What does it mean that God will “restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25)?

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In the book of Joel, the Lord promised His faithful people, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25). And He affirmed, “The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil” (Joel 2:23-25). The results of this restoration would be both physical and spiritual.

Physical

The Lord promised, “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied” (Joel 2:26). This was a hopeful message which is in striking contrast to the earlier conditions of devastation (Joel 1:16, 17).  Israel’s crops had been destroyed by locusts (Joel 1:4) that wiped the grains, grape vines, and fruit trees – these would take years to grow (Joel 1:12).

The locusts illustrated God’s judgment on the people who backslid from Him. In His promise to “restore” the years lost to the locust, God promised to restore His repentant people to a place of blessing after His judgment.

The wondrous workings of God in the restoration of Israel would give evidence to those who had been tempted to think that God had forsaken His people, that God was indeed working for their good. Even in the plague, God had overruled for purposes of mercy to bring about a much-needed repentance.

Spiritual

The Lord declared, “Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you—the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month” (Joel 2:23).

It was God’s design to bestow on the restored state of Israel His spiritual blessings (Ezekiel 39:29). But because of the failure of His people, and His following rejection of the Jewish nation (Matthew 23:28), the promises were not fulfilled to the literal nation of Israel. The promises were transferred to spiritual Israel which is the New Testament church – those that accepted Jesus Christ as Savior.

The passage makes clear that there are more gifts to be given to the church than those that normally accompany conversion. This special pouring out of the Spirit comes with supernatural gifts. On the day of Pentecost, when the apostles “were all filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:4), Peter proclaimed that “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (v. 16). The fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy met its first fulfillment in the form of the “early rain” to the apostolic church.

In the early church “the manifestation of the Spirit” was given “to every man to profit withal” (1 Corinthians 12:7). Different gifts were given, such as “the word of wisdom,” “the word of knowledge,” “faith,” “healing,” “working of miracles,” “prophecy,” “discerning of spirits,” “divers kinds of tongues,” and “the interpretation of tongues” (vs. 8–10).

The actions of Pentecost were only a partial fulfillment of Joel’s prediction. For this prophecy will reach its final fulfillment in the manifestation of divine grace which will accompany the ending work of the gospel in the form of the “latter rain” (Joel 2:23). “The latter rain” of the Spirit will help the church in preaching the gospel to all the world before the second coming of Christ (Matthew 24:14).

Conclusion

The Lord inspired the people with the hopeful message of His restoration. He said, “And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame” (Joel 2:26-27). God judges the sinners but when they repent, they receive great blessings that more than compensate for what they lost.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

This answer is also available in: हिन्दी

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