Most of the time, we are caught up in the challenges of daily life.
This is also true for the church.
We are consumed with the opportunities and challenges of just dealing with the pastoral needs of church members or with the needs of those around us.
So when Pentecost comes around each year we tend to look up from our concerns and say, “Wow, times flies! It was just Easter, now it’s Pentecost! I guess we need to take a moment and pray for the empowerment to be witnesses to Jesus Christ.”
Then we move on with getting ready for summer.
I confess, this is what happened to us at PRMI–this ministry whose calling is to enable Christians to move into receiving all that Jesus has promised us concerning the Holy Spirit. Pentecost nearly slipped by us!
That’s why I’m sending out this letter urging all of us to prepare for Pentecost by going through our excellent set of video teaching on “Preparing for Pentecost,” even though we no longer have the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost to do so.
Click here to view the Preparing for Pentecost Video Series
Nearly missing Pentecost came to me as a call that I suspect may be for all of us: to lift up our heads from the urgencies and challenges of faithfully following Jesus Christ in the moment, to see the big strategic plans of God the Father for advancing His Kingdom.
When we see the big picture, we will have a context for understanding God’s purpose in Pentecost, the biblical meaning of being baptized with the Holy Spirit, and having the Holy Spirit come upon us in power.
We will see that Pentecost is our gateway into God the Father’s vast plans of sending wave upon wave of the Holy Spirit starting in Jerusalem and now returning to Jerusalem in order to fulfill the Great Commission.
During the first decades of the 21st century, we are seeing four major waves of the Holy Spirit converging in Jerusalem and are working to overcome, with the Gospel of Jesus, Satan’s fortress of Islam. These waves of the Holy Spirit that are continuing the two thousand year westward blowing wind that started in Jerusalem. God the Father’s intention is to flood, as with a tsunami, the Islamic world with a powerful transforming witness to the Gospel. (Acts 2)
These waves are as follows:
- The Holy Spirit is bringing Jewish people back to the land of Israel and to faith in Jesus Christ as their Messiah.
- A great outpouring of the Holy Spirit is occurring among a new generation of Asian Christians, empowering them for witness to Muslim peoples worldwide—“the back-to-Jerusalem” movement.
- An outpouring of the Holy Spirit is rising within the Church globally, renewing trinitarian faith and mobilizing the Body of Christ to contribute to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
- The fourth great wave of the Holy Spirit is within the house of Islam itself. There are, by far, more Muslims coming to faith in Jesus Christ now than at any other time in history.
In response to these waves all converging back in Jerusalem, Satan is launching a global counter attack through the demonic strongholds of Radical Islam.
These strongholds, built on Satan’s original deceptions and lies planted in the heart of Islam’s prophet Mohammad, have four terrible purposes.
- The replacement of God’s way of salvation, revealed in the Old and New Testament through Jesus Christ, with the deception and bondage of Islam.
- The genocide of all Jews and Christians who do not submit to the tyranny of Islam. The genocide of all others, including Muslims, who are deemed infidels. This is billions of human beings!
- Quenching the wind of the Holy Spirit that is blowing in Islam, which is bringing more Muslims to saving faith in Jesus Christ than at any other time in history.
- The implementation of the Islamic caliphate and the welcoming of the “Mahdi” (Islamic equivalent of “Messiah”) to implement the above plans and bring the Islamic version of the End Times, which includes the worldwide hegemony of Islam.
These objectives are so terrible as to be unbelievable, just as Hitler’s final solution of the Jewish “problem” was so terrible as to be unbelievable and was ignored until it cost the lives of millions of people in World War II and the Holocaust.
I am convinced that the Holy Spirit is revealing these plans of God the Father as well of Satan so that we, as Jesus’ born again friends and coworkers, can cooperate with the Holy Spirit in defeating Satan’s plans for evil and fulfilling God’s plans redemption and salvation.
This is why Pentecost is important!
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the way into that great dance of cooperation with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to defeat evil and advance the Kingdom of God. We enter into God’s work through the Holy Spirt falling upon us and giving us the gifts and power needed to witness to Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life–the only way to God the Father.
The signs of the times all suggest that the demonic strongholds of Radical Islam are growing in maturity and–unless soon stopped–will unleash a tsunami of evil upon the earth. At the same time, the advance of the Kingdom of God also seems to be reaching a climatic point of major breakthrough in fulfilling the Great Commission.
All this means that Pentecost this year has a vital strategic purpose in empowering the Church of Jesus Christ and us as individual Christians to be a part of these vast plans unfolding before us. So prepare for Pentecost, whether on the Sunday of Pentecost or in the weeks that follow. The date on the church calendar is not the important thing, but that each of us is baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit to take part in what is ahead.
For the Biblical and theological basis of these waves of the Holy Spirit for fulfilling the Great Commission, allow me to share with you a chapter from my book, A Prayer Strategy for the Victory of Jesus Christ: Defeating the Demonic Strongholds of ISIS and Radical Islam.
The Father’s Master Strategy for Fulfilling the Great Commission
Having received all authority in heaven and on earth, Jesus gave the Church the commission to, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NET)
This is a mission of God’s grace that is based on all the points that are rejected by Satan through the deception of Islam.
“Thus it stands written that the Christ would suffer and would rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:45-48 NET)
How are we to fulfill this humanly impossible mission? We have already addressed this question in Book One contrasting God’s true methods with Satan’s methods of genocide and subjugation to extend the creed of Islam.
Heaven or hell, life or death, the plans of God or the plans of Satan all hinge on the means chosen. In much of this prayer strategy, as we have had engagements with demons, exposed human depravity, and had our hands uplifted like Moses in support of the Joshuas fighting on bloody battlefields, we have skirted dangerously close to Satan’s evil means. It is imperative that we be anchored in the Father’s means of fulfilling the evangelistic mission through the Lord Jesus.
The Father’s master strategy for extending the Gospel to all nations and people on earth began with wave upon wave of the Holy Spirit to advance the Kingdom of God to all humanity starting in Jerusalem, and it will end with returning to Jerusalem. One of these waves of the Holy Spirit is restoring the kingdom to Israel through the Jewish people returning to the Land of Israel and to saving faith in Messiah Jesus. We see this master plan of world evangelism encapsulated in Acts 1:5-8 (NET).
4) While he was with them, he declared, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait there for what my Father promised, which you heard about from me. 5) For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”Acts 1:5-8
6) So when they had gathered together, they began to ask him, “Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7) He told them, “You are not permitted to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.
We shall deal with the Father’s strategy of restoring the Kingdom to Israel in the next chapter. Here we will focus on the Father’s tactic of sending waves of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:8 Waves of the Holy Spirit
The important concept revealed to us in Acts 1:8, and indeed perhaps in the whole book of Acts, is that beginning with Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has worked in successive waves or pulses to advance the Kingdom of God. This is crucial to understanding how our God is working in the first part of the 21st century to bring the Muslim world to faith in Jesus Christ.
The great Reformed theologian Jonathan Edwards discerned this dynamic of the Lord advancing the Kingdom through pulses or waves of the Holy Spirit.
Edwards conceived of the Christian movement as a kind of army of spiritual liberation moving out to free the world from an occupying force of demons that had already been defeated in principle at the Cross…
According to Edwards’ postmillennial optimism, Christianity is destined to sweep outwards in a series of such pulsations until the whole earth is full of the knowledge and the glory of God, as the waters cover the sea.
These pulsations of the Holy Spirit are actually the pattern of God’s working in the book of Acts. Peter himself prophesied these waves in his second sermon, laying out God’s strategy, in Acts 3:19-21. The strategy consisted of two parts:
· Times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, during the present age of the Spirit; then
· The return of the King at the end of the present age, according to the prophets of old.
The first “time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord” happened in Jerusalem at Pentecost, which initiated the Father’s campaign that “repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47 NET) Other outpourings followed, each extending the Kingdom of God. The first one after Pentecost took place in Jerusalem after the disciples had come under persecution.
29) “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31) After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.(Acts 4:29-31 NIV)
It is significant that this outpouring with signs and wonders and empowered preaching took place so soon after the Pentecost outpouring. This establishes the reality that while the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was an initial event, it was not to be seen as a single unique event, but rather the beginning of a pattern extending until the return of the King. This also clarifies this usage of “filled with the Holy Spirit” as having the same meaning as the “Holy Spirit falling upon people for power.” These waves of the Holy Spirit include both the corporate expression of the Church and individuals who are filled with the Holy Spirit.
We see this same outpouring of the Holy Spirit taking place through Philip with the Samaritans in Acts 8, then Peter in the home of Cornelius in Acts 10, and later in Chapter 19 with Paul in Corinth. The rest of the book of Acts is a picture of these waves or moves of the Holy Spirit, each connected with anointed individuals who are part of the Church, the Body of Christ.
These waves or outpourings of the Holy Spirit have continued to take place throughout history. They advance the Kingdom of God by bringing people into the purposes of God, empowering and equipping them to fulfill these purposes. A review of Church history reveals this pattern of moves of the Holy Spirit and the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
Our Role as Intercessors is Praying for and Participating in these Waves of the Holy Spirit
All through the history of the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the role of intercessors will be to pray for these waves and be a part of them as the Holy Spirit calls us to engage in them. While these waves or pulses of the Holy Spirit come at God’s initiative, we do have a role in Him sending these waves. He has decreed that we will cooperate with Him by means of prayer.
This is modeled for us in the book of Acts where each wave of the Holy Spirit was preceded by the work of earnest prayer. A good example is an amazing prayer meeting preparing for the outpouring at Pentecost. After Jesus ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives, “When they had entered Jerusalem, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James were there. All these continued together in prayer with one mind, together with the women, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” (Acts 1:13-14 NET) This gathering together of the body–not just the apostles, but other men and women who were followers of Jesus—praying in one accord, is the model of our role in preparing for all future waves of the Holy Spirit.
In the case of the Holy Spirit’s wave of the Gospel to the Gentiles, the Jewish believers did not appear to know the Gentiles were even to be included and so apparently failed to have done the work of prayer in that direction. Instead, the Holy Spirit stirred a Roman centurion named Cornelius to earnest prayer, which then opened the door for the Father to send the same kind of Holy Spirit wave which came upon the Jewish believers at Pentecost. (Acts 10:1-4, Acts 11:15-16) The lesson is that prayer ordinarily precedes moves of the Holy Spirit.
Jonathan Edwards confirms the role of prayer:
In our present era in this war against Radical Islam, the Father is relentlessly working out his purposes to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire Muslim world. He is sending four great waves of the Holy Spirit that are in succession with the two thousand year westward blowing wind of the Holy Spirit that started in Jerusalem. God the Father’s intention is to flood as with a tsunami the Islamic world with a powerful transforming witness to the Gospel. (Acts 2)
These four waves are as follows:
1. The Holy Spirit is bringing Jewish people back to the land of Israel and to faith in Jesus Christ as their Messiah.
2. A great outpouring of the Holy Spirit is occurring among a new generation of Asian Christians, empowering them for witness to Muslim peoples worldwide—“the back-to-Jerusalem” movement.
3. The third great wave is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit within the Church globally, renewing trinitarian faith and mobilizing the Body of Christ to contribute to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
4. The fourth great wave of the Holy Spirit is within the house of Islam itself. There are, by far, more Muslims coming to faith in Jesus Christ now than at any other time in history.
Here we gain a glimpse of the big picture—our Father is advancing the Kingdom by these waves of the Holy Spirit, each a westward blowing wind of the Holy Spirit originating from Jerusalem at Pentecost in Acts 2, and then over the centuries continuing in a predominantly westward movement to return and converge in Jerusalem. In the Father’s master plan for extending the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations and people on earth, each wave contributes significantly to “closing the ring” of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on the Islamic world. I take this image “closing the ring” from Winston Churchill’s work, Closing the Ring, whose theme is “How Nazi Germany was Isolated and Assailed on All Sides.” The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are implementing a similar strategy to encircle and assault on all sides the fortress of Islam with the first three waves of the Holy Spirit. A fourth wave of the Holy Spirit moving within the House of Islam itself is closing the ring. This is comparable to a “fifth column” or an insurgency of faith in Jesus Christ within the fortress of Islam.
In our present epochal period, these waves are beginning the convergence in Jerusalem. The assault on the demonic deception of Islam is beginning its final phases. This is not just the defeat of the strongholds Satan has built out of Islam, but of the lie of Islam itself. The present phase of the Father’s campaign, these waves of the Holy Spirit converging in Jerusalem, if not thwarted by Satan through our lack of faith and obedience, will soon deluge the Islamic world with the powerful transforming witness to the Gospel. Through the floodtide of the Holy Spirit moving in love, power, and signs and wonders, the “Prophet Isa,” the Lord Jesus himself and not the Islamic impostor, will be knocking at the door of every Muslim heart offering freedom from the spiritual and political tyranny of Islam. Jesus will be extending the invitation to receive him by faith and thus receive the gift of forgiveness of sins and resurrection life.
 Lovelace, Richard. “The Occult Revival in Historical Perspective.” Demon Possession. Ed. Warwick Montgomery. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship Inc., 1976. Pg. 87.
 For a brilliant study of these waves of the Holy Spirit advancing the Kingdom of God, see Doug McMurry’s video series entitled Glory Through Time.
McMurray, Doug. “Introduction, Glory through Time”. Online Video Clip. The Clearing Media. YouTube, 29 Mar. 2013. Web. http://www.theclearing.us/video-teachings/glory-through-time/
 Edwards, Jonathan. Thoughts on the Revival in New England – 1740 Part V Sec III
 This includes (but is more inclusive than) what Peter Wagner named the “Third Wave of the Holy Spirit,” embodied by John Wimber and the Vineyard movement, which was preceded by the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements.
“What is the Third Wave Movement?” Got Questions Ministries, n.d. Web. 6 May 2016. .
 Churchill, Winston. The Second World War: Closing the Ring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1951. Preface of the Volume by Winston Churchill.