"I am the vine, you are the branches"
Malachi vs Revelation, Part 7
Joel is a Harbinger of the Day of the Lord
We want to continue our study on Yeshua's second coming. We are going to now look at several of the Hebrew Scriptures to see what they say about the Messiah's second coming and the Messianic Age to come. The Book of Revelation and the Apostolic Scriptures speak more about the Anti-messiah and the persecution coming to the true believers. They also speak about the false political and religious system, and the judgement of both. The Hebrew Scriptures speak of Israel and the nations who will come up to attack her. We have already looked at the Book of Malachi and saw that the Lord was coming as a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap. He describes a day burning like a furnace and all the wicked will become like chaff. The writer asks, "Who can endure His coming and who can stand when He appears?" Malachi also prophesied the coming of Elijah before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. We now want to start by looking at the Book of Joel. The Book of Joel is a harbinger to the coming Day of the Lord. So let's take a closer look and let's see if we can find any warnings that we need to be aware of today.
If the Hebrew Scriptures speak of the Day of the Lord when the nations will attack Israel, then the people of Israel had to become a nation once again. As terrible as the Holocaust was, it became the catapult that launched the Jewish people into becoming a nation; they truly rose up from the ashes. Such a miracle and blessing of God! This could be the fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy of the dry bones coming to life again in chapter 37. In 1948 Israel became a nation. It was prophesied by Isaiah in chapter 66 that Israel would become a nation in one day and it did just that and it was prophesied that the exiles would come back, which they have begun to do. Isaiah speaks of a desolate land that would become renewed with fresh water and agriculture, and it would prosper. We see the fulfillment of all this today. So we know that as these prophecies have been fulfilled, we can only assume that we must go forward from this point in history.
The Book of Joel
Joel begins with this astonishing statement that I think we are saying over and over again today: "Has anything like this happened in your days or in your father's days?" This is a admonishment that goes back to Moses when he tells the people to remember the days of old and to consider the years of all generations, to ask your father, and he will inform you and your elders and they will tell you. We hear this today because everytime it rains today, it rains inches. Every time it floods today, it floods not just in flood zones but everywhere and you hear people saying, "In all my years, this is the worst." Wind, rain, fire, and storms are increasing from year to year. Scientists can not explain it, because this is the hand of God. We see in Revelation that God's judgement will affect the weather, even Yeshua Himself in Matthew 24 tells us that there will be famines and earthquakes and that if we can read the signs of the sky to determine the weather, we should be able to determine the signs of the time to determine His coming.
Joel goes on to speak of four different types of locust that would come upon the land, a plague so great that it is as if an army had invaded the land and left it desolate. This was a harbinger of greater things to come. The army of locusts would one day turn into an army that wouldn't bring just drought and famine but wars and desolation. God will judge the nations and all the wicked. Joel chapter 3 tells us a great army will surround Jerusalem. They will gather together in a place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon. It is there that Yeshua will come to fight for His people Israel.
The Day of the Lord
This time of trouble is referred to as the Day of the Lord or Jacob's trouble. It will be a time like no other time that will fall upon Israel, but in the end will leave Israel blessed and restored and the nations judged. Obadiah writes, "For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you." This is a kingdom principle that applies to everyone no matter if you belong to God's Kingdom or not. It is the Law of reaping what you have sown. Chapter 1:17-18 of Obadiah tells us, "But on Mount Zion there will be those who will escape, and it will be holy. And the house of Jacob will possess their possessions. Then the house of Jacob will be a fire and the house of Joseph a flame; but the house of Esau will be a stubble, and they will set them on fire and consume them, so that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau." Malachi writes in chapter 3:2, "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap." Chapter 4:1 says, "For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze." This Day of the Lord, which it is called, was even carried into the writings of the Apostles, for this day is a day for repentance.
A Day of Repentance
Joel 2:32 tells us, "And it will come about that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who will escape, as the Lord has said, 'Even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.'" So Joel calls out, "Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the Day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as the dawn is spread over the mountains, so there is a great and mighty people; there has never been anything like it, nor will there be again after it to the years of many generations" (Joel 2:1-2).
Joel warns the people about something that we do not hear about today; that is the trumpet call warning us. We are not able to have time to repent, for we no longer stop to look at the signs. We are not sober and alert. Our watchmen have fallen asleep on the wall and no one cries out to warn us. Joel warns us and we ought to heed his warning. Joel sees the locust and he knows that this is just the beginning of the birth pangs. He knows that this is a harbinger of things to come. How does he know? Because nothing like this has happened before. Joel calls a fast, a consecrated fast. He proclaims a solemn assembly. He gathers the elders and all the people of the land to the house of God and he tells them to cry out to the Lord because he knew that the day of the Lord was near and it will come with destruction. He tells the people to put on sackcloth and the priests and the ministers to wail at the altar. Joel 2:12-14 says, "‘Yet even now,' declares the Lord, ‘Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping, and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments.' Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, and relenting of evil. Who knows whether He will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him."
Revelation 6:17 tells us, "For the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?" Joel saw something in his day that caused him to cry out like a watchman on the wall. He called a consecrated fast and called the people to repentance. Disaster did come and the land was invaded not only by a great army of locusts, but by a great military army. Joel predicts a mighty battle that would come one day.
The Great Battle
In Joel 3:9-14 he cries out, "Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men! Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up! Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say, ‘I am a mighty man.' Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, and gather yourselves there. Bring down, O Lord, Thy mighty ones. Let the nations be aroused and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the winepress is full; the vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision." Joel goes on in verse 15, "The sun and moon grow dark, and the stars lose their brightness, and the Lord roars from Zion and utters His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth tremble, but the Lord is a refuge for His people and a stronghold to the sons of Israel."
The Great Day of Restoration
Like the great day of wrath, God will save His people from their wicked enemies, and He will bless Israel and all those who have been grafted into them; for Joel speaks of this in Joel 2:28-29, "And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams and your young men will see visions. And even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days." Peter quotes these verses on the day of Pentecost and he continues to say, quoting Joel in verse 30-32, "And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth: blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome Day of the Lord comes, and it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered."
Peter also recognized the Great Day of the Lord's coming, for Yeshua told His disciples of His second coming and Peter knew the prophecy of Joel: that if the people would repent that they too would be filled with the Spirit of God and would be saved. He says in Acts 2:38, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Yeshua the Messiah for the forgiveness of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise (which was given to Joel) is for you and your children, and for all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself." Joel 2:32 goes on to say, "For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls."
Joel 3:18 continues to speak of the blessings of God that will come after the Day of the Lord: "And it will come about in that day that the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk, and the brooks of Judah will flow with water; and a spring will go out from the house of the Lord, to water the Valley of Shittim." Zechariah 14:9, 11 begin to speak of the Messianic Age when Yeshua will be King, sitting on the throne of David in Jerusalem. "And the Lord will be King over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one . . . And the people will live in it and there will be no more curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security." Verse 16 continues, "Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)." Paul tells us that all of Israel will be saved because they will repent and call upon the name of the Lord and God will restore Israel and bless her for all of eternity.
So today do we see signs of the day of the Lord's coming? We ought to, for Yeshua and Paul tell us that we should not be caught off guard, for Yeshua will come like a thief in the night. Like a watchman, we must cry out to a lost world, "Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand."