The Book of JOEL
James J. Barker
THE DAY OF THE LORD: THE KINGDOM ESTABLISHED
- The theme of the book of Joel is “the day of the LORD” (3:14). Sometimes the prophets refer to the day of the LORD by saying, “in that day” (Joel 3:18).
- According to the Bible, the day of the LORD begins with darkness (Joel 2:1, 2). This is because the Jewish day begins in the evening.
- Genesis 1:5 says, “And the evening and the morning were the first day.”
- After the darkness of the tribulation, the Lord Jesus Christ will return to establish His kingdom (Joel 3:15, 16; cf. Matthew 24:29, 30).
THE LORD WILL DWELL IN JERUSALEM (3:17).
- Those who enter into the millennial kingdom shall “know” that Jesus Christ is Jehovah (LORD) God (3:17; cf. Rom. 11:26, 27).
- When Christ returns, Jerusalem will be “holy” (3:17; cf. Isaiah 2:2-5).
- Psalm 2:6 says, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”
- The emphasis is on holiness (Joel 3:17). First Peter 1:15 and 16 says, “But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
- Zechariah 13:1 says, “In that day (the day of the LORD) there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.”
- I will say more about this fountain in a few minutes.
- Zechariah 14:20 says, “In that day (the day of the LORD) shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD.”
- Merrill Unger wrote, “Internal purity will be implemented by external cleansing and separation from that which tempts to defilement” (Unger’s Commentary on the OT).
- “And there shall no strangers pass through her any more” (3:17) refers to Gentile invaders (cf. Zech. 14:21).
- We saw last week that the wicked Gentiles will be judged when Christ returns to establish His kingdom (cf. Joel 3:2).
- Some Gentiles will enter into the kingdom, but only those that are saved (cf. Zech. 14:16).
A FOUNTAIN SHALL COME FORTH FROM THE TEMPLE (3:18)
- Our Lord’s glory will be manifested in the millennial temple. The last nine chapters (40—48) in the book of Ezekiel deal with the millennial temple.
- “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk…” (Joel 3:18) is a poetic description of the beauty of Israel in the millennial kingdom.
- The LORD had told Moses that the Promised Land was “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8).
- The flowing “fountain” (Joel 3:8) is a vivid picture of the abundant blessings (both spiritual and temporal) of God. Since this fountain is referred to several times in the Bible, it is undoubtedly a literal fountain (cf. Ezek. 47:1-12; Zech. 14:8; Psalm 46:4; Rev. 22:1, 2).
- Again I will quote Dr. Unger. “The image of the ‘fountain’ (spring) issuing from the house of the LORD reflects the fact that the blessings of Israel’s restoration to the millennial Kingdom will spring from Christ’s finished redemptive work.”
JUDAH SHALL PROSPER, BUT THE NATIONS SHALL BE DESOLATE (3:19-21).
- Egypt and Edom were ancient foes of Israel (cf. Psalm 83:1-6; Isa. 63:1-6).
- Here they represent all of God’s enemies. In the Bible, Egypt is a picture of the world – rebellious, unregenerate, spiritually blind, ungodly, lost, etc.
- The Lord will judge them at His second coming “for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land” (Joel 3:19).
- “But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation” (Joel 3:20).
- Jerusalem is unstable today. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has described Israel as a “filthy black germ” set loose on the Middle East.
- This sort of vitriolic rhetoric from hateful Muslim leaders has been increasing, and will undoubtedly continue to increase as we draw closer to the second coming of Christ.
- But despite the rantings and ravings of lunatics like Mr. Ahmadinejad, God is going to restore Israel. Amos 9:15 says, “And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.”
- Joel 3:21 says, “For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed…” This will be fulfilled when Christ comes back.
- Zechariah 12:10 says, “And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son.”
- In the meantime, they are under the wrath of God. In Matthew 27:25, the Jews shouted to Pontius Pilate, “His blood be on us, and on our children.”
- But when Christ returns, there will be a remnant of Jews who will repent and receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Then Joel 3:21 will be literally fulfilled.
- The book of Joel begins with bad news – a devastating locust plague (1:1-4).
- However, it ends with good news – “For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion” (3:21).
- All of history is moving towards this – the return of our Lord Jesus Christ to establish His kingdom.
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