1. What warning was being issued as we look at the first eleven verses of this chapter?
The judgment of the Lord was coming through the armies of the north, the Chaldeans: “(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; (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. (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. (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. (6) Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. (7) They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: (8) Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. (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. (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: (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” (Joel 2:1-11)?
- Blow the trumpet in Zion will be stated again later in this chapter, but for a different reason than in these first eleven verses (Joel 2:15).
- Sounding an alarm, a trumpet of warning for this day was at hand (Jeremiah 4:5-6 and Ezekiel 33:1-9).
- Tremble (Jeremiah 5:22).
- The day of the Lord is language indicated God’s judgment, which happened many times on nations (Isaiah 2:12, Isaiah 13:1-9, Isaiah 34:1-8, Ezekiel 30:1-5, Joel 1:15, and Zephaniah 1:7-18).
- The day of the Lord is a day of God’s vengeance (Jeremiah 46:10).
- The descriptions of this great, strong people unlike anything seen before was a description of the Chaldean [Babylonian] armies God used to punish Judah (Jeremiah 4:5-13, Jeremiah 5:22-24, Jeremiah 9:18-21, Jeremiah 13:15-21, and Jeremiah 21:1-10). Like we noted though in our study of chapter one, we cannot dismiss that this could be about Greece or Babylon and then Greece to follow. We will see Greece mentioned in the next chapter (Joel 3:6).
- Interestingly, in verse 2, these people were “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.” We should recall that the only time recorded of something worse than Babylon, as Daniel prophesied, to come at the hands of the Grecian Empire that came about after Babylon and Media-Persia (Daniel 11:21-12:1).
- Enough horses to cause the earth to shake (Jeremiah 6:23 and Jeremiah 47:3).
- No light, but the shadow of darkness was coming (Jeremiah 13:16).
- Who can stand before the Lord’s judgment being brought through the armies of men (Nahum 1:6)?
2. How did the Lord want the people, including the priests and ministers of the Lord, to respond to the warning He had issued?
Repentance: “(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. (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? (15) Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: (16) Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. (17) Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God” (Joel 2:12-17)?
- “Turn ye to me” is an urge to repent (Jeremiah 18:8, Ezekiel 14:6, Ezekiel 18:30, and Acts 26:18-20).
- The urge to turn with all their heart is important to realize God asking for. In their future, from these days, Judah will NOT turn to Him with all their heart (Jeremiah 3:10). Had they, God would have forgiven (II Chronicles 15:15 and II Chronicles 16:9).
- Remember, God has always urged love and obedience with the whole heart of His people (Deuteronomy 6:5, Deuteronomy 11:13-17, Deuteronomy 30:1-3, Jeremiah 29:13, and Mark 12:28-34).
- Fasting, weeping, and mourning (Nehemiah 1:4-11).
- Not just an outward showing though (Psalms 34:18 and Matthew 6:16-18).
- God is gracious and merciful and slow to anger (Exodus 34:6-7).
- The prophet doesn’t guarantee God will pardon (Jonah 3:9 and Zephaniah 2:3).
- This second time urging the blow of the trumpet. This time, for a solemn assembly (II Chronicles 35:6 and Jeremiah 36:9).
- God is imploring them not to allow the necessary consequences of their disobedience, that the heathen rule over them (Deuteronomy 28:15-37).
3. As the heathen would rule over His people, how did God say He was going to feel for His land and His people?
In jealousy and pity: “Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people” (Joel 2:18).
- Isaiah 42:10-17, Isaiah 60:10, Lamentations 3:22, and Zechariah 1:14-17
4. What was the Lord going to do to cause the children of Zion to rejoice?
Food, removing reproach, and resources restored: “(19) Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen: (20) But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things. (21) Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things. (22) Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. (23) Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. (24) And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil” (Joel 2:19-24).
- At this point, God will hear as promised (Leviticus 26:40-46).
- Their new habitation would be forthcoming (Isaiah 65:17-25 and Amos 9:13-14).
- Israel’s relationship with God had, if faithful, the promise of physical prosperity (Deuteronomy 28:1-15 and Psalms 128:1-5).
- This restoration of their prosperity was to come after their 70 years in captivity, if this is Babylon (Jeremiah 29:10-14 and Jeremiah 30:15-24).
5. What was the Lord going to restore to show He was in the midst of Israel?
What was eaten and taken: “(25) And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. (26) And ye 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. (27) And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed” (Joel 2:25-27).
- Herein is the fulfillment of God’s promise long ago to Solomon (II Chronicles 7:11-16).
- When God says His people will not be ashamed, we need to understand that His people were those that obeyed Him (Psalms 37:12-20).
6. What is being prophesied of in the last five verses of this chapter?
The events surrounding the death of Christ and the word being preached first in Jerusalem: “(28) And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: (29) And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (30) And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. (31) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. (32) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call” (Joel 2:28-32).
- There is nothing unclear about this prophesy for we have the text wherein these words were fulfilled (Acts 2:1-47). In that contexts, verses 16-23 clearly establish this fact.
- The Spirit on all flesh… Acts 8:12-24, Acts 19:1-17, and I Corinthians 12:1-14:40.
- Whosoever call on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16, Romans 10:1-21, and I Corinthians 1:2).
- Wonders in the heavens and the earth (Matthew 27:45-56 and Luke 23:44-45).
- To not be confused, by the language of “great and terrible day”… “Terrible” means, in part “to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe” (Strong’s # 3372). This too fits the Acts 2 fulfillment as we read: “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles” (Acts 2:43).
- Deliverance began in Jerusalem (Luke 24:44-53).
© 2021 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.