Theme: The Day of the Lord. This present day is, in a sense, man’s day. But the day is coming when the Lord will have His day. It will not be a 24 hour day, but a period of time beginning with a period of judgments, of which we call the Tribulation period, extending into the physical return of Christ to the earth and flowing through Christ’s reign during the millennial kingdom on earth.
There are three prophetic days spoken of in Scripture. The “Day of Christ” speaks of believers being raptured from this earth into the presence of Christ (I Thess. 4) ~ The “Day of the Lord” which is described above and which is the theme of this book (I Thess. 5) ~ The “Day of God” which is the culmination of the ages (2 Peter 3). If we wanted to give one word to each of these days we would say “Day of Christ” – reunion or rejoicing, “Day of the Lord” – ruling or reigning, “Day of God” – retribution or righteousness. It is important for our prophetic understanding as well as our understanding of this book, that we keep these three days apart. The focus of the “Day of Christ” is the church, God’s spiritual people. The focus of the “Day of the Lord” is Israel, God’s physical people. The focus of the “Day of God” is worldwide humanity. Date: None recorded in the book. Some scholars place the book late in Israel’s history, while others place it early. We find a possible solution by noting certain things in the book. For instance, there is no mention of the Assyrian invasion of the land, and if it were written after this event, the nation of Assyria would certainly be mentioned as subject to judgment for their treatment of Israel. This suggests that the book ought to be placed before 790 B.C., when Assyria first started oppressing Israel.
Also, in this book, we notice no king is mentioned. The key figures in the book are priests. There was a time when the priests were in charge of the nation, when Queen Athaliah was running the affairs of state. After she was removed, the priests continued to hold the reigns of government since the new king was a child (2 Kings 11, 12). Jehoash was only 7 years old. It is therefore possible that the book was written during this time and would become the first book written by a prophet, about 830 B.C. Therefore, the concluding thought on the date is that it was written between 830 and 790 B.C.
Author: Joel, the prophet. (1:1). He was the son of Pethuel (1:1). His name means “Yahweh is God” or “Jehovah is God.” Nothing more is known of Joel as there are no other Biblical references to this man except Acts 2:16 which simply confirms that he was a prophet.
The name is found elsewhere in the Old Testament, but none of these men can be identified as being the prophet, the son of Pethuel.
Recipients: All the inhabitants of the land (1:2). This is an evident reference to the land of Judah. It is also interesting to note that “Israel” (3:2) has prophetic reference to all 12 tribes. There is also special mention made to old men (1:2), husbandmen and vinedressers (1:11), and priests (1:13).
Purpose: This book provides a prophetic picture of the future judgment and blessing for the nation of Israel. It is obvious that the events spoken of (2:20-32; 3:1-8 and 3:17-21) have not come to pass, as the main portion of this book awaits a future time of fulfillment. Joel builds this picture around a locust plague that he describes in chapter 1. It has just taken place in the land, and it is a judgment from God. The people are urged in the midst of this plague to call on the Lord and turn back to Him. We then see that this plague of locusts has a spiritually significant message, for it foreshadows a coming “Day of the Lord” when the Gentiles will be judged, Israel refined and purified and finally blessed. Beginning with chapter 2, the literal plague of locusts is left behind and this future “Day of the Lord” comes into full view.
Peter used a part of this book when he preached on the day of Pentecost, not saying that this prophecy was being fulfilled but using the prophecy of Joel to show that the events of Pentecost were Holy Spirit events and not events that should be attributed to wine. It is very obvious from Joel 2:28-32 and other references that the real, physical fulfillment of these things is still in the future.
1) The meaning of the prophet’s name “Jehovah is God”
2) The key phrase, “the Day of the Lord” occurs five times
3) The key verses that speak to this future time of blessing (2:28-32; 3:17-21) and a verse that has great figurative language when we think of the forgiving grace of God, (2:25-27)… “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten…you 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, and you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel and that I am the Lord your God…”
I. Future “Day of the Lord” prefigured by the locust plague (ch. 1)
II. The Events of the future “Day of the Lord” (ch. 2)
* Israel in terror (vv. 1-10)
* The Lord’s army readies itself (v. 11)
* Repentance of the people (vv. 12-17)
* The Lord delivers and blesses His people (vv. 18-27)
* The promise of the Holy Spirit (vv. 28-32)
III. Order of events in the future “Day of the Lord” (ch. 3)
*Regathering of Israel (v. 1)
* Judgment of the nations (vv. 2-15)
* The kingdom blessing for Israel (vv. 16-21) ----Shalom,