Prophet Joel part 2

Part 2

How are we to understand Joel 2:31, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood”? Some have related this with solar and lunar eclipses and the so-called “blood moon” sometimes seen in a lunar eclipse, it has been an attempt to predict the exact time Christ will return.

The Book of Joel, like many prophecies, sometimes jumped from one period to another. Verse 30 and 31 are clearly “before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord” (verse 31), while the surrounding verses are about the time after Christ’s return. We can find the time setting more clearly explained in Revelation 6:12, which refers to the same incident: “And the moon became like blood.” Since Revelation 6 is recorded in chronological order, it becomes clear that this sixth seal occurs after the five seals listed earlier in Revelation 6 and at the time “a great earthquake” happened. These things have not happened yet.

In the shadow of this destruction and doom, God pleads with the people to humble themselves and seek and worship Him. God said, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments” (Joel 2:12-13). He continued: “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” (2:13). All important to God in the process of repentance is a humble heart. An outward showing of worship needs to come together with a genuine change of the heart. Gt condemned the religious leaders of His day for having a form or outward show of religion that did not come from the heart: “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:25-28). He stated that such worship of Him is done in vain (Mark 7:7-9).

Upon repentance, God promises that He “will be zealous for His land, and pity His people” (Joel 2:18). God’s goodness and kindness will be poured out upon the people:
Joel 2: 19,24 – Inhabitants will be satisfied with grain, new wine and oil.
Joel 2:23 – Rain in due season.
Joel 2:26 – Abundance of food for all, “And My people shall never be put to shame.”

Major changes will happen once Jesus Christ returns to govern the entire earth (Revelation 11:15).
Joel 2:27 – He will return to dwell “in the midst of Israel,” and no other false god will ever be worshiped again.
Joel 2:28 – “I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.” Notice He specifies all peoples and nations.
Joel 2:32 – Those who call upon God will be offered salvation.
Joel 3:17 – God will dwell in Zion, and because He dwells in Jerusalem, the city will be declared “holy” or set apart from other cities. The city shall abide “from generation to generation” (3:20).
Joel 3:18 – Agricultural blessings will abound.
Joel 3:21 – God again emphasizes that He will live in Jerusalem.
These scriptures and prophecies of joyful end time events that have not yet happened.

The apostle Peter stated that “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). We need to acknowledge that the Bible predicts world shaking events for the future. God inspired these prophecies, and they are sure to happen. Yet remember the many prophecies that promise hope, joy and happiness as well.

Jesus Christ desires that we “watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worth to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).

Short Outline of Joel

A. The Call to Repentance, Chapters 1:1 – 2:17.

1. By the past scourge of locusts and drought, chapter 1.
2. By the scourge to come, 2:1-17.

B. Israel’s Repentance and Jehovah’s Promised Blessing, 2:18 – 3:21

1. Material blessing 2:18-27
2. In the world Judgment, chapter 3

May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with You

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Prophet Joel Part 1

Prophet Joel

part 1

Little is known about the prophet Joel, his name means “the Lord is God,” apart from the name of his father, Pethuel (Joel 1:1), no other details of his personal history or background are recorded. From references in his writings it is presumed that he was living in Jerusalem, and he focused most of his prophecies to Judah.

A major them of Joel’s prophecies is his teaching about the Day of the Lord, when God will severely judge His own people and the rest of the world. The prophet says in 1:15 – “Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.” The Say of the Lord is not a time to look forward to! The Bible reveals that it will be a time of unprecedented universal disaster preceding Christ’s return, it will be a time of divine punishment on the nations. Joel’s main focus is Judah. He refers to Jerusalem and the temple that is located there.

Notice the following verses:
1. “The house of the Lord” and the “priest. . .who minister to the Lord” (1:9).
2. “Blow the trumpet in Zion. . .in My holy mountain” (2:1).
3. “Let the priest, who ministers to the Lord, weep between the porch and the alter” (2:17).
4. “For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance” (2:32).
5. “When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem” (3:1).
6. “Then Jerusalem shall be holy” and “Judah shall abide forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation” (3:17,20).
7. “For the Lord dwells in Zion” (3:21).

The northern kingdom of Israel (2:27; 3:2,16) and other nations (3:9) will not escape the disastrous events surrounding the Day of the Lord (3:1-17). Many of the signs and wonders pronounced against Zion and Judah have never happened before (1:2-3) and are predictions for times yet in the future.

In those troubled times, even the animals will crave a time of peace, “How the animals groan! The herds of cattle are restless, because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep suffer punishment…Fire has devoured the open pasture, and a flame has burned all the trees of the field…The beasts of the fields also cry out to You, for the water brooks are dried up” (1:18-20).

Extreme weather such as severe cold or heat, flood and drought – and the wildfires that often follow drought conditions – can devastate the agricultural production of any nation. I am reminded that just recently that farms and land is being burned due to wildfires and through the grace of God other farmers that have hay are taking truck loads to those in need. Does God control the weather, and can He use this power to punish the nations that have openly rejected Him and His laws? Joel proclaimed this warning: “Is not the food cut off before our eyes, joy and gladness from the house of our God?” (1:16). Christ predicted that at the end times “there will be famines … in various places” (Matthew 27:7).

Joel describes a large cloud of locusts darkening the sky, swarming upon the land and destroying every green thing on their path (Joel 1:1-2:27). The destructive swarm of locusts is used as an analogy of a future invading army, like the Assyrians, which would occupy and devastate the nation. God refers to the locusts as “His army” (2:11), and in Isaiah 10:5 He calls the nation of Assyria “the rod of My anger”. Joel describes a strong invading army that has implications for the future: “For a nation has come up against My land, strong, and without number; his teeth are the teeth of a lion” (Joel 1:6). He also describes a large army with a strong, massive military power: “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” (2:2).

Joel 3:12 states: “Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.” Some have mistakenly compared the Valley of Jehoshaphat with the name Armageddon, mentioned in Revelation 16:16. Armageddon is translated from Hebrew name Har Megiddo, which means “Hill of Hegiddo,” located in a large valley. The large, bowl shaped Plain of Jezreel, situated about 55 miles norther of Jerusalem, is the location where the armies will assemble, not where the final battle will take place.

Joel and other biblical authors give the answer. From their gathering place on the Plain of Jezreel, the troops will advance southward toward Jerusalem into the Valley of Jehoshaphat (which means “judgment of the Eternal”. Notice that God “will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem “on the day when He returns, and his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives” (Zechariah 14:1-4). Jerusalem will be the focal point of the armies of the “whole world” who gather “to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14), and that is the location where Christ at His return will overcome and destroy the opposing forces (Revelation 17:4; Zechariah 14:12-15).

It’s interesting that certain prophecies from Joel have things in common with the Book of Revelation, here are the verses:
Joel 1:4-5 – The locust plague and famine – Revelation 9:11; 6:5-6.
Joel 1:6; 2:1-11 – Unprecedented warfare – Revelation 6:4.
Joel 2:30-31 – Heavenly signs – Revelation 6:12.
Joel 3:9-14 – The battle of the great day of God Almighty – Revelation 16:14.
Joel 3:17,21 – Christ returns to Jerusalem – Revelation 19:11-21.
Joel 2:21-27 – God pours out abundant favors and blessings – Revelation 21:1-7.

The Prophet Habakkuk

Habakkuk

The name Habakkuk means “to embrace”.

In Habakkuk 2:20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Jesus Christ is described as ruling on the earth when all people will share in the peace and abundant life His righteous reign will produce (Isaiah 11: 1-9). Habakkuk doesn’t mention Assyria, but he does refers to the increasing Chaldean (also known as Babylonians) power. So we can assume that he prophesied in Judah, possibly during Jehoiakim reign and shortly before the invasion by Nebuchadnezzar (Habakkuk 1:6).

Habakkuk was instructed to foretell the invasion and destruction of the land by the Chaldeans. The northern kingdom of Israel had already gone into captivity to Assyria, and God was going to punish the southern kingdom of Judah through the Babylonians.

In chapters 1: 1-4 we find Habakkuk’s first question. Was God indifferent to Judah’s sin, which was horrifying and wide spread? The nation was guilty of:
Violence Habakkuk 1:2
Plundering and violence Habakkuk 1:3
Strife and contention Habakkuk 1:3
Disregarding and abusing the law Habakkuk 1:4
Exploiting the righteous Habakkuk 1:4
Corrupting and misusing judgment Habakkuk 1:4
Habakkuk had trouble understanding why it appeared God was unconcerned about Judah’s sin. Even though he understood that God was not detached from the peoples ungodliness, Habakkuk needed answers.

In chapter 1: 5-11 we have God’s answers. God’s answer is that He would not leave the people of Judah unpunished but would raise up the Chaldeans a rod of chastisement and correction. The Chaldeans were a merciless and terrible people, who would reach down and invade the land.

In chapter 1: 12- 2:1 we find Habakkuk’s second question. How could a holy and righteous God punish Judah by using an even more wicked and unrighteous nation? The conqueror was worse than those appointed to be chastised.

Then in chapter 2:2-20 God’s answer is that all will be faithfully judged with righteous judgment. In the final determination only those who trust in God will live. No one will escape the penalty of evil and wickedness. God will punish arrogance, pride and wrongdoing.

The just living by faith is one of the major themes in Habakkuk. The faith that we are to live by is not man’s faith, but the living faith that God gives to those who live in harmony with Him. Habakkuk was told to write down the visions and make it plain so a runner could read it (2:2). Habakkuk was told that the fulfillment was “for an appointed time” yet in the future (2:3). Equipped with God’s response and the certainty that wickedness will be punished, Habakkuk delivered a series of five woes against those who opposed God and His laws. It seems that these woes are directed at the Chaldeans. They cannot escape the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7). God’s law of retribution for those who in their minds consider themselves beyond reproach and punishment (Habakkuk 2:5). Habakkuk has recorded five types of wickedness found in the Chaldeans:

1. Aggression, pride, abuse of power and greed – 2:5-8
2. Covetousness – 2:9-11
3. Excessive violence – 2:12-13
4. Inhumanity and heartlessness – 2:15-17
5. Idolatry – 2:18-19

Habakkuk ends the book with a psalm of praise and prayer, chapter 3. When hearing God’s coming judgment, Habakkuk expresses his concern (verse 2), and showed his concern by asking God to exercise mercy when applying His judgment. He then proceeded to make a list of the extraordinary acts of God in the past history of His people.

1. God’s awesome presence at Mount Sinai and His power to intervene for His people – 3:   3-7
2. The division of the Rd Sea and later the Jordan River, enabling the Israelites to enter the Promise Land – 3: 8-10
3. God’s powerful intervention for the Israelites in battle – 3: 11-15.

Habakkuk trembles at the thought of what is yet to happen, but nothing that happens on the earth can remove God’s promises: “ yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me tread upon the heights.” – 3: 18-18

The book of Habakkuk is quoted several times in the New Testament. In Acts 13: 40-41 the apostle Paul quoted the warning in Habakkuk 1:5 and applied it to the people of Antioch. The warning that the prophet gave under inspiration can also be relevant for us today.

The lesson of Habakkuk is, Man shall live by faith. Faith in God no matter how dark the day is – have faith.

Short Outline of Habakkuk

A. The problem of the apparent triumph of sin – Chapter 1
1. Why does sin go unpunished? – 1-4
2. God says he has used the Chaldeans to punish sin – 5-11
3. Are they confined to evil forever – 12-17

B. The impending punishment of the Chaldeans – Chapter 2
1. Waiting for the vision – 1-3
2. Vision of the five destructive woes, – 4-20

C. An age of confidence in God – Chapter 3
1. Prayer of the disquieted prophet – 1-2
2. Past history has shown God will finally destroy Israel’s enemies – 3-15
3. The prophet must joyously trust God and wait when in perplexity – 16-19

May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with You

Prophet Daniel

Daniel Part 2

Daniel 9: 24-27
24 ‘Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.
25 Know therefore and understand: from the time that the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the time of an anointed prince, there shall be seven weeks; and for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with streets and moat, but in a troubled time.
26 After the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing, and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its* end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.
27 He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.’

Verse 24 list 6 things that are to be accomplished by the end of the 70 weeks:
1 finish the transgression
2 make an end of sin
3 to atone for iniquity
4 bringing in everlasting righteousness
5 seal up vision and prophecy
6 to anoint a most holy place
By the end of His ministry Jesus at least partially fulfilled the first three items. By His sacrifice Jesus provided a way for sin to be forgiven and become the atonement for our sins, reconciling us to God, Colossians 1: 19-20. Jesus will finish completing these first three and fulfill the final three after His return.

Verse 25 introduces the time of the fulfillment of the prophecy.

Verse 26, the first phrase say that the Messiah would be “cut off” after 62 prophetic weeks. Verse 26 also introduces an evil prince who will destroy the city, Jerusalem, and the sanctuary.

Verse 27 can be a little tricky to read when trying to decide between Messiah and evil one. So from my studies this is what I am understanding: verse 25 talks about the Messiah, verse 26 refers to the evil one, verse 27 the first part refers to the Messiah and the second part refers to the evil one.

Abomination of desolation, chapter 11 covers prophecies that would be fulfilled from the time of the Medo-Persian Empire through the end of time. After providing specific detail regarding the successive kingdoms, in verse 31 we read of daily sacrifices taken away and of an “abomination of desolation” that would be placed in the temple. These even were a type of a future fulfillment that will happen before the return of Christ, Matthew 24: 14-15.

A second fulfillment happened when Roman armies destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple and alter were desecrated. Luke 21:20 identifies the armies as the cause of the desolation of Jerusalem.

A future fulfillment, in reference to “the end” of this age when He would return to earth a second time, Matthew 24: 13-14. Then in Matthew 24: 15-16 Jesus said, “So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the ruler understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.” Daniel, the prophet to whom Jesus referred was told in a vision that the words he had been given were “sealed till the time of the end” Daniel 12:9.

The time of the end. Beginning in Daniel 11:40 we read of events that will happen “at the time of the end.” This includes conflict around Jerusalem between “the kings of the North” and “the kings of the South.” Daniel also refers to a severe “time of trouble” Daniel 12:1, which is referred to as “great tribulation” in Matthew 24:21.

Short outline of Daniel

A. Daniel’s history chapters 1-6

1. His youth and education chapter 1
2. Interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s image dream chapter 2
3. In the fiery furnace chapter 3
4. Interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s tree dream chapter 4
5. Interpretation of the hand-writing on the wall for Belshazzar chapter 5
6. In the lion’s den chapter 6

B. Daniel’s vision of the Kingdoms chapter 7-12

1. The four beasts chapter 7
2. The ram and the he-goat chapter 8
3. The seventy weeks chapter 9
4. The final vision chapter 10-12

May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with You

Prophets Daniel

Daniel (part 1)

Daniel means “God is my Judge”, and was probably born in Jerusalem. Daniel the prophet begins as he and other men from Judah were taken captive by king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Daniel 1: 1-4. This captivity of citizens of Judah in Babylon lasted 70 years, as God foretold through the prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah 25:11. During this time, Daniel served in superior positions in the governments of several Babylonian and Medo-Persian rulers including Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius and Cyrus. In the first reign of Darius, Daniel came to understand the prophecy of Jeremiah that predicted a 70 year captivity of his people, Daniel 9: 1-2.

Daniel, a faithful man of God

King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to destroy all the wise men if one of them didn’t interpret and tell him his dream. In Daniel 2: 18. Daniel and his friends requested more time so they could ask God in prayers to reveal the information about the dreams to them. God answered the prayer, and Daniel remembered to praise and thank God for giving them the answers, verse 20-23.

Daniel 6: 10, Daniel again demonstrates his faith by praying to God even though he knows that his life could be endanger doing so. Daniel knew that a document had been signed that no one could address any god or man for 30 days. But it was Daniel’s custom since the early days to pray and give thanks to God, and he just wasn’t going to change that, not even for 30 days. Daniel wasn’t going to hide his prayers and his faithfulness to God and it landed him in the lion’s den, where his critics were sure he would be eaten alive. God sent an angel that shut the lions’ mouths and Daniel was spared. Daniel 9 continues to show us of Daniel’s faithfulness with prayer and fasting for his people’s sin and asking for God’s mercy on himself and all of Jerusalem.

Understand, skill and knowledge from God

God saw the good in Daniel and his friends and gave them knowledge in all literature and wisdom. God also gave understanding in all vision and dreams to Daniel, Daniel 1:17. Because of God’s blessing on Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. The king “found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom” Daniel 1:20. In his second year of reign king Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream. God revealed the meaning of the dream to Daniel, Daniel 2:19. “Then the king promoted Daniel, gave him great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief official over all the wise men of Babylon,” Daniel 2:48. There were times that God had sent an angel to Daniel with the prophetic message and Daniel would write it down.

Prophecies

Daniel was beloved and chosen by God to foretell future events. Daniel’s prophecies were through God given dreams and visions about what was going to happen throughout history, and what would happen to Daniel’s people in the latter days, Daniel 10: 4, and to the whole world.

These are a few of the prophecies given by God through Daniel.

Four world-ruling empires. In a dream given to king Nebuchadnezzar, God revealed through Daniel that there would be four world-ruling empires, Daniel 2: 1-43. These were proven to be the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greco-Macedonian and Roman Empires. God also gave to Daniel a vision in which these empires were represented by four great beast, Daniel 7: 1-3.

The Kingdom of God. After telling king Nebuchadnezzar that there would be four world-ruling kingdoms, Daniel prophesied: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever;” Daniel 2:44.

In another, “As I watched in the night vision, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed,” Daniel 7: 13-14.

A little horn. In God’s vision to Daniel of the four beast representing the four would-ruling kingdoms, the fourth beast “had ten horns” , Daniel 7:7, which has traditionally understood to represent 10 appearances of this fourth kingdom. To explain this Daniel wrote, “I was considering the horns, when another horn appeared, a little one coming up among them; to make room for it, three of the earlier horns were plucked up by the roots. There were eyes like human eyes in this horn, and a mouth speaking arrogantly”, Daniel 7:8. This little horn that Daniel in the vision saw “making war against the saints, and prevailing against them”, Daniel 7:21, is a religious power that will persecute God’s people at the end of this age, Daniel 7: 24-25. Known by many names – the antichrist, man of sin, and false prophet – this religious power will play a leading role in the deception of mankind prior to Christ’s return. Other references to this horn can be found in Daniel 8: 9-12, 23-25.

Seventy-weeks prophecy. In Daniel 9: 24-27 is the prophecy that predicted the year that Jesus would begin His ministry. The prophecy also predicted that Jesus’ ministry to “confirm the covenant” would be cut off “in the middle” of the 70th prophetic week. Daniel 9: 24-27 is a detailed and complex prophecy that dates the first coming of the Messiah and establishing of the New Covenant and meanings of events that will happen leading up to the time of Christ’s second coming.

To be continued…….

May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with You