"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 cometh, for it is nigh at hand" (Joel 2:1).
O Zion, holy people of God, awake to the sound of the trumpet, for the day of the Lord is near, and our King cometh in glory with His armies to set up His kingdom.
O ye slumbering saints of the Most High God, shake yourself, and put away the evil of your doings, and put on the whole armor of God; for the enemies of God have determined to war against the Lord and His saints. "A day of darkness is coming, and of gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness…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. A fire devoureth before them…Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness" (Joel 2:2–6).
Zion, have you not yet heard that "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?" (Joel 2:10).
Seeing then that very soon the very elements are going to melt with fervent heat, why do the people of the Lord lounge on beds of ease and go on carelessly, eating and drinking and making merry? Have you not yet heard, O Zion, the trumpet sounding? Have you become so blinded by prosperity, so deafened by the lusts and cares of this world that you cannot hear? Can you not discern the times; know ye not the day of the Lord is at the very door? Is this a time to be at ease, to give all your time and energy to your own interests? Will you go days on end and not seek His face; will you keep on forgetting Him who called you out of bondage? Will you neglect His Word, His house, His secret closet? Will you comfort yourself by saying, "He is not coming! Judgment is not near! I will relax, enjoy my life and pleasures, and go to be with Him when I have finished serving my own desires"?
The Spirit saith, Blow the trumpet in Zion and call my people to "turn to me with all their hearts, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him" (Joel 2:12–14). He is even now "setting a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst of them" (Ezekiel 9:4).
"Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children,…let the bridegroom go forth out of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet" (Joel 2:15,16).
Where are the priests of the Lord who should be weeping between the porch and the altar? Where are those prophets who have been awakened and who cry aloud, "Spare thy people, O Lord" (Joel 2:17)? The priests are asleep! "And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities" (Isaiah 64:7). Already Christ the Bridegroom has left His celestial chamber, and He has set out to meet His bride. And even now the Spirit cries to the bride to awaken and go out to meet Him, whom her soul loveth. Should not the shepherds be on their faces before God, weeping, confessing their sins and the sins of God's people? Should not the priests of the Lord be stirring the bride? My God, how blind Your shepherds have become. While the armies of Satan align themselves to do battle with heaven, while the armies and chariots of God march in rank to the final conflict, the shepherds play. "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock" (Ezekiel 34:2, 3).
They turn on their soft beds, feeding themselves on the fat of the sheep. They gather their male sheep to the ball fields. They go forth hunting and fishing, but not for men. They love to party, to socialize, to relax before their idols. "And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them" (Ezekiel 34:5,6).
O blind shepherds of Zion, you have been called to gather God's people to a solemn assembly — not to foolish fun and games? "Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished. It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth?" (Ezekiel 21:9, 10). You have been commanded by the Lord of hosts to set your face to the ground in humility, brokenness, and repentance. Do you lament, O man of God? Are you ashamed, O ye husband–men of Zion? Awake ye drinkers of wine, for the enemy has come up upon the land and ye know it not. There shall be heard the "voice of howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled" (Zechariah 11:3).
The vine lays waste; the seed is rotting under the clod; the cankerworms have eaten the fields; and no one mourns! Every man looks to his own interest; the love of many grows cold; and joy is withering from the sons of God. It is because there is no shepherd in the pulpit who is alarmed; none who has heard the sound of Zion's trumpet; none who have purged themselves from all iniquity and who proclaim the day of the Lord with power! "Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law" (Zephaniah 3:4).
He could have healed the backslidings of this nation if the Lord's shepherds had been awake and watching. But the watchmen's eyes have grown heavy with slumber, and the priests refuse to call mightily upon His name. His anger could have been turned away, had there been ministers in the house of the Lord who were on their faces, calling on heaven to forgive and heal the people.
Why do the children forsake the ways of the Lord? Why do the young people cozy to the daughter of Babylon and run with the wicked? Why are they so angry, so faithless, so set in their worldly ways? It is because there is no clear and solemn word from the pulpits of the land. Ministers, burdened with their own doubts and sins, stand before the powers of darkness, cowering, for they have lost their spiritual authority.
A holy remnant of faithful shepherds is still in the land. They weep for the flock; they grieve over the sins of God's people; they have returned to the Lord with all their might — yet, they are a despised few. Many prophets have become bags of wind, and God's people love to have it so.
The congregation of Zion is spoiled! The day of the Lord is at hand; the land is perplexed; there is desolation and destruction threatening on all sides — yet, the Lord's people do not take it to heart. The church is in the valley of decision; the Spirit has gone forth to awaken and stir the sleeping — yet, there is no fear of God before their eyes. Approaching judgment? Not until they see the end of their favorite television series. Not until the last dregs of pleasure have been wrung out. Not until the easy life ebbs and withers. Not until all fleshly desires and ambitions have been fulfilled. "Do not interrupt us, O God," they seem to be saying, "for the Lord's coming or sudden judgment would deny us of all that our hearts are set upon."
O ye backslidden people of Zion, will you never return to the Lord with all your hearts and put away the adulteries, the fornications, the pleasure madness?
Our King is coming to Zion to rule with a rod of iron. If His people will not humble themselves, confess and forsake their sins, He will come suddenly to His temple to execute judgment. Mercy and grace upon all who crown Him Lord and King. Peace and rest and joy to all who seek Him with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength. Green pastures, living waters, restoration to all the people of God who turn to Him from all that is of this world: its ways, its things, its spirit, and its seduction. "As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel" (Ezekiel 34:12, 14).
But quick judgment and sorrow upon all who shut the ear and close the mind to the trumpet sounding in Zion! He will overthrow the seducers of mankind. He will overthrow the hypocrite and the cold–hearted. The lukewarm will He spew out of His mouth. He will release to Satan all who hold the truth in unrighteousness. He will give over to a reprobate mind all who knew God but glorify Him not as God, but become conceited fools who worship the creature more than the Creator. He will overthrow the lazy shepherds who have fed themselves and not their flocks. "Therefore ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them" (Ezekiel 34:7–10). He will overthrow all who changed the truth of God into a lie. It is a day of dread release! Millions who scoffed at the trumpet sound and who carried on in their foolishness and apathy will be given up to the wrath to come. "The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel" (Joel 3:15, 16).
"The redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 59:20). "Arise and shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee" (Isaiah 60:1). Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be upon thee. The people of the Lord, the overcoming bridehood, shall lift up their eyes and sing, "Our King cometh. He cometh to save us! To nurse us! To bring us into the abundance of His holy city!"
And the overcomers will flow together; they shall be as one and be manifest to the world as the body of Christ on earth. But the body is soon to be united with its Head. The head of this glorious body is the Redeemer of Zion, and He will appear suddenly in His temple to set up His throne. Their hearts shall not fear who long for His coming. They shall show forth His praises till He comes. They will adore Him until the moment of resurrection. Their days of mourning shall pass. The glory of the Lord shall ever be upon them, and as they see the day approaching, their hearts shall leap for joy. When He breaks through the dark clouds of judgment, the redeemed remnant will shout mightily — for they will suddenly stand before His glorious presence; they will look lovingly upon His majestic face; and they will fall before Him with singing and with rejoicing, proclaiming, "We endured for the joy that awaited us! This is our joy! Christ, King of Glory! Hosanna to Him who brought us out of great judgments, who preserved us in the fires, who redeemed us with a high and mighty hand."
Where once there was fear of death and destruction, there will now be only the excellency of His eternal joy. He will plant our feet in a glorious land, and He Himself will be our sanctuary. No more hated, no more pain-burdened, no more concern or worry about any tomorrows — for we will be home with Him! We will drink the milk of heaven and eat the food of angels. We will not look back at all; the fears and forebodings will be forever gone.
Why do we fear dying? Why do we hold to this fleeting life so tenaciously? Why do we dread the leap into eternity? Who would exchange the city of gold and the eternal pleasures of His kingdom for the paltry, decaying, corrupted existence here on earth?
Did our Lord not tell us that He is the resurrection and the life? And that whosoever liveth and believeth in Him should never die, but have everlasting life? That everlasting life is to be enjoyed right now! The Lord seeks to bring His overcoming remnant into THE POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE.
It is greater than Pentecostal power. Greater than power to heal the sick, cast out devils, and to perform great works. It is greater than witnessing power, and even greater than power to raise the dead. Soon, very soon, those powers will no longer he needed because a new world will be born. A world is coming where there is no limited measure of the Spirit. There will be no need to cast out devils, heal the sick, or raise the dead. No witnesses will be needed then. It is an eternal world where everlasting life will flow endlessly in all who are redeemed. We can only speculate what it will be like to be in the full power and glory of eternal life.
God seeks to bring His holy remnant into the power of eternal life, even now. Not that we will not die, but that the power of everlasting life will be so appropriated in this life — there will be a full and complete severing from the world and it's claims. God wants a free people, a remnant totally detached from all that is earthly and of time. It is possible to move into a resurrection realm that places us beyond time, beyond the thinking of this world, beyond the bondage of health, security, and death itself.
There is freedom in appropriating the power of endless life. To live with an eye fixed in eternity, focused on the throne of God, is to live without fear of what men can do to this human body. To live in a resurrected state of mind is to hold lightly to all that is in and of this world.
Is Jesus Christ more to His people than life itself? Yes — Oh yes — He is to us life everlasting! Cry it aloud, O saints of God; tell it to the world, the flesh and the devil: "I will never die! I do not belong to this lost and dying world! I am even now, in Christ, an eternal being. My spirit will ever live with Him, and He will restore to me a glorious new body in His very own image! Is that not the greatest power God can give mankind — to make him an eternal being, a never–dying soul who will live forever in His presence? The life I will experience in eternity even now flows in me from God's throne. I have the earnest of that inheritance right now.
I can look down on this old sin–cursed world and rejoice, "O world of wickedness and habitation of devils — you have no claim or hold on me! I have been released from your power. Even the grave in your dust cannot keep me imprisoned. I am even now endued from on high with an endless life, the life of God that has no beginning and no end!"
Get hold on eternal life, overcoming remnant! The life you now experience in the flesh is but a vapor that will soon vanish and be gone. Everlasting life flows from God's very throne, and it is also a fruit the redeemed will eat forever from the tree of life. But God seeks to reveal to us that it is possible to eat of that fruit now, in the Spirit, by faith. What unspeakable joy to be secluded with Him in the secret closet, and for hours drink of that fountain of everlasting life and eat of the fruit of the tree of life. You can come out of that prayer chamber already in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. The world loses its charm. The heart is weaned from all that was once held dear. The affections and longings are transformed to the heavenly kingdom, to the resurrection realm.
The overcoming remnant will hunger and thirst more and more in the final days before destruction. The Holy Spirit will create in Christ's bride an over–whelming desire for holiness, purity and revelation. Here and there, throughout the land, the deep hungerings and thirstings of the righteous can be seen. Radical separations from the world and all its idols and pleasures is taking place. The cry is for a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ. Material things are losing their value to this bridehood. Their hearts are being wooed by the Spirit to a life of prayer and brokenness before the throne. Selfish desires, self–centered plans are being abandoned, and the perfect will of God is all that matters now. The man–realm of success, ambition, and promotion has been dealt a death–blow, and the glory of God has become supreme. There is the sound of adoration and worship, and the enthroning of Christ and the yielding to His lordship.
In these final days before the holocaust, the blessed Savior is preparing a feast of good things; not the beggarly elements of this world and the foolish materialism being sought by the undiscerning, but the blessing and joys of heaven itself. The overcoming remnant can face any furnace of fire with fully satisfied, restful hearts.
Sound the TRUMPET IN ZION — God has a secured remnant, washed in Christ's Blood, clothed with spotless garments, separated unto the King of Glory, with burning lamps held high, going out to meet the Bridegroom in the power of an endless life! Drink to the full, saints of God — drink of the fountain of everlasting life!
"Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4).
Come out of the sleeping, dead churches. Come out of the covetous, prosperity–minded cults. Come out of the luke–warm, socializing congregations who have lost the glory of the Lord. Come out of compromising, sin–laden, liberal temples. Come out of the Mary–worshipping Catholic church. Come out of any and all churches and groups where there is no Holy Ghost fire, no smiting conviction, no hunger for holiness. Come out of the legalistic churches and fellowships who preach salvation by works. "Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord's vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed" (Jeremiah 51:6–8).
Come out of the teachings that encourage lust for money, fame, and success. Come out of all the man–centered religious institutions that are twice dead and plucked up by the roots. "My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord" (Jeremiah 51:45).
Come out and forsake the false prophets whose eyes are on the gold and the glory. Come out and forsake any minister or evangelist who puts you at ease in Zion and who comforts Christians with false security. "Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord" (Isaiah 52:11).
"For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities" (Revelation 18:5). Whose sins? The sins of the backslidden, lukewarm church and the corporate sins of a nation whose cup of iniquity is full. How dare we believe that God has not seen our incurable wickedness! The men of Nineveh and Sodom cry out for justice. They are our accusers. Nineveh repented at one sermon — America rejected an avalanche of gospel calls and warnings. Sodom had no gospel; it had no armies of preachers; nor was its airwaves flooded with warnings of impending judgment. As with Sodom, as with Nineveh, as with Jerusalem and Judah, our sins have reached into heaven and God has set His judgments. They are all gone, and now we stand at His bar of judgment.
Who will awaken, heed the Lord's call to come out and separate, and cleanse themselves from all the iniquities of the church and society? Do not do as Israel did and think the days of judgment are far off. "Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord" (Ezekiel 12:27, 28).
"Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her converts with righteousness. And the strong shall be as [tinder], and his work as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them" (Isaiah 1:27, 31).
"Cry aloud and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for great in the midst of thee is the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 12:6). "Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; he will come and save you. And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for the redeemed: the wayfaring men, yea fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up thereon; they shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: and the ransomed of Jehovah shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 35:3, 4, 8–10).
"The voice of one saying, Cry. And one said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the fields. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the breath of Jehovah bloweth upon it; surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up on a high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord Jehovah will come as a mighty one, and his arm will rule for him: Behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and will gently lead those that have their young" (Isaiah 40:6–11).
"For Jehovah hath comforted Zion; he hath comforted all her waste places, and hath made her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Jehovah; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. My righteousness is near, my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the peoples; the isles shall wait for me, and on mine arm shall they trust. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment; and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished" (Isaiah 51:3, 5, 6).
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" (Isaiah 52:7).
"The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the year of Jehovah's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, that he may be glorified" (Isaiah 61:1–3).
"Set up a standard toward Zion: flee for safety, stay not; for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction" (Jeremiah 4:6).
"And Jehovah will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but Jehovah will be A HREFuge unto his people, and a stronghold to the children of Israel" (Joel 3:16).
"But in mount Zion there shall be those that escape, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions" (Obadiah 1:17).