Summary: The major theme of Joel is “Day of the Lord,” and how great and terrible it will be. But this theme is not exclusive to Joel, but it is seen throughout both the major and minor prophets, as well as in the New Testament. And we’ll see all of this in our time together.
The Day of the Lord
Book of Joel
Today we are once again in the minor prophets looking at the major themes that comes from each one. And today, as we go through the prophet Joel, this is one of the major themes of the Bible, and the one that speaks to our time, just as it spoke to the nation of Israel back in the time of Joel.
The major theme of Joel is “Day of the Lord,” and how great and terrible it will be. But this theme is not exclusive to Joel, but it is seen throughout both the major and minor prophets, as well as in the New Testament. And we’ll see all of this in our time together.
And this brings us to an interesting question, however, and that is why I chose this as the theme of Joel, and not some of the other prophets that speak of this as well? Well, the answer is that Joel contains more references to the Day of the Lord along with the major movements or aspects surrounding this Day.
Throughout recorded time, humanity has been searching for that one principle or thing that determines the events that shape our history.
• Philosophers speak of history in terms of cycles, and that history is cyclical. Kind of like, “What goes around comes around.”
• Politicians say that history hinges on political institutions, that is, those forms of government that ruled over humanity. Therefore, the forces that shaped human history are political in nature.
• Economists see this in terms of supply and demand. That it’s the material demands of humanity that shape future events. Or to say it another way, what is the flavor of the day? That is, what does humanity valued the most, like today we could say oil, or in the future it will be technology (although we’re not far from that today).
• And those within the field of science they teach that all of history hinges upon the evolutionary principle, and it is this and this alone that shapes human destiny.
From the Bible, however, we learn that the world’s idea of history is misguided, and that human history hinges upon God’s Spirit working in and amongst His creation.
Even as early as Noah and the universal flood, which has now been well documented by geologist around the world, the Lord told Noah, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever.’” (Genesis 6:3 NKJV)
From early on, therefore, we see that there’s an ongoing conflict that is in our world, and that is, God’s Spirit actively restraining evil so that life can continue.
But, as God said to Noah, that there will come a day that the Holy Spirit’s influence will reach an end, when God finally removes the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit, and then, all hell will break loose on the earth, and God’s judgment will come.
And the Bible refers to this as the great and terrible Day of the Lord.
Now, the word “day” as used in the Bible means either an exact period of time, that is, “It was the evening and morning of the first day,” or as a general expression for time without specific limits.
While some say that the Day of the Lord is a literal day, talking about it being when God will judge humanity, that is, where those found in the Book of Life will inherit eternal life with the Lord, and the wicked, along with Satan, his demons, Hell ,and death will be thrown into the Lake of Fire at God’s White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).
And while this is something to consider, it doesn’t entirely match what the Scriptures describe as to what this “Day” entails. Instead of it being a literal day, it appears to be a period of time when Christ returns, rules and reigns, judgment is cast, and the heavens and the earth are destroyed and remade.
Therefore, the Day of the Lord is description for all the events of the end times.
Now, Joel was a prophet to the Southern kingdom of Judah, and although there are no dates or times lines within the prophecy, it is generally believed that he was the second minor prophet to the nation of Judah following Obadiah, and therefore, He would have probably been a contemporary to Elisha.
The lack of historical reference may just be intentional on God’s part, seeing that this message has timeless significance, as God’s people continue to be faced with crises and tough times. So, this message is just as applicable for us today as it was for the people back in Joel’s day.
So, what are these major movements or aspects surrounding the “Day of the Lord.”
The Day is Imminent
The word, “imminent,” means something that ready to take place and can happen at any time.