THE CLEANSING OF THE EARTH
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
For several years I considered Revelation chapter 19, describing the attack on Antichrist and his armies, which is the Battle of Har Magedon, as being the same as the marching of the Lord’s army in the second chapter of the Book of Joel.
But while I was writing Godwill Castle, I gained the impression that Joel chapter 2 is speaking of the cleansing of the earth after the victory at Har Magedon, the victory that put Satan in the Bottomless Pit, and Antichrist and the False Prophet in the Lake of Fire.
When one compares Revelation chapter 19 and Joel chapter 2, it can be seen that these are not the same event.
It stands to reason that after Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet have been overcome, there still are the nations of the earth to be considered. Although the evil principalities have been removed from the environment, their influence on the people and their institutions remain.
The Bible tells us that after the victory at Har Magedon, the nations of the earth will be governed by Jesus Christ and His victorious saints. They will govern with the rod of iron righteousness for a thousand years, which I term the “Kingdom Age.”
If this is true, then one can see the need for a preliminary cleansing of the earth by these kings and judges in preparation for the government of Christ and His kings.
And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9,10)
The “men for God” of the previous passage are the same people, I believe set forth in Revelation, Fourteen as the firstfruits to God and the Lamb. They are a great army of judges who will cleanse the earth in preparation for the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
Their role is to decide the fate of people and institutions. The angels perform the sentence of judgment. It is the dance of the two camps (Mahanaim).
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand—(Joel 2:1)
Notice, in Revelation, Fourteen, that the Lamb and the Firstfruits stand on Mount Zion. Mount Zion is the site of the heavenly Jerusalem.
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, (Hebrews 12:22)
It is on Mount Zion, the Church of the Firstborn, that the alarm shall be sounded, alerting the nations that Divine judgment is at hand.
The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. (Joel 3:16)
This is the Day of the Lord, the time when all the works of men are seen to be as nothing, and the Lord alone is exalted.
A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come. (Joel 2:2)
It will be a day of darkness and gloom for all flesh. It also will be the dawning of the “perfect day.”
“A large and mighty army.” These are the Lord’s kings, judges, and priests. They are the firstfruits of the Church, of the Royal Priesthood. There is no compromise in them. The iron scepter has been formed in them as they have endured trial after trial. Through every imaginable testing they have chosen Christ.
Never again will the saints and warrior angels march through the earth, bringing judgment and desolation. However, God’s saints and warrior angels will enforce righteousness for eternity.
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
The world is not worthy of them, having despised them as weak people trusting in an invisible God. But they, having been brought down as low as possible, are destined to govern God’s creation for eternity.
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (II Thessalonians 1:6-10)
We of today are in the beginning of the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement. We are to confess our sins to the Lord, and then, with His help, turn away from them for eternity. We are part of the war between good and evil. God has determined to put an end to all sin, and He has begun with those Christians who are seeking Him fervently.
The spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement has begun, as I stated, and will continue through to the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. People will be reconciled to God. All who refuse, insisting on following their own path, will find their home in the Lake of Fire. There they will become part of Satan—more so than they are now.
First, the fervent disciples, the Firstfruits to God and the Lamb, are purifying themselves. This is happening now. Next the Lord Jesus will come with His Firstfruits and attack the armies of Antichrist.
Then Joel’s army will march, removing sin and sinners from the earth. The thousand-year Kingdom Age will force righteous behavior on the nations of the earth. All resistance to the rule of Christ will be shattered.
After this will be the final resurrection. Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire to be with Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet.
Those whose names are written in the Book of Life will be brought over to citizenship on the new earth. The army of judges will be present on the new earth to admonish and chasten any who had been granted citizenship on the new earth but are tempted to rebel against Christ. If they repent, they will be permitted to drink of the Water of Life and eat of the Tree of Life. If they are stubborn and unyielding, they will be thrown into the Lake of ‘Fire.
Sin never again will be permitted in God’s creation. Instead the world will be filled with righteous behavior, love, joy, and peace. A wonderful hope to look forward to, isn’t it. We can hasten its coming by cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. Christ will help us do that if we ask Him.
Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste—nothing escapes them. (Joel 2:3)
The above verse describes the Lord’s judges and angels destroying the Antichrist institutions. The following is taken from my book, Godwill Castle.
“My first impression was that of noise. The Lord was shouting. The victorious saints were shouting. The demons were shrieking. The people who were being attacked were screaming in fear or in rage. Some were running to hide. Some were cowering in fear. Others were shaking their fists defiantly.
“There was no organized resistance. Evidently the attack had been so sudden that it was not possible for leaders to arise and communicate with their followers. Surprisingly, there were not many people who were attempting to defend themselves with firearms. The few who did attempt to defend themselves with pistols or rifles found that the bullets had no effect on the saints, who were in resurrection bodies.
“The appearance of the white-robed soldiers was utterly terrifying to the people they were confronting. They could not see the angels who were doing the actual fighting. They could notice, however, that people were dying from some cause, and institutions around them were being vaporized.”
They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry. (Joel 2:4)
Whether “appearance of horses” means the saints in some manner have become one with their stallions, of just that the thousands of white war stallions gave an overall impression of horses, I do not know. It is an unusual expression. My experience has been that when a verse of Scriptures just does not fit, there is a reason.
In Revelation chapter 19, it is clear that the attack of Har Magedon is a cavalry charge, and so is the cleansing of the earth described here.
With a noise like that of chariots they leap over the mountaintops, like a crackling fire consuming stubble, like a mighty army drawn up for battle. (Joel 2:5)
If I am correct that Joel 2 is describing the cleansing of the earth by the Lord’s judges and warrior angels, preparatory to their governing the nations with an iron scepter, then we would expect a great deal of noise: trumpets; drums; the vaporizing of highways and other institutions, of airplanes and automobiles; Michael proclaiming the coming of Christ’s Kingdom; the shout of war of the saints; the galloping of the war stallions.
Some have maintained that what is being described here is an invasion of locusts, following the statements in the first chapter of Joel. In my opinion, the language is too strong for locusts.
Also, it may be noted that the Book of Joel, taken as a whole, is quite prophetic in nature. In addition, Joel is quoted at the birth of the Christian Church.
No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: (Joel 2:16)
It is not unusual in the Prophets for Kingdom truth to be concealed in natural surroundings. You probably have run into that before.
At the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale. (Joel 2:6)
Ordinarily an invasion of locusts is confined to a locality. The idea of the faces of the people of the nations of the earth turning pale, does not seem to fit an invasion of locusts in Israel. However, it does fit what I am teaching about the purifying of the earth after the invasion of Har Magedon.
They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course. (Joel 2:7)
The verse above is a good admonition to Christian people. Very often they do not scale walls; they complain about them. They do not always march in line. They have no clear course, supposing that they believe in Christ so they won’t go to Hell when they die. Because they do not have a clear goal, they are confused as to why they should lead a righteous, holy life.
But the members of God’s army of kings and judges do surmount obstacles. They do march in line and do not swerve from their course. They always are pressing forward that they might know Christ in a greater way.
They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead. They plunge through defenses without breaking ranks. (Joel 2:8)
How many Christian congregations are there where division, arguing, malice, gossip, criticism, unforgiveness, bitterness, are not rife? A congregation in which there is malice and hatred is sick. The Spirit of God will not minister in such an assembly until the sickness of division is healed.
God’s army of judges do not jostle one another. Each one knows his or her commission from Christ and goes straight ahead in it. Because they are in one accord they plunge through defenses. They support one another, each member seeking his or her neighbor’s welfare.
They rush upon the city; they run along the wall. They climb into the houses; like thieves they enter through the windows. (Joel 2:9)
No one will be able to hide from God’s judges. They will persist in their work until the whole earth has been cleansed of the spirit of Antichrist. Such steadfastness of purpose is not always true of Christian people, but it is of God’s Firstfruits.
If you know anything about wicked people you know they are devious, cunning, determined to escape the consequences of their actions. Their perversity knows no bounds. Even in the confusion and chaos of the work of purifying the earth from wicked people and the Antichrist institutions, the wicked will still be hurling insults and threats at God’s saints. They will never quit doing this until they are sent by the angels into the spirit world to await the final judgment.
Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine. (Joel 2:10)
Unless we desire to indulge in poetic imagery, the above verse does not sound like locusts. In fact, the signs in the heavens are associated with the coming of Christ.
The work of cleansing the earth of self-seeking people and their deeds will be a fierce, prolonged struggle. The wicked will resist with all of their might because they know this is the end of their pleasures. Even after the initial conquest there will have to be platoons of judges who go throughout the earth, seeking any people who have escaped the Divine judgment.
In our day, at least in America, there are numerous leaders and their followers who are mocking the values once cherished in our country. Since God does not send down thunderbolts on their behavior, they continue with their blasphemies, being persuaded that nothing can harm them.
Little do they understand the patience of the Lord, who is willing that all come to repentance. They keep on with their brazen displays of immorality, sneering at any who would protest that God is not pleased with our behavior.
It seems at times like the fear of God has left our country. Open displays of wickedness in the “Gay Parades” are applauded as though they were worthy of our admiration. There even are Atheist’s parades in which people who fear and worship God are mocked.
I have lived long enough to understand that God cannot be mocked. History tells us of the fate of nations that have been given over to immorality and pleasure. Yet it seems we cannot stop and consider that no unrighteous nation prospers or endures. Young people who ought to be ashamed are naked in the streets. The show must go on.
One day in the future God will move. When He does, America will become a second-class nation. World leadership will pass to a nation or nations that fear God. God is real, and He will not long endure the murder of infants so their mother is not inconvenienced.
There are good, decent people in the world. God knows each one by name and will by one means or another bring them to love, peace, and joy. The wicked believe they can outwit God. But in the end they will be feeding on ashes.
The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it? (Joel 3:11)
The verse above fits perfectly the concept that Joel’s army is more than locusts. The soldiers obey Christ’s command. It is the Day of the Lord.
Notice also, in the same chapter:
The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. (Joel 2:31)
It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it, that at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age there should be a time of preparation in which the wicked are removed from the earth and sent into the spirit world.
The Spirit of God will be strong among all the nations at that time. This accounts for the follow prophecy of Isaiah:
In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD. (Isaiah 2:2-5)
What a wonderful future to look forward to. And to think that God has begun in our day, with the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement.
We can hasten the Day of the Lord by confessing our sins and our desire to lead our own life, by cooperating with the Spirit of God as He points out our sins and helps us put them to death.
And as far as leading our own life is concerned, if we are to be able to help with the installing of God’s will on the earth we shall have to be willing to permit Jesus to place us in various confinements, to bear various crosses, until we cry “not my will but Yours be done.” It is only as we are living by the Life of Christ that we are qualified and competent to be given a new body when Jesus returns, and to work with Him at the task of installing the Kingdom of God on the earth.
All that I have described in this essay shall certainly come to pass. The present uproars among the nations of the earth are the birth pains of the coming of the Kingdom of the earth.
We have absolutely nothing to fear, except being moved from God’s will. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. And we yet shall sing and dance in the heights of Zion when the wicked are gnashing their teeth.
Do not fret at the antics of Satan’s followers. They soon shall be brought to an end and God’s people shall inherit the earth.
(“The Cleansing of the Earth”, 3224-1)