World events today may cause Christians to believe that the Day of the Lord is at
hand. These are perilous times in which we live. These days are similar to those
spoken of by the prophet Joel. Joel wrote of disastrous events confronting the people
of his day. Many times a preacher or teacher will use pending or current events
that affect the multitude to predict the future. In Joel’s day the economic situation
of Judah was a concern for everyone. There was drought and the invasion of locusts
that ravaged the land and destroyed the crops. Do these events remind us of what
has or is occurring in the nations across the world today? If Joel were alive today
he might very well try to warn the nations to wake up and understand what is happening
around them. The people of Judah were literally witnessing their world falling down
around them. The world today is witnessing similar events in that economies are
failing, drought is causing famine and loss of life, natural disasters (earthquakes,
raging fires, floods, etc.) seem to be in the news on a daily basis. Are the people
listening or are they taking the attitude that “oh, this will pass and things will
get better soon.” Cataclysmic events seem to be occurring more than ever before.
Are these events just coincidental or is God trying to tell us something? Is the
Day of the Lord getting close?
Joel sounded the alarm in his prophetic book during the reign of young king Joash
(835-796 BC) who was seven years old when Judah faced such hard times as described
by Joel. Joel wanted the people to know and understand what God was saying to them.
Little is known about Joel except that which is gleaned from the book itself. It
is known that his father’s name was Pethuel (Joel 1:1). There are 13 other people
named Joel in the Bible but none can be linked to the Prophet Joel.
The term “the Day of the Lord” is a special term used in the Bible to refer
to a period of time when God directly intervenes in human affairs—in judgment. The
prophet Joel applied “the day of the Lord”, to three events: the plague of
locusts, the future invasion of the Assyrians and the distant judgment that the
Lord would send on the whole world.
Joel addressed five groups of citizens and gave them four admonitions from the Lord.
He addressed the old men first because they had lived long with more experience
and could vouch for what he was saying. With the support of the elders, he was not
just someone crying in the wilderness. The elders agreed with the prophet that never
before had they witnessed such catastrophes in the land of Judah. The plague of
locusts upon Judah had left nothing but desolation throughout the land. The prophet
is not only speaking to the elders but citizens in general (Joel 1:2-4).
To the drunkards Joel told them to “wake up and weep” (Joel 1:5). The drunkards
should weep because there would be no wine until the next season. Joel said to the
farmers to “despair and wail” (Joel 1:8-12). The farmers had lost their crops to
the locusts which affected the multitudes.
Joel asked the priests to “call a fast” (Joel 1:13-20). Joel warned the priests
to break from tradition in that the usual fast was observed on the annual Day of
Atonement. However, the people could hold a fast when they faced an emergency and
needed to humble themselves and seek God’s face (Judges 20:26; 2 Chronicles 20:3;
Ezra 8:21; Nehemiah 9:1-3 and Jeremiah 36:9).
The Old Testament scriptures dealing with the day of the Lord often convey a sense
of urgency, nearness, and expectation. The prophet Isaiah warned the people in his
day as told in Isaiah 13:6, “Wail, for the day of the Lord is near!” In Ezekiel
30:3 the prophet Ezekiel warned, “For the day is near, even the day of the Lord is
near.” Joel urged the people by saying to them, “Let all who live in the land
tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is close at hand” (Joel
2:1); “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord
is near in the valley of decision!” (Joel 3:14); “Be silent before the Lord God!
For the day of the Lord is near,” (Zephaniah 1:7). These aforementioned
passages from the Old Testament speak of a near and a far fulfillment, as does much
of the Old Testament prophecy.
Some Old Testament passages that refer to the day of the Lord describe historical
judgments that have already been fulfilled in some sense. Some of these passages
are found as follows: Isaiah 13:6-22; Ezekiel 30:2-19; Joel 1:15, 3:14; Amos 5:18-20;
Zephaniah 1:14-18. The Scriptures tell us that the day of the Lord will come quickly,
like a thief in the night (Zephaniah 1:14-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:2), therefore Christians
must be watchful and ready for the coming of the Lord at any moment. No one can
predict the day of the Lord, since not even the Son (Jesus) knows the moment that
God will send Him back in the world to receive His own. Thus, the Christian believer
cannot be misled by the false prophets in the world today as to when Jesus will
The day of the Lord is mentioned some twenty-nine times in the Old Testament. The
New Testament speaks to this day seven times, both in a positive and negative way.
The first is the Apostle Peter quoting Joel 2:31 in Acts 2:20. The next three are
in the Corinthian epistles and are given as an expectation of believers. The Apostle
Paul says that the Corinthians were “awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord
Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our
Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthian 1:7-8). He delivered one brother to Satan
“so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:5).
Paul further wrote that in 2 Corinthians 1:14, “we are your reason to be proud as
you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus. “ In all of these passages
it seems they were expecting the day of the Lord. The remaining references to the
day of the Lord are found in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 and 4. In many instances the day
of the Lord may indicate the end times.
Finally, Joel states that great cosmic signs will take place, “before the great and
awesome day of the LORD comes” (Joel 2:31). Therefore, the day of the Lord
is the Tribulation and Kingdom Age. The second to last verse in the Old Testament
says that Elijah the prophet will come before the day of Lord (Malachi 4:5), and
most see Elijah as being one of the two witnesses during the Tribulation (Revelation
11). Also, the Apostle Paul states very emphatically that the day of the Lord will
not come until the antichrist is revealed (2 Thessalonians 1-3).
The ultimate or final fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the day of the Lord
will come at the end of history when God, with wondrous power, will punish evil
and fulfill all of His promises. The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:8 that
“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of
our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As believers in Christ, we are to be sober and watchful for the last days. Just
as Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, "For you yourselves
know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night."
The thief does not warn us that he is coming on a particular day or time. Therefore,
we remain watchful and guard against the visit by a thief. Consequently, we as believers
in Christ must be watchful and prepared to meet the Lord at any time. The believer
must know beyond a shadow of a doubt that his faith is in Christ who assures him
of his salvation when He returns to claim His own. Christians must encourage and
build up one another in preparation for the day of the Lord as written by the Apostle
Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
he Bricks Have Fallen...
"The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores
are cut down, but we will change them into cedars." Isaiah 9:10
This bible verse is not about the determination and survival of Israel; in reality
it is a statement of defiance against God. Read the prophecies and heed the signs,
these words were also quoted by officials after the 911 tragedy in America. Scripture
Seeds recommends you read the book "The Harbinger" by Jonathan Cahn.
References: The Wiersbe Bible Commentary
The Ryrie Study Bible
Halley Bible Handbook
Things to Come (A Study in Biblical Eschatology)