The world is poised to see some unbelievable drama as we approach the day when Jesus finally bursts the clouds and snatches away His Church, His bride, in the long-anticipated rapture of the Church described by the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18:
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
The Greek word for “caught up” in verse 17 is Harpazō. It means“snatched away for one’s own purpose.” In these the last of the last days, God is speaking to us by way of a peculiar message from the Prophet Joel nested in the book of Joel, chapter 2, of the Holy Bible. The name Joel is translated “Jehovah (Jo) is God (el).” The fact is that God is very particular about names, and no doubt handpicked the prophet Joel over two thousand six hundred years ago to envision and proclaim God’s formidable power that would be manifested in our times through the last-day Church of Jesus Christ.
Joel heralds the emergence of an awesome, fearless, and intimidating people of God, suddenly arising out of the ruins and hopelessness of our day with devastating impact against the works of darkness, just before the final consummation of all things in “the day of the Lord.” We are speaking of the Joel Generation, not merely Generation X, Generation Y or even Z.
Identifying Recent Generations
Society has been attempting to brand recently emerging generations of people born particularly over the past forty (40) to fifty (50) years either as Generation X, Generation Y or Generation Z. There is a large volume of opinions in this area. The following designations and characteristics cannot be said to be an exact “science,” so to speak, but seem to provide a fair guide for distinguishing recent generations:
General consensus is that Generation X (or next) represents those born after the age of the post-war baby-boomers, characterized by smaller families, among other things. That is, those persons born between the mid 1960’s to mid 80’s, now in their late 30’s and middle to early 50’s. Most of whom would have had a college education and introduced to technology as an integral part of everyday life for the first time. Generation X also saw an increasing number of women joining the work force. Members of this generation now hold middle to senior-management positions both in corporate business and government, among other things. They are said to be the first generation that have had to deal with separation and divorce to such a high degree, among other things(Answer.com and other online sources).
Generation Y (also called the millennials), on the other hand, are said to be persons born between the late-1980’s to around 1993/94, who are now in their mid-20s to mid/late-30’s, most of whom have just entered into the workforce.They are described as tech-savvy or IT savvy, havinggrown up with rapid changing technology and, lately, the Internet and social media on which they greatly rely for enhancing their performance. Laptops, cell phones, iPads, and other electronic gadgets are common place for this generation; they seem almost obsessed with such technologies. Social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are their havens for expression. This is also the generation that have almost dispensed with marriage, having seen an alarming rate of divorces in their families. They have opted for the shack-up lifestyle instead (various internet sources)
Generation Y has experienced much frustration from being highly qualified, yet largely unemployed, and faced with the stark possibility of not being employed at all in some cases. In many cases, they are overqualified for available jobs. They have run smack into a long, meandering world-wide recession, resulting in the loss of millions of jobs around the world. Eight (8) million jobs were lost in the US alone within a one-year period following the start of this prolonged economic downturn in 2008.
Then there is Generation Z. This is the generation said to have been born some time between 1994 and 2012, some of whom are now teenagers. Again, there is no fixed starting and ending date, but this is the general consensus. They have been swamped with technology. They eat sleep and wake on the Internet, and are very versed in texting to their friends and acquaintances, so much so that they do not do person to person communication very well. They can also be called the instant generation, tending to be impatient and short-tempered, or the silent generation in that they use their fingers more than their mouths in communication. Thus, they lack interpersonal or verbal skills and may not make good public speakers. Sadly, their homes are largely dysfunctional. Many of them are very angry because of a compilation of hurts, and are very reclusive. Suicidal rates have increased in this generation.
The newest emerging generation is now called “Generation Alpha,” said to be born since the year 2010 and over the next fifteen years (Mark McCrindle in Business Insider, 2017). They are the children of millennials.
It is interesting that the world has now arrived at generation Alpha. One could guess that the demographers would now follow the letters of the Greek alphabet in naming succeeding generations. Is it any coincidence then that God has revealed that there a clearly identifiable generation that He Himself is raising called the Joel Generation? What a stark difference would this Joel Generation make! We believe that the latter is poised to overshadow all these negatively profiled and speculative generational designations into God’s single, mighty last day army that will continue to rise up until Jesus finally puts in His appearance. Here is something positive and refreshingly hopeful for young people to rally around.
Satan would relish this generation being a lost one, but it is clear that God’s purpose and Joel’s prophetic perspective say otherwise. I remember God saying to me a few years ago: “I want this generation; get it for Me.” This is the challenge to all those already listed in God’s last day army. God expects us to be on a recruiting campaign as true disciples, duplicating ourselves in others, particularly converting young people to the Lord and enlisting them in God’s last-day Joel Generation army. There is a clarion call from heaven to do so as the day of the Lord fast approaches. The end time signs are everywhere—distress of nations with perplexity (the worldwide economic gloom, devastating hurricanes, other natural disasters, the sea and the waves roaring (tsunamis), earthquakes in diverse places (Luke 21:25-27, Matt. 24:7).
In Joel chapter 2, the prophet paints a picture of the coming of the day of the Lord characterized by “darkness and gloominess . . . clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains” (Joel 2:2). More is said about this later, but it is out of this seemingly hopeless quagmire that the prophet excitedly exclaims:
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.
It is amazing how Joel, speaking over two thousand six hundred (2600) years ago, saw clearly this present age, to the point of even identifying the tenets of an IT savvy generation. More specifically, he saw IT signals and messages of this Generation leaping over mountains (Joel 2:5). With warlike disposition, the Joel Generation climbs and runs on the walls (Joel 2:7, 9)—a vivid picture of social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. They also climb “into the houses like a thief through windows” (Joel 2:9). We all know that WINDOWS is the main online operating system. What more do we need to convince us that this is the Joel Generation, the last generation of the Church?
The Spirit of the Lord declares:
This Joel Generation shall emerge and fulfil its mission within a short window of time—not over a long period of history— just before the coming of Jesus, in the midst of the spiritual darkness, social bewilderment, economic gloom, political and civil unrest, hopelessness, mayhem, pervasive violence, bloodshed and murders, such as the world has never known before. But I shall pour out an anointing that I Myself have reserved especially for this day upon My people, says the Lord, according to Joel 2:28-29, an anointing that neither the world, nor Satan himself, not even the Church, has seen before. That is why my people shall be so different. A fire shall devour before them; they shall be formidable; they shall be focused. I shall outfit them with spiritual blinkers, as they run like horses, according to the words of My prophet Joel, and they will keep their eyes on Me; I shall be at the helm of this great army. Evil ones shall writhe in pain before them because I shall lead my people. They shall march in formation and shall not break ranks, says the Lord.
The phenomenal thing about the Joel Generation is that it includes all living generations—from the Baby Boomers to Generation Alpha; and all others to follow. So, although the Joel Generation finds its main identity in the present-day millennials more than any other existing generation, its scope is not restricted to a specific age group like the previously mentioned generational designations. This is because the tenets of the Joel Generation are not merely social or secular but eschatological. It refers to a generation which God Himself is raising up at this time and therefore comprises of all believers in Christ who are now alive on planet earth. It certainly makes room for all generations of young people to be useful and functional in fulfilling God’s last day agenda.
Whatever secular designations are given to those who are yet to be born, as long as they find Jesus Christ as Saviour and live for God, they will all fall into one generational class, the Joel Generation, the designation that spans the total population of the present-day and future emerging members of the body of Christ throughout the world. Its identity has more to do with its proximity to the day of the Lord than with an existing or yet to emerge human age group.
I am convinced that the Church in the islands in particular is called to carry out a special role in God’s last-day agenda—to activate and help raise up this last generation to the honour and glory of God (Isa. 41:1-4); I will elaborate on this phenomenon in a later chapter. I also believe that the Joel Generation movement shall be spearheaded mostly by young people, since the very tone of Joel chapter 2 centres on the millennials; he makes it clear that the first recipients of God’s last day outpouring will be “your sons and daughters,” who shall prophesy to their generation (Joel 2:28-29).
The Joel Generation Movement Launched
I received the actual revelation on the Joel Generation in the year 2008, approximately three years before the inaugural public proclamation at D-Day World Prayer Summit 2012. The official launch was held in Trinidad and Tobago at three venues— Woodford Square, Port of Spain (1stof January), the Oasis, San Fernando (2ndJanuary) and Divine Encounter Fellowship grounds, D’Abadie [Youth D-Day] (7thJanuary). All three sessions were introduced with the sound of the Schofar by Rabbi Marishow (one of our Jewish brothers residing in Trinidad and Tobago) and his team of 11 shofar blowers. A company of Apostles, Prophets and other five-fold ministers spearheaded the initiative under the Apostolic leadership of Apostle J Vernon Duncan of Divine Encounter Fellowship Ministries International. With prayer and declarations, we birthed and commissioned this powerful Generation Movement. Many young people, especially at the Youth D-Day, were baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire.
What is D-Day World Prayer Summit?
D-Day World Prayer Summit is a divinely appointed prayer initiative, prophetically released by the Lord in September of 1996, just after the second annual simultaneous national prayer rally (in various locations at the same time) held by the full Gospel Churches in Trinidad and Tobago. Those who were in attendance on that Sunday morning service at our first location, Divine Encounter Fellowship, corner of Beckles Lane and Eastern Main Road, Trinidad, heard a mandate from God delivered by Prophet Emanuell Vivian Duncan (now Apostle), and confirmed by now Apostle Vernon Duncan and Prophet Laymouth Sandy. God instructed us that on the first day of the year we were to gather the churches of Trinidad and Tobago in the valley of Decision and Destiny (hence the designation D-Day prayer). We were also to send word throughout the Caribbean so that churches in the wider region would also be involved. Later, God directed us to rename D-Day prayer as “D-Day World Prayer Summit,” so that the wider world would heed to the call of God to come together in the valley of “decision and destiny” to pray for their respective nations.
As we prepared for the D-Day World Prayer Summit 2012, the Lord gave me the following word:
This is the word of the Lord to the Church of Jesus Christ and to the nations of the world as a whole. As we prepare for the year 2012, the year of governmental order, there is an apostolic and prophetic rumbling coming from the belly of the earth right now. It is not just the rumbling of earthquakes, or of bombs, explosions and of fierce warfare that we hear. Those who can listen with prophetic ears can hear the rumbling of a different kind, that of a new ecclesiastical generation—the last of the last-day generations—getting ready to rise up and come forth in the earth, the Joel Generation, according to Joel 2:1-11. Thus says the Lord: “This ‘new Church’ that will emerge out of the stained and maligned Church shall be as Joel saw it: ‘a people great and strong, the like of whom has never been, nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many generations to generations.’
I am convinced that this Joel generation will change the face of the world. This book is timely and absolutely necessary as society grapples with the enigma of labeling the emerging generations. In this phenomenal revelation from God, I outline and explain the nature and function of this God-designated and ordained emerging generation. It is my hope as God’s Apostle, having been privileged to receive this revelation, that the gathering of the harvest shall be accelerated as the Joel Generation, the last generation before the coming of Jesus, fully embraces the will and plan of heaven for us as His people in these last days.
Who was Joel?
The name Joel occurs only once in the Hebrew Bible, at the introduction of the book of Joel. It is derived from the Hebrew Yo’elmeaning “Yahweh is God.” He is the author of the book of Joel and one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the son of Pethuel [virtually unknown in Scripture] (Joel 1:1). From evidence within Joel chapter 3, where Joel mentions Judah about six times, he is most likely addressing the people of Judah. Moreover, his language in Joel 3:1-2 suggests that he is also a native of Judah and seems to focus more on the welfare and restoration of Judah, although he really has in mind God’s “heritage Israel”:
For behold, in those days and at that time,when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,2 I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;and I will enter into judgment with them thereon account of My people, My heritage Israel,whom they have scattered among the nations;they have also divided up My land.
His reference to Judah and Israel in the above passage is largely eschatological, depicting the gathering of all tribes of Israel in the last days.
As to the time of his prophecy, Joel seems to be addressing Judah in a season of harsh judgment owing to their apostasy and rebellion against God (Joel 1:4-7):
What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; what the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; and what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten. 5 Awake, you drunkards, and weep; and wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the new wine, for it has been cut off from your mouth. 6 For a nation has come up against My land, strong, and without number; his teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he has the fangs of a fierce lion. 7 He has laid waste My vine, and ruined My fig tree; he has stripped it bare and thrown it away; its branches are made white.
In the above passage Joel seems to be predicting the invasion of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar as is mentioned by the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 20:4-5:
4 For thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall see it. I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive to Babylon and slay them with the sword. 5 Moreover I will deliver all the wealth of this city, all its produce, and all its precious things; all the treasures of the kings of Judah I will give into the hand of their enemies, who will plunder them, seize them, and carry them to Babylon.
The aftermath of that predicament is also depicted in the book of Lamentations, written by Jeremiah, just after the exile of Judah into Babylon:
How lonely sits the citythat was full of people!How like a widow is she,who was great among the nations!The princess among the provinceshas become a slave!(Lam. 1:1)
And also, in Lam. 2:11-12:
My eyes fail with tears, my heart is troubled; my bile is poured on the ground because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, because the children and the infants faint in the streets of the city. 12 They say to their mothers, “where is grain and wine?” As they swoon like the wounded in the streets of the city, as their life is poured out in their mothers’ bosom.
In terms of the time of Joel’s prophecy, the evidence seems to be pointing to a date just before or just after the exile of Judah to Babylon, maybe 598 to 587 BC, or roughly 2600 years ago. More than likely Joel would have been a contemporary of Jeremiah.
As far as Joel’s age is concerned, he seems most likely to be a young prophet with a kind of militant flair about him, reflected first of all in the urgency he brings to his writing, his focus on the IT age (will see later) and his priority list of the recipients of the last-day outpouring mentioned in Joel 2:28:
And it shall come to pass afterwardthat I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,your old men shall dream dreams,your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservantsI will pour out My Spirit in those days.
© Joseph Vernon Duncan