The Book of Joel
The prophet Joel authored the book that bore his name (ch. 1:1). He likely recorded it between 835 and 800 B.C. Joel seems to have been a native of Judah. His prophetic ministry dealt with Judah and Jerusalem (Joel 2:1, 15; 3:1, 6, 18, 20, 21). In the LXX, the book of Joel stands fourth in the list of the Minor Prophets. The prophet occupies a high place among the Hebrew prophets and has been classed with Isaiah and Habakkuk in style. He is known for his clearness and purity of description.
The book of Joel is divided into two sections: (1) chs. 1:1 to 2:17, give a description of a devastating “locust” invasion (ch. 1:4), which was coupled by a drought; and (2) chs. 2:18 to 3:21, present God’s promise of restoration to the nation.
There are two interpretations for the description of the “locust” plague: (1) the literal, which talks about the actual swarms of invading locusts as a result of the nations’ apostasy which stirred the prophet to give his messages of repentance to Judah; and (2) the symbolic, which sees “locusts” as a metaphorical representation of the attack of enemy armies. Most Bible commentators prefer the literal view (ch. 1:4).
The national calamity, whether literal or symbolic, is what urged the prophet to appeal to his nation for repentance (ch. 1:13, 14; 2:1, 12–17). He called them to be ready for the “day of the Lord” (ch. 1:15; 2:1, 2, 11, 31; 3:14). Under the theme of the coming “day of the Lord,” Joel calls his nation to forsake their sins, and promises an outpouring of the Spirit “afterward” (ch. 2:28–32).
The Old Testament godly people looked with eagerness to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, a partial fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel took place at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The apostle Peter quoted it in his Pentecost sermon in Acts 2: 17-21 as the “early rain” or an autumn blessing.
But Joel’s prophecy will have a complete fulfillment just before the second coming of Christ when the Holy Spirit will fall in a greater manifestation upon God’s people. This is known as the “latter rain” or the spring blessing (ch. 2:23). This outpouring of the Spirit will spread the work of evangelism to the whole world.
God may afflict His people to draw them away from the deceptions of darkness. But He has made every provision for their restoration and has offered the plan of salvation—the sacrifice of His only begotten Son (John 3:16). Those that choose to reject His call, will finally face His judgment (1 Thessalonians 5:2).
Everyone must be ready to face his Creator. Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). Therefore, the prophets urge God’s children, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).
In His service,