Monday, August 24, 2020

'Wake Up, Sleeper, Rise From the Dead'

Good morning, afternoon, or evening – whenever you are reading this. I welcome you, dear friends – including our friends in Pennsylvania, California, France, Argentina, and even Kuwait. I’m your host and welcome to the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries. I began work on this sermon the other day and was half-way finished, but there was a glitch in my computer, and because I hadn’t yet saved the document – I lost it. So, here’s the second draft.

His name is Jo-El. And his name means YHWH is God.

I’m not speaking of Superman’s father – Jor-El from Krypton.

I’m speaking of a prophet to the Southern tribe of Judah. He was one of the earlier prophets of God. We know that the Southern tribes of Judah was the kingdom that remained after the Northern tribes were carried away captive. It was the nation whose capital was Jerusalem. And, even though his book is not dated by one of the kings – as many of the other prophets’ books were – many believe he was very early in his message because he never mentions Assyria, Babylon, or Syria, some of the antagonists that were against the kingdom of Judah. He was contemporaneous with the prophets Hosea and Amos – two of the other “minor” prophets. They call them “minor” prophets only because they had short books compared with the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel. But I believe these prophets weren’t minor in their message by no means.

He lived and wrote approximately during – at least some believe – the reign of King Jehoash of Judah (c. 836-796 B.C.). He was very familiar with the Scriptures – and one of the Scriptures which I’d like to bring to the forefront before we get into the Book of Joel, is Deuteronomy, the 28th chapter.

Verse 42 – This was God’s Warning which He gave through His servant Moses to all Israel (long before they were divided into two separate kingdoms) – giving grave consequences for disobedience. All the blessings and curses. “Locusts shall consume all your trees and the produce of your land. 43) The [stranger] who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, …” – and, of course, He goes on there. But I want to draw your attention to where it says the ‘locusts shall consume your land.’

Now, later when the temple was built during King Solomon’s day he had a lengthy public prayer in which he said, “’ Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who spoke with His mouth to my father David, and with His hand has fulfilled it, … 23) LORD God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, … 37) When there is famine in the land, pestilence or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers; when their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there is; 38) whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: 39) then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men)’” – 1 Kings 8:15, 23, 37-39 NKJV.

So, turn with me to the Book of Joel, chapter 1.

Verse 1 – “The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. 2) Hear this, you elders, And give ear, all you inhabitants of the land!”

Now, he uses the term ‘you elders’ which were the leaders, the higher-educated, the wise, the kings and princes – today you might say, presidents, vice presidents, prime ministers, senators, governors.

“ … Has anything like this happened in your days, Or even in the days of your fathers?”

Now, what happened here in the kingdom of Judah was a monumental event that occurred during the prophet Jo-El’s day. There was a plague of locusts that inundated the land – imagine the sky turning black by a biblical proportion. And as a result of witnessing this plague, he was inspired to write this book. Now, he had read those same Scriptures we just read in Deuteronomy the 28th chapter and 1st Kings. And he knew that this great plague was being brought upon the kingdom of Judah because they had turned away from the LORD God – but also he uses this opportunity to write this message. It was perfect for his day, but it still stands TODAY for a testimony against the modern-day nations of Israel – including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and even including South Africa.

They had never suffered a plague like this since they had come out of the land of Egypt when the LORD God had set all those plagues upon the Egyptians.

Verse 3 – “Tell your children about it, Let your children tell their children, And their children another generation.”

Let’s hold our place here, and turn with me to the Book of Psalm, the 78th chapter – something which King David wrote.

Verse 1 – “Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2) I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, 3) Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. 4) We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.”

Verse 6 – “That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children.”

Remember when the children of Israel were brought out of the land of Egypt, God gave them all His Sabbaths, His commandments, His statutes, the holy days, saying, “’ Speak to the children of Israel [including, of course, the New Covenant Church of God], … the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. … forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings’” – Leviticus 23:2, 14 NKJV. And, of course, as we’ve said many times – these are not just the feasts of the Jews, these are the ‘feasts of the LORD’! But, because the LORD God brought us out of the land of Egypt we do this also as a reminder of God’s great and mighty power which saved us from slavery and eventual death. So, the prophet Jo-El is telling them to tell their children and their grandchildren.

Verse 4 – “What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; What the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; And what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten.” – the four stages of the locust which are mentioned here. And, this is exactly what happened to the kingdom of Judah and what is happening to millions of people in 2020 with swarms of desert locusts blanketing East Africa – ravaging crops and threatening the livelihood of 10% of the world’s population! The massive swarm of locusts came in and ate all the crops, the fruit trees, all the grass – think about the impact! What if this was to happen in the United States of America – across the plains where we grow wheat, oat, rye!? Or, the Corn Belt - a region of the Midwestern United States!? Or, the vineyards of California!? What impact would it have today if the nation of the eagle had a nationwide plague!? 1 Some of the bible commentaries – like the Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary of the Whole Bible – has associated these four stages of the locusts here with what would eventually happen to the kingdom of Judah, saying, “The Hebrews make the first species refer to Assyria and Babylon; the second species, to Medo-Persia; the third, to Greco-Macedonia and Antiochus Epiphanes; the fourth, to the Romans.” 2 Now, perhaps that could be prophetically a type which could be associated with that, but I don’t believe that is the purpose for the prophet Jo-El’s writings here.

Now, while this plague was taking place – while the kingdom is being devoured – what were the people doing!? What was their attitude – their focus!?

Verse 5 – “Awake, you drunkards, and weep; And wail, all you drinkers of wine.” – so they were having a party! They weren’t too worried about what was happening. 

“ … Because of the new wine [spiritually speaking the New Covenant of Jesus Christ – Luke 22:20], for it has been cut off from your mouth [spiritually speaking see Psalm 95:7-11; Hebrews 3:7-11].”

Verse 6 – “For a nation has come up against My land, Strong and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, And he has fangs of a fierce lion.”

So, the prophet Jo-El used this opportunity of this plague of locusts to describe to the kingdom of Judah of something which was coming later in their future.

Now, Jesus Christ said on one occasion, ’ But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38) For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39) and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be’” – Matthew 24:37-39 NKJV.

The prophet Jo-El here is WARNING of the end of this age!

Friends – thousands upon thousands of people in this world just want to party and ignore what is happening around the world – being distracted by this virtually worldwide pandemic COVID-19. Millions pay no mind of the ever-growing assertiveness of China and Russia, the increase in tensions in the Middle East, North Africa, and Northern Asia. 3

Here, the prophet Jo-El sees the need to try and WARN the kingdom of Judah.

Let’s turn over to the Book of Isaiah, the 10th chapter – a couple of references I’d like to go over.

Verse 5 – “’ Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. 6) I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, To seize the spoil, to take the prey, And to tread them down like the mire of the streets.’”

Here, the LORD God was WARNING Israel through the prophet Isaiah, telling them that because of their rebellion He was going to bring Assyria – who was going to be like a staff within His hand and punish them. But out of that – later on in that same chapter –

Verse 12 – “Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, ‘I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.’”

In other words, God is going to use Assyria to punish the nation of Israel because of their rebellion, and then He’s going to turn around and punish Assyria for their prideful ways in which they attacked and brought down the kingdom of Israel.

Over in the 14th chapter of the Book of Isaiah, picking it up –

Verse 24 – “The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, ‘Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, And as I have purposed, so it shall stand: 25) That I will break the Assyrian in My land, And on My mountains tread him underfoot. Then his yoke shall be removed from them, And his burden removed from their shoulders.’” – of course, speaking about the kingdom of Israel.

Now, as so many people have said to me over the years – “that happened in Israel’s history.” One can open up virtually any history book – like the one in my library World Civilizations Fifth Edition Vol. 1 which says of the Assyrians – “These people came to be called the Assyrians; and their ultimate rise to power marked the beginning of the third stage in the development of the Mesopotamian civilization. They began to expand about 1300 B.C. and soon afterward made themselves masters of the whole northern valley. In the tenth century, they overturned what was left of Kassite power in Babylonia. Their empire reached its height in the eighth and seventh centuries under Sargon II (722-705 B.C.), Sennacherib (705-681), and Assurbanipal (668-626). It had now come to include nearly all of the civilized world of that time. One after another, Syria, Phoenicia, the Kingdom of Israel, and Egypt had fallen victims to Assyrian military prowess. Only the little Kingdom of Judah was able to withstand the hosts of Nineveh, … in 722 B.C. the Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians. Its inhabitants were scattered throughout the vast empire of their conquerors and were eventually absorbed by the more numerous population around them.” 4

If you would turn over to the 27th chapter of the Book of Isaiah – for another quick reference here.

Verse 13 – ask yourself, what is the timing of this passage here!? This is an assurance to the descendants of the kingdom of Israel – “’ So it shall be in that day …’” – now, the majority of the time when you read this in God’s living word it’s speaking of the Day of the LORD. The end of the age, the second coming of Jesus Christ – what Mr. Garrett refers to as the end-time trauma. “ … ‘The great trumpet will be blown; …’” – now, when is that!?

We read in Ezekiel chapter 34:11 – the idea of GATHERING in the physical people of Israel from the far-flung corners of the earth. And I believe that it’s very possible, we, the resurrected saints, will be a part of that ‘hunting party.’ Verse 12 – “’…so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.’” Often a reference to the idea of the Day of the LORD – the end-time trauma. Verse 13 – keep in mind He keeps mentioning a ‘shepherd.’ What was King David’s training as a young man!? He was a shepherd. King David will be the one overlooking the people of God. He will be resurrected. And he will be king over all Israel, and he will be to Israel as a ‘shepherd’ over his flock. He once again will regain his title as the shepherd of the sheep. This INGATHERING happens very close to the blowing of the Seventh Trump. Isaiah 27:12 – “And it shall come to pass in that day,” that’s the Day of the LORD. The Day of the LORD in part is the Seven Last Plagues. It occurs AFTER the blowing of the Seventh Trump. “...And you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel.”

“ … ‘They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, And shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.’”

Now, obviously, this is not talking about something which happened anciently, but it’s talking about the captivity (and as I’ve said before, captivity indeed can be the loss of the sovereignty of a nation) of the nations of Israel in (or because of) the nation of Assyria at the coming of Jesus Christ when He is going to begin to establish His kingdom there in Jerusalem – New Jerusalem. And, there are a great many other references as well.

Let’s turn back to the Book of Joel, the 1st chapter.

Verse 7 – “He has laid waste My vine, And ruined My fig tree; He has stripped it bare and thrown it away; Its branches are made white.” 

Now, I added this verse because I want you to turn to the Book of Revelation, the 9th chapter – I want to make a comparison with what he is describing here with the fifth trumpet plague. 

Verse 1 – “Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. …” – Satan and his demons being thrown down to the earth from the atmosphere. “ … To him was given the key to the bottomless pit, 2) And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit.” – as I mentioned in “A ‘Secret Rapture’?” certainly an indication that the atmosphere will be thick with volcanic ash towers or even radioactive dust and ash! And, as I have witnessed there is grave trouble with America’s disaster response. 5

Verse 3 – “Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4) They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal [the glorious Spirit of God] on their foreheads.”

Now, I do believe there’s a very good chance – and I can’t prove it – that there may be used a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Here is the apostle John in a great vision – under the inspiration of God’s Spirit – writing and describing a series of events that are to take place at the time of the end of this age – the end-time trauma. This great army of Islamic soldiers 200 million strong ( cf. Revelation 9:16) will go forth swarming like locusts and as ferocious as lions. But they don’t ‘harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree’ like we see here in the Book of Joel – they destroy men with different types of weapons which destroy not the buildings, trees, or grass. It’s interesting in knowing that many nations have this technology and what damage these types of weapons can indeed do.

But, I’d like us to go back to the Book of Joel, the 1st chapter

Verse 8 – “Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth For the husband of her youth.” – God, on several occasions, like in the Book of Jeremiah, speaks of His espousal to Israel when they were just coming out of the land of Egypt. He speaks about that love that they once had – even describing one time that Israel was like a helpless newborn baby lying beside the road (Ezekiel 16:1-16). And, lo and behold, this newborn baby happened to be a girl. God says, “And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine.” And God washed off thoroughly her blood, and anointed her with oil, clothed her in embroidered cloth and gave her sandals to wear, clothed her in fine linen, adorned her with ornaments, bracelets on her wrists, and chains around her neck, put jewelry in her nose, earrings on her ears, and a beautiful crown upon her head. And she was exceedingly beautiful and succeeded in royalty. Almighty God cared for this young lady even unto the time when she was able to be married and then God says – when it came time for you to be married I came to propose to you but found out that you had been unfaithful – one of the greatest harlots the world had ever seen! This is the way that God described ISRAEL! ‘I wanted to be a husband to you – and I gave you everything!’ Just like the vow you make when you’re married – “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” He made this covenant with Israel and then found out that she was not faithful at all to Him. And this is why He brought His wrath upon them and allowed them to be carried away captive.

Verse 9 – “The grain offering and the drink offering Have been cut off from the house of the LORD; The priests mourn, who minister to the LORD.” – imagine the priest within the temple waiting for the offerings and the sacrifices and the people weren’t bringing anything to the temple. Imagine what the priest must have felt like.

Verse 11 – “Be ashamed, you farmers, Wail, you vinedressers, For the wheat and the barley; Because the harvest of the field has perished. 12) The vine has dried up, And the fig tree has withered; The pomegranate tree, The palm tree also, And the apple tree – All the trees of the field are withered; Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men. 13) Gird yourselves and lament, you priests; Wail; you who minister before the altar; Come, lie all night in sackcloth, You who minister to my God; …” – he’s asking the ministers and the priests to set the example of repenting and turning themselves to God.

Verse 14 – “Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land Into the house of the LORD your God, And cry out to the LORD.”

Verse 15 – “Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand! It shall come as destruction from the Almighty.”

This is the whole message of Jo-El here in the Book of Joel!! Friends, it’s not about the locusts which are eating up the land in such places as East Africa, but the message here is – THE DAY OF THE LORD IS AT HAND!! WAKE UP, SLEEPER, RISE FROM THE DEAD! ‘Awake, you drunkards, and weep; turn to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ!’ He is crying out with this little short prophecy here to the nations of Israel – like the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and even South Africa.

Verse 19 – “O LORD, to You I cry out; …” – possibly looking back at some of King David’s writings in which he said, ‘O LORD, unto You will I cry and make my supplication.’ “ … For fire has devoured the open pastures, And a flame has burned all the trees of the field.”

Verse 20 – “The beasts of the field also cry out to You, For the water brooks are dried up, And fire has devoured the open pastures.”

Friends here is drought, famine, pestilences, wildfires – and the people are still going each year to their Pride parades, and their Mardi Gras’! Our nations are going down the toilet and the greater majority of our peoples are rejecting Almighty God!

Chapter 2 – God says ‘Blow the trumpet!’ Now, anciently the trumpet was only to be blown by the priest. It was a time when they would blow the trumpet for the gathering of a solemn assembly, a festival meeting, or at the New Moon, but also a WARNING to go out to war. And this is the case here!

Verse 1 – “Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the LORD is coming, For it is at hand.”

Now, there are times when the Day of the LORD feels like some faraway future event – doesn’t it!? Friends, how much closer is it from the time when the prophet Jo-El wrote this – in approximately 835-800 B.C. – to our witnessing the coming dreadful Day of the LORD!? When you look today at the population of the earth – some 7.8 Billion people. When you look today at the massive murder rate alone around the world – with El Salvador having the highest homicide rate in the world at 61.8 murders per 100,000! 6 When you look at the projected population growth rate of 9.7 Billion by the year 2050 – how are we as a civilization going to sustain that!? When you look at the U.S. economy at $26.6 Trillion in debt and rising! How long can we continue going down this road!? What happens when our economy has completely crumbled!? Does not all this give you an indication as to where we are in the history of the world – that we’re so very close to the end of this age!?

Indeed, Jesus Christ gave us some things to look for in Matthew, the 24th chapter, when He said, ’ nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.’ Because then the end-time prophets will arise and shall be persecuted, hated by all nations for His name’s sake – and will ultimately be martyred!

Verse 2 – “A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations.” – our LORD God said, ’ For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved.’ There are nations today like the United States of America, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and Iran with nuclear weapons – with many more nations doing everything they can to obtain them! But they also have in their possession biological and chemical weapons, including many with the ability to annihilate nations using a cyber-attack, or an EMP strike which would literally place civilization back to the early 1800s. We are living in a very dangerous world – wouldn’t you say!? The prophet Jo-El never saw the time in which we live, with the ability to utterly destroy ourselves!

Verse 3 – “A fire devours before them, And behind them a flame burns; The land is like the Garden of Eden before them, And behind them a desolate wilderness; Surely nothing shall escape them.” – this reminds me of Russia’s scorched earth policy during World War II. The Soviets burned crops, destroyed bridges, and evacuated factories in the face of the advancing German war machine, depriving the Germans of anything that might be useful. Even in our modern history – with ISIS’s scorched earth policy in Iraq. The ISIS terrorists and murderers ignited oil wells and storage tanks and even refineries. Also deliberately spilling oil and opening pipelines, as well as flooding residential areas with heavy crude oil. 7 And in 1991 the Kuwaiti oil fires caused by Iraqi military forces under Saddam Hussein – setting fire to a reported 605 to 732 oil wells! We watched as clouds of black smoke plumes rose from dozens and dozens of blazing oil wells in an almost end-time vision there on our television screen – taking them months to finally cap them.

Verse 4 – “Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; And like swift steeds, so they run. 5) With a noise like chariots Over mountaintops they leap, Like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, Like a strong people set in battle array.”

Verse 6 – “Before them the people writhe in pain; All faces are drained of color.” – people see this massive army advancing upon the land and their faces turn pale.

Let’s turn over to the Book of Jeremiah, the 30th chapter, and let’s read a quick reference.

Verse 6 – “’ Ask now, and see, Whether a man is ever in labor with child? …’” – God looks around and sees men walking around doubled over as if they are in labor pains. “ … ‘So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins Like a woman in labor, And all faces turned pale?’”

Verse 7 – “’ Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it.’” – recall, Jacob was Abraham’s grandson – and his name was changed to Israel. And he passed that name onto his two grandson’s – Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob had crossed his arms and said, “let my name be named on them.” Now, the apostle Paul made it abundantly clear that those who had the faith of Abraham are Abraham’s seed and are recipients of the promises which were made by God – becoming spiritual Israel. But, friends – this is speaking to the nations of Israel today, like the two main tribes Ephraim and Manasseh – the United States of America, the United Kingdom and her Commonwealth nations, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. And, not just physical Israel, but also spiritual - ALL THAT BELIEVE AND FOLLOW ALMIGHTY GOD and become a part of the spiritual nation of Israel.

Turning again to the Book of Joel, chapter 2

Verse 7 – “They run like mighty men, They climb the wall like men of war; Every one marches in formation, And they do not break ranks. 8) They do not push one another; Every one marches in his own column. Though they lunge between the weapons, They are not cut down.” – it’s like they have impregnable armor.

Verse 9 – “They run to and fro in the city, They run on the wall; They climb into the houses, They enter at the windows like a thief. 10) The earth quakes before them, The heavens tremble; The sun and moon grow dark, And the stars diminish their brightness.” – talking about a massive horde of armies, most likely Arab and Islamic armies! Now, will there be any doubt in anyone’s mind that we are but living in the very last moments of the end of this age!?

Verse 11 – “The LORD gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; For strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; Who can endure it?

Now in the Book of Malachi, it says, “’ Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, … But who can endure the day of His coming?’” And, in the Book of Zephaniah – “The great day of the LORD is near; It is near and hastens quickly. … A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness.”

Now, the prophet Jo-El here – even after giving us a summation to the kingdom of Judah through this devastating plague of locusts – he uses this analogy of the coming great and terrible Day of the LORD.

Then, he changes tenses here, talking about AFTER the Day of the LORD –

Friends, I’m not writing this to scare you half to death or be what I’ve been called before – a warmonger. And neither was the prophet Jo-El. He was there to try and wake people up out of their sleep and out of their drunken stupor and WARNING them of what is just over the horizon.

Verse 12 – “’ Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ 13) So rend your heart, and not your garments; …” – the great majority of the people of this world do many things while they pray to show how pious they are – like wrenching their clothes, or reciting prayers while wearing a tallit prayer shawl, or flogging themselves, or thumbing through rosary beads and giving the sign of the beast. Almighty God wants us to rend our hearts – get down to the very inside of your spirit, that’s where God wants you!

“ … ‘Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.’”

Friends, Almighty God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ are not sitting upon Their thrones throwing lightning bolts at people – like the imaginative Zeus! What They desire is for us to repent – “’ But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles [in reverence] at My word’” – Isaiah 66:2 NKJV.

Verse 14 – “’ Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him – A grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God?’” – how do you know what is going to happen if you repent!?

Verse 15 – “’ Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; 16) Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, …’” – national sin requires national repentance!

“ … ‘Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room.’” – let’s gather the children and cancel the weddings – THIS IS A DIRE TIME!

Verse 17 – “’ Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, ‘Spare Your people, O LORD, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, …’” – ‘PLEASE, O LORD, LET NOT THIS HAPPEN TO US!’

We beseech You Father God that You will save us, even though we’re rotten sinners and we deserve every bit of it – we need Your mercy and we need You to be slow to anger. Help us to turn to You and to rend our hearts.

In chapter 3 – the LORD our God says that He will eventually bring judgment upon this world – upon all the evil and vile people and nations. But, not until He has punished the nations of Israel – His own people. In the Book of Isaiah, the 11th chapter He says, “the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria” and other nations of the earth. It speaks of the nations of Israel being taken captive again – a great message of regathering Israel. Having Israel in one hand and Judah in the other, joining them together.

Again in the Book of Isaiah, the 66th chapter says, “And with His chariots, like a whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. …”

Verse 1 – “’ For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, 2) I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.’” – now, this was something which happened anciently in 2nd Chronicles, the 20th chapter, where the nations of Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan – who even today are modern-day combatants of Israel. Now, when the Israelites came across the Jordan River and entered into the Promised Land they annihilated all the Perizzites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, and the Hivites – and drove them out of the land. But, God wouldn’t let Israel invade the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir that came up against king Jehoshaphat – against Judah. These nations turned on each other. The LORD God had told His people, “’ Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.’” And He says this here again –

“ … ‘ And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage ISRAEL, …’” – notice this. “ … ‘ Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.’” – here again, evidence that the LORD God is going to allow these nations to carry away the modern-day descendants of the kingdom of Israel wherever they are.

Now, friends, this next verse is most horrible to read – it speaks of using Israelites or Jews to pay harlots as payment. Or, if he wants a bottle of wine, he gives an Israelite as payment.

Down in verse 9 – “Proclaim this among the nations [the Gentile nations]: ‘Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up. 10) Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’”

There’s coming a time when the nations of Israel – like the United States of America, the United Kingdom and her Commonwealth nations, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and even South Africa will be so weak that even the weakest nations upon the earth will be able to go against them militarily.

Verse 11 – “’ Assemble and come, all you nations [Gentile nations], And gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O LORD. 12) Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.’”

This, friends is spoken of in the Book of Revelation as the ‘Battle at Armageddon’ (cf. Revelation 16:16) – where all these Gentile nations are going to come together trying to fight Jesus Christ at His coming – and, of course, God will annihilate them.

Verse 13 – “Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. …” – and in my margin, I have written: “see Revelation, chapter 14.”

So, let’s hold our place here, and turn to the Book of Revelation, chapter 14.

Verse 14 – “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.” – like an agricultural implement, a reaper, a mower, harvesting grain crops, or cutting foliage.

Verse 15 – “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ 16) So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. 17) Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 18) And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, …” – almost as if there are two different harvests here – wouldn’t you say!? Now, one of them Jesus said, “’ Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’” There is a harvest of the righteous people, but there’s also a harvest of the wicked.

“ … saying, ‘Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.’ 19) So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God [the seven last plagues].”

Verse 20 – “And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.” – talking about a blood-letting unlike anything seen upon this earth!

A great majority of people think that Jesus Christ is going to return as a very humble carpenter, with a humble pious soft-spoken voice – like Laverne Hooks in the 1984 Police Academy movie in which Lieutenant Harris asks her –
“What are you doing here?”
“I want to be a police officer,” she whispers.
“I want to be a police officer,” she whispers again, nearly inaudible.
“I can’t hear you!”
“I want to be a police officer,” she mouthed the words, silently.
“Don’t unpack.”
But, it talks about in the living word of God that Jesus Christ is going to slay the wicked! He is coming back to possibly kill millions if not hundreds of millions of people that are absolutely evil and vile.

God’s living word is plain describing the second coming of our LORD God Jesus Christ – ‘the wrath of Almighty God, the winepress trampled outside the city, blood coming out of the winepress up to the horses’ bridle’! Now, this, of course, is symbolic language of what Almighty God is going to do with millions upon millions of people who want to kill Him and His hosts of heaven - along with His saints.


Let’s quickly turn back to the Book of Joel

“ … ‘Come, go down; For the winepress is full, The vats overflow – For their wickedness is great.’” – this is the reason why.

Verse 14 – “’ Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15) The sun and moon will diminish their brightness.’” – speaking of the time frame. Recall, Jesus saying, ’ Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars [Satan and his demons being thrown out of the atmosphere] will fall from heaven, … Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, …’ – I covered this in the article “A ‘Secret Rapture’?”

Verse 16 – “’ The LORD also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the LORD will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel.’”

What a glorious promise! What knowledge to possess to know that Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ are going to protect Their elect [the physical descendants of the children of Israel, cf. Matthew 24:22]!

Verse 17 – “’ So you shall know that I AM the LORD your God, …’”

Friends, God can and will protect His people, but that does not nullify the seriousness of this grave WARNING that lies within one of the smallest books of the entire Holy Bible. It carries one of the greatest warnings to all who will hear. I pray to God that our beloved nation will hear this warning, heed it, repent and rend their hearts – for Almighty God will surely hear. □


1 Oliver, L., “It could take three years for the US economy to recover from COVID-19” World Economic Forum, 30 March 2020. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
2 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A.R., Brown, D., Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary of the Whole Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, 1982, pp. 782.
3 Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Paradox Of Progress - “The Near Future: Tensions Are Rising” Global Trends. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
4 Burns, E.M., Ralph, P.L., World Civilizations Fifth Edition Vol. 1, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., The Mesopotamian and Persian Civilizations Chapter 3, © 1974, pp. 55, 82.
5 Atkin, E., “The Troubling Failure of America’s Disaster Response” 17 July 2018. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
6 Pariona, A., “Murder Rate By Country” World Atlas, 9 January 2020. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
7 Conflict and Environmental Observatory. “ISIL’s scorched earth policy in Iraq: options for its victims to be recognized under international law” 11 October 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2020.

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