Joel’s message is this: the day of the Lord is coming, so we must warn people and call them to repentance and faith before it is too late! He uses a past incident of judgment and a locust infestation to cast a vision for future judgment. He issues a call to hear the word of the Lord and tell the next generation.
The theme of Joel is, “The Day of the Lord.” The phrase occurs 12 times total throughout the books of the minor prophets and five times in the book of Joel alone. Joel prophesies the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit would be poured out on the new converts in the early church.
In Joel, God is glorifying Himself through the day of the Lord, so that He might demonstrate His superior goodness in the salvation sinners, the damnation of the wicked, and for the preservation of His people for His eternal glory, and their eternal joy.
The author identifies himself as Joel, the son of Pethuel, which the Apostle Peter confirms.
Joel’s prophetic ministry (and hence the writing of his book) probably took place when Joash was reigning over Judah (835–796 B.C.), but this timeframe is not certain.
“Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;
Gather the elders
And all the inhabitants of the land
Into the house of the Lord your God,
And cry out to the Lord.”
“Blow the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
For the day of the Lord is coming,
For it is at hand:
A day of darkness and gloominess,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains.
A people come, great and strong,
The like of whom has never been;
Nor will there ever be any such after them,
Even for many successive generations.”
“ ‘Now, therefore,’ says the Lord,
‘Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’
So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?”
What is the theme of Joel’s prophecy?
The Day of the Lord, in which He will set everything right and judge all wrongs.
To whom is Joel’s prophecy addressed?
The elders and inhabitants of Judah (Joel 1:2).
Why are the drunkards told to wake up and weep?
Because there would be no more wine to drink (Joel 1:5–7).
How are the people supposed to lament?
Like a virgin girded with sackcloth, for the husband of her youth (Joel 1:8).
Why are the farmers told to be ashamed and wail?
Because the harvest of the field had perished (Joel 1:11–12).
Why are the priests told to lament?
Because the offerings had been withheld from the house of God (Joel 1:13).
What are the priests commanded to do?
Gather the people and cry out to the Lord (Joel 1:14).
Why did Joel cry out to the Lord?
Because the trees and open pastures had been burned up (Joel 1:19).
Who was crying out to the Lord with Joel?
The beasts of the field (Joel 1:20).
Why is there a call to blow the trumpet in Zion?
Because the day of the Lord is coming (Joel 2:1–2).
How does Joel describe the land?
Like the Garden of Eden before the locusts, and like a desolate wilderness behind them (Joel 2:3).
What does the Lord call His people to “rend” instead of their garments?
Their hearts (Joel 2:12–17).
What does the Lord promise to His people if they obey His call?
He will be zealous for His land and pity His people (Joel 2:18).
What does God promise He will pour out “on all flesh”?
His Spirit (Joel 2:28–29).
What does God say will happen to the land when He brings back the captives?
He will judge all nations (Joel 3:1–3).
What will happen to Jerusalem after the judgment of the Lord?
Jerusalem shall be holy, no alien shall pass through her again, and God will dwell there (Joel 3:17).
Why will Egypt and Edom be made desolate?
Because they shed innocent blood (Joel 3:19).
Why will Judah and Jerusalem abide forever?
Because God will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed (Joel 3:20–21).