A STUDY OF JOEL
Commentary by Dr. Mark G. Cambron
Introduction to the Prophetic Books
Diagram of Prophecy in the Word of God
This simple diagram will illustrate perfectly how prophecy, AS A WHOLE, is divided into seven divisions:
(1) His Own Day; (2) The 70-Year Captivity; (3) The Restoration; (4) The coming of Messiah for the First Time; (5) World-wide Dispersion of the Jews; (6) The Tribulation; (7) The Kingdom.
1. As for the prophet’s day the Word abounds with references to it.
2. Jer. 25:11.
3. Jer. 29:10; Dan. 9:2
4. The Old Testament is filled with Messianic prophecies
5. Amos 9:9; Ezek. 36:24, 28; 37:14.
6. Jer. 30:4-7; Dan. 12:1.
7. Isaiah 2:11; 11:11; Amos 9:14, 15.
Joel may be called “the Day of THE LORD Book.” The Day does not mean a day of 24 hours, but a period of time. The Day of the LORD begins with the Great Tribulation (last 3 1/2 years of the Dispensation of Tribulation) and lasts through the 1000 year reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Joel is undated, but looks on to the “end” time. He is a prophet to the Ten Tribes.
I. In the Light of Present Distress (1:1 - 2:17)
A. The Day of the LORD Foreshadowed (1)
B. The Day of the LORD Foretold (2:1-17)
1. Gentile Armies at Armageddon (2:1-10)
2. The Lord’s Army at Armageddon (2:11)
3. Israel in the Land (2:12-17)
II. In the Light of Ultimate Deliverance (2:18 - 3:21)
A. The Way of Deliverance (2:18-27)
1. The Answer to Mercy (2:18-22)
2. An Occasion of Joy (2:23-24)
3. A Promise of Restoration (2:25-27)
B. The Promise of the Spirit (2:28-32)
1. The Time of the Outpouring—”afterward” (2:28a)
2. The Subjects of the Outpouring (2:28b, 29)
3. The Signs of the Outpouring (2:30-32)
C. The Restoration of Israel (3)
1. The Judgment of the Nations (3:1-16)
2. The Blessings of the Kingdom (3:17-21)
The word Joel means “Jehovah is might.”
Joel’s date is not stated as such in the book, but it is accepted as being written to the Ten Tribe Kingdom of Israel.
Joel covers the time when Jehovah is vindicated and the passage spoken to Abraham is being fulfilled completely. “I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee” (Genesis 12:3).
We do know that it was written to the ten tribe Israel King after they were taken into captivity by the Assyrians.
“In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.” (2 Kings 17:6)
Key verse: Hosea 14:4
“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him.”
The whole book describes the insects’ invasion of the Upper Kingdom of Israel, which is a perfect description of Israel in her spiritual decline as they had been taken prisoners by Assyria and taken to this foreign land.
“The Word of Jehovah that came to Joel.” How did it come to him? “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” Heb 1:1-3
There were many ways God employed to give us His Word, and they were all perfect, for we have the Word in perfectness, completeness, by which God has spoken so clearly that man is foolish to deny that these words of Joel are the word of God: eternal, powerful, living, cleansing, purifying, purging, forgiving, receiving, rectifying, sustaining, completing, shaping, honoring, energizing, electrifying, pleasing, knowing — only the word of God spoken ages ago could fill the description of the many words that describe it.
What the insects have accomplished was guided by Jehovah, and Israel only is to blame.
Verses 2 - 3
“Old men” — he’s speaking to me! — your father’s father never saw the like what destruction has poured out upon us. But you will be able to tell the loss generated by god for His glory to your children and your children’s children, and they tell their children.
“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.”
Some in the “know” have said these words reveal that there are four different kinds of insects. Others have said that these words describe the four species of locusts. Both are correct. The message is that what one group of insects ate, it caused the ruination of the crop, for what one didn’t eat, another ate, and what it left, another insect ate, and what was left, the other completed the destruction of the crop.
Israel had at one time the blessing of God upon her, but look now: you drunkards, you’ve been waiting for the new crop of the vine, but there is not going to be any. The Land in past had produced such a crop that the new wine was so enjoyed, but there is no new harvest because the insects have destroyed it, and the old vintage you drunkards have wasted away. That is only a partial of the chastisement.
Verses 6 - 7
A new nation has arisen — not Assyria, for you are already in that land, and not any army of man — but an army that only God could create and with it, vex His people. This should remind you of the plagues with which I visited Egypt. Your people have told you of the plagues of frogs, of blood, of flies, etc. until the Egyptian people told Pharaoh “Egypt is destroyed.”
Their teeth are like the teeth of lions.
He also has made waste all the vines.
He has barked my fig trees — no more fruit from there anymore.
Verses 8 - 9
Oh, cry like a virgin girded with sack cloth for the husband of your youth.
There is nothing left of the grain, that even the wheat is blighted and no sweet savour offering of the Burnt Offering, and the meal offering cannot be given to God. The priests are at a loss at the loss of your loss — that these offerings cannot be made. For there has been a crop failure, that no olive berries are left to make oil; none.
The land is destroyed for years to come. Just nothing is left and it is impossible to have another crop.
All grain is wasted, no corn of any description remains.
Cry for your loss, you farmers.
Your wheat and barley are gone.
The vine and fig tree are perishing.
How could anyone rejoice with such a loss.
Oh, you priests, this shows how weak you are. Why haven’t your prayers been heard and answered?
And you priests at the altar can do nothing but lament at such a failure.
Listen, call for a solemn assembly. Gather yourselves to the Temple of the Lord, for the Day of Jehovah is near.
But how could the “Upper Ten Tribes” go to the Temple? Why they have been separated from the House of Jehovah in Benjamin for such a long time. They had two temples with their golden calves, so it is impossible to call upon Jehovah now.
The Day of the LORD — the day of Jehovah is right before them — yes, it’s on its way.
Verses 16 - 17
The food disappears before our eyes. The seed is rotten under their clods — no harvest this year.
The garners have nothing to place in the barns, and the barns are broken down themselves.
Poor stock — how they are suffering — there are no grazing grounds.
It makes Joel to lament to Jehovah. And along with that, fire has broken out and has burned the pastures. The flames have leaped to the trees of the field.
With all their efforts, the animals out to pasture have no pasture. The waters of the river are no more; everything is at an ebb.
“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion.” The sounding of the trumpets always meant war in Israel.
Those permitted to sound the alarm were the priests, servants of the altar of Grace and Mercy. But realize that the ten tribe Israel Kingdom had no Temple to Jehovah of their own, and if they visited the temple of Jehovah in Judah, they would have to ignore the idols that Jereboam had set up at Bethel and Dan — the golden calves.
To Jehovah, Israel and Judah are together, and the people under the ten tribe kingdom had perfect permission to go to Jerusalem and worship him with the structure of Solomon’s temple.
Now, here is another warning of the coming of the Day of Jehovah. Isn’t it great that God has cancelled that day at present. If He hadn’t, there would have been no Israel left.
These enemies of Israel are the locusts that devour man and beast before him.
“The day of the LORD is nigh at hand.” We find the Day of the LORD is found in most books of the Old Testament.
The perfect way to study about that day of gloom — not bright but darkness.
Both Old Testament and New Testament speak about that day of Jehovah’s wrath poured out upon His people Israel.
So we put down every reference to the Day of the LORD, and we find that the farthest away that the prophets have spoken by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost is found in Zechariah 14:1, 2:
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”
It is a time when all nations of the world will be gathered together against Jerusalem in the Tribulation with the antichrist as the leader against Jehovah in the middle of the Tribulation which is called the Great Tribulation — 3 ½ years of the suffering of Israel as never before.
In the second verse it says, “and the city shall be taken, and the houses taken apart and the women raped and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”
“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.”
This is when Jehovah fights against those nations under the leadership of the antichrist at the close of the Great tribulation.
We aren’t afraid of the antichrist for King Jesus shall take care of him. We are looking for that blessed hope (Jesus) and not looking for the antichrist. We have no fear of him, but the rest of the world shall know his fierceness when he demands to be worshipped as God, and those who take not his mark (they cannot buy or sell) nor do they bow down to his image are beheaded.
The Day of the LORD begins with the exaltation of the antichrist and ends 1003 ½ years later (after the millennium).
Their appearance are that of horses — the animal of war.
Did you ever hear as well as see a forest fire? It is a wonder to behold. All of a sudden all about them where trees or buildings are, burst out in flames, so will these creatures create fires and combustions.
Yes, we have seen by TV how out in California the mountains all of a sudden burst out in flames — the whole ridge — so it is with these insects — they are not mere mosquitoes.
As flames cause burns and inflammation, so will these insects.
They appear in their march as soldiers under command.
They climb the wall en masse.
None of them break ranks. This reminds us of the red ants and their parade causing pain and inflammation.
Even cities shall be invaded by them though they seem to fall, yet nothing seems to hurt them nor stop them.
They seem to be multiplying by the seconds. Nothing thought can stop them — and just bugs — but under the command of Jehovah against His people.
As a city under siege shall this army move and destroy.
As the aftermath of a volcano, the earth, sun and moon shall be darkened.
Jehovah, the creator, gives His orders to His army, and they obey.
His camp is great, yes, very great.
All of this shall be in the Day of the LORD — “Jehovah”!
Jehovah directs His commands to Israel. Without hesitation turn to Me with all your heart. And with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning — turn to your Jehovah. Rend your hearts — not your garments. Mean business for once in your lifetime.
Oh, how gracious Jehovah is!
He has proved to be slow in punishment.
Who knows but that Jehovah will live His blessing to us.
Even a grain offering with the burnt offering can do, though all of mankind cannot produce anything worthy for His praise — but all grain has been destroyed. He, Jehovah, no doubt sees the heart though no sacrifices are able to be offered.
Verses 13 - 15
Let Jehovah perform a miracle and supply what is needed.
Do all you can to gain respect of Jehovah. Gather all together.
Let the priests rededicate their lives — not put on a show — but in reality, let the priest weep between the porch and the altar. Let them plead “oh, spare the people and let not the heathen rule over them, for Israel is of higher nobility than the gentiles.”
Don’t throw us away as dead dogs. Let not one Israelite be the subject of any reproach.
What about those of the mixed multitude who say “Where is their God?” even these Gentiles have no god but a stone, too.
Just hear me saith Jehovah — I am thy Creator, thy Saviour — I, alone, am able to promise and fulfill my promise to you. “I shall send you corn and wine. And you shall be satisfied also with the oil. No more after you repent and turn to Me you will not be an approach any more.
“I’ll remove the northern army of the antichrist away from you.” I will drive him into a land barren and desolate. Oh, what destruction shall occur to the enemies of the LORD and Israel — “with his (antichrist) face toward the east sea,” the eastern sea is the Dead Sea, and the hinder sea is the Mediterranean Sea.
See the modulation from the insects to the armies of me.
Revival is springing up!
The pastures of the wilderness do spring.
The trees bear their fruit.
The vine and fig trees do yield their strength.
How come? Israel hath returned to his God!
Oh, shout the victory, Israel. God has given you the former and the latter rains. (Former in December and the latter in March.) Fear is taken away from the beast.
Oh, the threshing floor shall be full if perfect grain.
The large jars shall overflow with wine and oil.
Oh, hear, Israel, all the death and pain caused by these insects shall be erased. I will restore what these insects have caused. I am Israel’s God.
You shall eat in plenty! Oh, Israel how long I have waited for thee. Why right now the world is waiting for Israel’s repentance and return unto his God.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and you will praise His name forever. And Israel shall know she is forgiven. There is no reproach for Israel is content with the Lord! And never be ashamed. “And as many as believed in Him shall not be ashamed.”
“I am Jehovah your God (Elohim) and dwell in the midst of you. And afterwards Israel repents, and trusts his God Jehovah, for it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call upon the LORD shall be delivered — shall be SAVED. As the LORD hath said” and in the remnant whom Jehovah shall call.
Verses 1 - 3
Oh, how I love Jesus should be the song upon every Jewish mouth and lips.
Don’t you for a moment think the way the Gentile and the unbelieving Jew has treated Israel as the scum of the earth has been thrown under the table and forgotten by the Great Jehovah.
This great judgment is found in Matthew 26:31-46.
Now back to Joel 3:1.
Jehovah shall bring every live gentile to the valley of Jehoshaphat and try them upon their conduct toward Christ’s people, Israel.
I shall judge them as to their treatment in the Tribulation of the Jewish people. They did cast lots for my people; they have given a Jewish boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine.
O Tyre and Zidon in all your wealth and splendor and all those along the coast of Palestine.
You have taken my people’s gold and silver and carried them into your temples.
Why you have taken the children also of Judah and of the children of Jerusalem have you sold unto the Grecians that might remove them from their home sites. I will raise my people up and restore them and you shall answer for their mistreatment.
I shall raise them up out of the place where you have sold them.
And I will sell your sons and daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans to a people far off.
Proclaim this among the gentiles: Prepare for war!
Look at the reverse of God’s demand. Beat your ploughshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears. Let the weak say, “I am strong.”
Let the gentile be awakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I am determined to judge the gentiles.
Israel shall be appeased at the judgment against the gentiles. The Day of Jehovah has arrived.
The sun and the moon shall be darkened — the stars also.
Jehovah shall roar out of Zion for His people have been vindicated.
Jehovah shall be the Hope of His people and the strength of the children of Israel.
So, Israel, ye shall know that some Jehovah your Elohim (God).
Dwelling in Zion.
Then shall Jerusalem be holy.
And no stranger shall pass through anymore.
No more deserts, no more farms, no more storms, no more crop failures. For the mountains, full of water, shall drop down new wine. And the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters. And a fountain shall flow out of the house of Jehovah.
“Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.” (Ezekiel 47:1)
“And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.” (Zechariah 14:8-11)
Egypt and Edom shall pay for her mistreatment of Judah.
Judah shall dwell forever (Ephraim and Judah are together forever, forever, and forever).
The dragon, the devil shall be cast into eternal hellfire with the beast (antichrist) and his false prophet.