Commentary on Joel

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Joel called upon all the people to howl and lament because the temple would fall and the people of God would undergo national disaster.

God Will Not Be Mocked

Just as Moses had instructed Israel to learn a song see Deuteronomy — , the words of which would remind them of their condemnation if they broke their covenants, so Joel instructed Judah to learn the words they would cry in the last days as a reminder of her future sorrow. A solemn assembly was held to gather priesthood leaders and members to consider these sacred matters see v. When Israel and Judah were devoured by their invaders, they, too, would spoil. The barns would be of no value, for they would house nothing.

These dire predictions were fulfilled when the covenant people fell, first to Assyria and then to Babylon, and then were ruled by a series of empires.

Overview: Joel

But these verses also seem to require a latter-day fulfillment with destruction again threatening Judah. Chapters 2 and 3 of Joel definitely apply to the final days. McConkie said:. Though the context makes it difficult to say in which sense Joel used the terms, Zion and holy mountain, they are probably yet another example of Hebrew dualism. Mount Zion was one of the names of Jerusalem, and thus it is a cry for the inhabitants to awaken. But Mount Zion also has a meaning in the latter days. An event of the latter days known as the battle of Armageddon is described in these verses. Compare this language with that of John and Ezekiel when they describe the battle of Armageddon in Revelation —10 and Ezekiel —9.

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The sun, moon, and stars will be darkened. The horses see v. Chariots see v. The siege against the city will be severe. The relentless army will overrun the land of Israel. The city walls will be breached and the houses plundered see v. But the Lord is strong, and He will keep His word. He has promised to rescue the people, and He will see v. He desires them to become His people so that He can be their God. Prepare yourselves, oh Israel, that you may receive My blessings, that you might be protected from this condition that is going to come.

And then the last words that I have read from this part of this chapter, the Lord says that He will take that great army in hand, that He also has an army.

Book of Joel

His army is terrible, just as terrible as the other army, and He will take things in hand. He is not. He is not thinking about any earthly army. He would drive this terrible northern army into the wilderness, barren and desolate, with his face towards the east sea and his hinder part towards the utmost sea. The figure of the bride and bridegroom see v. The Bridegroom was Jehovah, and the bride was Israel. The Bridegroom returned to claim His bride, who had been temporarily set aside for wickedness.

The years of the locust, the cankerworm, the caterpillar, and the palmerworm indicate generations of oppression for scattered and rejected Israel.

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One major theme of the Old Testament prophets is that although there will be a great apostasy in Israel, in the end Israel will be restored to the covenant the gospel and become faithful. When Moroni appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith he quoted these verses, saying that they were not yet fulfilled but soon would be. It obviously applies to the latter days in its language and content, although it has also been fulfilled previously.

God compares the past to the future in the Book of Joel. | The Bible Project

Instead, the Lord went way down to the beginning of the Day of the Lord. That is how we are to know the beginning of the Day of the Lord. Joel will make it clear to us that it begins with night—that is, it begins as a time of trouble.

After all, the Hebrew day always began at sunset. We begin at sunup, but God begins at sundown. The Day of the Lord, therefore, begins with night. It is remarkable to note that, unlike Hosea, Joel says practically nothing about himself. In Hosea we find out about the scandal that went on in his home, about his unfaithful wife. Unlike many of the other prophets, Joel does not condemn Israel for idolatry.

Earlier in their history, at the time Joel was prophesying, idolatry was not the great sin in Israel. Joel will only mention one sin, the sin of drunkenness. Joel opens his prophecy with a unique description of a literal plague of locusts.

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Then he uses that plague of locusts to compare with the future judgments which will come upon this earth. The first chapter is a dramatic and literary gem. It is a remarkable passage of Scripture, unlike anything you will find elsewhere in literature. There is a difference of interpretation concerning the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and we will look at that in detail when we come to it.

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  • Rather, Joel emphasized repentance as turning to the Lord in worship: "Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly" Joel does not focus on justice, name specific sins, or single out specific people or castes of people for their sins. Rather, Joel bids the people to turn toward God in repentance and worship. Similar to Amos cf. Amos , Joel used the term "day of the Lord" not to refer to the end of time, but to the time when God would act within history. The term "day of the Lord" probably began as a reference to Israel's major religious festival, the festival of Tabernacles - "the day of the festival of the Lord" Hosea At major religious festivals, the "trumpet" Hebrew shophar , the horn of an animal used as a wind instrument was sounded.

    The trumpet's call could signal the year of Jubilee Leviticus , the festival of the new moon Psalm , or the processional going up of the Ark of the Covenant Psalm But the real point of sounding the trumpet is to announce the advent of the Lord Exodus , 19; ; etc. Joel's cry to "blow the trumpet in Zion, sound the alarm on my holy mountain" is the announcement that the day of the Lord "is coming, it is near" And like the Amos, Joel was announcing that the Lord's coming was not the good news the people had expected, but bad news. The people of Israel looked forward to the day of the Lord as a child today looks forward to Christmas. They thought it would be the day when the Lord would act within history to deliver Israel from her enemies, the day when the Lord would defeat Israel's foes. Not so fast, announces Joel! It is "a day of darkness and gloom" And then comes the surprise in Joel's message - at least when compared to Amos 5, Micah 6, or Isaiah 2.

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