Blow ye 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; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: 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; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. ( Joel 2:1-6)
Biblical Prophecy is like seeing a mountain from a distance. I once hiked towards what I thought was a mountain in the Philippines, with some Philippines to accompany me. Coming from Iowa I had never seen a mountain or been on one before.
The ‘mountain’ I thought we were heading for didn’t seem that far away, but it was. As I came closer and closer with the group it became obvious that the ‘mountain’ was in fact many mountains. Their peaks all seemed to meld together but they were separated by miles in fact.
In Biblical prophecy, we have the same phenomenon. Prophetic visions are lumped together, but in fact there could be a thousand years between one and the other. Prophecy is at times a repeating cycle, ever intensifying unto the last days and the ultimate fulfillment of the vision in the end times.
There was indeed a locust invasion, and yet it portended another invasion, the Babylonian invasion of Judah. The swarming, stripping, licking and gnawing away and ultimately the destruction visited upon Judah was much like the 4-stage process prophesied by Joel. The Babylonians took almost everything of value. They entered into every house, they ravished many women, they killed many priests, they carried off all of the national treasures and skilled artisans, and eventually they destroyed the very most precious thing of all, the Temple of the LORD.
Yet, for lack of national repentance, there would be many, many more ‘locust’ invasions of Judah and Israel by the nations.
There would be invasions by the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Seleucids, The Romans, the Arabian Muslims, Turks and on and on it would go, swarming, gnawing, licking and destroying everything.
For example, The Seleucids, under Antiochus Epiphanes, desecrated the Temple, destroyed the national religion, outlawed Sabbath and Circumcision, and slaughtered a Pig on the Holy of Holies. What was there left to take? They even co-opted the High Priest, installing one who dropped his own Hebrew name and took on a Greek name.
This would be for them the “wages of Sin”, swarms of human locust empires, stripping away everything, leaving a tiny remnant, defiling, destroying, chewing and laying bare.
The Romans killed a million Jews, glutted the world slave markets with Jews, razed the Temple, re-named the Holy Land (Palestina), and sent Judah into an exile that lasts till this day!
Even in Exile the past two thousand years have been a long night of Pograms, persecutions, genocidal wars and the attempt to strip away everything Sacred from Israel. Russians, Germans, Poles, Eastern Europeans, Muslims,Spanish, you name it the Locusts have successively fulfilled this prophecy for centuries on end. It is a miracle there still is an Israel.
All of these were lesser “Day of the LORD”scenarios, which all point to the final and ultimate “Day of the LORD”.
The “day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness,” is a reference to the final conflict, the last and ultimate “Locust invasion”, which is called the “Great Tribulation”, such as has never been seen before or since.
One of the emphasis’ in Joel’s prophecy is on the efficiency of the invaders. They go through the cities, run on the walls, they never break rank or turn on each other, and in their wake, they leave virtually nothing but destruction.
I see a parallel application of this occurring on the vine, that is the church. A cultural invasion has entered into the homes, minds, hearts, families of the entire world. The Spiritual invasion has eroded the worldview, the morals, ethics and even the Spirituality of Christians, through the culture.
“They”, the Locust like invaders, are everywhere. They come into homes through television, popular culture, they are in schools, inculcating millions into an atheistic worldview, they are ravenous to destroy Christian concepts of marriage, ethics, morality, Government, and even reality itself.
Everywhere these ‘locusts’ have gone they leave barrenness, sterility, and even a nihilistic death wish behind them. Christians are becoming aware of the Spiritual invasion but most seem powerless to attempt to stop it in it’s progress against their families and lives. The rot is almost complete. the formerly Christian culture is nearly razed to the ground with some exceptions.
The Day of the Lord comes, it is nigh at hand…what remains except to turn to the LORD himself again, in repentance, the time of direct Divine intervention is coming quickly.