The Kingdom of God is At Hand: But Are We Ready?
A generation ago, the charismatic world was thrilled and enthralled by the appearance of modern prophets including Paul Cain, Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson, and James Goll. Paul Cain prophesied the coming of “Joel’s Army,” which was a metaphor based on Joel 2:3–9: a generation of Christians the Lord would use to work signs and wonders as part of a great evangelistic harvest near the end of the age.
Similarly, Bob Jones spoke of a coming “billion-soul harvest” in which a billion people from all over the earth would come to the Lord near the end of the age. These billion would be “fish cleaners” who would “clean the fish caught in the next big catch.” This, too, was a prophetic metaphor for discipling and training the next wave of harvest, which he prophesied would be another three billion strong. These twin harvests were prophesied to proceed the end of the present age, and as of this writing, they have not been fulfilled—although some would argue that the billion-soul harvest is now underway, principally in the non-Western world.
The Harvest in the 10/40 Window
Where they are happening with the greatest overall frequency is in the two-thirds world described as “the 10/40 Window,” “the majority world,” and “the new Christendom,” to list a few. The Western Church often views reports from this region skeptically or dismisses them altogether, usually based on the assumption that the medical documentation (where it exists) isn’t up to Western reporting standards, the miracles are conflated.
The fact that signs and wonders may not be common and that biblical testimonies of them are so widely ignored or discounted highlights the tragic state of the Western Church. Like the church of Ephesus, we have left our first love, lost the memory of whence we have fallen, and we are no longer doing the works we did at first (Revelation 2:4–5). Such a widespread condition shows the need for a new reformation within the Western Church.
How Do We Get Another Great Reformation
The last great reformation recovered the authority of the written word of God, but generally without the power of the Holy Spirit. Additionally, much of the ground taken in the last great reformation has been lost in the twentieth century. The new reformation must feature both the Word and the Spirit. What might be the shape of such a reformation?
First, at a minimum it includes repentance from unbelief about the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, along with repentance from dead works that may appear religious but fail to bear fruit that looks like the ministry of Jesus and the apostles. Second, it means moving away from commercializing the Gospel and addressing the celebrity culture that has turned the faith into a “spectator sport” rather than a “participant sport.” It means a renewed emphasis on the Great Commission and discipleship. Only if these things happen will the “billion-soul harvest” and the “three billion- soul harvest” occur.
The Kingdom of God is not a place; it is the effective activity of God released in a specific place and time. The kingdom of God is at hand, and it is advancing! What is your role in that advance?