The Book of Joel-Part 4

Joel 2.24… we have certain phrases that are listed and these blessings are associated with the festival of Sukkot (Deut 16.13-16). We can see from other Scriptures like Isa 37.21-35, Isa 9.6 and Micah 5.1-6 that the victory over this northern army will happen around Yom Kippur. Five days later it will be Sukkot and that is what is being referred to here.

Joel 2.25…The Lord is going to make it up to Israel for the years that the locust has eaten, “my great army” is Assyria/Russia eschatologically. In Isa 4.2-6 we have a short chapter that alludes to Rosh ha Shannah (v 1-3), Yom Kippur (v 4) and Sukkot (v 5-6). The “branch” (tzemach) mentioned there in v 2 is in the neuter sense in Hebrew. Usually when “tzemach” is used it is in the masculine, referring to Messiah. But here it is neuter because that is masculine and feminine, meaning a “marriage” has taken place. Messiah (the tzemach, branch) is “one” with his bride because the work of salvation has been accomplished. In v 5 we have Sukkot terminology with a “cloud by day” because this alludes to the time in the wilderness, and that is theme of Sukkot. Then we have the glory (kivod = radiance, light) and a “canopy” which is a “chuppah” in Hebrew. In v 6 it says there will be a “shelter” to give shade, and the word shelter is “sukkah” in Hebrew.

Joel 2.27…This says that the Lord is going to be in the midst of Israel, referring to the Mishkan that was in their midst in the wilderness and that he will be their God and never again be put to shame.

Joel 2.28…This is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Scriptures, so we are going to work in it for awhile to get the back-round. This verse is quoted by Peter in Acts 2. To understand this verse there are some concepts to understand. Have you ever heard that “Yeshua was not the Messiah the Jewish people were looking for.” We have many times. The fact is, he was and we are going to look at the Jewish expectation of the Messiah in the first century. Some will say “If he was what they were looking for, why didn’t some believe.” Well, why don’t some believe now? They were just like people today and people always look for someone else to decide for them (see John 12.42 for example). Here is another one, “The Jewish people didn’t know that God was going to “create the church.” That is true because “the church” was never in his plans, but they were looking for an “eschatological congregation” called the “Kahal” when Messiah came that would be anointed, have miracles, have all manifestations of the Ruach ha Kodesh, follow the Torah and that God’s Spirit would be poured out in power, not based on Acts 2.28, but Num 11.16-29.

Eschatology and prophecy is not limited in time. There are six reference points that were spoken of in their prophecies, and sometimes all six are spoken of in a prophecy. The six reference points are: historical, the first coming of the Messiah, the second coming of the Messiah, the Birth-pains, the Messianic Kingdom (Atid Lavo, Day of the Lord) and The Olam Haba (the World to come, the “eighth day”, L’Olam Vaed, the New Jerusalem, Gan Eden). Prophets are not “caught in time” and can refer to several time references at one time. For instance, in Isa 13 we have a prophecy about the destruction of Babylon. Historically this was done by Assyria, but it also refers to the Persians and it will happen in the future with the Russians.

In Matt 16.13, we see Yeshua asking who they think the “son of man” is. He uses the term “Bar Enosh.” Peter answers and says “the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” So, he identifies “Bar Enosh” as the Messiah and the Son of God, and both of these terms refer to Yeshua. How do we know he uses the term Bar Enosh? This term “Bar Enosh” comes from a prophecy in Daniel. In Dan 7.13 the “son of man” in English there is not the Hebrew “ben Adam” but the Aramaic “Bar Enosh.” Bar Enosh is an eschatological character and in the Jewish mind they were waiting for Bar Enosh. In Ezek 33.2, the “son of man” there is “ben Adam” and that is not an eschatological character, but Ezekiel, or anyone else for that matter. Only the Messiah is referred to as “Bar Enosh.” So, when Yeshua said at his trial that they would see the “son of man” coming with the clouds of heaven, he was referring the eschatological character “Bar Enosh” of Dan 7.13.

The Jewish people had many names and titles for the Messiah in the first century. This was part of their expectation (Gen 49.8-12, 49.22-24; Micah 5). Each title tells you something about him. By the first century, the people have been oppressed over and over again by Assyria, Babylon, Persians, Greeks and now Rome. They knew the prophecy in Dan 7.1-28 and they knew that the fourth beast was Rome. They knew it would be bad for the tzaddikim (saints) and that after the fourth kingdom fell, a fifth kingdom would be set up called the Messianic Kingdom by the “Bar Enosh” or the Messiah. They saw from Daniel chapters 8 and 9 that the Babylonians came and went, the Medo-Persians came and went, Greece came and went and Rome came and was in power for 100’s of years already, and so they expected the Messiah and the kingdom on the first century (Micah 4.6-8 and Dan 7.27). They were in a state of expectation when Yeshua came (Luke 3.15).

So, why is our primary passage of the expectation of the eschatological congregation found in Num 11? They expected the Messiah to come and establish his “kahal” or assembly, called the eschatological congregation. It would be anointed and empowered by the Ruach ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) and bringing the Malkut Shamayim. Now, in Num 11.15-17 we have the basis for the Great Sanhedrin. In Num 11.24-30 we read about the Ruach ha Koesh, the “wind, breath and power of God.” In Ezek 43.1-5 we have the haftorah for Shavuot (Acts 2) and the message of Shavuot is that the Kivod (glory) and the Ruach (Spirit) would come to the Temple. The festival of Shavuot is linked to the festival of Sukkot by the agricultural season. Sukkot has a ceremony about the Spirit of God coming into the city and through the East Gate, into the Temple. It is called the Beit ha Shoevah ceremony, where the priests go out the East Gate, to the Valley of Motza (meaning “sent” alluding to Yeshua will sending the Ruach). These priests cut down willow branches, about 25 feet long, and then line up in rows. In unison, they begin walking and bring the branches down and then back up, then down and up, as they walked back to the Temple through the East Gate. You could here the “wooshing” sound of the “wind” as it got closer.

Shavuot is the festival where you paid the first fruits of the spring harvest, and you paid your first tithe. The tithe was agricultural goods, not money. This festival is linked to Sukkot because you brought the second tithe at that time. These festivals are linked by the agricultural season and harvest. We saw in the haftorah reading for Shavuot that the Spirit of God was coming upon Jerusalem (Ezek 43.1-5). We have just discussed the ceremony dealing with the Ruach coming into Jerusalem. Yeshua made reference to this in John 4.13-15 around the festival of Shavuot. He also made reference to this coming of the Spirit at Shavuot when he spoke at Sukkot in John 7.39. Num 11.26-29 formed the core of what would happen to believers when the Messiah came. In the Targum Onkelos, all of the Torah was written in Aramaic. In Num 11.25, however, it was written in Greek, another “tongue” because the Jewish expectation was that when the Ruach came there would be “tongues.” This would come in the Yom’ot Mashiach according to Jewish eschatology, the “days of the Messiah.” Isa 32.13-15 there was an expectation that when the Messaih came there would little “anointed ones” by God. In Joel 2.28, it says “after this” (“acharay” in Hebrew). In Jewish thought, this was the messianic age and related to the acharit yamin, or the “latter days.” We will pick up here in Part 5 and develop this concept a little further as it relates to eschatlogy.

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament, Verse-by-Verse Bible Studies

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