood against the corrupt political power game that Church had become. Little did he know that his actions would usher in 500 years of Reformation that would ultimately bring the Church back to her original passion, power and purpose.
Across the last 500 years wave after wave of reforming and restoring power have washed the Church bringing her back to God’s original design.
One writer stated “Luther’s legacy is immense and cannot be adequately summarized. Every Protestant Reformer—like Calvin, Zwingli, Knox, and Cranmer—and every Protestant stream—Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, and Anabaptist—were inspired by Luther in one way or another. On a larger canvas, his reform unleashed forces that ended the Middle Ages and ushered in the modern era.” Martin Luther has been called “the last medieval man and the first modern one.”
Following on from Luther’s legacy came many wave riders of Reformation, not least in the 1700’s men like John & Charles Wesley – John Wesley preached with power, and men fell thunderstruck by God’s presence and conviction. He and his contemporaries turned Great Britain upside down, as they added personal holiness and sanctification of conduct to Luther’s concept of personal intimate faith.
While Luther restored the concept of salvation by grace, and Wesley that faith should lead to a changed lifestyle, from 1880 onwards the Latter Rain movement and the Pentecostals burst onto the scene with a reformed sense of God’s power. The Holy Spirit began to move in ways that had not fully been seen since the days of the early church, especially with widespread speaking in tongues. The concept of tongues had, for many centuries, been something worthy only of historic note, and that on rare occasions. Today, a little over 100 years since the gift seemed to resurge across the planet, hundreds of millions speak in tongues every day.
The Welsh Revival and the Azusa Street Revival at the early dawn of the 1900’s, along with several other areas of remarkable outpouring, caused a new surge of the sense of God’s presence, words of knowledge, healing and miracles to be restored to the Church (and not without controversy!).
Hot on the heels of the Pentecostal outpouring came decades of healing revivals, as truly remarkable miracles and healings, led to thousands upon thousands of lives transformed, under the ministries of William Branham, Oral Roberts and many other lesser-known ministries like A. A. Allen and Jack Coe. This led to the Church being reformed in the area of the miraculous. Today, more people are healed through miraculous prayer than ever in history.
Following on the heels of the healing revivals came a restoration of faith, deliverance, prosperity, intercession, Spirit filled worship, new understandings of the end times and our sonship in Christ – and while some have taken these restored truths to unhealthy extremes, in the main these have been beautifully and powerfully restored to much of the body of Christ.
It has been as though God were rebuilding the Church, brick by brick. Faith for salvation. Santification of lifestyle. Outpouring of the Spirit. Speaking in tongues. Healings. Miracles. Prosperity. Deliverance. Intercession. Spirit-filled worship. Wave after wave of truth, bringing wave after wave of restored strength. God has been rebuilding his temple, the Church for 500 years.
In my own living memory I can recount two final stages that have emerged in the 1980’s and 1990’s, and these two fascinated me, as they speak into the very structure of the house of God, Hi temple in the world:
When I was young it would have been considered incredibly arrogant to call yourself a prophet. For some reason, everyone was happy with Pastors and Teachers, and we let the evangelists travel (cos they were a bit mad!). But the role of prophet had been lost. There were a few, but these were only ever remarkably gifted and rare men and women.
But in the 1980’s (the timing is based on my personal recollection) prophets began to burst on the scene as never before. And not just a rare few, but prophets who were training up “Companies of Prophets” and starting “Schools of Prophecy” – thus suddenly men and women who could prophecy accurately and powerfully began to number in the hundreds, then thousands, and today hundreds of thousands can stand as prophets and declare God’s word. The role of prophet had been reformed and restored to the Church across the world.
Similar to prophets, as a young lad in the 1970’s, very few would have called themselves “Apostle” without being considered arrogant. But in the 1990’s the role of apostle, as architect, strategist, overseer and “chief coach” to the church began to arise. At first these were just a few key figures, but today thousands of apostles and apostolic networks are releasing church planting, missions strategies, church health and signs and wonders across the world!
The Five-Fold Ministry Restored
And so, in addition to many other truths restored, the Church is now beginning to learn to operate with a healthy and full, five-fold leadership in place – and truly She is beginning to look like a temple that may just be ready to do something extraordinary in the earth, by God’s grace.
Ephesians 4 states of these 5 vital ministries that “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
The restoration of Apostle and Prophets speaks of completion – the apostle has been the final piece to be restored, and it is the highest form or Christ’s servant authority on the earth.
The current apostolic surge across the earth, coupled with the fact that God moves and adjusts His activity on the earth every 500 years, means that the Reformation might well be over, and something new is about to begin. We are at the end, or you could say the beginning, of a new era today. This is not just the turning of a page, or a new chapter, this is the start of a new Church Age.
And YOU are alive for such a time as this!
I am so glad I wasn’t born 600 years ago, when Church was politicised, powerless, devoid of miracles. I’m glad I wasn’t born when we didn’t understand grace, faith, personal intimacy with God, the availability of prophecy or the joy of Spirit filled worship!
You and I have been born in a privileged time – when God is moving as never before in the earth.
More people are raised from the dead than ever in church history. I even know churches that have “Resurrection teams”. There are ministries that have seen a few raised from the dead, but others that have seen hundreds! HUNDREDS!
More people are Spirit filled than ever in history.
More Muslims are having visions of Jesus and coming to the Messiah than ever in history!
More people are born again than ever in history!
If you were to stand back and look at the world from the balcony of heaven, you would see that these are extraordinary days. On the Day of Pentecost 3000 were saved. In the Welsh Revival, one hundred years ago, a few hundred thousand were saved. Yet I have been in a single service where over 1 million have received Christ in one evening! These are remarkable days!
But the great question now is, what comes next? We are not only at the END of an era – we are at the BEGINNING of a new era. What will that era look like? What is going to happen next? Has God’s Reformation work finished? How will Church change in the next 500 years, should Jesus tarry?
“500: Are we at the dawn of a new era of glory?” takes the reader on a journey of inspiration and prophecy, gathering 100 years of prophetic insight, historical perspectives and finds a biblical setting for the age in which we live. Ultimately, you are alive in an amazing, pivotal season, and need to know how to co-operate with what God wants to do in you. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT 500