W W W W  World Wide Web Witness Inc.  Home Page   Contents Page for Volume  What is New




How much is seen held in the palm of the prophetic hand,
presented patiently from the Lord, to the penitent, to the impatient.
It moves like the eye on a landscape, near and far; but this is a timescope.

Certainly, Joel has much conflict. On the other hand, it is filled with triumph. It is a microcosm of the world. In it, there is tragedy and horror; but it is also a macrocosm of the Almighty, for shown here as on a large TV screen for overflow crowds at tennis or other sport, is a series of supernatural provisions that bring mastery to meekness and munificence to faith.

In Teacher of Righteousness, found in Barbs, Arrows and Balms 23, we see the thrall of plague as stimulus to the call to repentance, leading on to deliverance in mercy. We found however that there was a translation matter, covered by Keil in his learned treatment of this book (as of so much else), and that the rendering for 2:23 to be preferred was this*1:

"And ye sons of Zion, exult and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He gives you the teacher for righteousness, and causes to come down to you a rain-fall, early rain and latter rain, first of all."

We found in the above chapter, that thus we moved from judgment to call to repentance, from this to deliverance and the Messiah, followed in 2:28ff., with the much quoted, indeed apostolically preached passage concerning the outpouring of the Spirit, cited at Pentecost. THIS, said Peter at that time, is THAT prophesied by Joel.

This proceeds in 2:32 to the call to the GOSPEL of salvation.

In this amazing sweep of the scope of salvation, we proceed with little pause in Ch. 3 to the rebuke to the nations which have preyed on Israel, itself admittedly under divine discipline. Such presumption is often rebuked by God (cf. Jeremiah 50:20ff. and Red Alert ... Ch. 5), and is to reach its maximum shortly (Ezekiel 38-39*2), when the last efforts become organised and applied, to overturn Israel, that fish-bone in the throat of secularist and religious militancy alike, that attestation that God MEANS what He says! How many would like to rub it out, and how Hitler sought just this. NOW the pressure increases, for to have Israel manifestly not only back in its land, as all the world has been told for millenia is to occur, but so in the very midst of the exact specifications for the situation predicted (cf. cf. SMR pp. 760, 790, 830, 880ff.), this is intolerable to unbelief. It jostles in the heart, itches in the lungs and aches in the back that would push out God.

Soon,  the explosion of invasion will occur, as predicted, and soon the massive return of Israel, in large numbers, to the Lord.

Meanwhile, just as the Middle East, that middle yeast, shapes and blows up in all its thundery pretensions, works on its weaponries, investing itself with vyings and cryings, howlings and yowlings, much of Islam on its hind legs, snarling at the Jew, its international conferences smacking of destruction for Israel, so does the predicted military confrontation of Joel loom as the outcome of this and many such things. This is found in Joel 3:10-17.

"Proclaim this among the nations:
" 'Prepare for war!
Wake up the mighty men,
Let all the men of war draw near,
Let them come up.
Beat your ploughshares into swords
And your pruning hooks into spears;
Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’

"Assemble and come, all you nations,
And gather together all around.
Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O Lord.
Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.
Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.

"Come, go down;
For the winepress is full,
The vats overflow—
For their wickedness is great.

"Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
The sun and moon will grow dark,
And the stars will diminish their brightness.
The Lord also will roar from Zion,
And utter His voice from Jerusalem;
The heavens and earth will shake;
But the Lord will be a shelter for His people,
And the strength of the children of Israel.

“So you shall know that I am the Lord your God,
Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain.
Then Jerusalem shall be holy,
And no aliens shall ever pass through her again.”

So does the thrust to ultimate turmoil and judgment, already foreshadowed in Joel 2*1, proceed.

What is the clear purport then, the development  in sequence to be found in  Joel ?

It is this. From the place in the series of history, say around 800 B.C., Joel gives overview from the Lord. First, Israel, rebuked with locusts, seen in the form of an invading army, but chided by the prophets,  seeks repentance early, and then amidst further deliverances, later comes the Messiah, He who will Himself, better than any rain, come to bring refreshing to His people (as in Isaiah 11:10 - "His resting place will be glorious", and again in Psalm 73:6, rendered "He will come down like rain  upon the grass before mowing").

"Afterwards," rimming like brooks in Spring from the snowy heights (as in Jeremiah 2:13, 18:14), He sends His Spirit (as in Isaiah 32:17) to His people (Joel 2:28), in terms of the Messiah's actions (as in Isaiah 53, Zechariah 2, 6, 12, 13), and unleashes the simplicity of the Gospel, that whosoever calls on the name of this, the LORD, will be saved: but the venue of life will be overcast. It is into darkness that the light comes, and in judgments this obscuration grows, for the light is not received by this world as a body. In fact (Joel 3:2), a hostile and militant body of nations clashes in monstrous array as the judgment of the Lord proceeds to be unleashed upon them.

Thus just before Joel 2:32, concerning salvation, comes 2:30-31, brimming with disasters:

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:
Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord."
As we have seen in SMR (pp. 790-794) and elsewhere, the column of vapour is precisely what in a short mini-word coverage is one of the most distinguishing features of our times, part of the identikit, and these things are taken in their fuller scope in SMR Ch. 8.

As that day comes, so does this vexatious multitude of nations, surging to the judgments ordained.

These are some of the features of the focus on the period proceeding AFTER the Messiah, and AFTER Pentecost ("this is that" - Acts 2:16), where the first vast New Testament thrust of calling on the name of the Lord then revealed and exposed as Redeemer, occurred, thousands beginning the organised structure of the great Christian Church at once. In this period, stretching from that first vast unleashing of the outpouring of the Spirit of God in the New Testament covenant (Joel 2:28), this marvel following the Messiah's own work, to the end of the Age, tribulation and evils come to riot proportions as that end draws near. Indeed, amidst the atmospheric and the cosmic, comes the terrestrial trial. It is tragedy before triumph as the milling multitudes assemble themselves: "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!" (Joel 3:14).

It is this that Billy Graham unwittingly travestied in his 'decision' emphasis. It is God's decision (John 15) that man comes to Him, though it is true that when God works salvation (John 6:29,37,44,15:16, 3:5,8, 8:26-27,47, Romans 9:16-18, John 1:12), man responds and can indeed call and believe and come and resolve. That call, effectual, from on high is however not the work of a moody tyrant, but of an all-loving God who IS love (I John 4:7ff.), and who WOULD HAVE ALL men to be saved (I Timothy 2), and indeed presents such a desire with passion as well as compassion (Colossians 1:19-22). It is He who knows His own, taking without violence what belongs (cf. Predestination and Freewill Section III). .

Here however in Joel 3 the scene is not the tender drawing and gracious interposition of God in salvation wrought; it is a scene of judgment and desolation, a presentation of sanguinary battle fought. Not therapy but threnody is the baleful tone. Not beauty but belligerence is the ruling concept. Assault is the objective, for its repulse is the outcome: "Out of Zion shall the Lord roar!" (Joel 3:16). THIS 3:16 is NOT the gospel goodness but the judgment that its rejection realises; and here in this confrontation of Joel 3, it is realised to the full! "The heavens and the earth will be shaken" BUT as to the people who are the Lord's THESE find that "the LORD will be the hope of His people".

In fact, this passage in Joel is about WAR. It is prepared for with instruments of war, of resistance (3:9); and the outcome is to be a lesson, not in words, but deeds. It is a work of severity for those obdurate, infested with faithlessness, keen to invade Israel (Joel 16, cf. Zechariah 12, 14), who despise instruction and rely only on force, contemptuous of the goodness of the Lord, willing to trust their own arms in ANY battle, and this one, it involves the promises and premises of the Lord, designated from of old. The intensity resembles that of Revelation 19:19, and the overthrow of hostile intent against the Lord, after the world has been imbued for so long a time with the Gospel, is decisive with results categorical and of acclaim. As nations seek to rule this world according to their own specifications, the end comes with the mocking call from the Lord to make strong their arm, for the battle, which thenreaches a climacteric moment of bloody consequence.

It is not some sort of spiritual war, for the evocation is to MAKE WEAPONS (Joel 3:9-10) and have soldiers in multitudes for the contest. Admittedly, as on other occasion (Isaiah 22:9-14), this has irony embedded. They are busy in their martial pursuits, or their defence (Isaiah) or offensive efforts (Joel) without calling on the Lord, seeking His face, invoking His name; instead they are acting in self-assertion, as if God were some push-button god whom you reach by your own efforts, not through His total and unmitigated grace.

Nevertheless it is utterly clear. War is involved, weapons are in view, sardonic wit tells them, Yes get all your gear, your ordinance, bustle along. Prepare to resist. It is a decisive hour indeed!

As in Joel 2:30, the universe begins to convulse and blood is abounding. "Heaven and earth will shake", starlight will diminish, and harvest, so far from being one of souls, is one of gushing winepresses, symbolic for blood, pouring out now that it is ready. As in the trailer of Joel 2 in which locusts symbolised the armies to come, and the Lord intervened in deliverance from their oppression and devastation, so here, the army is no longer symbolic, the peace is ruptured, not brought in, the blood flows, not the tears, and the Lord intervenes to deliver His people. It is then that national results appear, Israel having been snatched from the hand of her multiple and multiplied adversaries in preparation for a peace that is donated divinely, this nation being ruptured, that released (Joel 3:18ff.).

This is precisely the scene as earlier shown (e.g. Red Alert ... Ch. 5) in Isaiah 66, Micah 7:15ff., Deuteronomy 32, and regarded in Romans 11, Isaiah 59:20 which Paul cites. Joel joins his choral item to theirs, and it is one choir, one Lord, one message and one history. As with all the rest, it comes, and Revelation gives many further details of the confrontations which issue in final ruin for the Prince of this world, and the powers that be. It is not man who does this; it is God. It is not creation which so judges, it is the Creator. It is not Creator as such alone, moreover, who does it, it is the Rejected Redeemer who brings the ruin which rejection makes necessary, to those to whom it applies. It is these who make war on the Lord (Revelation 19:19).  It is not a martial a tilt subdued in grace, but a domineering and lustful thrust overthrown despite its panache, and presented with both ruin and judgment.

Exactly as in Deuteronomy 32, God, seeing the weakness of His discounted former people, rescues them; as in Micah, where the SCALE of the proceeding to this end is said to resemble that of the deliverance of the Jews from Exodus. Moreover, in the end, it surpasses the assault on Israel, merely an emblem of man's martial intentions against divine dispositions, and is an assault on God Himself (Revelation 19:19) for whom any emblem, implicit or explicit  will do for the fury of the wrath of Satan that adversary (Revelation 12:12,17): now it is the Bible, the word of God, now the Church, the body of the Lord, now Israel, that token of His faithfulness (Ezekiel 36:22). Whatever is in the hand, is in the heart.

The alienation is so total, as man seeks to take and make of this world his darling, ex-God, sans Maker, excepting the Saviour, that salvation is precisely what lacks, and incineration and decimation is precisely what stacks. The time is past; the judgment has come.

The salvation is proclaimed amid darkening environment (Joel 2:30-31) "before the great and terrible day of the LORD come". Great it is, but also terrible. IF, said Christ, they do these things in the green tree, what will they do with the dry! (Luke 23:28-31). " ...Do not weep for me," He cried as the cross approached, "but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts which neve nursed. Then shall they begging to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For  if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry ?"

It was to come: here it comes.

It is exactly as in Isaiah 2, which Christ here appears to cite:

"Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

"For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.  The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day, and the idols He shall utterly abolish.

"They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.  In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats, to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he arises to shake terribly the earth.

"Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils:
for of what account is he ? "

Thus does the wrath reach the riot of this ambitious earth, unsated with the gospel, dissatisfied with deity, unplacated with the placarding of the Cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14), and emphatically NOT about to be endued with its graces or found in its places.

Its places are other; and its penalty is proportionate to the remission's cost for Christ.

Yet there is deliverance (as in Zechariah 12:10, and 14), both of soul and space for a place for the people of the Lord, and whether it be the long announced conversion to be wrought in Israel as in Zechariah and Romans 11, or the overthrow of contesting forces wanting to ram their view of this world's spaces into the divine face, as formerly they rammed thorns into the divine brow, it is done. An end comes.

For those, by contrast to the impelling multitude, those whose hearts are opened, it is a most beautiful and endless end.

In Joel 3:21 we come to that beautiful verse, exactly parallel with the similar passage of gigantesque grace, in Micah 7 to which we shall come shortly:

"For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed, whom I had not acquitted;
For the LORD dwells in Zion."
That bloodshed which was most aweful was of course that of Christ, so that we see in another parallel passage, in the general scope of the last things, in Zechariah 12:10, that they repent, one by one, of their dismissal sin against Christ, looking with remorse on Him whom they had pierced. It is by His blood that the fountain is opened in Jerusalem (Zechariah 13:1), for it is a fountain for sin and uncleanness, not for bodily washing. Shame shall now come to the fraudulent spiritual 'authorities' whose every turn was away from that cleansing (Zechariah 13:4). It is later that there comes the utter finale of Revelation 19:19, though enough of these preliminaries are excellent ushers*3 to it, as found in Zechariah 14:5, when the Lord Himself returns with His saints, taken in their time (I Thessalonians 4, Matthew 24:36-51).

Meanwhile, you see the same effectuality of the wounds in terms of the woes, in Zechariah 3:9 where the sins are inscribed on the stone, and "who is a rock except our God" (not some other)! II Samuel 22:32.

But let us compare that word at the end of Joel with that at the end of Micah, where the Lord has been shown delivering Israel as the end surges near, in Micah 7:15ff., where the nations are to be ashamed at all their overthrown strength as they meet an Exodus-style rebuff and power to meet their lusts, with divine thrust (Micah 7:16-17). The Exodus is the comparison unit. There in Egypt, in that famous evacuation of the erstwhile slaves from their oppression,  it was merciless assault of many on Israel, with divine action with prodigious power for their release; and as it was then, so we learn, will it be now. Nations will crawl from their holes like snakes, a not very converted sort of performance, and they shall fear, a not very sanctified but rather a this-worldly sort of response!

SO does God deliver and shepherd His people (Micah 7:14), and so does He act for the newly returned nation of Israel (Isaiah 66:9,14) for precisely here is physical power to be deployed by God for the deliverance of His people from the same affront(Isaiah 66:16). "For , behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger and fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire."

The purpose of this coming ? It is to render His anger and fury, not His peace and His salvation, for in this category, "God did not sent His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:17). This however is now the judgment forecast no less (Matthew 24:21-22, Revelation 12:12, Matthew 3:7). In this judicial vein and setting, He comes "with His chariots like a whirlwind". Thus He judges all flesh; while of course, in terms of the Gospel, "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

That was the antidote; this is the outcome of the unremedied disease. The Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16), and each has its place. If HIS righteousness, who died and rose, is not received, then by sin man is deceived and judgment will surely come. Christ did not die in vain. Judgment He bore in love, that judgment we might not bear in disaster.

We cannot turn tragedy for this world, into triumph; giving grace into receiving judgment; offering kindness into providing devastation and humiliation, and overthrow; providing chariots of force into sending streams of refreshings waters; judging and consuming the powers that be, into giving strength in their midst, while they misrule! The Bible means precisely what it says, and it says it often; and in view of the obscurantist misuse of the word of God, none too often! Similarly, it is nothing to do with salvation, 'being slain in the Spirit' when, as in Isaiah 66:16, there is reference to this overthrow and judgment which will so totally transform the arrogant aggressive grasping of this world's powers into humiliation and judgment that devastation results as it is written in Habakkuk 3:12-13:

Meanwhile, let us return to Micah and Joel as they bring out the Gospel following this vast and prodigious day of the Lord, for which we have been waiting since the announcement cited from Joel of its coming, at Pentecost, that day to which reference was made even there, as the terminal point to come. Surely we await the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ as so often indicated in the Bible and relayed on this site (Acts 1:7ff., Matthew 24:36ff., I Thessalonians 4). This however is the scenario of judgment on this earth, and this is moving into that Armageddon to come, correlative to those judgments envisaged in Matthew 25, both on nominalists, and ceremonialists, those who trust in form and not in the power and function of the factual God, such as the 'bridesmaids' asleep in spiritual sloth, being distanced from the scene in drowsiness of spirit, in the initial parable of that chapter.

Joel, after these deadly events, has the PARDONING from bloodguiltiness (cf. Zechariah 13:1 after 12:10ff.) of those not before pardoned, as they come to believe; and so does Micah have a passage concerning this very thing so beautiful, so embracive, so comprehensive that it has been made the subject of an entire presentation in Sinners Only, Appendix 1 of Barbs, Arrows and Balms. It would be well to turn to this, if one has not done so before, for depth.

Briefly, however, Micah in parallel with Joel's ending, ends with words of vast import and impact:

"Who is a God like You,
Pardoning iniquity
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?

"He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.

"You will give truth to Jacob
And mercy to Abraham,
Which You have sworn to our fathers
From days of old."

Here we see  the personal purity of God, His stability in longsuffering, His constancy in kindness, His willingness to entreat and to find (as in Ezekiel 34:16, Matthew 18:11). Thus as shown in Ezekiel 34, it was God Himself (as in Psalm 73, Zechariah 12, Psalm 45, Isaiah 48:16, Micah 5:1-3, Hosea 13;14) who would come AS the good shepherd, the Redeemer, the ONLY Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11, 53:5-12): Himseslf in this beauty of holiness, the summit of sacrifice, is also the plateau of truth. God does not change. Man may obliterate the multiplied divine opportunities and sell his soul; and indeed the flesh cannot endure for ever in its throes (Genesis 6, II Thess. 2:10, I Timothy 4:1-3); but God is the same.

Here then in Micah 7 we see the only positive way, the sole escape hatch, and it is into a profundity as well as stark light. It is a provision for both the power and the pardon needed to overthrow sin, together with the constancy of the compassion needed to fructify the personal life of the redeemed, the exuberance of the deliverance of the soul. SINS will be cast away. INIQUITIES will be subdued. If they are not, then the nations will endure just that same result. The kingdom of heaven is clean. What is not cast away is cast out. It is free, but it is functional. It is gracious, but it is good; and how else would it be good if it were to sinners such as men, gracious; or how else would it be gracious if it were not good ?

It is very like Romans 7-8!

Now however in Micah 7, our current quarry, there is yet more on this faithfulness of the steadfast God, whose word is truth, whose ways are reliability itself, its centre, summit and source.

"You will give truth to Jacob
And mercy to Abraham,
Which You have sworn to our fathers
From days of old."

As in Psalm 105-106, the covenant is to a thousand generations*5, and the Lord does not turn away. Certainly the salvation has been consummated in the New Covenant, but equally certainly the "mercy to Abraham" which was sworn included in the most repetitive and manifest way, the LAND (cf. Galloping EventsCh. 4); and it is THIS which was seen defended while all earthly power contesting was reduced to ruin, both as  in Joel 3 and in Micah 7, as indeed, precisely in parallel in Deuteronomy 32.

This in turn is parallel with the divine insistence on fulfilling ALL His promises: not only in Ezekiel 36-37, but as exhibited in the result for Israel traced in each of the above noted contexts. That Israel simultaneously with her worst afflictions near the end, is also to turn as in Zechariah 12, is true. There is NO glory for ANY flesh (Isaiah 2); but there IS glory for God in His constancy, and in the utter integrity of His word. It does not vary. It is fulfilled to the very jot and tittle. Already, the return of Israel to its land after so long a time (nearly 2 millenia), the recapture of Jerusalem (necessary in view of Luke 21:24), its successful defence, the blossoming of the desert like the rose, the many forests in Israel (cf. SMR pp. 790ff.), the heavy burdens on those who seek to 'handle' Jerusalem (Zech. 12), the overthrow of the multinational efforts to seize the land, from the UN in 1947 on, through Syria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq and co., and their failures to achieve their stated destructive purpose, the continued unbelief in their own Messiah of the nation (cf. SMR Ch. 9): all these things have come to pass.

It is all in tune with the word of God. As to His word, it is wonderful, full of marvels. Its beauty mellows with age: not because it changes, but because it is so fulfilled, in such detail, in such prodigious ways amidst the most amazing sources of twisting and confusing enough if it were possible, to deceive the very elect, that one sees its inherent delightsomeness with deeper eyes.



*1 An excerpt from Teacher of Righteousness in Barbs, Arrows and Balms, is provided for the ready use of the reader. This proceeds from the judgments with which Joel is first concerned, moving to the Teacher of Righteousness.

To see the full coverage, use this hyperlink.

On the other hand, the final judgments are presaged, prescribed, indicated for their time with this as a trailer episode. The scope goes from the temporary to the final, from storm-clouds of devouring locusts, to energetic soldiery at the end, and indeed, to the actions of the Lord proceeding at that time, leading at length to that convulsion of the whole universe predicted in Isaiah 24, and its eventual removal dramatically, as seen in Isaiah 51:6 II Peter 3:9ff.. (See Joel 2:10-11, 3:2,11-17, cf. Habakkuk 3:3-16 and p. 164 supra.)

THIS is that day of the Lord. As Keil puts it in his Old Testament Commentary,

  • "Heaven and earth tremble at the army of locusts because Jehovah comes with them to judge the world (cf. Isa.xiii.13; Nahum i.5,6; Jer.x.10). The sun and moon become black, i.e. dark, and the stars withdraw their brightness ... i.e. they let their light shine no more. That these words affirm something infinitely greater than the darkening of the lights of heaven by storm-clouds is evident partly from the predictions of the judgment of the wrath of the Lord that is coming upon the whole earth, and upon the imperial power (Isa.xiii.10; Ezek.xxxii.7), at which the whole fabric of the universe trembles and nature clothes itself in mourning, and partly from the adoption of this particular feature by Christ in His description of the last judgment (Mat.xxiv.29; Mark xiii.24-25)."
  • THE day of the Lord is often indicated, but only once will it reach as it were, terminal velocity.


    Meanwhile, there is a need. It is of faithfulness, loyalty, stability, earnestness, sincerity.

    In Joel 2:23 we read of the former and the latter rain being sent, and the Teacher of Righteousness who beyond all the words of Joel, will Himself produce that final warning, ultimate rescue system, total salvation which is so needed. As Keil translates this verse:

  • "And ye sons of Zion, exult and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He gives you the teacher for righteousness, and causes to come down to you a rain-fall, early rain and latter rain, first of all."
  • The temporary judgment is removed, the final court of appeal is preceded by the arrival of the Judge Himself, strangely however robed in teaching toga, to deliver His people before the end so strongly indicated in the preceding vastness of THE DAY OF THE LORD, in its finality.

    There is of course a play on words. The term for the rain and for teacher are such that the translation can look at these as options. However, the rain for righteousness would be a strange procedure when the people had forfeited all but the ground for judgment. A rain in mercy, surely, would seem apt and even appropriate; but a rain in righteousness to come when the DESERTS were deserts, this will not do.

    Hence the TEACHER FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, the call, the need, the base for reform and redemption, this is the way. As Keil says, most of the rabbis and early commentators have followed the Chaldee and Vulgate, and taken 'moreh' (the word in view) in the sense of "teacher". He notes that later people often did not, but proceeds "although moreh is unquestionably used in the last clause of this verse in the sense of early rain; in every other instance this is called yoreh (Deut.xi.14; Jer.v.24)." In fact, we may add, in this very verse, 'moreh', THE TEACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS APPEARS with the definite article, while the use for rain, later in this same verse, lacks it. As we shall see, this omission is what is found for the rain usage.

    Thus, right here, both the early rain and the latter rain, one of them the SAME word, appear according to idiom, WITHOUT the article, as normal. The earlier use, appears by CONTRAST, with it. That is precisely the sort of warning for a pun, accompanied by the usage of no article for this rain...

    Keil, then, notes that it thus seems most reasonable to take it that the word moreh in the last clause was selected there, precisely to echo the previous occurrence in this sentence of moreh meaning teacher. In other words, it would be a strange rarity to introduce this term without ground for the rain; but not at all strange if its use were conditioned on an intentional play on words, just as the article similarly would be strange. TEACHER first, and THEN RAIN. This is exactly what many teachers do both to alert their (sleepy?) students and to help them remember. To the student mind, this can act rather like a pneumatic drill, and quite often this may be what is needed!

    In particular, Keil stresses that the definite article "the" is placed before the term translated as "teacher" whereas this is never found for the 'rain' meaning, and as he indicates, "no reason can be discovered why moreh should be defined by the article here if it signified early rain." It is however "decisively confirmed" by the phrase 'for righteousness' which follow the term rendered 'teacher '. This, he states, is "quite inapplicable to early rain," since it cannot mean either 'in just measure' or 'at the proper time', or 'in becoming manner' as 'righteousness', in the term here chosen, is never scripturally used in the physical sense. To 'the teacher' however it is eminently applicable.

    But why would a pun be used at such a point ? Surely it would be to link the teacher and the rain, just as is done in Psalm 72, where of the Messiah, the son of David to come, it is said:

    "He will bring justice to the poor of the people:
    He will save the children of the needy,
    And will break in pieces the oppressor.

    They shall fear you,
    As long as the sun and moon endure,
    Throughout all generations.
    He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing,
    Like showers that water the earth.

    In His days the righteous shall flourish,
    And abundance of peace,
    Until the moon is no more."


    See The Biblical Workman Chs.  1 , 8, SMR Appendix A;   pp. 510ff., 814-815; TBW 8, pp. 140ff. in particular; It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls Ch.   10; Galloping Events Chs.
    1, 2 , 3;  above, Ch.   3


    Mini-Excursion on Mini-Morals of Minimised Man

    As to the events which are to usher in the end of the Age, as noted several times recently, Revelation 6 has some fascinating and fearsome elements to the point. This has been more extensively considered in News 84, which presents its exegesis and some content.

    Now, however, in the light of this, and with fresh developments, it is profitable to apply it further.

    WIth man ever-increasingly and on an ever expanding scale exhibiting with choice phrases of pseudo-piety, religious dedication and the like, together with the mouthings of moral-free society, new phases of such phrases arise. The barren emptiness of the dead thoughts that rescue defeat from victory, drabness of life from its fulness, plague from its overthrow, war from peace, worry from contentment, stress from order and poverty from abundance have become a new moral announcement, The Sermon in the Pit. Its promoters now are legion.

    While the Islamic sword is now the paramount and obvious case of this pernicious propaganda, one derelict as we have seen in Chapter 4, of reason, slamming the Bible as it slams the citizens of the world in many of its phases (though it is true that many are not involved at this point in this thrust of lust, who are yet Moslems, as explained in an earlier chapter), it has not lacked company. Indeed, as far as Israel is concerned, MANY are the Islamic nations which have repeatedly met to announce, pronounce or forward its doom, not least that of Teheran in 1991. There the entire force of surrounding bodies, very nearly, is of one mind.

    This however is very far from all.

    As to that ? Not at all! says Sharon. Not one inch of security will we surrender.

    At this, the world seems to wonder, as if it were strange he should wish such things for that small residue, this tiny slice of Palestine which through broken promise, has been all that remains for Israel, and even that with its own wars, not by mere donation! Meanwhile, of course, some of the Arab citizens and others in or about that nation, continue their ever so holy course of attacking Jewish people of all ages, and blowing themselves to bits as a sign, it seems, that Israel should surrender itself to the peoples who have already gained for themselves, most of the Palestine that was, and that was accorded by international agreement, to the Jews, after they had served the allied cause of victory, in World War I ... but later removed, it would almost seem, after they had ceased to be so serviceable.

    Be that as it may, the murder, mayhem and love of dying continues. Bin Laden, like some sort of inverse moralist, notes that US citizens like to live, but they face people prepared to die. This seems to be presented like some sort of military advantage, terrorist technique for haunting the prey, and prey indeed, for he calls too for all  Moslems, though they did not all obey, to join him in the fray, the assault on the US, and of course, à la carte, Israel. It is like some sort of a compulsion, that, and in its incisive blatancy, it is precisely in line with Revelation 19:19 and all the scriptures we have adduced, from Deuteronomy to Joel, concerning the assaults to come, yes from Micah, and Isaiah, Romans and Zechariah, Ezekiel and Revelation.

    Romanism, Islam and Communism have on various occasions been exposed on this site for their violence in the field of religion, of yore and more recently. Now Islam is having its day, and all seem to erupt from time to time like volcanoes, for the pressures in their documents remains (cf. Chapter 4 above,  and SMR pp. 1032-1088H and the Communist Manifesto, so manifest in its hideous tirades of irrational hatred, in Siberia - see SMR pp. 656ff., 970-972, 925ff., 422Eff., Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Chs.  6, and 13, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 7).

    Nor is this all. The youth suicide situation, to which reference is made in News 51 ('rates of suicide among young men aged 15-24 ... tripled in Australia between 1960-1990' ), is only to be expected in view of the bestial teaching, meaningless evocations and moral-less lampooning, mooning and mouthings which are pandemic amongst many of the academics, which pass on this evil ware. To hand is News from the Update of  Answers in Genesis, which indicates that one of the Microsoft founders has spent largely in producing a seven part series addressing what are the irrational fantasies of evolution, as if they had some force or standing, in a TV series 'Evolution', as if indeed, the air were not already inundated with such misconceptions as this theory routinely, anti-scientifically and deceptively advances. (For this, see for example, SMR  pp. 140ff., Ch. 2, TMR - That Magnificent Rock Chs. 1, 6,  8,A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-9, Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming ... Chs. 4-6, Stepping Out for Christ Chs. 2, 7-10.)

    While wealth might indeed aspire to do something for this redundant theory, this act as if to demonstrate anti-scientific method in action, its deployment with such panache for such a purpose is most understandable. While culture swallows it, logic vomits at it, and for its devotees, much is needed to make more attractive  its endlessly varying remnants, now more ludicrous and then more so again, as it abandons first this and then that stanchion, fleeing from the facts (cf. Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Chs. 13, 16,  News 68). The ONLY organic evolution, is that of man's making, and as Dr Denton (q.v. Index, and see TMR Ch. 8) points out, the only continuity in the realm of nature at this level, is in the mind of man. Discontinuity is the testimony of fact.

    Naturally, one of the Answers in Genesis Team, the well-skilled Dr John Sarfati, who was in the US at the time of the joint calamities, this surge of evolutionary squalor and the World Trade Centre disaster in September, stayed to refute the errors of the former. The programs were made public, and it appears some 20,000 persons per day have frequented the site displaying Dr Sarfati's exposure of the errors made.

    Meanwhile, nations flee from morals of this kind or that, clinging to religious fantasies in desperation, to the myths of miasmic nature myths, but not returning to God. There is an epidemic of delusion, illusion, confusion of such proportions that violence is its armour bearer, frustration its artillery and desperation its norm. A century and more of organic evolutionary folly, the dilettante dealings in this rabid realm, with its philosophic companions of Nazism and Communism,  have left the nations more than ever vulnerable to reactionary extremisms of this or that kind, depending on the psychic vulnerability, the cultural past and the clouded ambition.

    So does man reap what he sows. Spiritual anthrax long preceded the postal variety, but the literature which has poisoned man has been not in a few, but in billions of works of shame.

    Again, we read of a new children's book, "The Beast in You" which seeks to make children think of themselves as if, were they Jumbo Jets, the game were to make themselves dreamed of as skates. The outcome seems to be that this which appeals to argument by analogy, appears to proceed in such a way as to promote amongst youth, quite explicitly, the concept that they are animals. So does man make mockery of himself, deluded with decadent anti-definitionalism, and so do his children make of themselves more and more if it be possible, the rag-tags of this trade.

    Others do it more violently. Even now, November 10, one hears report of Burundi in Africa, that rebels have surged into some town or area and taken captive hundreds of children aged 10-13, only mostly boys! to enforce their use as ... soldiers. This is in the sordid trade that pushes flesh to folly, just as in drugs, it pushes folly to flesh, as if moved by some cyclotron of hate, presumption and such hardness of heart as might almost make those scavengers, crocodiles, seem like sentimental wimps by comparison; for those but scurry in their trade, but these, called men, they surge as if determined, drugged to reality and flooded with blood, to degrade not only themselves, but what they can pollute with their own poisons, ignoring the spirit of man and his Maker, or constructing one to their taste from the waste. Man chatters with matter as if he were an evil octopus disposing at his fancy, but he does not, and will not the more, fancy the matters that result, and ever more fiercely.

    In fact, the reductionist fantasies of materialism, explicit or implicit,  are so ludicrous that their abuse lends credence to the militancy of the mind of man, asserting his vanities as readily now as ever Israel did of yore (Jeremiah 2). Where Africa uses force, the slatternly subsitutes for thought and truth in Europe and USA, as in Communism alike,  tend to do it, much more, by fantasies of nature, magic naturalisms that lead to the unnatural in mind, heart and conduct to match.

    It is precisely such effusive self-congratulation, such blind deception, such aspiring flights of an imagination which cannot carry with it, the body of man, that are seen to soar into the end, to amere man, a  ruler,  imagining himself a deity, as in the Biblical scenario of II ThessaIonians 1-2, Revelation 13, 17, Matthew 24, with the international and calamitous consequences of Luke 21. It is precisely the expected erosions of order, decency and moral mastery which follow from such arrogant and arrant departure from truth, and following lead to the infection of deadliness as a mode of life, decadence as a height of futurity, degeneracy as a preserve for the pure, self-styled: it is these that we find, and finding now, find the more. It grows like a tidal wave, abstracting water at first, as morals are voided, then coming with force on the unsuspecting littoral. That, it now sounds, and soon will be found.

    It is; and it was no less that was to come, which does come and now is (Revelation 6:4, 8, II Timothy 3), and it is moreover in the last phases of destruction for the morbidity which can so infect the vagrant heart of man (Romans 1:17ff.). Thus in Rev. 6:4,8 we read this:

    These  things in Ch. 6 lead on the fires of trial that Isaiah mentions, where many 'hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains', like Taliban as advance warning (6:15), in time crying to these mountains, 'Fall on us!', while the end comes like a racing car to its flag. Materialism and surrealism alike fall to be fallen upon.

    Ignoring the necessity of the independent validity of mind to enable any validity to matter, the necessity of their BEING absolute truth for any assertion that such things are so, and of evidence to attest it that it BE known, not some filtered substitute, and either despising or abusing the acutely divergent differentiae of mind and spirit (cf.  SMR Ch. 1, pp. 348ff., Ch. 3, It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls Ch. 9, Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 10), man flings himself to a deserved destiny, like lemmings to the sea. Trusting in mere tirades, and ignoring the manifest truth (Repent or Perish Chs.  2,   7), man refuses that simplest of provisions, trust in the Lord according to His word, and in His work according to its performance, according to the Gospel. Marvellous is He, and is His word, for He who is continually offended against, is also He who continually makes return to Himself an open door on oiled hinges: repentance with reception by faith.

    Meanwhile, these wonder drugs of the mind of man, these isms of which evolutionism is merely one of the manufactures, and the false prophets and christs another, persevere in irrationality, but not with security. Void cheques by 'faith' to the merely irrational inventions of man, join the queue and man lurches towards his manifold destinies, from fraud and from fiction alike.

    One thing they all have in common is this. The truth is despised. It is now as it was for Israel before its dismemberment:

    "Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, that He will not hear.  For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perverseness.

    "None calls for justice, nor any pleads for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he who eats of their eggs dies, and that which is crushed breaks out into a viper.

    "Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.  The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goes therein shall not know peace.

    "Therefore is judgment far from us, neither does justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.

    "For our transgressions are multiplied before You, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice stands afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth fails; and he that departs from evil makes himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no judgment.

    "And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompence to His enemies; to the islands He will repay recompence.

    "So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.  And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, says the LORD."

    As the tide recedes further, the momentous advent of the Lord draws nearer. Man is stunned, but does not repent. It is just as depicted in Revelation 9:20-21:
    "But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone and wood which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts."
    They even STEAL people, yes children in their schools with the fantasies of naturalism, myths, saying in effect to a stone, "You gave birth to me" (Jeremiah 2:27), making nature a father, which is fathered, not progenitor, and which does what it is disposed to do, in its own field and scope, but does not build men and nations, thought and understanding, knowledge and wisdom. It shows it in its construction; but it does not construct (cf. Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming ... Ch. 5, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 1, SMR Chs. 2-3,10). Books do not write themselves, information does not compile itself, and man is a creation accountable to God, from whom vacation in the end, becomes damnation.

    So they teach folly to children as they perform it as adults. Children become as a sacrifice.

    Is it so very much worse that they do in Burundi! And where they do not steal children, in this way or in that, then do they steal truth, or muzzle it, whether by stopping independent news outlets, or assaulting the Web (Joyful Jottings Preface, 13, 14, pp. 99ff.; News 145, Pall of Smoke and Diamond of Joy Chs.  3 10), as if pornographic pollution required, for its removal, that of freedom of speech about religion as well!

    TO what then is the movement ?

    Truth is to die, as Christ was killed; and the world will but the more insist on its demise, as a prelude to its own, which follows naturally, but also - since the Truth is manifest, and Christ Jesus the Lord as shown in SMR, personal and wonderful - it comes supernaturally. This, the supernatural response, following on the heels of all the prophetic warnings (Answers to Questions Ch. 5), comes when Christ who came as Saviour, returns as King. It is desired to be by this world, this second coming,  as was Christ desired, whom they crucified.

    Alas they but crucify themselves, for there is no other way to peace, and truth maligned is life defiled. Rubbish decays, and is lost.

    Wondering at the world, the UN and other bodies find merely the dead bones of the Gentiles, that other valley of dry bones. This, it has come  as if to mimic in mind, what Israel has often suffered in body:  diseased or departed flesh that surmounts sense and makes the world what it so acutely has asked to be made, a place of madness, founded in unreason, developed in immorality and at war with God. With its lightfooted, lighthearted seeming vanities of dissembling about the actualities of the Bible, dismissing it, dispensing with it, with ever novel delusions that do not have the advantage of working, the world wanders on its way to the cliff. Sound and fury are at its back, mortality at its front. It walks on, head in the air, and  the woes of Revelation 6, which specialise on this pre-occupation with death, its devices and its dooms, proceeds as if the scenario writer were directing the operations of a film.

    He IS directing it, but not for the time being, physically on site.

    That, as before at the birth of Christ, and the death, is to come.

    Death ? the world is dim to see, but the case is this: it is HIS death in your stead or your death in your own emulsions, cultural, personal and civic. That death, however, continues (II Thessalonians 1:9, Mark 9, Isaiah 66), a sad smouldering of unamended militancy against the Lord, His law or His word, or a wry face on the gospel, as it were dreaded that liberates from the service of sin and the squalor of self, into the adoption as sons and daughters of the Most High God (Galatians 3:22-29, Romans 3:21-31).

    THIS is man's proper destiny: to avoid it, is to avoid missing a lamp-post, with fervour, fixity of purpose and resolution of spirit.

    *4 This in Habakkuk is entirely parallel to Isaiah 66, Micah 7 and Deuteronomy 32, as to Joel. It is also resonant with Zephaniah (cf. Acme, Alpha and Omega Ch. 5 which deals with various minor prophets with application in this field).

    In Zephaniah, there is , as also in Joel 2-3, the same determination to gather the nations (Zeph. 3:8 cf. Joel 3:14) , the same assemblage of nations, the same dispossession of  the nations of Israel, their unlawful prey (Joel 3:12-17), the same selective rebuke to these marauding powers,  in fiery indignation ((Joel 3:16, cf. Micah 7:16, Zeph. 3:8,19, Habakkuk 3:13), the same proximity to the rebuke not only to the world, but to Israel, the same deliverance for Israel to a chastened and chaste condition (Zeph. 3:11, Habakkuk 3:16), in view of their sins which brought them low and the grandeur of the grace of the forgiving Lord who delivered them.

    Israel in significant measure returns to the Lord in their extremities (Zech. 12, Ezekiel 36-39 cf. SMR Appendix A); the anger of the Lord however burns against those who preyed on them, as He delivers them, as also in Ezekiel 38-39. So does the Lord act after their eventual return (as in Ezekiel 38:8), to a blessing not to depart (Ezekiel 37:23), one where (Ez. 37:24), the condition will be made thus by their King, the Messiah who rules.

    The picture shows the triumphant Lord reigning in splendour, and Israel, humbled but exhumed from the impending rubble of trouble by a divine intervention both express, explicit and almost without parallel - until one goes back as far as the Exodus (Micah 7:15).

    It is not less than a humiliated nation delivered, one whose sins are itemised, specified and abominated, to a state so far different in the presence of those mischievous hyenas among the other nations who thought to have wrought in Israel their own gain, that their rescue and redemption are close in Micah 7, as in Zech. 12. Delivered by a work of God, themselves seeing and seeking at long last their need, they are now to become far from such exhibits of self-righteousness as Paul specified  in Romans 10:  those who trusted in their own works and lay hidden from the grace of God. What was, no longer is. So the scenario progresses to the consummation of which Paul speaks in Romans 11:33ff.

    Thus to the church,  the battalion of Israel is now added, in the New Covenant (as in Jeremiah 31:31, Isaiah 53-55, 65:13-15, Ezekiel 16:60ff., 11:19ff.); and it lives on a level ground, where the only high thing is the cross of Christ, the power of God, His majesty and His compassion, through one gospel of goodness and extrication, vested in the only Saviour for any and for all who come in faith on this basis, to Him. It is God ONLY who saves (Isaiah 43:10-11), and it is He who is Saviour, even the Lord, even He whom they pierced (as in Revelation 1:18-10, 2:8-9).

    What then of this redeemed multitude (as in Revelation 7, symbolised) of Jews ? Now caught up into the New Covenant, it is in this sense that they all "shall not practise unrighteousness"  (Zeph. 3:13), and  as in Isaiah 33:24), those delivered by and responding to the Lord  are "forgiven their iniquity". That, it is when this well-rehearsed scenario is released from the books, this time from Isaiah (33:3-4):

    "At the noise of the tumult the people shall flee;
    When You lift Yourself up, the nations shall be scattered,"
    for then (v. 5) -
    "the LORD is exalted for He wells on high,
    He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness."

    So does Romans 11:25ff. happen, as Israel in substantial measure awakes as one long asleep, in the slumbers of unbelief, now delivered, converted and giving praise, or occasion for it, as we find in all the other wholly allied and germane prophets as noted. This blessed condition, reversing the spiritual sloth of ages, mingling the redeemed from Israel and Gentilic dominions alike, finds the REMNANT who come from Israel, these and the REST of the Gentiles to come (as in Isaiah 49:6)  now one.

    Thus to be found are Jew and Gentile (Deuteronomy 32:43, Isaiah 19:23-25) who, if differentiable in their background for coming and their expression of the faithfulness of the Lord (Ezekiel 36:20-26), according to the historical delimitations of their sins, for all are sinners, some specialised this way and some that: yet are all one in Christ. This, in turn, it is as in Romans 11's depiction of the matter in terms of the resident olive tree, Israel hacked off in unbelief, Gentiles grafted in, Israel re-grafted in its cleansed, contrite and comely form in Christ, as many as come in that vast assemblage of Zechariah 12:10, a matter so intimately interwoven with the failings and fallings of Israel of old (Zech. 12:7,9, 13:2-6).

    This surge of events, in the midst of the quiet resources of faith in the Lord, and leading to it for many, is multiplied on all sides in the prophetic word; as in history to come, will be the recipients of such grace amidst the turmoil and confusion of misled battle and baffled aspirations, for those inveterate in their sin, and married forever to their vices.

    Grace finds its final place before the face of the Lord.

    Lest any should imagine that for some unstated reason the Lord did not include those mightily emphasised covenantal treaties with Abraham found in Genesis 17 and such places, it may be fitting to quote further from Psalm 105.

    "He remembers His covenant forever,
    The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations,
    The covenant which He made with Abraham,
    And His oath to Isaac,
     And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
    To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
    Saying, 'To you I will give the land of Canaan
    As the allotment of your inheritance ... ' ”
    Since God is explicit, it is best to be explicit in accepting His expression: that is, if you are interested in what He says. That is our current concern, to find it and say it, lest any should imagine it is other than it is! When it is seen as it is, then the unfolding of history is like a flower that blooms. It is expected; but still, when it comes, there is an intense delight from the fragrance, one which arrests, seizes the heart with joy and presents the eye with rest.