I got saved in 1977, in the aftermath of Woodstock and the Jesus People Movement. You can watch the movie, The Jesus Revolution. It captures the flavor if not the whole picture. It was a unique time in American history, the last genuine American revival, notwithstanding the recent outpourings at Ashbury College in Kentucky. The Jesus People revival saw tens of thousands of us diehard hippies come to Christ. There weren’t any scary women banging tambourines, no spiritual warfare flags, and no “uncontrollable, I just can’t help myself” manifestations. God did it all without props. I didn’t even need a church or a preacher to get me to an altar; I got saved the Apostle Paul style, hitchhiking along a scorching, ill-used road on the desert way to Tucson. After hours of fruitless thumbing, watching as an occasional car passed me by, I felt a sharp pain in my chest, and though just twenty-seven years old, I was fearful of dying and going to a “Catholic hell.” I dropped my backpack on the desert floor and made my own altar under a weather-ravaged mesquite tree. I fell to my knees, raised my hands, and called out to God, repenting of everything I could think of, including burning down a neighbor’s garage while smoking my first cigarette.
When I got back to my feet, I knew something inside me was different, as if I was starring in a Pilgrim’s Progress movie and the baggage of burden had just dropped off my back. I immediately challenged God to prove that this was real by asking him to make the next car stop and give me a ride. Looking back toward the sunbaked road, which appeared like a wavy, watery mirage, I saw what looked like a heavenly vision. It was one of those transcending moments that etches itself deep within one’s limbic system. It was like I stepped through the wardrobe, not into Narnia, but into a portal of a parallel world, a world I was eternally meant to be in. I thought I heard singing as if coming from a celestial choir of young black girls in blue robes. I saw in this vision a collage of brilliant colors, and out of the midst of this brightly lit spectacle, a figure that looked like the Son of Man was smiling and waving as he passed before me.
I re-slung on my backpack, walked back towards the road, and while mopping my forehead with a red bandanna, I peered through the intense, dry heat at the dazzling image, not sure if I was dreaming. The colorful collage I saw in the vision turned out to be a multi-colored, brightly painted 1960s VW hippie van, but instead of it cruising down the road as might be expected, it was coming back up the road towards me in reverse. Dream or no dream, this was nirvana. A waving hand from a sliding side door beckoned me to get in, and when I did, I realized for the first time that I wasn’t dreaming and that the bearded man only looked like Jesus. Then, the Jesus lookalike said to me, “We saw you a few minutes ago, and something told us to go back and get you.” Things like that happened a lot back then.
Neil Young sang the song, “Almost Cut My Hair,” but I actually did and never looked back. Many of us “day-trippers,” including myself, became preachers. My family and I planted churches in Canada and South Africa. In the latter, we arrived in 1995, just after Nelson Mandela became president, making it legal for the first time to go into the black townships. We set up a tent there and had church three times a week, where we saw thousands of conversions and healing miracles. And so, I was born into the Kingdom of God in a genuine revival, and then I was privileged to see a measure of it in my own ministry in South Africa as well.
I’m told that those who examine counterfeit bills don’t study the fake ones, they become so familiar with the genuine ones that the bogus bills are easily spotted. Likewise, once you’ve been immersed in a genuine move of God, the movements coming from a deceiving spirit are more readily identified.
Early on in our ministry, God revealed to me in unique ways counterfeit revivals like Toronto and Brownsville. From there, he expected me to do my part in exposing charlatans like Kenneth Copeland and Rodney Howard-Brown, and other pushers of the poisoned gospels of Kingdom Now and the New Apostolic Reformation. It’s not “new,” it’s been around since the Golden Calf, it’s not “apostolic” in any sense of the word, and it’s not a “reformation,” defined as “improvement,” so it’s none of the above. It’s a “revival” of another spirit, foreign to the Word. And each new generation “discovers” it as if it’s never existed before, this alluring, recycled, repackaged, and regurgitated deception that reinvents itself with predictable regularity, and where unstable, biblically challenged people to flock to it like scavengers to roadkill.
This calling of exposing the counterfeit is not one of those career-building moves that look good on your resume. If you want to be popular and well thought of, this responsibility is not for you. On the other hand, if you’re able to obey God and fulfill his purposes for your life without immediate honor, without recognition, without any official position, and without any financial remuneration, if shunning and other negative attention doesn’t derail you if you’re not addicted to the praise of man, and you’re able to keep the Spirit alive within you, then being a prophetic watchman might just fit your skill set. Otherwise, you might want to ask God for some other gifting.
I didn’t sign up for this, but starting with the Latter-Day Rain Movement in Saskatchewan, Canada, to the laughing circus of Copeland-Hagen, it seems God wouldn’t let me ignore these spiritual con artists, even within our former church organization, which has cost our family dearly, even to this day. And every time, just when you think this deceiving spirit has finally died off, some biblically illiterate church people, “ever-learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth,” can be counted on to conjure it back to life.
Shortly after my conversion, I believe God impressed on me that I would see the Rapture of the Church. It’s as if He rose up this final generation of men for such a time as this, knowing that we would see the End Times unfold, leading up to what the Bible calls “Daniel’s Seventieth Week.” This will be a time when God’s wrath will be poured out upon this unbelieving world and is specially designed to bring Israel to salvation. This judgment is not for the Church, the Bride of Christ. The Bride has already been clothed in fine linen, pure and bright, and taken up to be with her Groom. We’re going up in the First Resurrection. Paul said to “encourage one another with this hope.” And in 1Thes. 5:9, he said, “For God has not appointed us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We may experience some of the wrath of man for a while like much of the world already has, but we will be kept from God’s wrath. Rev.3:10 says, “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell on the earth.” God’s Bride has already been tried and tested in this life and found guilty, but being under the Blood, we are now found without spot or wrinkle and free from all condemnation.
The Bible says that the End Times will be noted for widespread spiritual deception in the church, so much so that “even the very elect could be deceived.” That there will be people and churches that will have a form of godliness but deny the power of God. Paul said to avoid them. Nearly all of Christendom is guilty of this, as the gifts of the Spirit are confined to some safe place back in the days of the early apostles, and End Times prophecy is ignored as if it wasn’t over one-fourth of the Bible. Finding a church that preaches the whole counsel of God, including prophecy and the imminent Rapture of the Church, and believes in the gifts of the Spirit operating in the church, is an almost impossible task. And to find one where the pastor isn’t a control freak, and where someone can respectfully disagree with them without them having an emotional meltdown.
We knew after being in the ministry for so long, especially our years overseas in South Africa, it would be challenging to find a “good enough church” but we didn’t expect what we found coming back to the US. This is the Laodicean Age and the dying moments of the Church Age. In these End Times, now more than ever before in history, we need to stay close to God through prayer, hearing the Word, and reading the Bible, much of which seems to be written for these times. Don’t forsake the gathering together of the saints; keep praying for other believers to gather with. Hang on, stay sober and in prayer, and wait on God, as long as you are above ground. He chose you for such a time as this. If you can’t find a biblical church in your area move to one or start a home Bible study group. Considering the unprecedented increase in persecution of believers, even in our own country, a home Bible study might better mirror the spirit of the Early Church. Meanwhile, you don’t have to spiritually starve, grab some neighbors, and have church in your home, watch a Sunday service online. Jack Hibbs.com is one I would recommend if you can’t find a good local assembly.