By Dr. Jay Zinn
I became a Christian in January 1972 and have been pastoring churches since 1975. During this time, I’ve been blessed to witness and experience five revival movements. As strong as I thought my theology had been against the theology and manifestations at these revivals, God chose to liberate me from my self-imposed strongholds. Mind you, I didn’t separate my head from my heart to embrace the things I once thought were bordering on scam and lunacy (which some still are questionable to me); instead I chose to dive into the scriptures to see if these experiences had a Biblical foundation. As a theologian, coupled with the experiences I’ve encountered with God’s power on me, in me, and through me, I’ve concluded that God’s signs and wonders are for today, and that they will accelerate through the emerging underground generation of young people, rising among the ranks of the passionately devoted.
These nameless, faceless warriors—behind the scenes in their prayer closets and houses of prayers—are filling their lamps so full of the oil of the Holy Spirit that it will eventually spill over and grow into a full-blown tsunami. A glorious bride, from the bridal chamber of Christ, is about to ascend from obscurity onto the scene of a desperate world. A world destined to experience the all-consuming, supernatural manifestations of God’s power. This power will produce a harvest of souls and revival at a whole new level through a faceless movement. The message and preaching of this movement will not come from the wise and persuasive words of a single man or woman who rises to celebrity status; it will come from a demonstration of the Spirit’s power upon the masses of the purely and passionately devoted disciples of Jesus. It will come this way so that our faith will not rest on man’s wisdom, but on the power of God (1 Cor. 2:4-5).
Though we may not see a lot of supernatural evidence in America (still simmering in the houses and closets of prayer), it is truly happening in other countries. Research has revealed that the fastest growing churches in the world are apostolic churches. Apostolic in the sense that there’s evidence of the supernatural – the same as what happened in the book of Acts. In these apostolic churches, the blind see, the lame walk, the dead are raised, prison doors are opened, dissenting mouths are shut, demons are cast out, rain is prayed down during droughts, and various other miraculous manifestations not seen in Acts. Miracles such as God making bad teeth turn into gold, heavenly gems appearing in people’s hands, gold-dust flecks appearing on Bibles, bodies, hair and hands—all well documented (I’ve experienced the gold dust on my Bible and hands, too). Some have experienced manifestations of manna appearing in their Bibles, and some churches have had ongoing experiences of what is believed to be angel’s feathers falling out of the air. Sound crazy? Yes, but if these extra-Biblical happenings are really from God, why does he do it?
It’s called signs and wonders—signs that cause people to wonder—signs that point people to God, and to a greater hunger and thirst for Him. Granted, some people turn into sign-chasers, like those who follow storms for the thrill of encountering tornadoes. But it’s natural to want to continue to witness and experience signs and wonders. I love signs and wonders, not for the miracles alone, but because God wants to reveal his glory and draw us to himself. Signs and wonders, miracles and healings are manifestations of God’s love and presence. They are used by God to get people’s attention and to bring them to him in ways that smashes all intellectual or theological arguments.
In our last issue it was pointed out by a former Muslim, Naeem Fazal, that you cannot convert Muslims through reason and scriptural debate alone. It requires a supernatural encounter with Jesus to get their attention. Muslims all over the world are being converted in places where apostolic churches are demonstrating God’s power. The testimony of one such Muslim family is in our interview with Shara Pradhan. Others are having face-to-face encounters with Jesus. Amazing!
A few years back, I read a book called Megashift, where author James Rutz presents 44 documented reports and eyewitness testimonies of miraculous healings from AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis, lupus, leprosy, blindness, deafness, missing body parts restored, heart and kidney diseases, diabetes, polio, paralysis, down syndrome, and numerous others. He also shares multiple testimonies of resurrections from the dead and cites reports of resurrections coming out of 52 countries.
In one of the reports, a deranged man in the city of Firozpur in Punjab, India, had been kept on a chain like a wild animal for eight years. God used an evangelist to heal and deliver him. When the formerly demonized man ascended the platform as a sane person [accompanied by a helper carrying the chain that bound him], the crowd who knew or heard of him cheered wildly. Because of his deliverance, on the last day of the mission 50,000 people came out to be healed. Included in the healings were 94 deaf-mutes, 191 polio victims, 35 with tumors, 25 blind received their sight, and many other sicknesses were healed.
There’s another story in the book about a 70-year-old Egyptian Christian returning from a successful mission to lead a number of men and women to Christ. Along the way, some bearded religious fanatics approached him and started pelting him with large stones. To his surprise they didn’t hurt because they turned to dust as they hit him. Praise God!
From what I’ve studied in scripture, it’s become apparently clear that we’ve steered away from what God intended the church to be—an army of soldiers, equipped with the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit to destroy the works of Satan. The devil has come to kill, steal, and destroy. He has also come to distract, deter and deceive us away from embracing the truth that Jesus came, not just to save souls for eternity, but to empower those souls to do what he modeled for us when he was here. Jesus, our teacher, wants us, his disciples, to become like their teacher. He was the prototype, during his earthly ministry, of what a kingdom man [or woman] is like. Not merely in heart or religious beliefs, but to be “anointed” with his kingdom power so that we, too, might destroy the works of the devil.
Sadly, we’ve settled for an intellectual, mystical, commercial, and institutionalized Christianity. Most of what we do in a church service, or on the mission field, requires little or no faith, other than faith in our own human effort and talents to do what any unbeliever could do to put on a great event or service in the name of humanitarianism or religion. But does that really challenge hearts? Acts of love in the natural of course helps. But Jesus drew crowds, not through kingdom words alone, but through the demonstration of the power of God. He did more than miraculously feed people—he healed the blind, the lame, the leper, the epileptic, the demonized, and all manners of diseases. All who came to him were healed. He raised the dead, too, and the things that he did, he told his disciples to go and do likewise.
This is how Jesus brought God’s kingdom in heaven to earth. In heaven’s kingdom there are no sick. The good news of the Gospel includes people getting healed and made whole in body, soul, and spirit. That’s why they sought him out. To be set free. To be delivered. To be made whole again. This is what shows a world of skeptics that the kingdom of God is really near. It gets their attention and is more convincing than glitzy lights, techno-media, self-help sermons, and polished worship sets.
The kingdom of God, as Jesus brought it, resides in you and me as saints. That power is just waiting to be unleashed upon the world. The creation itself groans and travails, waiting for the full expression of the manifested, fully equipped sons and daughters of God in kingdom glory and power. But when will it come? It’s already here, out there, in places where saints were never taught this isn’t for today. Out there, children are taught that God heals today and they’re laying hands on people and healing them. I want that. I want to see it even more in our Western churches. But it won’t happen until there’s a shift in our paradigms. We must present the Gospel message as it was intended to be—through the demonstration of God’s manifested power. So where do we begin?
1. Study the subject of healing in the Bible. Get a concordance and look up the scriptures where the word is used. Study the commissioning of Jesus and what he commanded his disciples to do.
2. Search out testimonies and reports of healing, signs and wonders from around the world—read and listen to those reports and believe the Word when it says in Mark 16:17-18, “…these signs will accompany those who believe…they will lay hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
3. Jesus confirmed the disciples’ message with accompanying signs, WHEN they went out and preached. To experience signs and wonders we must believe for and expect the same results. We must push back from our TVs and computer screens and go out into the streets and allow God to lead us to pray for someone and meet their need. If we don’t position ourselves for this, we won’t “place a demand on the anointing” within us, and thus miss those opportunities to release God’s kingdom power.
4. Learn the art of listening to and obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit. We must practice this frequently when we pray for people. If we’re called to be like our teacher and master, Jesus, remember that he sought the Father in prayer for his marching orders. Then he went out into the highways and the byways to find people, present the Gospel to them, and meet their physical needs through God’s kingdom power.
Can you imagine how ineffective Jesus would have been, or his disciples, if all he did was sit in front of a TV or computer, and never pray, or never take time to stop and notice people in need of a savior or healer? Jesus did not leave us in the world to only enjoy personal pleasures, entertainment, or conveniences. He left us in the world to be an army and spread God’s love through supernatural means.
The Lord commanded us to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). So if we’ve been commissioned by him to make disciples, then what did his disciples look like? What did he train them to do? He trained them to do what he did. He trained them to believe like him and act like him in every way—which included bringing the Gospel message through the demonstration of kingdom power.
So how’re you and I doing in that department? Don’t you think it’s time for us to join the ranks of those who are engaging and defeating the enemy in the same way Jesus did—through the supernatural power of God? I tell you it’s here. It’s expanding. The youth are embracing it, and I don’t want to be on the sidelines watching the game. How about you? Do you want to be a spectator or a player? Do you want to make disciples of Jesus, or pew sitters who do nothing more than attend church services? It’s our choice isn’t it? Are you hungry yet?