Joel – Chapter 3

Judgment on the Gentiles

Verse 1 – “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,

Verse 2 – I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land.

This prophecy has three fulfillment’s; immediate, ongoing, and final. There is no such Valley of Jehoshaphat, so this must be symbolic. It signifies the judgment of God. The Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites, had frequently entered into territories of Israel and divided among themselves the lands they had overrun. Foreign nations, Arabs, today are still wanting Israel’s land to be divided for peace, they say – ongoing. Then there will be a final gathering of all the nations in the Valley of Jezreel near Migiddo where the battle of Armageddon will take place.

Verse 3 – They have cast lots for My people, have given a boy in exchange for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they may drink.

When Israel lost wars, including the war with Assyria, and when Judah lost to Babylon, their children were sold for whatever they needed. The enemies treated God’s people as of no account. They divided their captives by lot.

Verse 4 – “Indeed, what have you to do with Me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the coasts of Philistia? Will you retaliate against Me? But if you retaliate against Me, swiftly and speedily I will return your retaliation upon your own head;

Verse 5 – Because you have taken My silver and My gold, and have carried into your temples My prized possessions.

Verse 6 – Also the people of Judah and the people of Jerusalem you have sold to the Greeks, that you may remove them far from their borders.

I remember another time not so long ago in our history, where God’s people were rounded up, all their possessions confiscated, and the people were held in bondage or exterminated.

Verse 7 – “Behold, I will raise them out of the place to which you have sold them, and return your retaliation upon your own head.

Verse 8 – I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off; for the Lord has spoken.”

Verse 9 – Proclaim this among the nations: “Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up.

Verse 10 – Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears; let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’ ” (Let none be absent from this war.)

Verse 11 – Assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around. Cause your mighty ones to go down there, O Lord.

Verse 12 – “Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.

Demonic spirits are used to motivate the nations for this final battle. Revelation 16:14, 16 – For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out before kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Verse 16) And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

Verse 13 – Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe, come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow – for their wickedness is great.”

The Lord will trample His enemies like grapes in a winepress.

Verse 14 – Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

This is the Valley of judgment. Not for the unbelievers to make a decision about God, but the verdict that Yahweh is pronouncing on an unbelieving world full of wickedness.

Verse 15 – The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness.

Verse 16 – The Lord also shall roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and earth will shake; but the Lord will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

Verse 17 – “So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be, and no aliens shall ever pass through her again.”

This promise is not yet fulfilled, but refers to a time coming when all God’s enemies are destroyed and no strange god, or unbelievers, shall be permitted to enter His city, or even pass through it. There will never again be any religious connection with any one who does not worship the true God in spirit and in truth.

Verse 18 – And it will come to pass in that day that the mountains shall drip with new wine, the hills shall flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water; a fountain shall flow from the house of the Lord and water the Valley of Acacias.

This prediction of Jerusalem is one of perfection, similar to the Garden of Eden. Revelation 22:1 – And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Verse 19 – “Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom a desolate wilderness, because of violence against the people of Judah, for they have shed innocent blood in their land.

Egypt and Edom were two of Israel’s most persistent enemies. They represent all the nations hostile to God’s people. God’s promise that they will be destroyed is also a promise that all evil in the world will be destroyed.

Verse 20 – But Judah shall abide forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.

Verse 21 – “For I will acquit them of bloodguilt, whom I had not acquitted; for the Lord dwells in Zion.”

Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved! Those who turn to Him will enjoy the blessings mentioned in Joel’s prophecy!

Joel – Chapter 2

Verse 1 – Blow 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 is coming, for it is at hand:

Whether this army was man or insect it represented the judgment force of Yahweh.

Verse 2 – A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. 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.

As the morning spreads itself over all the hemisphere and first upon the high mountains, so shall the approaching calamities overspread this people – the Babylonians – a people great and strong.

Verse 3 – A fire devours them, and behind them a flame burns; the land is like the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; surely nothing shall escape them.

Verse 4 – Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; and like swift steeds, so they run.

Could this be what is described in Revelation 9:7? (Verse 7) And the shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads were crowns of something gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.

Verse 5 – With a noise like chariots over mountaintops they leap, like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, like a strong people set in battle array.

Verse 6 – Before them the people wither in pain; all faces are drained of color.

Verse 7 – They run like mighty men, they climb the wall like mighty men of war; every one marches in formation, and they do not break ranks.

How else could locusts conduct themselves in such formation, unless God controlled them?

Verse 8 – They do not push one another; every one marches in his own column. And when they lung between the weapons, they are not cut down.

The sword will not be a weapon that can destroy them.

Verse 9 – They run to and fro in the city, they run on the wall; they climb into the houses, they enter at the windows like a thief.

In many passages int he Bible, locusts are compared to armies and armies are compared to locusts.

Verse 10 – The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble; the sun and moon grow dark, and the stars diminish their brightness.

Verse 11 – The Lord gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executed His word. For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; who can endure it?

Joel continues the interplay of soldiers with locusts. The Day of the Lord is the day of judgment, full of darkness and horror, and full of punishment.

Verse 12 – “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”

There is only one way to escape coming judgment, then and the in future, repent! We turn to Him with all our heats and become all He wants us to be.

Verse 13 – So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.

Deep remorse was often showed by tearing one’s cloths, but that’s not what God wanted. He wanted true repentance. True repentance will bring a true sincere change.

Verse 14 – Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him – a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?

Verse 15 – Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly;

Verse 16 – Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babies; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room.

In other words: “Stop what you’re doing and come before the Lord and repent!

Verse 17 – Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they  say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ ”

Joel gave the instructions for the priests to follow in example for the people. He even tells them what to say. However, we know they did not repent because we know from history they were still invaded and consumed by the Babylonians.

Verse 18 – Then the Lord will be zealous for His land, and pity His people.

Verse 19 – The Lord will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among nations.

Joel begins to speak about God’s forgiveness and blessings, if only the people will leave their sins behind. Where there is repentance there is hope. This promise of hope should have encouraged the people to repent but it didn’t.

Verse 20 – “But I will remove far from you the northern army, and I will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, with his face toward the eastern sea and his back toward the western sea; his stench will come up, and his foul odor will rise, because he has done monstrous things.”

This verse may very well refer to the end times, where the surrounding nations come against God’s people. He drives them into the Valley of Megiddo for that great battle (Isaiah 34:1-7; Ezekiel 38; Daniel 11:36-45).

Verse 21 – Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done marvelous things.!

Verse 22 – Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; for the open pastures are springing up, and the trees bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their strength.

Covenant blessings will be restored to the land.

Verse 23 – Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you – the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.

Verse 24 – The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.

Egypt had the Nile that they could irrigate water to their crops, but Israel depended on God for the rain in the Autumn and spring. What they had forgotten was that they also depended on God for their “Righteousness.”

Verse 25 – “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten, the crawling locusts, the consuming locusts, and the chewing locusts, My great army which I sent among you.

Through repentance all which had been lost by sin, is restored. Sin is an irreparable evil. It deprives the soul of grace, of its hope of glory; it forfeits heaven, it merits hell. God, through Christ, restores the sinner, blots out sin, and does away with its eternal consequences.

Verse 26 – You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame.

Verse 27 – Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.

Yahweh is the sovereign Lord of history. He is in control of all nations and they ultimately serve His purpose no matter their intentions.

Last Events Before the Terrible Day of the Lord

Verse 28 – “And it shall come to pass afterward that 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;

Verse 29 – And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

“In those days!” Peter repeats this in Acts 2:17, the Day of Pentecost. God poured His Spirit on all peoples that day. They heard the Gospel of Christ preached that day in their own language.

Your sons and daughters shall prophesy – shall preach, exhort, pray, and instruct, so as to benefit the Church – God’s people.

Your old men shall dream dreams – have My will represented to them in this way as the others by direct inspiration.

Your young men shall see visions – Have true representations of Divine things made upon their imaginations by the power of God, that they shall have full evidence of them as they could have of any thing that came to mind through the medium of the senses.

Verse 30 – “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.

Verse 31 – The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.

The cosmic signs that are part of the Day of the Lord inspire awe for the believer, but terror for the unbeliever. This day is one of Salvation as well as judgment.

Verse 32 – And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls.

This verse shows our obligation, and the Divine role we play in salvation. “To call” upon the name of the Lord implies right faith to call upon Him; right trust in Him, leaning on Him; right devotion with a sincere heart. This calling is not simply by words, but with a truly sincere heart wanting God’s will for their lives.

Matthew 7:14 – “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.’

This Christian life is not easy, but the reward so much more out weighs anything we might have to go through on this earth!

The Book of Joel – Introduction and Chapter 1

Although there are several other Joel’s in the Bible, the prophet Joel is known only from this book. Because of statements about priesthood in the first and second chapters, Joel may have been a priest also.

There are no specific time references, so Joel’s time cannot be dated for certain. There is no mention of the northern kingdom or of kings. Joel also doesn’t refer to Assyria, Syria, or Babylon, perhaps because they have already been overthrown. Perhaps Joel’s message is all about “The day of the Lord.”

Verse 1 – The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.

Verse 2 – Hear this, you elders, and give ear, all you inhabitants of the land! Has anything like this happened in your days, or even the days of your fathers?

Verse 3 – Tell your children about it, let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.

Joel is talking about a huge locust plague that had come to the land. It was so unusual that it served as a warning of two future events: a coming war and the Day of the Lord.

Verse 4 – What the chewing locusts left, the swarming locust have eaten; what the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; and what the crawling locust left the consuming locust has eaten.

A locust plague is as devastating as an invading army. They cover the land and devour every piece of vegetation, covering everything in their path.

Verse 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.

Drinking wine causes people to be in a stupor. People become oblivious to sin after a time of dulling their senses with wine. Joel tells the people to “Wake-up” or everything will be destroyed.

Verse 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 fangs of a fierce lion.

Verse 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.

Grapevines and figs were two of the principle crops of the land. They were both damaged during a war or plague.

Verse 8 – Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.

Verse 9 – The grain offering and the drink offering have been cut off from the house of the Lord; the priests mourn, who minister to the Lord.

Verse 10 – The field is wasted, the land mourns; for the grain is ruined, the new wine is dried up, the oils fail.

Verse 11 – Be ashamed, you farmers, wail, you vine-dressers, for the wheat and the barley; because the harvest of the field has perished.

Verse 12 – The vine has dried up, and the fig tree has withered; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree – all the trees of the field are withered; surely joy has withdrawn away from the sons of men.

Starvation is imminent when everything dries up. There are no crops for animals or humans when war comes or a plague of locust swarm the land. Our spiritual bodies can also dry up when they are not fed daily! Watch someone’s attitudes and motives change, for the worse, when they never feed their spirit with God’s word.

Verse 13 – Gird yourselves and lament, you priests; wail, you who minister before the altar; come, lie all night in sackcloth, you who minister to my God, for the grain offering and the drink offering are withheld from the house of your God.

Not only were the offerings withheld during the time the Babylonians invaded and destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, but another time is coming when the third temple is built and the sacrifices and offering swill be no more because of the Antichrist.

Verse 14 – Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.

This is a two-fold message: Either this was the time before the Babylonians destroyed the house of God or it could be now or during the time in which the third temple is built. It never hurts to fast and pray.

Verse 15 – Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is at hand ; it shall come as destruction from the Almighty.

The “Day of the Lord,” always refers to extraordinary happenings, whether present events like a plague of locusts, or in the near future, like the destruction of the temple, or when God defeats all evil from the earth.

Verse 16 – Is not the food cut off before your eyes, joy and gladness from the house of our God?

Verse 17 – The seed grain shrivels under clods, storehouses are in shambles; barns are broken down, for the grain has withered.

Verse 18 – How the beasts groan! The herds of cattle are restless, because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep suffer your punishment.

Verse 19 – O Lord, to You I cry out; for fire has devoured the open pastures, and a flame has burned all the trees of the field.

Verse 20 – The beasts of the field also cry out to You, for the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the open pastures.

A nation or an individual who doesn’t have the true and living God, destruction is sure. Do you ever wonder why some nations look like they do with devastation and war all the time, people starving and still living in the rocks, tents, and make-shift houses?Its because they don’t worship the One and only Jehovah God. You can’t put a dead man in the place of worship and expect them to do anything! Dead is dead and can deliver nothing. God blesses those who call upon His Name.