Joel 2 (King James Version)
1 Blow 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;
There is a Christian/Messianic song that is festive and jubilant and proclaims happily, “Blow the trumpet in Zion!” as if it is going to be a wonderful celebratory thing. Not so. Because it is Judgment Day. You may say, “Yeah, bad for the wicked; good for us, the Believer!” Really!?
1 Peter 4:17 For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?
We Believers get judged before the non-believer.
It doesn’t say, “let only the wicked tremble…,” no, it says, “Let ALL inhabitance tremble.” Why? Because sin cannot survive in the Presence of a holy God, it will be irradiated. Many may think they have everything right with God, but what did Yeshua say?
Matt. 7:22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Everything hidden will be made manifest and be brought out into the open and into the light. Something’s even we may not have fully realized was hidden deep inside us.
1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
Num. 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
1Cor. 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
Eph. 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
Many forget to realize that the chapter and verses were added later to the Scripture for the convenience of the reader and sometimes thoughts or ideas were broken off. So if we illuminate the chapter and verse we will realize immediately this is speaking still about the locust and famine, it is speaking of Armageddon, the last and final Judgment of the Great White Throne.
Rev. 19:11-21 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
Rev. 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Joel 2:2 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.
Take note of the grim depiction of the “Days of the LORD.” Again we have a double prophetic speak here. On the one hand the locust were seen as an invading army, so numerous that they blot out the sun like a dark storm cloud or the arrows on the movie “300”. On the other hand it speaks of the army whether Babylonian or Greco-Syrian that will take Jerusalem captive. Still again, it could be alluding to the future plague of locust upon the wicked (Rev. 9:1-11), the army of Armageddon who come to challenge the LORD and are annihilated (Rev. 19:11-21).
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.
Nothing will be able to escape from them. The locust will consume the land like a seasonal fire storm turning forest and pastureland to ash. Possibly hidden deep within this verse is the hope of restoration. How so you may wonder; with fires and disasters; the devastation produces ground twice as fertile. The ash puts nutrients back into the soil and promises better future crops. Judgment has a silver lining in that it brings about correction, repentance and a greater tomorrow. Judgment will be G-d’s wrath upon evil and chastisement on His people, the key is to repent and learn from it and endure till the end (Matt. 24:13). The verse (Joel 2:3) speaks of Eden, an idiomatic term for Jerusalem and the Temple mount.
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.
Rev. 9:7,9 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… 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.
I remember growing up in Ohio and the seven year cicadas would come and be so thick that it looked as is the tree bark was moving, the noise was like an electric hum or the sound of a thousand wheels crunching gravel or the crackle of a raging fire. It was almost deafening, it was hard to hear anything but the cicadas, you could hardly think and thankfully they weren’t so many that it left trees bare, but you could see the damage they inflected on the leaves.
6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.
Before these present and apocalyptic future locusts, it will anguish the people to know that food will be scarce; the farmers see their crops being consumed like a bag of annual profits on fire, everyone will become pale with fear, dread, shock and unbelief.
7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march everyone on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:
The locust hordes will be like a finely tuned and trained war machine moving as if they were a single entity that no obstacle can slow or stop.
8 Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk everyone in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.
Every means or weaponry used in an attempt to get rid of them will be futile and wasted motion. Due to their size, speed and numbers, they will be impervious to manmade weaponry.
9 They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.
The locusts will cover everything like a blanket and like the frogs of the Egyptian plague, or the old horror movie with the invasion of spiders, they will find their way into every house; nothing will be able to keep them out.
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:
They will be staggering and unbelievable numerous that one will be able to feel the ground vibrate and they will be so many that their numbers will dim the light of the heavenly luminaries.
Rev. 9:2-3 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
Joel 2:11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
These locusts are considered the LORD’s Army that does His bidding. All the verses up to this point have been a vivid and detailed description of the coming judgment of famine and economic collapse due to the plague of locusts. Joel presented a crisis and now what follows is how to deal with it.
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.
In keeping with the Day of the LORD being Yom Kippur, this verse prescribes traditional activities taken upon individuals and the community. Fasting, mourning and weeping over ones sinful and wayward state. Joel tells us that before outward signs are manifest, the heart first must be contrite.
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
God does not want show, but sincerity.
Metzudos tells us, “It is never too late to repent, even though God’s decree has been issued.” But once the decree is carried out, the time for repentance has passed. God never brings judgment upon any people without ample warning. Whether the people recognize, hear and heed such warnings is another issue all together.
Joel 2:14 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?
Joel comes to the conclusion the Ninevites came to; that even though judgment has been decrees, perhaps if repentance is carried out on behalf of the people, the LORD may change His mind regarding sending that judgment, or at least toning the severity of it down.
Jonah 3:4-10 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
Not only will the judgment be stayed, but perhaps a blessing will follow, such thorough and sincere repentance, the blessing being the means with which to serve Him enough grain and wine to offer unto ADONAI.
Tomorrow we will discuss what is involved in a "Meal Offering" and how it applies to the story of Joel.