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A VISION OF THE HARVESTby Rick Joyner
When this vision was first printed in 1987 it seemed that just a few prophetic people were perceiving that the world was on the verge of a great spiritual harvest. Now it seems that the entire body of Christ is in expectation of an unprecedented outpouring the Holy Spirit. Much of the world is already experiencing a harvest. The church in many nations is experiencing everything from genuine revival to what could be termed another Great Awakening. We are truly in the initial stages of a harvest that will ultimately be greater than all its predecessors. However, even with the almost universal expectation of the coming harvest, far too little has actually been done by the church to prepare for it. When the Soviet Union opened to religious freedom the sects and cults were very well prepared to sweep in with strategy and discipline. It has taken the church almost five years to respond to this great opportunity with even comparable resources. We are now on the verge of seeing the two greatest harvest fields in the world open, China and the Middle East. Again, the church seems halting and timid in preparing for these great opportunities, while the sects and cults are mobilized with great resolve to fill the void. Not only are these previously closed fields about to open, but Europe and the United States are also on the verge of another Great Awakening. Vast multitudes of nominal believers are about to come into the fold, followed by multiplied millions of new believers who will be smitten by the reality of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. With this conviction, I have rewritten this summary of the vision adding practical applications to what I was shown. Visions and prophetic revelations that are trumpeted accomplish little if they do not make a "distinct sound" so that we know why we are to rally. True revival and the in gathering of new souls into the kingdom are tremendous blessings, but if we are unprepared, they can result in great tragedies. The church in some parts of the world is already growing at an incomprehensible rate. The Holy Spirit has been witnessing about the coming harvest on an almost universal basis because it will ultimately be universal. The more prepared that we are for it, the more effective we will be in gathering this great harvest for the Lord. The more unprepared that we are for the time of harvest, the more fruit that will be lost or will go ungathered. Here we are not just talking about apples or wheat in a field, we are talking about human beings.
The Coming Tidal Wave
On May 11, 1992, I saw the church like a surfer floating on a short surfboard, gazing at the beach, lazily drifting and dreaming of the big wave. While this surfer was drifting, the very wave of which he was dreaming was getting closer and closer but he did not know it. I knew that unless he woke up and looked around very fast it was going to come crashing down on top of him and the result was not going to be a smooth ride! I also knew that his board was too short for the huge wave that was coming. It was clear that because of his lethargy, the very wave this surfer dreamed of placed him in serious jeopardy. By the time he did hear the sound of the wave and turned to look, it was too late. What had been the desire of his heart became a terror because, when it came, he was not ready for it. The wave turned the surfer over and over, smashing him into the bottom several times and breaking his board. I feared for his life but he did survive, with many cuts, bruises, and a few broken bones. I watched the surfer lying on the beach in great pain. Soon the terror of looming death passed and a deep wisdom replaced it. He gazed back out over the sea. Even though he was so broken and hurt that he could hardly move, an awesome resolve and dignity came over him. I knew he would come back to ride the waves again. I then saw this surfer in a hospital room looking over the ocean. He was still gazing out over the sea, hut I knew that instead of dreaming, he was now planning. I then saw him standing on the beach, not only healed but far more muscular than he had been before. Next to him stood the largest surfboard I have ever seen. Even though the sea was calm, I knew and he knew that the biggest wave of all was already in motion beyond the horizon. He was ready in that he could ride the wave, but fears were rising up in him. I knew that if he did not quickly dismiss them and get moving, he would not be able to paddle out far enough in time and would again be in great jeopardy from the wave. There were also many other surfers who looked like professional body builders standing all over the beach. These all had the same kind of short boards that the original surfer had at first. These body builders seemed uninterested in the waves, but were busy showing off their bodies, which really looked grotesque. I knew that their large, bulging muscles had been artificially contrived, and were, in truth, not as strong as the real surfer's, whose muscles seemed more natural.
In the previous great awakenings or revivals in church history, there have been very few individuals who were anticipating the move of the Holy Spirit. In most every great awakening or revival, the existing churches and ministries were damaged by the new move simply because they were not ready for it. Some of these had to actually resist the revival just to survive. In contrast, today there seems to be almost a universal expectation of impending revival, but there has been very little actual preparation for it. Even though we may know it is coming, it seems we have been spending more time dreaming about it than preparing for it. The wave of the Holy Spirit that is coming is in reality bigger than we have imagined, but because we are dreaming instead of looking and preparing, we are now in serious jeopardy from the very wave we have been hoping to see. That the first surfboard was so short, and clearly inadequate for even a good size wave, much less the awesome one that came, speaks of the inadequacy of the current vehicles, outreaches and ministries of the church. I felt that even if the surfer had seen the wave in time, he could not have maneuvered it. He would have been forced to quickly paddle either toward the beach, or out beyond its breaking point. He would have been forced, from one position or the other, to watch it go by. Like this surfer, the present church is in danger of getting nothing more than a good beating and a good lesson out of the impending move of the Holy Spirit. Even though the church has been hearing from the Lord about the coming ingathering, we have not been acting on His words nor taking practical steps to be ready for what is ahead. But this beating will immediately bring a wisdom and resolve to become ready for the next wave, and to have the proper vehicle for riding it. The time we spend recovering from the injuries of the wave that is upon us must be spent in planning for the next one; then, our plans must be turned into action. To ride the wave that is coming we will also need to be, as a corporate body, much stronger than we are now. Strength comes from exercising and proper nutrition. When the surfer returned to the beach he had the physique of a body builder, but one who had built himself up for strength and not just show. Every muscle was perfectly formed and powerful. The body of Christ must likewise be built up. Every muscle and every limb, or every individual part of the body, must be properly exercised and brought to full strength. For decades we have been preaching on Ephesians, chapter four, concerning the equipping of the saints for the work of service, but it is now time to start doing it. This must not be done for show either, to just exhibit our beautiful body. We must endeavor with focused attention to make ourselves ready for the next move of the Holy Spirit. The Ephesians 4 emphasis of equipping the saints will again become fashionable. Many will become involved in this "spiritual body building" just for show. These will in truth be devoted more to impressing each other than to preparing for the next move of the Spirit. They will not really have the proper equipment for, or even be aware of, what is going on in the sea (mass humanity). Those who build their congregations for show will actually look grotesque and will not have the proper skills for handling the wave of the Spirit; they may not even be in the water when it comes.