Joel 2:1-19

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

We are in the process of seeing -


We have already seen -

A. The tremendous devastation by the locust horde, 1:1-7

We have also already seen that -

B. This invasion is a prefiguration of the human invaders of the future (i.e. of the Assyrians and the Chaldeans), 1:8-20

We move on to -

C. The day of the LORD as a day of reckoning, 2:1-11

In this section the theme of the day of the LORD mentioned in 1:15 is developed as more details about this approaching day are mentioned.

Joel 2:1 Blow ye the trumpet [i.e. a ram's horn] in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain [a reference to the temple]: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble [i.e. tremble in fear]: for the day of the LORD cometh [i.e. is coming], for it is nigh at hand [i.e. it is near].

Verse 2 describes the day of the LORD. It is -

Joel 2:2 A day of darkness and of gloominess [or gloom], a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains [i.e. like the morning clouds spread over the mountains, like the rays of the morning sun at dawn covering the horizon]: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like [i.e. there has never been anything like it], neither shall be any more after it [i.e. nor will there again be anything like it], even to the years of many generations [i.e. even for many successive generations].

In this section the enemy is described in locust-like terms, thereby establishing continuity with chapter 1.

The invaders, like the locusts in Joel 1 , are compared to a fire that consumes everything in its path -

Joel 2:3 A fire devoureth [i.e. consumes] before them [i.e. before the invaders]; and behind them [i.e. behind the invaders] a flame burneth [i.e. burns]: the land is as [i.e. the land is like] the garden of Eden before them, and behind them [behind the invaders, the land is like] a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them [i.e. surely, nothing at all will escape the invaders].

In comparison to locusts, the invading force is likened to an army -

Joel 2:4 The appearance of them [i.e. the appearance of the invaders] is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen [i.e. war horses or swift steeds], so shall they run [so will they gallop or charge].

Nothing is able to stop the advance of the invaders -

Joel 2:5 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 [or like the flame that consumes the stubble], as a strong [or mighty] people set in battle array [i.e. like a mighty people arranged for battle].

The approaching invaders terrorize the people in their way -

Joel 2:6 Before their face [before the faces of the invading armies] the people shall be much pained [i.e. the people will writhe in pain or the people will be in much anguish]: all faces shall gather blackness [i.e. all faces will turn pale or all faces will be drained of color].

In language applying both to the locusts and to a literal army, the advance of the army is relentless -

Joel 2:7 They [i.e. the invaders] shall run [i.e. charge] like mighty men [i.e. like warriors]; they shall climb the wall like men of war [i.e. scale walls like soldiers]; and they shall march every one on his ways [i.e. march in formation], and they shall not break their ranks [i.e. they will not deviate or swerve from their path or course].

Their orderly advance plunges through defenses -

Joel 2:8 Neither shall one thrust another [i.e. jostle, crowd, or push each other]; they [i.e. the invaders] shall walk every one in his path [i.e. each one will march in his own column]: and when they fall upon the sword [i.e. although they lunge between the weapons], they shall not be wounded [i.e. they are not cut down].

The invaders enter walled cities and homes -

Joel 2:9 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.

Whether the locusts, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, or the invading armies in the tribulation -

Joel 2:10 The earth shall quake before them [i.e. before the invaders]; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark [i.e. grow dark], and the stars shall withdraw their shining [i.e. lose or diminish their brightness]:

Joel 2:11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army [i.e. the invaders comprise the LORD's army - it is an army He has raised up]: for his [i.e. for the LORD's] camp [which represents His army or His forces] is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word [i.e. the LORD Who executes His word is strong]: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible [i.e. the day of the LORD is awesome or dreadful]; and who can abide [i.e. who can endure] it?

The implied answer is that no one will be able to endure it.

The locust army is regarded as a foretaste of an invading army not only in the Old Testament as the Assyrians and Babylonians, but also in the day of the LORD (v. 1); i.e., in the tribulation period. The future reference may be to the demon-locusts in Revelation of Jesus Christ 9:1-12 or to the invasion of the king of the North in Ezekiel 38:15 and Daniel 11:40 .

The demon locusts in the tribulation are described in -

Revelation of Jesus Christ 9:1-12 - 1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 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. 3 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. 4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. 5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. 6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. 7 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. 8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9 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. 10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. 11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. 12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

The invasion of the king of the North is described in Ezekiel 38:15 and Daniel 11:40

Ezekiel 38:15 - And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army.

Daniel 11:40 - And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

Resembling the Garden of Eden before the invasion, the land of Palestine will be reduced to a wilderness afterward (v. 3). The same (or similar) disturbances described in verse 10 are predicted in Revelation of Jesus Christ 6:12-13 ; 8:12.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 6:12-13 - 12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:12 - And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

We have seen that -


Next, we see -


There must be -

A. The external forms of contrition as well as sincere heart repentance, 2:12-15

Before such an invincible army, the nation's only hope was to turn immediately to the LORD in repentance -

Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

Their repentance must be more than mere outward ritual -

Joel 2:13 And rend [i.e. tear] your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful [i.e. compassionate], slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil [suggesting, He is ready to relent (or to turn from) sending calamity].

It is possible (but not necessarily automatic) that the LORD will change His mind and bless rather than send His army to destroy -

Joel 2:14 Who knoweth if he [i.e. the LORD] will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him [i.e. instead of this curse]; even a meat [i.e. a grain] offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? [suggesting, again enabling you to offer a grain offering and a drink offering to Him]

A call to personal repentance that comes from the heart. The heart was considered to include the intellect as well as the emotions.

Even if Israel repented, she could not assume (as we often do) that God would automatically send a blessing.

Joel 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify [i.e. consecrate or declare] a fast, call [i.e. proclaim or announce] a solemn assembly:

Not only must there be the external forms of contrition as well as sincere heart repentance, but there must also be -

B. Repentance on a nation-wide scale, including all classes and ages, 2:16, 17

Joel 2:16 Gather the people, sanctify [or consecrate] the congregation [or assembly], assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts [i.e. the nursing children]: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber [i.e. out of his room], and the bride out of her closet [i.e. dressing room or bridal chamber - even the newlyweds were not exempted from gathering in this assembly].

The priests were to lead the assembly by weeping before the LORD and praying for the LORD to spare Israel, His heritage -

Joel 2:17 - Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch [i.e. the temple porch] and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people [i.e. Your people], O LORD, and give not thine heritage [i.e. Your heritage or Your inheritance - meaning Israel] to reproach [i.e. give not Your heritage to reproach (i.e. to scorn or to mockery)], that the heathen [i.e. the nations] should rule over them: wherefore should they [i.e. the heathen or the nations] say among the people, Where is their God? (as if He doesn't exist, or as if He doesn't care, or as if He doesn't have the ability to defeat His people's enemy)

We conclude this section with the -

C. The promise of the returning mercy of the Lord, 2:18, 19

If the people are genuinely repentant, the LORD will restore the land from the effects of the locust plague and avert the threatened invasion -

Joel 2:18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity [i.e. have compassion on] his people.

Joel 2:19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn [i.e. I am sending you grain], and wine [i.e. the grape crop from which wine will be made], and oil [i.e. olives from which olive oil will be derived], and ye shall be satisfied therewith [i.e. with them]: and I will no more make you a reproach [i.e. an object of scorn or an object of mockery] among the heathen [i.e. among the nations]:

The statement, I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen, has not yet been fulfilled, but will be fulfilled with the second coming of Christ which will conclude the tribulation.


This sermon is the 2nd part of the series, Study of Joel. Other sermons in this series are: