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The book of Joel is about to unfold before us. God began to fulfill it in the book of Acts 2 when He poured out His Spirit on all. Indeed, the last few verses of Joel 2 have been and are being fulfilled. But, the rest of Joel has not been fulfilled, for most of Joel is about the Day of the Lord (which is elsewhere referred to as Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation). And according to Joel, that which precedes the Day of the Lord is agricultural devastation, a great shout/the blowing of the trumpet in Zion and “a solemn assembly” of God’s people gathered together in repentance, prayer, and fasting. This is beginning to unfold right now, for the day of the Lord is at hand.

I’m now going to go step by step with some details pertaining to this topic, specifically regarding Joel’s “solemn assembly” and how it is “the restraining” one of 2 Thessalonians 2, what the enemy has been doing, and what we as Christians are called to do right now. I pray the Lord blesses you as you read this article and opens your eyes to see that our time is short.

Recently I’ve been puzzling over “the restraining” one in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7.

“6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.”

I looked up the Greek word for “the restraining” and found it to mean just that. The Greek word katecho (#2722) means, “to hold fast, to retain, to hold down, to suppress, to take possession of.” Several have said that this restrainer is either the Holy Spirit or the Church, but I don’t recall anyone giving a scriptural reference with the actual word “restraining” being used regarding the Church. Yes, we as the Church have been given authority over all evil, we can trample on serpents and scorpions; we have the power to bind, to take thoughts captive, to wrestle with all levels of the demonic, can resist the devil and he must flee, and are more than conquerors. But, the actual word “restraining” and the Church I have not heard about nor been taught. So, I’ve been puzzling…

Something else I’ve been following are Pastor Dana Coverstone’s dreams, half of which have already come to pass in great detail. Why are dreams important? Because according to Amos 3:7, “7 Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.” And yes, we must always test the spirits to see if they are from God; vigilance in this regard is beyond important! (1 John 4:1). Furthermore, and incredibly his dreams do play into the 2 Thessalonians 2 topic. Again, please bare with me!

I do not know if you are familiar with Pastor Dana Coverstone’s dreams or his most recent dream regarding September (it is posted on this site and I encourage all to view it soon), but it got me thinking on what he said about “a sacred assembly.” I knew that I had read that term in the Bible regarding the Lord’s feast days, and I wondered about it to the point that I looked it up. Let’s just say, what I found astonished me, and if you haven’t already seen this yourself, I think you will find it extremely interesting. I have not heard anyone say anything about what I’m about to share, but that is not to say that someone else has not already seen this or taught it.

To begin with, I simply looked up the term “solemn assembly” in Strong’s to see how often the term was used and where it was used. It is used 4 times regarding the 8th day of the feast of Tabernacles in Leviticus 23:36; Numbers 29:35; 2 Chronicles 7:9; and Nehemiah 8:18, 1 time regarding the 7th day of Unleavened Bread in Deuteronomy 16:8, 1 time regarding a nameless fall feast day in Isaiah 1:13, and 2 times in the book of Joel regarding a large, impromptu gathering for the sake of repentance and prayer in Joel 1:14; 2:15. After looking at the list in Strong’s, I proceeded to look up each passage. Then, once I viewed each, I decided to investigate the Hebrew word for our English translation “sacred assembly.” For this I went to The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament, Brown-Driver-Briggs, and the BibleHub Online Interlinear Bible/Dictionary.

To begin with, the Hebrew noun for “sacred assembly” is atsarah (#6116) which means exactly that, “an assembly” for religious purposes. But, I do know from taking Hebrew in my Bible college/Seminary days that every word in Hebrew has a verbal root, and in order to better understand any Hebrew word one must study the Hebrew verbal root. So, I did. And what I found astounded me!

The Hebrew root of atsarah is atsar (#6113), and (drum roll please!) it means “to restrain, to shut in” to hold something back, to stop something, to keep something or someone in bondage.

Now, after reflecting on the passages that use this word, I was drawn to Joel 1:14 and 2:15. Though the final verses of Joel 2 began their fulfillment on the day the Church was born (Pentecost – Acts 2), much of Joel has not yet been fulfilled, for its main theme is the Day of the Lord (Jacob’s Trouble, the Great Tribulation). But, according to Joel 1 and Joel 2 something comes just prior to the day of great darkness, and that is “a solemn assembly.” This solemn assembly is a day when believers of all shapes, sizes, races, and ages gather in repentance, prayer, fasting, and “rend their hearts and not their garments.” It is a day of shouts of war/victory and the blowing the trumpet in Zion, of sounding the alarm in God’s holy mountain.

There is so much I could venture into regarding Joel and the shout and the trumpet, but I will stick with just one astounding thought for today. Could it be that “the restraining” that has held back the lawless one, that has held evil in check, is the “solemn assembly” of believers gathered together in repentance, prayer and fasting? Could this also be why the enemy, the powers that be, our governors and mayors have disbanded the Church and have banned them from gathering? Think about it. Indeed, this could be exactly why God told us to not forsake “…the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

The enemy knows that the “solemn assembly” of believers restrains and has been restraining him. Thus, he wants to silence us. He wants to be revealed, and he is laying the foundation of his one world order government, one world economy, one world religion right now. He wants the restraining to end now, and has used COVID-19 and all it entails to scatter believers.

But God!!! God is calling His Church, His Body, His Bride, to gather together as “a solemn assembly”, and in so doing to restrain for all they are worth –in spite of grievous Supreme Court Decisions, in spite of little Pharaoh governors and mayors, in spite of do-gooder snitches, in spite of other churchgoers’ derisive comments– let’s continue to gather together until we hear the sound of the Last Trump of God, and we rise to meet Him in the air — think RAPTURE!

But, until God removes “the restraining” from the midst, we are called to “a solemn assembly” as found in Joel 2:15-18,

“15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; 16 Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room. 17 Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, That the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ ” 18 Then the Lord will be zealous for His land, And pity His people.”

The book of Joel is on the verge of being played out right before our vary eyes, and the Day of the Lord is just around the corner. Let’s be a part of that “solemn assembly” that gathers in humility before God and in a cry of help against the strategizing of all nations and peoples of Psalm 2, and all evil plans of Satan against the people of God (Revelation 12). Now is the time to stand. Now is the time to assemble. There will be no other.

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