Back when I attended the mainstream church, we used to sing a popular praise song from the Book of Joel:
“They rush on the city
They run on the walls
Great is the Army that carries out His Word
The Lord utters His Voice before His army!
Blow the Trumpet in Zion, Zion
Sound the Alarm on God’s Holy Mountain!”
A Familiar Message
Perhaps you remember it? It was a great praise song that got your feet a-tappin’ and your hands a-clappin’. The only issue is, in Light of the Scripture, it was taken seriously out of context.
Fast forward to a recent “prophetic word” from Bob Jones on the Elijah List. In “God’s Mercy-Naries”, Bob uses a quaint little turn of phrase to prophesy of an Army of God who is untouched by “the spirit of religion” (a “spirit” not found anywhere in the bible) and shows the mercy of God to everyone. Of course, God will prosper them, they will use all the gifts of the Spirit, they will replace the “old guard” and their entire mission is … mercy, mercy, MERCY!
Is this starting to sound familiar?
The Error of Joel’s Army
Bob goes on to say that these are the Days that Joel spoke about and throws a few snippets from Joel 2 into the mix to show everyone that he has a few verses that (he and others think) backs up what he is saying. These same verses from Joel 2 are used a LOT by those who prophesy over the youth (see part 7 of my series: “My 7 Years Working for the Elijah List 8 – The Next Generation”) and take part in the Joel’s Army conferences.
There’s only one problem with using these verses to prophesy of an army of “Mercy-naries” …. Joel’s army was actually God’s instrument of Judgement on the nation of Israel (His chosen people) for abandoning His Law.
Let’s read Joel 2 to see if mercy enters the picture even ONCE.
Joel 2:1-6 “Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the LORD is coming, For it is at hand: A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, Like the morning [clouds] spread over the mountains. A people [come], great and strong, The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any [such] after them, Even for many successive generations. A fire devours before them, And behind them a flame burns; The land [is] like the Garden of Eden before them, And behind them a desolate wilderness; Surely nothing shall escape them. Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; And like swift steeds, so they run. With a noise like chariots Over mountaintops they leap, Like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, Like a strong people set in battle array. Before them the people writhe in pain; All faces are drained of color.“
Wow! Does that look like mercy to anyone? A desolate wilderness …. behind them a flame burns ….nothing shall escape them …. people writhe in pain …. hmmm, something is amiss here.
Joel 2:7-11 “They run like mighty men, They climb the wall like men of war; Every one marches in formation, And they do not break ranks. They do not push one another; Every one marches in his own column. Though they lunge between the weapons, They are not cut down. They run to and fro in the city, They run on the wall; They climb into the houses, They enter at the windows like a thief. The earth quakes before them, The heavens tremble; The sun and moon grow dark, And the stars diminish their brightness. The LORD gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; For strong [is the One] who executes His word. For the day of the LORD [is] great and very terrible; Who can endure it?“
God’s judgement on His chosen people is fierce and, up to this point, merciless to those whom He called OUT of the nations to be separate unto Him. But, like the church, Israel chose to forsake the Law of God and be like the nations surrounding them.
Enemies of God
The Word says in James 4:4 “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
If you’re an enemy of God, it’s not a pretty picture.
But wait! Mercy DOES enter the picture!!!
Joel 2:12-14 “‘Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He [is] gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. Who knows [if] He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him–A grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God?”
Our God is abundantly merciful to the repentant heart! But His mercy comes to those who turn to Him with all their heart!
Joel 2:15-18 Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, That the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where [is] their God?’ ” Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, And pity His people.
Rescued from Joel’s Army!
We will see in the following verses that God wanted to actually RESCUE His repentant people from the hands of this army (Joel’s Army)!
Joel 2:19-22 “The LORD will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, And you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations. But I will remove far from you the northern [army], And will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, With his face toward the eastern sea And his back toward the western sea; His stench will come up, And his foul odor will rise, Because he has done monstrous things. Fear not, O land; Be glad and rejoice, For the LORD has done marvelous things! Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; For the open pastures are springing up, And the tree bears its fruit; The fig tree and the vine yield their strength.”
Verses 23 – 32 tell of God’s plan to do GREAT things for the nation of Israel once they have repented. It’s some GOOD STUFF, you should check it out!
Joel’s Army Had No Mercy
Joel 2, read in the proper context, shows that Joel’s Army wasn’t too interested in mercy. In fact, they were sent out BY GOD to destroy God’s people!
The following verse should be ringing true to all of us:
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 “The coming of the [lawless one] is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Unfortunately, this “strong delusion” is being perpetuated by those who fancy themselves to be prophets. A small amount of research into the “prophecies” and prophets listed on the Elijah List will reveal that most of these “prophets” will gladly sacrifice the Integrity and Truth of God’s Holy Word on the altars of “positive, encouraging prophecy” and the fear of man.
And people will swallow it because they don’t want to repent or find out what the Word says for themselves.
The Definition of Mercy
Bob ends his word with the definition of “Mercy”.
“Note: Mercy is not getting the judgment that we deserve.”
This commonly held interpretation sounds awesome on the surface …. and, believe me, we’re all in need of mercy (I know I am), but I wonder if Bob, has read:
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” – Revelation 22:12-13
“If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?“ – Proverbs 24:12
“I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.“ – Jeremiah 17:10
“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.“ – Matthew 16:27
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.“ – 2 Corinthians 5:10
Something Doesn’t Add Up
As we approach the End of Days, I think we need to take another look at the Mercy of God (chesed in the Hebrew: see my post “Love Redefined: Hurts So Good!” for more info). I don’t think our definition of “mercy” matches up with His.
As we can see, Joel’s Army was an instrument of God’s Judgement on a faithless and disobedient people. Mercy only entered the picture when God’s people turned back to Him and repented.
Hmmmm …. maybe “Joel’s Army” is aptly named after all?
For the Love of the Search,