Friday, December 8, 2017

THE 3:16 VERSES OF THE BIBLE, PART 22: "A REFUGE IN ARMAGEDDON"

AERIAL VIEW OF SITE OF FUTURE
BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON (SEE CREDIT BELOW)
The Lord roars from Zion and utters His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth tremble. But the Lord is a refuge for His people and a stronghold to the sons of Israel...(Joel 3:16)
The old country gospel goes like this “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passin’ through, my treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue…” (This World is Not My Home,   ). The words to this classic are absolutely true and each day brings The Day closer, when this promise will be sight.

It is the hope of every Christian, guaranteed in Scripture, to be with the Creator Jesus Christ for all eternity. Even those who do not wish to commit to Christ as Lord, but call themselves Christians claim the hope of Heaven. Of all the gems we have studied in the Amazing 3:16 Verses in the Old Testament (so far), Joel is absolutely thrilling in the prophetic statement from the soon-coming King of Heaven – Jesus!

When the Old Testament prophets are time-lined with the Taking Up (what some called the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17); the man of sin (AntiChrist) of 2 Thessalonians 2 and then the events of the Book of Revelation are added in, we see a swift end to the current scheme of things.  The only thing holding back the End of the Church Age. Syncing with the Rapture, is the spread of the Gospel to ALL the Ends of the Earth. God loves this world and cares for lost and hurting people so much that His Grace extends to the remaining 25% of the known world, that has not heard the Good News of Salvation through Jesus.

READ JOEL CHAPTER 3 HERE
In rapid succession, here are some scary warnings of coming actions by Almighty God against rebels, as He Himself states in Joel Chapter 3:
“I will restore….Jerusalem. (Verse 1)
“I will bring together the armies of the world ….at Armageddon! (Verse 2a)
“I will judge them for hurting My people….” (Verse 2b)
“I will strike very suddenly and pay you back (for attacking my people)….” (Verse 4b)
“I will pay you back for everything you have done…”(Verse 7a) and then the Lord goes on to tell of the fate of the children of perdition.

The entire world acts like there are no consequences to their pervasive actions against unborn children, the people of God and the people of the Bible. They act in willful ignorance, unaware their actions will bring a reaction from Above which none of them will expect or can handle when the Fury of Heaven is unleashed on them.

This chapter prophesies in clear detail, the coming Battle of Armageddon (or the valley of Jehoshaphat).  Today, in the nuclear weapon-equipped 21st century, we have world-wide armies with some scary military power. While China may have the largest army of human beings in the world (47.5 million active and reserve),  the United States still has the most powerful Army, Navy and Air Force in the world. Nobody can compare to the Navy Seals or the United States Marine Corps. Still, by time of the Armageddon showdown, the world will be under the rule of the anti-Christ.

So the Lord starts almost mocking the pagan armies of the world (from Joel 3). Then He invites them to the Final Battle of all History - Armageddon. Read the Bible. It is not going to be pretty. But at the end of it, better days are coming. While all these bad things are in store for those who hate God and refuse Christ, there are two promises for those who trust Christ and are called by His Name (born-again Christians).

PROMISE #1 - It is right there in Joel 3:16! In essence, ALL Heaven is going to break loose in an extremely terrible way, but for the people of God: 
- When the Judgment of the Lord falls on an evil and rebellious world, the Lord will be a "refuge" - a hiding place...and safe place, where no one can grasp the Christian out of the Mighty all-powerful Hands of the Lord. There is no place more secure than under the Protection of the Lord. Scripture tells us in Psalm 91 that "he who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide (live, camp forever, rest) in the Shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my REFUGE and my Fortress, in Him shall i trust" (Psalm 91:1-2)
- The mention of the word "Stronghold" to the people of Israel could be a reference to the place to which the newly saved Jews, at the Second Coming, could "run to" and hide until the Battle is over. There is consensus that this "stronghold" is Petra - the safe city surrounded by natural walls of mountainous stone. Petra is currently in Jordan, but when the Lord returns, that will cease as He will control all of the Land. The original language for "stronghold" has a meaning of a safe place, a strong tower or a high place.

PROMISE #2 - God Himself gave this promise in the rest of Joel 3, after He has both come greet-self serving great beans and defeated the forces of the Common Good. Immediately after the Battle of Armageddon, with the Lord Jesus Christ living in Person in Jerusalem, here is what Almighty God the Father promises:
18 And in that day
The mountains will drip with sweet wine,
And the hills will flow with milk,
And all the brooks of Judah will flow with water;
And a spring will go out from the house of the Lord
To water the valley of Shittim.
19 Egypt will become a waste, 
And Edom will become a desolate wilderness,
Because of the violence done to the sons of Judah,
In whose land they have shed innocent blood.
20 But Judah will be inhabited forever
And Jerusalem for all generations.
21 And I will avenge their blood which I have not avenged, 
For the Lord dwells in Zion. (Joel 3:18-21)
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