In Joel 2.1, we have defined the trumpet being sounded as Rosh ha Shannah, and it is during the day of the Lord, the last 1000 year period of the 7000 year plan of God.
Joel 2.2-9… we have the northern army of Assyria (v 11) coming down to Israel, possibly Russia eschatologically. This invader is described as a locust swarm descending on the land. This imagery is used because Israel had just experienced a devastating locust swarm. As a side note, we know that it says in Matt 3.4 that John ate “locust” but it is referring to the “karob” plant and is a substitute for chocolate. Nazarites ate them and it was called the food of the pious. John ate these and not the “bug” called a locust.
Joel 2.11… we have the Assyrian army described as the “army” of the Lord. There is a song in Christianity that has lyrics from these verses that say “They rush on the city, they run on the walls, great is his army that carries out his word” thinking that this song is about believers, but it is about the Assyrians/Russian army coming to destroy Jerusalem. We also learn that the “day of the Lord” is awesome (“nora” in Hebrew). It is from this verse and several others that we get the term “Yamin Noraim” referring to the ten days between Rosh ha Shannah and Yom Kippur, and it is another term for the Birth-pains, or the time of Jacob’s trouble. Abraham Bloch in his book “The Biblical and Historical Back-round of the Jewish Holy Days” says that this is Yom Kippur. Some will say “how can the Yamim Noraim be a picture of the seven year Birth-pains when it is ten days?” Traditionally, Rosh ha Shannah was two days, Tishri 1 and 2. The Fast of Gedaliah is Tishri 3, so the remaining seven days is a picture of the seven year Birth-pains. There is a book by S.Y. Agnon called “The Days of Awe” that deals with this. So, we have in Joel 2.1 a reference to Rosh ha Shannah, in verses 2.2-14 we have the “Yamim Noraim”
Joel 2.12… says “return to me” and that is the message of the Yamim Noraim.
Joel 2.14-16…the congregation (kahal) is set apart, holy and “kodesh” to the Lord. Now we need to look at the terms used. We have the blowing of a shofar, a fast and a solemn assembly. We have the bridegroom and the bride coming out of their wedding chamber. The day being described here is Yom Kippur, at the end of the Birth-pains. We know that Yeshua will return to Jerusalem on a Yom Kippur, based on Matt 24.30-31 and the “great trumpet.” This is the “Shofar ha Gadol” that is blown on Yom Kippur, called the “great trumpet.” So, if the Birth-pains end on a Yom Kippur, then it starts on a Yom Kippur. The bride and groom have been in heaven for a “shavuah” (a “seven”), or “bridal week” and have come out of their wedding chamber to make their place in the world. The seven year Birth-pains have expired.
Joel 2.17…Another clue that this is Yom Kippur is revealed in this verse. It says to let the priests “weep between the porch and the altar” and there is only one day a year that they minister there, and that is Yom Kippur. So, what do we have here. We have a trumpet, a fast, a solemn assembly (either Rosh ha Shannah or Yom Kippur), the bride and groom leaving the chuppah and the priests weeping between the porch and the altar. Context tells us that this can only be referring to Yom Kippur.
Joel 2.18-22…if Israel repents, he will have mercy on them. He will drive the northern army (Assyria/Russia) far away from them, and drive it into a parched and desolate land. In the Birth-pains, Israel will turn to the Lord (Ezek 39.22). When Gog and Magog (Russia) invade, it will be defeated and they will be driven back to Russia (Ezek 39.1-8).
Joel 2.23…This is a very important verse when we talk about eschatology and the coming of the Messiah. The early and latter rains in English is “Moray Tzedekah” in Hebrew and it means “teacher of righteousness.” It is a term for the Messiah. We know that the early rains come in the spring, in Nisan, the first month of the religious calendar. The latter rains come in the fall, in Tishri, the first month of the civil calendar. It says that the Lord has given us the teacher of righteousness “in the first month.” This verse only makes sense when you know the sub-language of the calendars and agriculture in the Scriptures. This verse is saying that the first coming of the Messiah will be like the early rain, coming in Nisan, and the second coming will be like the latter rain in Tishri. In other words, this verse tells us that Yeshua will come in the month of Nisan (to fulfill the Springs festivals) and then come in Tishri (to fulfill the Fall festivals). Hos 6.3 says that the Messiah will come like the rain, an this concept is reinforced in James 5.7. The Essenes had three eschatological characters in their teachings. They had the Messiah ben Levi, a priestly Messiah, a Messiah ben Judah and “the teacher of righteousness”. We see the concept of the teacher of righteousness in this verse. Rashi and Ibn Ezra interpret this as the teacher of righteousness. The Targums (Aramaic paraphrases on the Torah and the Prophets) interpret it that way also. They saw this in the days of Yeshua. We see that Yeshua was being referred to by this eschatological title of “the Teacher” in John 11.28, and this goes back to our verse.
In Zech 8.18-19 we have four fasts listed there. These are fasts of mourning. The 17th of Tammuz is in the fourth month, and it commemorates the time when the walls of Jerusalem were broken down by the Babylonians. The fast of the fifth month is the 9th of Av, and it was when the Temple was destroyed. The fast of the seventh month is the 3rd of Tishri called the fast of Gedaliah. That was when Gedaliah was killed. The fast of the tenth month is the 10th of Tevet and that was when the city was surrounded by Babylon. The fast of the seventh month is not Yom Kippur. The Lord is going to turn the tables on these days from mourning to rejoicing. Major events are going to happen again on these days.
There is another key day that falls between Rosh ha Shannah and Yom Kippur called “Shabbat Shuvah” or the “Sabbath of Return.” So, during the Yamim Noraim, we have Rosh ha Shannah, the fast of Gedaliah, Shabbat Shuvah and Yom Kippur. These days are the holiest days of the year (Yamim Noraim) and we know that these ten days are a picture of the Birth-pains and the coming of the Lord. They take place in Tishri, the month that the Messiah will return (Joel 2.23). In Part 3, we will pick up here in our study of the book of Joel.