Did you see the divine history within the human history?
The truth is that the four kinds of locusts mentioned in Joel 1 and which are now operating in the world are way too obvious and outward and all over the place, and this may cause many saints and lovers of Christ to be wearied out and not have a clear vision.
The people wanders off and goes astray because of lack of vision (Prov. 29:18).
We need to ask the Lord to give us a clear vision that we may see what age we are in: we are in the last days, right at the bottom of the great human image in Daniel 2, and all we need to have is the 10 toes, the 10 great kings, to rise up and give their power to the Antichrist.
Before all this happens and even right now, we want to be in the divine history within the human history by loving the Lord, opening to Him, enjoying Him, and living Him out!
the central thought of the book of Joel
In the book of the prophet Joel there is a central thought which is that
the nations, as the locusts, devastate Israel consecutively in four empires, from Nebuchadnezzar, the first king of Babylon, to Antichrist, the last Caesar of Rome; they will be overcome and terminated by Christ, who will set up the kingdom and reign among the saved Israel in the age of restoration” (life-study of Joel, msg. 1).
There were four great empires that devastated the nation of Israel – the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire, the Macedonian-Grecian Empire, and the Roman Empire – and these will be conquered and overcome by Christ.
The stone cut without hands is Christ with His overcomers, the corporate Christ, coming to smash the human government and bring in the kingdom of God that fills the whole earth! This is our destiny!
God uses “the locusts” to fulfill His interest
What about these “locusts” that are mentioned in Joel 1? Before the first wave of locusts (the Babylonian Empire), God warned His people and told them to return to Him, but they wouldn’t listen. This forced God to send four kinds of locusts to chastise His people and turn them to Himself, that Christ may come in and bring in the restoration.
God used the four successive great empires in the world to accomplish His economy and fulfill His purpose. On the one hand He chastised His people and He deals with the nations, but in the divine history God is doing something marvellous! He prepared the world situation for the accomplishing of His purpose!
Here are some of the things He did with the help of the “locusts”:
- The incarnation – God allowed Israel to suffer unde the locusts so that He may prepare everything for bringing forth Mary and Joseph, so that God may be brought into man! God used the suffering of the Jews to bring in the incarnation, the greatest thing that ever happened, an unprecedented event that brought God into man and mingled God and man as one! Christ’s incarnation is so meaningful and so mysterious, yet so wonderful!
- The Birth of Christ – God used the locusts of the Roman Empire, especially the census of Cesar Augustus (Luke 1:1-2) to bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, where the Lord Jesus was born to fulfill the prophecy in Micah! Such an outward event with large impact was used by God to hiddenly, secretly, unknown to other people, He would become a man and be born of a virgin in Bethlehem.
- The Crucifixion of Christ – the Jews’ way of killing is stoning, so God arranged for the Roman Empire to have the way of crucifying their criminals, and the Roman Empire subdued Israel, so that God would set the scene for Christ to be crucified and fulfill the Lord’s word in John 3:14 and the prophecy in Num. 21:8-9. God used the “locusts of the Roman Empire” to fulfill His purpose! Christ could not have been crucified without the Roman empire.
- The Occasion for the Pouring out of the Spirit – God used the gathering of all the scattered Jews (the Romans scattered the people they subdued, and the Jewish religion gathered them at Pentecost) to pour out the Spirit as the processed and consummated Triune God upon all flesh, so that the church may be produced as the Body of Christ (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2).
- The Spreading of the Gospel – The Romans brought in their culture, building highways and roads (used by God for the spreading of the gospel), having set shipping routes all over the world (used by God for enlarging the kingdom of God, see Paul’s trips), having the same language, Greek (used by God to write the New Testament so that the whole world may read it), and freedom to move for Roman citizens (greatly used by God in the case of Paul, a Roman citizen, to spread the gospel to the whole inhabited earth).
the divine history is happening within our human history
The Roman emperors didn’t know it, the governors and the kings didn’t realize it, and the Jewish leaders didn’t see this, but within the outward shell of human history – which everyone can see and is affected / impressed by – God was accomplishing His purpose in the intrinsic and hidden divine history.
He is using the Roman empire even today, as an accumulation of all the previous empires with their cultures and ways, to spread the gospel, build up the Body of Christ, and prepare the Bride of Christ. He used the Roman empire to bring forth Christ, and He used the suffering of the Jews to bring God into man.
Wow, this is so wonderful! In our life also, God uses the outward situations, the political situation, the geographical situation, and everything around us, that we may be saved and we may grow in life to be building members of the Body of Christ! Nothing can stand in His way!
The divine history is going on within the human history, and God is being incarnated again and again in all the members of His Body for His full expression – and this is with the help of the outward human history with all the locusts! Wow, Hallelujah!
In the last days, as we see the day of the Lord’s return drawing near, as we see the human history being set up to bring the scene where the Lord will return with His overcomers, His mighty ones, may we be those who give ourselves to the Lord to love Him!
We need to give ourselves to the Lord to love Him, enjoy Him, pursue Him, propagate Him, preach the gospel to the whole inhabited earth, and be united, mingled, and incorporated with Christ! We need to be fully Christ-ified to be His bride and bring Him back!
Lord Jesus, open our eyes and our mind to see and understand what is really going on. Save us from being distracted by what’s happening in the outward human history. May we be one with You to the extent that we live moment by moment in the divine history. Thank You for all Your arrangement and usage of all the outward things, the locusts, to save us, mature us, and perfect us to be the mighty ones joining You in Your descent to bring in God’s kingdom to earth!
References and Further Reading
- Sharing inspired from Life-study of Joel (msgs. 1, 5) as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of the Minor Prophets, week 3 (entitled, The Central Thought of the Book of Joel with Its Controlling Prophecy of Four Kinds of Locusts).
- Buy this morning revival book online via Living Stream Ministry.
- Hymns on this topic,
# In the time He designed / He was born of a virgin’s womb / To reveal what was sealed from eternity. / He was born in human history
# If we would love the Lord / And care for His unique Body.
# Loving You, Lord’s all I’m living for; / Loving You, Lord, to the uttermost.
- Picture source: the Gospel bookroom Thailand.