The Day of His Mercy

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Note this in an excerpt from the book Mercy Before Judgment.

The end of the age is the great climax of history, and the Bible gives us a tremendous amount of information about it. By some counts, there are over 150 chapters in the Bible which primarily describe the events of the end of the age. To put that number in perspective, there are 89 chapters in the Gospels. 

The end of the age is many things. It is the day of God’s vengeance. It is the day of His wrath [1]. It is the day of His deliverance, specifically of Israel and of His people [2]. We have to fully grasp everything the Bible says about the end of the age.

As history goes on, one of the great challenges we face is that most of the Church knows very little about what the Bible says regarding the return of Jesus and the events that surround it. The closer we get to the return of Jesus, the more serious this issue will become. As we grow closer, we need to be intimately familiar with God’s agenda so we can partner with Him. 

The conversion of the apostle Paul was one of the most shocking events in the New Testament. Paul actively persecuted the Church and tried to eliminate any witness of Jesus, and then God suddenly showed mercy to him. Paul’s conversion was so shocking that many in the Church were slow to receive him. They could not believe God would show extravagant mercy to one of the great enemies of the Church. 

The coming release of mercy to the nations will be even more shocking than the conversion of the apostle Paul. God is going to show mercy to the nations in ways that will shock and amaze us. In the same way that His judgments are shocking to us, so also His mercy will be shocking to us. We must understand the Lord’s plan to release His mercy before the return of Jesus so that we may partner with God in the days ahead. 

If we understand the judgments of the Lord but do not understand the day of mercy that precedes those judgments, we have an incomplete understanding of the Day of the Lord. Apocalyptic judgments are preceded by mercy throughout Scripture. Even when the mercy does not eliminate the judgment, the Lord still takes delight in showering mercy on a generation. 

He has given us the witness of Scripture so that we will expect an unprecedent-ed release of God’s mercy before the Day of the Lord. This outpouring of mercy will not stop the day of His judgment, but it will precede it. 

God Releases Mercy in Partnership with His People 

One of the most astounding aspects of God’s mercy is that He often releases His mercy in partnership with His people. It’s possible God’s predominant way of releasing extravagant mercy on a condemned people is by responding to an intercessor. 

This means there is a sense in which the Church, in the role of an intercessor, holds the key to the outpouring of God’s mercy. 

Old Testament priests stood before God to prevent His wrath from coming on the nations: 

“And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the people of Israel, to do the service for the people of Israel at the tent of meeting and to make atonement for the people of Israel, that there may be no plague among the people of Israel when the people of Israel come near the sanctuary.” (Numbers 8:19) 

“And you shall keep guard over the sanctuary and over the altar, that there may never again be wrath on the people of Israel.” (18:5)

The Old Testament ministry of the priesthood was a prototype of the New Testament ministry of the Church [3]. Just as the ministry of the Old Testament priests shielded the people from the wrath of God, the intercessory ministry of the New Testament Church should stand between the people and the wrath of God. 

Intercession for mercy does not overlook the depth of sin, nor does it always eliminate judgment. Biblical intercessors did not challenge God’s right to judge. Instead, they were so confident in their knowledge of God that they challenged Him regarding His mercy. At times, they seemed to resist God, but they were willing to stand on be-half of condemned nations when God was ready to release His judgments because they knew their intercession was in ultimate agreement with His purposes. 

The end-time church needs a revelatory understanding of the knowledge of God to carry the tension of God’s desire for mercy with the certainty of His judgments. The mature Church will bear these tensions and through her intercession appropriate God’s mercy on behalf of the nations. 

If we do not understand the Lord’s desire for mercy and the role we play in the release of that mercy, we will function like a corporate Jonah, celebrating God’s judgment of the wicked but not grasping His desire for mercy beforehand. 

[1] Isaiah 34:1–3, 8; 49:26; 61:2–3; 63:1–9; Joel 3:9–14; Zephaniah 1:14–15; 3:8, 14– 1 15, 17, 19–20; Zechariah 12:2–4; 14:1–5, 9. Deuteronomy 30:1–6; Isaiah 4:3; 45:17, 25; 54:13; 59:21; 60:4, 21; 61:8–9; 66:22; 

[2] Jeremiah 31:31–34; 32:40; Ezekiel 20:40; 36:10, 27–36; 39:22, 28–29; Joel 2:26, 32; Zephaniah 3:9, 12; 12:13; Zechariah 12:10–13; Matthew 23:39; 24:30; John 3:36; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 10:42–43; Romans 10:13; 11:26–27; 1 Corinthians 3:11; 1 Timothy 2:5–6; 1 John 5:11–12; Revelation 1:7; 5:9; 7:9.

[3] Exodus 19:6; Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6; 1 Peter 2:9.

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