This Sabbath is the last Sabbath of the 29th year of the 120th Jubilee. It is the end period from the Feast of Purim to the New Year. When the New Moons are not observed by the Churches of God the period that God lifts His hand is lengthened and continues on until the Passover. When the New Year is kept and the Sanctification of the Temple is commenced (see the paper Sanctification of the Temple (No. 241)) and the Seventh day of Abib is kept as the Fast for the Sanctification of the Simple and the Erroneous (No. 291) God deals with the Church doing those things in a different way.
The time of trials are moved forward and operate as a rule from Purim, which is the period of the Full Moon of Adar to the New Moon of the New Year. The Church is allowed to get on with the job it is supposed to be doing and that is sanctifying the Temple of God, which Temple we are.
Those who would seek to hurt or destroy the Church of God are dealt with over that period also.
Many of you would have noticed that those who seek to attack and hurt us are dealt with over that period and many are removed from the Church of God; and many people are silenced. Sometimes it does not happen in the order that we think is the most appropriate. Sometimes the people we think might be more innocent are silenced first but God knows the hearts of all men and He directs Christ to act according to Righteousness and Justice. These two words in English are the same word in Hebrew, Tzedek from whence we get Zadok. The Sons of Zadok are the Sons of Righteousness. You cannot be righteous without being just.
When God is dealing with a matter it is obvious and it deals with the issues before it and succeeds. If it comes to nothing it is not of God.
When people make errors they can repent and God restores them to the Body of Christ. Christ does not lose those whom God has given him to bring to salvation.
It was thus that John said if they go out of us they are not of us. In the same way everyone who is of Christ is brought to repentance over this period.
By the Second Day of the week, which is the New Moon of Abib, we will commence to be brought to sanctification. Many will be brought to repentance. God will also deal with those who are the enemies of the Body of Christ over this period.
Each year we sin and it is in this period that we are made to realise our sins. One of the great requirements of the Faith is loyalty. Loyalty is keeping those in office informed and making sure that the Body is in harmony and problems are dealt with.
We must love one another and be loyal to one another. If one suffers we all suffer. Sometimes we see people lost because they do not see clearly at times. Sometimes people are damaged by the disloyalty and dishonesty of others. Sometime Christ allows us to be chastised so that we can be used for a greater purpose. Sometimes we don’t see the problems clearly and some of us just love endless hair-splitting and lose sight of the bigger issues. There is no reason why anyone has to leave the Church of God. Everyone can and should repent and now is time for us to do just that.
There is no reason why pride should come between the Church and any individual. If you have sinned confess it to God and repent and be reconciled to your brethren.
Soon you will wash the feet of the brethren and often it might be just a person with whom you have had a problem.
Don’t concern yourselves with the problems of others. They have a tongue in their head and their sins also might just be less than yours are if you get the beam out of your eye and stop worrying about the speck in the other person’s.
Repentance starts with the House of God and the Priesthood is the first to be dealt with and examined.
The structure of the Book of Joel is important to the Church as the Body of Christ and the Spiritual House of Israel.
The Beginning of Chapter 1:2-3 is a Call to Hear.
The Second Phase is the Infliction of Judgment in Chapter 1:4-13.
In the section from 1:14 to 2:17 we see the Third Phase, which is the Call to Repent.
In the Fourth Phase from 2:18 to 3:21 we see the Judgments Removed.
The prophecy of Joel looks forward to the Day of The Lord at the Time of the End (see also the paper The Day of the Lord and the Last Days (No.192)).
Joel, chapter 1
1: The word of the LORD that came to Joel, the son of Pethu'el: 2: Hear this, you aged men, give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers? 3: Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. 4: What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten.
The first section here deals with the natural calamities that precede the invasions of the Last Days. The next section deals with the invasions of the Last Days and the calamities that accompany those problems.
5: Awake, you drunkards, and weep; and wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the sweet wine, for it is cut off from your mouth. 6: For a nation has come up against my land, powerful and without number; its teeth are lions' teeth, and it has the fangs of a lioness. 7: It has laid waste my vines, and splintered my fig trees; it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down; their branches are made white.
The next sequence deals with the call to the Church to lament for the bridegroom that is Christ.
8: Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the bridegroom of her youth.
The problem comes with the loss of the harvest and the ministry is in a state of devastation. Repentance is to start at the House of God.
9: The cereal offering and the drink offering are cut off from the house of the LORD. The priests mourn, the ministers of the LORD. 10: The fields are laid waste, the ground mourns; because the grain is destroyed, the wine fails, the oil languishes. 11: Be confounded, O tillers of the soil, wail, O vinedressers, for the wheat and the barley; because the harvest of the field has perished. 12: The vine withers, the fig tree languishes. Pomegranate, palm, and apple, all the trees of the field are withered; and gladness fails from the sons of men. 13: Gird on sackcloth and lament, O priests, wail, O ministers of the altar. Go in, pass the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God! Because cereal offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God.
The next phase is to turn to the Lord. The way this is done is to Sanctify a Fast. Thus the Sanctification process is brought about by fasting and solemn assembly.
14: Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God; and cry to the LORD. 15: Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes. 16: Is not the food cut off before our eyes, joy and gladness from the house of our God? 17: The seed shrivels under the clods, the storehouses are desolate; the granaries are ruined because the grain has failed. 18: How the beasts groan! The herds of cattle are perplexed because there is no pasture for them; even the flocks of sheep are dismayed. 19: Unto thee, O LORD, I cry. For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and flame has burned all the trees of the field. 20: Even the wild beasts cry to thee because the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
Fire and Drought are the marking or indicators of the Last Days. The Church is to commence the period of repentance so that the people do not perish. The Church of God proclaims the Day of the Lord as it draws to hand. It is a day of darkness and of destruction.
Joel, chapter 2
1: Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming, it is near, 2: a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them through the years of all generations. 3: Fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them, but after them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them. 4: Their appearance is like the appearance of horses, and like war horses they run. 5: As with the rumbling of chariots, they leap on the tops of the mountains, like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble, like a powerful army drawn up for battle. 6: Before them peoples are in anguish, all faces grow pale. 7: Like warriors they charge, like soldiers they scale the wall. They march each on his way, they do not swerve from their paths. 8: They do not jostle one another, each marches in his path; they burst through the weapons and are not halted. 9: They leap upon the city, they run upon the walls; they climb up into the houses, they enter through the windows like a thief. 10: The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.
The destruction of God’s people is a part of the agenda and it has always been so. God has allowed the Church to be damaged many times for the Faith so that there might be an example of the Faith in all ages. In the Last Days the nations themselves will also be seriously damaged.
Whenever the people of God are under threat God requires repentance before He extends the hand of mercy.
11: The LORD utters his voice before his army, for his host is exceedingly great; he that executes his word is powerful. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it? 12: "Yet even now," says the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13: and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. 14: Who knows whether he will not turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, a cereal offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God?
So God requires us to return to Him and each year He requires that of the Church at Passover. Again we are told to “blow the trumpet and sanctify a fast”. This procedure we know from Ezekiel is on the Seventh of Abib for the Simple and the Erroneous. We are commanded to sanctify them and that can only be done by prayer and fasting. The congregation is to be sanctified.
15: Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16: gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. 17: Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, "Spare thy people, O LORD, and make not thy heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, `Where is their God?'"
Once we have turned to God He will afford us protection and He will deal with our enemies. He will remove our reproach. It takes faith and dedication to outlast the storm. Once God decides to act, those who would attack His people are made a stench in the nostrils of the world.
18: Then the LORD became jealous for his land, and had pity on his people. 19: The LORD answered and said to his people, "Behold, I am sending to you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations. 20: "I will remove the northerner far from you, and drive him into a parched and desolate land, his front into the eastern sea, and his rear into the western sea; the stench and foul smell of him will rise, for he has done great things.
Fear not for the Lord has done great things and He will continue to protect His people. The Passover restores us to Him and places us in a state of grace again with God. That is why we must perform these aspects each year without fail in the Body of the Church and we are required to perform correctly for the whole period. God then restores us as He will do for the whole of the tribes in the Last Days when they are brought to repentance. Then what we have lost is restored to us. We will never again be put to shame.
21: "Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things! 22: Fear not, you beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine give their full yield. 23: "Be glad, O sons of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD, your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. 24: "The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25: I will restore to you the years which the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. 26: "You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. 27: You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the LORD, am your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.
In the final stages God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh and not just the Churches of God. All mankind will be made to see and hear and turn and be saved.
28: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29: Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my spirit. 30: "And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31: The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. 32: And it shall come to pass that all who call upon the name of the LORD shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.
The survivors of the Last Days will have among them those whom the Lord calls
and they will be set in place on His Holy Mountain and among the nations to
do His will.
God will bring all flesh into Judgment and they will be judged on how they dealt with the Church of God.
Joel, chapter 3
1: "For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, 2: I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehosh'aphat, and I will enter into judgment with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations, and have divided up my land, 3: and have cast lots for my people, and have given a boy for a harlot, and have sold a girl for wine, and have drunk it. 4: "What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will requite your deed upon your own head swiftly and speedily. 5: For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. 6: You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, removing them far from their own border. 7: But now I will stir them up from the place to which you have sold them, and I will requite your deed upon your own head. 8: I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the sons of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabe'ans, to a nation far off; for the LORD has spoken." 9: Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare war, stir up the mighty men. Let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. 10: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, "I am a warrior." 11: Hasten and come, all you nations round about, gather yourselves there. Bring down thy warriors, O LORD. 12: Let the nations bestir themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehosh'aphat; for there I will sit to judge all the nations round about. 13: Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the wine press is full. The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. 14: Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15: The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. 16: And the LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shake. But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. 17: "So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who dwell in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy and strangers shall never again pass through it. 18: "And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the stream beds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the LORD and water the valley of Shittim. 19: "Egypt shall become a desolation and Edom a desolate wilderness, for the violence done to the people of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. 20: But Judah shall be inhabited for ever, and Jerusalem to all generations. 21: I will avenge their blood, and I will not clear the guilty, for the LORD dwells in Zion."
There is a lesson in all this and that is that God will not allow His people to be attacked and leave them unavenged. They will be dealt with and the guilty will not go clear.
God will deal with the people as they deal with the elect of the Churches of God.
We see this now on a daily basis and we will see much more in the near future.
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