“Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:10-12)
I have found over the years that our Bible group tends to penetrate the deeper meaning of Bible verses, yet we are not prophets, so where is the wisdom coming from. It wasn’t until I read Amos 3:7-8 from the Contemporary Bible Version, and then compared it with different versions that I realized that God was sitting in on our studies and touching us with a little bit of enlightenment. That version interpreted it as, “Whatever the Lord God plans to do, he tells his servants the prophets, Everyone is terrified when a lion roars – and ordinary people become prophets”. The key is study, of course; like Paul said, “Study to show yourselves approved”.
In past articles, I have endeavoured to convey the hidden meaning of various passages, like just these three as an example. Jeremiah 5 that reveals the wonderful and appalling thing taking place in our Israel lands today and God’s warning that “He will visit for the wickedness”. I suggested that the hidden meaning of the miracle of 5,000 being fed with 5 barley loaves and 2 small fishes of John 6 was, in part, “the need to seek spiritual nutrition”. Or the hidden meaning of the seven verses of John 6:15-21 that reflects the period from Jesus’ Ascension to His Return and that we are presently going through, as this verse describes, “And the sea arose by reason of the great wind that blew”, or, terrible tribulation.
Sadly, nowhere in the Israel nations is this “great wind” blowing more so than in America, where devastating natural disasters seem to follow one after another; where, despite the strength of its economy, the division amongst its people is worse than perhaps at any time in the past century; or where troubles abound, as evidenced by angry mobs marching and demanding the unrealistic, like the demand for open borders and elimination of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Put simply, True Israel has lost its way because we have turned aside from what made us great in the first place, adherence to the Laws and Commandments of God Almighty.
What’s more, probably the majority of Israelites have little or no closeness to our Saviour Jesus Christ, most even questioning His Divinity. And where our ministers should be collectively standing up for the faith, they seem more content with the comforts of their lifestyle and preaching their feel-good messages. The prophet Joel faced this similar situation; he pleaded with the ministers to repent and to call Israel to prayer. Not so then and not so now! At least, then, knowing that the ministers would not do what they should, Joel cried out on their behalf, “O Lord, to thee will I cry”.
Now, I mention the prophet Joel because he looked far into the future, to a time of war and culminating with deliverance by God Almighty. He was one of the minor prophets, but his message was mighty. If you read the three short chapters, you can come only to the conclusion that he refers to this very moment in time, whether only years away, perhaps not even that. In addition to his prophesy of war, he foresaw the removal of prosperity from True Israel. I doubt if there is an Israelite who is not feeling the effects of the bondage of debt and control. Put simply, we are reaping the whirlwind of the curses of Deuteronomy 28. In particular, True Israelites should pay close attention to verses 43-44, “The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shall not lend to him, he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail”. That has happened in the past century because we have not hearkened to the Lord.
One of the most frightening passages in the Bible is Joel 2:1, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain, let all the inhabitants tremble: for the day of the Lord, cometh, for it is nigh at hand”. Joel wasn’t the only one who shouted these words, the prophet Ezekiel in Chapter 7 warns many times the “end is come” and “the day is come”. Ezekiel describes the final war in Chapter 38.
Still, if Joel’s warning of war is to come about, (verse 2) close to this moment in time, something must happen to bring the hearts and souls of God’s People back to Him and His Ways. Remember 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Hosea 5:15, both warn that Israel must go to their collective knees and seek His Face before intervention. But, what is the trigger? Some might speculate that it will be a financial collapse triggering the fall of Babylon, because such a disastrous event would affect every nation and person on earth. And national debt has been teetering on the razor’s edge for many years now. Yet, other voices might suggest that the trigger might be the desire of ultra-strong enemies who might be tempted to see weakness in Israel and desire to take a spoil.
I like what Bible scholar Howard Rand wrote in his “Study of Joel” as he described the prelude for attack. He wrote, “The storm-clouds of war have gathered. Throughout the land the people are aroused—they are angry and troubled. The judgments of God in the destruction of Israel’s property, her prosperity, and her population through storms, disasters, and disease have failed to turn the hearts of the people to their God. Israel’s leaders are guilty; for they have neglected to warn the people or show the nation the reason for these calamities. The Lord says, through his prophet Isaiah, that the watchmen of Israel are blind—they are all ignorant. He likens them to dumb dogs who cannot bark, lying down and loving to slumber. They are shepherds without understanding; they follow their own inclinations, seeking their own gains. Their failure, as watchmen in Israel, to blow the trumpet and sound an alarm in order that the people may be prepared to stand in the battle in the Day of the Lord, is bringing them into condemnation.”.
Whatever, the war will come, Ezekiel 38 tells us this. And we believe that when it does, and the enemy is devastating our lands, we will go to our knees in fervent prayer. As Joel wrote about this event nearly thirty centuries ago, Israel nations and Israelites will have repented and re-established the complete Kingship of Jehovah in the Nation. The people will petition King Jesus to save them in the hour of trial. Of this day and time, when Israel would turn to Him with their whole hearts, the Lord said: “I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.” Cleansed and sanctified, Israel will come to their God and claim His help and protection. For this time to come, God has patiently waited. (Based on Rand’s comments)
In Isaiah 26:20, the Lord God comforts the true Christian, but then in verse 21 the prophet promises judgment, “For, behold the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain”. So, is he saying, as many of us believe, that the main participants of Mystery Babylon, that is, in the economic, political and ecclesiastical spheres, are those that the Apostle James described as “You have feasted here on earth, you have comforted your hearts with luxuries on this day that dooms you to slaughter”. (James 5:5 Knox version)
To end this article, I ask readers to consider that Joel predicted the tumultuous Day of the Lord, followed by a time of universal peace, prosperity and abundance. But, the Day of the Lord is not a time to look forward to! The Bible reveals that it will be a period of unprecedented universal upheaval that precedes Christ’s return, a time of divine punishment on the nations and of course, on Israelites ourselves.
By the way, the name Joel means, “The Lord is God” and soon all Israelites will be rudely awakened to this.