Wednesday, 16 July 2014
a. A time of darkness and purification in the church.
Firstly, the Lord seemed to predict that a time of purifying darkness was about to afflict the church:
"Open your eyes, open your hearts to prepare yourselves for me and for the day that I have now begun. My church will be different; my people will be different; difficulties and trials will come upon you.....I will lead you into the desert.....I will strop you of everything that you are depending on now, so you depend just on me."
The Lord went on to say more about the purpose of the time of trial and purification:
"You need the power of my Holy Spirit in a way that you have not possessed it; you need an understanding of my will and of the ways I work that you do not have."
Thirty + years later, would it not be true to say that this aspect of the prophecy has been fulfilled. The church has been afflicted ever since it was first spoken. It is as if the powers of hell have been unleashed, in order to mount an attack on the people of God. One is reminded in this context of the words spoken by Jesus, 'behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat' (Luke 22:31).
Pat Collins then goes on to recall: "When he was in Ireland in 1979, Pope John Paul echoed that point in a prophetic way at Limerick:
"Your country.....is being asked to prefer the kingdoms of this world with their splendour to the kingdom of God (Matthew 4:8). Satan, the tempter, the adversary of Christ will use all his might and deceptions to win Ireland for the way of the world.....Now is the time of testing for Ireland. This generation is once more a generation of decision." (Blogger note: The same could be said for much of the West!)
b. A time of darkness in the secular world.
The prophecy given in St. Peter's in 1975 seemed to say that the time of darkness in the church would be followed by a time of darkness in the secular world:
"Days of darkness are coming on the world, days of tribulation.'
c. A new springtime for the church.This brings us to a third point in the prophecy. The Lord intends to use his committed followers, whom he raised up and equipped during the church's time of darkness, to evangelise those who will seek him during the time of darkness in the secular world. As the Lord said in the prophecy in St. Peter's,
"A time of darkness is coming on the world, but a time of glory is coming for my church, a time of glory is coming for my people.....I will prepare you for a time of evangelism that the world has not seen."
The great Pentecostal, Smith Wigglesworth, uttered a similar prophecy in 1947 shortly before he died. he predicted the rise of the Charismatic Movement and the House Church Movement. Then he went on to predict that both of them would decline. Then he said, "When the new church phase is on the wane, there will be evidence in the churches of something that has not been seen before: a coming together of those with an emphasis on the word and those with an emphasis on the Spirit. When the word and the Spirit come together, there will be the biggest move of the Holy Spirit that the nation, and indeed, the world has ever seen. It will mark the beginning of a revival that will eclipse anything that has been witnessed within these shores, even the Wesleyan and Welsh revivals of former years. the outpouring of God's Spirit.....will begin a missionary move to the ends of the earth.'
The first two of Wigglesworth's predictions have already been fulfilled. His notion of revival seems analogous to John Paul's talk about a springtime to come. Like the Roman prophecy of in 1975, he spoke about a great age of evangelisation which would follow a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
See also the following website for more of Smith Wigglesworth http://smithwigglesworth.blogspot.co.uk/
The following is a sermon I gave in response to some concerns raised about our application for a Lottery Grant to renovate our church and ch...