Where did I ever get the idea that the WORLD in John 3:16 meant 'all the inhabitants; all the people of the world'? When I ask people around me, they also seem to have absorbed the idea that God loved (just) the people in the world, and that's why He sent His Son into the world to die for them.
But wait! If we read a bit more of the scripture and take it for what it really says, we come up with quite a different idea.
John 3:15-17 "And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so also is it necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him would have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that every one who believes in Him would not die but would have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world so that He would condemn the world, but so that the world would be saved through Him."
Sure, John is talking about salvation being available for people through the sacrifice of Jesus. But, that's possibly not all. It says that because God loved the world so much.... The word translated for 'world' here is the Greek word "kosmos". That means the worlds systems....not just the people in those systems.
So, is it possible that Jesus didn't just come to save the people of the world (like I grew up assuming) but that He actually came to save the whole world/universe/space?? Could it be that He intends to save ALL that He created?
Ron McGatlin in The Seventh Millenium writes "As men receive Christ Jesus into their lives and then yield control of their lives to the Spirit of Christ within, the will of God is done from heaven on earth. The kingdom of God from heaven rules in the world and the ways of God redeem and restore the kosmos." Ron continues, "In every instance the word translated "world" in John 3:16-17 is "kosmos". The key to the redemption of the world is the salvation of man. Thus man's redemption is the world's only hope."
While we were in Arizona this winter, we were priviledged to hear a dynamic Jason Westerfield speak. Anyways, he gave testimonies about places where the earth and the economy improved around places where revival had taken place. Places like villages in Guatemala where people had had supernatural experiences with God, and then the ground itself started to produce more vegetation, and more crops for the farmers! Can you believe that? I certainly do. Why wouldn't it? If Jesus Himself came to give us life, and that life more abundantly, then why wouldn't it effect the land and atmosphere around us? More crops would make those farmers' lives more abundant, that's for sure.
I heard a story thru Bill Johnson that a flowering cactus (I believe that's what it was) that's been located in a prayer room of theirs, has now been blooming something like 11 months of the entire year!!! Where normally it would bloom for a short period once or twice a year. Believe me....praise changes the atmosphere, and that plant is thriving on it.
Question for You: Have you seen or heard examples of the earth/nature being supernaturally renewed in connection to revival in an individual, or community, or country?