TODAY’S READING: JOEL 1-3
The plague of locusts; Joel’s call to repentance; the great day of the Lord; the Holy Spirit; the restoration of Israel; the judgment of the nations.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
As we embark into the three chapters of the Book of Joel, the Book begins by saying, “The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.” The name Joel means “Jehovah is God” and the name Pethuel means “the sincerity of God” or “godly simplicity.” A simple breakdown of the Book of Joel is as follows: Chapter 1 – The Day of the Lord. Chapter 2 – The Day of the Lord. Chapter 3 – The Day of the Lord. Work hard to keep that straight :> .
The Book actually begins with a question: “Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?” The inferred answer, of course, is “no.” The “days” Joel is about to describe are so devastating that no one had ever seen anything quite like it. It is much like Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:21 concerning the days of the great tribulation: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
Joel’s prophecy concerning those days was a message God wanted to be handed down generationally through the families (1:3). It was to be told to their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. It is just another reminder that our lives are going to impact, whether negatively (Ex. 20:5; 34:7) or positively (Ps. 78:4-7) the next four generations! Verse four of chapter one describes how there are certain things that seek to “worm” their way into our lives to slowly but surely “eat” away the important things of life. What the “palmerworm” doesn’t eat, the “locust” will. What the “locust” doesn’t eat, the “cankerworm” will. What the “cankerworm” doesn’t eat, the “caterpillar” will. It’s time we “wake up” (1:5) and “sober up” (1:5) and recognize what is actually happening before our lives and the lives of the next four generations are not completely “devoured” (I Peter 5:8) by the enemy! If you’ve been “sleeping” on your watch (I Thess. 5:6!
), or have allowed yourself to be “drunk” spiritually (I Thess. 5:7), the good news is, if you’ll obey Joel 1:5, and “wake up” and “sober up,” God can and will “restore to you the years that the locusts hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar and the palmerworm” (2:25)! Obviously, these admonitions are simply the devotional application of these verses to us. Historically, Joel is preaching these truths to the people of Judah. He reminds them of what they had seen take place in their land by the destruction of a recent plague of locusts. That judgment, however, would pale in comparison to the judgment that was about to be unleashed by an invading army from the north (the Assyrians). Their only hope was through repentance.
But even that does not address the real purpose of Joel’s prophecy or to the Book of the Bible that bears his name. Remember, the doctrinal application, as already mentioned, has to do with the days of the great tribulation (“those days” – 2:29; 3:1), just prior and leading up to “the day of the Lord” (“that day” – 1:15; 2:1, 2, 11; 3:14, 18). Joel is prophesying about the judgment of God that will be taking place during the Tribulation Period as a northern confederacy converges upon the Nation of Israel just prior to the restoration of Israel, in that day when the nation will repent and the Lord Jesus Christ establishes His millennial kingdom.
Seeing those three layers of application will keep you between the white lines as you seek to get your bearings in this Book. That’s important, because there is a lot of false teaching/doctrine that is propagated out of this little Book of the Bible. Most of it surrounds chapter 2, and Peter quoting Joel’s prophecy on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, when Peter basically says, “This” (the events taking place at Pentecost in Acts 2) “was that” (the events Joel was prophesying in Joel 2). Because Charismatics do not rightly divide the Book of Joel or the Book of Acts, these two chapters have been used to give credence to the modern tongues movement, which has nothing whatsoever to do with Joel 2, or Acts 2 for that matter, and everything to do with some weirded out stuff that went on out on the west coast at the Azusa Street Mission at the turn of the 20th century. In Acts 2, Peter is very careful NOT to say that this is the “FULFILLMENT” of the things Joel said! Note that!
the Spirit was NOT poured out “upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28) at Pentecost. Notice also that Joel doesn’t mention anything about “tongues” anywhere in this chapter: and notice that not of the “wonders” that Joel does mention in verse 20 took place on the Day of Pentecost.
Yes, there was a partial fulfillment of the last days prophecy that Joel is preaching about that did take place on the Day of Pentecost, but by Acts 7, the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy was put on hold, and won’t pick up again until the Tribulation Period.
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As the ONE WHO SAID, “I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT UPON ALL FLESH” – Joel 2:28 (Zech. 12:10; Isa. 54:13; Ezek. 39:29).