The Incredible Opportunity of April 8

America’s Moment of “If”

By Karla Dial Published on April 7, 2024

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the better part of a year, you’ve probably heard the news (sometimes read as “furor,” “uproar,” or “consternation”) about the total solar eclipse our nation will be experiencing on April 8. Lodgings in the path of totality across 15 states have been sold out for months. Food and gasoline shortages and traffic snarls (predicated on all the visitors flocking in to see it from out of state and around the world) are expected. Oklahoma is prepared to deploy its National Guard to help keep order, and Indiana has already declared a statewide emergency.

There’s also been a lot of talk about the eclipse in some Christian circles — particularly the fact that the path of totality includes seven American cities called Nineveh (located in Texas, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York) — and one in Nova Scotia, just for good measure.

The Bible is clear that God speaks to us through nature and signs in the heavens, with more than 100 verses mentioning this. What might not be as clear is: What is God saying to us right now through this event?

We’re not going to try to tell you anything definitively about that, or whether the five-fold ministry (which includes the apostolic and prophetic offices, as well as the more commonly accepted ones of evangelists, teachers, and preachers) still exists today. We understand that our readers encompass a wide variety of ecumenical flavors, as does our staff. One of the things we do at The Stream, as well as in our parent organization, is camp out around our commonalities rather than divide over our differences.

But what we can say for certain is that the Bible tells us two things: God always tells His prophets before He takes significant action (Amos 3:7), and that a thing is established by the testimony of two or three witnesses (2 Corinthians 13:1). In this case, there are more than two or three witnesses telling us several things — and they are remarkably similar.

Whether you believe in modern-day prophecy or not, that warrants some attention.

The Sign of Jonah

To summarize the main points of what’s being discussed: Jesus said,

“An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” (Matthew 12:39-41 ESV)

The key to what this means for us may lie in Jonah 3:

Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. (verses 4-10)

It’s obvious at a glance that our nation has some pretty evil policies currently in place — some things our elected officials and others need to turn from in a serious way. We mention those on a daily basis here at The Stream.

Jonah warned the people of Nineveh that they had a 40-day window in which to turn away from what they’d been doing and toward God before they reaped the consequences of their behavior. What is important about that number for us?

The Day of Pentecost

Forty days from April 8 is May 18 — the eve of Pentecost, the day when God poured out the Holy Spirit on His Church and everything changed forever. There were tongues of fire, people speaking in languages they did not know, and signs and wonders breaking out — and the Holy Spirit actually came to live inside believers forever. The Comforter had come. And that small group of people who had gathered in the Upper Room turned the world completely upside down.

The Bible tells us a couple of other important things that are extremely relevant right now, too. One is found in Isaiah 60:

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
    and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
    and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your rising. (verses 1-3)

This tells us two things are happening simultaneously: The darkness is getting thicker and grosser — but God’s glory is shining on, within, and through His people in such a way that it draws the hungry toward His Kingdom. Not just individuals, but powerful leaders and entire nations.

I think we can all agree the darkness is pretty gross right now.

The other takeaway is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Let’s read this with some emphasis added:

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

We can’t expect this from people who don’t know the Lord. The solution for our nation is not political, but spiritual. The darkness is rising on our watch. So the responsibility for bringing the spiritual solution to it falls on us. If we rise to that occasion, we will see effects from it manifesting in the natural all around us.

The enemy has been trying to force a Great Reset on us … but I think God has a Great Reset of His own in mind.

Our Moment to Shine

What if the 40-day window that opens on April 8 is the 2 Chronicles 7:14 moment for the American Church? What if every person who identifies as a Christian, regardless of their ecumenical background, were to take part in a 40-day fast of some kind — giving up either food, time, or other activities each day in order to seriously pray, engage in at least identificational repentance for our own and our nation’s wicked ways, and ask God to shift it back? As America goes, so goes the world; if our light goes out, the darkness will be very gross, indeed, and history will not remember us kindly.

The solution for our nation is not political, but spiritual. The darkness is rising on our watch.

For that reason, I personally would like to encourage every person reading this to consider taking part in a 40-day fast of some kind (Catholic friends, I apologize for bringing this up so hard on the heels of Lent. I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t really important!). Some people might be hard-core enough to only drink water for that time; others might do a Daniel fast; still others might go without social media or other things that take up hours of their time every day in order to pray with more focus. Find a gathering of other believers to join with, either in person or online; dedicate yourselves to it corporately, just as the disciples did in the Upper Room.

What if, after 40 days of doing that, we experienced the greatest outpouring of God’s Spirit on our nation (and from there, the rest of the globe) that anyone has ever heard of? What if this is what kicks off the Billion-Soul Harvest that many have long said would take place before the Lord comes back for His spotless Bride? What if this is the beginning of the process that helps actually make us spotless?

We may not know (or even agree on) all the answers to those questions — but what have we got to lose by trying?

Perhaps the answer to that question is found in Esther 4:14, when Mordecai tells his niece about the grave situation their people face, and the powerful opportunity that lies before her:

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise … from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

 

Karla Dial is editor in chief of The Stream.

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