Battle Fields and Harvest Fields

I once sat through a sermon where the preacher got the message of Joel 3:10 wrong. He taught Joel was telling “the Church” to change their farming tools into weapons of war. He mentioned he knew this was the opposite of what is said in Isaiah 2:4, but he saw what is happening in the world today as a reason to still fight. If this preacher had read Joel 3:9, either in his preparation study or at least while in the pulpit, he would have seen Joel said to “Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles.” Thus, God directed Joel 3:10 to unsaved Gentiles, not to the saved Church.

The truth is, beating farm tools into weapons of war and weapons of war into farm tools have an overlapping message.

The first is addressed to the enemy of God. (see Joel 3:9-12) God telling His enemies to make their farming tools into weapons of war was Him warning them to prepare to meet Him in battle. Of course, this battle led to their destruction.

The second is to the Church. This is a promise that God will defeat their enemies. (see Isaiah 2:4Micah 4:3) Believers are taught to look to their God for help and for victory. Those who are Born Again in Jesus’ name have already won their fight, thus they are “more than conquerors.” (see Romans 8:37) As a result, God told His Church to turn their weapons of war into farming tools. Such tools are to be used for a harvest—a harvest of souls. (see Luke 10:2Matthew 9:37-38John 4:35-38)

The preacher I mentioned did get this wrong. His error taught the Church that Jesus has not yet won them complete victory, and because He has not, they must fight their own battles. God’s word proclaims the opposite, and we should all rejoice it does!


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