What is revival? Webster says, "Revival is an act or instance of reviving, or state of being revived; restoration. renewed interest in religion after indifference and decline; a period of religious awakening. Re-animation from languor or depression. Renewed flourishing state.
To revive means "to restore or return to consciousness or life; to animate; to raise from languor, depression or discouragement; to render or become active, operative or flourishing again; to reawaken; refresh."
Preface: It was in 1948 while at Bob Jones University that Youth for Christ-Slavic Missionary Peter Deyneka spoke at daily (not weekly) chapel. His simple message: "Little prayer, little power; more prayer, more power; much prayer, much power." That very day Radio's Paul Harvey told about the student revival at Wheaton. The N.T. teacher was late, so I said, "Let's pray 'til he comes." Wow! 100 Loud, fervant prayer for revival. "Lord, do for us what you're doing for Wheaton."
Half way through, the teacher, Bob Schafer, came and hearing "Revival, Wheaton" he shut us down with, "God knows Wheaton needs revival, but not us. We're just fine." But a revival started that sent some of these students to Japan.
Interestingly, that gentle Holy Spirit had flown into Canada 2 years before on the wings of a pure white dove. God used Armin Gesswein to bring a mighty revival to Prairie Bible Institute. Lila was in on this and it was to her a life-changing experience. "I'd never have been a missionary to any place, let alone Japan, had it not been for that revivaL"
Though the fall conference was to be over Sunday night, the meetings lasted until Thursday. Students lined up before the microphone to confess sins and failures. Letters asking for forgiveness were written and owed money was paid back.
These 3 schools sent out a big majority of "MacArthur missionaries" to Japan in 1949-55.
Our son Ken Jr., told about a revival at BIOLA University which started after a popular student was killed in a mountain skiing accident in 1985. Students came forward putting porno magazines, videos, pictures, etc., in one box and other sinful items in another.
Japan saw revival in 198 A.D. with the coming over of Middle Eastern Church of the East lay Christians, A big church was built in Kadona, Kyoto.
We skip over 1800 years and come to 1885. (See my bi-lingual book, "Japan's Jizo and Jesus.")
Thirty years after the first Protestant missionaries came to Japan in 1859, revival broke out at a missionary conference in Yokohama. One after the other confessed failure, defeat, frustration, no funds and no converts! Japanese pastors, meeting in a parallel conference, heard of the missionaries' brokenness and tears and this led to a revival among them.
In 1908 there was further revival in Hachioji City. Rev. Hiromichi Okawa, of the Holiness church, described the revival that came to the Holiness seminary in 1929 in Shinjuku. The students actually fell down in the dining room and rushed to the chapel to pray and confess their sins. The financial crisis they faced was because of their leaders' decision to carryon the Mission and the school without foreign funds. The revival spread to the downtown Kanda area where morning and afternoon prayer revival services were then held nightly. Up to 5000 people came to the evangelistic services. "I was there," Rev. Okawa said, "and I never was the same since. I was on fire for the Lord. I held 53 meetings a month in Shizuoka. Now only one of those pastors, Rev. Iwai, is left." Okawa's son leads the big church in lama.
Revival came to Japan more than seven times
Revival first came to Japan via the beautiful Silk Road from Jerusalem, Assyria, India and China. Jesus, Peter, Thomas, Matthew, Mark, John and Paul were all born-again Jews. They went out and preached the Gospel and were martyred.
The early church's Messianic Jews came and preached and took over the synagogues. The Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East (also called Nestorians) went out and started churches and put a cross on top. Then Nestorians taught Assyrian (like we teach English) to an illiterate Arab named Mohammed. Now educated, he plagarized the Bible and started his moon god Islam, one of 300 tribal religions in the area. Forty-six countries today are under Islam majority.
The first Christian Assyrian lay missionaries came to Japan in 198 A.D. when 20,000 people from the Chu Kinto (Middle East) came here via China. They were called Kung Yueh. They had big noses, were hairy, and rode on horses. This was taken out of the Japanese history books. You'll never read about it. Why" Because it shows that the Emperor was not "pure" Japanese, but part Mongolian, part Korean, part Chinese and part Middle Eastern.The Emperor (king) comes out "Ten no Heika" (descended majesty from heaven). This is Christ's title. "I am the Bread of Life which came down from heaven." So after 1930 the "purple curtain" came down and it was taboo, a closed subject. This is chronicled in an unpublished manuscript written by D. Saeki Yoshiro, world-renowned scholar on the subject.
Japan's first revival in 198 A.D. came at the inland seaport of Sakoshi, near Himeji where the Nestorian missionaries came. Visit there today and see a small shrine called "Daibyaku Jinja." What does that mean? The Shinto priest doesn't know. It's "David"s Shrine" with a big-nosed patron "saint" above the entrance. We were told to go to Kyoto and asked at Koryuji Temple.
We went there and the priest's wife said that it was formerly Uzumasa Dera Temple, but used to be a church! "Uzu Masa" is "Eshoo Mishikkha" or "Jesus the Messiah" in Assyrian. They had a big revival in that chuch in Kadona, Kyoto, in 515 A.D., 1000 years before Xavier. Show me one mission textbook which has that fact.
When was the next revival? We must skip 1300 years to an early morning prayer meeting that started in 1950 in Tokyo at Chapel Center. Every Thursday at 6:30 we'd go and pray until 7:30. On our knees. At 7:30 a breakfast of coffee, toast, jam and peanut butter that somebody imported from America was served. Always a visiting speaker. Fifty-two times a year. This was also how everybody met and got the latest news and prayer requests.
But in 1953 revival started at a bleak, winter TEAM conference prayer meeting on a depressing, cold day when the missionaries were down. Why? The Treasurer said that finances were 50% down and there was little money. Knowledgeable speakers told us all about how it should be, but finally after all the speakers had spoken, nothing spectacular happened. Then, Dr. Harold Good, the missionary doctor got up: "I'm a doctor, not a speaker. The hardest part of being a doctor is seeing a spastic. We can help bone problems, ulcers, hearts, etc., but a spastic is a heartache. The brain tells the hands to move up and the foot goes down. If the foot moves, the hand doesn't." He made grotesque motions to explain his subject, adding that "there is no way to cure a spastic. Unresponsive, repulsive, obstinate. You're a bunch of spastics! God, our Head, says to do something and you're not doing it, and that's all I've got to say."
So now what? We're a bunch of spastics! Then Missionary Frank Euler got up and said, "I'm in charge now. For the next half hour no speakers, no singers, no prayers, no testimonies, only silence. Just be quiet and pray! Get out a piece of paper and write on top, 'I'm a spastic.' Then write down the name or names of anyone you have something against or vice versa. If you think in your heart that your brother has aught against you, go to him."
There was no way out, so we started writing down names. I had 11 that I had to go to out of the 150 missionaries. 1 headed over to see Jim, but Art grabbed me first and talked to me. We forgot lunch. Some were crying, some were laughing and hugging. One was hitting another on the back, another getting right with his wife, etc. If you had walked into that room from outside you'd have seriously wondered what was going on!
Then when we finished, testimonies started. There was no way to contain it. We forgot to eat supper. It started in Tokyo and then went to Karuizawa where many missionaries were studying the language and some were ready to give up and go home. Each place where revival started to spark, it was not by preaching, but by testimonies of what had happened and prayer. "Spastics" who called themselves "cleansed lepers" formed revival teams and went nation-wide.
This continued for almost a year. Teams went out all over. But whenever God builds a church, the devil puts up a tent next door. What happened? The Youth For Christ World Congress (I was affiliated with YFC through TEAM) came and saw this revival. They thought they could "bottle" it and put their name on it and say, "Look what we did? YFC brings revival to Japan!"
With that the tender Holy Spirit folded His wings, said "Good-bye" and flew away. It got to only a few Japanese.
Gospel teams did go here and there. There was revival in Japan. Revival is Jesus in action. Here is a tape recorded report on the spot in Shizuoka where I had just returned to my bachelor room:
It's now 2:30 A.M., March 25, 1953, and everybody is sleeping except me. Revival came to Japan. The revival was primarily on the missionary and social level, using those whose hearts He has touched. They call themselves "cleansed lepers." Nothing spectacular. No one person behind it. Responding to invitations, missionaries, pastors and Bible school students testifying about what God is about to do. This is what happened:
Yesterday about 3:30 I received a phone call from a missionary team traveling, spreading this revival fire. "We're passing your town of Shizuoka when I felt compelled to call you."
I told them we had a weekly prayer meeting scheduled for that night in Shimizu. She said, "We'll just come along and share the blessing, OK?"
Just the night before the Lord began to prepare my heart for something special. He showed me my sins according to Mark 7:20-23. I sawall that Christ was and how my life was just the opposite. I spent most of that day in personal prayer, confession, meditation and praising the Lord for the victory in His blood. Yet I had no real grasp of power. No spontaneous expression of praise. Just a personal revival in front of my mirror.
At this prayer meeting time, the revival team led by Dr. Fred Jarvis, sat in with the missionaries in a circle on the tatami and gave testimonies. My heart was still cold, cynical and doubtful about this so-called revival in Japan. I took it as just the overflow of missionaries' pent-up frustrated emotions. They told about what the Lord did for the revival team, how He delivered them from their sins and how veteran missionaries and Bible teachers were transformed through the Holy Spirit.
The Lord gave me a desperate hunger and thirst for power and victory. Then someone put a chair n the middle of the room and invited anyone who needed prayer to come and kneel and they laid hands on them and prayed for them. To me that looked like a "chopping block."
One lady claimed victory. Another said "I'm delivered from .... " One by one they came and one said, "I hate Japanese. I'm from China and I love Chinese people and Chinese food, but 1 hate these Japanese. I hate the toilets and I can't stand the food. And this language is impossible. I'm going home!"
One by one each one came with a need and each was prayed for and went back fulfilled. One wife said, "I can't talk or pray publicly and I'm so bashful and frustrated." Someone said, "Just raise your hands." She said, "I can't." But finally she raised her hands in victory. One man said, "Is there anyone else who needs prayer?" I thought, "Lord, don't pass me by." But I hesitated. Then one of my college classmates said, "I love you and want you to get God's best." A little fearful, I knelt. Someone said, "What do you want?"
I said, "I'm going out to preach in my next 4-month campaign soon and I'm scared of speaking in front of large outdoor crowds. I want a new love for these people and power to preach effectively to them."
I confessed alii knew. I asked if anyone there had anything against me. Someone was offended by something I wrote. Another said she prayed for me and thought of Isaiah 61 :1,2. She then thrust her Bible under my nose, opened to- these verses that God had used to call me to preach 4 years before: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord God has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek ... sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives."
Suddenly God turned on the spiritual faucets of my dry, parched soul. Before all those missionaries that chair now really looked like a chopping block and my neck was about to fall. Before them all I broke down in uncontrollable weeping for the first time in many years. As I wept I asked for love for my fellow-missionaries, pastors and Japanese people, and for the power of God to fall upon me. Missionaries then quoted verses like, "Fear not, you worm, I'll help you .... yea, I will lift you up ... 1 will make you anew sharp threshing instrument having teeth." " .. that the hand of the Lord has done this." Other verses quoted were: "Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart. I shall make my words in your mouth fire and the peoples' hearts wood, and the fire shall devour them." I asked God why He hadn't killed me for reaching up and touching His glory. His Spirit spoke sweetly to me that He had forgiven me and I reached up by faith and said, "Thank you, Lord, for the new wisdom, power, love and deliverance You've given me." I thanked and praised Him. We joined in joyful worship and someone said, "How near to heaven can we get?" Others said, "This is revivaL"
'.\ We praised God and gave Him the glory. This revival was not of man, but of God. It was part of a world-wide revivaL, Noting fanatical. Just quietly guided by God. We got to bed at 2:30 but didn't feel like sleeping. At 7 A.M. my Japanese associate teacher-evangelist Takami San came from Tokyo for a conference on our next campaigns, having fasted and prayed and having the same burden we had. Then, without even having breakfast, we were called into the Soul-winning Tent Meetin Training Institute where they were having 3 days of special meetings. The leader, "Gerry Johnson, asked me to give a short testimony as to what happened the night before.
Takami San first gave a testimony, after which I asked the students to pray. These young students had poured out their hearts to God asking Him to bless us on our upcoming evangelistic campaigns. This broke my heart as I realized that I came as a missionary to be a leader and here these young converts--brands plucked from the burning--were now praying for us.
In tears I told them how the Lord had met us last night. These were tears of love, compassion and brokenness. "A broken and a contrite heart, oh God, Thou wilt not despise." Even though I thought that weeping was effeminite, God gave me a broken heart. After telling how the Lord had met my need and how I had claimed His power and love and wisdom to go out and reach these people, I sat down. Then I realized that for about an hour I had spoken in Japanese without one note.
Simply overflowing praise to the Lord, and giving Him the Glory This was a miracle because it would usually take me at least 40 hours to prepare a one-hour message in Japanese.
The leader then got up and told a little more about the revival meeting and how he also received a new love for the Japanese. He, too, broke down and this again touched the students' hearts. he told them of how we had a chair in the middle and prayed over each one who came. He then asked, "Who wants to be prayed for among you students?" One young man blurted out, "The devil has bound me. Pray for me." One by one they came forward and were prayed for. One came and left with tears. Many had sins unconfessed. A couple had made love under a bridge and were to be expelled, and they came and confessed. Pride, no love, wicked sins were mentioned as they came forward one by one and asked for prayer.
We put our hands on them and prayed, quoting verses .. overcoming Satan through the Word, the blood, and the resurrection power. We praised God for a wonderful spirit of victory.
Everyone came forward but one. We went back to our seats, sang a few songs, and the Japanese leader, Pastor Tsukigara, asked if anyone was left out. Nobody raised their hands, so he said, "Brother Tanaka, how is it with your heart?" Tanaka said he was OK and added, "I'm Anglican and don't believe in all this emotionalism."
Tsukigara Sensei loudly proclaimed, "This is of God. It is not sensationalism. It is the first time I have seen such a thing, but it is of God. We can't pass you by." At this he broke down in tears exclaiming, "Tanaka San, I love you. I love you. I want you to get God's blessing, too."
But there was no response from Student Tanaka, after which Tsukigara Sensei quoted from the Bible where the Pharisees rebuked the people for praising God and crying "Hosannah" when King Jesus came riding on a donkey. If these people should be quiet, even the stones would cry out. "Tanaka, are you a stone?" he asked? Finally the young man came forward, reluctantly, and knelt and prayed, but it wasn't real. The Spirit of God didn't melt his heart.
They went to a gas station to get gas and water. Around the curve hit Tanaka San and he was instantly killed. That put the fear of God in all of us! His poor wife raised chickens to survive.
However, while we experienced revival on the personal and social level, we call out to God for an omnipotent revival on a national scale. With only 4% of Japan's one million professing Christianity, nothing less than divine intervention will do.
Japan's greatest hour of prayer need is now and you "McDonald missionaries" must take the responsibility seriously. Of all the servants in Japan, I'm the least qualified to talk about revival. I have not yet graduated from revival kindergarten. Our responsibility for a divine revival is to add more prayer fuel to make true revival start instead of dousing God's working with the bitter waters of criticism. Bill Paris and Mrs. Whaley promote JEMA's Pray for Japan Today. In the words of converted radio host Stuart Hamblen: "It is no secret what God can do; What He's done for others, He'll do for you."
Only 3 who witnessed that early revival are still active in Japan ministry.
Thank God for the many Kims, Lees and Parks who have been added in the Missionary Directory. Almost all the Korean churches where I go expect revival.
On Sunday mornings they have ready up front blankets and zabutons preparing for the altar call. Let's join the many praying for Japan .... both here andworldwide ... and believe for a mighty outpouring of His Spirit.. .... starting with"me" .... "not my brother, nor my sister, but it's me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer." Amen?