Showing posts with label Joel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joel. Show all posts

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Mining the Minors: Joel (10)

Of all the Minor Prophets to date, the New Testament’s writers arguably quote Joel the most. I say “arguably”, because some of the language used by Joel is so similar to that of other prophets, especially Isaiah, that in several cases it’s not certain whether the NT writer was thinking of one passage or the other, or perhaps had both in mind. Many of these occur in the book of Revelation.

For anyone interested in deeper study of the end times, I’ve included all possible references in each of the Minor and Major Prophets at the end of each section. There are too many of these to quote them all in full here.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Mining the Minors: Joel (9)

The Christian who reads the last few verses of Joel 3 immediately says to himself, “Aha, that’s about the return of the Lord.” No Judean of Joel’s day would ever have thought such a thing, at least not if he only had Joel’s prophecy to go by; after all, you can hardly speak of a second advent when you have yet to distinguish it from the first, and both are still far in the future.

Nevertheless, that’s what this is all about. The Second Coming. Christ’s victorious return to reign over planet Earth.

Saturday, October 07, 2023

Mining the Minors: Joel (8)

A couple of weeks ago we pointed out that we should not expect to find the church on earth during the great tribulation, and especially not to find the church in Jerusalem when the Lord judges the armies of the northerner and drives him from Palestine. Joel’s prophecy has almost nothing to say about godly Gentiles, dead, alive or in resurrection bodies. Reading us into earlier portions of the book is highly questionable.

That changes with today’s reading. It’s subtle, but I think we are definitely there, though even the most careful students of Joel would not have been able to easily identify us prior to the writing of Revelation near the end of the first century.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Mining the Minors: Joel (7)

A (very) few regular readers made gentle remarks concerning my commentary on earlier books in this study to the effect that — putting it politely — my pace compares unfavorably to the meanderings of an octogenarian snail. Suitably chastened, I have tried with the last few prophets to cover a little more territory per instalment. I intended to deal with Joel 3:1-16 today, as that makes for better division of the subject matter. Despite best efforts, after working through the questions raised by the first eight verses that is definitely not going to happen.

Alas, the best laid plans.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Mining the Minors: Joel (6)

Some people can find the church just about anywhere. Mike Fuhrer finds the church in Jerusalem during the great tribulation, and he gets this from today’s passage in the second chapter of Joel.

Now, there is no doubt he’s right about the Jerusalem part. Joel unambiguously locates the majority of his prophecy right in Israel’s capital. Throughout his three chapters, the prophet makes mention of Israel three times, Judah six, Jerusalem six and Zion seven. Unless all these 22 references are allegorical, there is no doubt about the geographic location in view. When Joel speaks of walls and houses, it is the walls and houses of Jerusalem he has in mind.

But the church? Really?

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Mining the Minors: Joel (5)

Joel chapter 2’s appeal to return to the Lord has a timeless quality.

Unusually for prophetic scripture, Joel has left undescribed the specific sins of Judah for which God is calling her to account. We can only guess the “when” and the “what” he feels compelled to address. The prophet could be calling any generation of Israelites to return to behavior suited to a covenant relationship with their God — any generation, that is, that still understands the meaning of fasting and mourning, of grain and drink offerings, of the trumpet blown to call together the solemn assembly.

Israelite worship came with a lot of baggage.

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Mining the Minors: Joel (4)

Prophetic scripture is full of difficult passages, and this second chapter of Joel is right up there with the most bewildering among them. Interpretations offered for the locust horde the prophet describes include: (1) literal locusts in the time of Joel; (2) the Babylonian army of 607 BC; (3) four different invading armies over a period of hundreds of years; (4) a bunch of proselytizing Jehovah’s Witnesses (no, I’m not kidding); and (5) the demonic affliction of apostate Christendom in some future day.

There are compelling textual reasons to reject all these interpretations (not just the patently silly ones) and look for a future fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, not in the spiritual realm, but right in the heart of Israel.

Saturday, September 02, 2023

Mining the Minors: Joel (3)

For reasons I addressed last week, my approach to Joel’s prophecy is going to be something of a road less traveled. I’m convinced beyond reasonable doubt that all three chapters of the book are concerned with the same future invasion of Israel (which I believe will take place during the great tribulation period), and with its aftermath in the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.

After all, the prophet ends with “YHWH dwells in Zion”. He says it twice, just to make sure we don’t miss it.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Mining the Minors: Joel (2)

The book of Joel is unusual among the Minor Prophets in several ways, and lends itself to a little different treatment than our usual verse-by-verse trek through the text.

Before we get too far into the specific details of Joel’s prophecy, let’s do a quick flyover to consider the larger context and help us formulate a method of approach to provide us with a consistent way of assessing the intended meaning of individual verses as we come to them.

If nobody else, that should at least help me stay on track.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Mining the Minors: Joel (1)

In attempting to the put the Minor Prophets in chronological order, dating Joel’s prophecy is one of the bigger challenges. Other prophets leave unambiguous internal evidence that help us date what they wrote; like, for example, dropping the name of a specific king, or mentioning the fall of Nineveh (which we can date to 612 B.C. from secular history) as either historical or else still future.

Joel doesn’t do that, at least not in any way most scholars deem conclusive.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Cheap Contrition and Hardened Hearts

“Rend your hearts and not your garments.”

There is a vast difference between the public displays of remorse we so regularly see in the media and actual repentance. The former is purely external and serves the purpose of notifying one’s community that the party subject to censure acknowledges his faux pas and hopes for a quick end to the unpleasantness of public disapproval so he can return to his former way of doing business as expeditiously as possible.

The latter is a matter of the heart before God.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Rare In These Days

Northern hairy-nosed wombats are rare.
What was ubiquitous at one time and in one place may be exceedingly rare in others. This may be a bad thing, or a good thing ... or just a thing.

The writer of 1 Samuel notes that in the days before Samuel was called, “the word of the Lord was rare ... there was no frequent vision”.

Now, the Holy Spirit is not for a moment suggesting that the people of Israel lacked necessary direction from God for their lives, or that it was impossible to please God because nobody had the slightest idea what he wanted.

Not at all.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Fulfillment That Isn’t

God doesn’t always work exactly the same way.

Now he is consistent. He does not change his nature from one day to the next. His character is immutable. But he is also endlessly creative, as the world around us and the cosmos well demonstrate.

So when we study the Old Testament prophets we should not be surprised to find that the Lord uses consistent, repeated themes throughout history. It is in his nature. We should also not be surprised at the occasional unexpected and creative twist. That also has ample precedent.