"Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. 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: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more" (Joel 3:14-17).
The Bible prophesies of many events which will occur just before the return of Jesus Christ, and this one in Joel is very important of itself, besides the fact that it is very soon to be fulfilled. I know we find it easier to believe in prophecies which were fulfilled a long time ago, or shall be fulfilled in the distant future, but the prophecies which are being fulfilled at the present moment are the ones we have the most trouble believing. The present situation presents us with one prophecy which has been in the process of being fulfilled since 1962, and is nearing its completion, and another which is about to begin to be fulfilled, because of the fulfillment of the other one, during which there will be a requirement on our part to make our own decision to follow God, and not man.
What we are facing today is the conclusion of the gathering of the tares, of the thirteenth chapter of Matthew. The householder, the Son of Man, said to his servants, "In the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them." That harvest began in 1962 with Vatican II, and the launching of the "Ecumenical Movement." The Pontiff, John XXIII, stated the goal of that movement to be the gathering together of all of her "daughters" back under the wings of Roman Catholicism.
We are almost there, as was demonstrated, in the past few weeks, by non-Catholics, in their adoration of the late Pope John Paul II, as well as for his successor, Benedict the XVI. They will not persuade all Christians to be Catholic, but they have certainly been gathering them into groups which are like-minded. And that harvest has certainly been facilitated by the leadership of the non-Catholic segment of Christianity. They will very soon reach a point in their progress at which they will begin to exert pressure on us all to join the trend, and affiliate ourselves with them.
As that process develops, it will become necessary for the Lord's faithful to find the courage to withstand the pressure, and pay whatever price we must to make our decision for truth, and trust God to "gather the wheat, the children of the Kingdom, into His barn." That place of safety is prophesied of by the ark, in the days of Noah. Only, this time, we will need deliverance from the flood of vitriolic propaganda which shall spew forth from the mouth of the serpent. Even now, God is beginning to prepare that deliverance.
This prophecy, in Joel, describes Christianity as the sun and the moon and the stars, and tells us that the light of the gospel will go out, in the whole world, as "the day of the Lord" draws near. However, it also assures us that He will be with us and help us through it, saying, "The heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of His people."
For almost 60 years now, the evangelist, Billy Graham, has urged millions of people to "Make their decision for Christ." Today, June 26th, he ended his public ministry, and the call to repentance by Billy Graham, and the many others who have carried that message, will begin to fade from the scene. It will gradually be replaced by a new, emerging call to Christians, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him."
It will not be easy. Your faith will be challenged; your resolve to be faithful to God, and His Christ, in these difficult times will be challenged, and you will be faced with one of the greatest decisions which you have ever faced as a Christian. You made the right decision when you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. Now we must all make the right decision, as we face the last great efforts of Satan to try to deceive us, and bring the wrath of God upon us.
God has faithfully promised us deliverance in this last challenge to the Christian faith, saying, "The day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: - And saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau (apostate Christianity); and the kingdom shall be the Lord's." God is even now preparing faithful men to lead us to victory as the final days of the Grace Age unfold before us. Find them, and escape the wrath to come.