Who Are You? - George H. Warnock
CHAPTER 2 - THE DAY OF THE LORD
Generally the teaching concerning the coming of the Lord are associated with doctrines about the great tribulation, and controversies as to whether He comes before, during, or after the tribulation. Tribulation seems to be the whole issue. Do we miss it, or do we not? It is clear from the scriptures that the tribulation coincides with the Day of the Lord. It is a time of great trouble and darkness, yes, but it is the dawning of God's new day--something that God's people often overlook. Paul tells us:
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light" (Rom. 13:12).
Is it not clear from this that the Day of the LORD is more to be desired than the night in which we now live? Who would want to miss out on the light of God's new day? Especially when He tells us clearly that He has provided for us "The armor of light"? Sure, there will be darkness in the world about us in that day. But it is not called "The night of the Lord." It is God's DAY! This alone should cause God's people to stop and consider in their hearts: "Really, now... why do I want to miss that DAY to which all the prophets referred, and which is mentioned frequently in the New Testament as the hope of God's people?"
"For yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the LORD so cometh as a thief in the night." (1 Thess. 5:2). But we must not stop there. "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that DAY Should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (vs. 4-9) Is it not very clear from this passage that we have no appointment with the wrath of God, because of the armor that we put on, the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of salvation? Because we are fully equipped with God's armor, and not because he snatches us out of the battle?
Note the battle dress of God's people in the Day of the LORD: It is the "armor of light," "the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation." GOD HAS PROVIDED ARMOR FOR HIS PEOPLE--NOT WINGS! And if we know these things, God help us all to put on "the whole armor of God." God wants a people who are prepared for battle, and the armor He provides is totally sufficient for us to "stand in the evil day." (See Ephesians 6:10-18)
This is a Day of Mixture
The Day of the LORD will deal with this horrible corruption that abounds in the land, and especially with the MIXTURE that has characterized the people of God. Often are we tainted with the corruption of the world, because we dwell in the very midst of it, and are not always aware of the effect it is having on our minds and spirits. Jesus warned us that because of the abundance of iniquity about us, the love of many would "wax cold." It is easy to slip into the way of the world, not realizing the world and its systems are the enemies of God, and he that would be "a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (Jas. 4:4)
We need to pray that God will show forth such a display and weight of His glory in our midst that we will be able to reprove the world of sin, as we ought to be doing. I do not mean by much talk, and pointing the finger of accusation: I mean by so living and expressing the life of Christ in the world, that the world is confronted with the all-seeing eye of God, and knows that it is God Himself who is reproving them "of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (Jn. 16:8) Without this display of His glory, how helpless we are! And so the best we know is to try to get the legislators on our side, and try to cut off the little twigs and branches of degradation that continue to break forth on the corrupt tree of our society. But unless the tree is cut down--for every twig of corruption we try to nip in the bud, two more will grow in their place. God's plan is to cut down the tree! And we who know our God, and know what the Day of the LORD is all about, will rejoice when the Lord creates darkness and evil for the workers of evil, and brings forth light and peace, to the lovers of truth. For He has declared:
"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Drop down, yea heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together" (Isa. 45:7, 8). This is what the Day of the LORD is all about!
God hates a mixture, and He appeals to His people to make a difference between the clean and the unclean, to know the nature of good and evil, and to draw the line between light and darkness:
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter" (Isa. 5:20).
Once again, in this Day of the LORD that comes swiftly upon us, God is going to "divide the light from the darkness." Once again the light will be called day, and the darkness will be called night.
Only the revelation of His glory can do this. Try as we may to get into the political arena with a shovel, to shovel out the darkness, the darkness will remain... and will continue to get darker. Try as we may to agitate, and march, and harass the workers of iniquity, we accomplish nothing. When light is rejected, darkness is the inevitable result. And as we shall observe later in this message, if light is persistently rejected, God Himself will send even greater and greater darkness, to the point where men do not know the difference, and evil is called good, and darkness is called light.
This is a Day of Deception
God tells us that the time will come when He Himself will "send strong delusion, that they should believe a lie (or, THE LIE)." (2 Thess. 2:11). And the reason is clearly stated: "Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved" (vs. 10). Consistent and persistent rebellion against God causes God to withdraw His restraining hand of grace, thus adding to and multiplying the darkness that is already there. In this sense only does God "create evil." It is God's Judgment against iniquity. And whether we are believer or unbeliever, this ought to impart within us all a godly fear. A little bit of disobedience on our part can produce a measure of darkness. God be merciful unto us in that hour--that we might recognize the darkness, and hurry back into His arms, His outstretched arms of love and forgiveness. It is frightening to behold men and women, whom we thought to have known the Lord in a very real way... slipping away into areas of deception and darkness that are utterly foreign to the love of the truth. Somewhere Satan found a foothold, and gradually enlarged upon it, until it might almost appear there is no longer any hope for them.
How endless a task we would have on our hands if we were to begin naming all the different areas of deception! God's provision and antidote for this danger is for you and me to walk in truth. Jesus said, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (Jn 8:32). But we do feel to mention this evil of divorce that is running rampant these days; and to warn God's people especially that Satan is promoting this avalanche of divorce and unfaithfulness that is overwhelming the Church. The Christian home is a miniature "church," and the Enemy knows if he is victorious in the home, he is automatically victorious in the Church. We must guard against the deception that is overwhelming many, as husband and wife are believing the lie that they do not have their proper spiritual mate--that God never did really join them together--it was their own mistake, and they must find the one that God ordained for them. We have been told from different sources that witches and wizards are praying and fasting for the break-up of the Christian home. Let us not be found in the number of those who are blaming God for the attack of witches and wizards.
I do not stand in judgment on God's people. I know very often an innocent party is involved, and innocent children are often the victims. Complex situations have come as a result of marriages that took place when one or both parties were not born again. All I can say is, if you are caught in tangled situations where you do not know the way out... God is still able to bring order out of chaos, and bring you into a place of REST in Him as you seek His will for your life, and come to that place of total commitment. And if you are the guilty one, there is hope for you too--and grace. But the first step out from your bondage will be your admission that God is right, and you are wrong. And then we have this conditional promise,--
"God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the Devil" (2 Tim. 2:25, 26) If you insist on your innocence, and hold to the deception that "God led me to do it"--this can only lead into greater deception. Once you can say from your heart, God you are RIGHT and I am WRONG, then the Bible says, "peradventure" you will discover the grace of repentance. For remember, repentance is not something you can do just anytime you feel like it... or postpone it until you have acquired what you want in your disobedience. God must provide the grace for it, if it is to be truly redemptive and genuine in nature.
We are talking about one area of deception that has overwhelmed many of God's people, and how prevalent it has become in the Church. And I think it is evident that this tendency to unfaithfulness in the home has come from the enticements of the world about us. Paul tells us that through the working of the Cross he was "crucified unto the world," and the "world was crucified unto him" (See Gal. 6:14). This is the real problem. Most of us in the Church have not known, or recognized, or cared enough to pursue this kind of identification with the Cross of Christ. "The offence of the Cross" has just about ceased! Modern evangelism has pretty well represented the Cross of Jesus as the easy way out for you and me. Jesus died on His cross... so it is assumed there is no cross for the rest of us to carry. The word "offence" is "skandalon" in the Greek, from which we get our English word "scandal." The scandal of the cross is scarcely there any longer--especially in our western world. We do not want to become an object of the 'scandal' that comes when we take up our cross and follow Him. And so we join the world, thinking the world will like us, and will no longer consider that we are really too much different from them. "You can join our church, and still have lots of fun. You can serve God, and still have a good time... God intends it that way." But James warns us:
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (Jas. 4:4) What an indictment! We say we must be friends of the world in order to win them. God says if you do that, you're His enemy!
When the king of Moab could not persuade Balaam the sorcerer to curse the people of God (for God took control of his tongue, without changing his heart... God can do that, you know... Just the day before He had taken control of the ass's tongue without changing his heart...)--Do you know what Balaam did? He suggested that Balak invite the people of God to one of their wild parties, and get them that way. And it worked! Thousands of them fell into the snare, as they corrupted themselves with the charms and the snares of the gods of Moab, and the people of God were defiled.
He who stands in the midst of His people with eyes as a flame of fire, is coming to purge the people of God from the doctrine of Balaam. Lord, baptize us afresh--with the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire!
God's Glory comes to His Temple
People of God, let us continue to cry out for His glory to return to His Temple... for the shining forth of His Presence in our midst. But beloved, let us understand the implications of God's glory coming back to dwell in the midst of His people. He can bless us from Heaven, and pour forth His gifts upon us, in our carnal condition. But when He comes in the fullness of His abiding Presence in our midst, IT IS THAT HE MIGHT BE OUR CAPTAIN AND LORD. He comes to cleanse and purge His people. He comes to take control. And therefore, desirable as all this may be, let us understand it is also a very fearful thing.
It was just after the glory of the LORD had passed through the hosts of Israel (in the mighty baptism of the cloud), that Egypt was suddenly confronted with God's Judgments. The glory that was a light to the people of God suddenly became gross darkness to the enemy. God had divided the light from the darkness--so that the enemy came not near the people of God all night long.
It was right after the glory of the LORD had appeared to the congregation in the wilderness, and God's fire burst forth from His presence to consume the burnt offering of His people... that Nadab and Abihu decided they would make a little fire of their own. "They took either of them his censer, and put fire therein... and offered strange fire before the LORD." Immediately they were consumed by the devouring fire of God's glory. (See Lev. 10:1, 2).
Now what was wrong with the incense they offered? Were they not doing it before the Lord? But that's not the question. They were doing something that God had not directed them to do... something "which He commanded them not" (vs. 1) God had not authorized it!
When, beloved, are we going to come to the place where we recognize we are here only to do what God bids us to... nothing more and nothing less? Whether you or I think it would be a good thing to do matters nothing. What is God's will in the matter? "How do I know God's will?" someone may ask. It comes to us as we seek Him. Sometimes we know not how: the still small voice of God, something from the Word, some kind of confirmation from this source or another. But it is something that God is honor-bound to show us when we "present our bodies a living sacrifice" and are totally committed to do His will.
I really believe if God's glory were to suddenly come into our midst in this hour, we would have multitudes falling dead in the pulpit or in the aisles of our churches, as happened to Ananias and Sapphira in the early Church. Have you ever considered how insignificant their sin would be looked upon today in our eyes? They sold some property, and gave most of it to the Church... perhaps nine-tenths of it! But they kept the smaller portion for a rainy-day, and brought the rest to the apostles. What was their sin? That they did not give it all? Not really. It was just that they gave the impression they were giving all. Peter told them that they "lied not to men, but to the Holy Ghost"! In their silence concerning what they did, they were giving the impression they were giving their all as the others were doing. They were lying to the Holy Ghost!
O if God's people could only recognize the implications of the Day of the LORD, and of His glory coming to abide in His Temple! Gone would be the entertainment and the gimmicks that are used today to bring people to Jesus! Satan fears nothing when he sees the people of God going forth TO BATTLE with carnal weapons... musical groups doing their thing to the applause of large audiences... rock musicians skillfully using the art of Satan all nicely cloaked with words about Jesus and Heaven and the Bible... drama troupes coming forth from missionary training centers with a cast depicting God and Jesus and the Devil on the same platform, trying to trick people into hearing the gospel... puppet ministries acting out the gospel with little puppet monkeys or puppet devils, and the like... magicians showing their illusionary tricks to the applause of an audience that some "church" group hired to trap people into hearing the "gospel." I know of one instance where a young boy in a Sunday school class had to be delivered from the oppression of spirits, after he had watched the clever manipulations of a "puppet-ministry" in a Sunday school class. And all this--not in some old, dead apostate church, but in large charismatic churches where people love to praise and worship and sing in the Spirit and dance before the Lord!
O Lord, how can these--and even greater abominations than these, come into your temple, and the people of God who know and have experienced your blessings, and have spiritual gifts functioning in their midst--sit in the congregation and applaud and laugh, and think they are promoting the work of the Lord?
The Day of the LORD is at hand, the day of His glory, and "eyes like a flame of fire" are going to consume the dross from the silver pot of God's refining flame. God says that His judgments must first begin at the house of God. We anticipate the day of His glory. But even as we do, let us humble ourselves now in His presence lest His light shine upon us suddenly, and we be found naked. For He says to you and me and God's people everywhere who have known His workings in times past...
"Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Rev. 2:5).
I speak not as a judge, but as one who grew up under the shadow of Pentecost, and had a little understanding of what happened in those early beginnings, and the glory that was there. I do not mean from personal experience, because it was before my time--but I was close to it. I was born in a second generation of Pentecost, and regretted that I had missed out on the original glory that I knew was there. This used to bother me until I came to realize many years later that God had something for His people that was beyond Pentecost. I still cherish that Hope, and I know that God will do exceeding and abundantly above all we can ask or think. It is difficult to sense the reality of the anointing and presence of God just by reading about it; but for those not familiar with the glory of those early days, let us reprint an excerpt from the writing of a man whom the Lord used in those times. (The Azusa that is mentioned was the name of a street in Los Angeles, where this particular outpouring took place).
"The spirit of song given from God in the beginning was like the Aeolian harp in its spontaneity and sweetness. In fact it was the very breath of God, playing on human heart strings, or human vocal chords. The notes were wonderful in sweetness, volume and duration. In fact they were oft-times humanly impossible. It was indeed 'singing in the Spirit'.
"...We had no pope or hierarchy. We were brethren. We had no human program; the Lord Himself was leading. We had no priest class, nor priest craft. These things have come in later, with the apostatizing of the movement. We did not even have a platform or pulpit in the beginning. All were on a level. The ministers were servants, according to the true meaning of the word. We did not honor men for their advantage in means or education, but rather for their God-given gifts. He set the members in the Body.
"Now a 'wonderful and horrible thing is come to pass in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?' (Jer. 5:30, 31).
"The services ran almost continuously. Seeking souls could be found under the power almost any hour of the night or day. The place was never closed nor empty. The people came to meet God... He was always there. Hence a continuous meeting. The meeting did not depend on the human leader. God's presence became more and more wonderful. In that old building, with its low rafters and bare floors, God took strong men and women to pieces, and put them together again, for His glory. It was a tremendous overhauling process. Pride and self-assertion, self-importance and self-esteem could not survive there. The religious ego preached its own funeral sermon quickly.
"No subjects or sermons were announced ahead of time, and no special speakers for such an hour. No one knew what might be coming, what God would do. All was spontaneous, ordered of the Spirit. We wanted to hear from God, through whomever He might speak. We had no respect of persons. The rich and educated were the same as the poor and ignorant, and found a much harder death to die. We only recognized God. All were equal. No flesh might glory in His presence. He could not use the self-opinionated. Those were Holy Ghost meetings, led of the Lord. It had to start in poor surroundings, to keep out the selfish, human element. All came down in humility together at His feet. They all looked alike and had all things in common, in that sense at least. The rafters were low, the tall must come down. By the time they got to Azusa they were humbled, ready for the blessing. The fodder was thus placed for the lambs, not for giraffes. All could reach it.
"We were delivered right there from ecclesiastical hierarchism and abuse. We wanted God. When we first reached the meeting, we avoided as much as possible human contact and greeting. We wanted to meet God first. We got our head under some bench in the corner in prayer, and met men only in the Spirit, knowing them 'after the flesh' no more.
"All obeyed God, in meekness and humility. In honor we preferred one another. The Lord was liable to burst through anyone. We prayed for this continually. Someone would finally get up anointed for the message. It might be from the back seat for from the front. It made no difference...
"Someone might be speaking. Suddenly the Spirit would fall upon the congregation. God Himself would give the altar call. Men would fall all over the house, like the slain in battle, or rush for the altar en masse to seek God. The scene often resembled a forest of fallen trees...
"When God spoke, we all obeyed. It seemed a fearful thing to hinder or grieve the Spirit... God was in His holy temple. It was for man to keep silent." (From "Another Wave Rolls In" --by Frank Bartlemen).
I am not saying, "let's go back to Pentecost." I am saying, "Let us GO ON!" But if we are to GO ON, we must GO BACK to that dedication and commitment that they knew in those days. Pentecost was a harvest of 'firstfruits'. If the glory we once knew was 'firstfruits' ...then we anticipate that it was but the foretaste of the glory that we shall know at harvest time, at the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of Ingathering.
When we speak of "Pentecost" of course, we are referring to the scriptural Pentecost, and not to any denomination or group of people that use that name. Too often what we see today is but the empty shell... or as a former pastor used to say, "...All that was left of the dove when it had flown away," --referring to the horrible famine in Samaria in the days of Elisha, when they were feeding upon "doves' dung" and the "ass's head"--and paying good silver pieces for it. (See 2 Kgs 6:25).
The Day of the LORD, a Day of Darkness
The day of darkness is the inevitable result of God's glory coming into the midst of His people. And so of course there is tribulation, for the haters of truth will certainly rise up against the light. There was no real reproof of sin in the earth until Jesus came on the scene. But when He came as a Light into the world, the lovers of darkness grew more intensely hateful against Him whose very presence angered them. Egypt never knew such darkness in her history as in the day of redemption for God's people. And as that day drew nigh we are told: "There was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: they saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings" (Ex. 10:22, 23).
And so, whenever the Lord would rise up on behalf of His people, and went before them against the enemy, there always seemed to be a blending of His glory with desolation and judgment: "A day of darkness and gloominess..." Why? Because "the morning" is "spread upon the mountains" as God's "great people" align themselves for battle. And "all faces gather blackness..." Why? Because "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: And the LORD shall utter His voice before His army; for His camp is very great: for He is strong that executeth His word..." (See Joel 2:2-11) It seems so unlike God; and it seems so unlike His people who walk in love and truth. But what is it all about? Here is a people so disciplined by the Cross, and walking in such love and truth that they become a torment to those who walk in darkness. Don't think for one moment that the reason we live in ease and contentment is because our society is a democratic one. It is rather BECAUSE WE LACK THE GLORY OF GOD THAT TORMENTS THE WORKERS OF EVIL. Our feeble marches and protests are just accepted by the masses as the democratic right of the people. But in that day there will be open persecution. And God's judgments will fall as the sharp sword of the Word goes forth from hearts that have known rejection, humiliation, weakness, and poverty of spirit.
There is no darkness or evil in God. But when light is rejected, there is darkness. When love is rejected, there is hate. When peace is rejected (the Prince of Peace), there is war.
We read in the scriptures how the sun will be turned into blackness, and moon into blood. It is because God has arisen out of His holy habitation (the Church) to judge the world for their iniquity:
"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" (Joel 3:15-16). Paul tells us that the heaven-quakes and the earth-quakes signify that God is shaking everything that can be shaken, so that the things which cannot be shaken may remain, steadfast and sure. (See Heb. 12:27-28).
The Day of the Lord, a Day of Famine
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD" (Amos 8:11).
God said He would take away "the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water, the mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent and the ancient, the captain of fifty, and the honorable man, and the counselor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator" (Isa. 3:1-3).
Theological seminaries and schools of religious training will be empty. No longer will the ministry be something that our young people will aspire after. The prophets and the seers will be ashamed to be called one of God's ministers, or a leader of the people. They will excuse themselves by saying, "I will not be a healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people." (Isa. 3:7). He is confessing, "I'm sorry, but I can't help you." And the reason for this kind of famine? "Because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of His glory" (vs. 8).
"Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God" (Mic. 3:6, 7).
What kind of prophets were these? The kind that are telling God's people that all is well, that they will not see tribulation,--God loves them too much for that... the kind that have discovered the ministry to be a financial bonanza when they give prophecies of peace. The kind that will prophesy good things to those who put something in their mouths, but show contempt for those who refuse. "And he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him" (Mic. 3:5). Listen to this: "Now everyone in the audience who wants me to pronounce the blessing of the Lord upon your life, just stand and come forward with a thousand dollars, and God will give you the blessing of Abraham." Then the amounts are reduced, for a somewhat lesser blessing. "Who will bring five hundred dollars, for the blessing of David?" or, "Who will bring two hundred... one hundred..." Perhaps a small blessing may be available to the one who can only afford a ten dollar bill! The tragedy is that there are so many gullible people out there in the Church, who "love to have it so."
Dear ones, God has to send a famine in the land when He sees abominations like these. But in the midst of it all there will be the true prophets of the LORD, like Micah of old, who are "full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of judgment (justice), and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin" (Mic. 3:8).
The Day of the LORD, the Day of Confusion
"Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are come upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit, shall be taken in the snare" (Isa. 24:17, 18).
Go ahead and build your bomb-shelters, and your mountain hide-outs, and stack them well with food and water and guns. In that day you will discover that the treasure you have accumulated for the day of trouble will avail nothing. Far better if you would distribute your excess wealth now to places of need, and in so doing "lay up treasure in Heaven," and find your habitation in God:
"Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast" (Isa. 26:20).
Your refuge in doctrines about the second coming that promise safety and security will be swept away when the hailstones of God begin to fall. No wonder the teachers and the prophets and those who assure the people that God will snatch them away from it all, will scramble for safety in that day, and find none:
"And the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place" (Isa. 28:17).
And yet in the midst of all the tribulation the people who have found their refuge in God shall rejoice in their God...
"Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the Mighty One of Israel..." (Isa. 30:29) When and where is all this joy? In the very time of the LORD's wrath: "And the LORD shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones" (vs. 30).
The Day of the LORD, a Day of Humbling
"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" (Isa. 2:11).
It is the day when God brings all men down to one common level. "Every mountain and hill shall be made low" ...whether it be in the Church, or in the world. (See Isa. 40:1-5).
"The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth" (Isa. 23:9). There are some honorable men who bow at the foot of the Cross, but Paul tells us they are few in number: "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called" (1 Cor. 1:26).
When the glory of the LORD comes to His Temple, it is to "stain the pride of all glory" in His people, in each of us... not only by bowing once at the foot of the Cross for the remission of sins, but in taking up our cross and following Him.
The Day of the LORD, a Day of Cleansing
"And the Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant... But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness" (Mal. 3:1-3).
God's Holy Spirit has been given to us to make us HOLY; and His people are yet to become "holiness unto the LORD." How and when is this to happen? "When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion... by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning" (Isa. 4:4).
Do we really want to manifest the light of God to a world that sits in darkness? We are not going to do it, beloved, by preaching and talking about it; but only by submitting ourselves to the SPIRIT OF JUDGMENT, and THE SPIRIT OF BURNING. Then will the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives be a flaming fire that will shine forth in this world of sin and darkness.
"And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night" (Isa. 4:5).
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee" (Isa. 60:1).
Darkness and light, brethren, and at one and the same time. His glory shall be seen, and not merely talked about. And when men see it, one of two things will happen: they will walk in the light, or they will turn away into greater darkness than they have ever known. His glory will draw the line that separates day and night, truth and error, good and evil.
The Day Of the LORD, the Day of Vengeance
Vengeance for what? For His Temple. God has a controversy with Zion. And after the cleansing of Zion He will deal with Babylon... that system that has captivated His people and prevented them from becoming His own dwelling place in the earth. God through eternal ages has desired a dwelling place for Himself, and that is why He made man in the beginning. Any teaching, any structure, any system (name or no name, denominational or non-denominational) that promotes any kind of mediator between the individual and his God, other than the one Mediator, who is the Lord Jesus Christ... you can be sure it bears the stamp of Babylon. And God continues to cry, "Come out of her, my people..." Babylon wants to keep the people of God unified under some system, to keep them together, and to keep them under her control. Babylon wants unity. Babylon wants to make a name for herself.
God wants a people for Himself, and for Himself only. He is a jealous God, and will not share His glory with another.
Jesus said, "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled" (Lk. 21:22).
Vengeance for what? It is the vengeance of His Temple: "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... because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of His temple" (See Jer. 51:6, 11).
Babylon is the whole world system, religious as well as political. She has brought the people of God under her sway, so that they are no longer able to serve Him in His holy Temple, and worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, free from the rulership of kings... and giving the Lord Jesus total Lordship in their lives. The purpose of true ministry before the Lord is to bring this about, to enhance one's individual freedom and relationship with the Lord. The spirit of Babylon would seek to extend the lordship of MAN, under the guise of Divine order.
Chapter 3 - The Battle Is the Lord's
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