I am assured but am concerned about YOUR eternity. If you don't buy into such religious underpinnings, that is called a choice. If I am wrong, I end up just as you hope will happen to you. If you are wrong, we end up in very different places. You guess which one is playing it safe.
The following chart highlights the time-period of the Prophet Micah according to his own words in Micha 1:1. The total years these three kings ruled over Judah is well over 60 years; 66 years to be exact. We can deduce from this that Micah started his prophetic years sometime during King Jotham, through the reign of King Ahaz, and finished or died sometime during the reign of King Hezekiah. Ahaz is considered a bad king of Judah. He was not in the will of HaShem; G-d, and did evil in God’s eyes.
Note if you will, this list of kings over Judah were all related descending from King David from the Tribe of Judah.
Micah came from Moresheth sometimes spelled Moresheh. It is west south-west of Bethlehem inside the borders of the Kingdom of Judah. His prophecy was to both the northern and southern kingdoms, primarily to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Note that since Israel to the north was conquered by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. Micah’s prophecy years overlap the ruin and destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel during the reign of Ahaz, King of Judah..
We at aha bible moments suggest Micah 6:8 as the central message to Micah’s prophecy challenges.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” [NJKV]
Like Isaiah, Micah’s contemporary living about the same time, Micah admonished his people to return to God. He was especially descriptive of the ruling classes, who used their positions of power to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor. Micah describes the sins of the people, and especially of their leaders and judges, “who make crooked all that is straight.” He has harsh words for the judges that can be bribed and the priests that can be hired, saying to themselves, “Evil cannot befall us.”
The following is an outline of the entire Book of Micah as presented by Bible Outlines on the Web. Keep it handy as we delve into our commentary studies of Micah. It will be a good study format, reminder, and insight as to where we will be going in our commentary articles.
Joel 3:9 The same phrase found in Joel 3:9 is found in Jeremiah 6:4. “prepare for war, arouse the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up.” This similarity is uncanny because the woe, judgement, is unto the invading armies in both Joel and Jeremiah passages. As we noted in the previous commentary (Joel 3a) The “hook” is set in the jaws of Israel’s enemies. They will come up from Megiddo to the Valley of Kidron (judgement) be it by hook-or-crook.
This is precisely what God desires. Israel must be totally dismayed at any possibility of victory. Sometimes this is referred to as being at the bottom of the barrel. Over the thousands of years since Abraham, Israelis have had an attitude; an attitude of “it is all about us. How can we lose. We are invincible.” It will take this extreme situation with no allies on the side of Israel (yes, that includes the USA) for them to finally accept that they have lived more for self than for God. Up to this point God has been their relief-valve. Once upon a time God removed obstacles or enemies out of their way yet they always returned to self. God wants the credit. He is sovereign. It is here that God finally convinces them that “then *they will know that I am their God, and they are my people.” (see Joel 3:17)
Joel 3:10Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning-knives into spears; let the weak say, I am strong. The plowshares and pruning-knives are obvious. Not so when reading “let the weak say, I am strong.” Who are the weak and perhaps cowardly? This massive invasion of Israel and Jerusalem by global powers even the weak amongst them will volunteer to join the defense against this the invasion. The odds are so stacked against Jerusalem the weak, faint-hearted, and the normally cowards will join these invading forces. It will seem impossible to lose. This is also true of Israelis. They will think it impossible to win.
Once more we run the risk of a lack of understanding of a verse due to casual words. We too often fail to spend time looking up and understand the Hebrew and a word’s meaning. In our previous article [Joel 3a] we noted that what appears to be casual is all but that. As in Joel 3a we found out that haym (they will know) is an emphatic. At last, there will now remain no Israelite who doubts Jehovah-God.
Joel 3:12“Let the nations be awakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat. For there I will sit to judge all the nations all around.” [LITV] Direct your attention to the words “all” in this passage. The word “all” in this section of scripture is kolein the Hebrew. It means “without exception.” It is like one asking, what part of NO do you fail to understand. There will be no exceptions. [Malachi 4:1-3] In the ESV it reads “Let the nations stir themselves up.” This translation is good. Invading nations will have such confidence of bulldozing Israel and Jerusalem once and for all, it is the confidence of a varsity squad playing against their 6th graders. The 6th graders wouldn’t stand a chance. This talk by the enemies of Israel is why the “weak will say they are strong.” Strong? Yes! Their opposition is so weak there is no fear even in the hearts of the weak in the enemy forces…similar to mob psychology. Jump into the middle or backside of the fight because the big guys on your side will make a mess out of Israel.
JIV: It is possible that this is driven by Satan to wipe out huge populations of foreign nations like suicide by police. Even if Satan knows the outcome, he does not want God to have their souls. Get them killed while yet sinners without salvation.
Joel 3:13“Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great.” What harvest is Joel addressing in verse 13. The consequence of continued sin against God. Joel 3:13 is similar to world events in the time of Noah [Luke 17:26].
Joel 3:14multitudes, multitudes…The obvious is the vast horde of forces coming up against God and Jerusalem in the valley of decision (Jehosephat). By this time Satan has exhausted his warehouse of tools to displace God in heaven. Overwhelming forces should do the trick, thinks Satan. If not this, then the gathering of forces from all nations is an attempt to destroy all mankind.
JIV NOTE: Satan will be released after his 1,000 years of being bound by God. Somehow during the Millennial Reign of Christ multitudes and multitudes will rally to once again attack God, this time from his headquarters in Jerusalem. The difference in the final judgment may be that Satan will include the use of his own forces of fallen angels to assist in this final attack. “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea” [Revelation 20:7 & 8]. Such a verse should stagger us. How will it be possible for Satan to gather men from the four corners of the earth to fight God a second time? The thousand-year millennial reign will distinguish between the goats and the sheep [Matthew 25:32]. A new spirit has yet to be put into the hearts of men.
Ahamoment: In the Jewish Publication Society Bible, chapter 3 is chapter 4 in their bible. They subdivide chapter two into chapters 2 and 3.
How might we distinguish these as two different events in history? Joel 3:14b may offer good insight. “…for the day of the Lord is near” [ESV]. This means this initial confrontation with all nations against Jerusalem is not the final confrontation. The second confrontation is (JIV) Satan’s attempt to destroy God himself. Satan comes out to deceive the nations when in fact it is him who is deceived. He knows he cannot destroy God but if he can prove that after a thousand years of perfect justice there remain many of God’s creation who still want to reject him. Maybe, and just maybe thinks Satan, he can at least cast God out of the earth. The earth that once was Satan’s domain.
Now we have the theological issue of “is it the church or is it just Israelis?”
Joel 3:16 “The LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth [both] quake. But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel.”A stronghold to whom? To the people of Israel, not the church. We see that it will be the second coming of Christ when final judgement is given, Satan is condemned, his minions along with the anti-Christ and false prophet are tossed into the “lake” of fire. The church has been raptured so it is not on earth to be either condemned or to be a light onto the world.
In short, the time to which Joel refers is only near the time of the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is the end [of] time itself. This is after Satan is released for a short time to rally earthlings to do his bidding once again along with his minion of fallen angels and deceived.
Here is a quote from David Guzik’s commentary notes on Joel:
The idea of the “Valley of Decision” has been used in countless evangelistic meetings to show people that they stand in the “Valley of Decision,” and must decide for or against Jesus. Joel’s context is exactly the opposite. Man does indeed stand in the valley of decision, but it is God who does the deciding, not man. It is a valley of judgment – and we should decide for Jesus right now, so we never stand in this valley of decision. [italic emphasis mine]
Joel 3:17And you shall know that I am Jehovah your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be a holy thing, and aliens shall no more pass through her.
How can anyone read this verse and think it is about anything or anyone other than Jerusalem and the Israel? God dwelling in Zion; My Holy Mountain; Jerusalem shall be the holy thing; aliens will no longer pass through her. It is impossible other than to spiritualize this passage to include the church body of Christian believers who have been redeemed and raptured. We believers re-enter the scene when Christ returns in the clouds of the sky to do away with Satan once and forever. Now and only at this point do we get the New Heavens and the New Earth. This is not the time or the beginning of the Millennial Reign. It is at the end of it.
Joel 3:18-20 “And it shall be in that day, the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streams of Judah shall flow with waters. And a fountain shall come forth from the house of Jehovah, and it shall water the valley of Shittim. (v19) Egypt shall be a ruin, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, from violence done to the sons of Judah, whose innocent blood they poured out in their land. (v20) But Judah will dwell forever, and Jerusalem to generation and generation. (v21) And I will cleanse their blood which I did not cleanse. And Jehovah is dwelling in Zion.”
God’s last covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is now fulfilled as we close the Book of Joel. God fulfills and keeps his promises [2 Peter 3:9, Romans 4:21, Joshua 21:45].
Chapter 3 of Joel emphatically points out a future of events in the world, all nations, and specifically Israel/Jerusalem that no one will or can escape. This is a global judgement.
Joel 3:1 In the very first verse we find the words “in those days.” It is not often one would consider the word “those” important in a sentence. Usually used as a general identity. The Hebrew for “those” in this verse is hem [pronounced haym]. Hem is used only when meaning or giving an emphatic. “…in those days.” This is to emphasize a specific to the people of Israel and the world aroused by anti-Christ Satan. We address this in the latter sentence of verse 1. It continues through the rest of Joel 3.
Joel 3:1b “I will bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem.” If a person does not give much thought to a full understanding of this latter part of Joel 3:1, it reads like Jerusalem/Judah will again be brought into captivity. That is NOT what it means. “I shall again…” The word ‘again’ is shuwb [pronounced shoob]. It means to return or turn back. In short, to go back to the beginning point turning back the captivities and hatred of God’s chosen people; turn back the captivities and divisions of the city Jerusalem. But there will be a massive death toll in and around Jerusalem and Israel. In Kidron God judges Israel’s enemies with his tongue. All nations of the world will now be judged. (see next verse).
Joel 3:2 “I will also gather all the nations”, This means all, not some of the nations of the world. Whether the United Sates still exists or is broken into separate governing territories we do not know but we do know that “ALL” includes the USA, Canada, Mexico, South America. This may sound impossible. Consider what the word “all” means. In Hebrew it means “no exceptions.”
“and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat”. This valley is named after King Jehoshaphat but not until around 400 A.D. It is a valley in Israel where many wars have been fought throughout history. Lying between the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem it is also known as the Kidron Valley, a valley of decisions which means judgement. There are three valleys of significance associated with Jerusalem. Refer to this website’s article on the Hebrew letter SHIN. These valleys include Hinnon, Kidron, and a central valley that runs through the middle of Jerusalem. The other two are on opposite outskirts of Jerusalem.
NOTE: This is the battle between a returning God Jehovah and Satan who is using mankind for his own purposes. It is often identified as the Battle of Armageddon. Problem! Megiddo is 50 miles north of Jerusalem. Kidron is south east of Jerusalem. How might one explain this seemingly contradiction of locations? *Megiddo will be the gathering place of national forces. They will march on Jerusalem from there. One may be stunned to know that Muslim’s point to this same valley as the scene of a great future battle. The valley is crowded with both Muslim and Jewish grave sites, a desired place for burial.
*Valley of Jezreel begins at Megiddo to the north of Jerusalem, paralleling the Jordan River, and connects to the Valley of (Jehosephat) Kidron in Jerusalem.
“and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of my people and mine inheritance Israel,” This is also why the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Kidron) is identified as where God will sit in judgement [see Joel 3:12]. Think upon this passage. The lands of Israel (Palestine) have been divided both by God through Joseph assigning territories for each of the 12 tribes, and by conquering nations. The name Palestine comes from the Romans renaming Judah after they destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. Romans exiled millions of Israelis to the hinterlands of Europe. France and Britain divided the Middle East after WW1.
“whom they have scattered among the nations: and they have parted my land.” God allowed nations and empires to scatter his people to the four corners of the earth. However, He did not authorize their cruel and deadly treatment of his chosen people. Retribution will be made by God on those who put tributary taxes on and desolated lands in Israel i.e., the Promised Land. The name Palestine comes from the Romans renaming Israel after they destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. Millions of Israelis lived or scattered to Spain (Iberian Peninsula). The 1492-1503 A.D. Spanish Inquisition was against the Jews of Spain at the sanctioning hand of the Roman Pope. They were shipped throughout Europe, northern Africa, to Asia, to the Isles of the sea and ocean, and sold into slavery (Joel 3:3) across the globe. There is a multitude of other examples. Look up a list of some of the good and bad at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_antisemitism.
JIV: God uses Joel 3 to assure Israel that the invading nations throughout history will be dealt with by him.
Joel 3:4 “oh Tyre and Zidon…” It is likely that the mention of these two city-states of old are symbolic of the nations of the world where God/Jesus is given no honor or worship. The church is raptured by this time in Joel. David Guzik’s Commentary puts it this way:
Will you retaliate against Me? God virtually challenges the nations [of the world] to come against Him or His people. He vows to return your retaliation upon your own head to those who come against Him or His people. The nations treated God’s people with contempt and had no sense of their worth. Therefore, God will repay them with the contempt they put upon His [God’s] people, vowing to return your retaliation upon your own head. (Guzik’s Commentary on the Book of Joel) [emphasis mine].
This challenge of retaliation follows a gathering of international armies of the world at Megiddo, 50 miles north of Jerusalem. God basically says, come up to the Valley of Kidron (Jehoshaphat) just outside Jerusalem and we will see who is annihilated. Hmmm? God against the world he created. [For deeper insight, read Revelation 16:12-18]
Joel 3:7, 8“…sons and daughters are sold even unto a nation far off.” Just as enemy nations over the centuries have sold Israelis into bondage and slavery, scattering them to the four winds, God’s retribution will be likewise. The sons and daughters of retribution, according to Joel 3:8 are Sabeans. The Sabeans according to historians live in the Lands of Sheba (Bible and secular history records of the Queen of Sheba/Sheva and King Solomon). It is known today as Ethiopia.
As the armies of the world gather in Megiddo, God in essence states, “Will you dare challenge or retaliate against me [in Jerusalem]? According to Ezekiel 4 that God will put hooks in their jaws and drag them from Megiddo to Kidron to be judged. Their intent will be to invade Jerusalem. God’s intent is to pass judgment. The hooks in Ezekiel 4 are not literal but will be something like an enticement one cannot refuse. Anger and revenge are great enticements. Who is being enticed? All the nations of the world against Jerusalem led by the spirit or personage of anti-Christ meaning Lucifer. Does Satan know this destiny? It is possible he does know. Here is why.
(JIV) Like the sinful nature of man, guided by Satan, a person who cannot get what s/he wants, the same will destroy it to keep it out of the hands of another. Satan will realize if he does not already understand by this time, the world will no longer be subjected to his and his minion’s (fallen angels called demons) evil. His jealous nature will be…if I cannot have them, then neither will God. Satan by now only wishes to destroy mankind keeping them out of eternity in the heaven from which he was cast out. Perhaps (conjecture) he thinks having them spend eternity in Hell with him is a form of victory. Oh so little does he know.
Essentially this is a continuation from the close of the previous chapter in Joel. It is part of the generation-to-generation message…Sound the alarm [Joel 1:3]. The Day of the Lord approaches as does the morning sun from behind the mountains in the east. It is no longer a question of when will it happen but more like: Here It Is! We see the signs Joel told to us. Here they are right in front of us.
This is not a message to the church as defined in the Book of Acts but a message and a charge to sound the alarm to Israel…The Lord approaches. What generation it is when Christ returns to set up his kingdom in Jerusalem we do not know. We do know if one studies scripture, some of the signs as discussed in Joel 2:1b will be seen by the believers. Others are unique to Israelis.
Joel 2:1 How do we know this is about Israel and not the church. Where is the Lord’s mountain as Joel points out in chapter 2:1? We find this answer in Isaiah 2:2-5.
2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’S house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow into it. 3 Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law. And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. 5 O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the LORD.”
For out of Zion… We know that Zion is an alternative name for Jerusalem is built on Mount Zion. Jerusalem itself is on a higher plateau than surrounding geography. My eldest brother-in-law once said about being in old Jerusalem, “everything is up hill. Even when one is walking down hill it still seems to be a climb.” (Eugene Whittum; his visit to Israel)
There are many references in scripture as to what will happen to the mountains of this world once the Day of the Lord means his Millennial reign. Simply put …Jerusalem will rise, water from under the Throne of God in Jerusalem will flow both toward the Mediterranean Sea and to the Jordan River filling the Dead Sea with fresh waters, and mountains will bow in recognition of the high point in the world, Jerusalem. The known environment and geographies will change.
To define or describe the world geography during the Millennial reign is like archeologists’ trying to find the original land of the Garden of Eden. The Noahtic flood erased all traces of it. When the Day of the Lord appears, known landmarks will change in such a way none can describe the event. We know is there are going to be significant land a sea change.
To better understand this passage and Joel 2:2, one needs to go to Joel 3:2 but that will be property of our next chapter commentary.
Joel 2:2 Some commentators and theologians wish to take the mention of “a great and strong people,“ out of context. Some suggest altering the colon to a comma so it fits the commentator’s opinion agenda. We mentioned earlier in article one of Joel that we defer to the most common sense and simplest explanation. There will be a strong and mighty people coming up against Jerusalem. One logical reason to default to this interpretation is the fact Joel is talking about the Day of the Lord: end time. He is talking about Israel, not the church. Thought? How can believers return to the earth with Jesus if they have not yet left earth?
Another consideration is Joel 3:2. He describes all nations of the world aligning against Israel. The church as bodies of believers is raptured. Such a global alignment against Jerusalem has never happened before 2021, and certainly will not happen again once Jesus is seated upon his throne in Jerusalem. Isn’t this what the verse explicitly states? Why complicate it with one’s personal preference instead of accepting what is written?
Joel 2:3 states in part…”The land is as the Garden of Eden before them.” Before who? The attacking enemy forces. Israel today has transformed their lands. They have planted millions of trees. They are recreating a land almost like the initial and same lands of the Canaanites, a land of milk and honey. The enemy forces *invading Israel, an army like never has been and never again will be, as defined in chapter 1 of Joel, the land of Israel will be totaled, stripped like the first, second and third levels of invading locusts who strip all green vegetation. The travesty brought upon Israel (Jerusalem) must be so drastic these chosen people of God will finally plead for God’s intercession and their redemption. This will end the seven-year Tribulation of Israel. It will come at a horrendous cost to them AND the invading nations.
Repentance is always the solution. This message to Israel from Joel, like all messages and warnings from the prophets of Israel, is destined to failure. Not the prophecy but the people will fail to pay heed. Some had temporary effects of repentance but backsliding soon followed.
Joel 2:13“…and [tear apart] your hearts and not your garments.” What Joel is saying, demonstration of garment tearing looks good but that is not the solution. Render one’s heart instead. Weep before the Lord God with a broken heart, thus a broken will. Often self-deception creeps in, in times like this. When this happens does one think true repentance comes from demonstrative actions? We suggest this to be true of some who step forward by itself, when given an invitation to accept Christ, does not save anyone. It is the heart that must change.
Far too many alter calls are those seeking pacification, not salvation It is more fire insurance than salvation assurance. Similar is receiving a much-desired Christmas gift. Once it is in hand the desire may be lost. It never was the right motive. What about New Year resolutions? The true goal is to make one, not live it out.
Joel 2:17 is very revealing. Joel writes: “Spare your people, O LORD, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?'” Israel has fallen backwards so many times other nations ask this question. Where is their (Israel’s) God? In modern terms it is akin to a person saying loudly, there is victory in Jesus, but when others look at him or her, they counter with, “are you trying to convince me or yourself?” The person’s life is like a pendulum on a grandfather clock.
Joel 2:18 forward is subject to the time on the calendar and whether or not this is at the return of Jesus to Jerusalem. Is Joel speaking of an event that has yet to happen or is he speaking in past tense only because God’s judgements are preordained. Consider verse 19b. “I will no longer make you a reproach to other nations.” The next few verses speak of conditions that do not yet exist in Israel. Fruit trees give of their FULL POTENTIAL. Abundant rain in a land that demands irrigation today. Great pasture for the beasts of the wild. Conclusion? Joel is speaking of a time yet to happen. Joe 2:24“The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.” This has not happened in history. It MUST BE end time prophecy.
Here is what some identify as “the taker.” Verse 26, 27 states: “You will praise the name of your God; God’s people will never again be put to shame.” This too has not yet happened in Israel or with the scattered Israelis. Verse 28…”and it shall come to pass AFTERWARD.” This helps us time stamp the events of Joel. It does not help us to identify Joel’s time on earth, but it does tell us Joel is discussing is a future yet to happen.
[LITV] Joel 2:28-31 “And it shall be afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. (29) And also I will pour out My Spirit on the slaves and on the slave-girls in those days. (30) And I will give signs in the heavens and in the earth: blood, and fire, and columns of smoke. (31) The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Jehovah. (32) For it shall be, all who shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be saved. For salvation shall be in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, as Jehovah has said, and among the survivors whom Jehovah shall call.”
Joel 1:13 “Gird up and lament, priests. Howl, ministers of the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, ministers of my God. For the food offering and the drink offering are held back from the house of your God.”
Joel is giving instructions to pass on generation to generation (see 1:3). It is not what to do now but what to do then. We know this by reading verse 15. That time to which Joel refers is end time [Tribulation] now at hand. All blessings are held back. It is called “the day of the Lord-Jehovah” by Joel.
Joe 1:14“Set apart a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the elders, all those living in the land, into the house of Jehovah your God, and cry to Jehovah. (v15) Alas for the day! For the day of Jehovah is[then] at hand. And it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.”
Israelis (Judeans?) are instructed by Joel as to the time, the identification or summary of the issues to be noted, and what to do about it. When? At mid-tribulation when sacrificing, not meeting, but sacrificing in the Temple to Jehovah will no longer be permitted. Includes identity issues through verse 18].
Here is a list of the travesties that are signs of that time for Israel.
Food and drink offerings are [forcibly] held back (this indicates the time it will happen)
Food is cut off to the population
No joy or gladness can be found
Seed shrivels even before it is planted
Storage bins (cupboards and stores) lay empty and broken
Animals (beasts) pale for lack of subsistence
Open area grazing is no longer available to herds
The farmer’s field and crops has perished
The grape vine and fig are dried up meaning dead
The pomegranate, palm, and apple trees are dead
Sheep who graze the nubbins of grass cannot find food.
River and water supplies dry up
The wilderness becomes without grass or fern.
It will take this amount of devastation to finally get the “Jews” to turn from G-d to God. To turn one who is in their eyes a crucified fake now into their Messiah.
This is no longer a nation of people. No king is even mentioned. No empire is mentioned. Joel speaks to Israelis as if one-on-one: father-to-son, generation to the next generation. This is a continuous clause meaning it will need to be an ongoing “pass it on” thing for the PEOPLE descending from the Tribes of Jacob, not as an existing nation or kingdom. This sounds post Babylonian exile.
Joel is the second of the 12 Minor Prophets found in most main-stream bibles. His life, family, and occupation can only be conjectured. We find the name of his father but little else is provided. Often a prophet will list a king or two during his ministry. That makes it easier to calculate a time. Joel does not do this. Following is one person’s guess of his time.
We do know that this book is about the Kingdom of Judah and perhaps others not mentioned but alluded to. We do not know of a precise date for his life and activities. Joel has four sections:
the time of the locust (imagery or metaphorical)
a warning that more calamity is coming (Judah? Israel? Israelis?)
another call to repentance
the Day of the Lord (Israel and all nations)
There is either much imagery or some form of actuality yet to be discovered or played out in the writings of Joel. We at Ahabiblemoments.com feel too much liberty is taken by many commentators or theologians. They complicate it, too often bending it toward a denominational plank or platform.
A great rule of thumb is to default to the most obvious. The Bible is written to be understood, not to be complicated. To understand scripture, one must have an open mind/heart and wisdom that is sought by a deliberate and personal petitioning of God to provide it. Then there is the oft ignored personal point. What is the motive of the one seeking understanding?
In writing another Minor Prophet commentary for ahamoments.com we keep in mind that the Old Testament is about a nation (Israel and Moses’ Law). The New Testament is about humans as individuals and God’s grace through Jesus. We should also be reminded that the early church did NOT HAVE the New Testament. Their salvation message came from Old Testament books, study, and acceptance. Much or the early church focused on Isaiah just as did the Ethiopian Eunuch when Phillip boarded his chariot and explained the New Testament plan of salvation.
Joel is not another doom-and-gloom book. It runs the entire gamut. It begins with warning and ends with the end of this world and the beginning of eternity where time is no more. Time was created back in Genesis 1.
P.S. Doom and gloom in scripture is sometimes better portrayed as warnings. It is something that can often be avoided when Israel came back to God. They seldom did. When they did, it didn’t last long.
When we study the prophets, we find they pretty much have the same basic ingredients: (1) warning of impending judgment because of the nations’ sinfulness; (2) a description of the sin; (3) a description of the coming judgment; (4) a call for repentance; and (5) a promise of future deliverance. [Bible.org; https://bible.org/seriespage/7-minor-prophets]
To time-stamp Joel is difficult. He leaves no road signs. For a good review of the historical summary judgements and chronology of Joel, one should read https://bible.org/seriespage/7-minor-prophets. We will remain within the stated parameters and stated context of Joel in this commentary. As we often state in our Bible Book commentaries in ahabiblemoments.com…
We Teach – You Decide
JIV means Jim’s Introspective View
When things are not evident, we do not try to spiritualize verses or sections of scripture to make fit a denominational point of view or doctrine. Our denomination at ahabiblemoments is the same one of the New Testament disciples.
Joel Chapter 1:1-12
Joel immediately uses parallel examples to begin his book; one that is current in the time of Joel and one that is prophetic. Locusts are not uncommon in Israel; a very *common issue in the Middle East countries. Following what is on the heels of COVID 19, the locust of 2020 in the Middle East are invasive once again. In a prime example of horrible timing, the locusts are reportedly the worst they have been in decades in countries like Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia … and are ravaging thousands of acres of crops in Yemen, Pakistan and India. [tmz.com; 2020]. To use locust as a parallel to a future event for Judah/Israel, perhaps the globe, is a big help to picture in Judean minds what Joel is talking about in his prophetic parallel.
Chapter 1:1-12 sets the stage for what has happened in the past and will on a much larger scale in Israel’s future. It is important for Israelis to pass on this information father-to-son, parents-to-children. If one does not know how can one be prepared? The simple answer is “they will not even be aware.” Too often this is akin to what some hope is a fundamental principle about attending church, bible studies, having devotions, reading commentaries. The information is there but few take the time to study it yet alone institute it. Going through the Bible in one year has more of a goal of making it within the year allotted time than it has to do with gaining knowledge, understanding, conviction, desire, and personal action. For Israel and the ultimate blessings and restoration promised by Joel to occur, Israel will need to experience the judgments of the Tribulation. It is this combination that will cause them to return to the Lord. Locusts are not a blessing. It is what Israel will need to pass through in God allowing (locust judgment) upon Israelis as a people to finally wake them up to the realization that Jesus was and still is their Messiah. Joel is stating that before the promise of redemption comes to His chosen people, they will need to be totally stripped of alternatives.
NOTE: Locust come out of nowhere giving little if any forewarning.
Joe 1:2“Hear this, you elders, And give ear, all you inhabitants of the land!” You inhabitants of THE land. This is specific. Joel is referring to Israel; some suggest it is just Judah. Then Joel states it is unlike prior infestations. He continues in verse 3 to explain this is not an immediate invasion of enemies who will strip the land and people of possessions. It is not the future invasion of Assyrians or the Babylonians. It is not the holocausts of the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 – 1503. It is not Hitler’s Nazis. Joel prophesies that two thirds of Israel will die at this time of invasion. Zechariah 13:8-7 tells us the same. Joel is prophesying that this is generations into the future.
Joel 1:6 “For a *nation has come up against My land, Strong, and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, And he has the fangs of a fierce lion.” Some commentaries wish to draw a parallel with Daniel’s dream interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. If so it would need to be the toes that are a combination of clay and iron.
*Nation: In the Hebrew, the word is gôy. It can mean a Gentile people, troop of animals, or a flight of locusts.
Most often it refers to gentiles meaning non-Israeli. “…its teeth are the teeth of a lion, and it has the jaw teeth [cheek teeth] of a lioness.” Here is the truth in Joel’s prophecy. The locusts come in three waves [verse 4] to utterly and totally devastate a crop. In this case those of God’s chosen people. The lioness’ cheek teeth grind their prey over and over.
Verse 7 is how we know the locust are but a metaphor. There My vine is desolation, and it has splintered My fig tree. He has stripped it,” It is not an “it” as would be used to identify something other than a human. This makes the above notation gôy of the word NATION meaning gentiles, not locust or a troop of animals.
Joel 1:9 is a reference to mid-tribulation in Jerusalem when the antichrist refuses offerings to be made in the rebuilt Temple to Jehovah but then must be made to him. The 3 ½ year mark. Even as Covid 19 ravished not only the world, but the minds of people, it has become a tool of governments to dominate one’s thought. Fear makes allowances for losing rights as a member of the human race. It is a play designed for the coming antichrist.
Joel 1:9 “The food offering and the drink offering have been cut off from the house of Jehovah; the priests, Jehovah’s ministers, mourn.”
Cut off meaning by the antichrist. Israelis will in initially accept the promises of the antichrist until he demands they worship him at the 3 1/2 year mark.
House of Jehovah meaning the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.
Joel 1:10-12 describe the devastation it will take to wake up the drunkard (Israel) to the fact of God the Father and God the begotten son. As stated earlier, there must come a point of absolute devastation and leaving NO alternative for Israel.
Next: We find the beginning of the solution beginning in Joel 1:13.
The curtains were drawn tight in the living room. Even when they were open, it was still dark in my little house—which reflected the condition of my heart. Before turning the lights in the house off, I went and grabbed the four pack of Michelob light beer from the refrigerator. Trouble, my dog, followed me back into the living room.
I turned on the television not caring what was on. Sitting down in the middle of the floor with my dog and beer. I began to cry. Trouble laid tightly to my side as I opened a beer. My plan was to drown my sorrows.
Recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I was physically better since being released from the hospital, but not strong. My doctor would not release me to go back to work full time and I was going to be let go. In my early twenties, with car payments and rent I was getting concerned about my bills.
As I finished my first beer, this guy on the television caught my attention. He pointed straight at me and said “GOD loves YOU!” I didn’t really want to think about God. I repented of my sins and was born again at 17 but was now doing my own thing.
The church I attended got another pastor when I was 18. This guy was legalistic and boring with a bunch of “thou shalt nots”. Everything I was, including who I was—was not what God wanted me to be—according to the current pastor. He said a woman should wear a dress, not slacks, keep hair long and wear no jewelry. I looked at my class ring, watch, and beige pants, then looked for the nearest door. I tried other churches in the next few weeks. The churches I visited had good coffee and donuts. That is the best thing I remember about them.
Opening my second beer, the guy on the television once again said “someone out there needs to know God loves you, just the way you are!” “How would you know!” I asked the guy on Television—as if he would answer. Suddenly something changed in my living room. There was a peace that passed my understanding. My heart felt like it was melting. I even thought I heard “I DO LOVE YOU MY DAUGHTER, I know YOU and you are my child,” like it came from inside my heart. I began to weep and tell the LORD that I wanted to know Him…
This was the first night I spent with the King, really seeking Him, reading His Word and praying. One night with King Jesus changed my life forever. It is true with every one who is seeking a relationship with King Jesus.
“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29
That night, I knew that I knew He loved me for who I was. Knowing Him is different than knowing about Him, just as knowing Neil Diamond personally would be much better than simply knowing about him. Relationship is about intimacy. We cannot truly know someone without spending time in their presence and communicating with her or him. The most valuable relationship we can have is with our Creator God. It is only possible by true repentance and accepting Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior.
You too, can spend a night with the King and every minute with the King when you choose a relationship with Jesus, our King of kings, and the LORD of lords.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 19
Sometimes I think I know what is best for my life. I think if I were totally healed I could serve the LORD better and help more people. I think if I were successful in a business and made a lot of money I could help a LOT more people than sitting here writing a blog about my challenges.
In other words I don’t like the cards I got dealt. I want a new deal and start with a new deck please! Make sure they are shuffled well too! Sometimes I think if I can throw down a few really bad cards and ask God to deal me a couple good cards, maybe then I handle the couple of not so good cards in my hand. Have you ever tried to barter or bargain with God?
But this is the deal. No new cards, no new hand. I finally made the choice to play it to the best of my ability by His grace. My prevailing hope is to be successful in God’s eyes and impact this world for His Glory.
The Word of GOD is full of real men and women who face great challenges with the “cards they were dealt” and their lives gave Glory to God forever. I think of Joseph especially; sold into slavery by his brothers, imprison unjustly yet in the end was a great success in God’s eyes and in the worlds!
What about you? How are you going to play your cards? Or are you still hoping for a new deal? Will you play your cards with great faith that GOD has a plan for your life (He does)- as He did for Joseph and everyone else. His plan will ultimately will bring you great success defined by Almighty God! True success is not measured by the world’s standards.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Chapter 10 is but three verses. It reads as an after-the-fact statement; an appendix; a summation. Probably written by someone other than Mordecai. There is no mention of Mordecai or of Esther’s death or burial in the Book of Esther or anywhere else in the Bible. The record of this time of events were recorded in the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia.
One of several tomb sites claimed to be theirs
We find this claim on the Internet: The Tomb of Esther and Mordechai is [supposedly] located in Hamadan (formerly Shoshan), Iran. Iranian Jews believe it houses the remains of the biblical Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai and is the most important pilgrimage site for Jews in Iran. It was declared a World Heritage Site by the Iranian government in 2008. There is no mention of it in the Bavli (the Jerusalem or Babylonian Talmud). This Iranian Jewish tradition has not been supported by Jews beyond Iran.
PS; The tombs of Daniel, Nehemiah, and other Jewish leaders/Levite Priests and citizens are also entombed in Persia (Iran). This count is in the tens of thousands.
Many modern day sons of Jacob refuse to accept this. Mostly of these doubting Israelis come from the ten Northern Tribes of Israel. There is still animosity between those from the northern tribes of Israel and the southern two tribes of Judah. Most remain to this day scattered to the four corners of this earth.
Here is a quote from Focus on the Family regarding some history of Esther and the Persians:
The extra-Biblical events surrounding Esther form one of the most decisive turning points in history. Without the Greek triumph [over the Persians and King Xerxes], Western civilization as we know it would likely not exist. While Persia continued to flourish in Xerxes’ (and Esther’s) lifetime, his defeat by the Greeks was a watershed moment.
From that point on over the next 150 years, the Achaemenid Empire began its slow decline before finally being conquered by Alexander the Great. Although short-lived, Alexander’s empire was even larger than Persia at its greatest extent. It introduced Greek culture, ideas, and language across much of the ancient world, create[ed] the foundation for the eventual spread of the Gospel to the farthest corners of the Roman Empire and beyond. [emphasis mine]
Today we most often fall short of the historical impact or purpose of the book of Esther, yet alone understand its reach. This period of Esther history far exceeds the contents of the book itself. One example per understanding some of the content and context: AFTER the life of Esther, Ezra and Nehemiah lead additional Judean exiles from Persia back to Jerusalem. They completed the Temple but it took many years to get to this point.
Consider the fact that through Esther’s actions and the returning of additional Judean exiles with Ezra and Nehemiah, Jesus was born some 470 years later? Did the reader connect this historical dot? Jesus was of the Tribe of Judah, not the Tribe of Benjamin. His people (Tribe of Judah) were part of the Babylonian captivity and exile. This would be a study in and of itself. Later perhaps but not now.
“And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea. (v2) And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? (v3) For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.” (King James Version)
(The following bullet points are taken from David Guzik’s Commentary on Esther 10)
Think of all that God arranged in the story of Esther:
• God arranged for the noble Queen Vashti to lose her place. • God arranged for Esther to enter the competition. • God arranged special favor for Esther among the other women. • God arranged the lot that was cast to give 11 months warning before the evil event (Est_3:12-13). • God arranged that Haman restrain his anger and not kill Mordecai immediately (Est_5:10). • God arranged for Haman’s anger to come to a peak on one particular day. • God arranged for Ahasuerus to pick up a certain book in his sleepless night.
Rev. Dr. Jstark 2021
This is a nonprofit, no reader cost website. The above David Guzik bullet summary of the Book of Esther is for the sake of Bible students and others, and solely for educational and gained knowledge. May God bless your inquiry, reading and studies. The Bible is not a book of stories, but a history that coincides with other histories. Content other than the bullet points may or may not reflect the opinion of David Guzik.