The Book of Joel Survey
Pr Edi Giudetti
What we come to know about the Lord as we read his word is that his desire for mankind is for man to come to know the truth of a matter and not that truth would be hidden. Man prefers not only to listen to lies, but to hide behind lies. Jeremiah tells us that the prophets lie to the people and the people love to have it so. (Jer 5:31). But God is not the father of Lies, Satan is. Those who love the truth will follow God.
Jesus said “every one who is of the truth heareth my voice” (Jn 18:37). He tells us that when the spirit of truth is come into the world, the world will not receive him, and he tells us why saying “because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (Jn 14:17).
Gods desire is that all people would be children of the light and not of the darkness, he desires that we would know the truth, knowing certainly that in knowing the truth, the truth will set us free.
The Lords desire is to make things clear and not obscure and he also knows that for us to know the truth of anything, whether we think it is good or bad or encouraging or hurtful to our sensibilities, we must trust that if God has written it and made his word plain upon tables, it is for our benefit.
The focus of the book of Joel is all about the Day of the Lord, the Day of Vengeance of our God, the Day of Jacobs Trouble, the Day of Wrath, the period we come to know as the tribulation, culminating in what is also called Armageddon. Yes, this is a truth of the Bible that few people want to know about, yet God has, in his infinite wisdom, placed the detailed knowledge of it in the Bible that we might also know that which is to come.
Joel describes so much of THE DAY OF THE LORD in detail it is difficult to look at it from a past historical perspective. There is nothing of the captivity and nothing of events that we can look at historically, but contrary wise we see THE DAY OF THE LORD as the context.
To see the same phrases, the same contextual placements that confirm the very same day and time in other books of the bible that speak of the same event, is a true joy and revelation to behold and provides me with the confidence to preach a survey from that perspective.
You have my proofs of the passages we will study this morning in your Newsletter sermon outline as usual. Consider them and look for a way to correct my sermon this morning. Do not just accept what you are listening to.
But please allow me to explain a very brief context so you will be able to place the book as it is given.
- We know very little certain about Joel. We know his father’s name is Pethuel (v1).
- We don’t know when he wrote, but we do know his message was primarily to the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
- We don’t know how old he was,
- We don’t know which tribe he came from
- We don’t know which king he served under.
- We can’t tell much about the placement of the prophecy perfectly because, though it describes great armies and famines etc, there were many historically and yet he makes claims that the armies and famines he refers to have never been seen and will not be seen again.
- So to find a past historical placement for the Book of Joel, we would find passages that would contradict our historical assumptions.
- This has led me to consider the entire book yet future, but only scripture compared will bear this out.
I also hope to explain to you how and why the coming of our Lord, but particularly his death, placed a pause on the rolling events that Joel describes without a break, has lasted over two thousand years, and that the “casting away” of the children of Israel for a time, is “the reconciling of the world” (Rom 11:15).
The Church is a mystery in the Old testament and explains why future prophetic events in the Old Testament seem to roll on as if there is no break.
I do pray that the journey we take today will take your breath away and you will glorify God in the wonder and truth of his word.
And, if you know the Lord, you will not be frightened but greatly encouraged that his word is true, but also that you will know the time is short and your work in the Gospel is URGENT.
The Day of the Lord is Barren
1 The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
2 Hear this, ye old men,
And give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land.
Hath this been in your days,
Or even in the days of your fathers?
3 Tell ye your children of it,
And let your children tell their children,
And their children another generation.
4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten;
And that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten;
And that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.
5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep;
And howl, all ye drinkers of wine,
Because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.
6 For a nation is come up upon my land,
Strong, and without number,
Whose teeth are the teeth of a lion,
And he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.
7 He hath laid my vine waste,
And barked my fig tree:
He hath made it clean bare, and cast it away;
The branches thereof are made white.
We have an event occur that has taken away the fruit of the field, an event that has never occurred in the time before Joel and his encouragement for the people to “tell the children of it and to have them tell their children and their children another generation” gives us the impression that the fulfilment of this event is in the distant future.
Flying insects are written about Locusts and Canker Worms are both insects that Fly, I am not too sure of that respecting the Caterpillar as the last time it is mentioned in scripture is in Joel but it is almost always mentioned in the context of Locusts before hand.
There is another army that comes up on the land who’s teeth are like Lions spoken of in Revelation; turn with me to Revelation 9
The first six verses provide the context of where this particular army comes from and the main link I wanted to provide is that relating to appearance and sound of these that come out of the Bottomless pit.
9 7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. 8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. 10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
Note that both passages relate not only to Locusts but the imagery has contextual relatability and we will see why shortly. Both are without number as a strong nation.
Turn back to Joel but it is worth leaving a finger in revelation as this book we will turn to a few times.
Let’s see the CONTEXT.
15 Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand,
And as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
We see here the context is given to us and we don’t need to search for it, verse 15 makes it clear that it is The Day of the Lord, as we go on we should be able to describe what kind of a day that is.
16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes,
Yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
17 The seed is rotten under their clods,
The garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down;
For the corn is withered.
18 How do the beasts groan!
The herds of cattle are perplexed,
Because they have no pasture;
Yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
19 O Lord, to thee will I cry:
For the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness,
And the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee:
For the rivers of waters are dried up,
And the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
But notice also that The Day of the Lord is Barren, “the meat (Food) is cut off before their eyes”, “seed is rotten under their feet”, garners (Stores) are desolate, barns are broken down, corn withered and even the animals groan for food because they have no pasture. How did all this happen?
19 For the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness,
And the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee:
For the rivers of waters are dried up,
And the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
As we consider this to be the Day of the Lord we turn our attention to the spiritual event that John describes in Revelation 8:1-11
8 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. 6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
The Day of the Lord is Barren, food and nourishment is taken away, even burned up.
Sources of life are removed from man, food, water. And if this comes upon a THIRD part of the world as scripture says, with all the grass of the world burnt up and a THIRD part of the rivers and waters bereft of drinking water and life, then it might be safe to say that a third of mankind will perish in this event alone.
Isaiah refer to the same timeframe in Chapter 24 saying in verse 1
“Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste,
And turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.
Then continuing in verse 5 saying;
5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof;
Because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance,
Broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth,
And they that dwell therein are desolate:
Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned,
And few men left.
Jesus speaking also of it says in Matt 24:22;
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
This Day of the Lord is Barren of things that pertain to the nourishment and sustenance of man.
This is a dark day according to Joel.
The Day of the Lord is Darkness
2 1Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain:
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:
For the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
2 A day of darkness and of gloominess,
A day of clouds and of thick darkness,
As the morning spread upon the mountains:
A great people and a strong;
There hath not been ever the like,
Neither shall be any more after it,
Even to the years of many generations.
I want you to note the description of this army that Joel refers to, both how they are described and what their nature might be understood to be as we read on but recall that this strong people are unique to history, “there hath not been the like, neither after it”.
3 A fire devoureth before them;
And behind them a flame burneth:
The land is as the garden of Eden before them,
And behind them a desolate wilderness;
Yea, and nothing shall escape them.
The picture is incredible and is described for us, we see that as they run, the land before them is LUSH, likened to the Garden of Eden, and as they run through it they leave behind them “a desolate wilderness”.
Now to their appearance, what does Joel see?
4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses;
And as horsemen, so shall they run.
5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap,
Like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble,
As a strong people set in battle array.
6 Before their face the people shall be much pained:
All faces shall gather blackness.
7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war;
And they shall march every one on his ways,
And they shall not break their ranks:
8 Neither shall one thrust another;
They shall walk every one in his path:
And when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.
How can any fall upon a sword and escape being wounded, what is this army that Joel speaks of in the Day of the Lord? What kind of army is this?
V3 says these are Horses that devour with a fire before them and behind them a flame burneth?
To what do we liken this?
Turn to Revelation 9:14-21
It is the fifth angel who has sounded, the Locusts have come out of the bottomless pit and who torment men without killing them for five months. The earlier passage tells us that in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them (Rev 9:6)
But that was only the first woe, two more are to come as we consider the sixth angel.
14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. 16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
= 200 Million Horsemen
17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. 19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
We now see how there can be a fire before them and behind them a flame burneth
With power like this both in their mouth and tails.
No doubt there is a supernatural element to this army which can fall on a sword and not be wounded. We cannot describe this event but in the light of the supernatural work and judgement that God proposes and does propose for a specific time, “an hour, a day, a month and a year”.
Keep your finger here and turn back with me to Joel 2:10 ;
10 The earth shall quake before them;
The heavens shall tremble:
The sun and the moon shall be dark,
And the stars shall withdraw their shining:
The prophet Amos, who we will consider next week, is a man who chastises those who desire the coming of the Day of the Lord as if it is to be looked forward to saying;
Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord!
To what end is it for you?
The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light.
The Day of the Lord is Darkness
Consider from verse 12 the desire of the Lord
12 Therefore also now, saith the Lord,
Turn ye even to me with all your heart,
And with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
13 And rend your heart, and not your garments,
And turn unto the Lord your God:
For he is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness,
And repenteth him of the evil.
14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent,
And leave a blessing behind him;
Even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?
The desire of the Lord is that the people may turn and even rend, brake their hearts before him, but do they?
Back to Revelation 9:20-21 as we see the effects upon those remaining for the judgments of the fifth and sixth angel.
20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
No, they will not repent even though they see so clearly the wrath of God manifested.
Isaiah 13 tells us again of the darkness of this time and you can read the reference in your newsletter notes at your leisure.
This darkness seems to be that perfectly represented in the heart of man who WILL NOT COME TO THE LIGHT that they might have life.
Even though it is a day of Darkness and yet Joel shows us that there is light that precedes it, light given to the Children of Zion.
A light that will come into the world before that great and terrible day comes.
The Day of the Lord is Preceded by Light
23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God:
For he hath given you the former rain moderately,
And he will cause to come down for you the rain,
The former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
24 And the floors shall be full of wheat,
And the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.
25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten,
The cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm,
My great army which I sent among you.
26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
That hath dealt wondrously with you:
And my people shall never be ashamed.
27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
And that I am the Lord your God, and none else:
And my people shall never be ashamed.
28 And it shall come to pass afterward,
That I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh;
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids
In those days will I pour out my spirit.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth,
Blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,
Before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered:
For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance,
As the Lord hath said,
And in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.
Consider now as we move quickly through the last portion and turn with me to the book of Acts chapter 2
This morning we read together that portion of the Bible which the Apostle Peter claimed to be the fulfilment of this portion of the Prophet Joel.
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Peter was speaking to the Men of Israel and showing to them with all clarity that the one that they had slain and put on the cross was the very Christ which they had been waiting for from the time of Moses.
The one whom all the prophets enquired diligently about the salvation he will bring and of the Grace that should come to them. (see 1 Peter 1:10)
Our text in Acts 2:37 says that the men who heard were “Cut to the heart” and cried “men and brethren what shall we do”. This is what it is to “Rend your hearts and not your garments”.
Peter responded that they should repent, believe and be baptised and to save themselves from this untoward generation. The same generation who despised the salvation offered them.
Brethren, the casting away of Israel for their rejection of their messiah has placed a stay of execution on the heathen round about them. It has given opportunity for a time for the salvation of the gentile nations and placed a hold on Chapter 3 of Joel for a specific time frame, NO, a specific number of Gentiles ordained to eternal life.
Turn with me to Romans 11:11
Paul addresses a question that he posits at the very beginning of the chapter asking “hath God cast away his people”, the same who rejected Christ? and Paul gives explanation that they are not cast away but that their stumbling has made a way for the Gentiles, for a time.
11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? 16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Can you see what has happened? Because of the unbelief of Israel for the rejection of Christ, they were temporarily CUT OFF as a branch and the Gentiles were then given the opportunity to believe the Gospel.
Jesus spoke about those who were bidden to the marriage feast but the would not come, he then commands his servant to go into the highways and hedges and as many as he finds, bring to the feast. But this was not the original intent shown in the Old Testament, the Church was a mystery and temporary for a time, afterwards the Lord will again deal with his Israel.
Continue from verse 24
24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
The Day of the Lord is Cathartic
I am sorry to use a term which I am sure that few of you know the meaning but I would so much rather teach you words and terms than simplify what is an excellent word describing Joel chapter 3.
Cathartic simply means to purify or cleans, to do away with that which is evil and retain that which is good only.
There were people not long ago known as the Cathari, they were Bible believing Christians who desired to live their lives Godly in Christ Jesus and separate themselves from a wicked world.
They were hated and persecuted and HUNTED by the Roman Church for that desire and were seen by them as Heretics.
But the Cathari did not want their garments spotted by the flesh, but desired to live pure lives, removing evil from it.
The word “Catheter” speaks of a medical instrument that comes from this meaning.
THE DAY OF THE LORD IS CATHARTIC
Sadly I do not have time to spend here but I will lay it out for you in short order.
This day is the day known as Armageddon, Joel refers to it as a gathering of the heathen world round about, the gentile nations who have not believed the Lord, and gathered together in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
This is a day that will forever separate Evil from the Good, the wicked from the righteous. In this day will be a great ‘cleansing’ all that will remain is that which is pure.
Consider Chapter 3:2
2 I will also gather all nations,
And will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat,
And will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel,
Whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
The name Jehoshaphat means “Judgment of God” Jeho-vah is the name of God, with the balance of the word referring to judgment.
Ezekiel refers to this place as “The Valley of Hamon-gog”, the same place where the failed attempt to wipe out Israel will see those attackers buried Ezek 39:11.
Joel also refers to the place as the Valley of Decision in verse 14.
Zephaniah chapter 3 speaks of this “gathering” in verse 8 saying;
Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord,
Until the day that I rise up to the prey:
For my determination is to gather the nations,
That I may assemble the kingdoms,
To pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger:
For all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
Zechariah tells us in 14:2 “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle”
These “nations” are the same ones that had “scattered the people” and who, today, try to “part the land”. “Land for peace” is their motto.
The UNITED NATIONS is in the Frontline.
Turn with me to Revelation 16:12
12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, (Natalie doesn’t want to be here for that, she hates frogs) and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Turn back to Joel 3:14-17
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision:
For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened,
And the stars shall withdraw their shining.
16 The Lord also shall roar out of Zion,
And utter his voice from Jerusalem;
And the heavens and the earth shall shake:
But the Lord will be the hope of his people,
And the strength of the children of Israel.
17 So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God
Dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain:
Then shall Jerusalem be holy,
And there shall no strangers pass through her any more.
Joel chapter three tells us that the Day of the Lord is Cathartic, it will cleanse the world of the Heathen.
The battle of Armageddon is the last battle that will occur after the Millennial Kingdom, it will be only then that “no strangers shall pass through Jerusalem any more”.
Joel speaks of the day of the Lord like no other in each chapter. We do well to take heed, and to know the only desire of the Lord is to see broken hearts of men sorrow for their sin against him.
that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
This event WILL COME, if you are NOT saved, you do not want to be here and the ONLY way to escape this day is to call on the LORD NOW, seek him while he may be found.