Saturday, June 29, 2024

Morning Message: The Day of the Lord

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "The Day of the Lord"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

An execution took place a few days ago in Texas on Wednesday evening. The man had showed no remorse for his crimes until the day of his execution.

More than twenty years had passed since his crime. His appeals were all used up, and the family of his victim watched as a lethal injection brought an end to the man who had caused them so much pain and heart ache. It was only from the death chamber that he finally conveyed his remorse to his victim’s family. His good works in prison were not enough to atone for his crime.

God will not be mocked. It was for the sins of the whole world that God sent His only begotten Son to be executed for our sins. The time of reckoning had come, and love prevailed with God’s mercy, love and grace evident so that we might live.

The Jews had God’s laws before any other group. Yet they rebelled, and when they saw no immediate repercussions for their breaking God’s Laws, they continued on in their rebellion. But then… The Day of the Lord was prophesied to them. God’s Prophets had warned them. God’s mercy was upon them, but remorse and repentance did not come. The Day of the Lord came instead. An invasion would take them away from their homes, their Temple, and from their land. Friends and families would lose touch with one another.

While Israel was on the receiving end of God’s wrath back then, it is upon the whole world today. We are warned by the same Prophets that had warned the Jews. The day of reckoning is coming for the whole world, and the death of God’s only begotten Son remains mankind’s only escape from His wrath. He asks us to simply believe on His Son, for the promise of escape.

The End-Times began some 2,000 years ago. The signs of their fulfillment are all around us today. 2 Peter 3:8 - If a thousand years is as a day to the Lord, and a day is as a thousand years, then we are on the cusp of the third day, when His Son will show Himself alive to the whole world again!

Romans 10:9 – 
“…If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

Bobservations' Column
: Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Joel 1:16 - 2:13 - "The Day of the Lord"

Summary/Additional Commentary & Definitions:

"The Day of the Lord" is the theme of the book of Joel, and it permeates every part of Joel's message.  The phrase is not a reference to a chronological time period, but to a period of wrath and judgment belonging to God alone. "The Day of the Lord" doesn't always refer to just a near historical event, but also to the future last days fulfillment of prophecy.  

With seismic disturbances, violent weather, thick darkness, cosmic upheaval and a "great and very terrible" day that would "come as destruction from the Almghty," 
This is the Day in which God reveals His attributes of wrath, power, and holiness, and it is a terrifying day to His enemies.

In the first chapter, "the Day of the Lord" is experienced historically by the plague of locusts upon the land. He uses the metaphor of the locust plague and drought as a backdrop from which to launch an intensified call to repent in view of the coming invasion of Judah and "the Day of the Lord," present and future. There is a transition in the second chapter, the prophet is looking to the Great Tribulation Period, the coming invasion of the Assyrian army is a foretaste of it. 

History is headed toward what the Bible calls "the Day of the Lord." This is the term used in Scripture to define the final judgment. It is called "the Day of the Lord" because it is the end of man’s day.

We are living in man’s day. Obviously, while we are under the power of Satan and his demons, we still operate with a measure of freedom in this world to create our own environment. This is man’s day, man is in charge. Man is in charge essentially at every level. This is the kingdom of man within the kingdom of darkness, which is under the ruler Satan. This is man’s day. You can look at history and see what man has made of it.

But what is coming is the Lord’s Day. It will be a day of cataclysmic judgment. That judgment will fall on those who have not repented of their sins and embraced Jesus as Lord and Savior. What you do with Jesus Christ is the determiner of your eternal destiny.

It’s important to notice that while Joel is calling the nations and Israel to repentance, he’s not simply encouraging them to repent with lofty religious words; he’s calling them to repent by changing their actions. Notice what the Lord says through the prophet Joel:

“...turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil." — Joel 2:12-13

What a beautiful picture of how genuine heart change (repentance), from the inside out, leads to God being eager to demonstrate His love and mercy despite the obvious reality that none deserve it. Now that’s good news! This will lead us to the last part of Joel as he elaborates on what a future hope can look like for those who repent, turn to the Lord, and fully embrace His ways.

Sunday Morning's Audio Message

Key Words and Definitions with Reference:

Destruction from the Almighty (1:15) - The Day of the Lord is at hand; unless sinners repent, dire consequences await them.  The Hebrew term for destruction forms a powerful description of violent devastation and ruin. From the "Almighty," describes the invincible strength of God.  This event is not a freak of nature, but rather the purposeful, punishment of their Creator.

To Thee Will I Cry (1:19) - Joel is the first to call the nation to repentance, and to heed the warning.  In order to motivate the people to respond to his warnings, Joel led by example.  In the midst of proclaiming judgment, God's prophets often led in intercessory prayer for mercy and forgiveness (see Exodus 32:11-14; Jeremiah 42:1-4; Daniel 9:1-19; Amos 7:1-6).  

Fire Hath Devoured (1:19) - This statement depicts a scene more awesome than even a plague of locusts could produce.  All the trees of the field and all the pastures of the wilderness are scorched with devastating fires.  Joel's vision at this point carries him forward to the ultimate day of the Lord, the future tribulation period, when there will be a worldwide 3 1/2-year drought, with no rains and no winds (revelation 7:1; 11:3, 6).  The drought will cause global famines (Revelation 6:5-6), and then "hail and fire mingled with blood...and the third part of trees and all green grass is burned. (Revelation 8:7).

Dried Up (1:20) - Eventually in this time of great judgment, all the rivers "are dried up," even "the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up" (Revelation 16:12).  Undoubtedly lake will also dry up and even the sea level will drop (Revelation 16:8).

Blow Ye the Trumpet (2:1) - In the ancient world, horns were used to gather people for special occasions or to warn of danger (Exodus 19:13, 16, 19; 20:18; Numbers 10:1-10; Isaiah 27:13; Amos 3:6; Zephaniah 1:14-16; Zechariah 9:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16).  This term refers to a ram's horn.

Zion (2:1) - Zion refers to either earthly Jerusalem (Isaiah 10:12), or the heavenly abode of God (Hebrews 12:22). All seven reverences in Joel refer to Jerusalem. 

Darkness and Gloominess...Clouds of Thick Darkness (2:2) - These features describe the blackness of a locust invasion, so thick that it blots out the sun with its deadly, living cloud of insects.

The Like (2:2) - The description of the invading host in this chapter goes well beyond even a legitimate metaphorical description of an invading swarm of locusts, as terrible as that can be.  Such locust plagues have occurred many times in the Middle East and elsewhere.  They might well serve as a type of the great armies that will invade Israel in the las days. 

Garden of Eden (2:3) - This is an incidental confirmation that Joel and the people of his time still believed in the historical truth of the Garden of Eden.

Appearance Like Horses (2:4-9) - The resemblance of the locust's head to that of a horse is striking, so much so that the prophet reiterates the word appearance.  Horses were not used for agricultural purposes in ancient times but were the most feared kind of military equipment (Exodus 15:1, 19; Deuteronomy 20:1; Joshua 11:4).  The simile continues with "like chariots" (v. 5); "like a strong people" (v. 5); "like mighty men" (v. 7); "like men of war" (v. 7); "like a thief" (v. 9).  

Earthquakes...Sun and Moon Grow Dark (2:10) - The ground trembles as dust flies along with the growing devastation.  Earthquakes and cosmic disruptions are well attested elsewhere as signs accompanying divine appearances (Judges 5:4; Psalm 18:7; Jeremiah 4:23-26; Nahum 1:5, 6; Matthew 24:7).  So devastating are the locusts that they are associated with the coming period of judgment in the last days (Revelation 6:12).

His Army (2:11) - The Lord's army is a different army than the one described in the previous verses.  This is the army of saints accompanying Christ and His holy angels when He returns to earth to destroy the ungodly hosts of the beast and the dragon (Revelation 19:11-21).

Rend Your Heart, Not Your Garments (2:13) - 
The word for “rend” in the original Hebrew means “to split, tear to pieces, rip, bust, separate abruptly or with violence.” To rend one’s garment was an ancient custom that signaled intense grief, repentance, or holy zeal. In Joel’s day, the nation of Judah was guilty of putting on false displays of repentance. The people performed rituals of tearing their clothing without experiencing true, heart-crushing remorse for their sin, which would lead to a change in behavior and genuine devotion to God. Only a complete rending of the heart would turn the nation back to receive the compassionate, gracious, merciful, and steadfast love of the Lord. Rending our hearts in repentance means wholehearted surrender to God.

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