The book of Joel speaks of an army that will precede the great outpouring of the Spirit. It will come in a time of crisis, destruction of the enemy and cries for deliverance, when the voice of the Lord will sound:
Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the LORD is coming, For it is at hand. (Joel 2:1)
This text refers to the convocation of the Lord of hosts. In Joel, we find the principal characteristics of this powerful invading force. Applying this type to the kingdom of the Spirit, we see the organized armies of God invading the enemy fortresses, at the voice of the Lord (verse 11).
A numerous people
Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations. The LORD gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; (Joel 2:2, 11)
There is a move of God on the earth and His people are beginning to respond to His convocation. Among this generation people are rising up with distinct characteristics assuming the identity of warriors. A true army is building up and its ranks are swelling each day.
A devastating force
A fire devours before them, And behind them a flame burns; The land is like the Garden of Eden before them, And behind them a desolate wilderness; Surely nothing shall escape them. (Joel 2:3)
Through the power of the fire of the Spirit, the army of God will leave behind the dethroned enemy strongholds in which men were enslaved.
A swift force
Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; And like swift steeds, so they run. (Joel 2:4)
There must be a sense of urgency in the execution of the work because the day of the Lord is coming. We must snatch up lives from the darkness before that day. We must run with determination. The order is to advance quickly.
A combative force
Like a strong people set in battle array. (Joel 2:5b)
The army of the Lord must be an aggressive force. For too long the church has sustained a passive attitude, at the most, a defensive one. Now however it is time for battle and for a decisive attack.
A feared people
The earth quakes before them, The heavens tremble; The sun and moon grow dark, And the stars diminish their brightness. (Joel 2:10).
Demons tremble before the army of God. They tremble before the people who know who raises them up to fulfill their vocation as sons of God on the earth: “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
A courageous force
They run like mighty men, They climb the wall like men of war; Every one marches in formation, And they do not break ranks. (Joel 2:7)
The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion. (Proverbs 28:1)
The boldness of the Spirit of God is a characteristic of the anointed and equipped army of God. There is nothing to fear because “greater is He that is in us” (1 John 4:4). The certainty of victory and the knowledge of who enlists us and who leads the battle determine the degree of courage.
An invading force
They run like mighty men, They climb the wall like men of war; They run to and fro in the city, They run on the wall; They climb into the houses, They enter at the windows like a thief. (Joel 2:7a; 9)
Satan has installed his princes, governors and forces, in nations, cities and towns. The Army of God will not respect walls and will invade each town, village, city, state, nation and continent. It is time to take the kingdoms of the earth for Jesus.
An ordered and regimented force
Every one marches in formation, And they do not break ranks. They do not push one another; Every one marches in his own column. (Joel 2:7b, 8a)
There are positions and tasks that the Lord of hosts has delegated to each of His warriors. Order and discipline in maintaining these positions and tasks are essential. When each one attends to his specific role and responsibility within the army, he contributes to the complete fulfillment of the mission entrusted to us as a whole.
An unbeatable force
Though they lunge between the weapons, They are not cut down. (Joel 2:8b)
There is no retreat against a counter attack. It is certain that the enemy will come, but the Army of God will not fall back, neither will it stop in its path. There is much land to possess.
Arise and depart, For this is not your rest; Because it is defiled, it shall destroy, Yes, with utter destruction. (Micah 2:10).
An unpredictable force
They enter at the windows like a thief. (Joel 2:9b)
There is no more successful attack than that in which we take the enemy by surprise. The church has counterattacked. Today it is time to plan surprise attacks and strike before the enemy can think of reacting.
A powerful people
A people come, great and strong. . . Like a strong people set in battle array. For strong is the One who executes His word. (of the Lord) (Joel 2:2, 5, 11)
The strength of this Army is in God. It is created, commissioned, equipped and commanded by the Lord Himself. Its explosive power is in its devastating weapons that “are powerful in God for the destruction of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4); they are spiritual and proceed from the Lord of hosts. The authority of this people is in the name of Jesus.