Joel 2.1-32 tells us that even in judgment Yehovah seeks repentance or “teshuvah.” Yehovah also promises blessings when the people respond with true repentance. This chapter contains allusions to the birth-pains, Rosh Ha Shanah, Yom Kippur, and the coming day of the Lord in an eschatological sense.
v 1…Blow a trumpet in Zion (this alludes to the priests who call the people to assemble), and sound an alarm on my holy mountain (the Temple Mount). Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near (Hebrew “karav” meaning here now, confronting you; this verse is eschatological because we have a trumpet blowing and the day of the Lord begins. This alludes to Tishri 1, Year 6001 Rosh Ha Shanah and the beginning of the judgments of the birth pains).
v 2…A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness (this was caused by the locusts but also alludes to the birth-pains) as the dawn is spread over the mountains (the wings of the locusts reflecting the sun before they blot out the sun altogether), so there is a great and mighty people (a picture of the Assyrian or Babylonians, later Russia and the False Messiah); there has never been anything like it, nor will there be again after it. To the years of many generations (in Judea, none had caused the damage Assyria, Babylon and Rome did).
v 3…A fire consumes before them (this army consumed everything) and behind them a flame burns (the locust invasion is a picture of Assyria, Babylon, Rome, Russia, and the False Messiah; what is left behind burns). The land is like the garden of Eden before them (alive with vegetation, trees, plants, and vineyards), but a desolate wilderness behind them (everything is eaten up), and nothing at all escapes them (the locusts; and nothing escaped Assyria and Babylon).
v 4…Their appearance (the locusts) is like the appearance of horses (the locust head looks like a horse); and like war horses, so they run (swift).
v 5…With a noise as of chariots, they leap on the tops of the mountains, like the crackling of a flame of fire consuming the stubble (noisy), like a mighty people arrayed for battle (in their march they were like the Assyrian or Babylonian army who were heard before you could see them).
v 6…Before them (locusts, Assyria, Babylon, Rome, Russia, False Messiah, etc) the people are in anguish (at their presence); all faces turn pale (from fear).
v 7…They run like mighty men (carrying out God’s command), they climb the walls like soldiers (besieging a city-you can’t keep them out), and they each march in line (in proper order), nor do they deviate from their paths (do not break ranks).
v 8…They do not press his brother, they march every one in his path (planned), and when they shall fall upon the sword, they shall not be cut off (wounded, cut to pieces, were invincible).
v 9…They rush on the city (unhindered), they run on the wall (having climbed the wall they begin to go from tower to tower like Babylon and Rome will do); they climb into the house, they enter through the window like a thief (locusts did this in Exo 10.6, nothing was impenetrable).
v 10…Before them the earth quakes, the heavens tremble (the inhabitants on earth are in fear, and the sky is obscured by the vast numbers), the sun and the moon grow dark, and the stars lose their brightness (by the immense numbers of the locust).
v 11…And the Lord utters his voice before his army (of locusts, Assyria, Babylon, Rome, Russia, etc); surely His camp is very great (he is the power behind all this, they are his tools), for strong is he who carries out his word (to come against Judah-Isa 8.7, 10.5, 15; Mic 5.5). The day of the Lord (his coming) is indeed great and very awesome (the days between Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur are called the “days of awe” or the “Yamim Noraim” and is based on this verse), yet who can endure it (now it is plain that this entire description is symbolic of the judgments in the day of the Lord. For review, remember we have the six-thousand-year plan of God followed by a one-thousand-year period called the Day of the Lord, the Atid Lavo, the Sabbath of God, the Lord’s Day, and several other names. This period begins on Tishri 1 Rosh Ha Shanah when the Natzal will occur. Ten days later on Yom Kippur the 2520 days of the birth-pains begin)?
v 12..”Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning (external signs that speak about their desire to return to Yehovah);
v 13…and rend your heart and not your garments (don’t be content with just outward signs).” Now return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, and relenting of evil (this alludes to what is called the “Midot” in Exo 34.6 and tells us that God does not rule with strict justice only).
v 14…Who knows whether he will not turn and relent (from the judgments promised), and leave a blessing behind him (not total desolation because of the locusts, leaving some fruits behind), even a grain offering and a libation for the Lord your God (enough for a grain offering and vines enough for a wine libation).
v 15…Blow a trumpet in Zion (to assemble the people for a religious activity), consecrate a fast, and proclaim a solemn assembly (this alludes to Yom Kippur because it is the only solemn festival with a trumpet and when people fast).
v 16…Gather the people (inhabitants of the land), sanctify the congregation (according to the Torah, become ceremonially clean), assemble the elders, gather the children and the nursing infants (nobody is left out, from the oldest to the youngest, all were guilty). Let the bridegroom come out of his room (chedar ), and the bride out of her bridal chamber (chupah-there is not time for a honeymoon-the newly married couple were to leave the wedding chamber and join in with the call to repent. Eschatologically, this may allude to the coming of Yeshua and his bride on Yom Kippur. They went into the wedding chamber, or heaven, in Isa 26.19-20, at the Natzal, or “rapture” on Rosh Ha Shanah. Now they are coming out of the wedding chamber on Yom Kippur-Matt 24.29-31).
v 17…Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers, weep between the porch and the altar (at the very door of the Temple they were to weep, pray and repent, and this is another allusion to Yom Kippur because a part of the ceremony on that day takes place there) and let them say, “Spare thy people, O Lord (from the devastation of the land), do not make thine inheritance a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, “Where is their God (bringing disgrace on the name of Yehovah if they are reduced to famine by the locust army).”
v 18…Then the Lord will be zealous for his land, and he will have pity on his people (to deliver them out of their distress).
v 19…And the Lord will answer and say to his people, “Behold (see, take note), I am going to send you grain, new wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied in full with them; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations (for want of food; God will not give them any more distresses related to famine).
v 20…But I will remove the northern army far from you (the swarms of locusts, but this also alludes prophetically to the northern armies of Assyria, Babylon, Rome, Russia, and the False Messiah who will come into the land from the north), and I will drive it into a parched and desolate land (driven away from his people and perish), and its vanguard (will fall) into the eastern sea (Dead Sea), and its rear guard into the western sea (Mediterranean). And its stench will arise (the decaying insects) and its foul smell will come up, for it has done great (evil, monstrous) things.”
v 21…Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, for the Lord has done great things (good things, the opposite of the locusts).
v 22…Do not fear, beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness have turned green (plenty of food for them now), for the tree has borne its fruit (like before the locusts came). the fig tree and the vine have yielded in full.
v 23…So rejoice, O sons of Zion, and be glad in the Lord your God, for he has given you the early rain (Hebrew “morey tzedekah” or teacher for righteousness) for your vindication, and he has poured down for you the rain, the former and the latter rain in the first month (this is a very eschatological verse. The “teacher for righteousness” is a title for the Messiah, who is seen as the rain-Hos 6.3; Jam 5.7. The former rain is in Tishri, when the fall festivals occur. These teach the second coming of the Messiah. The latter rain is in Nisan, when the spring festivals occur and these teach the first coming of Messiah. Tishri is the first month of the civil calendar, and Nisan is the first month of the religious calendar. Yeshua, the teacher for righteousness, came and fulfilled the spring festivals of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Shavuot. He is coming again in the fall to fulfill Rosh Ha Shanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot in Tishri. This verse actually tells us what month Yeshua will come to eschatologically fulfill, or give meaning to, these festivals).
v 24…And the threshing floors will be full of grain (a new harvest), and the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil (a bright future).
v 25…Then I will make up to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the gnawing locust (the locusts of 1.4 in reverse order), my great army which I sent among you.
v 26…And you shall have plenty to eat and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord (Yehovah) your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; then my people will never be put to shame.
v 27…Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel (his chosen people of the covenant), and that I and the Lord your God and there is no other; and my people will never be put to shame.
v 28…And it will come about after this (Hebrew “acherei” and in Jewish thought, this is the Messianic age or Messianic Kingdom, the Atid Lavo, after Yeshua returns), that I will pour out my spirit on all mankind (who believe that Yeshua is the Messiah and a part of the eschatological Kahal); and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions (a part of prophetic revelation).
v 29…And even on the male and female servants I will pour out my spirit in those days (all social distinctions are not relevant when it comes to the Ruach Ha Kodesh. The people expected these things to happen when the Messiah came, and it did beginning in Acts 2).
v 30…And I will display wonders in the sky and in the earth (judgment of the nations goes hand in hand with the outpouring of the RHK), blood, fire, and columns of smoke.
v 31…The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood (from clouds of smoke rising from the burning cities, etc), before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
v 32…And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord (Yehovah) will be delivered (this includes the non-Jews); for on Mount Zion and Jerusalem there will be those who escape as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls (the remnant, the elect by grace, the little flock, the chosen from all nations).”