Chapter 3:16-21 16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. 17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more. 18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim. 19 Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. 20 But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. 21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.
Verses 16-18 God will judge the wicked, but the righteous, who have been made righteous through faith in Him, He will protect, defend, and reward. Joel’s appeal to the people of his day was, Look around and realize that God is sending you messages about the seriousness of your sin.Locusts are a warning. Repent or something worse is coming. They didn’t repent – well not really! And so, the worse came in the form of the Assyrians. Yes indeed, the king presided over an official revival. Altars and idols were torn down – but only by politically appointed task forces who scoured the countryside. If the common people had been genuinely repentant, then they would have torn down the idols and altars long before the kings’ officials got there.
Christ – the Lamb, shall now appear as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and utter His voice in His providence and judgments on the behalf of His church and people, signified by Zion and Jerusalem. The LORD will be the hope of His people. Psalm 91:1-16 speaks of the LORD and His protection over us – WE that dwell in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadows of The Almighty (verse 91:1). Our foundation, our hope of salvation, our safety and security in the worst times will be in our Saviour who will be our refuge. Zion is the church. When Jesus comes to the earth as King of kings and LORD of lords, He will set His feet on the Mount of Olives, and it will cleave in two (Zechariah 14:4). Jesus will enter the eastern gate, and set up His reign in Jerusalem. Jesus will reign as King. He is our Salvation.
Jeremiah 25:30 Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation; He shall mightily roar upon His habitation; He shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.
The holy mountain of the LORD will be on earth during the 1000 millennial reign of Christ Jesus when He comes back with us His saints who were either raptured, or were martyred during the seven year tribulation (tribulation saints). This temple will be in Jerusalem (Ezekiel chapter 40 – chapter 48). God has promised a future time when His glory in Judah will not be eclipsed. This time of ultimate peace and prosperity will be experienced after Christ conquers the world and sets up His millennial kingdom on earth (Revelation chapter 19).
Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life
He is LORD, and there is no other. Zion is the church again. This is New Jerusalem which comes down from God out of heaven. He will be our God, and we will be His people. Jesus will reign as King. The Prophet Joel’s final prophecy pictures the great Millennial age when the Lord dwelleth in Zion. The word dwelleth(Hebrew H7931 shakan), indicates the abiding presence of the Shekinah glory of old with His repentant and restored people.
Ezek. 48:35It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.
The Valley of Shittim is known for its acacia trees; the valley was situated on the northern shores of the Dead Sea and served as the final stopover for Israel prior to her entrance into the Promised Land. This valley is also the place to which the millennial river will flow.
Numbers 25:1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.
Psalms 46:4There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
Revelation 22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
This is speaking of that perfect time, when there is perfect peace, and God provides for all the needs of His people.
Verses 19-21 – Both these nations – Egypt and Edom have been arch enemies against the nation of Israel – it is now payback time – they will be no more – they will be destroyed. Egypt symbolizes the evil world. Edom was opposed to God from the beginning. This is a curse spoken against the enemies of God and His people. The Antichrist is represented as drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, and in whom will be found the blood of all the prophets and saints. And for this reason destruction and ruin will come upon him and his followers, and blood will be given them to drink, for they are worthy.
Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
The converted Jews shall dwell in their own land forever, to the end of the world and never more be carried away captive ever again (Ezekiel 37:25). And the true professing people of God, as Judah signifies, shall continue in a church state, evermore, and never more be disturbed by any enemies. They shall dwell safely and peaceably until the end of time. This is in reference to Christ’s Millennial kingdom on earth, which is yet to be fulfilled.
“And Jerusalem from generation to generation”- Shall dwell so in like manner, age after age; that is, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, or the members of the true church of Christ, who shall see and enjoy peace and prosperity, both temporal and spiritual, as Jerusalem signifies.
Zechariah 8:8 And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
“For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed”. This I believe is to be interpreted in a way of grace and mercy, as a benefit bestowed on Judah and Jerusalem, who were responsible for the death of Christ. Why should the LORD allow them to dwell in peace and safety forever? Because the LORD will justify them from their sins; forgive their iniquities; cleanse them from all their pollution, signified by blood. But for the grace and mercy of the LORD, they would have had no application made to them till this time. But now all their guilt will be removed; and particularly God will forgive, and declare them to be forgiven for their sin of crucifying Christ – Whose blood they had imprecated upon themselves and their children, and which has remained on them – but now will be removed.
The world had shed the blood of God’s people, and God will punish them for it. It will be enough when they are destroyed, and Judah established forever.
Chapter 3:11-15 11 Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. 12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. 13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
Verses 11-13 This could be a call that goes out to all the heathen armies that will come against the God’s people – it is encouraging them not to lose time in preparing for this battle; get men, and arms for them, as fast as you can – be as expeditious as possible. Wherever you are – come – come from all parts, to the valley of Jehoshaphat or Armageddon. This is spoken ironically to them, to use their utmost endeavours to get the most powerful armies against the people of God, which would be of no avail, but it will ultimately result in their own destruction. Or it may signify what should be done by the providence of God, bringing such large numbers of them together to their own ruin. Whatever the case, they are rushing to their doom. Their mighty ones could come to battle, but they are no match for God. God, Himself, fights for Israel.
Exodus 14:14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
Let the enemies of Christ and His church be aroused from that state of security in which they are, and prepare for their own defence. Let them stir themselves, and exert all the rigour and strength they have. Let them come in high spirits against the people of God; let them invade the holy land, and come to the valley of Jehoshaphat. And, when they come thither, let them, descend into the place appointed for their ruin.
Revelation 18:7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
Oh dear – as they gather around to try and take on the people of God, He is going to be the executioner of that sentence; such as pleading the cause of His people, as to take vengeance and inflict just punishment upon their enemies.
Psalm 9:4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.
This is the same battle where 2/3 of Gog in the land of Magog will die in battle. So many die in this battle, that people on the Mediterranean Sea must put clothes pins on their noses to stop the smell of death odour. It will take Israel 7 months to bury the dead. This plainly says that the deaths in this great battle are a judgment of God against the heathen people.
Ezekiel 39:12 And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.
Angels – are sent forth. They are the executioners of God’s vengeance on antichrists. The angels are the ones that will pour out the vials of His wrath on the antichristian states, compared to reapers, with a sharp sickle in their hands, to cut them down, as grain is cut when reaped. The measure of their sins being filled up, and the time of their destruction appointed for them has come.
Revelation 14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
The vats overflow, their wickedness is great – it has come to its height so much so, that it even reaches to heaven and calls aloud – the end has almost come. With the juice of grapes squeezed out, this signifies the great effusion of blood that will be made.
Revelation 14:18-20 18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. 19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
Verses 14-15 This location is the same as the valley of Jehoshaphat where the sentence of judgment will be carried out. This is synonymous with the valley of Jehoshaphat (verse 2). The scene is not one where the multitudes are in the midst of making a decision in favour of the Lord and repenting of their sin. Rather, the decision is made by God, a decision to judge the multitudes for their treatment of Judah and Jerusalem! This judgment will be meted out against them in the Day of the LORD that takes place in the Great Tribulation. These multitudes are the heathen armies of many nations that are judged in the valley, and found guilty as charged. God Himself destroys them. This is speaking of that Day of judgment.
The Sun, the moon and the stars are darkened. These are signs that precede the coming eschatological Day of the LORD at the end of the Great Tribulation.
Matt. 24:29-30 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Both the politic and ecclesiastic state of antichrist shall be ruined and destroyed. His reign comes to a destructive and final end.
Chapter 3:6-10 6 The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border. 7 Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompense upon your own head: 8 And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabena’s, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it.9 Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: 10 Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.
Verses 6-8 – They had sold them to the Greeks to get them further away from their homeland, so there would be less chance of them returning. This speaks in the past tense, and is not connected to the end time prophecy, except that God had not forgotten what they had done. God is saying that He is keeping a close account for how the nations treat His people and He will return to them their treatment.God is a faithful God – He will bring them back to their own land, from their places wheresoever they have been carried captive, and where they have dwelt in obscurity, and this, their restoration will be as life from the dead. The reversal of fortunes will be startling. The victims themselves will be called upon to be the instruments and avengers of the LORD’s wrath.
Isaiah 11:12-14 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. 14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
The LORD will do to them as they have done to His people. He will retaliate the evil and wrongs done to His people. God will restore them to their land, and punish those who sold them.
Revelation 13:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
Whatever they did to Judah happened to them in return. God is just in His judgment. These Sabeans were Arab traders. Trading merchants who lived in Arabia
Verses 9-10 In anticipation of the judgment that will be visited on them, God taunts His enemies and urges them to get ready for war, to come and fight Him. Even though it is a hopeless cause. This is a decree of God, concerning the deliverance of His church; and the destruction of their enemies, which is to be proclaimed among them, to the terror of them, and the comfort of God’s people, encouraging them to the battle, since they might be sure of victory.
“Prepare for war” – The Gentiles here, would be speaking of the unbelieving world. Whatever their rights were before they went to war is what is spoken of here. It is time to arise, wake up – Generals, captains, and other officers, men of strength and courage. Let them arouse from the sleep and lethargy in which they are, and get themselves in a readiness for war, and put themselves at the head of their troops. Let all the men of war draw near, let them come up to the land of Judea, and to Jerusalem.
Revelation 16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Let them turn their agricultural implements into offensive weapons. This is the opposite of beat your swords into plowshares. They are to prepare for the great battle. This war would be so great, that all the farmers and husbandmen would have to fight too. Let all the enemies of God and of His people join together. Let them even call all the tillers of the ground to their assistance, instead of labouring in the field. Let every peasant become a soldier.
The Battle is the Lord’s and we all know how it ends!!!
Chapter 3:1-5 1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for My people and for My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted My land. 3 And they have cast lots for My people; and have given a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink. 4 Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? Will ye render Me recompense? And if ye recompense Me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompense upon your own head; 5 Because ye have taken My silver and My gold, and have carried into your temples My goodly pleasant things:
Verses 1-2 This now looks to the beginning of the Millennium when Christ comes to judge the nations. One of the first things that Jesus does when He returns is gather all the Jews who are scattered in various locations around the world, and restores them to the Land of Israel. Once that is done, then the nations of the world will be brought before Him for judgment. The location of this judgment is the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which is a place/name lost to us today. Some think it refers to the Valley mentioned in Zechariah made by Christ when He returns and His foot touches the Mount of Olives on the east of Jerusalem. Zechariah tells us that the Mount of Olives will split in two and form a vast new valley that will act as a gateway to the Jordan River.
Zechariah 14:4 And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
What’s more important than the location of this judgment is the basis for how Christ will judge the nations. It will be based on how they’ve treated the Jews and the nation of Israel. The reference to the way they have parted My Land at the end of verse 2 is extremely provocative – notice – God said it is HIS land! The days that are spoken of when God would pour out of His Spirit on all flesh. I believe the time when Jerusalem and Judah were brought again to their land, is in our times. On May 14th 1948 Israel became a nation, and Jerusalem is the spiritual city again. I believe this is speaking of the great battle of Armageddon. There has never been a time in history before, when all nations were gathered in battle in Israel. This is the same as the battle which will happen – Gog and Magog as prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and Ezekiel 39. God fights the battle for Israel in this valley of Jehoshaphat.
Israel was promised this land back in Abraham’s time. It was also promised that there would be a King that would rule on the throne in Jerusalem, who would be like unto David. The physical house of Israel is, even now, returning to the land of Israel. They have been scattered in all the countries of the world. God’s plan all along was to restore Israel.
Verses 3-5 Not only did they part their land, but cast lots for their persons, or played at dice for them – how many captives each soldier should have, and which should be their share and property. This amply describes the low value many nations have placed on the Jews as a people. A prostitute was paid with a Jewish slave boy and Jewish slave girls were counted as so worthless they were used to pay wine bills. The people of Israel have been treated with very little respect, since the time of the prophets. They went into slavery, and were sold for a very small amount.
2 Thessalonians 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you.
Vengeance is the Lord’s. Tyre and Zidon, along with the coastal area of Palestine, were well known for oppressing the people of God. They will now taste of the very same injury they had done to God’s people. They had allied with the evil nations that came against Judah, instead of helping Judah.
Slave trading was a common practice among the Phoenicians and Philistines.
Haggai 2:8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.
They had robbed them and taken of the silver and gold which were God’s – which He had given to His people – they had stolen it – taken it from them. They had taken the silver and gold in the temple, and also, robbed the people of their silver and gold. They worshipped false gods, and used God’s precious metals in that false worship.
Chapter 2:25-32 25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed. 27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and My people shall never be ashamed. 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My spirit. 30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
Verses 25-27 – How faithful is the LORD our God? He is ever merciful and full of compassion and grace. The LORD will recompense to them all the years their land was devoured and barren. And He will recompense unto them good years, instead of the years in which the people, nations, and tongues, the governors and kingdoms of vengeance, spoiled them. These verses are a prophecy of the days of the Messiah. It is that which He has done for His people, as Moses prayed He would. The times of the Messiah, in which so many good things come to the people of God, are a sufficient recompense for what they endured in times past. This is speaking of all that the locusts destroyed, being restored. God miraculously does it.
Psalm 90:15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.
There are plenty of spiritual provisions seen in the Gospel dispensation. In God we see His goodness, grace, love, truth and faithfulness. In His covenant – the blessings and promises of it. In Christ – who is compared to many things eatable – He is called the Lamb of God, the hidden manna, the tree of life, and the bread of life. Everything in Him, and that belongs to Him, is food for faith. His flesh is meat indeed, His blood is drink indeed. The fullness of grace is in Him. Righteousness wrought out by Him. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Salvation comes through Him – all this comes only by faith. The believer lives by faith.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Praise the LORD. Acknowledge Him to be the giver of all this spiritual food, and that they are unworthy of it. Ascribe it entirely to the grace of God, who has done wonders for them; in wonderfully setting them apart for Himself. In making such a covenant with them in Christ; in sending Him to be their Saviour and Redeemer, in calling them out of darkness into His marvellous light; in bestowing such love upon them, as to call them and make them His children, and also heirs of Him and eternal glory- GIVE HIM PRAISE!!!
Psalm 22:26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
They shall not be ashamed of their faith and hope, and expectation of good things promised them. Nor of the Word and ordinances, and the profession they have made of Christ in this world. Nor shall they be ashamed at His coming; but shall be placed at His right hand, and received into His kingdom, and shall be led by Him to fountains of living water. And be satisfied with pleasures for evermore. AMEN.
Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
The presence of God among His people shall be so manifest, the tokens of it so clear, that it shall be easily known. By the impressions of His love upon them; the teachings of His Spirit in them; the usefulness of the Word and ordinances to them will become so apparent. This return promised a reversal of the Lord’s departure (Ezekiel chapter 8 to 11). God is a covenant keeping God. He is our God and Father – acknowledge none else.
Psalm 89:34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Verses 28-32“And it shall come to pass afterward” – when we see a verse such as this, it often speaks of future events. This differentiates the message on the locust plague from the Day of the LORD. The promised outpouring of God’s Spirit will be on all ages and classes of people sons and daughters. Accompanying the outpouring of the Spirit will be full salvation, or deliverance, for all who put their trust in the Lord as their Redeemer.
Joel has compressed together, in true prophetic fashion, events separated by Millennia.
The crucial points of history are the events of the locust plague in Joel’s day.
The Day of Pentecost, on which the Holy Spirit was indeed poured out universally and made available to all mankind (about 33 A.D).
The events of the Great Tribulation separated from the Day of Pentecost by over 2,000 years (Joel3:1-17).
And the establishment of the earthly Davidic Millennial kingdom that follows the events of the Great Tribulation (verses Joel 2:18-21).
Verse 28“Afterward” – signifies the abundance of material blessings would be followed by the outpouring of spiritual blessings. When coupled with the other temporal phrases within the passage (“in those days” (verse 29), and “before the great and awesome Day of the LORD. comes” (verse 31), the term points to a Second Advent fulfilment time frame.
“All flesh” – Since the context is your sons and daughters, all mankind best refers to the house of Israel only. The nations are the recipients of God’s wrath.
Acts 2:16-17 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
It was very important for this to be in two different Scriptures, because by the witness of two, a thing shall be established. The word that prophecy was translated from means to speak by inspiration. This is made available to all flesh, male and female. We can see from this that spiritual dreams and visions are also from God.
Verse 29 God has poured out His Spirit, and He is still doing so. He left the line of Aaron, and took His apostles indiscriminately from any tribe. He passed by the regular order of the priesthood, and the public schools of the most celebrated, and took His evangelists from among fishermen (Peter, Andrew, and John), tent-makers (Paul), and even the Roman tax-gatherers (Matthew). And He lastly, passed by the Jewish tribes, and took the Gentile converts and made them preachers of righteousness to the inhabitants of the whole earth (Luke). The learned man can do nothing without his Spirit. The unlearned must have His gifts and graces, without which both their labours would be unprofitable. The excellency of the power is of God, and no flesh can glory in his presence. Notice the word pour. This is speaking of abundance, not just a few drops. It is a gift from God to His followers.
Verses 30 – Before the Day of the LORD is upon us, we shall no doubt see unmistakeably heavenly phenomena’s – unusual signs and events taking place on earth, that will signal the imminent arrival of God’s wrath in the Day of the LORD.Each revelation of God prepares the way for another, until that last revelation of His love and of His wrath in the Great Day.
In delivering His people from Egypt, the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt.
Deuteronomy 6:22 And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:
In Joel 2:30 – The LORD says the same words –“I will show”, or “give wonders”, or “wondrous signs”. Wonders beyond the course and order of nature, and portending other dispensations of God, of joy to His faithful, and terror to His enemies. As when Israel came out of Egypt, “the pillar of the cloud was a cloud and darkness to the camp of the Egyptians”, but “gave light by night” to the “camp of Israel”(Exodus 14:19-20). So all God’s workings are light and darkness at once, according as people are, who see them or to whom they come.
At the birth of Christ, there was the star which appeared unto the wise men, and the multitude of the heavenly host, which the shepherds saw. At His Atoning Death, the sun was darkened there was the three hours’ darkness over the whole land. On earth the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent, and the graves were opened.
Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
Matthew 27:51-52 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
Luke 23:44-45 44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
His Resurrection was a sign on earth, His Ascension in earth and heaven. But our Lord speaks of signs both in earth and heaven, as well before the destruction of Jerusalem, as before His Second Coming.
Matthew 24:7-8 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diver’s places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Matthew 24:29 immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
Verse 31 – The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood – NOT by eclipses, but by the clouds of smoke arising from the burning of towns and cities, which would be so great as to obscure the sun, and through which the moon would look like blood. The days of our life are our days wherein we do what we please – that will be the Day of the LORD – when He, our Judge, shall require the account of all our doings. It will be great, because it is the horizon of time and eternity – the last day of time, the beginning of eternity. It will put an end to the world, guilt, deserts, good or evil. It will be great, because in it great things will be done. Christ with all His Angels will come down and sit on His Throne. All who have ever lived or shall live shall be placed before Him to be judged. All thoughts, words, and deeds shall be weighed most exactly. Then all shall be judged – a sentence will be passed – absolute, irrevocable throughout eternity.
The saints shall be assigned to heaven, the ungodly to hell. A great gulf shall be placed between, which shall sever them forever. So that the ungodly shall never see the Godly nor heaven nor God; but shall be shut up in a prison forever, and shall burn as long as heaven shall be heaven, or God shall be God.
Luke 16:22-26 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
That day shall be great to the faithful, terrible to the unbelieving; great to those who said, “Truly this is the Son of God”. Terrible to those who said, “His blood be upon us and upon our children”.
Matthew 27:25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
Matthew 27:54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
Dear reader – I speak this to myself as well – When we are in a hurry to any sin, think on that terrible and unendurable judgment-seat of Christ, where the Judge sits on His lofty Throne. And all creation shall stand in awe at His glorious appearing and we shall be brought, one by one, to give account of what we have done in life – that to me is a very sobering thought! The very best thing a Christian can do is be ready to meet their Lord. We are not to fear these things, but rejoice when they happen, because our redemption is near.
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Verse 32 – In spite of the nation’s sin, God promised to fulfil His unconditional covenants (Noahic, Abrahamic, Davidic, and New). A future remnant of Jews will inherit God’s promised blessings. Whosoever shall call – God is no respecter of persons – WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL…… What a wonderful promise, that God will save everyone who calls upon His name. Notice Zion, which is the church – is spoken of separately from Jerusalem, which represents the physical house of Israel. The remnant here are the natural Jews that turn to the LORD. The Christians are the large numbers beyond counting.
Romans 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.
Notice, the Father’s name is written in the foreheads of natural Israel, who have turned to the Lamb.
Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindred’s, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
These are the Christians (spiritual Israel). They are dressed in white robes and washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Dear Reader – IF you have not accepted Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour of your life – it is our belief that time is running out. To receive and accept Jesus as Lord is as simple as A. B. C.
A – ACCEPT that you are a sinner, and you need the blood of Jesus to cleanse you of your sins.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
B – BELIEVE in you heart that Jesus is the Son of God and He came and died on the cross to take away the sins of Mankind.
John 3:15-18 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
C – CONFESS – Confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Romans 10:9-11 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
PRAY THIS PRAYER IF YOU BELIEVE THE ABOVE
Heavenly Father – I come to you as a sinner in need of the blood of Jesus who shed His blood on the cross of Calvary to forgive me and take away my sins. I ask that You forgive me and wash me and cleanse me with the blood of Jesus of all my sins Lord. I believe in my heart that Jesus is the Son of God. I accept Him today as the Lord and Saviour of my life. I ask Lord that you send your Holy Spirit to come and live within me and help guide my footsteps as I walk in the newness of the new life in Christ Jesus. I thank you Father for writing my name down in the Lamb’s Book of life. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN.
Brothers and Sisters – if you prayed the above pray for the first time – you are NOW born again. WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD.
I would encourage you to tell others of your new found faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Find a church that preaches and teaches the undiluted Word of God without fear of man, and start to grow in the Lord.
Chapter 2:17-24 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? 18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. 19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen: 20 But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things. 21 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things. 22 Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. 23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. 24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.
Verses 17-20 – The situation is becoming dire. They are falling rapidly. The LORD is turning the screw so to speak, in order to get them to repent and turn from their wicked ways. This is not the altar of incense which stood in the Holy Place, but the altar of burnt offering where the priests used to stand and do service. But now, because their sins have separated them from the LORD, having nothing to do of that kind, they are called upon to weep and pray between that and the porch of the temple; where they might be seen and heard by the people in the outward court which the porch led into. They are directed to plead, not in a way of justice, but rather mercy; that though it might be just with God to destroy the people, who were called by His name – yet they are pleading that He would not, but in His mercy spare them, and not cut them off in His sore displeasure, which the present judgment threatened them with. The LORD had chosen Israel for His inheritance, and the land of Canaan. He had given to them for an inheritance – both of which would be seen as a reproach if such a famine should come upon them and they were forced to go into other countries for food. The duty falls upon the ministers and priests that should lead the prayers. They must plead with God to show mercy on the people. This is the same message Moses gave God at the mount, when the people had made the golden calf.
Exodus 32:12-14 12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, for mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. 14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
Exodus 33:13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in Thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in Thy sight: and consider that this nation is Thy people.
It appears as though the LORD heard the supplications of the priests and the ministers. We read from Chapter 2:18 – Chapter 3:21 – the remainder of the Book, the Scriptures takes a decisive transition – a turn – devoting the remainder of the Book to restoration. It assumes an interval of time between verse 17 and verse 18 during which Israel repented. As a result of her repentance, the 3 major concerns of Chapters 1:1 – 2:17 are answered by the LORD. (1) Physical restoration (Joel 2:21-27).(2) Spiritual restoration (Joel 2:28-32) and (3) National restoration Joel 3:1-21.
“Then will the LORD be jealous for His land” – Or zealous for it; for the honour of it, and the good of its inhabitants, and for the glory of His own name – it being the chief place in the world for His worship and service, and His indignation will be moved against those who have brought desolation on it. As a Father, He will pity His people who had suffered much, and had been reduced to great distress by the locusts, and by their enemies. The Prophet Joel foretells would be done upon their repentance, fasting, prayers, and tears. Now that the people meeting together with their ministers and priests, are humbling themselves before the LORD, and crying out to Him, He expressed a zeal and compassion for them, and delivered them out of their troubles. This is forgiveness on the way.
The LORD has heard their cries and petitions to Him, and He would answer them both by words and deeds. He will now command and cause the earth to bring forth corn, as wheat and barley, and the vines and olive trees to bring forth grapes and olives, from which wine and oil might be made. This is, according to some is to be understood as of an abundance of spiritual blessings. With each and every of the above things, corn, wine, and oil; they should not only have them, but have enough of them. Even to beyond the point of satisfaction. They did not deserve it, but God forgave them, and restored their land. God drives the enemy out, and the curse is over.
The “Northern army” – Who are they? What are they? There are two schools of thought here. (1) Some have viewed this as a reference to the locusts. (2) However, it is more likely referring to a military invasion by a country coming down from the north of Israel (Ezekiel 38:6, 15; 39:2). That future army will be driven into the eastern sea (Dead Sea), and the western sea (Mediterranean Sea).Ezekiel chapter 37 speaks about “the dry bones” – can dry bones live? It is referring to the restoration of Israel. Ezekiel Chapter 38 and 39 is yet future, and speaks of the invading armies (ten nations) who come against Israel in the Gog and Magog war. The nations that come against Israel are: (1) Russia. (2) Iran. (3) Libya. (4) Lebanon. (5) Afghanistan. (6) Sudan. (7) Pakistan. (8) Saudi Arabia. (9) China. (10) Turkey.
Verses 21-24 Be glad, and rejoice – the LORD has done it. The former situation has been reversed. The locusts have been removed, and the destruction of their enemies has taken place. The LORD has begun the process of restoring them. He will do great things – in opposition to the evil things done by the locusts. With the blessings of God upon the land, it will bloom again. The crops will be abundant. It will rain at the needed time, and they will prosper. The grass in abundance begins to spring up in the fields, and covers them, so that there was plenty of food for the beasts of the field. The tress brings forth and bears fruit suitable to it, agreeable to its nature. All natural vegetation springs forth to feed the beasts of the field. The fruit trees will abundantly produce fruit, and the vines will bring forth in strength.
The early rains came in October – December, to prepare the seed-bed and assist germination, while the latter rains fell in March – May, to provide ample moisture for the grain and fruit crops to be rich and full. There is a double meaning here. In the natural, there will be two rains to make the crops grow. This however, is also speaking to the church (Zion). The former rain was the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost. The latter rain happens at the end of the age. This is a mightier outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh.
The people of the Jews, and especially the spiritual and believing part of them – are admonished to be glad and to rejoice – those who were born again – that were born of Zion, and born in Zion, and brought up by her, and in her. The children of that Zion or Jerusalem that is the mother of us all – and who were looking for the Messiah, and to whom it would be good news and glad tidings to hear of His coming. Rejoice in the LORD, not in any creature or creature enjoyment, but in the LORD.
Zech. 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
“And the floors shall be full of wheat” – this verse gives us a prophetic insight into a time yet future. It refers to the churches of Christ, which will now be in Judea, and in the Gentile world, which are His “floors”(Matthew 3:12), will be set up everywhere through the preaching of the Gospel. The descent of the former and latter rain – these will be full of precious souls gathered in. It is also compared to wheat and the tares (chaff).
Matthew 3:11-12 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Matthew 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn.
With the wine of the Gospel doctrine, and the oil of true grace – there shall be a flow, an overflow of these. Both in the ministers of the Word and Christians, in whom the grace of God shall abound.
Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
We see the results of the abundant rain on the crops. This is also speaking of the abundance of the Spirit bringing many into the kingdom of God. Wheat symbolizes the Christians.Wine and Oil symbolize the Holy Spirit of God.
Chapter 2:9-169 They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. 10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: 11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? 12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
Verses 9-12 – In these verses, we see something common to prophecy. Two separate events are blended together in the sight of the prophet. Just as today computers will morph one object into something else, so here we have the prophecy of the coming of the Assyrians morphed in to the End of the Age. The day of the LORD manifests in the coming of the Assyrians – this foreshadows the final great lastDay of the LORD that ends history as we know it. Think of it this way – just as the locust plague was meant to pre-figure the Assyrian invasion, the Assyrian invasion pre-figures the Tribulation when God pours out His judgment on a Christ rejecting world. Then the heavens will tremble, the sun and moon will lose their light, and the stars will dim. Here’s God’s appeal to the people to repent sincerely and not just so as to go along with the political flow.
Joel describes their approach – they had come over the tops of the mountains, those which protected Jerusalem; and now he describes them scaling the wall, mounting the houses, entering the windows, running to and fro in the city, and leaping about from place to place, as locusts do. Here the description has reached its height. The city is given over to those who assault it. There remains nothing more, save the shaking of the heaven and the earth. Their houses were not airtight, and these locusts got into the houses, as well. There will be nothing safe before them.
The ground trembles as dust flies along with the growing devastation. This is still speaking of the terror the locusts put into the hearts of men. It is also, speaking of the time of the end, when the sun and the moon do not shine. At that time, there will be an earthquake felt around the entire world. This near devastation that Joel is speaking of here is a type and a shadow of that great and terrible day at the end of the age.
Mark 13:24-26 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
Luke 21:25-2625 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
“For the Day of the LORD is great and very terrible, and who can abide it”? The day appointed by the LORD to take vengeance on the Jews for sin. And this will being the day of His wrath – it will very dreadful and intolerable. This could be the army of the locusts, or the army of the LORD that is made up of all the believers in Christ. The weapon that each of them use, is the Word of God – which is two-edged sword. This army is obedient to the wishes of the LORD. The answer is no one can abide against God. The prophet Joel gives us a prophetic insight into what is yet to come.
Revelation 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Verses 12-14 – Even in the midst of judgment, an opportunity to repent was given. If they would demonstrate genuine repentance, the LORD stood ready to forgive and bless them. Before this terrible and intolerable day, which is near at hand, comes. Before these judgments and calamities threatened take place, though just at hand; serious repentance is never too late, now is the accepted time – if they turned to the LORD in true repentance, not, feignedly and hypocritically, but cordially and sincerely, with true hearts, and with their whole hearts, He was ready to receive and forgive them. This is for the near time of Joel, and for now, as well. God’s people must fast and pray in sincerity. The prayers must come from our hearts, and God will hear and answer our prayers.
Verses 13-16 The rending of the clothes was an expression of extraordinary uncontrollable emotion, chiefly of grief, of terror, or of horror. The prophet is admonishing the people not only to show an outward display of repentance, but also it has to come from within – from your heart – it’s all about a heart condition. God is not a God looking to mete out His judgement on everyone. He is a merciful God, full of compassion and empathy, as a covenant God and Father, He is ready to receive backsliding sinners and prodigal sons – ALL sinners who that come to Him for mercy through Christ Jesus. He is a God of grace, and He gives it freely to all those who ask in sincerity. His is rich and plenteous in mercy, and ready to forgive – He delights in showing mercy. There are several instances in the Bible, where God changed His mind and reversed a curse. True repentance would bring this for Joel’s day and for ours.
Exodus 32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
Micah 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
This is a final warning. IF they change their ways – and there is a possibility of revival and repentance from man – God may stay His judgment, and instead of placing a curse on them for their sins, will bless them mightily. He may restore their food supply greatly. They will be able to again offer the meat offering and drink offering daily
Again, we read of a second invitation to blow the trumpet in Zion. It summons the whole nation to an assembly of repentance in order to implore God’s mercy. If there is a possibility of the plague of locusts being stopped, blow the trumpet and gather the people to repent.
Chapter 2:1-81 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand 2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. 3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. 4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. 5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. 6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. 7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march everyone on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks 8 Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk everyone in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.
Verses 1-2 – We begin this chapter with a call to blow the trumpet. The term here refers to a ram’s horn. The trumpet was used primarily for religious purposes to call the congregation together for meetings, to usher in the beginning of the month, and to note solemn days and festive occasions. In the ancient world, horns were used to gather people for special occasions or to warn of danger.
Exodus 19:13 There shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.
Isaiah 27:13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
Amos 3:6 shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
This is the call to worship with the blowing of the trumpet here. The trumpet blowing is an alarm that they must gather and repent of their sins. Zion many times, symbolizes the church. I would say it is time today to blow the warning trumpet in the church. God will not always look the other way for the abominable sins that are going on around the world today. Sin is increasing rampantly around the globe – man seems to just do as they will – with hardly any fear of reprisals from God – it seems as though we are living in a fearless and godless society! Their trembling was because of the sins they had committed. Our trembling should be for the same reason. Just as John the Baptist shouted, “Repent, for the Lord is coming”, it should be the cry of every Christian today. The Lord is coming. The day of the LORD speaks of a time of judgment.
Joel describes a day of darkness and gloominess – Such terms are often noted for misery and calamity in the Old Testament. This darkness can be of a spiritual nature, or it could be dark because of the number of locusts. These features describe the blackness of a locust invasion, so thick that it blots out the sun with its deadly living cloud of insects.
Matthew 24:29 immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
The above Scripture tells us three things happen immediately after the tribulation. (1) The sun is darkened. (2) The moon will not come out at night. (3) The stars fall from heaven. In the physical sense, the locusts are so thick that it is dark as night. The fact that they had eaten all vegetation would bring great gloominess. Perhaps, the fact that there were 4 different types of locusts at once was unique to this area. Darkness, both physical and spiritual, comes with judgment from God. We must remember this is a judgment from God.
Verses 3-6 –The locusts have the appearance of warhorses and sound “like the noise of chariots” as they go about their destruction. No natural barrier can contain them because “they leap”.
The fire that goes before them and a flame that goes behind them is not the heat of the sun, or of the great drought that went before and continued after the locusts; but of them themselves, which were like a consuming fire. Wherever they came, they devoured all green grass, herbs, and leaves of trees, the same as fire does stubble. They sucked out the juice and moisture of everything they came to, and what they left behind shrivelled up and withered away, as if it had been scorched with a flame of fire. The land once looked like the Garden of Eden – with fields and vineyards, set with fruitful trees, planted with all manner of pleasant plants, and all kind of corn growing upon it, and even resembling a paradise. But now, as a result of this plague of locust – caused by Israel’s sin, all the green grass is eaten up, the corn of the field devoured, the vines and olives destroyed, the leaves and fruit of them have gone, and the trees themselves stripped of their bark. The magnitude of locusts, spoken of here, would easily turn a Garden of Eden into a very desolate place, as if it had burned. Perhaps, the farmers tried to burn the locusts out, and the fire came from there. It is also possible that God sent fire on the crops and burned them up.
The resemblance of the locust’s head to that of a horse is striking, so much so that the prophet Joel reiterates the word appearance. Horses were not used for agricultural purposes in ancient times, but were the most feared militarily. The noise these locusts would make would sound like many horse hooves. They can destroy an entire farm in just a few minutes. We see this prophecy repeated in Revelation, where John the Apostle reveals a starling similarity to what the prophet describes here.
Revelation 9:7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
There will not even be stubble left, because the 4 types of locusts even destroy the stubble. This is speaking of literally millions of locusts. There would be a deafening roar from their wings. This would leave the land in terrible shape, as if it had been devastated by a fire.
Verse 7-8 – Like men of war, in a hostile way, as soldiers run upon their enemy with undaunted courage and bravery anything and everything that gets in their way gets trampled upon. They are able to scale the walls of cities as invaders do – walls and bulwarks are no obstacles to them – one cannot keep them out; all places are accessible to them, walled cities, towns, yea, even houses.
Exodus 10:4-6 4 Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast: 5 And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field: 6 And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh.
They are disciplined in their assault. They maintain their ranks and positions, keeping their distance. They march and proceed forward in an orderly manner, keeping their rank and file. What a formidable opposition to be faced with huh?
Revelation 9:7-9 7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. 8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
They have hard scales like a coat of mail; but the expression refers to the utter uselessness of all means to prevent their plundering. Normal weapons of war will be no help against these locusts. They are so well organized; they do not destroy each other in their conquest.
Chapter 1:16-20 16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God? 17 The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. 18 How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. 19 O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. 20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
Verses 16-18 – It was evident – in your face it – cannot to be denied, that every eatable thing or that of which food was custom to be made, was cut off by the locusts, or the drought. The harvest being perished, there were no first fruits brought to the temple, which used to be attended with great joy. And the corn and vines being wasted, no meat offerings made of fine flour, nor drink offerings of wine, were offered, which used to make God and man glad. The people need to wake up to the fact that as bad as the locust plague has been, it is really only a precursor to greater judgment and that it is meant by God to secure their repentance – so that they may know His mercy, rather than His judgement! The locust plague is a manifestation of His mercy and His grace. If they will awaken from their spiritual insensitivity and repent then the Assyrian invasion will be withheld. If they don’t, then the Assyrians will come and bring destruction. As bad as the locust plague was – if it brought about repentance, then it would save their lives. How do you respond when seemingly bad things happen to you or to the people around you? Some people go to pieces and start accusing God of failing in His love. What they don’t see is that everything that occurs in their life is intended by God for their benefit – even the stuff that seems at the moment to be nothing but bad. We only see this moment – God sees eternity and knows the end from the beginning.
Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
This destruction really comes from God. He may use some country to finalize the destruction, but it is truly from God who is angry. The loss of foodstuff is a direct judgment from God. The war is indirect, but it comes from God, too. From the spiritual realm to the physical realm, all was in shambles. Though innocent – in judgment even the animals suffered the loss of food.
“The barns are broken down” – The wheat and barley were stored up in the barns, but this judgment of the locusts and drought continuing year after year, has caused the walls to fall down, and, no care was taken to repair them – there being no use for them – these were the granaries. That which sprung up withered and dried away, through the heat and drought. This speaks of a time, when the farmers have given up. The seed rots in the ground, and does not produce. There is nothing to put in the barn, so the farmer has let it run down.
The poor innocent animals – the cattle out in the fields all they want is fodder, but all green grass and herbs has been ravished and eaten up by the locusts; and also for want of water to quench their thirst. The larger cattle, such as oxen; these were in the utmost perplexity, not knowing where to go for food or drink. Not only are the people out of food, but even the grass of the field is not producing, and the cattle and sheep are starving. The drought and the locusts have destroyed everything that even resembles grain.
Verses 19-20 – “O Lord, to thee will I cry” As the first to call to repentance, the prophet Joel had to be the first to heed the warning. He had to lead by example and motivate the people to respond. In the midst of proclaiming judgment, God’s prophets often led in intercessory prayer for mercy and forgiveness.
Jeremiah 42:1-4 1 Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near, 2 And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:) 3 That the LORD thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do. 4 Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the LORD your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, that whatsoever thing the LORD shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep nothing back from you..
All around is barren and dry – not only springs, and brooks of water, but rivers also – places where there were large deep waters – all dried up which was caused by the excessive heat and scorching beams of the sun. This drought has been so severe, that the rivers and streams have dried up. There is no water for the crops. There is no water for the people or the cattle either. Their only chance for help is to cry out to God. This was a drought so great that nothing could live. This speaks of horror beyond our imagination.
Chapter 1:11-15 11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. 12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men. 13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God. 14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD, 15 Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
Verses 11-13 – This is speaking from a spiritual standpoint. The vinedressers and the husbandmen were those who cared for the souls of the people. This is saying that those who were supposed to be watching for the souls of the people have fallen down on their job. The wheat symbolizes the believers in Christ. It would be a terrible shame for those who had accepted Christ as their Saviour to be lost, because they had not been guided correctly by their ministers. The fall of Judah could be laid solely at the feet of the spiritual leaders. They did not teach the people the terrible dangers of falling away from God. They not only, allowed their people to fall into false worship, but were guilty themselves. Ministers now, and priests then, were supposed to watch and warn of any danger. They should have preached about the danger of worshipping false gods.
The throne of Judah was alternating at this time between good and wicked kings. One king would fall away from God and encourage the worship of Baal and Asherah. His successor would then lead the nation in revival and would go forth to purge the land of pagan idols and altars. But the fact that there was one revival after another proved that there was something fundamentally wrong with the heart of the people. Revival and reform presuppose there’s been a period of apostasy. Revival after revival indicated that the revivals that were occurring were not genuine – they were not going to the heart of the people; only their outward religious forms. The king might be sincere in his devotion to the LORD, and because he was king, he possessed the power and authority to command the destruction of all evidence of paganism – but political mandates don’t make for genuine heart conversion on the part of the common man.
The picture was bleak, for even the deep roots of the trees could not withstand the torturous treatment administered by the locusts, especially when accompanied by an extended drought. This is speaking of a time, when the joy of the people has withered away. None of the trees produced fruit. There is a curse upon the fruit and vegetables, as well as on the people. The judgment of God has fallen upon them. There is no fruit on the vine. All of the above trees have symbolized God’s people at some time, when the blessings of God was upon them. The trees with no fruit, also, symbolize the fact that God has taken His blessings away. Man’s joy and delight had departed from all segments of society; none had escaped the grasp of the locusts. The joy that normally accompanied the time of harvest had been replaced with despair.
The time had arrived for true repentance which was to be led by the priests and ministers of the LORD. They were to lead the way – to show to the people – to demonstrate to them what it means to show humility and penitence to the LORD whom they have forsaken. Prepare and be ready to raise up lamentation and mourning; and gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn. They were to come into the house of the LORD, and there lie all night, in the sackcloth girded; sending up prayers to God, with weeping and lamentations, that He would avert the judgments that had come and was coming upon them. They were to gird themselves with the sackcloth of mourning. Being gird with sackcloth was an outward expression of the sorrow of their hearts. They were to pray night and day. The daily sacrifice has been taken away. In their time, this meant the loss of daily fellowship with their God. In our day, this means that all symbols of Christianity have been taken away. Notice the mention of ministers here, which makes me believe these warnings are for their immediate future, and for our day, as well.
Verses 14-15 –“Sanctify ye a fast” = a “Call to Action”. The prophet called the priests to take action, first by example (verse 13), and then by proclamation (verse 14). As the official leaders, it was their duty to proclaim a public fast so that the entire nation could repent and petition the LORD to forgive and restore them. Here they were admonished to consecrate a fast, denoting its urgency. The fast was used to show the LORD the sincerity of the prayers being prayed. The assembly was not to be one of joy, but sorrow. This is a call of prayer by all of the inhabitants of the land to reach God.
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
“The Day of the LORD is at hand” – This is the “first time” that “theme” of the Book of Joel is mentioned. Later in the book (Joel 2:18; Joel 3:1, Joel 3:18-21), the Day of the LORD – which is when God pours out His wrath on man, results in blessing and exoneration for God’s people and judgment toward Gentiles.
Ezekiel 30:3 For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.
However, here Joel directs the warning toward his own people. The Day of the LORD is speedily approaching; unless sinners repent, dire consequences await them. Destruction from the Almighty. The notion of invincible strength is foremost; destruction at the hand of Omnipotent God is coming.
Again, this had a near fulfilment. There is coming a Day of the LORD at the end of the Gentile age.
Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
Once that last Gentile surrenders their life and accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of their lives, the trumpets sound, the dead in Christ rise up first, and we that are alive will rise up to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
The judgment of God was upon them for the sins in their lives. The wrath of God will fall upon the disobedient, in our generation as well. It is bad to fall into the hands of the devil or Satan, but it is much worse to fall into the hands of God, when He pours out His wrath.
We know well today the damage that is done to the cause of Christ by those who profess His name, but deny His Lordship over their lives and ambitions. God calls the people to genuine repentance.