Realization of Joel
Looking at the Feast of Tabernacles, not so much the natural festival as its spiritual antitype, we find that the first six days of this feast represent the six-thousand years in which man has laboured against sin. The seventh will be the millennial honeymoon of the heavenly Bridegroom and His earthly Bride in company with the Old Testament saints and 144,000 elect Israelites. The eighth day speaks of eternity after the general resurrection and white throne judgment. We will now look at the spiritual fulfilment of the feasts of the seventh month through the eyes of the prophet Joel.
We'll take our text from Exodus 10:12-15 which foreran Joel's experience of the locust plague and is also reflected in the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets of Revelation 9.
Exodus 10:1-20, "And the Lord said to Moses, Go in to Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the hearts of his servants, that I might show these My signs before him: and that you may tell in the ears of your son, and your son's son, what I have wrought in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them; that you may know that I am the Lord".
"So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh, and said to him, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD of the Hebrews, How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me. Or else, if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow will I bring locusts into your territory. And they shall cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of what is left, which remains to you from the hail, and they shall eat every tree which grows up for you out of the field: and they shall fill your houses, the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians—which neither your fathers, nor your fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were on earth to this day. And he turned and went out from Pharaoh."
"Then Pharaoh's servants said to him, How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God: do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed"?
"So Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh: and he said to them, Go, serve the Lord your God: but who are the ones that are going"?
"And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast to the Lord."
"And he said to them, The Lord had better be with you when I let you and your little ones go! Beware, for evil is before you. Not so: go now you who are men, and serve the Lord; for that is what you desired. And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence."
"And the Lord said to Moses, Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail has left."
"So Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts."
"And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the territory of Egypt: they were extremely severe; previously there had been no such locusts as they, nor shall there be after them. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green in the trees, or on the plants of the field, throughout the land of Egypt."
"Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. Now therefore please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the Lord your God, that He may take away from me this death only."
"And he went out from Pharaoh, and entreated the Lord. And the Lord turned a very strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea. There remained not one locust in all the land of Egypt. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go".
The Lord add His blessing to the reading of His Word.
When God delivered Israel from natural Egypt He smote that land with plagues but those separated in the district of Goshen were not affected. Very soon, the Gentile dispensation will be fulfilled and God will once again separate Israel from spiritual Egypt by causing the non-Semitic, anti-Semitic self-styled Jews to depart from Israel enabling Israelites descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to safely return to the Land of their Covenant for redemption (Revelation 11:8; Isaiah 13:13-16; Zechariah 14:2). God deals with Israel as a nation. Consequently He deals with them only in the Promised Land. Once again He will pour out His wrath on Christ-rejecting Gentiles from which the Land of Israel will again be spared.
God will be dealing with Israel by two Hebrew prophets with the offices or anointings that were upon Moses and Elijah of old. Consequently their natures will reflect the natures of those prophets and they will perform the same miracles, only in the spiritual sense. For instance, we've just read how God sent an east wind upon Egypt with a plague of natural locusts so dense there was darkness in the land. And they devoured all natural food. This time He's sent a plague of spiritual locusts: demons borne by winds of false doctrine from the East, which have brought darkness, such that the SON Light is obliterated. Israel has been apostate over two thousand years: blinded until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in. But now the Gentile churches are spiritually blind and wretched as Jesus foretold. "The herb of the field, the fruit and every green thing in the trees" has been devoured. Anything with Life, belief in God, prayer, praise, Bible study and Church attendance has been destroyed.
There were two trees in the Garden of Eden—Christ and Lucifer—the Tree of Life and the tree of intellectual reasoning about good and evil. John the Baptist laid the axe to the root of all the trees of knowledge, so trees represent spiritual principles. Spiritual locust demons with heads like horses have eaten the Spiritual food: sound teaching or doctrine is destroyed, and man has been turned from truth to fables. Once the last predestinated saint is baptized into Christ, God will return to Israel and the rest of the world will be in spiritual darkness that can be felt.
Praise the Lord for sending us a prophet whose Message restored the apostolic faith, finished the mystery of God, and is calling God's own out from bondage to a world church system Jesus calls "the habitation of demons and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird"speaking of this spiritual locust plague (Malachi 4:5-6; Revelation 10:7; 18:4).
Now let us turn to Joel's prophecy. The unprecedented crisis in which the state is engulfed is likened to a plague of locusts. But as we'll see, this army of the Lord that devastates Israel is an army of spiritual locusts. Demons!
"The Word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. Hear this, you elders, and give ear, all you inhabitants of the land. Has anything like this happened in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
That which the Palmerworm (or chewing locust) has left the (swarming) Locust has eaten; and what the swarming locust has left the Cankerworm (or crawling locust) has eaten; and what the cankerworm has left the Caterpillar (or consuming locust) has eaten." [This is the same insect in four stages of its development. In the New Testament it is symbolized by the four horse riders of Revelation 6].
"Awake, you drunkards, and weep; and wail, all you drinkers of wine, for the new wine is cut off from your mouth." For a nation [of locusts] has come up against My land, strong, and without number, his teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he has the jaw teeth of a great lion. He has laid My vine waste and barked My fig tree: he has stripped it bare, and cast it away; the branches are made white. Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth."
[As we have taught, a betrothal is a marriage (Deuteronomy 22:23; Matthew 1:19). Here the virgin dresses in sackcloth of mourning in contrast to the usual gaily-coloured embroidered robes she wore for her wedding, and wails for a husband snatched from her by death].
"The grain offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the Lord; the priests, the Lord's ministers, mourn." [The morning and evening offering of corn and oil and wine could not be offered on account of the dearth caused by the locusts. Hence the appeal to the alcoholics, who would normally have escaped reality through drink, but because of the plague they are sober, for the vine has been stripped of her grapes so there is no new wine or skins to contain it. There is likewise no wine for the drink offerings and no corn meal for the meat offering of the priests in behalf of Israel].
"The field is wasted, the Land mourns; for the grain is ruined: the new wine is dried up, the oil fails." [Corn, wine and oil were the principal crops of the Palestinian farmers, celebrated in the Old Testament as generous gifts of God, and essential for the temple ritual. The priests and the personified country therefore lead the mourning, which the laity of Jerusalem ought to follow because according to these symbols, they are out of fellowship with God].
"Be ashamed, you farmers; wail, you vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field has perished." [Wheat was the most desired grain; barley was the diet of the poor. They type the revealed Word and prayer which are the Spiritual staple of saints. But now there are no cereals to sell, or seed to sow for the next season, and the economic consequences to the farmer were disastrous. This famine is not for food but for hearing the Word of God and speaks of apostasy. Israel would fail to attend Passover and identify with the Sheaf of the first fruits of the grain harvest, Jesus Christ, who was waved before God and raised for our justification. Hence they perish during the drought of the Pentecostal Feast or Gentile dispensation through lack of knowledge].
"The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languishes; 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." [The locust plague is connected with a drought (Joel 1:18-20). Israel is shrivelled and barren. The prophets lament for there will be no "goodly branches" waved before the Lord at the Feast of Ingathering, no harvest of souls (Isaiah 16:10; Amos 5:16-27)].
"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: for the grain offering and the drink offering is withheld from the house of your God." [You are under obligation to your God and called to intercession, because the meat and drink offerings are suspended. Judah enjoyed no prospect of harvest merrymaking. Joy is overwhelmed by sorrow in men's hearts. Instead of prosperity was povertySpiritual devastation. They could not attend the final compulsory feast with their hands empty or an offering and heaviness in their hearts.]
"Sanctify 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 out to the Lord."
[Only in exceptional distress was sackcloth kept on day and night (I Kings 21:27). The priests and all Israel were summoned to the temple for a night of prayer and supplication. In view of the fact that the grain and drink offering has ceased, a symbol of oneness and communion with God (verse 9) typing the Lord's Supper, Joel urges the priests to intensify their lament as prelude to a public service of humiliation and mourning. The one compulsory fast in the Jewish cycle of feasts is the mourning of the Day of Atonement. All Israel will observe this mourning for the crucifixion of Messiah before they can celebrate with joy the Feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering: all 144,000 of them.
All Israel must meet in the place God chose to put His Name. Not London, New York or Warsaw but Jerusalem, where the blood of the Lamb was shed (Revelation 11:8), God's only provided place of worship (Deuteronomy 16:2, 5-6)].
"Alas for the day; for the day of God is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Is not the food cut off before our eyes, joy and gladness from the house of our God?"
[The locusts have eaten up the products that would eventually have fed Israel who had to look on, powerless to prevent it. Faithfulness has been devoured by spiritual insects; demons. This famine is not for food but for hearing the Word of God (Amos 8:11). Joel is prophesying the apostasy in Laodicea at the close of the Gentile dispensation. How black will be the night, for Israel has been apostate for 2,000 years and now the Gentiles are apostate too (Romans 11:32).
It had been impossible for the nation to celebrate the festivals of Unleavened Bread, and therefore First Fruits. With their Saviour rejected, there could be no Harvest].
"The seed is rotten under their clods and the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan! The herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate." [If the sheep and oxen are in desolate lament, ought not the children of Israel to join in unison? "the whole creation groans and travails in pain together with man until now . . . waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God" (Romans 8:19-22) and the restoration of Eden's rest].
"O Lord, to you will I cry: for the fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and a flame has burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field also cry out to You: for the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the open pastures."
[The prophet at last turns to God in prayer. Like David, Israel will come to call upon God as their shield and high tower. "As the hart pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say to me, Where is your God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday" (Psalm 42:1-4).
"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:" [The calamities that befall Israel in the Seven Trumpet judgments answer their rejection of Messiah when they declared before Pilate's judgment seat, "His blood be on us and on our children" (Matthew 27:25), typed by the first Passover when all Israel laid hands on their lamb and killed it (Exodus 12:3-6).
Ezekiel 33:1-4, "Again the Word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a local man, and set him for their watchman: if when he sees the sword come upon the land, he blows the trumpet, and warns the people; whoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and does not take warning; if the sword come and take him away, HIS BLOOD SHALL BE UPON HIS OWN HEAD".
The blood of Messiah has been on Israel's head since they refused John the Baptist's warning, and they have rejected the Gospel Trumpet in each of the Seven Church Ages (Revelation 8-9).
Amos 3:6, "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be judgment in a city, and the Lord has not sent it? Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he reveals His secret to his servants the prophets".
Zephaniah 1:14-18, "The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter; there the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, 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, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities, [denominations] and against the high towers [on the city walls where watchmenrabbis and religious leadersscanned the horizon for approaching enemies].
I will bring distress upon men that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the Fire of His jealousy: for He will make speedy riddance of all those who dwell in the land.
[Yes, the Seventh Trumpet will sound in Zion, signalling the end of the Gentile dispensation, the Day of the Lord, the manifestation of the Sons of God and the first resurrection, and anointing two prophets to preach the Seven Trumpet mysteries to Israel].
Joel 2:2 "A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains: a people come, great and a strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there be any such after them, even after many generations."
[The locust-demons have utterly obliterated the Light or revelation of God's Word. Now God who smote Israel's enemies in the days of Moses, the judges and kings, will smite His servant nation. These demons are incarnate as Israel's enemies. Under the Fifth Trumpet we find they have a king over them, a fallen star from the bottomless pit. "How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer?" (Revelation 9:1; Isaiah 14:12). And if we go on to Revelation 17:8 we find he is the spirit that incarnates the Pope to rule the world. Then under the Sixth Seal we find his "locust" subjects or demons, move from the ecclesiastical to the natural realm in the persecution of the Jews in World War II. Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah foretold that come the Day of the Lord, Jerusalem will be attacked.
Malachi 3:2-7, "But who may abide the day of His Coming? And who shall stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall sanctify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may be fit to offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness (or Spiritual Light). Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years."
"And I will come near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, against the adulterers, against perjurers, against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, and against those who turn away an alien from his rightbecause they do not fear Me, says the Lord of hosts. For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed."
"Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances, and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you said, "In what way shall we return?" [The answer is, of course, by faith and the mourning of atonement. When God has sifted and refined Israel, only 144,000 will return to Him. Read Psalm 97].
Joel 2:3, "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 escapes their destruction." [Fire is associated with judgment and the Day of the Lord. The Refiner's Fire is not so much natural as the Fire of the Holy Ghost which cleanses the heart of the 144,000 elect Israelites by faith (Psalm 50:3; Zephaniah 1:18; and Malachi 3:2-3).
"Their appearance is like tiny horses; and they run as fast. See them leaping on the tops of mountains. Their noise is like the sound of rumbling chariots, or the roar of fire sweeping across a field, and like a strong army set in battle array." [Joel is gradually developing a picture of the military invincibility of God's great army. He compares the noise of the locusts as they came foraging across the hills towards Jerusalem, with the noise of chariots. And their feeding with the crackling of a fire in stubble. Sinister overtones of the burning of the chaff, thorns and briars after the harvest on that Great and Dreadful Day; like a countless army they seem to march in regular battalions, prepared to fight].
"Before them the people writhe in pain: all faces are drained of colour." [Such is the apprehension and alarm the locust army evoke from their victims].
"They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; every one marches in formation, and they do not break ranks: neither do they push one another; everyone marches in his own column: and when they lunge between the weapons, they are not wounded. 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."
[Onward comes the irresistible onslaught of this disciplined army. As if impelled by one common instinct, they move as one body, crawling over everything before them, in one straight front. The locust army floods through open windows or over the walls of the citynothing can keep them out. These demon "locusts" loot and forage where they will. Brother Branham often preached this as a compound to demonstrate the invincible army of the Bride of Christ under pre-eminence to the Word in the Day of the Lord].
"The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the Lord shall utter His voice before His army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executes His Word: for the Day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?"
[Earthquake and cosmic convulsions become part of the Day of the Lord who spoke to Brother Branham from a whirlwind. All efforts to check the irresistible locust army are to no avail because Jehovah leads them in judgment on His servant nation as He led Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem and the temple, and carry its people captive. Israel is powerless in the face of His wrath, helpless before the onslaught of His forces of final retribution.
Now, not only have the crops failed but the sun, moon and stars no longer give their Light. A universal apostasy: speaking of Christ, the Gentile church and its dignities.
Israel is blinded until the fullness of the Gentile dispensation (Isaiah 29; Matthew 13: 10-17; Romans 11:21). Soon, like Elisha's servant, Gehazi, their eyes will be opened. Not to a metaphysical reality of horses and chariots protecting the prophet Elisha against his foes (II Kings 6; Ephesians 1:18-19) but to the mystery of the Seven Trumpets. Israel will recognize the hand of God behind these demons in chastisement for their rejection of Him].
"Now, therefore, says the Lord, turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and He relents from doing harm".
[Joel issues a call to fast: not in a doctrinal system or temple ritual but in an intensely personal sorrow. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirita broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise" (Psalm 51:17). It's to the revelation of the mourning of atonement that Joel is calling Israel. The whole nation will be born in this one day.
Zechariah 12:8-14 "In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he who is feeble among them in that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be like God, as the angel of the Lord before them."
"And it shall be in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour on the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they will look on Me whom they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall grieve for Him, as one grieves for his firstborn."
"In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David apart, by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; All the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves"].
Joel 2:14, "Who knows if He will return and relent, and leave a blessing behind Hima grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?" [When there was harmony between Jehovah and His people it was revealed in harmony between the people and the land, resulting in good crops. A blessing in the form of a meat or cereal offering and a drink offering would signify God had restored the land, making the offerings possible. Restoration would also be a sign of the renewed Covenantand Communion].
Deuteronomy 7:13, "And He will love you, and bless you, and multiply you: He will also bless the fruit of your womb, and the fruit of your land, your corn, and your wine, and your oil, the increase of your cattle, and the flocks of your sheep, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you".
This is Israel's baptism with the Holy Ghost, the Spiritual birth of the 144,000.
Joel 2:15, "Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast and call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room."
[This is the Seventh Trump marking the end of the Gentile dispensation, and calling Israel to the Jubilee by faith via the Feast of Trumpets and Atonement by the ministry of the two witnesses under the anointings of the Spirit that rested upon Moses and Elijah. Their Message will first restore Israel to the foundation of the Law and prophets, then unfold the Seven Trumpet mysteries of Revelation 8-9, revealing the history and purpose of God's chastisement of Israel the past 2,000 years, and their part in the Word.
The orders for a special service of fasting and lamentation are repeated from Joel 1:14 then explained in greater detail. Israel is to gather at the temple. All shareholders in the Covenant must be present. The entire community stands under the shadow of divine judgmentas on that first Passover, not even the youngest members of the Covenant people are exempt from attending. Even a bridegroom, normally given compassionate leave from military and other public duties must attend (Deuteronomy 24:5). At this desperate moment there is no place for normal human joy. The atmosphere of mourning must pervade every quarter in hopes Jehovah will heed the concerted pleas of His servants, and turn away His wrath].
"Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar." [The place in Solomon's temple where the priests stood to engage in lamentation and to perform their intercessory ministry (II Chronicles 4:9) and the place where Ezekiel (who was both prophet and priest) saw the abominable sight of twenty-five men worshiping the sun (Ezekiel 8:16). Judah's idolatry caused their jealous God to depart the temple and send Nebuchadnezzar's army to destroy both it and the city, and to deport its citizens; thus began "the times of the Gentiles." But Joel is prophesying the end of the Gentile dispensation with the return of His Presence and grace to Israel in Daniel's Seventieth Week, although "the times of the Gentiles" continue to the consummation.
Joel suggests a plea on the same basis as Moses:
Deuteronomy 9:24-29, "You have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you. Thus I prostrated myself before the Lord: forty days and forty nights I kept prostrating myself, because the Lord had said He would destroy you. Therefore I prayed to the Lord, and said, "O Lord God, do not destroy Your people and Your inheritance whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look on the stubbornness of this people, or on their wickedness or their sin: Lest the Egyptians should say, Because the Lord was not able to bring them to the land which He promised them, and because He hated them, He has brought them out to slay them in the wilderness. Yet they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out by Your mighty power and by Your stretched out arm"].
Joel 2:17, "Let the priests say, "Spare Your people O Lord, and do not give your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over and taunt them, saying, Where is your God?" [Disloyal and faithless though they and their forefathers have been, yet they regard themselves as the Covenant community and under Jehovah's patronage, and they appeal to Him who is able to alter the situation and is predisposed to hear Israel's appeal and intervene as their Covenant partner.
Joel's plea with Israel in verses 15-17 to honour their Covenant responsibility is matched by Israel's plea to God to honour His Covenant obligations to His servant nation].
"Then the Lord will be jealous for His land, and pity His people. The Lord will answer and say to His people, Behold, I will send you grain, and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations: but I will remove far from you the northern army, and will drive him into a barren and desolate land, with his face toward the eastern sea, and his back toward the western sea, and his stink will come up, and his foul odour will rise, because he has done monstrous things. Fear not, O Land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do marvellous things"!
The locust plague that befell Egypt at the time of Israel's deliverance was a natural type of the spiritual plague we are now examining, and from which God will separate and deliver His servant, Israel, by another "Moses" (Exodus 10:19). The locust's native country is the southern deserts of Arabia, Egypt, and Libya, so the "northern army" does not indicate the direction whence the locust plague comes but the native land of the armies of Israel's traditional foes. The term means "Northerner," or "Northlander," refers to Assyria and Babylon whose armies are the type and forerunner of all Israel's end-time foes: Russia, which will support the Muslim invasion following the devastation of Al Aqsa Mosque, and Rome, which will occupy and rule the New World Order from Jerusalem and from whom God will at last deliver His people, as He did from Sennacherib (II Kings 19:35).
Joel's plague of locusts symbolizes the evil spirits God employs to bring Israel back to Him. From a Hebrew perspective they rule the Gentile world powers that have dominated Judea from Nebuchadnezzar's invasion and captivity of Judea to the consummation. From the Christian perspective they are Imperial and Papal Rome. Historically and prophetically, Israel's enemies have come from the north and in the end-time Daniel cautioned Israel to beware of the king of the north, which is Russia.
To a people at last sensitive to their obligations under the Covenant comes the assurance that God will cease to subject them to the ridicule of the heathen (Daniel 9:27; Luke 21:24; Romans 11:25)].
Joel 2:22, "Fear not, you beasts of the field: for the open pastures are regenerating, and the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and the vine yield their strength. Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He has given you the former rain in appropriate measure, and He will cause the rain to come down for youthe former rain, and the latter rain in the first month [Nisan].
[After the mourning comes the promise of gladness. To the drought-stricken countryside (1:17-20) the rain brings new life. The cry of the wild beasts is answered; the brown scorched pastures will be verdant green once more. The trees (1:16, 19) are to be rejuvenated and fruitful.
The autumn, former, or teaching rain normally began in October/November following the Feast of Tabernacles, moistening the ground to germinate the new grain. The latter rain of March and April brings the seed to maturity for the harvest.
"Rain" signifies the Holy Spirit. Our former rain was the Message of Brother Branham restoring the apostolic faith and baptizing the Bride into the Body of Christ by quickening the Seed of the fullness of the Word in us. Our latter rain will be a further baptism during the manifestation of the Sons of Godafter the Gentile dispensation. The seed must be planted before the Harvest rain which will grant the Bride grace for translation faith and the full adoption. It falls "in the first month," Nisan, when the first resurrection of the New Testament saints will commence. Simultaneously, Israel's former rain begins as the two witnesses of Zechariah 4 and Revelation 11 begin to minister].
Joel 2:24, "And the winnowing floors [on the hill tops, where the wheat of God's Word was spread over the threshing floor and rightly divided by the oxen loosening the grain so the winds of doctrine could scatter the chaff and separate the stalks for the burning] shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil." [Grapes and olives were trodden in troughs cut out of the rock to extract the juice which flowed into vats. These happy scenes made all the previous toil worthwhile].
"So I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, My great army which I sent among you. [God would make up for the years when locusts ravaged the cropsor evil spirits stole away Israel's revelationby an especially good season when a Moses and Elijah would preach Messiah's parousia, and all Israel will be born in one day]. And you shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied [on the fullness of the Word] and praise the Name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed. And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and My people shall never be put to shame".
[In view of their national mourning over the rejection of Messiah, God's attitude toward them has necessarily changed, and He acknowledges His part in the Covenant with His land and His people. (Leviticus 26:3-46 encapsulates Israel's history of disobedience in the Land, including the destruction of Jerusalem and Captivity by Nebuchadnezzar and destruction and dispersion under Titus, to the national repentance and new birth of the 144,000 after their restoration to the place of the Covenant. The renewed harmony (conditional upon Israel's obedience to the Covenant) is symbolized by His blessings upon the tokens of grain, oil and wine (Deuteronomy 11:12-15).
The promise of plenty to eat falls with little impact on the ears of an affluent community, but to a community that had struggled against famine and economic hardship and had seen pests destroy the result of laborious toil it was the promise of life itself. And indeed it was, for you see Israel who had been apostate 2,000 years and without Christ the Bread of Life, is quickened by the oil of the Holy Spirit, and receives with joy the wine of revelation.
The insects had been the dire instruments of divine wrath for the people's sin. Now that they have repented, Jehovah will turn against the locusts and drive them out of His Land. Now Judah has repented, there is no place in His Land for the locust army. They were doomed like the Assyrians of old.
"And it shall come to pass that after Israel is delivered from the invasion, I will pour out My spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days."
[Since the Fall direct communication from God to individuals by dreams and visions was a great and rare blessing. Since Israel rejected the Voice of God on Mount Horeb, His Word has come first-hand only to His prophets. Therefore, when the ordinary people heard in their own tongues ordinary men and women declare the wonderful blessing of regeneration they had received, they understood what Peter meant when he said, "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel." And this was the earnest of the extraordinary spiritual blessings that await the true restoration of Israel in Daniel's Seventieth Week.
After Israel's plagues and spiritual drought during the times of the Gentiles, the Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh. The latter rain for the end-time Bride is poured out at the same time as Israel's former or teaching rain begins to fall. The planting time is over for us Gentiles. Harvest time has come when the wheat is mature, declaring the life of the seed that was planted, and the pure Word will be gathered into God's garner for the Wedding Supper. But that which bore thorns and briars will be burnt together with the chaff and husks of the false church and the vintage of Israel will be harvested and crushed in the great tribulation. God is no longer dealing in grace with the Christ-rejecting Gentiles but is reconfirming His New Covenant to once-blinded Israel.
Jeremiah 31:27-34, "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and the seed of beast. And it shall come to pass, that as I have watched over them, to pluck up, to break down, and to throw down, to destroy and to afflict; so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord."
"In those days they shall say no more, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." But everyone shall die for his own iniquity: every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge. Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, says the Lord, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they will be My people. No more will every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more".
This is the new birth to the 144,000. According to Jesus the evidence of this Covenant is that the Holy Spirit brings His Word to remembrance and guides into all truth (Isaiah 54:13; John 16:13)].
Joel 2:30, "And I will show 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 Coming of great and the terrible day of the Lord."
[These natural signs had a spiritual antitype at the end of the Law and will also have a spiritual antitype at end of man's day. At Calvary the morning sun became black, and when the Gentile dispensation ends at the opening of the Sixth Seal there will be the great Los Angeles earthquake, "and the sun will become black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon will look like blood" through the volcanic dust in the lunar atmosphere. Luke said, "Men's hearts will fail them for fear (on account of the cosmic disorder, earthquakes and tidal waves), and for dread over things which are coming on the earth (atomic warfare): for the powers of heaven shall be shaken," casting Satan down to earth (Revelation 6:12; 12:7-12; Luke 21:26)].
"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever calls on the Name of the Lord [before the Day of the Lord] shall be delivered: [thereafter] deliverance will be in mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as the Lord has said, [and only] among the remnant whom the Lord calls" [the 144,000].
[Salvation is only in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem. Grace is ended and God is revealing to the 144,000 how they were redeemed at Calvary. We get the picture in the first three verses of Revelation 11 where the rod of the fullness of the Word revealed to the Bride is applied to the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, where the revelation of God's two prophets guide the 144,000. All who fail to come into that secret place which was but the pattern of things in heaven, and where the high priest entered but once a year, will be destroyed with the world.
Hebrews 9:6-11, "Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second the high priest went alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the consciencefor the old system dealt only with certain rituals: what foods to eat and drink, various washings, and carnal ordinances about this and that imposed until the time of reformation. But Christ came as a high priest of good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building".
Hebrews 10:14-20, "For by one offering he has perfected for ever those who are sanctified. But the Holy Ghost also witnesses to us: for after He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them. Then He adds, their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
"Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh".
To worship in Mount Zion, God's abode, is closely connected with the right to dwell in the Land. Yes, God will only be dealing with Hebrews from the Tribes of Israel, dwelling in the Land of the Covenant and faithful to the testimony of Moses and the prophets.
Obadiah 17-21, "But on mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle them, and devour them; and no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau; for the Lord has spoken it. The south shall possess the mountains of Esau; and the lowland shall possess Philistia. They shall possess the fields of Ephraim and the fields of Samaria. Benjamin shall possess Gilead. And the captives of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, as far as Zarephath. The captives of Jerusalem, who are in Sepharad shall possess the cities of the south. And saviours shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's".
The theme of total desolation is an application to Edom of the fate of all the nations (Obadiah 15; Isaiah 34:1-15; 63:1-6). There were no survivors among the Judean refugees of 587BC whom the Edomites mercilessly handed over to the Babylonian forces (verse 14). The life of a Judean was held so cheap that the hope of Judah's destiny was degraded into currency for drunkenness and debauchery].
Joel 3:1, "For, behold, in those days, and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat and will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and also divided My land."
["Jehoshaphat" means "Jehovah has Judged." The Valley of Jehoshaphat is "the valley of the Lord's judgment," and in verse 14, "the valley of decision." This gathering of the non-elect Gentiles will be for the purging or punishment under the Sixth Seal. We are in Daniel's Seventieth Week.
Zephaniah 3:8, "Therefore wait for Me says the Lord, until the day I rise up for plunder: My determination is to gather the nations to My assembly of kingdoms, to pour out on them, My indignation all My fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy". (See also Ezekiel 38)].
Joel 3:3, "And they have cast lots for My people; and have given a Hebrew boy as payment for a harlot, and sold a Hebrew girl for wine, that they may drink. Indeed what have you to do with Me, O Tyre, and Sidon, and the five small divisions of Palestine? Will you retaliate? Beware, for I will return your retaliation on your own head. Because you have taken My silver and My gold, and have carried My precious treasures to your heathen temples. You have sold the children of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, who took them away to their own land. Behold, I will restore them to their own land and sell your sons and daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the Lord has spoken it."
[This slavery is repaid an eye for an eye.]
Joel 3:9-13, "Proclaim this among the Gentiles; "Prepare war, conscript your mighty men, and muster your troops: beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, "I am strong." All nations assemble yourselves; and cause your mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be gathered to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there I will sit to judge all the heathen round about."
[In the midst of Daniel's Seventieth Week 144,000 Israelites will receive the revelation that gives them new birth. Their prophets will be slain, and the elect 144,000 hunted down like dogs by the apostate church and marano Jews. Then Armageddon will set in].
"Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow with the wickedness of man.'
[The drought is over, and for the 144,000 elect Israelites, the darkness caused by the demon locust plague has been eliminated by the Light of Revelation. The rains have fallen upon all flesh, bringing the seed that was sown in each to manifest whether it is wheat or weeds. There is to be a universal harvest. The "valley of decision" is the wine press of the great tribulation (Isaiah 13:4; Revelation 14:15, 18-20).
Mark 4:29, "When the grain ripens, immediately He puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come".
Joel 3:14, "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision".
I don't believe all nations will physically gather to one geographic location, but recall how Moses stood the children of Israel in the valley flanked by mount Gerazim and mount Ebal and read the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience to the Law. They were faced with a decision. Valleys carry runoff from the rain; the latter rain upon all will declare the life of the seed that was planted or "make known its decision," and the whole world must come to this place of realization.
The valley of Jehoshaphat or "judgment" becomes the valley of "decision" (Zechariah 14:1-9). This is the time when men of Israel make their final decision. It is the time of Christ's parousia to the 144,000. It is the time when the "saved" of all nations and kindreds who failed to die to their desires to receive the full Spirit will accept martyrdom in order to maintain the testimony of Jesus Christ and their names on the Book of Life (Revelation 12:17). It is the time of Revelation 19:11-21.
Revelation 19:11-15, "I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. [This is a war of revelation]. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns [He is crowned by the revelation of the saints of every Age]; and He had a Name written, that no man knew, but He himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood [the blood of His enemies]: and His Name is called "The Word of God." And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean [our clothing is His righteousness, we are a Word army, the real Salvation Army]. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword [the Word], that with it He should personally smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God"].
Joel 3:15, "The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, [the place of the Holy of Holies] and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the refuge for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. [Not Australia, Russia, or the USA, but Israel].
So shall you know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and strangers not born into the Kingdom will not pass through her any more.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine for the abundance of vines, and the hills shall flow with milk because of abundant flocks and herds yielding milk plentifully through the richness of the pastures, and all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water; and a fountain shall flow from the house of the Lord and water the valley of acacias" which grow only in arid regions, implying that even the arid desert shall be fertilized by the blessing from Jerusalem. Ezekiel 47:1-12 describes the waters issuing from the threshold of the house as flowing into the Dead Sea, and purifying it. Also in Zechariah 14:8 (Amos 9:13; Revelation 22:1-5) the waters flow on one side into the Mediterranean, on the other side into the Dead Sea, near which Shittim was situated.
According to Deuteronomy 7:12-16, good crops were dependent upon harmony between God and His people. So abundant is this blessing following the restoration of the 144,000 that in the Millennium the mountains will flow with wine from the presses, and hills previously barren through drought will become lush pastures that produce milk abundantly. The skies will water the once dry streams, while waters of Life from the Temple will flow to Acacia valley with newness of Life.
[Although it can boast of the abundant waters of the Nile, by comparison with Israel], "Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness for his violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed, whom I had not acquitted: for the Lord dwells in Zion.
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