The Millennial Kingdom of God is Much Nearer Than You May Think

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Joel's Army: Part 2


The “Joel’s Army” Movement
In the past several years a movement known as Joel’s Army has had a significant influence upon a group of people and events.  It is supposed to be a great end-times army of Godly warriors who bring Revival in the latter days.  As I have written, this Joel chapter 1 described army initially appears as an actual invasion of locusts of the insect type.  Joel uses an actual plague of locusts as a springboard to prophesy concerning an end-times army consisting of a locust-type invasion that appears to be extremely similar to the bottomless pit demon-locust wrath described in Revelation chapter 9.  This last-days plague of demonic locusts is a part of the wrath of God (or day of the Lord).  It is my belief that nothing happens without the permission of God (which would be the will of God); then it stands to reason that the demonic locust plague as described in the first part of Joel chapter 2 and Revelation 9 is loosened by the permission and will of God as a judgment from God.

The Joel locusts are a preview prophecy of certain Revelation chapter 9 events.  The day of the Lord or the wrath of God ending with the so-called battle of Armageddon occurs right before the beginning of the Millennial reign of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. 

The call of God to salvation and righteousness does not begin until Joel 2:12.  God states His restoration promise starting in 2:21:  green grass; trees with fruit; grain and oil; plenty of food; and an absence of enemies. 

Joel 2:11 proclaims, “And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army”, but what is the identity of this army of the Lord?  Is it a locust plague; is it the demonic entities from the abyss; is it an actual human army?  Joel is prophesying about the day of the Lord or the wrath of God.  The Lord’s army is an angelic host led by the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  It is not an army of “latter day” so-called Christians calling themselves Joel’s army who will conquer the world and proclaim the kingdom of God as their undertaking.  The Messiah, Jesus Christ, will conquer the massive army of the AC-beast with a single word from His mouth.  This verse is referring to the heavenly army of the Lord.

And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?  (Joel 2:11 KJV)

Chapter 2, verses 12 through 27 constitute the Millennial restoration of the land (and world) by the Lord to all the remaining remnant who: “turn ye even to me (the Lord) with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; rend your heart; turn unto the LORD your God.”

Joel in the Book of Acts
Beginning with Joel 2:28 through 3:21 the verse numbers in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS).  Joel 2:28 in the English Bible is numbered as Joel 3:1 in the Hebrew text.

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.   (Joel 2:28-32 KJV)

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(Acts 2:16-21 KJV)

It can be considered that the last days began at the ascension of the Messiah where He now sits at the right hand of God the Father:  and there is truth in that belief.  Peter was correct in his Pentecost statement in the book of Acts.  However, the last days and the day of the Lord preparation for the Millennial reign do not occur at the same time.  Considering the last days as of Peter’s Pentecost sermon, certain parts of the prophecy of Joel did take place:  the Spirit of God was poured out on believers and the apostles received the power of speaking and being understood in every language that was present in his audience.  The remainder of the prophecy will occur as stated:  “before that great and notable day of the Lord comes.”  This includes the following prophetic statements:  wonders in heaven; signs in the earth; blood, fire, and smoke; sun into darkness; and moon into blood.  These verses constitute the heavenly signs for the soon coming day of the Lord which is the wrath of God.  These signs are reiterated by God through John the apostle at the opening of the sixth seal.  The following and last seal, the seventh, will begin the wrath of God.

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.  (Revelation 6:12-14 KJV)

Joel 2:32 refers to a remnant who will be delivered in Mt. Zion and Jerusalem.  The group who escapes Jerusalem when the abomination of desolation is set in place, as forewarned by Jesus, will constitute the remnant in Mt. Zion.  They will recognize the beast is not the messiah and will call on the name of the Lord and shall be delivered.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
(Joel 2:32 KJV)

Joel: Chapter 3
The third chapter of Joel prophesies about God returning the people of the twelve tribes, consisting of both Judah and Israel, to the restored kingdom of David.  There is mention of certain countries and people groups.

Joel 3:1 NET  For look! In those days and at that time I will return the exiles to Judah and Jerusalem.

The Septuagint, Peshita, and King James have “I shall bring again the captivity.” However, context seems to demand a positive statement rather than a negative one.   
The Masoretic text has “return the captivity” while the suggestions of the Masoretic scholars has “restore the fortunes.”  The positive versions include: JKJV, NET, NIV, NLT, YLT, and Green’s Literal Version.

Joel 3:2 NET  Then I will gather all the nations, and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. I will enter into judgment against them there concerning my people Israel who are my inheritance, whom they scattered among the nations.

Joel is now describing the final gathering of the nations in rebellion against God.  Some consider this the Battle of Armageddon. There is no location in or around Israel known as the Valley of Jehosphaphat but the name Jehoshaphat means, “The Lord Judges.” It describes God’s place of judgment.  In the passage, Joel 3:1-21, God assures Israel the surrounding nations that have dealt treacherously with Judah and Israel will be judged.  God’s complaint against the nations is they have mistreated His people:  this will primarily deal with the Jewish remnant surviving the wrath of God and the saints of the surviving Church. In Joel 3:4-8 God warns the nations , specifically Tyre, Sidon, and Philistia, that He will retaliate against (or repay) those who have mistreated His people.  It is apparent fromthe context of Joel 3:1-2 that God is asserting His ownership of the Promised Land and His promise to the descendants of Abraham.

Joel 3:9-10 NET  Proclaim this among the nations: "Prepare for a holy war! Call out the warriors! Let all these fighting men approach and attack!  (10)  Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears! Let the weak say, 'I too am a warrior!'

God challenges the nations to prepare for war against Him, which they have been preparing for through the influence of demons as related in Revelation 16:14.  But God will taunt them and laugh in disgust.

For they are the spirits of the demons performing signs who go out to the kings of the earth to bring them together for the battle that will take place on the great day of God, the All-Powerful.  (Revelation 16:14 NET)

The one enthroned in heaven laughs in disgust; the Lord taunts them.
(Psalms 2:4 NET)

The “call to arms” to the beast nations by the word of God has several commands in Joel:  Proclaim this among the nations (3:9); prepare a war (3:9); call out the warriors (3:9); let all these fighting men approach and attack (3:9); beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears (3:10); let the weak say, “I too am a warrior” (3:10); and all of (3:11).

Joel 3:13 NET  Rush forth with the sickle, for the harvest is ripe! Come, stomp the grapes, for the winepress is full! The vats overflow. Indeed, their evil is great!

This image of the winepress of the wrath of God is also used in Revelation 14:14-20.

Then I looked, and a white cloud appeared, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man! He had a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple, shouting in a loud voice to the one seated on the cloud, "Use your sickle and start to reap, because the time to reap has come, since the earth's harvest is ripe!" So the one seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped. Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Another angel, who was in charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to the angel who had the sharp sickle, "Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes off the vine of the earth, because its grapes are now ripe." So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered the grapes from the vineyard of the earth and tossed them into the great winepress of the wrath of God. Then the winepress was stomped outside the city, and blood poured out of the winepress up to the height of horses' bridles for a distance of almost two hundred miles.  (Revelation 14:14-20 NET)

Joel 3:14 KJV  Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

The KJV was employed for this particular verse because the familiar phrase, “Valley of Decision,” has been used in countless evangelistic meetings to show people that they stand in the “Valley of Decision,” and must make a decision to accept Jesus (or not). The context of this phrase in Joel has exactly the opposite meaning. In this Armageddon scenario mankind does stand in the valley of decision, but they have already decided.  It is a valley of judgment and the decision to repent and be active in the Kingdom of God is now.  Joel looks out upon the Valley of Jehoshaphat at the Battle of Armageddon, and sees multitudes facing their eternal fate of death and ultimately the lake of fire.

Joel 3:15 NET  The sun and moon are darkened; the stars withhold their brightness.

Some commentators consider the darkened sun, moon, and stars to be typical apocalyptic language but it is my opinion the words of Revelation 6:12 will come to pass as it did during the Egyptian Exodus.

Then I looked when the Lamb opened the sixth seal, and a huge earthquake took place; the sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair, and the full moon became blood red;   (Revelation 6:12 NET)

After God’s final victory, there is lasting abundance and the days of drought are just a distant memory. Egypt shall be a desolation and Edom will be a wilderness.

A fountain shall flow from the house of the LORD: Ezekiel 47:1-23 describes waters flowing from the house of the LORD after the triumphant return of Jesus Christ as the ruler of the Kingdom of God during the Millennium. Zechariah 14:8 also speaks of a great flow of water from Jerusalem, emptying both into the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

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