Profile Of The Prophets - Joel

by Joseph Hunting

Joel, meaning the Lord is God, lived about 800 B.C. and directed his prophecies to Judah and Jerusalem during 'the day of the Lord' , the term used in Scripture that embraces the Great Tribulation, the battle of Armageddon and the final restoration of Israel under the reign of King Messiah.

Joel’s end-time prophecies are vividly portrayed. Although the land of Israel has been the arena for invading armies since early Bible times Joel describes the armies that gather for this last great conflict as "a great people and strong; there hath not been the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations." (2:2)

Indeed, so graphic is Joel’s description of the invasion that it reads like a modern war correspondent’s report of an army with flame-throwers and supporting infantry. "The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses, and as horsemen so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of the mountains shall they leap, like a noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. 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." (2:4-7)


In order to grasp the magnitude of Joel’s end-time prophecies it is wise to compare them with others who describe the same cataclysmic event in Israel’s history. Hear Daniel: " ... and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time." (12:1)

And Jesus Christ: For then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved." (Matthew 24:21-22)

Or Jeremiah: "Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! For that day is great, it is even the time of Jacob's trouble ..." (30:6,7).


Again, we draw upon other prophets to add their testimony to the frightful and awesome scene that culminates in the battle of Armageddon. Says Isaiah: "For behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord will be many." (66:15,16)

And Zechariah: "For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city." (14:2)

It is at this desperate and crucial time in Israel’s history, when she is surrounded by the greatest army the world has ever seen, and when all hope seems lost that Joel calls for national repentance. "Therefore now, saith the Lord, turn ye to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping and with mourning. And rend your hearts and not your garments and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful ..." (2:12,13).

Zechariah, too, sheds light on this future national repentance accompanied by great mourning. " ... And they shall look unto me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son ... and the land shall mourn, every family apart." (12:10-12)

Israel ’s recognition of Messiah’s identity and the national mourning that follows is the signal for God to act on their behalf. Again Joel vividly describes the events that follow. "For behold in those days and at that time when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations and will bring them down into the valley of Jehosphaphat and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land." (3:1-2)

The events that follow are among the most thrilling recorded in Scripture. Indeed, all creation is waiting for what follows. "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord shall also roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake, but the Lord will be the hope of his people and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in my holy mountain ...". (3:14-17)

Zechariah also confirms this thrilling saga of Israel’s ultimate deliverance from all her enemies. "Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives ... and the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one." (14:3,4,9)


There is yet to be a time when Israel shall dwell in peace. The national greeting ‘Shalom’ will be a glorious reality and Joel describes that day when the land shall yield its increase and the people of Israel will know the blessing of the Lord’s presence in their midst. "Fear not O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, and the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.

"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. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

"And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent amongst you.

"And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed." (2:21-27)