THE HARVEST BEGINS WITH YOU
In April 1995, Pat Robertson challenged CBN partners with a "harvest mission" of winning 500 million souls to Christ by the year 2000. the following is a transcript of that message. As you read it, please ask the Lord to show you the specific role you will play in his great harvest of souls.
At the end of each year, I try to take several days to get away to some quiet place and ask God for wisdom and direction in the year to come-for CBN, for my own personal life, or for whatever God wants to tell me; whether it's to instruct me, or correct me, or lead me. I did this at the end of 1994, after Christmas week, and the Lord spoke to me over and over again about what He is prepared to do.
The Lord laid out very clearly what is happening in the world. He said the next five years are going to be a time of the greatest harvest that the world has ever known. There will never be a spiritual harvest ever that will compare with what we are going to see. He said, "I am going to prepare the hearts of people all over this world and on every continent, and when they hear the message of my Gospel they will believe." So it's not going to be a question of us being persuasive, appealling or things like that. It's going to be a question of prepared hearts-and God is going to give the impetus.
A man once sent me a prophecy or revelation that he had. He said, "This is something that I saw: a vision of you walking in a field of harvest, and it looked like you and Jesus! And He was walking along next to you, and had His arm around your shoulder to you," and the man said that right behind me were all of these threshing machines, as if the Lord were saying they were getting ready to go. And the man said, "What I would encourage you to do"-and I believe this was the Lord's message through him-"is to be sure that you have God's guidance and leadership wherever you go."
I am praying earnestly for wisdom, because we now have the opportunity to go into nations-it's just a question of which nations. We can point to practically any nation in the world and say, "All right, that's the one," and begin a blitz and see millions of people come to the Lord. So we've got to know where God wants us to and under what circumstances, and follow Him and watch what He is doing.
Five years... Now, you may ask, "What is going to happen to America?" The Lord has shown me that America is going to be spared from God's wrath-which I might add she is earning very rapidly-as long as there are people in America's ministries that are reaching out to the world in Jesus' name.
Think of Billy Graham. he has a crusade that is broadcast on satellite in 175 different countries. That's incredible! Bill Bright is reaching out trying to win millions-hundreds of millions-to the Lord. The goal that we have at CBN is 500 million people for Jesus. I'm asking the Lord for 250 million in China, 100 million in India; and as we go into Indonesia, Malaysia, Africa, South America and other nations, we will see the Lord add to the harvest.
He's got to open some doors in these countries that have been closed to the Gospel and make it easier to get His Word to the people. For example, when we were just in India, things popped. It's extraordinary to go into a country you've never been to in your life and, before you're finished-within a matter of a few hours-you have access to the national television netword; and then you learn of a satellite transponder that is available which is beamed in right over India; and then you have a joint venture with somebody for a cable channel. And all that takes place in about a day-and-a-half or two days! Because God is moving, things are opening up.
But what is going to happen in the next five years? You look at the Word of God and you see that God has a plan. Yet, many people look at what's happening and say, "We have waited and waited and waited. Where is the promise of His comint? We've waited all this length of time and our fathers have fallen asleep, and still He doesn't come!" (II Peter 3:4). Well, believe me, He is coming. The prophet Habakkuk says, 'The vision is yet for an appointed time, and it will come and it will not tarry. You may have to wait for it, but it is going to come' (Habakkuk 2:3). And the Lord is saying to wait for His plan to unfold.
In our world today, there are more people alive than have ever lived since the foundation of the earth. If you took all the people-not from the foundation, but from the time of Jesus-and you accumulated all of those people until the beginning of this present era, altogether, the population would equal what is currently alive. So, if we had been evangelism from the year 1 A.D. up to the year 1950 and 1999. And at least half of the people out there in the world are under 18 years of age. There are many young people, and they are seeking, they are hungry, and they don't quite know what to do. They are helpless, they are abandoned-many of them-and they are willing to come to Jesus. Every one of them is a precious soul. And God's plan is going to be fulfilled.
Now, the Bible tells us that there are two great harvests. One harvest is the harvest of the precious grain into the garners of God. If you read the book of Revelation, you see these little pauses. As God is pouring out His wrath, and you see all these seals, trumpets, bowls, vials and everything else happening, He says to the angel, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads," (Revelation 7:3). You have the same imagery in Ezekiel of the Lord going out and sealing His people. It's as if angelic forces are going forth and saying, "You're one, you're one, you're one." He puts His seal of safety and protection on these people and brings them into His household and into His garners with this great harvest that is getting ready to take place.
I speak form knowledge because, in the last five years, we have already seen God doing things like this. In the first 30 years of this ministry, we had a little over two million decisions for Christ, which is sensational if you look at normal church growth in america. But in just the past five years, we have had over 50 million decisions for Jesus! We cannot believe the response! God has given us an incredible tool.
You know, some people in the old days would go out and harvest their crops with scythe. They would take a scythe-and I've gone out and used a scythe to cut weeds and things like that on a farm- and then they would hook up some sort of mowing machine and a set of mules. But now they have those great big combines, and you roll those babies down and you just take acre after acre after acre. They go through the field and the grain comes pouring out in the trucks, and it's like a cascade of grain. That's what God is getting ready to do right now. He's sending some combines through the fields.
And what are the combines? Well, He said, "I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth" (Revelation 14:6). What do you think He was talking about? An angel is a messenger. We've got satellites up in the sky right now! You go around our Corporate Suppprt Building and you will count about 10 or 11 earth dishes pointed to various satellites. Some are sending. We've got one big dish that could go to South America. We've got a couple more to North America. We've got uplinks. We've got downlinks. We've got all kinds to pick up various satellites at various times; and now we are talking about a satellite that has been used so far by Madagascar which we think we can get to carry the signals over the Atlantic Ocean. There's another one that would take us directly over India, the Indian Ocean, and go all the way to China and back into the Gulf. We would be covering basically the world! "I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven..." (ibid.).
I will never forget the time, April 29, 1977, when we had built the first earth station ever to be owned by a Christian ministry in the history of the world, and we were the first ever to take a full-time transponder on a satellite. We were the third broadcaster in America- we were with HBO and Ted Turner. But we were the first basic cable network in America, so we were pioneers in this area. I remember it was ten o'clock in the morning when we went on with the broadcast. We then cut to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, a little after five o'clock in the afternoon. there were some clouds forming over the Temple Mount, and Merv and Merla Watson were on the mountain. We had a camera on them as they were singing and praising God. The signal was picked up and microwaved to Tel Aviv. On a big earth station it was relayed across the satellite down in New York City; then it was picked up again either on landlines or satellite and sent back here to Virginia Beach, where we picked it up and processed it through our equipment, and then re-broadcast it on our earth station to our transponder all across the United States of America. And when I saw the Mount of Olives, and I saw where my Savior is going to put His feet down when He comes back to earth, I was thinking, "I'm transmitting it! The Bible says every eye is going to behold Him, and here it is happening! We see how it is going to be fulfilled right in front of our eyes!" I couldn't help but have tears in my eyes. I mean, there it was! That's where He's going to come down; His feet will rest on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). That's what it says, and we were right there where He is going to come back, looking down on the Temple Mount. Oh, new "angel" flying in the midst of heaven.
And now we have the opportunity to take nations. We don't just go into cities anymore. We don't try to start churches as such anymore, we go out with nations. We target nations for the Gospel and we blitz nations! This past year we saw fourteen-and-a-half million people come to the Lord in the Philippines. Last November and early December, we were over in Romania. We had a blitz there, and we believe that the recorded number of decisions for christ were five-and-a-half million people-in one of the most communist nations in Europe at that time! Those people are coming to the Lord in droves. Yet, we haven't begun to scratch the surface of what God is going to do in these next five years. It is going to be so thrilling!
I was in Kiev in the Ukraine on the same trip, where we have an office which is equipped to handle 20,000 letters a day. That's about the average they were processing. They took me to the downstairs floor, and their were letters stacked all the way to the ceiling in an alcove. They said there were 85,000 letters waiting to go in the mail. We have a Bible school to train pasters-can you imagine the demand for pastors? Can you imagine the demand for literature? God is going to have to do somethin on this one Himself, because I don't know how anybody is going to keep up with it. It is up to Him. We're saying, "We'll throw the combines into the harvest, Lord, but You are going to have to help us with some co-laborers." Meanwhile, we're already out there harvesting because the harvest is ripe. And He says, "Do you not say 'There are yet four months and then comes the harvest?' ...Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest" (John 4:35).
Now, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, maybe 2000; that's it. That's all the time we have for this harvest. And again, in the letter that I mentioned previously, the Lord indicates that we can't delay. This job has to be done, and it has to be done fast. We don't have a lot of time, because the Lord also said that we are going to have progressive judgment on the earth in these next five years. In fact, not long after that, there was a big earthquake in Kobe, Japan. This earthquake took place one year to the day after the Northridge, California, earthquake. That is not a coincidence. God is sending a message ot the earth! He is shaking the earth. These tremors, if you will, are intended to get man's attention; to get them focused on God-away from their evil, and away from their materialism, and away from their carelessness-to get them to turn to God. However, I believe the chances of that succeeding are relatively dim.
I was in Rwanda last summer at a refugee camp, where we were distributing medicine. Within a few days after we had left, the great flood came, and we sent supplies to help them. That flood was one of the greatest human tragedies in the history of the world. There has never been anything, certainly in modern times, to equal the immensity of that tragedy. But this si what Jesus said: there will be earthquakes; there will be wars; there will be rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6-7). Then He says, "the powers of the heavens [are going to] be shaken" (Matthew 24:29).
Isn't it amazing that Newsweek magazine carried a cover picture about a meteorite striking the earth? CBS did a special movie on sunday night about a meteorite striking the earth. And coincidentally, only a few weeks ago, a meteorite struck the earth in Germany! It wasn't a great big one; it was a little one, but it hit Germany. jesus said that the powers of the heavens are going to be shaken, and He said that men's hearts are going to fail them for fear of what is coming to pass on the earth. He said that the sea and the waves are going to be roaring (Lyke 21:25-26) What's going to make them roar? There will be earthquakes, and there will be volcanic activity. It's conceivable that if a meteorite were to strike the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific, the sea and waves would be rolling. There would be gigantic tidal waves beyond anything we can think of! Now I don't mean to be painting gloom and doom, but this is what is going to happen. This world is going to be shaken. The Bible says, "when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28 KJV). the Lord is going to say to His people, "Well-done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master" (Matthew 25:21). And He also said, "Remember Lot's wife" (Luke 17:32).
I have been reading something in the Bible recently which God has been drawing me back to time and time again. When He does that, and He shows it to me in different versions, I know he wants to teach me something. In Luke 17, he goes over in great detail about how it is going to be when He comes back. And He says, Here is what is going to be happening."As it happened in the days of Noah, so it shall be also in the days of the Son of Man." Now in the days of Noah, "they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:27, 27). Just like that! Now, what were they doing? There is nothing wrong with eating and drinking. You have to eat and drink to live. marriage is also perfectly legitimate. They were basically going through the normal routines of life.
But we're talking about normal human preservation of life in the midst of a society where 'every imagination in man's heart was only evil continually' (Genesis 6:5). You look at the world around us today-30 million abortions in America, and the churches go on eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage. Everybody says, "Hey, it's a choice. After all, you have a constitutional right to kill babies. What's the big deal?" That's what they said in Noah's day. "So they are killing, so there is some violence downtown, so people are mugging folks in the streets. That's the way it is, let's have a wedding! We'll have a festival: it's a pretty bride and handsome groom, and we'll put garlands on their neck and let them go into the bridal suite." That's what they were saying! They were focused on maintaining their life, but their life didn't have any future to it. God had a plan to cut it short because He had had enough of it. He gave them 100 years to stop what they were doing, and they never did it. They may have been laughing at Noah-who knows what they were
Then He says, "It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: They were eating they were drinking." And He says that "they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, and they were building" (Luke 17:28). Eating and drinking sustains life. Buying and selling sustains life when you are in a business activity. All this is legitimate. But they, in that sin-obsessed society, were planting. They were out plowing their fields and planting crops. When you plant a crop you are looking forward to three months, six months, maybe a year; however long it takes for the crop to come up. They were doing business activities and looking to the future. And they were building! (It took a couple of years to build this place where we are presently meeting-once you get it built, you're looking forward to occupying it for years to come.)
So the people in Sodom and Gomorrah were taking care of their regular life, eating, drinking, buying, selling, and they were preparing for the future. They were planting their crops, and they were building houses and buildings, until the day that Lot left the city and the fire came and destroyed them all (Luke 17:26-29). There was no big trumpet blast. God had given them all ample warning. And they were totally unaware that this thing was hanging over their heads until it fell on them.
Now Lot, the Bible says, was vexed in his soul as to what was going on. And he, by his own conduct in life, was condemning them. But the ultimate sin was that they actually tried to have a homosexual rape against angels! The night before, God sent angels to Lot; and certain perverted men in gomorrah came to Lot wanting to have sex with these angels, but Lot offered his daughters instead. And they said, 'No, we don't want your daughters, we want those men who came in to see you' (Genesis 19:1-9).
That's what Jesus said it's going to be like. He said that human life will be going on as usual. But all this time there is activity going on. There is a preparation to get Lot out of the city before God pours out his wrath. This is a figure, obviously, of the Lord taking His people out of the carnage before the judgment, when the really awful stuff happens. There were bad things happening. There was crime, sodomy, rape, stealing-all kinds of evil going on in both of these situations. Bad breaking of God's laws and bad breaking of God's commandments. There was a breakdown of law and order in the cities and in the countrysides, and there were gross violations of God's covenant. And in the middle of it all, these people were ignoring the sin that was around them.
Dede and I were in Munich several years ago, and we drove up to Dachau and saw those places where they burned the bodies of Jews. We saw a barracks that was dedicated to the evangelical pastors who souldn't go with Adolf Hitler, and they went right on inbeside the Jews. they weren't just jews, they were righteous Gentiles as well who were killed. And you can be sure that there were people in Munich who were drinking their beer and eating their sausages and having a happy time while this stuff was going on just up the road from them. They even tried to make believe they didn't know it was happening.
It's like that here in America. We try to make believe we don't know what's going on to the million-and-a-half babies that are getting butchered in this country every year. As if we don't really know what's happening! Well, God knows. And we ought to know. We have slaughtered five times more people in America since 1973 than Adolf Hitler slaughtered in the Holocaust. That's a monumental evil! yet, there was an evangelical pastor quoted in The Washington Post who said, "We shouldn't get too involved in politics because, after all, we can't be partisan. We've got to preach the kingdom." I was appalled when I read this. When all this evil is going on, are we just going to ignore it? That's what happened in Germany, they ignored it; that's what happened in Noah's day, they ignored it; that's what happened in Lot's day, they ignored it. I don't believe that everybody in Sodom and Gomorrah were Sodomites. There were homosexuals, but there must have been some people there that were heterosexuals, living normal lives. But they ignored this swelling evil in their midst!
We have taken some polls of evangelical Christians, and about 20% of them say homosexuality and abortion are no big deal. They say, "We are concerned about taxes, we are concerned about our jobs and money." There are the prime reasons that they vote. They say, "We'll vote in somebody who is pro-choice, we'll vote in somebody who is in favor of legalizing homosexuality. We don't care, as long as we get our money." These are born again evangelical Christians who say this!
But Jesus said that when he comes back, this is the way it's going to be. And then He said, In that day, if you are up on the housetop and you've got clothes inside, don't go down to get them. Get out of there! (Luke 17:31). He says that two people are going to be in a bed, one of them is going to be taken and the other is going to be left. He says that there are going to be two people out working in the field, one will be taken, the other left. he said, If you left your garment back someplace, don't go get it. If you've got goods in your house, don't go get them. he said to remember Lot's wife because, when the times comes, it's going to happen fast (Luke 17:31-36). Paul says that when there is peace and safety, sudden destruction is going to come and ther will be no escape. It's like when the labor pains start and the baby is coming, you can forget everything else! And a new world is going to be born very quickly. That's God's plan. Now, can God change it? He can always change it. Can we predict dates? I think that's a mistake.
If I'm hearing from the Lord right, there are two harvests: one is the harvest of grain, and the other is the harvest of the grapes of wrath into the garners of God. First, he reaps the grain. he gets the souls saved. Paul said, "that blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." The fulness of the Gentiles comes in, "and so all Israel shall be saved!" (Romans 11:25-26 KJV). Jesus said, "Jerusalem will be trampled under foot" (Luke 21:24), which happened from around 2500 B.C. until 1967, when Jerusalem was trodden underfoot by the Gentiles until the Six Day War. From the time of Nebuchadnezzar until the Six Day War, Jesus said that "Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be Fulfilled" (ibid.).
On June 6, 1967, the clock began ticking on the end of the era of the Gentiles. Paul says, "Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (Romans 11:25 KJV). It's not coincidental that we are now broadcasting The 700 Club on cable all over Jerusalem. We are telling the people in Israel about the Messiah everyday! The message is going out, and there are many, many, many believers now turning to the Lord in Israel. These are prophecies which are being fulfilled in our lifetime. We are living in the most exciting generation of any group that has every been put on this earth! But we must realize, He said, that when these things come to pass, you don't get discouraged. You don't throw up your hands in horror. But you lift up your eyes, for your redemption draws near (Luke 21:28).
The burden He has placed on me and on CBN is to get the job done in these next five years. If He gives us a few more years, hallelujah, I'll take it! Nevertheless, these next five years are going to be crucial in evangelism. How much longer these doors will be open, I don't know. When they open, you go in, and if you miss it, you miss it! The opportunity is gone.
We are going to do everything we can in these next few years to get the Gospel out. We will train people, train pastors, print literature, and get Bibles out. We sent two million Arabic copies of the Gospel of Luke into the Arabic world, which is mor ethan have been printed by any other ministry we know. And we have to print millions more, many of which will go to China. We've got to get the Word out! But can we do it? Or should I say, is it what God wants us to do? Well, we're going to trust Him and ask Hi to make us a part of His plan.
Now, I don't have to tell you that we need some help on this. This is big! It's bigger than any human being and it's bigger than any organization. We need a lot of help. And this is the key role that you, our friends and partners, play. Your prayers and support have helped tremedously. But we sould like everybody to say, "God, what would you like us to do now? We understand Your plan. We understand what You are doing during this time of great spiritual harvest, and we want to stand with CBN to make it happen."