Several months ago, I had been coming to a point in a 2-3 year process of reading through about 170 chapters of end times scripture where I felt like I could start writing on the subject. So, I went to my eight or so pages of tiny scribblings and began to ponder how I could possibly start compiling the notes…at least into themes. For some reason, the first thing I write down as a theme is the “Oil of Joy.” It comes from a prophetic Psalm of Jesus our King, Psalm 45. “You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” ~Psalm 45:7 (NIV)
Honestly, this is not what I expected to start writing about. But I began to see similar themes coming forth from the scriptures I had studied. Scriptures such as Psalm 68:1-3 (NIV), which says, ”May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. May you blow them away like smoke— as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.”
Then I felt the Lord saying to me that the Book of Revelation is also the Book of Pure Joy. You may ask, “How is that possible? Isn’t the Book of Revelation all about trials and tribulation?” Exactly my point! James put it this way, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Where in the Bible can you find more “pure joy” than the Book of Revelation?
This is the time of the final preparation of the Bride, a time of refining and being made spotless and white! And the preparation of the Bride is a time of joyful anticipation! But we will desperately need the joy of the Lord to help us endure the trials and tribulations. “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) That is exactly why Jesus encouraged us so much in the area of endurance and patience in regards to the end times. Revelation 14:12 (NIV) says, “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” As a bride we will faithfully keep our eyes only on Jesus, and we will resist the temptation to be caught up in the cares of this world. We will resist the temptation to take the mark of the beast. We will not only resist the antichrist, but we will do mighty works in the midst of the tribulation and lead many to righteousness during the time of our refinement and trials! (Daniel 11:32-25) Hasn’t this always been the case since the beginning of the church? Be encouraged! It will be a time of great joy for the believer! Yes, Jesus told us that the wheat and the tare will mature together. But where sin abounds, grace much more abounds! (Romans 5:20) We should not fearfully look at how big the tares are getting, but keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, we should be a light that others look to in their great time of need! It is harvest time! (Matthew 13:36-40)
I look around and I am concerned that many are approaching the end times with either: 1) An escapist mentality, or 2) Complete blindness about the end times. The Lord loves us dearly and He has given us the Book of Revelation as a great blessing! (Revelation 1:3) He wants us to understand that He has specifically placed many of us in this time in history to be alive and to participate in the greatest time of joy the earth has every experienced! Again, it doesn’t mean it will be easy! But He doesn’t want you to miss out on your time of joy! He has set us up to be sons and daughters of God. The whole earth has anticipated our arrival. (Romans 8:19) He has carefully pre-arranged this thing for His beloved followers to be able to overcome Satan (Revelation 12:11) and then to receive all of the rewards of the overcomer! It is all made available to us through the blood of the Lamb! What a great heritage we have, if we will accept it.
“But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord.” ~Psalm 48:17 (AMP)
It is time to stay in His river: the river of the Holy Spirit and Fire that flows from the throne of God! If we stay in that river, we will stay in His love and His joy! (Ezekiel 47)
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” ~Psalm 46:1-7 (NIV)
This morning I was reading even more about joy and rejoicing in the battle. I was thinking that some of this is getting hard to wrap my brain around! But when I look at Jesus battling alongside the saints in Revelation 19 with a double-edged sword coming out of His mouth…it at least start to make a little bit more sense. But I’m just not sure how it will all come together at the very end…during the bowls of wrath and the battle at Armageddon. But here are some scriptures on that topic. They paint a very interesting, but graphic, picture!
“Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of his faithful people. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them—this is the glory of all his faithful people. Praise the Lord.” ~Psalm 149:1-7 (NIV)
“Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns—whether they be green or dry—the wicked will be swept away. The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked. Then people will say, ’Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.’” ~Psalm 58:9-11 (NIV)
It is somewhat hard to imagine all that is going to take place…but I can only imagine that those images are taking place at the very, very end…during the bowls of wrath, when we are fighting alongside Jesus!
Isaiah 24 is another great example (which is interesting, because Matthew 24 is also about the end of times). In Isaiah 24, we find a graphic description of the end of the earth as we know it. It lays out the destruction of everything and seemingly just about everyone! Yet, in the middle of all of this, it says, “They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the Lord’s majesty. Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. From the ends of the earth we hear singing: ‘Glory to the Righteous One.’” By the end of the chapter, the Lord returns in His glory. The brightness of His glory is so great, that it “embarrasses” the moon and the sun!
Wow, what a awesome time we have just ahead of us! A time of great joy and great victories…for those that will accept it! I hope and pray that you will join with me in battle as the joyful and victorious warrior Bride of Christ!