Given for the Saints at Medicalodge, Neosho, on 6/12/05
"The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Acts 2:20-21).
In terms of end-time subjects, "the day of the Lord" is one of the most frightening, probably because of the scary adjectives attached to it, like "great and terrible" (Joel 2:31; Mal. 4:5). As we've noted in recent articles on this subject, people in the east and middle east describe places, events, and things in symbolic terms, while we in the west tend to be more literal and logical. The Bible makes use of a literary term known as "hyperbole," an exaggeration to make a point. Here's an example of what I mean. Joel wrote, "I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD" (Joel 2:30-31). Old and New Testament writers alike used cosmic symbols to punctuate how important the Lord's dealings with men are. Joel declared, "Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on ALL PEOPLE. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions" (Vs. 27-28).
Peter quoted Joel on the Day of Pentecost, but since He was describing a long awaited blessing, the promised coming of Christ in Spirit (II Cor. 3:17), the prophet changed the adjectives from "great and terrible," to "great and glorious." On that day, God fulfilled Joel's prophecy that His spirit would be poured out on "ALL people," an awesome promise indeed. Peter reassured his listeners that "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Acts 2:21). I believe that God put that verse in there to show us that no matter how bleak and scary the words, nevertheless, throughout scripture there is ALWAYS GOOD NEWS in God's dealings with men!
Isaiah used poetic hyperbole (exaggeration), to describe catastrophic events (God's judgments), which would occur in Israel's future. I find this inspiring book to be beautiful, terrifying, and comforting as well. Using symbols they understood, Isaiah foretold Babylon's conquest of Israel some 115 years before it happened! Notice that the hell fire and damnation preachers use similar expressions to depict what will happen at the end of the age. In doing this, they have failed to rightly divide the word of truth since Isaiah wrote before the cross! Here's what I mean: "See, the day of the LORD is coming a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless" (Isa. 13:9-11). Isaiah did use horrific cosmic symbols to describe something decades in their future, and no, the sun and moon did not literally quit shining, but in 586 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar did destroy the Temple, and carried off the gold and silver vessels. You could say his actions caused "the end of the world" as the Jews knew it.
Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 24:29 is very similar: "Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken." This prophecy was fulfilled in A.D. 70, when the Roman General Titus destroyed the city of Jerusalem, leaving not one stone upon the other in Herod's beautiful temple. Lenny has observed that the sun may symbolize the place of light where God dwelt (the temple), and the moon the Jewish priesthood (reflected light). Never again were the Jews to have a place to bring their sacrifices and offerings. To state it metaphorically, their heavens (the spiritual) were forever shaken and their earth (the physical) was destroyed by fire.
The study note on Isa. 2:11, another prophecy about the Lord's judgment of the proud and arrogant, explains, "The day of the Lord is a time of judgment and/or blessing as God intervenes decisively in the affairs of the nations (see Zep. 1:14-2:3). Assyria and Babylon would bring the terror of judgment upon Judah in Isaiah's Day."
Both Isaiah and Peter used cosmic destruction as a metaphor for the judgment against the nations God brought against Israel. Isaiah wrote, "All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree" (Isa. 34:4). Notice that Peter uses a similar theme in describing God's judgment of ungodly men: "The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare" (II Pet. 3:10). The study note on this verse calls this typical "apocalyptic language, common to books like Daniel and Revelation. Due to the figurative nature of such writings, we must not expect complete literalism but recognize it as an attempt to describe the indescribable, a task as impossible as it would have been for a first-century writer to describe the phenomena of our atomic age." In other words, it is hyperbole, exaggeration to make a point.
We still see this type of thing in the middle east today. Remember the first Gulf War? I was frankly frightened when Saddam Hussein threatened that he would drive our army out of Iraq in "the mother of all battles," fearing that he would employ poison gas or some other means of killing our soldiers. As you'll recall, it turned out to be "a tempest in a tea pot." Instead of the horrific battle he had threatened, his elite fighting men, the Republican Guard, turned and ran, many surrendering without any fight at all.
Likewise, when the Insurgents in Iraq today threaten Jihad, "holy war," they are using symbolic language to characterize their intentions to fight to the death. I have worked hard to see beyond just the words in my relationships with others. I'm extremely verbal, a word person. I tend to take what others say literally. It sometimes confuses the issue, for people often do not mean exactly what they say. It has also caused me grief in studying the Bible, for I have tended to look at the words alone. The Spirit has delivered me from this terrifying situation so that I now see into the Father's heart, which is above all, consistently filled with love for His creation. For instance, Peter prefaces his apocalyptic statement about the heavens being destroyed, by assuring us that the Lord "is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (II Pet. 3:9). Surely the Lord God gets what He wants, and since He wants everyone to come to repentance, that's enough for me to believe that everyone will repent, eventually. There's always good news in and among the fire and brimstone.
When I realized that the Spirit was pressing me to write about the Day of the Lord, I had an immediate visceral reaction. "Oh no, Lord," I whined, "please don't make me write about this. I don't want to." It reminded me of the fit I threw when the Spirit pressed me to write "Primrose Path to Gehenna" (Link at end). I didn't want to write that one either, but since it turned out OK, i.e., I didn't get stoned (much), and many people have written to say how much they appreciate it, I decided to press on with "The Day of the Lord." I thought I remembered writing about it before, and so I tried one last time to get out of it. "Look, Lord," I reasoned, "If I wrote about it before, I don't have to do it again, do I?" He replied, "You will write about it." I knew I had to do it, but I still got into the computer's search engine, and to my surprise, found a piece Lenny had written in 1991. His writing reminded me that "The Day of the Lord," includes blessed, awe-inspiring events as well as judgment.
Lenny wrote this essay after a man in the Sunday School class, whom we'll call Glen (not his real name), shared an experience he had with God as he was lying on a gurney waiting to be wheeled into surgery. Here it is:
The Day of the Lord
By Lenny Antonsson
May 10, 2001
Glen, I want you to share again about the experience that you had in the hospital. Now, I want you men to see something. This is what the Bible is talking about. The different writers are saying the same thing. Glen used the words, "It was clarity." This is what God wants you to come into. In this clarity, when you get used to it, he starts depositing things about Himself into this clarity, so that you can see it; you can hear it; you can sense it; you can smell it; you can taste it; and you are in it, all at the same time. This clarity is the place of God. The Bible speaks of it time and time again. King David talked about being with the Lord. Ezekiel said, "And I saw as the color of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it" (Ezekiel 1:27,28, KJV). Isaiah said, "I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple" (Isaiah 6:1, KJV). It all means the same thing. Paul said, "I was in the third heaven" (II Cor. 12:2). John said, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet" (Rev. 1:10, RSV). This is exactly what they are all talking about. Peter said, "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (II Peter 3:8, KJV). What he was talking about is "the eternal now" (See link at end). When Job said, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee" (Job 42:5, KJV). He was referring to this clarity that we're talking about today. After Jesus had risen again and He met with them in the upper room and started speaking to them about what the scriptures mean, the text says, "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures" (Luke 24:45, KJV). This was the clarity we're talking about. He allowed them to see clearly. It happened to the disciples walking on the Emmaus Road. The Bible says, "And their eyes were opened" (Luke 24:31, KJV). This is what happened to Glen. I had this experience with my father in law 20 years ago when he died. I was in California at the time and he was in Springfield, MO, but God moved me in the Spirit to his hospital room. When I took Jim's hand, I was filled with the eternal, with clarity; Jim was filled with the eternal as well, and we turned around and walked into it. This is what Glen is talking about.
I have experienced it time and time again. Clarity is what God laid on my heart six years ago when I started interceding for you men, that this is what you would receive. This month was my birthday, my 6th birthday in intercession for you, and God gave me this birthday present by having Glen share this with us. In this clarity, your efforts are nothing. You have been put aside, your flesh, your Adamic nature, everything about you because it's all God expressing Himself in and through you, totally. This is the holy of holies, where nothing but God can be there because you are in God and of God, completely. This is the temple of God coming down out of heaven. This is the city of God coming down out of heaven. You don't realize it, but all of these things mean exactly the same thing, because in this place of clarity, God starts depositing things into your spirit right there, revealing Himself totally to you. There are hundreds of trillions of things that God can share with you, and you start seeing that in that place, there is nothing of you whatsoever. It is all God.
When you experience this a few times, you are hooked, and you go around 24 hours a day, in the Spirit, wanting more and more and more, and God starts giving you more and more and more. With me it happened that I received something once a year and then, it became once every few months; then it became once a month; then it became once a week, and now, sometimes it happens two, three, four times a week. This is the place where the Holy Spirit starts totally teaching you. Just like all the Bible writers received it differently; every one of them explained it in a different way. The same thing is going to happen to you, and you are going to come in here to class and you can't wait to tell the other guys what happened and how it happened, and when you do that, each one of us starts learning more about God. This is how you truly, truly learn about God, by each one of you talking about how it happened to you, and it confirms things in each of us. That is how God starts exploding in people. This is the Day of the Lord that we're talking about right here. This is light. When God talks about light, He is talking about understanding; He is talking about clarity in understanding Him. This is what light is.
When God said, "Let there be light" (Gen. 1: 3), He meant, "Let there be understanding." What Glen experienced is light. There are a thousand different ways of expressing what Glen experienced, because it is God. Period. Six years ago, when God said to me, "I'm going to give to these men what I have given to you and even more," this is what He was talking about: revelation, God revealing Himself to each one of you individually, not through a teacher, but by the Holy Spirit. He's going to completely fill you up with His light, with His understanding, with His knowledge, with His revelations, with His visions, with His dreams. He is going to teach you personally. When He said to me, "I'm going to reveal myself to them even more than I have revealed myself to you," you have no idea how excited I got about that. That was the perfect thing to say to me. I needed to hear that, because it puts everything onto God and I have no responsibility whatsoever to try to teach you men anything at all. And God is my heavenly Father, my real Father. I totally trust Him for everything. I'm just like a child. When a Father says to the child, "Jump!" and the child jumps and totally trusts his father, that's just how I feel about God, that He is going to totally reveal Himself to you. I feel like I have been in the birth canal for 6 years, and finally, something is being birthed forth from God. End Quote.
When the Lord makes Himself real in your life, for you, THAT is the Day of the Lord. We had a phone call last week from a man who lives on the other side of the state of Missouri from us. He was telling us that he had been a Baptist youth minister, and a big worker in the church. He was surfing the Internet one day and came across a website, which he can't remember, though it was probably one of the "kingdom websites." He read one sentence of an article, whose title and author he has forgotten, but in that instant, the scales fell off his eyes and he saw the truth, that God is sovereign over all things. He did not teach this in church, but as often happens, the news got around that he had changed his focus. His pastor later suggested to him that it would be better if he found another place to worship. The Day of the Lord has a way of shaking your world, dissolving your heavens and setting fire to your earth, but the end of the process is joy unspeakable and full of glory. Jesus warned us that we would be hounded from our places of worship and driven out of town for following Him, and it is really the truth (Matt. 5:10-12; 10:23; 23:34; Jn. 15:20; Acts 8:1; 13:50; 26:11; II Tim. 3:12). These scriptures and others show that persecution follows truth like day follows night, but think of it this way, it causes the roots of the gospel to go ever deeper until God is all we see. His Word became flesh in us.
Father, we thank You that You have delivered us from the kingdom of darkness and have translated us into the kingdom of Light and Love, Mercy and grace, through the gift of Your Spirit within. We speak peace to the embattled, mercy to the cruel, love to the hateful, and Your glory to the depressed in mind and spirit. We praise Your Holy Name for Your greatest gift, Christ the Lord, our inheritance, our hope, and our complete deliverance from all the ties that bind us. May we share Him with all who do not know Your love, who still walk in darkness. In His name we ask it, Amen. Jan Antonsson
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
The Kingdoms of This World
The Last Days
Gog and Magog, Final Battle
Heaven, Fact or Fable?
Primrose Path to Gehenna
The Eternal Now
The Glory Road
We always enjoy hearing from you!
This page was uploaded to the web on 06/09/05
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister,
and last edited on 10/13/08.