THE BOOK OF JOEL

THE BOOK OF JOEL

Author = BRAINS

**********************************************************************************************
STUDY ON - THE BOOK OF JOEL

T R E A S U R E... S E E K E R S ... I N ... T H E ... O L D ... T E S T A M E N T - JOEL

'Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path......Where your treasure is
there is your heart also'

*********************************************************************************************
THE BOOK OF JOEL

JOEL

Not very much is known about Joel. His father was named Pethuel, and judging by his writing, it is likely that he lived in the area of Judah and Jerusalem.

His name means “Jehovah is my God”, and he is known as the prophet of religious revival.

The book of Joel is not definitively dated as it contains no references to datable historical events. Some believe it was written in the 9th century BC, whilst others put it as late as the post-exile 6th century.

It consists of only three chapters, but they are amongst the most quoted of all Scripture.

Outline:

Part 1: The invasion of the locusts (1:1-2:11)
Part 2: A call to repentance (2:12-27)
Part 3: The day of the Lord: Future judgement and blessing (2:28-3:21)


As in many of the books of the prophets, Joel speaks of God’s judgement of His people. However, Joel also speaks of restoration and the glorious Day of the Lord.

The Israelites expected the Day of the Lord to be a day when God would show up, destroy their enemies and make everything right. However, the prophets began to warn the people that it was not necessarily going to be as they expected, and that it would also be a day of judgement against Israel.

The Day of the Lord was re-interpreted in the New Testament as the second coming of Jesus; a day of both judgement and victory. A day when God would end human history, judge mankind and establish His rule forever.


The book opens just after a natural disaster has taken place. An enormous swarm of locusts has decimated the land:

(1:9-12) “Grain offerings and drink offerings are cut off from the house of the Lord. The priests are in mourning, those who minister before the Lord. The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up, the oil fails. Despair, you farmers, wail, you wine growers; grieve for the wheat and the barley, because the harvest of the field is destroyed. The vine is dried up and the fig-tree is withered; the pomegranate, the palm and the apple tree – all the trees of the field – are dried up. Surely the joy of mankind is withered away.”

Biblical scholars argue about whether the swarm is actual, or symbolic. Locusts were a regular feature of life in the Middle East at that time. What is clear is that Joel used it to describe God’s impending judgement on the people in particularly graphic terms.

The locusts are compared to an army, a consuming fire:

(2:6-11) “At the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale. They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course. They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead. They plunge through defences without breaking ranks. They rush upon the city; they run along the wall. They climb into houses; like thieves they enter through the windows. Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord thunders at the head of His army; His forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey His command. The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?”
No-one can escape the judgement of the Lord!!


Instead of the normal outward signs of grief, Joel encourages the people to:

(2:13) “Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.”

He encouraged them to get rid of religious symbols, and instead get God!

“The Day of the Lord” is used to describe both judgement and reward. The people are told that their reward will be great if they only turn to the Lord and repent.

The people are promised that:

(2:25) “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – My great army that I sent among you.”

The proviso for this provision is, of course, repentance. This verse is often taken out of context and claimed as a promise of God to restore that which has been stolen from us by the actions of others.

Whilst I am sure this is also true, (and I hold to this promise in my own life), in the context of the book of Joel, it was a promise provisional on the act of repentance by the people. First repentance, then restoration.


By far the most famous Scriptures in Joel are the verses that deal with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which are interpreted both as the Day of Pentecost, and End Times Prophecy:

(2:28-32) “And afterwards, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days. [Pentecost] I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the survivors whom the Lord calls.” [End Times]

These verses of Scripture are quoted by Peter in Acts 2, in his very first sermon after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They are a fulfilment of the prophecy, and at the same time a foretelling of the last days.


In Chapter 3, Joel appears to be prophesying about the battle of Armageddon in the last days:

(3:1-2) “In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will father all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgement against them concerning My inheritance, My people Israel, for they scattered My people among the nations and divided up My land.”

(3:14-16) “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the people of Israel”

How many of the people you come into contact with on a daily basis are still in the “valley of decision”? Are all your friends, family, co-workers, fellow students all saved, and all walking with the Lord?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t encounter many Christians in my daily life. The plain truth is that for many, many people who you come into contact with, YOU are the only Christian they may ever meet!!!

Do you take the opportunities given to witness to the non-saved? And I’m not talking about preaching and Bible-bashing; I’m talking about being salt and light, and modelling Christ in our words and actions.

There needs to be something very different about us, something that people notice and realise that they are lacking in their own lives. That something is Jesus, shining out of us.

I encourage you to take the opportunities that God gives you to help someone out of the valley of decision, and into a relationship with the living God.