Monday, October 25, 2010

The Land Mourns for Corn, New Wine, and Oil

Joel's Armies

"The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth. Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.

Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God. Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD, Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come." Joel 1:10-15

There was a HUGE thunderstorm this morning, like a deluge.  It was a drenching rain with lightenings so close and pronounced that even my children called out at the sight of it.  It was so intense, that as I prayed this morning I asked the Lord what He would have me to know about this storm; and He led me to the Book of Joel.

My Bible contains the following introduction to Joel:
Joel shows God speaks through natural disasters and can be trusted even more when the world seems about to end.  Judah experienced severe drought and the devastation of a locust plague.  God told Joel this just reminded Judah that the day of the Lord was coming and the people needed to respond.  

Joel shows: God's day calls for God's congregation to repent and witness to Him (1:1-2:17); God in pity will provide for the needs of His people and lead them to true worship (2:18-27); God is preparing a day of salvation for His people (2:28-3:21).
This is a time of soberness, of prayer and fasting before the Lord.  If we want His Spirit to pour out upon His people again, if we desire the latter rain, then we must cry out to Him for the sins of the land...especially in the midst of the 'church'.  We must seek His face with a heart of repentance if the current spiritual drought is to end.  He doesn't just want an outward show of repentance, but wants us to "rend our hearts" and turn wholly unto Him (Joel 2:13).

Why should this be the response of His people at this time?  Because a strong nation without number has laid waste God's people .  The word for "nation" in this text is often translated Gentiles, but can also be used figuratively to mean "a swarm of locusts".   Let's further examine how Joel describes this 'nation':
  • By the palmerworm, the locust, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, this nation devours the fruitfulness of the Lord's land (Joel 1:4).  Note as well that each of those insects actually describes locusts.  Palmerworm is the word gazam which means "locusts"; cankerworm is the word yekeq which means "young locust (early stage of development)"; caterpillar is the word chaciyl which means "locusts".  This text describes a hoard of locusts bringing about devastation unto the people.
  • This is a strong nation with "the teeth of a lion" (Joel 1:6-7).
  • They are a "great people" who are "set in battle array" (Joel 2:2, 5)
  • They enter the land that is like unto Eden (fruitful, pleasant) and conquer to leave it a desolate and barren wilderness (Joel 2:3). 
  • Their appearance is as horses and and their sound as chariots (Joel 2:4-5).
  • They are a "strong people" who run like "mighty men" (Joel 2:5, 7) just like the "giants" (nephilim) outlined in Genesis Chapter 6.
Consider how the text below from the Book of Revelation so closely matches this army described by Joel.

Art used by Pat Marvenko Smith,copyright 1992.
To order prints visit her"Revelation Illustrated" site.
"And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

...And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions."  Revelation 9:1-3, 7-8

What is unlocked and set free from the bottomless pit?  That which is kept in chains under darkness until the great day of God's judgment (II Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6).  The fallen angels who kept not their first estate are freed so that they - and the demon spirits (mighty men) which they fathered - can set about releasing a plague of destruction against mankind.

This first army described by Joel is a nation of satanic invaders who go forth to destroy through a violent take over as they pillage the pleasant land and destroy the fruitful vines.  This is why God calls His people into prayer & fasting in this present hour.  The Book of Joel is only 3 Chapters long, but God calls for His people to sanctify a fast 3 times in this book.  The sorrowful condition of the church and the spiritual drought in which we live should cause all of His people to cry out for deliverance from the onslaught of this satanic host.

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14

How does God respond to this outpouring of repentance?  In the midst of the devastation caused by this army, God will raise up another people. The Bridegroom and the Bride - who have henceforth been concealed - will be revealed (Joel 2:16).  The Bridegroom comes out of His chamber, while the Bride - who had been in her closet (prayer closet) - also comes forth. She has indeed made herself ready for His appearance (Revelation 19:7).  God will restore what the first army took away and send forth the corn, the wine, and the oil unto His people (Joel 2:19, Romans 8:19).  He will pour out His Spirit on all flesh and do great things through them (Joel 2:21-29).

"Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil." Joel 2:23-24

Why does God do this?  The first army in Joel is a demonic host empowered to be "mighty men" as they focus on the violent destruction of God's people.  In the wake of the destruction from this first army, it might seem questionable whether the dry bones that lay in their wake can actually live again.  Yet, Ezekiel says that God breathed the Spirit of life unto those bones and raised up an "exceeding great army" (Ezekiel Chapter 37).  This second army is empowered by the Spirit of God through prayer & fasting as we reach out to the lost to save their souls.

God is using this second army to show forth the power of God so that people will call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Joel 2:32).  God is turning the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem (which is symbolic of the church and Israel) as He prepares for the day of judgment (Joel 3:1-12).  This is why our focus must be on the lost, for God will judge those who are without...and He is preparing to do so even now. 

This is the real Joel's Army, as opposed to the false move of Kingdom Dominionists who are becoming more prevalent in the churchworld.  It is not the carnal "Joel's Army" ideology many are promoting in this false 'prophetic' movement where people are marching in their own power to take control of world systems.  It is GOD calling forth and preparing His people by His Spirit to reach the lost before He comes to judge this present evil world.

Will you mourn for the loss of the corn, the new wine, and the oil?  Will you humble yourself before the Lord and seek His face to be empowered by His Spirit in these last days?  There really is a latter rain which shall be greater than the first, but it only comes to a people whose hearts have been prepared by God to receive it.

God is preparing to do a wondrous work through His people; our focus cannot be on earthly things, but on that which is spiritual (Matthew 6:19-20; Romans 8:5; Colossians 3:2; Philippians 3:18-19).  Now is the time to seek the Lord while He may be found.  THEN, will He hear from Heaven.

4 comments:

  1. This thought came to mind as I walked into work this morning and looked and the dark, cloudy sky... "The day of the Lord is a gloomy day."

    The next thought that came, "But in that day God's people will rejoice."

    Thank you for posting this. May we all be counted worthy to be covered by His grace in that day.

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  2. I just listened to Pastor Price's teaching called the "The Cup of Iniquity and the Latter Rain" today and that tied in directly with this article! It seems that the Lord is pulling and drawing me to surrender more and more of myself so that He can use me. It also seems that others are starting to feel the same way, which is very exciting and encouraging to me.


    May the Lord bless you and I pray that may we all be found as the five wise virgins in the day of the Lord.

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  3. The harvest is truly near and the latter rain is coming.

    The Lord is bringing His judgments on every nation, but after the storm, the light of God will shine through.

    Thank you for edifying my soul with this word.

    Go Bless

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  4. Thank you for a very good study of Joel's army. There is much false teaching and misunderstanding about these scriptures.

    This is intersting in Joel 1:5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.

    I did a post about spiritual drunkeness, which apparently preceeds God's judgment of His people.

    http://believersjourney.blogspot.com/2010/08/spiritual-drunkenness-spiritual.html

    God bless,
    Sarah

    ReplyDelete

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