We are going to begin an eschatological study of the book of Joel. This will be a little different than other books we have done because it will not be exactly verse by verse. We will have a lot of information to bring forth and we will comment on the verses that are appropriate. The book of Joel was written during the 8th century BC, so information contained in the book will give us insight into the first three and a half years of the Birth-pains. Locusts have devastated Judah and as Joel reflects on this, the Lord speaks to him, using the locusts as a picture of the “his army” that he is bringing on the land. This book will parallel the book of Revelation in many ways and we will bring some of these out (locusts=is a nation, and that nation is Assyria/Russia for instance). Eschatologically, this book will be talking about the Russian invasion of Israel from Rosh ha Shannah to Yom Kippur, the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth year of the Birth-pains. The goal of this study is to bring out concepts that will help you read and interpret the book for yourself.
Why should we even study the Scriptures some will say. Jer 9.23-24 says that if we are going to boast about anything, we should boast in the fact that we know the Lord. That word “know” is a very intimate word and it is like the knowledge between a husband and wife. Many people may “know” the couple, but they don’t really know them at the depth that they do of each other. That is where we want to be with the Lord, and the Scriptures are the way that we can come to this ultimate “knowing.” Matt 7.21-23 says that there will be some who think they know the Lord, but he say “I never knew you” and it is this type of “knowing” that we should pursue, and that is why we study. Isa 33.6 says that “he (Messiah) shall be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation (Yeshua), wisdom, and knowledge.”
Joel 1.1-7 (read)…The “vine” in verse 7 is Israel (Isa 5.1-7) and so is the fig tree (Hos 9.10). There are three trees in Scripture that are used for Israel. Some have said that the vine is Israel from the time of the Exodus to David. The fig tree is from David to Messiah, and the olive tree from Messiah to the present.
Joel 1.8-2.1 (read)…Before we move on, there are some things that we must learn first before we can study the eschatology of the Scriptures. Isa 22.22, Matt 16.19 and Rev 3.7 says that the Messiah as a “key” and total authority to open or close our understanding. There are “keys” that have been lost for 2000 years. Christianity has separated itself from everything that God gave to the Jewish people. John 1.1 says that the word (“Davar”) was in the beginning. Now, in Hebrew, davar contains the word for son (bar). The Hebrew letter “dalet” means “door” and when you add the dalet (“d” sound) before “bar” it means “the word is the door of the son.” In other words, the door will be the essence of understanding the Scriptures, and its eschatology. The “word” (davar) defines how we understand. In English, there are what we call “sub-languages.” Lawyers have a certain language, Doctors have a certain language, there is a computer language and a smart phone language for instance, and many more. In the same way, there is a language in the Scriptures. The Bible was written in Hebrew, with Aramiac loan words. But, there are many “sub-languages” in the Scriptures that we need to know and understand. For instance, there is an agricultural language. Terms like the ma’aser, bikkurim, shemittah and yovel are all agricultural. Not understanding what the “shemittah” is caused a lot of people to be deceived by false prophets in the fall of 2015. There is another sub-language of the Temple. All the ceremonies that were done in the Temple had a language to them, involving the korbanot, chata’at, minchah, olah, asham, shelem, tahor and tamai and other terms. There are many chapters in the Scriptures that deal with these ceremonies. The calendars had a sub-language, which we will see in Joel and to understand Joel 2.23, you must know this sub-language. This sub-language includes the fact that there are four Rosh ha Shannah’s in the year, the civil and religious calendar, the names of the months, the signs of Gen 1.14 and so on. The festivals had a sub-language, and had idioms, phrases and concepts that are used in both the Tanach and the New Testament. There are many sources where you can go to get the meanings of these sub-languages, but it is essential that you know them in order to interpret and handle the word of God accurately. What we are going to do is bring some of these meanings out as we study Joel from an eschatological view, and show you how to get the “key and not just give you the “key.” The Peace Corps has a saying associated with it that says “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you will feed him for a lifetime.”
The verses you have just read are full of idiomatic expressions. For instance, we have the locust invasion that is a picture of the Assyrians coming. Eschatologically we know that the Assyrians are a picture of Russia. In Joel 1.14-15 we have several terms that are in the sub-language of the festivals. We have a “fast”, a “solemn assembly” and the “day of the Lord.” This is talking about Yom Kippur. There two festivals that are called “solemn” assemblies, Rosh ha Shannah and Yom Kippur. Of these two, only one has a fast associated with it, Yom Kippur. The “day of the Lord” is the last 1000 year period of time in the 7000 year plan of God. It says in v 15 that the day of the Lord is “near” and that is the Hebrew word “karav” which means “here now.” So, we have a Yom Kippur, with the Assyrians/Russians coming while already in the day of Lord. So we know that these verses tell us that the Russians will be coming on a Yom Kippur in the day of the Lord, the last 1000 years called the Messianic Kingdom. We know from other Scriptures (Isa 20.1-6 for one) that Russia (Assyria) will be fighting Europe (Egypt) for three years. So, this invasion of Israel will be at the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth year of the Birth-pains. We know she is defeated by the middle of the Birth-pains, so this invasion will happen after the fourth year begins but before six months are over according to the civil calendar. History and the Scriptures tell us that Assyria invaded Israel and was destroyed by Yom Kippur (Isa 9.1-7; Isa 37.21-35). Because the locust plague ate all the food, so shall the Assyrian/Russian invasion cut off the food supply (v 16). There will be drought (the seeds shrivel-v 17) and all the fields and beasts struggle (v 18-20).
Joel 2.1 (read)… using some of the festival sub-language that we have shown you, think as they would have when they read this verse. Blowing a shofar on the day of the Lord is an idiom for Rosh ha Shannah, or Yom Teruah, as it is known in Num 29.1. This verse is alluding to Yom Teruah because there is no fast associated with it and it is blown as the day of the Lord begins. First of all, this is referring to the fact that the Assyrians were coming and it was around Rosh ha Shannah, and the people are being warned of something coming. So, what is happening in this verse prophetically and eschatologically? This will be the day when the Natzal, the “gathering” or the “rapture” will occur. Many people argue about the gathering, which is the biblical term for the “rapture” and say “why should the believers be taken out of the way when so many have never bee taken out of trouble.” They try an emotional argument to say that it wouldn’t be fair. Then they try to present Scriptures showing that believers will go through the Birth-pains. Well, believers will go through the Birth-pains, but those are the ones who have believed after the Natzal, or the gathering, has taken place. They have been left behind and are saved through the Birth-pains. The answer to those who disagree with the “gathering” before the Birth-pains begin is that we are being gathered for a wedding and the coronation of the Messiah in Heaven. When the 6000 years from creation is over, the next Rosh ha Shannah (head of the year) will begin the last 1000 year period. On this day a shofar will blow, called the “last trump” and believers will be resurrected or changed from mortal to immortality, and gathered to a wedding, coronation and judgment of our works at the Bema seat of Messiah. Messiah will need his bride to get married, and he isn’t waiting till after the Birth-pains.
The Bible is an easy book to understand if you have the “keys” to “drive” it (understand). God wrote this book so that man would understand it. People have had the “key” taken away by Replacement Theology Christianity and have been trying to drive a car that won’t move because they dont know how to drive. The Lord wants to communicate and we need to think like they did. They were trained in all the languages (Hebrew and the sub-languages) and to think in “bocks” of Scripture, not just a verse. As we have seen in these verses, just saying a few words and phrases can bring to mind whole chapters.
In Part 2 of the book of Joel, we will pick up with verses 2-10 and discuss what is being communicated to us eschatologically. Remember, biblical eschatology is defined as the study of the Messiah and the redemption.