Our Lord is now rejected,
And by the world disowned,
By the many still neglected,
And by the few enthroned;
ut soon He’ll come in glory!
The hour is drawing nigh,
For THE CROWNING DAY is coming By-and-by.
Oh, the Crowning Day is coming!
Is coming by-and-by!
When our Lord shall come in power
And glory from on high!
Oh, the glorious sight will gladden
Each waiting, watchful eye,
In THE CROWNING DAY that’s coming By-and-by.
These words, written by El Nathan, and based on Matthew 24:30, were often sung in by-gone days.(The Hymn is found in Alexander’s Hymns No. 3, No. 198.) We need to sing them again! We need to get the spirit of Christ’s return burning within our hearts! We need to be as those who wait on Zion’s walls, watching, waiting, ever longing for the “coming of the Son of Man.”
THE STORY OF JOASH. In this Telegraph we shall look at the dramatic story of Joash, the little boy who was crowned king at seven years of age. It is found in 2 Kings 11:1-20 and 2 Chron.23:1-21. The circumstances surrounding the crowning were clearly prophetic of the days in which we now live. Rather than quote the passages, I’ll attempt to re-tell the story with an emphasis on the important factors.
The story is set in the days of Elijah and Elisha, when Israel was divided into two Kingdoms, the northern kingdom of Israel, with ten tribes, and the southern kingdom of Judah with two tribes. God’s promise to David, that the Messiah would come through his line, was therefore within the southern kingdom. And whereas the O.T. tells us that in the northern kingdom there was not one king who served the Lord, there was a measure of faithfulness preserved in the southern kingdom.
JEZEBEL AND ATHALIAH. The kings of Judah needed to keep apart from the idolatrous activities of their northern brethren. Mixture would undoubtedly lead to spiritual and moral failure. All was well until Judah’s king Jehoshaphat made a devastating blunder. He tried to create a union between north and south. But the northern king, Ahab, had married an evil woman by the name of Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre, who was a slavish worshipper of Baal. Jezebel brought Baal worship into Israel, and established 450 prophets. Ahab was a weak king, and allowed this to permeate his kingdom as yeast permeates the dough.
But Jehoshaphat believed in ecumenism. He thought that he could bring the two kingdoms together again. In human eyes, this was a laudable goal, but in the eyes of God it spelled disaster. His great mistake was to marry his son Jehoram toAthaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Now Athaliah had a head-strong nature like her mother, and she planned to introduce Baal worship into the kingdom of Judah.
After the death of Jehoram, their son Ahaziah was made king. Athaliah was Queen Mother, and ruled the roost, enjoying her position of power. It looked as though the yeast of Baal was going to permeate ALL of the two kingdoms. This was Satan’s plan. It would destroy God’s work. It would prevent the prophesied Messiah from coming.
JEHU. But God had a plan to deal with this problem. Elijah was told to anoint Jehu as king of Israel. In fact it didn’t happen in his days, but in Elisha’s ministry. Jehu began to purge both kingdoms of Baal worship, and slaughtered all the offspring of Ahab and Jezebel. Then he killed Ahaziah, and the rest of Athaliah’s sons. But Athaliah was left alive, and she was livid with rage. “Hell knows no fury like a woman scorned.” Her real motives were then revealed, because she caused all her grandsons to be killed, thereby blotting out the line of Judah’s kings altogether. That was Satan’s goal, and it was also within the heart of Athaliah. She set herself up as Queen, the only queen ever to sit on the throne of Israel or Judah.
JEHOSHEBA AND JEHOIADA. But Jehoram, her husband, had had other wives, and through one of these was born a daughter by the name of Jehosheba, who grew up to be a godly woman, and who eventually married the High PriestJehoiada. And at the time when Athaliah was slaughtering her grandsons, Jehosheba dashed into the palace and grabbed a little baby of one year of age, named Joash, and hurried him away into the Temple. Athaliah had no knowledge of this. She believed she had eliminated the line of David, and was about to set up a new dynasty of her own choosing.
THE SIX YEARS WAIT. Baby Joash was tended by Jehosheba and his nurse for the next six years. The Temple was the safest place. It was virtually unused for worship in those days. Its courts were broken up, and its furniture removed. Athaliahwould never have bothered herself with it. Hence it was ideal for concealment. And during that time there were but few who knew of the secret, for security reasons. And many of the house of Judah were in mourning for the loss of their kingly line. All hope for the future had vanished.
JEHOIADA’S COUP D’ETAT. At the end of six years, when the young prince Joash was just seven years old, High PriestJehoiada decided to act. Temple security guards were supplied with weapons deposited there by King David. It was a Sabbath Day. Everyone was on duty in the Temple Court. Little Joash was brought out, and crowned king amidst great rejoicing, and cries of “God save the king!”
THE END OF ATHALIAH. Athaliah heard the noise, and went to investigate. On entering the Temple Court, she was to witness the crowning ceremony, and screamed out, saying “Treason! Treason!” But it was too late. The guards were ready to put an end to her, but Jehoiada cautioned them, saying that they must first escort her out of the Temple, to avoid defilement to the holy place. She was then killed. RIGHTEOUSNESS RESTORED New life surged through the house of Judah. Those who mourned were now comforted. The young king, nurtured continually by the aged Jehoida, began a reign of righteousness, and caused all the paraphernalia of Baal to be purged from the land. The Temple was cleansed, and worship of Jehovah re-instituted. The whole line of Jezebel had been eradicated from both Israel and Judah.
THE GREAT LESSON. God has used times, people, situations, and events to provide a prophetic backcloth in the Bible. See how this works in this story. A span of six years is depicted, in which righteous government is not only absent, but (in the eyes of the majority) never likely to emerge again. Isn’t that how world history has been shaped? How many times over the six thousand years have people mourned, and wondered why apparently God has abdicated His role in world affairs? Yes, the six years of Joash represent the six thousand years of world history. Some Christians will not accept this figure, desiring to make it much longer, but in the next article, cogent reasons will be advanced to show that the 6000 years is a very real and believable figure from Biblical analysis.
THE SABBATH DAY. And then we learn that Joash was crowned on the Sabbath Day. After the six thousand years, the Book of Revelation speaks about a 1000-year reign of Christ, together with all His elect family. Is not this the meaning of the six days of creation in type? Is it not the case that God’s children KNOW about little Joash, even if the world is ignorant? Those who carry precious faith are aware that all will be well, and that the promises are still sure. It is a secret, but the Crowning Day is near, even at the doors!
THE WOMAN AND THE MANCHILD. In Revelation chapter 12 we read of a heavenly woman who is in pain to bring forth her manchild. And standing before her is a great red dragon, waiting to devour the child as soon as it is born. But we are told that the dragon never accomplishes its evil design, because the child is snatched away to God and His throne.
Here is the story of Athaliah and Joash once again. The manchild is Joash, snatched away from the raging Athaliah-dragon, (described in 2 Chron.24:7 as “that wicked woman”) and kept safely out of reach of evil. The Temple is equivalent to God and His throne. Joash is not yet ready for kingship, but must be nurtured in security until he is seven years of age. Seven years, in readiness for the seventh thousand years, the Millennium of Scripture.
THE LITTLE BOY. Jesus had much to say about His coming Kingdom, and those who would have a share in His rule. Many times He emphasised the necessity for His disciples to become as “little children” in their attitude. He said “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” In the Greek it says “Blessed are the beggars in spirit.” The clear message is that of recognition of spiritual need, to come to God as beggars, as those who know their own spiritual poverty, and who hunger and thirst after righteousness. The other end of this spectrum is found in the Laodicean church, where they say “We are rich and have need of nothing.” Little children are far more aware of their lack than grown-ups who like to maintain that they “know it all.” The Lord is urging us to be as Joash, just seven years of age, even if we be old and white-haired, we should maintain an attitude of child-ness, as beggars craving God’s spiritual food, “hidden manna” to feed the spirit.
THE LITTLE FLOCK. The woman of Revelation has been bringing forth her man-children progressively ever since the days of Cain and Abel. Each time one of God’s elect is found, a dragon tries to devour him, but as Jesus said, “Fear not those who are able to destroy the body, because AFTER THAT they have no more that they can do.” (Luke 12:4) Why AFTER THAT? Because each one is “caught up to God and to His throne.” He is taken right out of the sphere in which Satan operates. Satan lives in the LOWER heavens, but God’s throne is set in the UPPER heavens. Every true child of God from the foundation of this world is taken out of Satan’s clutches at death, to a place where he cannot touch them. And there they gather in spirit, as we are told in Hebrews 12 – “You are come to Mount Zion, to the City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, and to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” It is here that the Jehoiada-angels help to prepare the firstborn-Joashs for kingship.
THE MANIFESTATION OF GOD’S SONS. All creation awaits the glorious day of Joash’s crowning. When the little boy is SEEN at last, and all nature responds in harmony, then the Lord will be satisfied. He will have achieved that which He set out to do. He will be able to have His “Sabbath-rest”. What does it mean, “the manifestation of God’s sons”? It means that resurrection has occurred, and the Joash-flock is here on the earth ministering to the needs of the Millennial world. This will only occur when the Lord has achieved the last members of His company of faith. None of us know when that will be. Nobody knows the day or the hour. But as our next paper will show, we CAN sense the nearness of that day in our spirit.
WHAT ABOUT THE DRAGON? The “wicked woman” Athaliah reigns supreme during her six years of usurpation. The scarlet woman of Revelation is similar. She says, “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” (Rev.18:7) She is “drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus.” (Rev.17:6) Like Athaliah, she seeks to destroy all the “seed royal.” But this woman is only a part of the dragon-complex. And her end is as clearly described asAthaliah’s. “Her plagues shall come in ONE DAY, death, mourning and famine, and she shall be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.” (Rev.18:8)
WHERE DOES ATHALIAH LIVE? In the O.T. story, Athaliah was sitting as queen among the very people of God. In Thessalonians Paul says that the antichrist sits in the temple of God. In Revelation 2:20 the Lord addresses the church in Thyatira, saying that they allow the woman Jezebel in their midst, a false-prophetess, idolator, and fornicator. How come they allow such a woman in their church? Spiritual discernment has reached such a low level that she is no longer recognised for what she is. Yes, this woman, whether she is like Jezebel or like her daughter Athaliah, will work zealously for the destruction of everything that God calls sacred. She will attempt to scuttle any prophecy which speaks about the coming reign of Christ. She will have a hard, domineering attitude towards others in the church. Her goals are always earthly and sensual, instead of heavenly and spiritual.
THE ONLY SAFE ANTIDOTE. The spiritually minded will recognise the Jezebel-type, who will always be present in any church setting. Instead of attacking her, which is NOT God’s way, they will attack their own flesh, so to speak. They will recognise that “Flesh is able to attack flesh, but flesh is not able to attack spirit.” Hence by walking in the spirit, and by crucifying the desires of the fleshly mind, they build up a resistance to any encroachment by the Jezebel-type. This is not accomplished in a day, a week, or a month, but is the on-going work of God in our lives, as we are obedient to His call. Jezebels will then find it progressively more and more of a losing battle against God’s elect.