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The Prophecy of Joel, Part 1 - Christogenea Live 04-13-2012
This program, because of technical difficulties at Talkshoe, was held on the Christogenea Chat Page and Christogenea Live! Streaming Radio, which was a necessary first at Christogenea.
The following is from the Thomas Nelson Publisher's King James Study Bible, copyright 1983 by Thomas Nelson Inc. While I would usually not read anything like this from mainstream commentaries, they do get some things right, and I read this here for it's testimony of the nature of Joel's prophecy, which is actually pretty fair and decent considering it was originally a product of Liberty University.
“Joel is a highly emotional prophecy, rich in imagery and vivid descriptions. In it two unique events, not to be forgotten, are compared. These two events are to be committed to the descendants of the people. [Oddly, they deny this of the New Covenant today!]
“Historical Setting. Joel was one of the earliest prophets of Judah. The specific place from which Joel wrote is not known. Since he was a resident of Judah and Jerusalem, he likely wrote his prophecy from there. His frequent calls to blow a trumpet in Zion, to consecrate a fast, to proclaim a solemn assembly, and to gather the people together to come before the Lord lend credence to the view that the prophecy was issued [verbally] from the temple court.
“Two events are compared in the course of Joel's prophecy: (1) the locust plague upon Judah in the days of the prophet, and (2) the far greater coming day of the Lord. The latter is set forth in the figure of the former. Joel is the special prophet of the day of the Lord; he mentions it five times (1:15; 2:1; 2:11; 2:31; 3:14). Joel has also been called the “Prophet of Pentecost” because of his most famous and well-known passage (2:28-32), quoted by Peter in Acts 2. More than half of the book is built around a description of the locust plague. Joel's prophecy is the grandest description in all literature of such a plague. Joel is also a great prophecy of repentance, on both a personal and national scale (1:14; 2:13, 15). The purpose of Joel's prophecy is to turn the nation back to God in preparation for the great day of the Lord, the theme of his prophecy. [Today is that day!]
“Authorship. The author of the prophecy is identified only as “Joel the son of Pethuel.” His name combines the names Yahweh and El and means ''Yahweh Is God." [It is amazing to me, that Liberty University makes this admission, and still goes on to ignore Yahweh in exchange for Lord in its worship.] The author is one of 14 men in the Old Testament who shared this name. Joel was a contemporary of both Hosea and Amos, though he ministered to the southern kingdom while they ministered to the northern kingdom. Joel's frequent references throughout the prophecy to Judah and Jerusalem indicate that he was not a priest, though he was inhabitant of Jerusalem and was a prophet of the southern kingdom.” [I do not see how they arrived at this final conclusion.]
Now I cited that, because the commentators at Liberty University did well on the dual nature of Joel's prophecy, that it was written for events in Joel's own time, and that it was also written for events to occur in some distant time, in the time of the final judgement and the coming great day of Yahweh. They also did well with the meaning of Joel's name, for it certainly means in Hebrew that Yahweh is God. Too bad they do not continue to so readily recognize that fact in their daily intercourse.
However they also err in some other respects. First, they refuse to see that the locust plague is an allegory, and not necessarily to be taken literally. While there is no assertion here that locust plagues do not happen, for they certainly do, no locust plague of such great and devastating magnitude is recorded as having happened upon Israel in the Kingdom period during which Joel had written. There is a mention in Amos, however, that infers that there were times when the children of Israel suffered plagues from insects, and we see in Amos 4:9 that Yahweh says: “I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me...” However in Joel the text itself, as we shall see, describes a locust plague and then goes on to lament an invasion by a nation into the land, where it can clearly be seen that the locust plague is an allegory for invading people, and has little to do with actual insects.
Concerning the dating of Joel, in this respect I made an error in the notes to my Hosea commentary, accepting mainstream assumptions such as those that we have seen here, without checking deeply enough for myself concerning this dating. Joel, as we shall see upon examining the text, was most likely not one of the “earliest prophets of Judah”, as Liberty University and many mainstream commentators assert. Examining only the first two chapters of Joel, it may appear that the commentators are correct about the dating. However examining the third chapter, Joel must be dated to a much later period than is generally assumed. In that chapter, it is clear from the context of his prophecy that he wrote after the Assyrian deportations of Israel, which included most of Judah, but before the Babylonian deportations of the people of Jerusalem and the remnant of Judah and Benjamin and Levi. There are clear indications of this in Joel, which shall be illustrated as we proceed to examine the text of that chapter, in the second part of this presentation.
KJV Joel 1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
We are not told much about Joel, and his father's name is unknown elsewhere in Scripture, however in the Septuagint it is Bathuel. As it was said in the introduction, Joel was a common name and there were 14 men mentioned in the Bible who had it. [The more accurate count is 13, since an examination reveals the man bearing that name in 1 Chronicles chapter 6 to be the same as the man in 1 Chronicles chapter 15.] Joel was also the name of the first-born son of Samuel, and wherever else the name appears it usually also happens to be accompanied by the name of its bearer's father, so that it is safe to assert that mention of Joel the prophet is only found here in his book, and where he is later cited by Peter in Acts chapter 2.
2 Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?
The admonishment indicates that the things which Joel is about to describe are heretofore unheard of in Israel.
3 Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
4 That which the palmerworm [1501 gazam,τῆς κάμπης, the winder– also Amos 4:9] hath left hath the locust [697 arbeh,ἡ ἀκρίς, the locust– also Exodus 10, Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 28] eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm [3218 yelek, ὁ βροῦχος, locust, or its wingless larva, Psalm 105:34 et al. The word seems to come from βρύχω, to eat noisily or greedily.] eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller [2625 chaciyl,ἡ ἐρυσίβη, red blight – also Isaiah 33:4] eaten.
Because of the alternate meanings of some of the words here, some commentaries claim that this may refer to four stages in the life of the same insect, yet Joel 2:25 indicates that it is four different insects which are meant. That the locust (arbeh) and the caterpillar (chaciyl) are certainly different insects is evident elsewhere, since they are distinguished in both 1 Kings 8:37 and Psalm 78:46. The Septuagint has verse 4: “The leavings of the caterpillar has the locust eaten, and the leavings of the locust has the palmerworm eaten, and the leavings of the palmerworm has the cankerworm eaten.” More importantly, however, those commentaries which imagine the alternatives ignore the context of the subsequent verses, which demonstrate that this really does not refer to insects at all, but to people.
5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth. 6 For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.
The palmerworm, the locust, the cankerworm, the caterpillar, these are not insects, rather they are allegories for people, or nations of people. That is why the children of Israel are depicted in verse 5 as drunkards, and in verse 6 we see the phrase “a nation is come up upon my land”, referring to Israel and the land of the people of God. Verse 7, speaking of this as if it has already happened, will prove this interpretation.
7 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.
Here we see that as a swarm of locusts can lay waste a vineyard or a tree, the nation which comes upon the land, “strong and without number”, can lay waste the people of God, who are the branches of His vine. John 15:5: “ I am the Vine, you are the branches....”
Hosea 10:1 described the result of the sins of Israel: “Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.”
The prophet Nahum, using similar language and describing that which the Assyrians did to Israel, says at Nahum 2:2: “For the LORD hath turned away the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel: for the emptiers have emptied them out, and marred their vine branches.”
Jeremiah 6:9, using similar language, prophesies the Babylonian desolation of Judah: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets.”
The people are referred to as drunkards, because if it were not for their licentiousness, the sinful lives they had been leading, the palmerworm, the locust, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar would not have consumed the land. The Canaanite, the Hittite, the Assyrian, by the time that Joel wrote this prophecy they have already ravaged most of ancient Israel, which is established in chapter 3 in the second verse and elsewhere. Now the Babylonians would come in and ravage the remainder of Israel.
8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
As a people, we almost never seek our God until calamity strikes us, and then we begin to pray for His intervention – where by then it is usually far too late. When times are good, most of us completely forget about God, and so it was in ancient times.
9 The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD'S ministers, mourn. 10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth. [LXX: the oil becomes scarce] 11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. 12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
Husbandmen and vinedressers are metaphors for the priests and rulers of the nation. There is a parallel to all of this in Isaiah chapter 56, and here are verses 8-12: “8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him. 9 All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest. 10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. 11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. 12 Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.”
Yet Isaiah is looking far into the future, after Yahweh “gathers the outcasts of Israel”, and He had certainly done so: for He gathered them to Europe and then to America. Yet as we even saw the commentators admit, Joel's prophecy also has an application for that far-future time, “in those days” at “the great and the terrible day of the LORD” as it says at the end of chapter two. In Isaiah we see that the shepherds, the political leaders and priests of the nation living lives full of abundance, have no care for the people and allow the nation to slip into the decadence which help to cause its demise. The watchman should be guarding the flock, and they are more concerned with filling their bellies.
13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God. 14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD, 15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
This is not a warning of punishment for sin, rather it is long past that point and the punishment is coming regardless. This is a call to recognition and penitence, that one may be granted mercy in order to withstand and survive the punishment when it does come. That “the day of the LORD is at hand” was a warning for the destruction to come in Joel's day as well as a warning that such destruction would come again in the great and future day of Yahweh's judgement, that day which is referred to more concretely at the end of this prophecy.
Jeremiah chapter 4 talks about this same judgement which Joel does here, and at 4:14 he warned: “O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?” Both men may have been saying these things in Jerusalem around the same time.
16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God? 17 The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. 18 How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. 19 O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. 20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
While the phrase beasts of the field is often used as a pejorative term for non-Adamic peoples, it is not always so. Rather, as we see it used here, it means wild animals. The Septuagint most often translated the Hebrew term as θήρ (for which see Strong's # 2339), as opposed to κτῆνος (Strong's # 2934), which is a domesticated animal, such as a beast of burden. Here in this passage, however, and among other minor differences, the Septuagint has specific words for cattle and sheep in verse 18, and at verse 20 where the King James Version reads “beasts of the field” the Septuagint has “cattle of the field”, where the word κτῆνος was employed to translate the Hebrew. Although we certainly should see the non-Adamic peoples of the earth as wild animals, as Jude explains that they are “animals, not having the Spirit” as verse 19 of his epistle may be translated, and Peter at 2 Peter 2:12 says they are “born as natural irrational animals into destruction and corruption in which blaspheming they are ignorant in their corruption they also shall perish”, yet that does not infer that non-Adamic peoples are meant every time we see the phrase beasts of the field appear in Scripture. Here Yahweh through the prophet merely indicates that all of the animals of the land would suffer: thereby illustrating the degree of destruction which was to result with the coming invasion.
Jeremiah 4:18-29, foreseeing this same destruction, describes it thusly:”18 Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart. 19 My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. 20 Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment. 21 How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. 23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. 25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. 26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger. 27 For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. 28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it. 29 The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein.” The destruction foretold by Jeremiah was also to be at the hands of an invading army.
KJV Joel 2:1 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.
The Chaldaeans are not mentioned here by name, as they are in Jeremiah or in Ezekiel where the destruction to come upon Jerusalem is also prophesied, and that makes Joel a little more difficult to date, since the entire context of the book must be studied. However when these invasions are spoken of, they are always oversimplified anyway, and usually for the purpose of getting the general message across. The Assyrians invaded Israel and Judah in the 8th century BC, and took most of the people away, to be resettled elsewhere. But the Assyrians were not alone, rather they held the hegemony over all of the surrounding nations, such as the Persians, Medes, Babylonians, Hittites, etc., and all of these nations must have contributed to forming the Assyrian armies, as was the custom of the time which is evident in both the ancient histories and the surviving inscriptions. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon consolidated his own empire from the parts which had dissolved with the fall of Assyria. The Babylonian imperial armies must also have been formed in this same manner, and therefore although Babylon itself is east of Jerusalem and somewhat more southerly in latitude, its armies were described as the northern army in verse 20 of this chapter, since most of the empire was situated to the north. There were also Greek mercenaries fighting for the Babylonians, as is evidenced in some of the Greek Lyric poets such as Alcaeus, and those mercenaries are known to have participated in the Babylonian campaigns in Palestine. Such has been the case with every other world empire known from history, that their armies have been built from the components of many other tribes by either compulsion or bribery.
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.
As a swarm of locusts, the invading army will devour everything in its path, and therefore that is the reason for which we see the analogy that Joel uses of the destruction of ancient Israel, that it has been devoured by one swarm after another.
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.
The Septuagint has at verse 9: “They shall seize upon the city, and run upon the walls, and go up upon the houses, and enter in through the windows as thieves.” As it is made evident by comparing Acts 9:24 and 2 Corinthians 11:33, the walls of ancient cities often attached buildings, and therefore frequently had windows facing the outside of the city, as Paul was able to escape the Judaeans at Damascus.
In 2 Kings chapters 22 and 23, there is the account of the reign of Josiah who ruled in Judah for approximately 30 years towards the end of the 7th century BC, which was nearly a hundred years after the Assyrians had laid waste of most of Israel and Judah. From that account it is clear that many of Judah were inhabiting large parts of the land, who either escaped capture by the Assyrians or who had in the course of the ensuing dspan style=font-weight: normal;7 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.ecades spread themselves back out from Jerusalem into the countryside. A city cannot survive without holding the towns and villages of the countryside, upon which it would rely for its source of food. Yet here the focus of the prophecy seems to be on Jerusalem alone, which is the city that must be meant where the wall and the city are referred to by the prophet.
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:
In verse 19 in chapter 1 we read “for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field”. A military invasion in a drought condition would make it easy for the invading army to destroy with fire the fields and forests of the countryside as an offensive tactic, and the smoke would certainly cause the conditions envisioned here. Yet it is also evident, that the sun, moon and stars can represent the governments and people of God on earth, as they do in the Revelation in chapter 6, verses 12 and 13 where it says: “the sun became black as a sackcloth of hair and the whole moon became as blood 13 and the stars of heaven fell to the earth”. Here verse 10, where it is speaking of the fall of Jerusalem, it may very well describe both the conditions of the countryside literally and the final fall of the people of Judah allegorically.
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? 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.
Even in their destruction, Yahweh shall have mercy upon His people if they repent. The call for them to rend their hearts, and not their garments, is a call to sincere repentance, and not a mere pretense of repentance. A successful defense against the invaders shall not determine one's survival, for Yahweh has already indicated that the invaders are unstoppable, and the destruction of the kingdom is certain. Rather, only a repentant heart and a willful turn in obedience to God shall determine one's survival.
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?
Who knows if he will be able to survive the onslaught? The mention of the offerings is allegorical. 1 Samuel 15:22: “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” Hosea 6:6, which Christ quoted: “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Paul tells us in Colossians 3:10 that putting away all sin and accepting Christ we "….have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him...."
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.
The children of Israel as a nation are the bride of Yahweh their God, and they will have mercy and survive if they marry themselves to Him, which requires submission and obedience to Him. This is just as significant for us today, for those of the ancient Israelite stock who are in Christ, as it was for ancient Judah.
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? 18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.
The phrase “between the porch and the altar” refers to the inner court of the temple. Yahweh shall spare His people for His Own sake, because they are His heritage. The people themselves are not worthy of mercy, but shall receive mercy on account of His Word and His promises. Luke 1:72-75 declare the purpose of redemption for Israel: “To bring about mercy with our fathers and to call into remembrance His holy covenant, 73 the oath which He swore to Abraham our father, which is given to us: 74 being delivered fearlessly from the hands of our enemies to serve Him 75 in piety and in righteousness before Him for all of our days.” Therefore if His people are not going to serve Him, he shall continue to chastise His people until they shall serve Him. Eventually, His will shall indeed prevail.
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.
If we repent and choose to obey our God, He will remove the enemies from our land, and He will bless us with bounty and increase. We are not going to remove our reproach of our own accord, outside of repentance and a return to obedience to our God. 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” That formula cannot be changed by the will of man. We must put away all idols, fornication (which includes race-mixing), sodomy, usury, pharmakeia, and then we can start to repent of our sins.
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.
James said in his epistle at 5:7, which shall be cited again later, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Prince. Behold, the farmer awaits the precious fruit of the earth, having patience for it until he should receive the early and the late.” While I interpret James to be referring to the early and the later fruits, those fruits do not come without the rains, and many interpret James to be referring to the rains. That there was an early rain and a later rain in the agricultural season of ancient Israel is evident in several places in Scripture, including Jeremiah 5:24: “Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.”
In his paper, Early Rain vs. Latter Rain, Clifton Emahiser wrote this about these two rains, comparing them to the history of the congregation in Christ: “Here the early and latter rain represent firstly the rain of seed time at planting and secondly the rain of ripening before the harvest: the first fell in Judaea about the beginning of our November after the seed was sown; the second toward the end of our April as the ears began filling out in preparation for the full harvest, as their crops developed during the winter and early spring. It is obvious that this passage typifies the beginning of the ekklesia period and extends until the time of Yahshua’s Second Advent, with a long dry season between the two rains. Most good farmers are aware that a moderate dry spell after the seed has been planted can be beneficial, causing the plants to develop a vigorous root system so that when the rains finally come the crop will produce an abundant yield. This may be a strange way to look back on the history of the ekklesia, but this is what James and the prophets before him were alluding to. The reader needs to differentiate between the early and latter rain, as each are different in their respective nature. In other words, we are not instructed to reenact the events at the Day of Pentecost as a pattern of our worship. While there were miraculous phenomena at Pentecost, as recorded in Acts (such as speaking in tongues), it was only an earnest (down payment) of the Spirit. At the Day of Pentecost there were gathered many good-fig-Judahites from many lands speaking diverse languages, and a miracle was provided in both the speaking and the hearing for that event to be a success.”
So we saw an early rain in the descending of the Spirit at Pentecost, and the marvellous things which those first apostles of Christ were able to do, and now we expect a later rain of the Spirit at His return, which is the fulfillment of our redemption. Isaiah also likened the Word of God as rain from heaven, at Isaiah 55:10-13: “10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Of course, we look forward to the day when there are no more thorns and briers.
24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil. 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.
Here we see that Yahweh Himself sent the palmerworm, the cankerworm, the locust and the caterpillar among us, in order to devour us. But that does not mean that we can blame Yahweh our God for our troubles: for we invited these plagues upon ourselves when we turned away from Him! It is very clear, in the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience spelled out for us in both Leviticus and in Deuteronomy, what the consequences of our sin would be. Among these curses, at Deuteronomy 28:32-34 Yahweh warned: “32 Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand. 33 The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed always: 34 So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.” Now we see these very things happening here in our lands today, and so far we are powerless to stop it, and it does indeed anger us.
We have these lessons in the following Scriptures, from Judges chapters 3. 6, and 10, Scriptures which we have still failed to learn from:
Judges 3:7-10: “7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves. 8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years. 9 And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. 10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.”
Judges 6:1-14: 1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. 3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; 4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. 5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. 6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD. 7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, 8 That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; 9 And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; 10 And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice. 11 And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. 13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. 14 And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?
Judges 10:6-18: “6 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him. 7 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon. 8 And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. 9 Moreover the children of Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed. 10 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim. 11 And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? 12 The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. 13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. 14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. 15 And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day. 16 And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. 17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh. 18 And the people and princes of Gilead said one to another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”
Judges chapter 11 relates how Jephthah the Gileadite was then raised up by Yahweh to deliver Israel from the oppression of the Midianites. The pattern should be clear: every time the children of Israel fell into a state of idolatry, Yahweh used the surrounding nations to oppress and to chastise them for their iniquity. They only repented when they could no longer stand the chastisement. So it is in the days of Joel, that Judah had fallen into a state of decadence, and they were therefore destroyed by the Chaldaeans. Judah did this in spite of the fact that she was warned by many prophets, and had witnessed what happened to Israel and to much of her own nation at the hand of the Assyrians just a few generations beforetime. Yahweh had sent the Assyrians to chastise Judah, and her repentance was only short-lived, so Yahweh sent the Chaldaeans to chastise Judah again, which is what we see happening here. Yet once again, they are promised deliverance if they turn to obedience.
Today we see the sin of our nation, and the destruction which has been wrought as a result of that sin. We must accept the lesson offered by James, in his epistle at 5:7-11: “7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Prince. Behold, the farmer awaits the precious fruit of the earth, having patience for it until he should receive the early and the late. 8 You also have patience. Establish your hearts, because the coming of the Prince has approached. 9 Do not bemoan, brethren, against one another, in order that you would not be judged. Behold: the Judge stands at the door! 10 Take as an example, brethren, of ill-suffering and of patience those prophets who have spoken in the Name of the Prince. 11 Behold, we are blessed who are enduring. You have heard of the endurance of Iob and you know the accomplishment of the Prince, that the Prince is very affectionate and compassionate.”
We need the endurance of Job today now more than ever. We saw the mainstream commentators announce how Joel's prophecy was applicable to his own day, and also to the end of days, of the time leading up to the great Day of Yahweh – the judgement of God. However the mainstream commentators failed to grasp the true meaning of the locust plague. Matthew Henry came close, where he said “though a devastation by these insects is primarily intended here, yet it is expressed in such a language as is very applicable to the destruction of the country by a foreign enemy invading it”. With certainty the mainstream commentators would never identify these insects as people today, in spite of the fact that they admitted to the applicability of the prophecy in such a manner. Today, White nations everywhere are overrun with the palmerworm, the cankerworm, the locust and the caterpillar. In the second part of this presentation on the prophecy of Joel, we shall compare the other Biblical prophecies which confirm this interpretation, and what it means for Christendom today, and what the final result of the prophecy dictates for the children of God.