NOTE: If it has not become obvious before in the Preaching thru the Bible in one year, that the Bible outline on which it is based is simultaneously both an exegetical outline of the Bible and topical, it will be apparent now.
Joel and Jeremiah, nobodies, but they are speaking to the nations. You know without status in the community or the nation, the people of their day were asking, “Who is Joel?” and “Who is Jeremiah?”
The Prophet Joel on Edom, Israel, and the “Last Days”.
We should begin on the Prophet Joel with an analogous comparison between Obadiah 17 and Joel 2:32.
“But in Mount Zion there shall be those that escape, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions…” (Obadiah 17 RSV)
“And it shall come to pass that all who call upon the name of the LORD shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.” (Joel 2:32 RSV)
“as the LORD has said…” makes it obvious that Joel is quoting from Obadiah; and in spite of the discussions on whether Obadiah was written in either 84 BC (with the plundering of Judah and Jerusalem by the Philistines and Arabians) or 588 BC (when Jerusalem was conquered and burned by the Babylonians). Recall that Obadiah’s predictions against Edom necessitates the previous assistance of the Edomites in the destruction of Jerusalem.
Since we immediately recognize this verse from Joel, Joel 2:23, as part of the quote from Peter on the first day of Pentecost after the Ascension of Jesus, as Acts 2:17-21 and Joel 2:28-32, we also comprehend the two aspects of predictive prophecy. In Obadiah and Joel, you have a promise of reassurance to the nation of Israel that they will re-occupy the land of Canaan–there will be those who escape and there will be survivors in both Obadiah and Joel (remember the returns from Captivity as recorded in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi), as well as the historical statements that some stragglers remained to live in the land; and then the larger and later application of the predictive element as the name of the Lord is being called on for salvation after the beginning of the “last days” of Joel and Acts.
We need to think of predictive prophecy as having a time spectrum of truth fulfillment: (1) in this case, after the Captivity and during the Captivity some stragglers remain and others return to rebuild the temple; (2) some Jews escape the neglect of salvation and the consequences of the neglect of salvation during the time of Christ and immediately after; and (3) the larger nation of Israel, the larger New Zion, the larger body of the children of God will group during this period of “last days”.
I. Joel, or God through Joel, uses a historical calamity–a previous plague of locusts–to describe an impending Invasion and Captivity of a human army.
First, what the locusts plague had done to Judah.
“What the cutting locust left; the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left; the destroying locust has eaten. Awake, you drunkards, and weep; and wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the sweet wine, for it is cut off from your mouth.” (Joel 1:4,5 RSV)
Second, what the invading human army will do.
“For a nation has come up against my land, powerful and without number; its teeth are lions’ teeth, and it has the fangs of a lioness. It has laid waste my vines, and splintered my fig trees; it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down; their branches are made white.” (Joel 1:6,7 RSV)
The problem always with any peoples is that we tend to think that things will continue as they have always been. The sun rises, the sun sets, we go to work five days a week, and essentially continue our weekend routines year after year. Much like Jesus predicted about the surprise of the Second Coming people will be “eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage” as if things will continue in that manner forever, but suddenly the end will come. So it was with Israel, so Joel reminded them that the previous plague of locusts had been a sudden and tragic departure for the normal routine. So also would be the sudden invasion of a terrifying army. Don’t you see that in the introductory words of Joel?
“Hear this, you aged men, give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers? Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.” (Joel 1:2,3 RSV)
II. Also the “as the LORD has said” of Joel 2:32, as Joel quotes from Obadiah, makes it obvious that God is speaking through the Prophets.
This is the way Joel’s message begins.
“The word of the LORD that came to Joel, the son of Petuel…” (Joel 1:1 RSV)
This is the beginning of Obadiah.
“The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord God…” (Obadiah 1:1 RSV)
As treated in the second chapter, the Bible is the Word of God: this is true of the Prophets, the Law, the Poetical books, and the New Testament. The Bible is divine in origin. It came from God, and it came through the Prophets in such a manner as to make the misunderstanding of it, unless someone is so pre- disposed, to be difficult.
8-13: God Always Speaks to His People and Reminds Who He Is!
The LORD God is always reminding His people that He is speaking to them and that He is!
1. Joel 2:12 — in spite of the impending judgment of the invading army, if they will repent, who knows if He will change His plan of Judgement.
“’Yet even now, says the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. Who knows whether he will not turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, a cereal offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God?” (Joel 2:12-14 RSV)
2. If God’s people who are called by His Name will repent, they can know that He is in the midst of them and that He is our God.
“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 again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the LORD, am your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.” (Joel 2:26,27)
This is not only a promise that follows repentance and calling on the name of the LORD by the chosen people, but it is a promise and prediction that will come to pass; however, it becomes more spiritual than physical. Although there is a promise of physical blessings on a nation as that nation honors God, there is the spiritual blessing that starts with Joel 2:28 as the Holy Spirit is democratically poured out on all flesh.
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out of my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions (perhaps Obadiah was a young man as he saw a vision). Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my spirit.” (Joel 2:28,29 RSV)
3. Quickly even as the “last days” of Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 1 end with the old heaven and earth rolling up like a scroll and the advent of the new heaven and earth, so from that point on in Joel (2:30) the emphasis is on the end time.
“So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who dwell in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it. And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the stream beds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the LORD and the water the valley of Shittim.” (Joel 3:17-18 RSV)
It amazes me that we don’t readily see that with a new heaven and a new earth that John saw in the book of Revelation, and the new Jerusalem that John saw lowered down from heaven to earth, that there is the new Zion of the holy mountain; and a new chosen people of God, complete in number of Jews and Gen- tiles. This is the wrap up of all time as we know it. Where we have so much difficulty with the Prophets is in the failure to realize the message of Romans as to who the real nation of Israel is, consequently, also the new Jerusalem, Zion, and etc.
III. Always with the Prophets, there is a message to the nation of a call to repentance and righteousness.
Halley writes in his Bible Handbook:
“Modern books on the Prophets lay great emphasis on their social message, their denunciation of the political corruption, oppression and moral rottenness of the nation. However e thing that bothered the prophets most was the IDOLATRY of the nation. It is surprising how largely this is overlooked by modern writers.”
1. You see this in Joel 1:14 with a call for a national Fast.`
“Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God; and cry to the LORD.” (Joel 1:14 RSV)
2. As previously mentioned the call for national revival in Joel 2:12 in order to avert the sure and impending disaster.
“’Yet even now,’ says the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’” (Joel 2:12 RSV)
3. The call for a national assembly to fast and beseech God that the nation would be spared.
“Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, ‘Spare thy people, O LORD, and make not they heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:15-17 RSV)
What Was the Nation Doing that Was So Bad? We will make a quick read through again of Joel, only 3 chapters, making note of any hint of wrongdoing on the part of the nation.
Offerings were not being made in the house of God (Joel 1:13).
The people were not worshipping God with all their hearts (Joel 2:12).
The people were outwardly rending their garments but not inwardly their hearts (Joel 2:13).
The Day of the LORD in Joel.
There is an immediate Day of the LORD as immediate judgment is passed on Israel, an army from the LORD. (Joel 2:1-11)
There will be an immediate restoration of the people (Joel 2:18-27)
The last days will start on the First Day of Pentecost after the Ascension of Christ (Joel 2:28-32)
A Final Restoration of the Chosen of God, the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem; and the gathering of all nations for final Judgment (Joel 3:1-21).
(1). The reasons for Harsh Judgment with the nations (Joel 3:2,3).
For the sake of God’s people and His heritage in Israel.
Because these nations have scattered His heritage in Israel among the nations.
Because these nations have divided up God’s land.
Because these nations have cast lots for God’s people.
They have made harlots out of the boys of Israel.
They have sold the girls for wine.
They act like they are trying to get even with God.
They have taken the silver and gold out of the house of God.
They have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks.
(2). The Gathering of all Nations for Final Judgment. (Joel 3:9-12)
Prepare for war.
Gather all the nations in the valley of Jehoshaphat. There God will sit to judge all the nations round about (Joel 3:12)
Put in the sickle, the harvest is ripe, the wine press is full, and the vats are overflowing with great wickedness (Joel 3:13).
Multitudes are in the valley of decision since the day of the LORD is near: the sun and moon and stars are darkened (Joel 3:14,15)
The heavens and earth are shaken while at the same time God is a refuge to His people. (Joel 3:16)
The New Heaven (Joel 3:17-18).