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Made Easy



  • The book of Joel, as with all other books of the Bible, is authentically the Word of God. 

  • This is obvious, because the book of Acts refers to it, which proves that the book of Joel was recognized as God’s Word during the first century church’s existence (Acts 2:16) (Pfeiffer, Vos, & Rhea,2003). 

  • Joel was a prophet to the Southern Kingdom of Judah, because His Words from the Holy Spirit make reference to the House of God (i.e. the Jewish Temple) and the priests (Joel 1:9) (Dehoff, 1989). 

  • Remember, the Jewish Temple was located in Jerusalem of Judah and not in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.


  • Joel 1:4 gives the state of the times for the Jewish people of Judah during the time of Joel. 

  • It reads, according to the New International Version, “What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what

  • the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten.” 

  • Thus, this is a sign that the land was in a famine.

  • Locusts were sent by God as judgment upon the people for their sins as foretold in the Old Testament Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 28:38) (Torrey, 1880). 

  • These locusts were one of many forms of judgment that God put on the people due to their sins (Deuteronomy 28:14-68). 

  • If the children of Israel would have obeyed the Word of God, then they would have been blessed beyond belief (Deuteronomy 28:1-13). 

  • Of course, as written throughout this study, Christians have the same dilemma. 

  • If we do not live righteously in God’s sight, then He may surely cut off our blessings and send hard circumstances into our lives to get us to repent (Hebrews 12). 

  • If we do the Will of God, there may be many things that we receive from Him in prayer. 

  • As you know, it is in vain to pray as a Christian, if we are purposely not living right, because our prayers will be ignored (1 Peter 3:12; 1 John 4:14-15). 

  • Returning to the book of Joel, water was also in scarce supply (Joel 1:20).

  • Thus, the environment was very harsh upon the Jews of Judah due to their sins.


  • Joel 1:8 gives instructions to the Jews of Judah after hearing that they were under a judgment of locusts and famine. 

  • God tells them to cry like a widowed young woman. 

  • This is referring to a sorrow created by the fact that one realizes that he/she has sinned. 

  • This means that godly sorrow is awakened in the heart of the person. 

  • This godly sorrow brings about repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). 

  • This is what Jesus means when He says, “Blessed are they that mourn: for

  • they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). 

  • This “mourning” is over one’s separated status with God. 

  • This means that one has realized

  • he/she is a sinner and needs to repent. 

  • One begins to feel sorry for offending God. 

  • This is what Joel 1:8 is telling the sinful Jews of the Southern Kingdom of Judah to do-mourn over their own sinful conditions! 

  • If the Jews of Judah would have learned to mourn over their sinful condition, then they would have been brought to repentance. 

  • Christian, the devil puts the spirit of denial or a defensive nature in us to keep us from mourning over our spiritual condition so that we do not repent of our sins and regain the favor of God (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:8; John 8:44; 1 John 2:16). 

  • Be honest with yourself and God, because as you know, God always knows the truth. 

  • He knows when we are in denial or defensive. 

  • Thus, we, as Christians, must repent in order to gain the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:8-9).


  • Returning to the book of Joel, the Jews are instructed to mourn over the land due to the famine and lack of water (Joel 1:8-12, 16-20). 

  • Joel 1:13-14 is a call for the whole nation to repent of their sins starting with the religious leaders (Pfeiffer & Harrison, 1990).

  • To put one’s self in sackcloth in the Old Testament days was a sign of repentance (Matthew 11:21) (Smith, 1884). 

  • Joel correctly saw this plague of locusts leading to famine as a sign that the “Day of the Lord” was coming (Joel 1:15).

  • This means that God’s severe judgment was not far off. 

  • Joel was telling the people that there was a chance to stop the “Day of the Lord,” because we know from earlier studies that the Babylonian invasion could have been prevented if the people would have repented (2 Chronicles 7) (Nave, 1995).

  • Remember, the judgments of God on the Old Testament Jews were progressive. 

  • Famines and droughts were often the first stages and captivity by one’s enemies was the last stage of God’s judgments.

  • Thus, if the Jews of Judah would have repented at the hands of this famine and drought, they could have avoided the Babylonian invasion and captivity that would occur later in Bible history (Leviticus 26:14-46) (Nave, 1995). 

  • This mini-judgment of famine was a sign that God would severely judge them if they did not repent!


  • Joel 2 is a prophecy covering thousands of years of time. 

  • Joel 2:1-11 uses an allegory to describe the coming Babylonian invasion due to the people’s sins. 

  • Locusts are the literal picture in Joel 2:1-11, but these locusts are also symbolic of the skill and deadliness of the Babylonian army. 

  • The locust invasion was real, but also symbolic of the invasion by human conquerors. 

  • John Gill (n.d.) described Joel 2:2 best with the following comment, “Alluding to the gloomy and thick darkness caused by the locusts, which sometimes come in prodigious numbers, like thick clouds, and darken the air; so the land of Egypt was darkened by them, Exodus 10:15; historians and travellers relate, as Bochart has shown, that these creatures will fly like a cloud, and darken the heavens at noonday, cover the sun, and hinder the rays of it from touching the earth; though all these phrases may be expressive of great afflictions and calamities, which are often in Scripture signified by darkness, as prosperity is by light; see Isaiah 8:22 . . . numerous and mighty, many in number, mighty in strength; so the locusts are represented as a nation and people for might and multitude . . . an emblem of the Chaldeans and Babylonians, who were a large and powerful people . . .” 

  • The Bible describes invading armies as locusts, because later on in Bible history, these same Babylonians would be invaded by men, symbolically described as locusts, representing armies from many different nations as a judgment for their own sins as well (Jeremiah 51:14, 27-29) (Day, 1915). 

  • Furthermore, we know that the locust plague in Joel 2 is really speaking about the Babylonian armies, because God is saying that He will release the Jews of Judah from their captivity (Joel 3:1).


  • Joel 2:3 says, “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.” 

  • After locusts devour a land, it often looks as if the land had been scorched by fire. 

  • Thus, green, plush areas compared to the Garden of Eden, become barren after the locusts have devoured them (Pfeiffer & Harrison, 1990). 

  • Of course, this is symbolic of the coming Babylonian invasion, because they were extremely destructive to their enemies, even to the point of burning the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple (2 Kings 24-25). 

  • Just like locusts could not be stopped, the invading Babylonians could not be stopped either. 

  • The locusts and Babylonian armies would have faces like horses and move like them too. 

  • This means that the locusts literally look like horses in the face, but the Babylonians would be fierce like a horse and move swiftly like horses can run swiftly (Joel 2:4). 

  • The locust and Babylonians would be a very organized army as well (Joel 2:7-8). 

  • As you know, reader, this author is a big fan of the King James Version, but newer versions of the Bible are often more accurate from a Hebrew perspective. 

  • The King James Version (KJV) translation writes regarding Joel 2:8, “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.” 

  • The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) is more accurate and reads, “They do not jostle one another, each keeps to its own track; they burst through the weapons and are not halted.”

  •  It is obvious that one cannot stop an invading locust swarm with a sword, spear, or arrow, because there are just too many of them. 

  • This is the same principle regarding the Babylonians. 

  • They will be wounded in battle, because it is humanly impossible for every man in a battle to come out of a battle unharmed. 

  • The words “be wounded” in the KJV and “are not halted” in the NRSV are translated from the Hebrew word “batsa” (Strong’s number 1214). 

  • It means to be cut off.

  •  Said another way, it means to be stopped (Brown, Driver, & Briggs, 2001).

  • Thus, even though the Jews of Judah would fight back against the Babylonians, since God was on the Babylonian’s side, they would not be stopped.

  • Judah could not stop the Babylonians, because God strengthened them and caused them to prevail as a judgment for Judah’s sins.


  • Joel 2:10-11 warps to the final judgment day of all of mankind that is still in the future for you and I today. 

  • The earth will quake and the heavens will tremble. 

  • Neither mankind nor locusts can make an earthquake or the heavens tremble. 

  • Thus, this must refer to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and/or the time before His Second Coming when He was nailed to the cross.

  •  Jesus’ death on Calvary may have fulfilled the earth quaking prophecy of Joel 2:10. 

  • On the other hand, His death may not have fulfilled it. 

  • Only time will tell when Jesus literally comes back the second time as to which of the possibilities is true (both can be true). 

  • Remember, after Jesus died on the cross, the earth certainly quaked, which was an indication that Jesus was the Divine Son of God (Matthew 27:51-55). 

  • Also, while Jesus was on the cross, there was darkness in the land of Judah for three hours (Matthew 27:45). 

  • Thus, Joel was starting to reveal to us things that would happen during the lifetime and reign of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and/or the events of His literal Second Coming.

  • Jesus is foretold to come back the second time with the angels to judge mankind.

  • Jesus is foretold to be seen with the archangel at His Second Coming (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Joel 2:11). 

  • The angels will be the army of fighters at that time (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43). 

  • They will have the enemies of God burned in everlasting fire (Revelation 20:11-15; Matthew 25:41). 

  • Just like the locusts make a loud noise and the approaching Babylonian army made a loud noise, the coming of Jesus and the angels will be a very loud event (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Joel 2:5). 

  • Thus, with most prophecy in the Old Testament, the prophecy in Joel 2 has a double fulfillment. 

  • The one immediate fulfillment being the coming Babylonians and the last complete fulfillment being the great judgment of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and His angels.

  • Revelation 6:12 shows us that before that final day, when Jesus comes back again, there will be a horrendous earthquake, the sun will become black, and the moon will become blood (Coffman, n.d.).

  • Again, the events on the cross were tokens (i.e. signs) that Jesus was the Divine Son of God. 

  • Acts 2:19-20 show us that these miraculous things, including the earth quake (if not already fulfilled at the crucifixion), sun turning black (if not already fulfilled when Jesus was on the cross), and moon turning to blood, are still to come before Jesus Christ comes back again (Torrey, 1880).


  • In Joel 2:13-17, God calls the Jews of Judah in the time of Joel to repent, fast, and ask for His mercy. 

  • God is saying that if the people would repent, then they would receive the blessings of their daily food and turn the Babylonians away (Joel 2:18-27). 

  • In other words, if the people of Joel’s time would repent of their sins, then God would take away the locusts that were already plaguing them and would stop the Babylonians from invading and destroying them.

  • God would also restore the prosperity of the crops and fruits of the land for the Jews’ consumption. 

  • Joel 2:17 (See the King James Version, American Standard Version, and New King James Version) is a key verse in understanding this chapter. 

  • God is showing the people to repent to keep them away from foreign rule over Judah. 

  • Thus, this is before the Babylonian invasion. 

  • As a result, God was showing them that if they would repent at the disaster of the literal locusts, then He would keep the Babylonians from conquering them. 

  • Shouldn’t famine and drought be enough to turn someone to repentance?

  • Of course so. 

  • Christian, how much judgment of God in our lives do we need to change? 

  • Hopefully, this is showing us by example, we should not need much, but to accept the suffering that we have caused ourselves, repent, and have it lifted from us instead of incurring more punishment for our sins (Hebrews 12)


  • Moving forward to Joel 2:28-32, we find the following promises of God, which read, “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.”

  •  These five verses are extremely important to the modern-day Christian. 

  • The Apostle Peter applied these Words to the time of the spreading of the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ to the world, which means that these Words apply to the times that you and I live in today. 

  • God surely sent the Holy Spirit to empower Jesus’ apostles to preach salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ in Acts 2. 

  • The key verse for our understanding is Joel 2:32, which reads, “ . . . And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered . . .” 

  • From what are people to seek to be delivered?

  • The answer is “the great and the terrible day of the LORD” (Joel 2:31). 

  • What is “the great and the terrible day of the Lord?” 

  • It is His wrath that will come to devour His enemies on that final judgment day of all mankind (Romans 5:9-10). 

  • Those that are delivered will be “whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD” (Joel 2:32).

  • Who is the LORD? 

  • Acts 2:36 tells us, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 

  • How does one call on the Lord? Jesus answered this question Himself in four simple statements. 

  • First, He said, “ . . . Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). 

  • Second, He said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). 

  • Third, He said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32). 

  • We know from Jesus’ further actions that this means that all who want to be saved from God’s wrath must confess that Jesus is the Son of God as demonstrated by the Words of John 9:35-38, which read, “35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.”

  • This means that we are publicly declaring that we have accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord of our lives to do His Will instead of our own (Romans 9:9, 10). 

  • Fourth, it is also Jesus that said the following Words of Matthew 7:21, which reads, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” 

  • In a nutshell, one with an honest heart can see that it is Jesus that revealed to us God’s plan of salvation being to (1) hear the Word of God, (2) believe it regarding Jesus Christ being one’s Lord and Savior (i.e. the Son of God), (3) repenting of one’s sins, (4) going down into the watery grave of baptism for the forgiveness of one’s sins, and (5) obeying the Lord until death to be saved. 

  • The apostles and Gospel evangelists of the New Testament did not innovate upon, add to, or subtract from Jesus’ plan of salvation. 

  • Instead, they reinforced it by repeating the things that Jesus had already taught us regarding salvation of one’s soul to avoid the wrath of God (Romans 10:14, 17; Mark 16:15-16; Romans 1:16-17; Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 8:26-40; 22:16; Revelation 2:10; James 2:20).


  • Joel 3 is the final chapter in the book of Joel.

  • It starts off with the most encouraging Words of Joel 3:1, which read, “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring back the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem . . .” 

  • This is obviously encouragement to the Jews of Judah in the pre-Babylonian captivity days. 

  • God was showing them back in Joel 2 that He was going to punish them for their sins, but even with punishment, He was going to provide mercy and hope for a better day. 

  • This is an example of what the Psalmist said in Psalm 30:5, which reads, “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” 

  • Although there is a lot of righteous anger displayed in the Old Testament by God, this is one of many passages where one can see the other, tender, loving, and forgiving side of God as well. 

  • God would surely punish the Jews in the future according to Joel’s prophecy and it certainly happened, but He also released them from this same Babylonian captivity as you and I will discover in later books of the Bible such as Zechariah and Malachi. 

  • He is the same way for the Christian today. 

  • Our sins test His patience, but if we repent of our sins, confess our sins to Him, and ask Him to forgive us, then He immediately forgives us right at that moment (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:7-9). 

  • He doesn’t stand aloof of us in a probationary mindset, where we must wait for forgiveness.

  • Instead, He immediately eliminates all feelings of anger toward us and then puts a joy in us, because we know that we have regained peace with God.


  • Joel 3:2-8 are promises to both earthly, fleshly Israel and the spiritual Israel that is called the church of Christ or church of God. 

  • The church of Christ is the spiritual kingdom of God and God’s own holy nation (1 Peter 1:1-5; 2:9; Acts 2:32-41, 47; Romans 16:16; Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:13). 

  • God promises to pay back the enemies of Israel for their evil treatment of God’s people. 

  • What one must realize is that even though God punished earthly, fleshly Israel for their sins, there was always a remnant (i.e. small number) of righteous Jews amongst the sinful majority. 

  • This remnant would be avenged by God for the atrocities committed against them by their neighboring nations that would conquer them, destroy their cities, and sell them off into captivity. 

  • Thus, it cannot be denied that within this prophecy, God was saying that He would avenge the fleshly, earthly, righteous remnant of the Jews of their enemies as Jeremiah 51 foretold would happen to the oppressor in the form of Babylon later on in Bible history.


  • Getting back to Joel 3:2-8, God says that He will re-gather these righteous Jewish people out of the many nations from which they have been scattered throughout the centuries. 

  • Well, when God talks about regathering, then He is actually beginning to speak about the New Jerusalem, which is the church of Christ (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 21:2). 

  • This is obviously speaking of Jewish Christians.

  • As mentioned throughout these lessons on the Old Testament, the only way that God could regather the Jewish people from among the many nations for which they were scattered was to make a holy nation that was not confined to any earthly location. 

  • That holy nation is the church of Christ that is made up of Jews and non-Jews assembled from every earthly nation on planet earth (Galatians 3:28). 

  • How is this assembling of the true Jerusalem and Israel done?

  • It is accomplished by the preaching of salvation in Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Galatians 3:28). 

  • Those that believe and obey the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ are added to this holy nation called the church of Christ (Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3; 8:1; Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 10:32; Acts 8:36-37; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 2:38-41). 

  • Keep in mind that the earthly, fleshly, nation of Israel had to exist, because it was God’s tool to bring the promised Savior of the world into the earth and also, it had to exist, because if the Savior did not end up being born in Bethlehem of Judah, this same Savior could not have given birth to the church of Christ that He created (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 53; Matthew 1:21; 16:15-19) 

  • Thus, fleshly, Israel, was God’s tool to further God’s plan of salvation for mankind where Jesus was foretold to come to earth way back in the times of Adam and Eve and promised to come through Abraham as well (Genesis 3:14-15; 12:3). 

  • Also, fleshly, earthly Israel was also protected by God to not be wiped off the face of the planet by its enemies so that it would exist long enough for the birth and preaching ministry of Jesus Christ (Matthew 15:24).

  • God planned for the righteous remnant of Jews that would accept Jesus Christ as their Lord to be saved before He even made the world or even the first man and woman being Adam and Eve (Romans 8:29-30). 

  • For you, reader, knowing that God designated Jesus to be the Savior of all mankind before He made heaven and earth is inspiration for most of us non-Jewish Christians of the world as well (Revelation 13:8). 

  • God preserved many of our non-Jewish ancestors from annihilation, despite their being perpetually sinful all of their lives and for uncountable number of generations, to bring us non-Jewish Christians in the world today to salvation (Matthew 25:34). 

  • This answers the question of why does God let evil people live? 

  • Unfortunately, evil people often make righteous people for the Lord many generations later! 

  • God knows the actions of generations of people until the end of time, because He knows all things (Psalm 139). 

  • These are the deeper things of God and this is why we know His intelligence far surpasses any human ability imaginable!


  • Joel 3:9-21 is obviously talking about the final day of judgment when Jesus comes back the second and final time to judge all nations.

  • This reminds one of Psalm 2 where the Messiah (i.e. Christ) is foretold to come to destroy all His enemies. 

  • That Messiah is obviously Jesus Christ (John 1:29-51). 

  • God is not coming to save fleshly, earthly Israel from its foes, but instead to judge the foes of spiritual Israel (i.e. the church). 

  • What other event could God be speaking of? 

  • Something miraculous and supernatural must be being communicated by God in Joel 3:9-21, because these enemies of God’s people are going to be eliminated in a moment’s time! 

  • This is nothing, but Jesus remaining at the right hand of God the Father until all His foes are put under His feet with the pinnacle moment being when He comes back one day and all individuals from every nation are going to be raised from the dead. 

  • The righteous will go on to eternal life, but the unrighteous to everlasting punishment (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 10:1-18; John 5:28-29). 

  • Blessed be the name of the Lord!


  • As a final note, before concluding our study of the book of Joel, this author is of the conviction that like many prophecies in the Old Testament, there is a double fulfillment of God’s Word in Joel’s prophecy. 

  • God would certainly release the Jews of Judah from Babylonian captivity, but this was only a token or symbol of what He was really trying to release them from. 

  • That is, the real goal of God for mankind, non-Jewish or Jewish, is to get us released from the power of sin and eternal death (Joel 3:1). 

  • He wants us to be released from the power of darkness, which is Satan’s kingdom of sin and eternal death, to be delivered into the kingdom of light, which is Jesus’ kingdom church where there is salvation and joy forever more (Romans 8:1; Colossians 1:13) (Coffman, 1989a).

  • Unfortunately, Jesus knew that this spiritual kingdom would have many enemies here on earth, because the evil, spiritual kingdom of Satan is motivating human beings to be evil toward Jesus’ kingdom church (Ephesians 6:12). 

  • For these enemies that do not repent of their sins and give their lives to Christ, then they will be among the nations assembled in the valley of Jehoshaphat that Jesus will destroy (Joel 3:12; Psalm 2). 

  • Furthermore, the final fulfillment of Joel 3 can only be directed to the church, because even after the Babylonian and Roman captivities of Jerusalem, this fleshly, earthly city never existed without enemies marching through it and causing harm (Joel 3:17). 

  • That will never happen, because even to this day in 2008, Israel has a tremendous amount of enemies outside and within its borders! 

  • If God was foretelling eternal peace for fleshly, earthly Jerusalem and Judah after the Babylonian or even Roman captivities when the Messiah Jesus came, then why is there is so much terrorism within its borders today? 

  • It is because God is not promising eternal peace and prosperity to fleshly, earthly Israel, but instead, He is promising this to the spiritual, Israel (i.e. the church), when all of spiritual Israel’s enemies are eliminated at the time of Jesus’ Second Coming!

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