The Prophecy of Joel Study 9

“The Lord Dwells in Zion” (Chapter 3:17-21)

The Old Testament clearly tells us that after the Lord Jesus has come back and judged the nations the whole earth will experience an abundance and prosperity not known since the Garden of Eden before the fall of man. The earth will become what God created it to be in the beginning before the fall. This age of course will be under the reign of the Messiah the Lord Jesus Christ. Israel along with the Church will reign over the nations on the earth with the Lord Jesus Christ and be the instruments that carry His laws and precepts to the ends of the earth. In that day there will be only one flock and one shepherd! (John 10:16). The city of Jerusalem will be lifted up higher than any other city in the whole earth. It will be the capital of the whole world!

As Isaiah prophesied; “In that day Jerusalem will be lifted up higher than any other city in the world and the wealth of the nations will flow into it. “This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:  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 2:1-5)

In these days the LORD will be a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the people of Israel! This last part of Joel’s prophecy clearly describes the reign of the Messiah after He has come back to inaugurate His Millennial reign for a thousand years of peace. Now let’s look at the text.

(Vs.17) “Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.”

Only when our Lord Jesus has come back and rescued the Jewish nation will the people of Israel be finally free from foreign aggression and invasion. They will have passed through the night of the Great Tribulation and two thirds will have perished in the Land but the remaining third God will have brought through the fire to restore them to His favour and to make them His Theocratic nation with jurisdiction and authority over all the nations then existing on the earth, those nations that have survived..

Many today are calling for the destruction of Israel and multitudes of those into replacement theology in the professing Christian Church are denying their right to exist as a separate nation. However the Lord Himself says, “This is what the LORD says: ‘You say about this place, “It is a desolate waste, without men or animals.” Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither men nor animals, there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD, saying, “Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good; his love endures forever.” For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 3310-11).

Today Israel is once more a nation and even though they are still strangers and foreigners to the New Covenant God Himself will bring them back to Himself because of His covenant with them made through the blood of their Messiah the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Covenant was made with Israel and the house of Judah. (The Church has been grafted into Israel and partakers of the same blessings and will also reign on the earth). The New Covenant was made with Israel and the House of Judah, not the Church. Look at what Jeremiah the prophet said; “The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. “No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-33)

If God cannot be depended upon to keep His promises to Israel them how can we be sure He will keep His promises to the Church? Listen to what the Lord says concerning His promises to Israel; “This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the LORD, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.” This is what the LORD says: “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,” declares the LORD. The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when this city will be rebuilt for me from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. The measuring line will stretch from there straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn to Goah. The whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown, and all the terraces out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the corner of the Horse Gate, will be holy to the LORD. The city will never again be uprooted or demolished.” (Jeremiah 31 35-37) Now let’s continue with the text…

(Vs. 18) “In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the LORD’s house and will water the valley of acacias.”

There is no doubt that Israel will become a beautiful land that reflects the reign of the Messiah. It will be a brand new Garden of Eden on earth. It will foreshadow the final and eternal state to come after the Millennium is over when the pure water of ultimate life will flow out from the New Jerusalem to the redeemed nations forever. This is what John saw and then wrote about the final and eternal state to come after the Millennium; “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 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 forever and ever” (Revelation 22:1-5). The Millennial Kingdom will be the harbinger and a pattern or picture of the ultimate final and eternal state of all things.

(Vs. 19) “But Egypt will be desolate, Edom a desert waste, because of violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they shed innocent blood.”

Historically these nations have been Israel’s enemies, especially Egypt the land of their captivity and the place where Pharaoh slew the babies at the time when Moses was a baby. Egypt will lie desolate! As far as Edom was concerned they had sided with the Babylonians when they sacked Jerusalem. As the psalmist said of them, “Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell.  ”Tear it down,” they cried, “tear it down to its foundations!” (Psalm 137:7) Today these enemies of Israel still cry out for the desolation and destruction of Israel. They still shed the blood of Israelis. Edom today would be Southern Jordan including Saudi Arabia the heart of Islam and the financial backer of Islamic terrorists. However Southern Jordan and Saudi Arabia will be a desert waste during the Millennial Kingdom. All of the rich Arabs living there today financially supporting the Islamic terrorists attacking Israel, will be utterly wiped out when Jesus comes back! Mecca will be no more. Islam will be gone forever! Indeed the oil fields in Saudi Arabia will burn! (Isaiah 34:8-10).

(Vs 20-21) “Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon.”

Once the Lord Jesus has come back Jerusalem will be the chief city among the nations that have survived the Great Tribulation. Jerusalem will be inhabited forever. When the city of the New Jerusalem comes down out of Heaven it will merge with Jerusalem on the earth. During the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah, all the surviving nations will come up to worship the Lord in Jerusalem year after year and in the final and eternal state the redeemed nations will walk in the light of the Heavenly city. Heaven and earth will have become one sphere of eternal existence for all of the redeemed. The restoration and glory of the earthly Jerusalem will foreshadow the Glory and perfection of the Heavenly Jerusalem to come.

Through the blood of Jesus God will have pardoned Israel’s sin and they along with the Church will reign forever and ever. Like the stars in the sky they will shine for all eternity throughout the universe itself that God created for His own splendour and glory. Look at what Isaiah wrote; “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendour.” (Isaiah 60:19-21)

The Apostle John spoke of the same things when he wrote; “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:21-27).

Once again look at what John wrote; “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:1-8)

Only those who have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life will be able to enter that eternal city. Outside of that city will be eternal fire and torment for every Christ hater and Christ rejecter. You can be part of the Heavenly Jerusalem or be consigned forever to the lake of fire. Choose whom you will serve. God himself says, “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) If you have repented of your sin and rebellion and unbelief towards the Lord Jesus Christ and if you have turned from your rejection of God’s Salvation only found in Jesus and have turned to Him by faith to justify you and cleanse you from sin through His blood then you will be part of that eternal city. However, if you have never repented of your unbelief and rebellion towards God and have refused His offer of mercy and pardon through the blood and merits of Jesus Christ then you cannot be part of that Heavenly city. You will either be in the city or outside of it.

Conclusion:

There are those in the Church today who are telling us that things are going to get better in this present world especially the Kingdom Now preachers. Then there are the purpose driven, seeker sensitive, immerging Churches whose teaching is leading Christians to trust in this world and in the things of this world forgetting that “friendship with the world is enmity with God” and that “if anyone loves (Agapes) the world and the things in the world then the love (Agape) of the Father is not in him.” The Bible is very clear that the world will be on the very brink of annihilation just before Jesus comes back and that the only hope will be the return of Jesus. Ultimately every individual will either have his or her place in the lake of fire or in the New Jerusalem. There will be no other alternative on that day when the Lord Jesus comes back to judge the nations, bring in everlasting righteousness and to be glorified in His saints. On that day throughout time and for all eternity it will be declared… “The Lord Dwells in Zion!”

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