For there is no other name given under heaven to men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
Joel's Army of God is on the March
God states that the prophesies of the Bible confirm His word. Speaking through the great Prophet Isaiah, God said that, "I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come, saying my counsel shall stand." (Is 26:9, NKJV)
Many ancient prophets as well as the Apostles John and Paul, and even Jesus Himself described a great and terrible end of time battle between good and evil. God, speaking through the Prophet Joel, said that in the season leading into the End Time war He would raise up a great army of individuals equipped with supernatural powers.
Joel 2:1-11 prophesied, Blow the trumpet in Zion! For the day of the LORD is coming. A people come, great and strong, the like of whom the world has never seen. So mighty are they that it seems a fire devours in front of them and the land is left desolate in their wake, and the faces of their foes are drained of color. They climb walls like men of war. Every one marches in formation and they do not break ranks, yet each one marches in his own path.
Joel further describes that there will be an unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Spirit, called a Latter Rain. (Joel 2:23) After this, God promises, "I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity, then your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions." (HCSB)
Although Joel speaks with army terms as if there will be some kind of military unit on the ground, the Holy Spirit, here, is talking about spiritual warfare. Joel's Army of God uses spiritual weapons.
God, speaking through the Prophet Zechariah, said, "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts." (Zec 4:6) The Apostle Paul wrote that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds." (2 Cor 10:4, NKJV) These spiritual weapons described by Paul seem to have been first exercised by the followers of Jesus when Jesus sent the Seventy out two by two into every city and place He intended to go, with the mission to preach and heal the sick. (Lk 10:1-19) They returned with joy to report that even demons were subject to them in His name.
Jesus charged His followers to go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole of creation. Jesus said, These signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons. No deadly thing will harm them, and they will lay hands on the sick and they will get well. (Mk 16:15-18, HCSB paraphrased)
At the Last Supper Jesus explained the importance of miracles and signs and wonders. Philip asked Him, Show us the Father. Jesus must have sighed as he said, Don't you know that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father? If you do not believe that, at least believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. (Jn 14:8-11)
While John the Baptist was in prison awaiting his execution, he began to lose faith and sent messengers to Jesus asking Jesus to assure him that He was the Messiah. Jesus replied, go tell John that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the gospel is preached. (Lk 7:21-22) And, finally, John tells us that Jesus performed many signs and miracles so that we would believe He is the Son of God, and in believing have eternal life. (Jn 21:30-31) So in looking at what Jesus said to Philip at the Last Supper, Jesus' message to John the Baptist shortly before his death, and the Apostle John's conclusion to his Gospel, it is clear that Jesus proclaimed that the purpose of miracles, signs and wonders is to demonstrate the healing presence of God the Father.
Immediately following the resurrection, Jesus instructed his disciples to remain in Jerusalem and wait on the Holy Spirit. He said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8, HCSB) On the Day of Pentecost, 50 days after Jesus's Resurrection, the Holy Spirit fell on 120 of Jesus' followers gathered together in constant prayer in Jerusalem. Then the remaining Apostles, who had cowardly abandoned Jesus to avoid being caught up in His arrest and crucifixion, were baptized by the Holy Spirit. They were instantly transformed into fearless evangelists. (Acts 2 and 4)
Jesus assured the Disciples at the Last Supper, that he who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. Indeed, they will do even greater works because He would go to the Father. (Jn 14:12)
So it was that the Apostles also healed the sick and raised the dead. Peter and John passed a man crippled from birth who sat at the entrance to the Temple. They said, Look at us. And fixing his attention on the Apostles, expecting to receive something. Peter said, Silver and gold I do not have but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. Immediately his feet and ankle bones gained strength, and he leaped up, stood, and walked. (Acts 3:3-8) Believers brought the sick out onto street in the hope that even the shadow of Peter might cover them, and they were all healed. And the Scriptures tells us that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from Paul to sick people and the diseases and evil spirits left them. (Acts 19:12) At Troas Paul raised the young man Eutychus from the dead. (Acts 20:9-12) And Peter raised Dorcas from the dead at Joppa. (Acts 9:36-40)
Today, those baptized in the Holy Spirit are going forth all over the world with stunning signs and wonders, as the vanguard of Joel's Army. We do not hear much about it because, as Jesus said, the enemy is the prince of this world (Jn 12:31, 14:30, and 16:11) and the world hates believers. (Jn 15:18-19) Moreover the Apostle Paul explained that satan, whom Paul goes so far as to call the "god of this age," blinds unbelievers so that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ may not shine on them. (2 Cor 4:4) So week after week the world media ignores the moving of the Holy Spirit and tends to limit its coverage of Christians to their perception of what is newsworthy.
Heidi Baker and her husband Rolland Baker have planted more than 7,000 churches in Mozambique, Africa, through the wonder-working power of God, raised many children from the dead, and healed hundreds if not thousands. Mahesh Chavda, based at a pastorate in North Carolina, travels the world, through the power of God's Spirit, he has raised the dead and healed hundreds or thousands. Brother Eddie Villanueva of the Philippines, ordained by Pentecostal Evangelist Mike McKinney, through the working of the Holy Spirit, has birthed and grown his movement Jesus Is Lord to 7 millions members, and has been described as one of only a handful of men in the entire world who can command a meeting of over 1 million believers. Evangelist A.L. Gill at the age of 71 has traveled to more than 81 countries, estimates he has more than 250,000 students of the bible, and through the power of the Holy Spirit healed the blind and deaf. Spirit-filled Korean Pastor David Yong Gi Cho, began a street ministry immediately following the Korean war with only an army tent, that the Holy Spirit has now increased to more than 1 million members. Pastor Chuck Smith while pastoring a tiny church, received a prophesy he would be called to lead a miraculous movement of God at a church along the ocean. Later he answered a call to pastor another small church in Costa Mesa, California called Calvary Chapel. Today, Calvary Chapel ministers, initially coming out of Costa Mesa, have planted hundreds of churches all over the globe, including more than 600 in Russia alone. They say there is no secret to their success. They simply preach the Word of God with no frills, verse by verse, neither adding nor subtracting, and the Word, which is the power to know Jesus and salvation, manifests itself through the power of the living God.
All these movements of the Holy Spirit have a common thread - each was initiated by a man or woman reaching out to God with faithfulness, purity, and obedience, without substantial aid of any large church or denomination directing them. And while the old, main-line churches continue to align themselves with inconsequential institutions of man, becoming increasingly impotent, Spirit-filled believers continue to multiply and bear magnificent fruit.
This Army of Joel operates in the Spirit with powers, signs and wonders because they love Jesus, and have given their lives to Him with purity and unflinching faith, believing on the Word of God that greater works they will do because Jesus has gone to the Father. (John 14:12) They believe that when you do God's will "No weapon formed against you will prosper," (Is 54:11) and "The fear of man brings a snare but whoever trusts in LORD will be safe." (Prov 29:25) They know that "For with God all things are possible." (Mk 9:23 and 10:27) In return for their faith, God honors them with supernatural powers that enable them to do His work. (Php 4:13)
Each will no doubt tell you, it is not about them, it is all about Jesus - it's about being a servant, and the redemptive power of the Blood of Christ.
You can enlist in Joel's Army and take part in changing the world for good in the greatest battle of all time. You will not get a uniform or dog tags. Rather you get everlasting rewards. You join up by falling madly in love with Jesus. Do faith. Faith is an action verb so don't just have faith, but do it! Pray unceasingly, pray for the missions, and leaders, and the disadvantaged and poor. Pray for blessings for others and spiritual gifts for yourself. Stay in the Word. Read and listen to Scripture all the time. Faith comes by hearing the Word. Become informed about the spiritual world around you and don't just accept the knowledge of the material world that the prince of this world wants you to believe. Evil spirits will come against you so always test your beliefs and experiences by checking with the Word of God, based on solid Biblical teaching. Do not forsake the gathering together with believers. Iron sharpens iron so go to church at a Bible believing fellowship that puts the Word of God first. Listen and be guided by your pastor. And pray, pray, pray.
Edited 2007 Copyright 2006 and 2007. Robert Grant. All rights reserved.