Chris van der Burgh, a 32-year-old Christian filmmaker from Salt Rock on the KwaZulu-Natal Dolphin coast had a 45-minute encounter with Jesus in the early hours of the morning of Monday May 11 that left him literally shaking, drenched in perspiration and with the responsibility to share a message from the Lord about a coming, great revival.
Van der Burgh, who is described by his church leader, Ryan Matthews of Freedom House Church, as an unassuming person of integrity who loves the Lord and His Word, told Gateway News this week that he had never before experienced anything like that encounter in which Jesus took him in a vision to the throne room of heaven and to various parts of the world where he said He was about to unleash revival.
You can listen to his testimony of the encounter by clicking here and then read about the radical way it has impacted his and his wife’s life, and about the response of his church which approached respected people in and outside of their congregation to help process the young media professional’s unusual prophetic message. Around 2.30am, immediately after he had “recovered” from the experience, Van de Burgh recorded an account of what happened on May 11 and sent it to his pastor and his parents. His voice note testimony has since gone viral.
Speaking to Gateway News about the Jesus encounter which left him convinced that a great revival, with a massive harvest of souls and unprecedented miracles will take place in the so-called BRICS countries (Brasil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). starting this month, Van der Burgh said the experience and the aftermath have left both him and his wife, Lindie-Reneé, feeling like they had both become Christians for the first time.
Van der Burgh grew up in a big Christian family, went to a Christian school in Graskop, Mpumalanga, and Lindie’s parents are OM missionaries in Zambia.
“We both grew up Christians. We believed in Jesus and we were Christians. But it feels like a new revelation has opened up for us about the realness and the closeness of Jesus Christ. I’m a completely changed person, I think. Just the vividness and realness of that encounter asks you: what really matters, what are you focusing on at the moment?” he said.
He said that since the initial dramatic encounter he has had several more, but less intense, prophetic dreams and visions. During the first experience, Lindie woke about 20 minutes into the encounter as he repeatedly called out “go, go, go”, echoing the words of Jesus who was sending out thousands of joyous and excited angels from the throne room. His wife was concerned to find that he was hot and wet but he reassured her that Jesus was talking to him. She prayed over him with her hand on his chest until the end of the experience when he said “Amen” and experienced a great peace.
He said that before May 11 he regularly browsed media channels for the latest news and for Covid-19 updates. Since his Jesus encounter, he has not checked the news at all.
“It feels like everything else has taken a back seat and Jesus Christ has become the main focus regarding what is happening at this time. And it’s not about just putting my head in the sand — it just feels like it [regular news] has become so insignificant in terms of what I believe Jesus is about to do and is busy doing,” he said.
He said he also feels that Holy Spirit is working on keeping his heart soft and open to cooperate with him and that it feels like reading bad news all the time and focusing on negative messages “hardens the heart a little bit and distracts the mind from what Jesus is doing”.
He said he was very encouraged by messages and phone calls he has received from around South Africa and the world since sharing his testimony with his pastor and with his parents who then asked if they could share it with some other people.
“I don’t like the spotlight very much. I’m quite an introverted guy. And so all these people phoning and writing and people asking me to pray for them and their children and different things has been a challenge but it’s been a good growth time — almost like a spiritual strengthening,” he said.
“Since then I’ve been praying for people, even going up to them when I felt I needed to and not waiting for them to come to me. In the shops I’ve sensed the Lord telling me different things about different people. Like like one guy, I sensed he had back pain, so I went up to him and said: ‘It sounds crazy but I sense the Lord telling me you are struggling with a back pain.’ And he said: ‘You won’t believe it but I had a hip operation and my back is hurting from that,’ and I prayed for him. He didn’t limp or anything.
“That kind of stuff which I would never have done before. It feels like an urgency; we need to step to our place as believers and lift that level of faith to the next level.
“Part of the encounter which I didn’t share is that the Lord told me the lions need to rise up and roar louder than ever before and I believe those are the believers who are complacent or just living the happy Christian life. It’s time to raise the level of your faith, whether upping your talents or living in your strengths or if you are an intercessor to pray more, or whatever it is, to up the game as Christians.”
Ryan Matthews, who leads Freedom House Church with his wife Melissa, said that when he first heard Van der Burgh’s voice note on his experience, he sensed a weightiness and an anointing on it. But they subjected his word to rigorous processing, considering, inter alia, the person who released it and how it lined up with Scripture.
Thereafter they put out a document to the church recording their response to the word.
“The essence of the prophetic word we absolutely agree with. The essence being that God is moving in revival, signs, wonders and miracles. And He’s moving powerfully in hotspots around the world.
“Respectfully, when it comes to details, we approach it with incredible humility — because sometimes the detail is an interpretation of something and can take away from the essence. The essence we absolutely celebrate and endorse. And our response to the essence is: ‘Guys and girls, we’ve been praying and trusting for this. God has been speaking a lot about this. And we need to recognise that He is emphasising that revival is at hand and He is moving. We need to respond in great courage and expectation to see what His heart wants.
“So we’ve said: ‘Come let’s keep praying.’ We’ve been praying for stuff like this for a long time. It’s not as if there is anything new in it; it’s just that there is a dramatic, fresh emphasis. So we’ve said: ‘We’ve been praying, but let’s ramp up our prayer and expectation.'”
He said another reason for a humble approach to the details is that they are in prophetic language which may be influenced by the lens of the person who received the word. For instance, references to the End Time revival in Van der Burgh’s word, require a humble, gentle view, because that is something that has been referred to many times in renewals throughout church history.
“We believe that when the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, we were thrust into the End Times and certainly as we approach Jesus’s return it is going to speed up. But the End Time revival and harvest began with the ascension of Jesus and the outpouring of the Spirit.”
He said he absolutely agrees that God is doing something catalytic in the nations that Van der Burgh mentioned in his word. But we are also mindful of the fact that people in other nations are going to be hearing God for their context and just because there may be catalytic things happening in other parts of the world does not mean God is not moving with incredible power in their nations.