It's Gonna Be HUGE! - Nathan Shaw
Recently I saw an interview with Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. The interviewer was playfully mimicking Trump saying, “It's gonna be HUGE!” A few weeks later I was praying for this generation and I heard God say, “It's gonna be HUGE!” Suddenly the phrase was loaded with prophetic significance. Huge shifts are about to take place in the nations—both politically and spiritually. God has a plan for the nations and he is strategically positioning them like chess pieces on a chess board. Please note that it is not my purpose to predict who will be the next president of the United States. This article is not about the presidential election in the United States. It is about something much bigger. God gave me two words that describe many of the shifts that are about to happen. The words were: Unexpected and unconventional.
God starts revolutions in ways we don't expect and he often uses the most unlikely characters to do it. Two thousand years ago a solitary figure came on the scene and initiated a revolution that radically changed the world. John the Baptist's ministry was unexpected and unconventional. The impact was phenomenal. There was no good reason why John the Baptist should have gained the attention of the nation of Israel. His ministry was based in the remote regions around the Jordan river. He wasn't polished. His clothing was primitive. His lifestyle was unconventional. Despite the things stacked against him, all of Judea and Jerusalem came to hear him. And more than that—they were so moved by his message that they responded with dramatic life style changes (Mark 1:5-6).
The religious leaders of the day struggled to define John the Baptist. He didn't fit the boxes they were expecting. They found the situation so perplexing that they sent people to inquire of John personally.
Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” He said: “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness” (John 1:19-23).
John was not confused about his identity. He knew who he was. He was a prophetic voice crying in the wilderness. John didn't come with a theology—he came with a cry. His cry was so impacting it shook individuals, institutions, civil authorities and religious systems. John didn't come with the authority of a well reasoned argument—he came with the authority of deep humility.
What does it mean to be a voice crying in the wilderness? Consider:
- A cry is not just a sound—it has substance. It comes with the force of divine revelation—revelation imprinted so deeply on the messenger's heart that it becomes part of who they are.
- A cry carries the sound of eternity. It comes from another realm.
- A cry has a frequency that changes the atmosphere. It causes the rival kingdoms of light and darkness to clash.
- A cry bypasses the mind and penetrates the human spirit. John's voice penetrated defenses and excuses and demanded a response (Luke 3:7).
- John's cry riveted people's attention on Jesus—the Lamb of God (John 1:29,36).
John's public ministry only lasted a short time. It was quickly overshadowed by the ministry of Jesus Himself. However Jesus' Apostles understood the huge significance of John's ministry. Consider the following scenario:
Judas betrayed Jesus and then hung himself. Within a short time Peter announced that another person must be selected to take the place of Judas. Peter made it clear that the person selected needed to be a witness of the whole time period from John's baptism until Jesus' ascension—“Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22 Italics added).
Notice that Peter says, “Beginning from the baptism of John.” John the Baptist's cry was the beginning of a revolution that radically and permanently shook and changed nation after nation. In fact, the revolution continues today.
Few people appreciate the impact of John's ministry during his lifetime—a whole nation was stirred and awakened, religious leaders were perplexed and confused, even the irreligious king Herod was fascinated by John's preaching. The Wuest translation of Mark 6:20 brings out the subtlety of the original Greek—“and, having heard [John the Baptist] often, [Herod] was in a continual state of perplexity, and he was in the habit of hearing him with pleasure.” The heart of this ruthless and ungodly king was divided. He was attracted to the cry but repelled by the conviction. Even the ungodly were stirred by the sound of eternity in John's cry.
Fast forward twenty years. A teacher called Apollos visits the city of Ephesus in Asia Minor:
Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue (Acts 18:24-26).
Apollos knew only the baptism of John and yet twenty years after John's ministry he was “fervent in spirit” and “spoke boldly.” Not long after this the Apostle Paul visited the city of Ephesus. There he found disciples that had never heard of the Holy Spirit. They only knew the baptism of John (Acts 19:1-7). John the Baptist's cry was having an impact in far away nations even twenty years after his death!
Fast forward to the modern day. American society was significantly shaped by the First and Second Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th centuries. The First Great Awakening was sparked by the ministry of English preacher, George Whitefield. George Whitefield came with a cry that awakened people from lifeless, ritualistic religion. His emphasis was a living, dynamic, and intensely personal relationship with God. Awakenings are a lot bigger than revivals. Revivals are glorious. Awakenings are HUGE. They change the destiny of nations by permanently changing the mindsets, perspectives and attitudes of the majority. Revivals tend to impact the church or particular regions. Awakenings shift and shape whole nations.
Two recent ministries that had a powerful impact on my life personally were Leonard Ravenhill and Jill Austin. Leonard Ravenhill and Jill Austin weren't polished theologians but they both had a radical cry for revival and fresh encounters with God. It was this cry that stirred and awakened my heart to experience and know God in a real way. It is this same cry that will awaken the present generation. John the Baptist is a prophetic model foreshadowing multitudes of world changers that God is raising up in our generation. Multiply the prophetic cries of John the Baptist, George Whitefield, Leonard Ravenhill, Jill Austin and a multitude of others and you will begin to get the picture.
The good news of God's kingdom disturbs and disrupts earthly structures and earthly thinking. It starts with a prophetic cry that challenges the status quo. For thirty years John the Baptist was unknown to the multitudes. During this time God was preparing him in hiddenness. Many are being prepared by God right now. When they come on the scene it will be unexpected. We must be prepared for the unexpected and the unconventional. These messengers will arise not only in the church but also in every sphere of society. Structures will shake. Lives will be transformed. The kingdom will advance.
It's gonna be HUGE!
© 2016 Nathan Shaw.
Back to Articles.