That Dwelling Place- Pastor’s Notes

How lovely is your dwelling place,
Lord Almighty!

My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—

a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

Psalm 84:1–5

Prayers Of Praise In Psalms – Pastor’s Notes

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,

because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16:7–11

Servant Of Jesus, The Final Act: The Servant Faces Punishment

Pastor’s Notes

As with all things the word got back to the king. Remember the king in this story represents God and nothing you do will ever be hidden from his sight. When the king discovered what the servant had done here was his response:

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed” (Matthew 18:32-34).

The lesson of this story is simple, pay it forward. The forgiveness God has extended to you must be extended to others. After all there is no amount of forgiveness you can give that will be greater than or even equal to the amount of forgiveness God has forgiven you. If that is not enough motivation, listen to how Jesus sums up this story:

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart” (Matthew 18:35).

I ask you today, is there anyone you need to forgive? Is there anyone that you are harboring anger or bitterness towards today? I encourage you to forgive them. It won’t always be easy, but it is necessary. If you need help just remind yourself of how much God has forgiven you and you will discover that it becomes a lot easier to forgive someone else.

Servant Of Jesus (Act 2)

Pastor’s Notes

Act 2: The Servant Demands Payment

I can’t imagine the weight that was lifted from the shoulders of this servant after he was forgiven. His family was spared. His freedom was spared. He was truly given his life back. After this however, the roles reversed. The one who owed the debt became the one to whom a debt was owed.

One of his fellow servants owed him one hundred silver coins, or denarii. A typical worker would earn about 300 denarii in a single year so this servant owed him about 4 months worth of salary. This was an amount that could have been paid back over time. He could have very easily created some type of arrangement to have this money paid back. It may have taken a little while, but it would have been able to be paid off in this servant’s lifetime. 

Upon finding this guy who owed him money, he became aggressive. The first servant grabbed the other and choked him, demanding his payment. He made the same appeal, please be patient with me and I will pay it all back, which we have just determined was entirely possible. However, the first servant refused to listen and had this man thrown in jail until he could pay it all back. What a short memory this man had.

What is fascinating in this story is how I see myself, and maybe you see yourself too. Think of this. How desperate was your situation when God found you? How much sin did God forgive you? How many times has God forgiven you over and over, many times for the same sin? How can you not show mercy to someone else?

The trouble with this servant is the same thing that troubles us from time to time. We forget. We forget what it’s like to need God’s forgiveness. We forget that God freely forgives. We forget that God’s forgiveness is not because of anything we have done but simply because of his grace and mercy shown to us through Jesus Christ. We love to be the receivers of forgiveness and mercy when we need it.

The crux of the matter is how often are we willing to give it when it is required? This servant failed. Let’s not make the same mistake.

Servant Of Jesus (Act 1)

Act 1: The Servant Is Forgiven Much- Pastor’s Notes

Peter comes to Jesus and asks him a question about forgiveness, “how many times should I forgive someone who sins against me?” Peter was thinking he was being gracious by saying seven times. Jesus responded and said no, not seven times but seventy times that. With that answer, he then proceeded to tell this parable. To read it in full, turn to Matthew 18.

The king in this story represents God and the servant is us. The servant owed the king ten thousand bags of gold – or talents as the King James Version states. To understand the amount of debt this servant owed, ten thousand bags of gold is the modern-day equivalent of seven billion dollars.

The servant, not wanting to lose everything he had, makes an incredible statement – be patient with me, I will pay everything back. The reason this statement is not only incredible but incredibly ridiculous is because there was no possible way this servant could ever pay back this amount of debt. At the going rate of pay for a typical worker of that day, it would take about two hundred thousand years for this servant to pay off the debt. This was impossible. The king knew it. The servant knew it. The servant really had nothing to offer the king. Because of this, his only option was to appeal to one thing, the mercy of the king. 

The response of the king in this story is quite shocking too. He didn’t just reduce the debt or work out some type of payment plan, the king cancelled the entire debt. Seven billion dollars was cancelled. He told the servant you don’t owe me anything, your balance is paid in full.

This is exactly the mercy God has shown to us. We were under a weight of sin that we could not repay. Though we made plenty of promises like this servant to do better and try harder, we couldn’t pay off the sin debt we owed. We were guilty. The sin debt we owed would literally take all eternity for us to pay back. We had only one choice to appeal to the patience and mercy of God. In that appeal, God forgave us and canceled the debt. Notice Colossians 2:13-14:

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.”

The king forgave the servant. God forgave you. If only the story ended there it would be happily ever after but there was a second act.

Seeking Spiritual Wisdom

Seeking Spiritual Wisdom

  • Be rooted in the knowledge of God ( Eph 1:17)
  • Make decisions based on Gods point of view. (Eph 1:18-20)
  • He grants the treasure of common since to be honest, A shield to walk with integrity. (Prov 2:1-8)
  • Let God guide your path (Psalm 119:10)
  • Godly wisdom and the world dont mix. (James 3;15-17)
  • Dont just listen to the word do what it says ( James 1:22)
  • The word of God is alive and active (Heb 4:12)
  • All scriptures are God breathed and straight from the throne. (2 Tim 3:16)

Heavenly Realms

Heavenly Realms

Eph 1:3
Col 3:1
John 3:16
Rev 21:2
Heb 1:14
Phil 3:20
John 2:24
Gen 1:1
Rev 20:1-3
Rev 11:15
Eph 2:10
Eph 1:13
Rev 21:4
Eph 1:11
John 14:2
luke 23:43
1 peter 1:13
heb 12:23
rev 10:13
john 14:6
rev 3:21
rev 2:7
titus 3:5
acts 8:9-13
ps 103:2-4
deut 18:9-12
rev 21:1
rev 16:3
eph 6:12
eph 3:10
james 4:7
col 3:2
1 john 4:1
eph 2:6
exodus 3:14
jude 1:6
heb 13:14
heb 3:17
heb 11:16
2 thess 2:9
1 corin 10:15-17
rom 8:29
rom 8:1
john 16:33
mark 4:11
matt 16:18
matt 6:33
matt 5:11
job 1:6
2 kings 2:11

Joel Study Notes – From The Pastors Desk

1-17: With an increased level of intensity, Joel utilized 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.

In this instance, it is to be used to “alarm” the people to the seriousness of the crisis that is upon them. A double figure of locusts and a future invading army may be intended (in verses 1-11).

Verses 1-2: The “trumpet” was used primarily for religious purposes to call the congregation together for meetings, to usher in the beginning of the month, and to note solemn days and festive occasions.

Joel 2:1 “Blow ye 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 cometh, for [it is] nigh at hand;”

“Blow ye the trumpet”: 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; Num. 10:1-10; Isa. 27:13; Amos 3:6; Zeph. 1:14-16; Zech. 9:14; 1 Thess. 4:16). The term here refers to a ram’s horn.

“Day of the Lord” (see note on 1:15).

This is the call to worship with the blowing of the trumpet here. The trumpet blowing is an alarm that they must gather and repent of their sins. Zion, many times, symbolizes the church. I would say it is time today to blow the warning trumpet in the church. God will not always look the other way for the abominable sins that are going on in our nation today.

Homosexuality, which God speaks of as an abomination, is an accepted lifestyle in our land. Profanity is so commonplace, even little children know the words. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

Their trembling was because of the sins they had committed. Our trembling should be for the same reason. Just as John the Baptist shouted, Repent, for the Lord is coming, it should be the cry of every Christian today. The Lord is coming. The “day of the LORD” speaks of a time of judgment.

Verses 2-11: In dramatic and vivid language, Joel compared the drought and locusts to fire, horses, and an invading army.

Joel 2:2 “A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, [even] to the years of many generations.”

“Darkness and gloominess … clouds and thick darkness”: These features describe the blackness of a locust invasion, so thick that it blots out the sun with its deadly living cloud of insects.

Such terms are often common figures for misery and calamity in the Old Testament (Isa. 8:22; 60:2; Jer. 13:16; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph. 1:15), and past visitations of the Lord (Exodus 10:12; 19:16-19; 24:16; Deut. 4:12; 5:22-23).

This darkness can be of a spiritual nature, or it could be dark because of the number of locusts. There is a third possibility as well.

Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”

Perhaps, all three of these things are spoken of here. In the physical sense, the locusts are so thick that it is dark as night. The fact that they had eaten all vegetation would bring great gloominess. Perhaps, the fact that there were 4 different types of locusts at once was unique to this area.

Darkness, both physical and spiritual, comes with judgment from God. We must remember this is a judgment from God.

Verses 3-6: The locusts have the appearance of warhorses and sound “like the noise of chariots” as they go about their destruction. No natural barrier can contain them because “they leap”.

Joel 2:3 “A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land [is] as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.”

“A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth”: This is not to be understood of the heat of the sun, or of the great drought that went before and continued after the locusts; but of them themselves, which were like a consuming fire. Wherever they came, they devoured all green grass, herbs, and leaves of trees, the same as fire does stubble.

They sucked out the juice and moisture of everything they came to, and what they left behind shriveled up and withered away, as if it had been scorched with a flame of fire.

“The land is as the garden of Eden before them”: Abounding with fields and vineyards, set with fruitful trees, planted with all manner of pleasant plants, and all kind of corn growing upon it, and even resembling a paradise.

“And behind them a desolate wilderness”: All green grass eaten up, the corn of the field devoured, the vines and olives destroyed, the leaves and fruit of them quite gone, and the trees themselves stripped of their bark.

So that there was just the same difference between this country before the calamities described came upon it, and what it was after, as between the Garden of Eden, or a paradise, and the most desolate wilderness; such ravages were made by the locusts, and by those they resembled.

Yea and nothing shall escape them; no herb: plant, or tree, could escape the locusts; nor any city, town, or village, nor scarce any particular person, could escape them.

The magnitude of locusts, spoken of here, would easily turn a Garden of Eden into a very desolate place, as if it had burned. Perhaps, the farmers tried to burn the locusts out, and the fire came from there. It is possible; also, that God sent fire on the crops and burned them up.

Joel 2:4 “The appearance of them [is] as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.”

“The appearance … as the appearance of horses”: 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 military equipment (Exodus 15:1, 19; Deut. 20:1; Josh. 11:4).

The simile continues with “as of chariots” (verse 5), “Like a mighty people” (verse 5), “like mighty men” (verse 7); and “like soldiers” (verse 7).

The noise these locusts would make would sound like many horse hooves. They can destroy an entire farm in just a few minutes.

Revelation 9:7 “And the shapes of the locusts [were] like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads [were] as it were crowns like gold, and their faces [were] as the faces of men.”

Joel 2:5 “Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.”

“Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap”: The motion of the locusts is leaping from place to place; for which the locusts have legs peculiarly made, their hindermost being the longest; wherefore Pliny observes, that insects which have their hindermost legs, are the long leap locusts.

To which agrees the Scripture description of them: “which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; even those of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind” (Lev. 11:21).

There sound resembles the jumping of chariots on mountains and hills, which are uneven, and usually have stones lie scattered about, which, with the chains and irons about chariots, cause a great rattling; and the noise of locusts is compared to the noise of these, which is represented as very great.

Some say they can be heard six miles off as they make such a noise with their wings when they fly, that they are thought to be other winged fowls (see Rev. 9:9).

“Like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble”: As they are before compared to fire, and a flame of fire that devoured all things as easily as the fire devours stubble, so here to the crackling noise of it see (Eccl. 7:6).

“As a strong people set in battle array”: That is, as the noise of a mighty army prepared for battle, just going to make the onset, when they lift up their voices aloud, and give a terrible shout; for this clause, as the other two, refer to the noise made by the locusts in their march.

There will not even be stubble left, because the 4 types of locusts even destroy the stubble. This is speaking of literally millions of locusts. There would be a deafening roar from their wings. This would leave the land in terrible shape, as if it had been devastated by a fire.

Joel 2:6 “Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.”

“Before their face the people shall be much pained”: Or, “at their presence”; at the sight of them they shall be in pain, as a woman in travail. Into such distress an army of locusts would throw them, since they might justly fear all the fruits of the earth would be devoured by them, and they should have nothing left to live upon.

“All faces shall gather blackness”: Like that of a pot, as the word signifies; or such as appears in persons dying, or in fits and swoons; and this here, through fear and hunger (see Nahum 2:10).

Some of the translators say this is speaking of a paleness that comes over the face, when the blood runs out. Their hearts would fail them for fear of things coming upon the earth. It could very well be speaking of mourning, to the extent that the face became black with death.

Joel 2:7 “They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:”

“They shall run like mighty men”: Like men of war, in a hostile way, as soldiers run upon their enemy with undaunted courage and bravery. Bochart from Pisidas describes the locusts’ manner of fighting, who says, they strike not standing, but running.

“They shall climb the wall like men of war”: Scale the walls of cities as besiegers do; walls and bulwarks cannot keep them out; all places are accessible to them, walled cities, towns, yea, even houses (Exodus 10:6).

“And they shall march everyone on his ways”: In his proper path, following one another, and keeping just distance.

“And they shall not break their ranks”: Or “pervert their ways”, as the word signifies in the Arabic language, as Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, observe; that is, decline not from their paths, as the Septuagint version; proceed in an orderly way, keep rank and file.

So they are said to go forth in bands (Proverbs 30:27); and to encamp (Nahum 3:17).

Jerom on the text relates what he saw with his own eyes: “this we lately saw (says he), in this province (Palestine); for when swarms of locusts came, and filled the air between heaven and earth.

They flew in such order, by the disposition and command of God, that they kept their place like checkered squares in a pavement fixed by the hands of skilled craftsmen; so as not to decline a point, nor even I may say a very small measure.

This is speaking of them being in swarms that do not separate out, but move as a unit. A wall would be nothing to them. They would just go over it and destroy behind it. The wall might slow down a natural army, but not these locusts. The movement across the land is swift, and their destruction is total.

Joel 2:8 “Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and [when] they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.”

“Neither shall one thrust another”: Press upon another, thrust him out of his place, or push him forward, or any ways straiten and distress him, or in the least hinder him in his progress.

“They shall walk everyone in his path”: or “highway”; Everyone should have his path, and keep in it, and it should be as roomy to him as if he had a highway to walk in by himself, and in which he could not err.

“And when they shall fall upon the sword”: On which they would fling themselves without any fear or dread of it:

“They shall not be wounded”: Or “cut to pieces” by it; it not being easy for the sword to pierce and cut them, through the smoothness and smallness of their bodies (see Rev. 9:9). They have hard scales like a coat of mail; but the expression refers to the utter uselessness of all means to prevent their plundering.

Normal weapons of war will be no help against these locusts. They are so well organized; they do not destroy each other in their conquest.

Joel 2:9 “They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.”

“They shall run to and fro in the city”: Leap about from place to place, as locusts do (see Isa. 33:4).

“They shall run upon the wall”: Which before they climbed; now they shall run upon, and go from tower to tower.

Joel had described their approach; they had come over “the tops of the mountains,” those which protected Jerusalem; and now he describes them scaling “the wall,” “mounting the houses,” “entering the windows,” “running to and fro in the city.”

Here the description has reached its height. The city is given over to those who assault it. There remains nothing more, save the shaking of the heaven and the earth.

They shall climb up upon the houses, and enter in at the windows, like a thief; so the locusts entered into the houses of the Egyptians (Exodus 10:6); and Pliny says, they will eat through everything, and even the doors of houses.

Their houses were not airtight, and these locusts got into the houses, as well. There will be nothing safe before them.

Joel 2:10 “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:”

“Earth shall quake … sun and the moon shall be dark”: 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; Jer. 4:23-26; Nahum 1:5-6; Matt. 24:7). Joel later refers to these signs (2:31; 3:15).

This is still speaking of the terror the locusts put into the hearts of men. It is also, speaking of the time of the end, when the sun and the moon do not shine. At that time, there will be an earthquake felt around the entire world. This near devastation that Joel is speaking of here, is a type and a shadow of that great and terrible day at the end of the age.

Mark 13:24-25 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,” “And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.”

Luke 21:25-26 “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;” “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”

Joel 2:11 “And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp [is] very great: for [he is] strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD [is] great and very terrible; and who can abide it?”

Nature has not gone awry; the locusts are not beyond God’s control. They move at His specific command.

These creatures are certainly at his beck and command: He can “command the locust to devour the land” (Chron. 7:13); which may be meant by his uttering his voice here; though Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it of the Lord’s giving notice of this judgment by his prophets before it was known.

“For strong are the executors of his word”: For the Day of the Lord is great and very terrible, and who can abide it? The day appointed by the Lord to take vengeance on the Jews for sin. And this, being the day of his wrath, is very dreadful and intolerable.

So any season may be called, in which God remarkably pours down his wrath on men because of their sins (see Rev. 6:17). Such was the time of Jerusalem’s destruction, both by the Chaldeans and Romans.

This could be the army of the locusts, or the army of the LORD that is made up of all the believers in Christ. The weapon that each of them use, is the Word of God (two-edged sword). This army is obedient to the wishes of the LORD. The answer is no one can abide against God.

Revelation 17:14 “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him [are] called, and chosen, and faithful.”

Revelation 19:11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”

Verses 12-14: Even in the midst of judgment, opportunity to repent was given. If they would demonstrate genuine repentance, the Lord stood ready to forgive and bless.

Verses 12-13: The customary way a Jew showed his grief was to tear his outer “garment.” This external sign could be meaningless. The tearing of the outer garment is useless, unless the “heart” is broken in repentance and contrition.

Joel 2:12 “Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye [even] to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:”

“Therefore also now, saith the Lord”: Before this terrible and intolerable day, which is near at hand, comes. Before these judgments and calamities threatened take place, though just at hand; serious repentance is never too late, now is the accepted time (see Luke 19:42).

“Turn ye even to me with all your heart”: Against whom they had sinned, and who had prepared his army against them, and was at the head of it, just ready to give the orders, and play his artillery upon them.

And yet suggests, that even now, that if they turned to the Lord by true repentance, not, feignedly and hypocritically, but cordially and sincerely, with true hearts, and with their whole hearts, he was ready to receive and forgive them.

The Targum is, “turn ye to my worship with all your heart”.

“And with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning”: External signs of inward grief and sorrow, testifying their hearty return to the Lord; which, though, without the heart, signify nothing, yet should be shown where hearty repentance is, for the honor and glory of God.

This is for the near time of Joel, and for now, as well. God’s people must fast and pray in sincerity. The prayers must come from our hearts, and God will hear and answer our prayers.

There is such a spread of A.I.D.S that it threatens to wipe out many of our children and grandchildren. This, in my opinion, is a judgment of God upon a society that has gone mad. Only God can stop it. We must call our nation to true repentance now.

Joel 2:13 “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.”

“And rend your hearts and not your garments”: That is, “not your garments only” (see note at Hosea 6:6). The rending of the clothes was an expression of extraordinary uncontrollable emotion, chiefly of grief, of terror, or of horror. At least, in Holy Scripture it is not mentioned as a part of ordinary mourning, but only upon some sudden overpowering public or private grief.

“And turn unto the Lord your God”: Consider him not as an absolute God, and as an angry one, wrathful and inexorable; but as your covenant God and Father. As your God in Christ, ready to receive backsliding sinners and prodigal sons; yea all sinners sensible of sin that flee to him for mercy through Christ.

“For he is gracious and merciful”: He is the God of all grace, and has laid up a fullness of it in Christ. And he gives it freely to them that ask it of him without upbraiding them with their sins. He is rich and plenteous in mercy, and ready to forgive; he delights in showing mercy and in them that hope in it. And this is no small encouragement to turn to the Lord, and seek mercy.

“Slow to anger”: He is not hasty to stir it up, and show it. He bears with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath; and his longsuffering to his own people issues in their salvation. He waits to be gracious to them; and, though he may seem to be angry, he does not stir up all his wrath their sins deserve nor does he retain anger for ever.

“And of great kindness”: Both in a providential way, and in a way of special grace through Christ. Whom he has provided as a Savior, and sent him into the world as such, and saves sinners by obedience sufferings, and death.

These characters of God are taken (out of Exodus 34:6); and are admirably adapted to engage and encourage sensible souls to turn to the Lord by acts of faith in him, and repentance towards him (see Isa. 55:7).

“And repenteth him of the evil”: Which the sins of men deserve; and he has threatened on account of them. Not that he ever changes the counsels of his will, but alters the course of his providence, and the manner of his conduct towards men, according to his unalterable repentance otherwise does not properly belong to God (Numbers 23:19).

But is ascribed to him after the manner of men; and is used to express his compassion. How ready he is to receive and forgive returning sinners and not execute the threatened and deserved evil and to bestow all needful good (see Jonah 3:10).

There are several instances in the Bible, where God changed His mind and reversed a curse. True repentance would bring this for Joel’s day and for ours.

Exodus 32:14 “And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”

Micah 7:18 “Who [is] a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth [in] mercy.”

Joel 2:14 “Who knoweth [if] he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; [even] a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?”

God is immutable and does not change. This verse sets forth the possible results of revival and repentance from man’s point of view. When man changes, he is unaware of the change in himself, and views it as though it were a change in God.

God, perhaps, will stay His judgment, and instead of placing a curse on them for their sins, will bless them mightily. He will restore their food supply greatly. They will be able to again offer the meat offering and drink offering daily.

Verses 15-17: This is the second invitation to “blow the trumpet in Zion.” It summons the whole nation to an assembly of repentance in order to implore God’s mercy.

Joel 2:15 “Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:”

“Blow the trumpet in Zion”: For the calling of the people together to religious duties, which was one use of the silver trumpets made for and blows by the priests (Num. 10:2).

“Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly” (see Joel 1:14).

If there is a possibility of the plague of locusts being stopped, blow the trumpet and gather the people to repent. This is just as true today. We must blow the trumpet, and cause revival to sweep across our land, if we expect God to stay the plague of A.I.D.S.

Joel 2:16 “Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.”

From oldest to youngest they were to come. The situation is so grave that even the groom and bride were exhorted to assemble (Deut. 24:5); consummation of the marriage could wait.

At this gathering, there would be no excuses accepted. Everyone must repent. Even the babies and little children must come, and be set aside for God’s purpose.

Joel 2:17 “Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where [is] their God?”

“Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar”: Not the altar of incense which stood in the Holy Place; but the altar of burnt offering, where the priests used to stand and do service.

But now having nothing to do of that kind, they are called upon to weep and pray between that and the porch of the temple; where they might be seen and heard by the people in the outward court which the porch led into. This is thought by some to be the same situation with that between the temple and the altar (Matt. 23:35).

“And let them say, spare thy people, O Lord”: They are directed to plead, not in a way of justice, but mercy; that though it might be just with God to destroy these people, who were called by his name. Yet it is entreated that he would not, but in mercy spare them, and not cut them off in his sore displeasure, which the present judgment threatened them with.

There seems to be an argument for mercy suggested, in the relation these people stood in to God, they are “thy people”, whom thou hast chosen, and who are called by thy name; though this was also an aggravation of their sin; and the same may be observed in what follows.

“And give not thine heritage to reproach”: The people whom he had chosen for his inheritance, and the land of Canaan he had given to them for an inheritance; both which would be given to reproach if such a famine should ensure, that they must be obliged to go into other countries for food.

“That the Heathen should rule over them”: As they would, should they be forced to leave their own country, and settle in theirs for the sake of food. Or “to be a proverb”, or “byword, among the Heathen”, as Jarchi. This clause Jerom thinks opens the mystery, and explains who are meant by the mighty nation under the name of locusts, the enemies of the Jews.

Though this does not necessarily follow, take the words in either sense, as explained: it seems indeed very likely, that though the locusts may be understood literally.

“Wherefore should they say among the people, where is their God?” They boast of as their Creator and Benefactor, their Protector and Defender, that gave them a land flowing with milk and honey, and abounding with all blessings? What is become of that? And where is he now? Which the Gentiles would say in a reproaching blaspheming way.

Should they be reduced to famine by the locusts, or fall into the hands of their enemies; than which kind of reproach and blasphemy there is nothing more cutting to religious minds (see Psalm 42:10).

And this, as well as the former is used as an argument with God for mercy. The Targum is, “where are they that are redeemed by the Word of your God?

In this giant prayer service, the ministers should lead the prayers. They must plead with God to show mercy on the people. This is the same message Moses gave God at the mount, when the people had made the golden calf.

Exodus 32:12-13 “Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.” “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and sadist unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit [it] for ever.”

Exodus 33:13 “Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation [is] thy people.”

Verses 2:18 – 3:21: With the advent of verse 18, the text makes a decisive transition, devoting the remainder of the book to restoration.

It assumes an interval of time between verse 17 and verse 18 during which Israel repented. As a result of her repentance, the 3 major concerns of 1:1 – 2:17 are answered by the Lord: physical restoration (2:21-27), spiritual restoration (2:28-32), and national restoration 3:1-21).

Joel 2:18 “Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.”

“Then will the Lord be jealous for his land”: Or “zealous” for it; for the honor of it, and the good of its inhabitants, and for the glory of his own name, it being the chief place in the world for his worship and service. And his indignation will be moved against those who have brought desolation on it.

“And pity his people”: As a father his children, who had suffered much, and had been reduced to great distress by the locusts, or by their enemies. This the prophet foretells would be done upon their repentance, fasting, prayers, and tears. Or, as some think, this is a narrative of what had been done, and the prophet was a witness of.

That the people meeting together with their princess and priests, and humbling themselves before the Lord, and crying to him, he expressed a zeal and compassion for them, and delivered them out of their troubles. For though their humiliation is not expressed, it may be understood and supposed, as doubtless, it was fact.

This is forgiveness on the way. This reminds me of the following Scripture.

Luke 15:20 “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”

Joel 2:19 “Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:”

“Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto his people”: By his prophets, as Kimchi: or, “the Lord answered and said”; while they were praying and weeping, or as soon as they cried unto him. Or, however, praying to him, they might assure themselves that he heard them, and would answer them both by words and deeds.

“Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil”: That is, cause the earth to bring forth corn, as wheat and barley, and the vines and olive trees to bring forth grapes and olives, from which wine and oil might be made. This is, according to some interpreters, to be understood of an abundance of spiritual blessings.

“And ye shall be satisfied therewith; or, “with it”: With each and every of the above things, corn, wine, and oil; they should not only have them, but have enough of them. Even to beyond the point of satisfaction.

“And I will no more make you a reproach among the Heathen”: For want of food, and as if forsaken of God (see Joel 2:17).

They did not deserve it, but God forgave them, and restored their land.

Joel 2:20 “But I will remove far off from you the northern [army], and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savor shall come up, because he hath done great things.”

“Northern army”: Although some have viewed this as a reference to the locusts, it is more likely referring to a military invasion by a country coming down from the north of Israel (Ezek. 38:6, 15; 39:2). That future army will be driven into the eastern sea (Dead Sea), and the western sea (Mediterranean Sea).

God drives the enemy out, and the curse is over.

Verses 21-24: Reminiscent (of 1:18-20), the former situation had been reversed. The animals were admonished to be afraid no longer.

Joel 2:21 “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.”

“Fear not, O land”: O land of Israel, as the Targum, and the inhabitants of it; neither of the locusts, who had so terrified them, and had done so much mischief, and threatened more. Or of their enemies; the Assyrians or Chaldeans and their powerful armies, or any other.

“Be glad, and rejoice”: At the removal of the locusts, and at the destruction of their enemies.

“For the Lord will do great things”: Good things, in opposition to the evil things done by the locusts, as Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech observe.

And in the times of the Maccabees, and especially in the times of Christ, which are quickly prophesied of in this chapter; and which prophecies some interpreters begin here, it not being unusual for the prophets to pass directly from things temporal to things spiritual.

And especially to the great deliverance and salvation by Christ, and also by temporal blessings to design spiritual ones.

With the blessings of God upon the land, it will bloom again. The crops will be abundant. It will rain at the needed time, and they will prosper.

Joel 2:22 “Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.”

“Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field”: Which before groaned, and were perplexed for want of pasture, and cried because of the drought (Joel 1:18). Perhaps the Gentiles may be here designed, in the mystic and spiritual sense, in distinction from the Jews, the children of Zion (in Joel 2:23).

“For the pastures of the wilderness do spring”: Grass in abundance springs up in them, and covers them, so that there was plenty of food for the beasts of the field.

“For the tree beareth her fruit”: Brings forth and bears fruit suitable to it, agreeable to its nature.

“The fig tree and the vine do yield their strength”: Send forth their branches, put forth their buds, their leaves and fruit. This and the preceding clause cannot be understood as a reason why the beasts of the field should not be afraid, for they relate not to them, but to men.

And may serve to confirm the mystic sense of the words, as they may refer to the great fruitfulness produced in the wilderness of the Gentile world, through the preaching of the Gospel in the times of the Messiah.

Which are more clearly pointed at (in Joel 2:23); and which were introduced with great outward peace and plenty. And the Jews by the tree bearing her fruit, in the preceding clause, understand barren trees bearing fruit.

All natural vegetation springs forth to feed the beasts of the field. The fruit trees will abundantly produce fruit, and the vines will bring forth in strength.

Verses 23-24: “Former … latter rain”: The early rains came (in Oct. – Dec.), to prepare the seed-bed and assist germination, while the latter rains came (in Mar. – May), to provide ample moisture for the grain and fruit crops to be rich and full.

Joel 2:23 “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first [month].”

“Be glad then, ye children of Zion”: The people of the Jews, and especially the spiritual and believing part of them. Such as were born again, that were born of Zion, and born in Zion, and brought up by her, and in her. The children of that Zion or Jerusalem that is the mother of us all. And who were looking for the Messiah, and to whom it would be good news and glad tidings to hear of his coming (Zech. 9:9).

“And rejoice in the Lord your God”: Not in any creature or creature enjoyment, but in the Lord.

“In the Word of the Lord your God”: In Christ the essential Word (see Phil. 3:3). Though rather Jehovah the Father, the giver and sender of Christ, is here meant, because of what follows. And who is to be rejoiced in by his people, not as an absolute God, but as in Christ, and as their covenant God and Father in him.

Who has chosen them for himself, and is their portion and inheritance; which are reasons sufficient why they should rejoice in him, and others follow:

“For he hath given you the former rain moderately”: Or rather, “for he hath given you the teacher of righteousness”; to which agrees the Targum. “For he hath returned to you your teacher in righteousness”. And so Jarchi paraphrases the words, and interprets them of the prophets in general. “Your prophets that teach you to return unto me, that I may justify you.

“And he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month”: Alluding to the two seasons of the year in which rain was given to the Jews. The former rain fell in Marchesvan, which answers to our September and October, part of each, at their seedtime.

And the latter in Nisan, the first month of their ecclesiastical year, and answers to part of March and April, and fell some time before their harvest. And these former and latter rains now fall about the same time.

There is a double meaning here. In the natural, there will be two rains to make the crops grow. This however, is also speaking to the church (Zion). The former rain was the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost. The latter rain happens at the end of the age. This is a mightier outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh.

Joel 2:24 “And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.”

“And the floors shall be full of wheat”: The churches of Christ, which will now be in Judea, and in the Gentile world, which are his “floors” (Matt. 3:12). And which will be set up everywhere through the preaching of the Gospel.

The descent of the former and latter rain; these will be full of precious souls gathered in. Compared to wheat, and of the choice and excellent, doctrines of the Gospel, and of all spiritual provisions (Matt. 13:30).

“And the fats shall overflow with wine and oil”: With the wine of Gospel doctrine, and the oil of true grace; there shall be a flow, an overflow, a redundancy of these. Both in the ministers of the word and private Christians, in whom the grace of God shall abound (see Rom. 5:20).

In this, we see the results of the abundant rain on the crops. This is also speaking of the abundance of the Spirit bringing many into the kingdom of God. Wheat symbolizes the Christians. Wine and oil symbolize the Holy Spirit of God.

Joel 2:25 “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”

“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten”: Or “I will recompense to you the years”; give you fruitful ones, as a full compensation for those in which the locust ate up the fruits of the earth for some years running.

“The canker worm, and the caterpillar, and the palmer worm” (see Joel 1:4).

“My great army which I sent among you” (see Joel 2:11).

And I will recompense unto you good years, instead of the years in which the people, nations, and tongues, the governors and kingdoms of vengeance, spoiled you, my great army which I sent among you.

And Kimchi observes, that the sense of the Targumist is, that this verse is a prophecy of the days of the Messiah. As no doubt it is, in which the Lord has done for his people, as Moses prayed he would, “make them glad according to the days wherein he afflicted them, and the years wherein they had seen evil” (Psalm 90:15).

The times of the Messiah, in which so many good things come to the people of God, are a sufficient recompence for what they endured in times past. Of the Mahometan (“Mohammad”), notion of locusts being the army of God (see Joel 2:11).

This is speaking of all that the locusts destroyed, being restored. God miraculously does it.

Joel 2:26 “And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.”

“And ye shall eat in plenty”: Or, “in eating eat”; most surely eat, and in great abundance. Which Hebraism not only denotes the certainty of a thing, but the increase and abundance of it (see Gen. 22:17).

There are plenty of spiritual provisions held forth under the Gospel dispensation. Much in God: in his goodness, grace, and love, truth and faithfulness. In his covenant: the blessings and promises of it; much in Christ: who is compared to many things eatable. And is called the Lamb of God, the fatted calf, the hidden manna, the tree of life, and the bread of God.

Everything in him, and that belongs to him, is food for faith.

His flesh is meat indeed, his blood is drink indeed; the fullness of grace in him; the righteousness wrought out by him. The salvation he is the author of; upon all which the believer lives by faith. Much in the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, compared to honey for sweetness of taste; to milk for its nourishing nature, easiness of digestion, and the suitableness of it for babes.

And to strong meat fit for men: and there are blessings plenty also in the ordinances of the Gospel, particularly in the Lord’s supper. The feast of fat things, where saints are invited to eat and drink abundantly. Which eating is not a bare attendance on outward ordinances, or a superficial taste of the things in them, but a feeding upon them by faith, receiving and digesting them.

“And be satisfied”: Eat to satiety; eat and be full, so as to be entirely contented, and desire no other sort of food. Thus saints, as Naphtali, are satisfied with the favor and love of God, having a delightful sensation of it, and a full persuasion of interest in it. With Christ as the bread of life, so as not to hunger after other.

With his righteousness, as not to seek any other. And with his salvation, being so suitable to them. And with the goodness and fatness of the Lord’s house, his word and ordinances.

“And praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you”: Acknowledge him to be the giver of all this spiritual food, and that they are unworthy of it. Ascribe it entirely to the grace of God, who has done wonders for them; in wonderfully setting them apart for himself in eternal election.

In making such a well ordered covenant with them in Christ; in sending him to be their Savior and Redeemer. In calling them out of darkness into marvelous light; in bestowing such love upon them, as to call them and make them his children, and also heirs of him and eternal glory (see Psalm 22:26).

“And my people shall never be ashamed”: Because they shall always have food to eat; shall never be disappointed, when they rightly apply for it in proper places and times. And not be like the troops of Tema, and companies of Sheba (Job 6:19).

They shall not be ashamed of their faith and hope, and expectation of good things promised them. Nor of the word and ordinances, and the profession they have made of Christ in this world.

Nor shall they be ashamed at his coming; but shall be placed at his right hand, and received into his kingdom, and shall be led by him to fountains of living water. And be satisfied with pleasures for evermore.

Romans 5:5 “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Joel 2:27 “And ye 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 ashamed.”

“And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel”: The presence of God among his people shall be so manifest, the tokens of it so clear, that it shall be easily known. By the impressions of his love upon them; the teachings of his Spirit in them; the usefulness of the word and ordinances to them.

This return promised a reversal of the Lord’s departure (Ezekiel, chapter 8 to 11).

The spiritual and heavenly frame of soul they shall be favored with, and the pleasant taste of their conversation. This is the blessing Christ has promised to Gospel ministers and churches (Matthew 28:20).

“And that I am the Lord your God, and none else”: That he is their covenant God and Father, and acknowledge none else.

“And my people shall never be ashamed”: Which is repeated for the certainty of it (see Joel 2:26).

Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.”

Verses 28-32: “And it shall come to pass afterward” is a formula employed to speak of future events. This differentiates the message on the locust plague from the Day of the Lord.

The promised outpouring of God’s Spirit will be on all ages and classes of people: “sons” and “daughters”. Accompanying the outpouring of the Spirit will be full salvation, or deliverance, for all who put their trust in the Lord as their Redeemer.

Joel has compressed together, in true prophetic fashion, events separated by millennia.

1.   The crucial points of history are the events of the locust plague in Joel’s day;

2.   The Day of Pentecost, on which the Holy Spirit was indeed poured out universally and made available to all mankind (about 33 A.D.);

3.   The events of the Great Tribulation separated from the Day of Pentecost by over 2,000 years (3:1-17);

4.   And the establishment of the earthly Davidic millennial kingdom that follows the events of the Great Tribulation (verses 18-21).

(See notes on Acts 2:16-21).

Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:”

“Afterward”: The abundance of material blessings would be followed by the outpouring of spiritual blessings. When coupled with the other temporal phrases within the passage (“in those days” (verse 29), and “before the great and awesome Day of the Lord comes” (verse 31), the term points to a Second Advent fulfillment time frame.

“All flesh”: Since the context is “your sons and daughters,” “all mankind” best refers to the house of Israel only. The nations are the recipients of God’s wrath, not the effusion of His Spirit (3:2, 9).

The following is a confirmation of this very Scripture.

Acts 2:16-17 “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;” ” And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:”

It was very important for this to be in two different Scriptures, because by two a thing is established. The word that prophecy was translated from means to speak by inspiration. This is made available to all flesh, male and female. We can see from this that spiritual dreams and visions, are also from God.

Joel 2:29 “And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”

And this God has done, and is still doing. He left the line of Aaron, and took his apostles indiscriminately from any tribe. He passed by the regular order of the priesthood, and the public schools of the most celebrated doctors, and took his evangelists from among fishermen, tent-makers, and even the Roman tax-gatherers.

And he lastly, passed by the Jewish tribes, and took the Gentile converts and made them preachers of righteousness to the inhabitants of the whole earth. The same practice he continues to the present day; yet he did not then pass by a man brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, no more than he would now a man brought up in a celebrated seminary of learning.

He is ever free to use his own gifts, in his own way; and when learning is sanctified, by being devoted to the service of God. And the possessor is humble and pious, and has those natural gifts necessary for a public teacher, perhaps we might safely say.

God would in many cases prefer such: but he will have others, as intimated in the prophecy, that we may see the conversion of men is not by human might, nor power, but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts. The learned man can do nothing without his Spirit.

The unlearned must have his gifts and graces, without which both their labors would be unprofitable; and thus, the excellency of the power is of God, and no flesh can glory in his presence.

Notice the word “pour”. This is speaking of an abundance, not just a few drops. It is a gift from God to His followers.

Verses 30-31: “Before … Day of the Lord”: Unmistakable heavenly phenomena will signal the imminent arrival of God’s wrath in the Day of the Lord (verse 10; see note on 1:15).

Joel 2:30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.”

“And I will show wonders”: Each revelation of God prepares the way for another, until that last revelation of His love and of His wrath in the Great Day.

In delivering His people from Egypt, “the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt (Deut. 6:22). Here, in allusion to it, He says, in the same words, of the new revelation, “I will show,” or “give, wonders, or wondrous signs,” (as the word includes both). Wonders beyond the course and order of nature, and portending other dispensations of God, of joy to His faithful, and terror to His enemies.

As when Israel came out of Egypt, “the pillar of the cloud was a cloud and darkness to the camp of the Egyptians,” but “gave light by night” to the “camp of Israel” (Exodus 14:19-20). So all God’s workings are light and darkness at once, according as people are, who see them or to whom they come.

These wonders in heaven and earth “began in” the First Coming and “Passion of Christ, grew in the destruction of Jerusalem, but shall be perfectly fulfilled toward the end of the world, before the final Judgment, and the destruction of the Universe.”

At the birth of Christ, there was “the star” which appeared unto the wise men, “and the multitude of the heavenly host,” whom the shepherds saw. At His Atoning Death, “the sun was darkened,” there was the three hours’ darkness over the whole land.

On earth “the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent, and the graves were opened” (Luke 23:44-45; Matt. 27:45; 27:51-52).

And the Blood and water issued from the Savior’s side. After His Resurrection, there was the vision of Angels, terrible to the soldiers who watched the sepulcher, comforting to the women who sought to honor Jesus.

His Resurrection was a sign on earth, His Ascension in earth and heaven. But our Lord speaks of signs both in earth and heaven, as well before the destruction of Jerusalem, as before His Second Coming.

Matthew 24:7 “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”

Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”

Joel 2:31 “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.”

“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood”: Not by eclipses, as Aben Ezra; but by the clouds of smoke arising from the burning of towns and cities. Which would be so great as to obscure the sun, and through which the moon would look like blood.

Or all, this may be understood in a figurative sense of the change that should be made in the ecclesiastic and civil state of the Jewish nation, signified by the “heavens” and “earth”. And particularly that their king or kingdom should be in a low, mean, and distressed condition, designed by the sun; and the change of their priesthood is signified by the “moon”.

“Before the great and terrible Day of the Lord come”: The days of our life are our days wherein we do what we please; that will be the “Day of the Lord,” when He, our Judge, shall require the account of all our doings. It will be “great,” because it is the horizon of time and eternity; the last day of time, the beginning of eternity. It will put an end to the world, guilt, deserts, good or evil.

It will be “great,” because in it great things will be done. Christ with all His Angels will come down and sit on His Throne; all who have ever lived or shall live, shall be placed before Him to be judged; all thoughts, words, and deeds shall be weighed most exactly; on all a sentence will be passed, absolute, irrevocable throughout eternity.

The saints shall be assigned to heaven, the ungodly to hell. A great gulf shall be placed between, which shall sever them forever. So that the ungodly shall never see the godly nor heaven nor God; but shall be shut up in a prison forever, and shall burn as long as heaven shall be heaven, or God shall be God.

“That day shall be great to the faithful, terrible to the unbelieving; great to those who said, ‘Truly this is the Son of God;’ terrible to those who said, ‘His blood be upon us and upon our children.”

“When then thou art hurried to any sin, think on that terrible and unendurable judgment-seat of Christ, where the Judge sits on His lofty Throne. And all creation shall stand in awe at His glorious Appearing and we shall be brought, one by one, to give account of what we have done in life.

Then by him who hath done much evil in life, there will stand terrible angels. “There” will be the deep gulf, the impassable darkness, the lightless fire, retaining in darkness the power to burn, but deprived of its rays. There is the empoisoned and ravenous worm insatiably devouring and never satisfied, inflicting by its gnawing pangs unbearable. There that sharpest punishment of all, that shame and everlasting reproach. Fear these things; and, instructed by this fear, hold in thy soul as with a bridle from the lust of evil.”

Mark 13:24-25 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,” “And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.”

The very best thing a Christian can do, is be ready to meet their Lord. We are not to fear these things, but rejoice when they happen, because our redemption is near.

Luke 21:28 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

Joel 2:32 “And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”

“Whosoever shall call”: (quoted by Paul in Romans 10:13).

“Remnant”: In spite of the nation’s sin, God promised to fulfill His unconditional covenants (Noahic, Abrahamic, Davidic, and New). A future remnant of Jews will inherit God’s promised blessings (Isa. 10:20-22; 11:11, 16; Jer. 31:7; Mica 2:12; Zeph. 3:13; Rom. 9:27).

What a wonderful promise, that God will save everyone who calls upon His name. Notice Zion, which is the church. It is spoken of separately from Jerusalem, which represents the physical house of Israel. The remnant here are the natural Jews that turn to the LORD. The Christians are the large number beyond counting.

Revelation 14:1 “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.”

Notice, the Father’s name is written in the foreheads of natural Israel, who have turned to the Lamb.

Revelation 7:9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”

These are the Christians (spiritual Israel). They are dressed in white robes washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Revelation 7:14 “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Praise God! There is hope.

Jesus Is In Every Book Of The Bible-Pastor’s Notes

In Genesis, Jesus is the seed of the Woman.In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb.In Leviticus, He is the Priest, the Altar and the Lamb of Sacrifice.In Numbers, He is the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night.In Deuteronomy, Jesus is the Prophet like Moses.In Joshua, Jesus is the Captain of our salvation.In Judges, He is our Judge and Law-Giver.In Ruth, He is our Kinsman and Redeemer.In 1 & 2 Samuel, He is our trusted Prophet.In Kings & Chronicles, He is our reigning King.In Ezra, He is the rebuilder of the broken-down walls of human life.In Nehemiah, Jesus is our Restorer.In Esther, He is our Advocate.In Job, Jesus is our Ever-Living Redeemer.In Psalms, He is our Shepherd.In Proverbs, He is our Wisdom.In Ecclesiastes, He is our hope of resurrection.In the Song of Songs, He is our loving Bridegroom.In Isaiah, Jesus is the suffering Servant.In Jeremiah, He is the righteous wronged.In Lamentations, He is our weeping prophet.In Ezekiel, He is the one with the right to rule.In Daniel, Jesus is the fourth man in the fiery furnace.In Hosea, Jesus is the faithful husband forever married to the sinner.In Joel, He is the one who baptises with the Holy Spirit, fire.In Amos, He is the restorer of Justice.In Obadiah, He is mighty to save.In Jonah, He is our great foreign missionary.In Micah, Jesus is the feet of one who brings good news.In Nahum, Jesus is our stronghold in the day of trouble.In Habakkuk, He is God my Saviour.In Zephaniah, He is the King of Israel.In Haggai, He is the signet ring.In Zecharish, He is our humble King riding on a colt.In Malachi, Jesus is the son of righteousness.
In Matthew, Jesus is God-with-us.In Mark, He is the Son of God.In Luke, He is the Son of Mary, feeling what you feel.In John, He is the Bread of Life.In Acts, Jesus is the Savior of the world.In Romans, Jesus is the righteousness of God.In 1 Corinthians, He is the Resurrection.In 2 Corinthians, He is the God of all comfort.In Galatians, He is your liberty, He sets you free.In Ephesians, Jesus is the Head of the Church.In Philippians, Jesus is your joy.In Colossians, He is your completeness.In 1 & 2 Thessalonians, He is your hope.In 1 Timothy, He is your faith.In 2 Timothy, Jesus is your stability.In Titus, Jesus is Truth.In Philemon, He is your benefactor.In Hebrews, He is your perfection.In James, He is the power behind your faith.In 1 Peter, He is your example.In 2 Peter, Jesus is your purity.In 1 John, Jesus is your life.In 2 John, He is your pattern.In 3 John, He is your motivation.In Jude, He is the foundation of your faith.In Revelation, Jesus is your coming King.
He is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.He is the Keeper of Creation and the Creator of all.He is the Architect of the Universe and the Manager of all Time.He always Was, He always Is and He always Will Be,Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated and never undone.
He was bruised and brought healing,He was pierced and eased pain,He was persecuted and brought freedom,He was dead and brought life.He is risen and brings power,He reigns and brings peace.The world can’t understand Him,Armies can’t defeat Him,Schools can’t explain HimAnd the leaders can’t ignore Him.
Herod couldn’t kill Him,The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him,The people couldn’t hold Him,Nero couldn’t crush Him,Hitler couldn’t find Him,The New Age can’t replace HimAnd Oprah can’t explain Him away.He is Life, Love, Longevity and Law.He is goodness, kindness, gentleness and love.He is holy, righteous, mighty, powerful, good.His Way is Right, His Words Eternal.His rules unchanging, and His mind is on me.He is my Redeemer, His is my Savior, He is my God, He is my Priest,He is my Joy, He is my Comfort, He is my Law, and He rules my life.

Christian Character-Pastors Notes


Daniel 3:16-18
INTRODUCTION:
Daniel, whose name means “God is my judge,” was a statesman in the court of heathen monarchs. Taken captive as a youth to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 605, he spent the rest of his long life there as a governmental official and as a prophet of the true God. He claimed to have written this book (12:4), and Jesus identified him as the prophet in Matt.24:15 and Mark 13:14.Since he did not occupy the prophetic office, the book is found in the third division of the Hebrew Bible, the “Writings,” rather than in the second, the Prophets. Throughout his life he was uncompromising and faithful to his God.Because of the events recorded in chapter 2 (Daniel interprets the King’s dream), Daniel was given a place of prominence and responsibility in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. After the king’s death, Daniel apparently fell from favor, but was recalled to interpret the writing that appeared at Belshazzar’s feast (5:13). He was made one of three presidents under Darius (6:1) and lived until the third year of Cyrus (536).His ministry was to testify, in his personal life and in his prophecies, to the power of God. Though in exile, the people of Israel were not deserted by God, and Daniel revealed many details about His plan for their future, including the prophecy of the seventy weeks of years (9:24-27) and the activities of Antichrist (11:36-45). He also traced the course of Gentile world powers from his own day to the second coming of Christ (Ryrie).Most of us already know the story in chapter 3. This is one of the favorite stories in the book along with that of Daniel in the lion’s den. We know about the three Hebrew children. We have heard and read about their demonstration of faith in the fiery furnace. Even though they were very young, they were believers who had some character.If these young teenagers had this kind of character, facing what they were facing, it seems like some of us older believers should have even more character. We have been at it a lot longer. No doubt we need more Christians with character like that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.What was it that gave them this kind of character? I think it was their faith in God. Christian character comes by trusting God. The three Hebrew children trusted God. This becomes obvious as we observe how they responded to the king’s insistence that they bow down to false gods.What would you have said to the king? Notice the ingredients of their Godly character. If we trust in God, we will have Christian character with the same ingredients.
I. FAITH GAVE THEM CONVICTIONS (v.18)They said, “We will not….” A person with Christian character will have convictions based on the Word of God. There are certain things he will not do and he has already made up his mind about those things.To have Biblical convictions is to find out what God’s opinion is (from the Bible) and to make His opinion our opinion. A conviction is not based on personal preference, but is solidly based on what God has said in His Word and our determination to follow it.Charles Spurgeon tells how a boy, reading aloud the account about Daniel in chapter 6, mistakenly rendered verse 3 as follows: “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent SPINE (should have been spirit) was in him.”Spurgeon commented that it undoubtedly was bad reading but good theology. Christian character comes by trusting God. This faith in God will give you Biblical convictions.
II. FAITH GAVE THEM CONSECRATION (v.17)They said, “God whom we serve….” We need some Christians who are totally devoted to the Lord. These Hebrew boys knew that God would deliver them out of the king’s hand, whether God delivered them out of the fire or not. Dead or alive they would be delivered.They knew who they served. They knew who their master was and their devotion was 100% toward the Lord. We need some Christians with this kind of consecration. We need some Christians who have given themselves totally to the Lord and His wish has become their command.Christian character comes by trusting God. This faith in God will give you Biblical consecration and devotion to God first of all.III. FAITH GAVE THEM COURAGE (vv.17-18)They said, “If it be so, our God…is able to deliver…but if not…we will not serve thy gods.” These young people had some courage. They said that they believed God could deliver them if He wanted to, but if He decided not to deliver them, they were not going to serve the king’s false gods anyway.And they knew what they were facing too, for they had already been warned about the fiery furnace prepared for those who would not bow.These young men had character. I have heard people say, “Lord if you will get me out of this problem, I’ll get back in church, but if you don’t get me out of this problem, don’t expect to see me in church.” That’s real character, isn’t it?Many Christians today say for example, “Lord, I’ll tithe if you will bless me.” But will they go on to say, “If you do not bless me, I’ll tithe anyway”? The last statement takes courage and character.Abraham Lincoln showed the quality of his courage and character, when, against the advice of Congress, he made the call for an additional 500,000 recruits. He was told it would prevent his re-election.With flashing eye, he replied: “It is not necessary for me to be re-elected, but it is necessary for the soldiers at the front to be re-enforced by 500,000 men, and I shall call for them; and if I go down under the act, I will go down, like the Cumberland, with my colors flying.” Christian character comes by trusting God. This faith in God will give you Biblical courage.IV. FAITH GAVE THEM CONSISTENCY (v.16)They said, “We are not careful to answer thee in this matter.” What they were saying was, “this is always the way we answer this kind of temptation.” Do you remember in chapter 1 when they refused to defile themselves by eating the kings meat?Their answer is still the same. They didn’t even have to think about their answer. They already knew what they were going to say because their trust was in God and they consistently put Him first.If you will make the right decision long enough you won’t have to think about what to answer. I don’t have to think twice about saying “no” to going to a bar. Some people do. I don’t have to think about whether or not I am going to church.Some people do. The reason some people waver is because they haven’t made the right choices long enough. If you will trust God and His Word, you won’t have to be inconsistent in answering temptation.Have you ever wondered why the king chose them to work for him in the first place? It was because he saw their character. He saw that they were hard and honest workers who were loyal and upright. Now, the king gives them chance after chance to do wrong and it makes him mad when they choose right.It will make the devil mad too, but it will make the Lord happy. Just keep on choosing right. That’s Christian character. Christian character comes by trusting God. This faith in God will give you Biblical consistency. (1Cor.15:58).V. FAITH GAVE THEM COMPANIONSHIP (vv.16-18)All through the first chapters of this book we see “they”, “them”, “we”, and “our” in relation to the Hebrew children. You will travel with the kind of people that you want to be. Charactered people attract other charactered people. The opposite is true as well.Do you want to have friends that are honest and hard working and loyal? Then be that kind of person.Be a person of character and you will attract people of character. You will also choose your friends from those who are charactered people. You may not have many friends, but the friends you have will be good friends and good people. Thank the Lord for the friendship of quality people. Christian character comes by trusting God. This faith in God will give us Biblical companionship.CONCLUSION:Famous men of the past have bequeathed us statements that have become mottoes. History declares that Henry Clay was about to introduce a certain bill in Congress when a friend said, “If you do, Clay, it will kill your chance for the presidency.” “But is the measure right?” Clay asked, and on being assured it was right said, “I would rather be right than be president.”Emerson said, “A change in geography never changes character.” Someone else has said “character is what you do when no one else is watching.”

Clouds Without Water -Pastor’s Notes

A Biblical Critique of the Word of Faith Movement(more commonly known as the Health and Wealth or Prosperity Gospel).

In this post, I will be exposing the false teachers that are plastered all over the “Christian Television” today. 

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.” (Romans 16:17-18).

Here is a brief history of the Word-Faith Movement.

1Dangerous Doctrines
  • Phineas P Quimby (1802-1866) – The great grandfather of the Word-Faith movement. He was the father of new thought (a metaphysical cult) who believed whatever you think about you bring it upon your (good or bad). He was a student of occultism, hypnosis, and parapsychology. His theoretical formulations served as the basis for mind (Christian science) cult formed by Mary Baker Eddy and later formed theology word of faith movement. 

Essek W. Kenyon (1867-1948) was the grandfather of the word of faith movement. He has ties to the metaphysical cults (new age, new thought). He attended Emerson College of Oratory. He taught God created something out of nothing by speaking faithful words and we can do the same. That humans took on the nature of Satan in the fall fore fitting to him the divine dominion and made him the legal god of the earth. He taught that Jesus not only died a physical death but also a spiritual death as well. That health and wealth are obtainable by the believer’s positive confession.

Kenneth Hagin (1917-2003) was the father of the modern word of faith movement. 

All word of faith preachers claims to get divine revelations from God. 

1Postive Confession

Positive confession preachers teach that we can speak things into existence just like God. They teach faith is the object of our faith, not God. 

List of Postive Confession False Teachers

  • Benny Hinn
  • Kenneth and Gloria Copeland
  • Creflo Dollar
  • T.D. Jakes
  • Paul and Jan Crouch
  • Jesse Duplantis
  • Rod Parsley
  • John Hagee
  • Joel Osteen 
  • Joyce Myer
  • Paula White Cain
  • Joseph Prince
  • Todd White
  • Larry Huch
  • Seth Dahl
  • Bill Johnson
  • Roberts Liardan 
  • Don Piper
  • Colton Burpo
  • Bill Weiss
  • Mary Baxter
  • Todd Bentley
  • Fredrick Price

What the Word of Faith Teaches on the Fall

  • Adam was an exact duplicate of God
  • Adam sinned and lost is Godhood to Satan who became the god of earth overthrowing God.
  • Satan is now the legal god of earth 
  • When a person gets saved they get their Godhood

The dangerous lure of the health and wealth gospel is the appealing aspect that if you come to Jesus he will make you rich and he will heal your body. (The real gospel says come to Jesus because I am a sinner in need of a savior).

Softing of Sin

The prosperity gospel says God can only do what we give him permission to do. That he can only do what he wants in heaven, not on earth. 

The bible says “Our God is in the heavens, He does whatever he pleases (Psalm 115:3). Whatever the Lord pleases he does, in heaven and in the earth. (Psalm 135:6)

Be aware that if they preach a different Jesus they preach a different gospel. The prosperity gospel also denies that Jesus is the only son of God. (Jesus is the only begotten son of God read John 3:16).

Things False Teachers Say:

Bill Johnson says “Jesus laid his divinity aside as he sought to fulfill the assignment given to him by his father (No he did Not)

Rod Parsley said ” I perceive virtues going out of me, I feel your faith tugging on me 

Todd White says “The Godhead is not comprised of “parts”. That Jesus did not live on earth as God ( Yes he did). Said Jesus did not atone our sins on the cross (Yes he did). He says that Jesus made an atonement in
Hell after dying on the cross. 

Spiritual Death of Jesus

The false teachers say that Jesus died a spiritual death. My friends if it was true that Jesus died a spiritual death then he would cease to be God. 

God is a Spirit, therefore he cannot lie, he cannot sin, cannot deny himself, cannot act outside of his character or nature. God cannot cease to be God!

The false teachers claim that when Jesus said ” My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me” on the cross the relationship between God and Jesus was broken. The use verses Psalm 22:1, Psalm 22:19-24. to support their claims. However, they cant the passages out context like most health and wealth like to do a lot of. 

Jesus was however separated from God but it was humanity, not the deity. Read CCol 1:19-20, Rom 5:9, I Peter 3:18, Eph 1:7.

1Papacy

The Roman Catholics blaspheme against God. By giving the Pope titles such as Holy father, head of the church, Vicar (substitute) for Christ. They do not believe we are saved by grace alone or faith in Christ without works. 

Session 2: Mangled Manifestations

Continuism vs. Cessationism

Beth Moore is ecumenical she teaches and believes that Catholics are Christians when they are not. She has poor hermeneutics and applies old testament promises to the believers under the new testament law. She is mystical and extra-biblical claims in divine revelation from God. That he speaks to her outside of scripture. She is known to associate with known false teachers. 

Question: Which theological group does the following?

  • Erratic jerking and shaking.
  • Uncontrollable laughter 
  • Slain in Spirit
  • Prophesy 
  • Healing
  • Speak in tongues
    Answer: Hindus!

The teachings of the word-faith and the Hindus are almost identical. 

1Tongues

Talking in tongues is not unique to Christianity since other religions claim to be able to do the same thing. Tongues can be practiced arrogance, ungodly manner (see 1 cor 13:1, 14:4-9). 

Speaking in tongues is not the incoherent gibberish you here the prosperity preachers use. The word tongues are actually referring to different languages that were spoken. 

If different languages are being spoken then it should be one person at a time with someone there to interpret the words (1 Cor 14:28) not the all talking at once gibberish that Sid Roth does who claims he can speak in tongues. 

It is false that all believers should talk in tongues. ( I Cor 12:29-30, 14-23)Yet the prosperity gospel says it is a sign of faith. He says that.

The Bible says tongues were a sign of judgment for those who did not believe (I Cor 14:20-22) and that tongues were known languages (Acts 2:5-12).

Question: Are there Apostle Today:
Answer: No!

There were 3 requirements one had to meet in order to be an apostle of Jesus Christ.

  • A first-person eye witness of Jesus (Acts 1:27, 10:38-41, I Cor 9:1, I John 1:1
  • Directly appointed by Christ (Mark 3:14, Luke 6:13, Acts 1:2, 10:41, Gal 1:1
  • Ability to work (signs) of the Apostles (Matt 10:1-2, Acts 1:5-8, 2:43, 4:33, 5:12, 2 Cor 12:12. 
    There is not a person on earth that can meet any or all of those requirements so all the teachers that titled themselves as Apostles are false teachers.

Session 3: The Hurt Of Healing

The prosperity preachers teach that its always Gods will for us to be healed an if we arent it is our fault and lack of faith. The text they use to support this is (Eph 5:23) but they have taken it out of context. The verse is talking about the body of the church, not the fleshly earthy body.

They also use (Jeremiah 29:11) as their primary reason to suggest that God wants us wealthy. But again they are taking the true meaning of the verse away since it was written to the Jews in Babylonian exile and not us. They were in exile because they failed Gods instruction to leave the land to follow every 7th year. But they failed to follow these instructions for 490 years. God sent them into exile for 70 years (490 divided by 7 = 70).

God does have great plans for us. He uses us to glorify him. He had plans for:

  • Stephen – was stoned (Acts 7)
  • Peter – was crucified upside down (John 21:18)
  • Paul – was stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, and then beheaded. (Acts 14,16, 27, 28.

Other favorite verses they like to use to support their teachings are (3 John 2, Matt 18). 

Joseph Prince teaches that if your sick then you just need to bind your sickness. He gets that from Matt 18. But this verse has absolutely nothing to do with binding sickness or disease. This verse is talking about church discipline.

If you see someone doing wrong then you are supposed to take these steps in helping that person overcome there sinning ways.

  • Go talk to the person about there sin (if they refuse to listen and change)
  • Take more people with you and talk to them. (if that doesn’t help)
  • Tell the church (if they still refuse to do anything about it)
  • Treat them as an outcast to the church because they are a false convert. Healing In The Atonement

The word-faith teachers say that Jesus paid for our healing on the cross 2,000 years ago, they use (Isaiah 53:4-5). But this verse isn’t talking about physical health, it’s talking about sin and being healed from it. 

There is physical healing in the atonement. But the faith preachers get it very wrong. They say not all of the benefits of the atonement are promised to be fully realized this side of heaven!

The prosperity preachers have no understanding of the true gospel of Christ none. They say if you don’t get your healing then you just don’t have enough faith. 

Following these false teachers will lead you down a path that doesn’t lead you to the God of the Bible.

In conclusion if you or someone you know is apart of this health and wealth prosperity gospel break all ties with them, whether it be Catholic, Javoha Witness, Scientology, whatever it may be and come to know the real God of the Bible and the truths of his words and you will find a much happier fulfilled life that will lead you straight to Heaven.

Rev 1 of Rev 1-3 Pastor’s Note

Revelation Chapters 1-3

Imagine what it would have been like, to live at the end of the first century. Your city is a part of the *Roman *Empire. You are a Christian. You are a member of a local church. There is only one church in your city. Your nearest church neighbour is over 40 miles away. There are good *Roman roads. You could travel on your horse. You might reach your nearest neighbour in less than a day. Your leader is John the *apostle. But the rulers have sent him away to another country. The reason was that he was a Christian. There are no large meetings where Christians *worship together. There are no Christian books to encourage you. There is no *New Testament to give you hope.

There have been many *earthquakes in your country. There have been many local wars. You are afraid about many things. You wonder what will happen next.

Your neighbours do not like you. You are different from them. You have a different religion. Every day you are in danger. You turn to other *religious groups for help. But there is no help from them. They do not agree with your religion. They even report you to the authorities. They say that you do not believe in God.

The rulers of the nations do not feel confident. They think that other people want to become leaders. They fear that another will take their place. They are jealous of any new religion. They see other people as a danger to their authority. They bring in new laws. The nation has become their religion. Their leader has become their god. Moreover he is the only one that you may *worship. You ask yourself whether you may one day bow down to a strange god. It would be easy to do this. Some of your Christian brothers and sisters have already given up. They have turned away from Jesus Christ, their *Lord.

This is how it was with the 7 churches in Asia. The description of their situation is in the book of Revelation chapters 1 to 3. There was then a period of much *persecution of Christians. The period was at the end of the first century.

Hear what the Spirit says to the Churches. This request appears 7 times. It is in the second and third chapters of the book of Revelation. These letters went to 7 churches in Asia. The period is in the first century. Maybe the Spirit speaks to Christians in churches today about other matters. But the church in the 21st century still has the same problems. So these three chapters are still very important today.

There is an extra blessing. Those who read these letters will be happy people (Revelation 1:3). Those who hear them will be even happier. They will be even happier if they obey the words in the letters. There is a warning at the end of the book. It warns about anyone who might change the message. They must not add to it or take anything away from it (22:18-19).

chapter 1 

There is a description of John’s work in the first five verses in this chapter. He uses three different words. The first is *revelation (apocalypse). It takes the cover off what was secret earlier. The second word is *prophecy. This is in verse 3. Then, in verse 4, he refers to his work as a letter. We find all three descriptions in the book of Revelation

The early chapters help the reader to understand the *prophecies that follow. In them we have the *revelation of Jesus Christ. This could mean the *revelation that Jesus Christ made. It could mean the *revelation that God made about him. It could mean the *revelation that belongs to Jesus Christ. In one way or another, all three are true. The *revelation came from God the Father. It did not come from *angels. It is not a human *revelation. It looks at the questions of history. It brings God’s truth to these questions. Men and women do not create truth. God is the source of all truth. Any truth that we receive comes from God.

God did not make the *revelation directly to John. He sent it through his *angel. This gives the teaching of this book an extraordinary authority. John told everything that he saw. Jesus Christ told him the truth. This truth is the word of God. This means that it is the message from God (verse 2). It is a witness to the truth from Jesus Christ.

Verses 1-3 This book is the *revelation of Jesus Christ. It takes the cover off God’s truth. Otherwise, it would have remained hidden. God gave Jesus these *revelations. He gave them to show his servants what must happen soon. Christ sent this message through his *angel. He sent him to show these *revelations to his servant (slave) John.

God sends his *angel to show the *revelation to John. It is the *revelation of the person of Jesus Christ. He is the one who rose from the dead. The *revelation is that Jesus Christ is *Lord of all. It is a *revelation of God’s *glory and power. John must show God’s servants what must happen soon. ‘Soon’ could mean that it will happen in the very near future. It could mean that it is sure to happen. God has said that it will happen. It could happen quickly. But God’s time is different from ours. One day to God is like a thousand years. A thousand years are like one day to God (2 Peter 3:8).

The blessing in verse 3 is the first of 7 in this book. The message is from God. God will bless (make happy) the person who reads the words of this message. The reader here is not just any person. An official would read a part of the *Old Testament aloud in the *Jewish *synagogue. They did this in the first churches too. A man would read a message to the *congregation. It became part of Christian *worship. A reader became an official in the church.

Next, the people who hear this message will also be happy.

Then there are those who do these things. They practise the things that they hear. They will be happy also. To hear God’s word is a blessing. To obey it is a duty. Here is a warning to anyone that hears but then forgets. It is also a warning to those who take no notice of the message.

John warns that there is not much time left. The first Christians expected the early coming of Jesus Christ. They lived in times of great trouble. So this promise gave them great hope. One day God will take each one of us from the earth. No one knows when this will be. If we have obeyed, we will meet God with confidence.

Verse 4 John sends the message to the 7 churches. They are in the region called Asia (verse 4). He prays for God’s *grace and peace. God is the only God. He is the God who is. He is the God who always was. He is the God who is coming. This refers to the coming of Jesus at the end of the age.

*Grace and peace

The *apostle Paul often starts his letters with a prayer for *grace and peace. He changes the common *Greek word for ‘greetings’ to another word, ‘grace’. The common *Hebrew greeting was ‘*shalom’ or ‘peace’. Paul brings the two greetings together. They form a blessing and a prayer. He prays that his readers may know God’s free help. We do not need to earn this. He also prays that they may know God’s peace. The peace (*shalom) of God is more than just no trouble. ‘Shalom’ has many meanings. It means to be well. It means to have enough for your needs. It means safety and health. Life may be difficult. But we can still know God’s peace.

The message also comes from the 7 *spirits in front of God’s *throne. The 7 *spirits might refer to a group of *angels. There are references here, however, to Father and Son. The words ‘7 *spirits’ appear between these two names. So this probably refers to the Holy Spirit. Seven is a sign of something perfect or complete.

Verse 5 Jesus has three grand titles:

1.         He is the *faithful witness. He witnessed to the truth (John 18:37). It was because of his witness that people killed him.

2.         He was the first one that God raised from death. He rose from death and is alive for ever and ever. He has won the *victory over death. He is the first person in the *kingdom of God. This is an important truth for Christians who suffer *persecution. They need to know this.

3.         He is the ruler of the kings of the earth. Christians who are having *persecution need to know this. The kings of this earth may work against us. But Christ is the King of kings. He controls the history of nations. He rules the kings of earth. His *empire is larger than the *Roman *empire. He rules over the whole world.

Then follow words that praise Jesus. He is the one who loves us. We love Christ because he first loved us. More than that, he has made us free. He has made us free from our *sin. He did this through his blood (death). He died for us on the *cross. The wages for *sin is death. But God gives his people a free gift. It is life for ever in Christ Jesus our *Lord (Romans 6:23). He has also made us free from *sin’s power over us.

Verse 6 There is more. He has made us to be a *kingdom and priests. The *kingdom of God belongs to the people of God. They are the people of the *kingdom. It is not like the *kingdoms of the earth. The people of the *kingdom are those whom God has made free. He has made them free from their *sins. He did this through Jesus Christ. Their purpose is to serve ‘his God and Father’ (verse 6). They are kings. They should rule over *sin. The people of the *kingdom are also priests. This means ordinary Christians. A priest speaks to God on behalf of men. He speaks also to men on behalf of God. Priests pray to God for the world. They tell the world what God has done. They help sad people in the world. They introduce people to God. They pray to the Father for them. To him be *glory and power for ever and ever! *Amen.

Verse 7 Jesus is coming again to this earth. Every eye will see him. This reference comes from the *Old Testament. It is in the book of Zechariah. People will look upon the one whom they have pierced (Jesus). To pierce means to make a hole in something with a pointed object. They will be very sad. It will be like one who cries about the death of a first son. This refers to *David’s family and the people living in *Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:10-13:1). Now all the peoples of the earth will be sad because of Jesus. We are all responsible for the death of Christ. Our *sin has made us responsible.

This is how it will be! ‘So shall it be!’ ‘*Amen’ puts together *Greek and *Hebrew words of agreement. *Amen is a word of agreement. It is not glad about the defeat of the people of the world. The wicked will suffer defeat. The *Amen is glad about the *victory of goodness over evilness. There will be final *victory for Christians who have suffered so much.

Verse 8 God introduces himself as ‘the *Alpha and *Omega’. *Alpha is the first letter of the *Greek alphabet. ‘*Omega’ is the last letter. In English it would be, ‘I am A and Z’. God created all things. He is the one who will end everything. He is the beginning of history. He is the end of history. He is the *Lord of all that comes in between. He is the *Lord King of all the ages. No person, no ruler, no country can oppose the *Lord King. A person who opposes him will never win. Nine times in this book, God has the name ‘Almighty’. This means that nobody can oppose God’s power. His power is very great. He can use his power in any way that he chooses.

The next chapters tell us what Christ thinks about his church. First, he has a right to do this. It is his church. He started it. He set it upon a rock. He promised that the powers of death would not win against it (Matthew 16:8). Second, he knows his church very well. Each of the 7 letters starts with the words ‘I know’.

He knows:

·           the things that they do

·           about their hard work

·           that they suffer

·           that they are patient

·           that they will continue in the *faith to the end

·           about their troubles and that they are poor

·           where they live

·           about their love and *faith

·           about their service and that they will continue to the end.

We shall discover in the next chapters what Christ does think about his church. Sometimes he praises it. Sometimes he blames it. In these letters, we see what an ideal church should be like.

1:9-20 God tells John to *prophesy

The writer of Revelation describes himself just as ‘John’. Some people ask who this might be. The usual view is that he is John the *apostle. He is the son of Zebedee and brother of James. Probably he lived longer than the other *apostles. He was a leader of the church at Ephesus. The authorities had put him in prison on the island called Patmos. He had relations with the 7 churches in Asia. He knew the Christians in these churches.

Verse 9 John says, ‘I was on the island called Patmos’. This means ‘I came to be on the island called Patmos’. He would probably be there for the rest of his life. He was there because of the word of God. He had been a brave *preacher. He was also there for the witness to Jesus. He had been *faithful in *preaching God’s message. He had been *faithful about the truth about Jesus. He suffered for his *faith. The authorities would see him as a poor Christian *preacher. They would make him do very hard and heavy work.

John encourages the Christians in Asia. He describes himself as their brother and companion in suffering. He writes, ‘I am your brother in Christ. We are together in Jesus. We suffer together as members of Christ’s *kingdom.’ Here are three things that we share. We share suffering. We share the *kingdom. We share patience. We mean to carry on until the end.

Verse 10 John was in the Spirit on the *Lord’s Day (verse 10). ‘In the Spirit’ appears several times in the *New Testament. In Revelation, it is in chapter 4 verse 2, chapter 17 verse 3 and chapter 21 verse 10. It may mean some kind of dream. John is especially open to the Holy Spirit. He is prepared to have dreams and to see *visions.

The *vision took place on the *Lord’s Day. This is the only time that this expression appears in the *New Testament. John does not explain it. The *Lord’s Day has its origin in *Caesar’s Day. This might have happened once a week. It was a special day to honour the *emperor. To Christians, however, this day belonged to the *Lord. Jesus is their *Lord. He is the *Lord of this world. He rose from the dead on the first day of the week. So Christians considered this day as the *Lord’s Day. It was right for them to do this.

As John prayed, he had a *vision. First, he heard a voice. It came from behind him. It was a loud voice like a *trumpet. The word ‘*trumpet’ appears quite often in Revelation. It appears more often there than in all the other books in the *New Testament. Usually we associate *trumpets with events that happen in the last days.

Verse 11 The voice said, ‘Write in a book all these things that you see. Send it to the 7 churches. They are Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.’ If a postman had gone to these churches, he would have gone to them in that order. There was a road that connected the 7 churches. It started at Ephesus. It went north to Smyrna and Pergamum. Then it went south through Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.

Verses 12-13 The voice came from behind John. So he turned to see who was there. When he turned, he saw 7 *golden *lampstands. There are descriptions of *lampstands in the *Old Testament. John would know about these. They are:

1.         The *lampstand of pure gold in the Tabernacle. (The Tabernacle was the special tent that the *Jews moved from place to place in the desert. They used it as a *temple.) The *lampstand had 6 parts, like the branches of a tree. There were 3 on one side and 3 on the other. There were 7 lamps (including one in the centre) to give light (Exodus 25:31-37).

2.         The *lampstands in Solomon’s *Temple. There were 10 *lampstands of pure gold. There were 5 on the right and 5 on the left (1 Kings 7:49).

3.         In the *vision of Zechariah. Zechariah saw a *lampstand all of gold. It had a bowl on top of it. It had 7 lamps on it (Zechariah 4:2).

But none of these verses describes 7 separate *lampstands. This is what John saw. Each had a lamp that had a light. Jesus Christ was among the *lampstands. Jesus explained that the 7 *lampstands represented the 7 churches (verse 20).

Christ is in the middle of his people (see Matthew 28:20; John 14:18). He is ‘like a son of man’. This refers to Daniel 7:13. Here we read about a person from heaven. He comes with the clouds. He receives great power. People from every nation and language will *worship him. His rule will last for ever. His *kingdom will last for ever. This person looks like a human person.

The Ancient of Days is a name for God. It shows that he has always been a great king. God gave power and all authority to this Son of Man. Jesus used these words about himself. It is the title of the *Messiah. John is giving Christ the most important place. He is head over all people, countries and rulers.

The Son of Man wears a coat. It reaches down to his feet. This means that he is a very important person. He wears a *golden belt. It is round the upper part of his body.

Verse 14 Jesus’ hair is white like wool. Pure wool is white and like snow. ‘The Ancient of Days’ (God) is like this in Daniel 7:9. White hair gives the idea of wisdom. It gives honour to age. It speaks about Christ who is without beginning or end. He has always been. Snow and white wool give the idea of something that is pure. These words express that Christ is *eternal. Also, he is pure. He is without *sin. You look at a person with white hair. You see him as one who is calm and at peace.

We might compare this with the next description of Jesus. ‘His eyes were like flames of fire’. Again we look at the description of God in the *vision of Daniel. It is, ‘his eyes were like flames of torches’ (Daniel 10:6). Sometimes the eyes of Jesus showed anger (Mark 3:5). Sometimes they looked at someone with love (Mark 10:21). Sometimes they looked at his friends with pain (Luke 22:61).

Verse 15 The next description of Jesus refers to a metal. No one knows what kind of metal it really is. They used to have a special kind of metal. It was a mixture of silver and gold. This would be more precious than either metal. It would shine with a very bright light. The metal is hot and shines in the fire. Here again John would see a reference to the books of Daniel and Ezekiel. ‘The man’s arms and feet shone like polished *brass’ (Daniel 10:6). ‘The animal’s feet shone like polished *brass’ (Ezekiel 1:7). It is possible to see two things here. The *brass in Daniel represents strength. God is sure and strong. The animal’s feet in Ezekiel shone with a bright light. This represents speed. God’s feet move fast. They are quick to help his people. They are quick to punish *sin.

Next John says that his voice was like the sound of rushing water. John would be near the sea. Patmos was a small island. He would always hear the sound of the rushing waves. Again, in Ezekiel, the voice was the voice of God. God’s voice was loud like the sound of the sea (Ezekiel 43:2). God’s voice can be ‘a quiet small voice’ or a gentle wind (1 Kings 19:12). But God’s voice can also be like *thunder. It shows great power and greatness. We should fear this voice.

Verses 16-17 The 7 stars are ‘the *angels of the 7 churches’ (verse 20). These churches are in Jesus’ right hand. This is a sign of God’s help and protection. In the letters that follow, Jesus has some hard things to say to his churches. But he has not left them. He still holds them in his hand.

John, in his *vision, saw Jesus. He is Jesus to whom God had given life after death. John fell at Jesus’ feet. It seemed that John was dead. It was the custom then to fall down in front of an important person. This was to show respect and honour. Here, John fell down through the power of Christ. It was the physical effect of this great *vision. The *apostle Peter had the same experience. When he realised who Jesus was, he fell down on his knees. He was aware only that he was a *sinful man (Luke 5:1-11). We often have fears. Jesus still says to us, ‘I am here; do not be afraid.’

Jesus put his hand on John. He told him not to be afraid (verse 17). At any time, Christ has the whole church in his hands. At any time, he can look after any particular person. God’s hand is strong enough to hold the heavens. It is gentle enough to wipe away our tears.

The sharp sword had two edges. It came out of Jesus’ mouth. The sword is a tool in war for attack. It takes strong action against its enemies. The *Roman sword was short and in the shape of a tongue. There is this description of the sword of God in the *Old Testament. ‘He made my mouth like a sharp sword’ (Isaiah 49:2). The word of God is like a sword. It cuts in deep. It shows our *sins. We cannot hide from God. ‘The word of God is alive. It is active. It is sharper than any sword with two edges’ (Hebrews 4:12). It is a word (sword) of judgement. In his right hand, however, Jesus holds the 7 stars (churches). He holds them to protect them. See verse 20.

John now speaks about the face of Jesus. It shines like the sun. This same reference is in Matthew 17:2. The appearance of the *Lord is strong. It is like a shining light. It is bright and splendid. But to his enemies it is terrible.

The words ‘the first and the last’ are very much the same as ‘*Alpha and *Omega’. In verse 8, it is another term for Jesus Christ. It is a description of God. We find it in Isaiah 44:6 and 48:12. It is the promise that Jesus is there at the beginning and at the end. He is the same yesterday, today and for ever (Hebrews 7:3; 13:8). He is there the moment we are born. He is there when we die.

Verse 18 This verse emphasises the *resurrection. Christ won the *victory over death. Here is the promise that he is alive. He is alive now. He will always be alive. We have the same thoughts about the Father in Revelation 4:10 and 10:6. There is the same truth about God in Daniel 12:7. He is with his people now. He will always be with his people. This would have been a great comfort to the Christians in Asia.

*Hades is the place of souls who have left this earth. Jesus puts *Hades and death together. They are an enemy. Christians believe that Christ has beaten death. He has brought life into the open. He has achieved this through the *gospel (2 Timothy 1:10). Because he lives, we shall live also (John 14:19). Death has its gates (Psalm 9:13; 107:18; Isaiah 38:10). There are keys that will open these gates. Keys represent authority. Christ holds the keys of death and *Hades. He has power to send people to death and to *Hades. He has power to rescue them. He rules over the world of *spirits. He rules over death. The *Roman *emperor has no such authority. Neither does any other ruler. This truth gave great hope to the early Christians. It gives great hope to us too.

Verse 19 Jesus repeats the command to write (verse 11). John must include:

1.         what he has seen. This is the *vision of Christ.

2.         what is now. The next two chapters describe the events that are now happening. In these chapters, we see the situation of the 7 churches. The letters tell us about their different situations.

3.         what will take place later. This is in the *visions in chapters 4 to 22. The Christians had many troubles. They needed to have some idea about future events. This was important to them.

‘What is’ and ‘what will be’, apply to the whole book. There is a connection between past, present and future. We find this in the *visions.

Verse 20 ‘Mystery’ here means something that people could not understand. But God has now made the meaning known to them. The meaning is secret.

The 7 stars are the *angels of the 7 churches. The word *angel means ‘*messenger’. This can mean a human *messenger (Luke 7:24; 9:52). But it is more likely to be someone from heaven. He would be God’s *messenger. There are *angels who guard people or nations. They are responsible to protect a person or nation. *Israel had an *angel, Michael. He looked after the national interests (Daniel 10: 13, 20, 21). *Angels may mean the leaders or ministers of the churches. They are the *Lord’s *messengers to the churches. God would speak through them. A ‘*messenger’ may be someone whom the Christians appointed. He would represent them. They had someone like this in the *synagogue. He would be the one who led the prayers.

Each of the above explanations has its difficulty. The Christians in these churches are different from their neighbours. The Christians are God’s people. They are ‘in Christ’ (verse 9). They are God’s holy people. They are priests and kings to God with Christ. They are like lights in the world. Jesus, the true Light, shines through them. John refers to them as *angels of the churches. This is a possible explanation. Their lives on earth match what their lives will be in heaven.

The stars are in Christ’s right hand. In those days the 7 *planets were a sign for authority. The Romans believed that the *planets were gods. They had power over the lives of men and women. They represented the political power of the *Roman *emperors. They ruled the world. The 7 stars often appear on *Roman coins.

The rule over this world is not in the hands of the *Caesars of *Rome. It is Jesus who rules. He is the *Lord of the church. John says that the Christians are kings and priests to God (Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). They have this position by God’s *grace. The rule of the world does not belong to men. They would only damage the Christian church. The church belongs to Christ and to God and to his people. This is probably the best way to understand the stars in Christ’s hands.

The 7 *lampstands represent the 7 churches. The 7 churches are no more important than *lampstands. The churches are just the lamps that hold the light. The light is Christ. The churches must show his light to the world.

Jesus Words Of His Return

Revelation 3:14-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Message to the Church in Laodicea

14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation:

15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!

“14“ And to the angel of the church 10of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, lthe Beginning of the creation of God: 15m“ I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.”

— NKJV Study Bible, Full-Color, eBook: The Complete Resource for Studying God’s Word by Thomas Nelson

https://a.co/fomvd2I

Written to the church of Laodicea this is my writing from the Amen, the faithful and true witness. He who is the beginning of all that God has created. I know of what you have done; I know that you are neither hot nor cold. Though I wish that you would be either one or the other!

Revelation 3:20 New Living Translation (NLT)

20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. tIf anyone hears My voice and opens the door, i will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

— NKJV Study Bible, Full-Color, eBook: The Complete Resource for Studying God’s Word by Thomas Nelson

https://a.co/6EQ9SUB

Jesus promised he’d come back for us in the time of his return to take us with him to our place in heaven. Revelations 3:20 reminds us that when the time of his return comes he shall come expecting his people to be awaiting his return that he shall knock on the door and if they open it they were ready and waiting for him that he will go in and have a meal with them calling them his friend and they shall in return dine with him. For they were ready and accepting of his return.

Jesus Words Of His Return

Revelation 3:14-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Message to the Church in Laodicea

14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation:

15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!

“14“ And to the angel of the church 10of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, lthe Beginning of the creation of God: 15m“ I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.”

— NKJV Study Bible, Full-Color, eBook: The Complete Resource for Studying God’s Word by Thomas Nelson

https://a.co/fomvd2I

Written to the church of Laodicea this is my writing from the Amen, the faithful and true witness. He who is the beginning of all that God has created. I know of what you have done; I know that you are neither hot nor cold. Though I wish that you would be either one or the other!

Revelation 3:20 New Living Translation (NLT)

20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. tIf anyone hears My voice and opens the door, i will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

— NKJV Study Bible, Full-Color, eBook: The Complete Resource for Studying God’s Word by Thomas Nelson

https://a.co/6EQ9SUB

Jesus promised he’d come back for us in the time of his return to take us with him to our place in heaven. Revelations 3:20 reminds us that when the time of his return comes he shall come expecting his people to be awaiting his return that he shall knock on the door and if they open it they were ready and waiting for him that he will go in and have a meal with them calling them his friend and they shall in return dine with him. For they were ready and accepting of his return.