Joel - The Day Of The Lord (1:1-2:27)
1. We now turn to the book of Joel, and this will be the first of two
2. The name "Joel" means "Jehovah is God", and we know very little
about the author...
a. The name appears frequently, with at least a dozen men sharing
the name in the O.T.
b. Described as "the son of Pethuel" (1:1), there is no reason to
associate him with any other Joel mentioned in the Bible
[As we begin our study, let's do so with some...]
I. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
A. THE DATE...
1. The date of the book is uncertain
a. Some place it as one of the earliest of the "literary
prophets" (ca. 900 B.C.)
b. Some believe it was written after the Exile (ca. 400 B.C.)
2. Hailey, Young, and other scholars defend the early date
a. Suggesting a date of 830 B.C.
b. Which is the date I am presuming for our study
B. THE OCCASION...
1. Joel's prophecy was occasioned by a calamity that had struck
a. Literally, it is described as a locust plague
b. Some suggest that the locusts were symbolical of an army
that had invaded
2. I take the description of the plague as literal
C. THE MESSAGE...
1. Joel sees the locust plague as a warning from God
a. That the calamity was heralding "the day of the Lord" which
b. That if the people did not repent, this "day" would bring
even more destruction
2. So Joel's message is "Seek the Lord through repentance!"
3. Joel also has some things to say about what shall come to pass
[With this brief background as an introduction, let's now begin reading
the book with the aid of the following outline...]
II. OUTLINE OF THE BOOK (1:1-2:27)
A. THE LAND IS LAID WASTE (1:1-12)
1. Joel provides a graphic description of the locust plague (1-4)
2. He calls for people to weep over the devastation (5-12)
B. A PLEA TO CRY OUT TO THE LORD (1:13-20)
1. To be led by the priests, consecrating a fast and calling the
people together (13-14)
2. For the present destruction is heralding the coming "day of
the Lord" (15-18)
3. Joel and the beasts take the lead, with their own cry to the
C. THE COMING "DAY OF THE LORD" (2:1-11)
1. A cry to warn the people, for the day is coming! (1)
2. This particular "day of the Lord" is vividly described (2-11)
a. It will be a recurrence of the locust plague
b. Described as an invading army, an army led by God!
D. A CALL TO REPENTANCE (2:12-17)
1. Voiced first by God Himself (12)
2. Then elaborated upon by Joel (13-17)
a. Repent, for God Who is gracious may relent and provide a
b. Make it a national repentance, led by the priests
E. THE LORD'S PROMISE IF THERE IS REPENTANCE (2:18-20)
1. He will be zealous for His land, and show pity to the people
2. He will bless them with grain, wine, and oil (19)
3. He will remove the "army" (locusts) from the north (20)
F. A CALL TO COURAGE AND GLADNESS (2:21-24)
1. A call directed by Joel towards:
a. The land, for the Lord has done marvelous things (21)
b. The beasts of the field, for the pastures and trees are
fruitful once again (22)
c. The children of
, for the Lord is blessing the land Zion
with rain and a full harvest (23-24)
2. This passage implies the people repented, and the Lord was
keeping His promise!
G. THE LORD'S REASSURANCE (2:25-27)
1. God will restore what His "army" (the locusts) had destroyed
2. They will be blessed with plenty, and praise God for His grace
3. Then they shall truly know that God is over them (27)
[This ends the first part of Joel's prophecy. It clearly pertained to
the people of his day. The rest of the book looks forward to a period
described as "afterward" (2:28), "in those days and at that time"
(3:1), and "in that day" (3:18). This section we will examine in
our next lesson.
But from what we have read thus far, what lessons can we learn from
III. LESSONS FROM THE BOOK OF JOEL
A. THE VALUE OF NATURAL CALAMITIES...
1. They can serve to turn men back to God
2. God certainly used them to reach out to His people in the O.T.
- cf. Amo 4:6-12
3. But not all calamities come from God; some came from Satan
- cf. Job 1:6-19
4. Whether calamities come from God, Satan, or are purely
coincidental, they should be times of reflection concerning
life and our relationship to God - e.g., Job 1:20-22
B. THE NATURE OF TRUE REPENTANCE (2:12
1. It must be with all our heart (
2. It must be inward, not just outward (12b
C. THE NATURE OF GOD (2:13b)
1. He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great
kindness - cf. Psa 103:8-14
2. He relents from doing harm when we repent - cf. Jer 18:7-8
D. "THE DAY OF THE LORD" CAN BE AVERTED...
1. "The day of the Lord" often refers to God's judgment upon a
a. Such judgments were many, and often described in terms
indicative of the final judgment at the end of time - cf.
the judgment of
, Isa 13:1-13 Babylon
b. In the first part of Joel's prophecy, it referred to a
plague of locusts that would be greater than what they had
already experienced - Joel 2:1-11
2. But such judgments could be averted - cf. Jer 18:7-8
a. Such happened with the city of
- cf. Jonah 3:1-10 Nineveh
b. And when we compare Joel 1:11; 2:1,11 with 2:13-14,18-23,
it appears to have been averted in Joel's day!
3. Of course, this does not pertain to the "ultimate" day of the
Lord at the end of time, but to the "preliminary" judgments
that God often brings upon a nation
1. Our next lesson will complete our survey of the book of Joel, in
which we will find...
a. Joel writing of events that heralded the beginning of the
b. More lessons that are of value to the Christian
2. But in closing, may I remind you of that "day of the Lord" which is
yet to come?
a. A day vividly described in 2 Pe 3:7-10
b. A day which cannot be averted, but for which we can prepare
- 2 Pe 3:11-14
For those who prepare themselves for this coming "day of the Lord",
they will find that indeed the Lord is "gracious and merciful, slow to
anger, and of great kindness" (Joel 2:13). But for those who continue
in their sins, we can only say along with Joel...
"Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand; It shall
come as destruction from the Almighty." (Joel 1:15)
Joel - The Day Of The Lord (2:28-3:21)
1. In our previous lesson on Joel, we saw that...
a. Joel's prophecy was occasioned by a plague of locusts - 1:2-4
b. He proclaimed the plague as a warning from God - 1:15-16
1) If the people would not repent, "the day of the Lord" would
come and bring greater destruction - 2:1-5
2) If they did repent, then material blessings would follow
c. Joel therefore called for a national repentance - 2:15
d. Evidently his work was effective, for he describes the blessings
that had come - 2:21-27
2. We also noticed some lessons to be learned from the book...
a. The value of natural calamities (can serve to turn men to God)
b. The nature of true repentance - 2:12-13
c. The character of the Lord - 2:13b
d. "The day of the Lord", when referring to God's judgment on a city
or nation, can be averted - cf. also Jer 18:7-8; Jonah 3:1-10
3. In this lesson, we shall complete our survey of Joel by reading
a. With attention to the prophetic element of this passage
b. Offering comments concerning its interpretation
[Let's begin with a careful reading of this passage...]
I. JOEL'S PROPHECY OF THE FUTURE
A. WHAT SHALL COME TO PASS "AFTERWARD" (2:26-32)
1. God's Spirit will be poured out on all flesh - 2:28-29
2. Wonders in heaven and earth to appear before the coming of
"the day of the Lord" - 2:30-31
3. There shall be deliverance in
Mount Zionand - 2:32 Jerusalem
B. WHAT SHALL OCCUR "IN THOSE DAYS" (3:1-17)
1. God will judge all nations on account of His people - 3:1-3
2. Specifically mentioned are
Tyre, Sidonand Philistia- 3:4-8
a. Who had mistreated God's people
b. Who shall be treated as they treated others
3. The nations are called to do battle - 3:9-12
a. "Prepare for war!"
b. Come to the "
", where the Lord will Valleyof Jehoshaphat
judge the nations
1) Jehoshaphat means "God shall judge"
2) The valley referred to may be the Kidron near
4. The outcome - 3:13-17
a. There will be a great harvest
b. "The day of the Lord" is described...
1) As near in this "valley of decision"
2) In which the heavenly bodies are diminished and shaken
c. While God's people find shelter and strength in Him
d. The Lord will be known and dwell in
Zion, forever Jerusalem
C. WHAT SHALL COME TO PASS "IN THAT DAY" (3:18-21)
shall be blessed by a "fountain...from the house of the Judah
Lord" - 3:18
Egyptand will be desolate because of their violence Edom
Judahand shall abide forever, acquitted of their Jerusalem
guilt - 3:20-21
[Such is the prophetic message of Joel. What he SAYS is clear enough.
What he MEANS is something else! Here are a few thoughts on...]
II. INTERPRETING JOEL'S PROPHECY
A. THERE ARE THREE KEY PHRASES...
1. "it shall come to pass afterward" - 2:28
a. This period of time is clearly defined by Peter in Ac 2:
b. In which he applies it to the events on the Day of
2. "in those days and at that time" - 3:1
a. The same period of time as described in 2:28-32
b. I.e., at some point during the Messianic age
3. "in that day" - 3:18
a. The context places this AFTER "the day of the Lord"
b. I.e., at some point during the Messianic age, but not until
AFTER the judgment of the nations in the "Valley of
B. DETERMINING THE TIME AND EVENTS...
1. Certainly 2:28-29 refers to a period beginning with the
events described in Acts 2
a. Peter said "this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel"
- Ac 2:16
b. An inspired statement pinpointing when this prophecy began
to be fulfilled
2. However, there are different opinions regarding Joel 2:30-3:21
a. "The day of the Lord" in 2:30-31 is variously interpreted
1) The destruction of
in 70 AD Jerusalem
2) The final coming of the Lord
b. The judgment in the "
" in 3:1-17 is valleyof Jehoshaphat
variously interpreted as:
1) Figurative, by some; literal, by others
2) Referring to no specific judgment, by some
3) Referring to a specific judgment at some time, by
1) E.g., after the destruction of
in 70 AD Jerusalem
2) E.g., The "Battle of Armageddon" prior to the
"millennium" - Re 16:14-16
3) E.g., the battle after the "millennium" described in
c. Various views are also offered for the blessing of
in 3:18-21 Jerusalem
-- With such differences in interpretation, one should not be
C. HERE IS MY OWN UNDERSTANDING OF 2:30-3:21...
1. The passage is not to be taken literally
a. It would be physically impossible for ALL the nations to
gather in the "
" - 3:2,12 Valleyof Jehoshaphat
b. The "
" is located on the other side of Valleyof Acacias
Jordan River, making it geographically impossible to be
watered by a stream from
- 3:18 Jerusalem
2. This passage speaks in terms meaningful and comforting to
Israelites in Joel's day
a. The prophecy was initially given to comfort them, give them
hope for the future
b. Therefore prophetic elements are described in terms to
which they could relate
1) E.g., deliverance in their capital,
- 2:32 Jerusalem
2) E.g., judgment upon those enemies who oppressed them
3) E.g., desolation of such enemies as
4) E.g., blessings to befall the nation and the land
3. But it refers to spiritual realities fulfilled with the coming
of the Messiah!
a. Salvation and deliverance will indeed come out of
- cf. 2:32 with Lk 24:44-47; He 12:22-24 Jerusalem
b. God will judge the enemies of His people - cf. 3:1-17 with
Re 4-20 (esp. Re 20:7-10)
c. In the end, God's people will prosper and the wicked will
be desolate - cf. 3:18-21 with Re 21-22 (esp. Re 22:1-2)
4. This is true whether or not any particular event is referred
to in this passage
a. I lean toward the view that "the day of the Lord" in this
passage is the FINAL JUDGMENT when the Lord comes again
b. Others think that it refers to the DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM
c. Whatever one's interpretation, the application is the
1) The means and source of salvation: The Lord Himself
2) The day of the Lord is coming!
a) A terrible day for the wicked - cf. 3:14
b) But for God's people there is shelter and strength
- cf. 3:16b
c) And in the end, blessings for the people of God,
while their enemies lie desolate - cf. 3:18-21
1. In studying "The Minor Prophets"...
a. Determining the proper INTERPRETATION is certainly a worthy goal
b. But determining the proper APPLICATION is our essential task!
2. If this be true, then the crucial question is this: Have we found
that salvation, deliverance, shelter and strength which only the Lord
can provide when the final "day of the Lord" comes?
To know where to look, one should carefully read Peter's sermon on the
Day of Pentecost, after he had quoted Joel - cf. Ac 2:22-39