Direction in an Age of Confusion
20 Years of Prophecy Fulfilled
Chapter 1 (B) The Prophet Joel Message
Let’s get to know Joel. He was considered one of the minor prophets. There are many suggested dates for the authorship of the Book of Joel, some suggesting around 835 B.C. At that time there was a devastating plague and drought. Due to these natural calamities, and the interpretation of prophetic view with regard to the coming of the Messiah, the locusts, plague and droughts were predicted to be repeated, why? To signify and confirm the upcoming event, just prior to his arrival. Other than that, only God would truly know the year, day, and time of arrival.
So Joel, as prophetic, spoke to people abut (1) the need for National Repentance. His message delivery was three-fold, so (2) as a condition (result) of repentance the people were promised immediate security and blessings in spite of difficult state of affairs, events, or personal situations, and (3) an outpouring of the spirit of prophecy would prepare the faithful for a new era of righteous living and peace.
The prophecy itself was divided into two sections:
(i) The National Call to Repentance, the promise of deliverance and blessings in the Day of the Lord, was first used by the prophet Obadiah, and continued in the prophecies throughout the Bible. It would be a day of wrath, and a day of judgement upon the wicked; it would also be a day of salvation for the righteous.
(ii) It would also be judgements on the enemies of Israel.
The question was and is-- how would the prophecies unfold?
First, unprecedented plagues of locusts and drought are described, and people begin to suffer and vocalize the devastation and its effects on their lives. The priests had to suspend the daily sacrifice. The plagues would be an ‘attention getter’, demonstrating the greater hosts of the Lord who would sit in judgement later and they could be averted by humility and sincere penitence, asking for forgiveness, after which God would provide deliverance.
In terms of ‘locusts’ it is not just the ‘grasshopper’ in nature, locusts could also be a description of ‘invaders’ and ‘destroyers’. In American Civil War history, think in terms of General Sherman’s (North/Yankee) Army march to the sea, in which destroyed everything in its path, homes, industries, crops, transportation, in order to bring General Lee’s South/Rebel Army to its knees thereby defeating it. However, it was so effective, not only the Rebel Army was defeated, the wasteland made it overwhelmingly difficult for people, including families and children to rebuild their lives.
The prophecies suggest the same kind of waste-laying. However, the inhabitants of the land prophesied by Joel were looking for the Day of the Lord as a day that evil and evil doers would be judged, albeit harshly—divided and scattered. The land and its prosperity would be taken and divided upon the righteous (a major transfer of wealth).
Essentially this is the “Good News, Bad News” presented to so many of us today. This is a common theme among the prophets, appropriate to biblical times as they are today. The parallel passages in the prophet Isaiah’s Book 66:19-24, look at the corridors of time, beyond their age, into ours and beyond.
The message was (and is) that even though they (the prophets) had to deliver the bad news of God’s impending judgement on His chosen people, there was also hope; the light at the end of the tunnel. The Good News. God would eventually restore the remnant to the land, and would bless them. It’s important that we understand the codes of conduct, obeying God’s laws and instructions, living righteously with all our strength to prevent such massive and painful judgement.
When we fall short, often hope for Grace, and we receive it. Otherwise, many times, when individuals or groups become apathetic, selfish, or belligerently entitled and refuse to be persuaded that attitudes and behavior need to be changed for common good, drastic consequences ensue. Too often, the innocent are caught in the mesh, until the wrongdoers ‘Repent’, a critical act of sincere remorse-- and begin to actively atone for their transgressions.
Essentially, the process is six-fold, 1) Attitude 2) Behavior 3) Rebellion 4) Discipline/Judgement 5) Repentance 6) Renewal. 7) Peace.