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BOOK : Joel

Description : Prophecies about the ‘last days' (see Acts 2:16-21)

Author: an unknown Joel

Date written : unknown and scholars vary between 6th and 9th centuries BC!

Chapters : 3


In such a short book, in what follows, in the Brief Synopsis, the Outline and the Key Verses we will be doing the same thing in three different ways, laying out what is here in this little book


Brief Synopsis:


•  A plague of locusts (1:4) has ravaged the land and Joel calls for a holy fast (1:14) to cry out to the Lord and appears a warning of yet a worse day (the ‘day of the Lord') that is coming (2:1,2) that may yet be a worse plague stripping the land (2:3) and again the Lord calls for repentance (2:12-17).
•  When this happens the Lord will bless His people (2:18-27) and afterwards will pour out His Spirit and bring salvation (2:28-32).
•  When he restores Judah and Jerusalem (3:1) He will hold all nations to account (3:2-16a) but will bless His people Israel (3:16b-21).

Outline :


1:1-2:17 Judah Experiences a Foretaste of the Day of the Lord
1:1-14 A Call to Mourning and Prayer
1:15-2:11 The Announcement of the Day of the Lord
2:12-17 A Call to Repentance and Prayer
2:18-3:21 Judah Is Assured of Salvation in the Day of the Lord
2:18-27 The Lord's Restoration of Judah
2:28-32 The Lord's Renewal of His People
3:1-21 The Coming of the Day of the Lord


Key Verses :


A calamity has fallen on the land

1:2 Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers?

A plague of locusts has stripped it

1:4 What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten.

Everything has been stripped, there is no food left

1:11 Despair, you farmers, wail, you vine growers; grieve for the wheat and the barley, because the harvest of the field is destroyed.

We need to call on the Lord

1:14 Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.

Gt ready, something worse is coming

2:1,2 Blow the trumpet in Zion ; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand…… such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come.

Repentance is called for

2:13 Rend your heart 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.

When repentance comes, blessing from the Lord will follow

2:18,19 Then the LORD will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people. The LORD will reply to them: "I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations.

The Lord will provide in abundance for His people

2:26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.

And then He will pour out His Spirit

2:28-30 And afterward, 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. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.

In the last day He will judge the natiosn for the way they treated Israel

3:1,2 "In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem , I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat . There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel ,

But in that day blessing will be there of Israel

3:18 In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the LORD's house and will water the valley of acacias



Concluding Comments


•  The picture is clear – a calamity presages the coming of a great day of judgment, which necessitates a call to repent and seek the Lord. When His people will do that the Lord will bless them and pour out His Spirit on them, and then into a time of accounting with all other nations while continuing to bless His people.
•  The difficulty is the interpretation of all this. It starts with the ‘locusts'. Were they a literal plague of locusts or is it a symbolic picture? Commentators take both sides. For interest sake, some suggest that the four locusts mentioned in 1:4 could represent the rule of first Assyria, then Babylon , then Greece and finally before the next fulfilment, Rome .
•  The fact is that the apostle Peter under the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost declared that what happened on that day was in fact a fulfilment of the Joel chapter 2 references to the Holy Spirit which would imply that what was recorded before that had already happened. Today we might see ourselves as in the era of the Spirit which will be concluded when Jesus returns and the day of worldwide accounting takes place, that ‘day of the Lord'..
•  The remaining question mark might be in respect of the meaning of the word ‘ Israel ' near the end of Joel's prophecies. Does it mean the literal nation of Israel alive in the Middle East , or does it simply mean all believers, the people of God worldwide? Only time will tell.
•  The end picture is of the people of God blessed by God while all unbelieving ‘nations' will be held accountable for the way they have responded to the witness of the people of God. it is a strong message.


  Additional Resources on this site:


       Joel Bible Studies