Reformation and Revival?


Are the ideas of reformation and revival biblical for the church? Judge for yourself.


Old Testament


Reform or Amend:


Jer 18:6-13

6          "Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter {does} " declares the LORD. "Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.

7          "At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy {it;}

8          if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it.

9          "Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant {it;}

10        if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it.

11        "So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, 'Thus says the LORD, "Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds."'

12        "But they will say, 'It's hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.'

13        "Therefore thus says the LORD, 'Ask now among the nations, who ever heard the like of this? The virgin of Israel has done a most appalling thing.





reform  3190  yatab (yaw-tab');


a primitive root; to be (causative) make well, literally (sound, beautiful) or figuratively (happy, successful, right):


KJV-- be accepted, amend, use aright, benefit, be (make) better, seem best, make cheerful, be comely, + be content, diligent (-ly), dress, earnestly, find favour, give, be glad, do (be, make) good ([-ness]), be (make) merry, please (+well), shew more [kindness], skilfully, X very small, surely, make sweet, thoroughly, tire, trim, very, be (can, deal, entreat, go, have) well [said, seen].




Other instances of reform/amend (yatab.)




Jer 7:1-7

1          The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

2          "Stand in the gate of the LORD'S house and proclaim there this word, and say, 'Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah, who enter by these gates to worship the LORD!'"

3          Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, "Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place.

4          "Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, 'This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.'

5          "For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor,

6          {if} you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin,

7          then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.



Jer 26:11-13

11        Then the priests and the prophets spoke to the officials and to all the people, saying, "A death sentence for this man! For he has prophesied against this city as you have heard in your hearing."

12        Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and to all the people, saying, "The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard.

13        "Now therefore amend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will change His mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you.


[NIV - “REFORM your actions”]


Reformation:        NONE





New Testament


Reform:  NONE

Amend:  NONE




Heb 9:6-10

6          Now when these things have been thus prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship,

7          but into the second only the high priest {enters}  once a year, not without {taking} blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.

8          The Holy Spirit {is} signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing,

9          which {is} a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience,

10        since they {relate} only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.




Old Testament





Ps 69:32-36

32        The humble have seen {it and} are glad; you who seek God, let your heart revive.

33        For the LORD hears the needy, and does not despise His {who are} prisoners.

34        Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them.

35        For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah, that they may dwell there and possess it.

36        And the descendants of His servants will inherit it, and those who love His name will dwell in it.



revive  2421  chayah-


to live, to have life, to remain alive, to sustain life, to live prosperously, to live forever, to be quickened, to be alive, to be restored to life or health

a) (Qal)

1) to live

a) to have life

b) to continue in life, to remain alive

c) to sustain life, to live on or to live upon

d) to live (prosperously)

2) to revive, to be quickened

a) from sickness

b) from discouragement

c) from faintness

d) from death

b) (Piel)

1) to preserve alive, to let live

2) to give life

3) to quicken, to revive, to refresh

a) to restore to life

b) to cause to grow

c) to restore

d) to revive

c) (Hiphil)

1) to preserve alive, to let live

2) to quicken, to revive

a) to restore (to health)

b) to revive

c) to restore to life




Ps 71:18-20

18        And even when {I am} old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Thy strength to {this} generation, Thy power to all who are to come.

19        For Thy righteousness, O God, {reaches} to the heavens, Thou who hast done great things; O God, who is like Thee?

20        Thou, who hast shown me many troubles and distresses, wilt revive me again, and wilt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.





Ps 80:1; 17-19


1          Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, Thou who dost lead Joseph like a flock; Thou who art enthroned {above} the cherubim, shine forth!


17        Let Thy hand be upon the man of Thy right hand, upon the son of man whom Thou didst make strong for thyself.

18        Then we shall not turn back from Thee; revive us, and we will call upon Thy name.

19        O LORD God of hosts, restore us; cause Thy face to shine {upon us,} and we will be saved.




Ps 85:1-6

1          O LORD, Thou didst show favor to Thy land; Thou didst restore the captivity of Jacob.

2          Thou didst forgive the iniquity of Thy people; Thou didst cover all their sin. Selah.

3          Thou didst withdraw all Thy fury; Thou didst turn away from Thy burning anger.

4          Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause Thine indignation toward us to cease.

5          Wilt Thou be angry with us forever? Wilt Thou prolong Thine anger to all generations?

6          Wilt Thou not thyself revive us again, that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?





Ps 119:25

25        My soul cleaves to the dust; revive me according to Thy word.




Ps 119:37

37        Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in Thy ways.




Ps 119:40

40        Behold, I long for Thy precepts; revive me through Thy righteousness.




Ps 119:88

88        Revive me according to Thy lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Thy mouth.




Ps 119:107

107     I am exceedingly afflicted; revive me, O LORD, according to Thy word.



[Vss: 149, 154, 156, 159 also use revive and me, as does PS 138:7  and 143: 11.]



Isa 52:1


1          Awake, awake, clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city. For the uncircumcised and the unclean will no more come into you.



[Section begins here and continues through:]



Isa 57:15

15        For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, "I dwell {on} a high and holy place, and {also} with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.




Hosea 6:2

2          "He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day That we may live before Him.




Hab 3:1-2

1          A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.

2          LORD, I have heard the report about Thee {and} I fear. O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.



New Testament


Revival:  NONE



Note:   Revival is CLEARLY an Old Testament phenomenon relating to Israel and/or Jerusalem or an individual phenomenon as in “revive the spirit of the lonely and to revive the heart of the contrite.” The same is true with the idea of reformation or amending. Some have argued for revival/reformation for the church on the grounds of so-called cycles of sin and revival. Scripture knows nothing of this except as it is true that Israel repeatedly fell into sin and then repented to an extent, yet even the reformations and revivals of Israel under her kings were not usually very complete or long lasting (the high places were not torn down, etc.) and would hardly be a model for the Church to follow in her steps. Rather, the Church is continually indwelt by the Spirit (1John 3:24) and the TRUE Church shall stand even against the gates of hell (Matt. 16:18.)


The Church, unlike Israel, has been given new and true life by Christ and never has or will have a need to be revived or given a new life again.

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, {the} just for {the} unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;”  1 Pet 3:18

Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor 1:4-9) How could Paul write these things concerning the Church if there would, within 300 years, come a time when the whole Church would fall into darkness and need reformation? I don’t think that he could, or that the TRUE CHURCH ever did fall into spiritual darkness. Most Church histories follow the fall into Romanism and grieve for the Church until the Reformation some 1400 years later. Yet it is the Reformation Churches that write these histories! There is an abundance of evidence that the TRUE church NEVER fell into Romanish error at all, but lived on in various places at various times with names like: Lolards, Waldenses, and Anabaptists (a term of derision heaped upon any group that insisted on believers baptism only.) The history writers dismiss these groups as heretics while continuing, themselves, in the practice of infant baptism (which only makes sense if you hold to some kind of baptismal regeneration or familial salvation,) the Lord’s table as an efficacious means of grace and many many other heresies learned from Rome! These same history-writing Churches also persecuted, exiled and even killed thousands of people whose doctrinal statements are closer to ours than the so-called Protestants’ are.


The TRUE church has never needed, nor has it ever experienced reformation, or revival! It neither needs, nor should it seek these things today.