Welcome to Defender’s Voice. This is Dr.Paul. Thank you for joining us today. Defender’s voice is to defend the glorious gospel truth of our great Savior Lord Jesus Christ. If you have a question, please send us to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s question is: Prophet Joel talks about the Day of the Lord. How is that related to the end of the world and of human history?
Excellent question. I love talking about prophecy because prophecy shows that God is active in the affairs of this world. Prophet Joel’s book, the book of Joel is found in the Old Testament. It has only 3 chapters but it has a great significance in the prophecies of the Bible. The main theme of this book is the ‘Day of the Lord’, the most dreadful day ever to happen in human history. You don’t want to see that day. You don’t want to be here when that day comes on this planet. It is the most terrible day. The most frightening day. Prophet Joel warns about this day in unmistakable terms.
If you look at the list of books of the Old Testament, prophet Joel is found among the minor prophets. But prophet Joel is said to be the first written prophet. His ministry was to the people of Judah in the southern kingdom. He was stationed in Jerusalem. That means he is introducing a very important prophecy before the world. Every other prophet who comes after him should focus on the ‘Day of the Lord’ introduced by this prophet.
In the first chapter, we see a plague hitting the nation of Israel. That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten. Awake, ye drunkards, and weep (Joel 1:4-5)
All kinds of deadly insects have attacked the nation of Israel. One pest comes and eats the crop. Then the next pest comes and eats away the remaining. Then the next pest comes and eats away the remaining. prophet Joel says, Look at what is happening to our nation. Look at this pestilence. Awake you drunkards and weep.
Interestingly, the only sin mentioned in this book is drunkenness. People were so intoxicated that they could not see what was happening around them. We can relate to that. We are going through a pandemic. Millions of people have been dead. We have seen terrifying things like lockdowns, long food lanes, rationing in grocery stores, no hospital beds, no oxygen supply, no place in the morgue, mass graves, abandoned dead bodies, crippled economies of the world. Yet, we see most people in a state of drunkenness. We do not see them repenting over their sins and coming to Christ for salvation. They are in stupor.
Yesterday I was looking at a painting by the great Dutch artist Hieronymous Bosch. Bosch’s paintings are scary and frightening. But we can see many Bible truths in his paintings. For example, if you look at the Haywain triptych, he drew in 3 panels. In the left panel, we see angels thrown away from the presence of God. Those angels metamorphose into insects prepared to attack God’s creation. Then we see the creation of Adam and Eve, their Fall and Satan and demonic world follow the human race as a pestilence.
In the central panel, we see a big wagon full of dry grass. People surround it and gather as much dry grass as they can. Christ is looking from heaven. Except an angel, no one is looking at Christ. People are following the wagon which is headed towards hell. We see violence, we see greed, we see lust in the lower panel. Even the nuns are gathering the dry grass while the bishop is drinking wine and gets intoxicated. We can relate the state of our own society to what Bosch has described in his painting. He gave us a big picture: Creation, Fall and humanity headed towards the judgment of God. Prophet Joel has a similar message: a world of people, in drunkenness, going after frivolous and unworthy things like dry grass and not aware of the coming Day of the Lord.
The Prophet Joel also has good news. It’s a prophecy about the coming of the Holy Spirit. That’s great news. Because without the Holy Spirit of God we have no defense against Satan and his demonic world infesting this world.
On the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to this world, the disciples and other believers were in Jerusalem. They started to speak in tongues. The unbelievers who witnessed the event called them drunkards. Apostle Peter says to them, ‘they are not drunkards. They are full of the Holy Spirit. Prophet Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled today.’
The theme of drunkenness and Holy Spirit follows us from the Book of Joel into the New Testament. Apostle Paul wrote,
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.
If we are not filled with the Holy Spirit, we become like drunkards who are not aware of their surroundings. Only the Holy Spirit gives us the awareness of ourselves and our surroundings. He will leave this world before the Day of the Lord. He is preparing the church for the Day of Jesus Christ.
Now, the Day of Jesus Christ is different from the Day of the Lord. For example, in 1 Corinthians 1:8, we read about the Day of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:8
Here, the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ is the day of his second coming. It will be a blessed day for all believers because we will meet our great Savior, Lord Jesus Christ. Prophet Joel was not talking about this day. His ‘Day of the Lord’ is the judgment of God that follows the Second Coming of Christ.
Where do the prophecies of Joel fit in the prophetic calendar? In Leviticus chapter 23, we see the 7 feasts of the Lord
The Feast of the Unleavened Bread
The Feast of First Fruits
The Feast of Pentecost
The Feast of Trumpets
The Day of Atonement
The Feast of Tabernacles
The first 4 feasts have been fulfilled. The Death of the Messiah fulfilled the Passover, his burial fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened bread, his resurrection fulfilled the feast of First fruits, his Holy Spirit coming to this world fulfilled the Feast of Pentecost. That is when the good news of prophet Joel was fulfilled concerning the Holy Spirit. Now, we are waiting for the next feast. The Feast of Trumpets. That is the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ, when the church will be removed from this world. What follows will be the dreadful ‘the Day of the Lord’. Prophet Joel says that day even the sun and the moon will be shaken. It will be so calamitous. Unimaginable sufferings will be unleashed on this world.
Even our great Savior informs us about that day in his famous Olivet Discourse, we read in Matthew 24. He affirms the prophecies of Joel concerning the Day of the Lord. Lord Jesus says that no one can escape that dreadful day.
You don’t want to be here on that day. If you are not saved, come to Christ today and get saved. That is the only way to escape the Day of the Lord.