The Genesis To Revelation Bible Course
By WILLIAM M. GROOM, Th.M., D.D.
Lesson No. 27 – Joel
COPYRIGHT, 1921 BY THE BIBLE STUDY PUBLISHING CO.
* KEY VERSE–Joe 2:28.
* KEY PHRASE–“THE TWO OUTPOURINGS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.”
Let us be encouraged to read a book of the Bible each week in connection with this course. This week read the book of Joel, using the following selections for the family altar:–
* Sunday–Chastening of Judah by locusts,–Joe 1:1-12.
* Monday–Call to repentance,–Joe 1:13-20.
* Tuesday–Warriors, like locusts, will invade land,–Joe 2:1-11.
* Wednesday–The Lord’s pity and favour,–Joe 2:18-27.
* Thursday–The Holy Spirit poured out,–Joe 2:28-32.
* Friday–Judgement of nations at Lord’s return,–Joe 3:1-8.
* Saturday–Full Kingdom Blessing,–Joe 3:16-21.
WRITER–Joel a prophet of Judah wrote this book. His name means “Jehovah is God.” He lived in Jerusalem and is thought to have been one of the priests of the temple.
TIME–Many scholars claim that Joel is the earliest of the prophetic books and that he ministered in the reign of Joash, king of Judah, about 860 B. C. While he was prophesying in Judah in the south, Elijah and Elisha were preaching in Israel in the north.
PURPOSE–To show that the locusts swarming into the land were figurative of the nations who should swarm upon Israel, but if the people would repent, then God would deliver them, and pour out His Spirit upon them.
Great Fact I. Plague of Locusts
The occasion of this prophecy was four successive plagues of locusts and a severe drought which desolated the land. Joel calls upon the people to reflect upon the cause of the calamity and to mourn with true penitence. He urges them that to avoid further troubles that they should fast and make their supplications unto God, that He may bless and not curse their land. Locusts were one of the plagues of Egypt, Ex 10:14; 15, and there was nothing like them for multitude and mischief they did. Speaking of a plague of locusts, Thompson says, “The number of them was incredible, the whole face of the country was black with them, On they came like a living deluge. We dug trenches and kindled fires, and beat and burnt to death heaps upon heaps, but the effort was utterly useless. They poured over rocks, walls, ditches, and hedges, The roads were covered with them, all marching in regular lines, like armies of soldiers with the leaders in front, Joe 2:5. When they approached our garden all the farm servants were employed to keep them out, but to no avail, and when they had devastated our garden they passed on to another.” Pr 30:27.
1. Those who outdo their fathers in sin may justly expect sorer judgments than their fathers ever knew. Sometimes a terrible upheaval is necessary for a nation for without it wrongs will not be
2. If calamities come upon us because of our own faults we should repent and be wiser for the future. If they have befallen us because of the faults of others, we should live them down, for we
have nothing with which to reproach ourselves and time will remove the handicap. If we have spiteful enemies, we should so live that their enmity may be disarmed. If we have kind and faithful friends, we should live to bless and protect them. If we hope for eternal happiness, we should prepare to enjoy it.
Great Fact II. Exhortation to Keep Solemn Fast
In this chapter, we have a further description of the plague, and the blast of the ram’s horn called an assembly for an extraordinary fast. Not a soul was to be absent. It convened old and young men and women, and even the bridegroom and bride on their wedding day. The priests dressed not in white robes as usual, but in black sackcloth, would prostrate themselves upon the ground and then turning toward the Invisible Presence within the sanctuary, cry, “Spare the people, O Lord.”
In answer to this, the prophet assures the people that God will indeed bestow upon them both temporal mercies, Joe 2:18-27, and spiritual blessings, Joe 2:28-32.
Often in the prophecies, some local circumstance is made the occasion of a far-reaching prophecy. Many scholars think that “the day of the Lord,” Joe 2:15, refers to events at the end of the age, and Scofield outlines these events as follows:–
1. The invasion of Palestine from the north by Gentile world powers under the Anti-Christ and false prophets,–Joe 2:1-10.
2. The Lord’s army destroys the invaders,–Joe 2:11, Revelation 19:11-21.
3. Repentance of Jews restored to their land,–Joe 2:12-17.
4. Temporal kingdom blessing upon the land,–Joe 2:12-17.
5. The outpouring of the Spirit in the last days,–Joe 2:28-29.
6. Return of the Lord in glory and the setting up of the kingdom,–Joe 2:30-32.
7. Full and permanent kingdom blessing,–Joe 3:1-16.
1. Fasting or the total abstinence from food for a certain length of time was practiced by the Israelites in a devotional spirit. It was engaged in as an evidence of sorrow for sin and associated with the confession of sin, through it Divine favour and blessing were sought. The apostles practiced it, 2Co 6:5, but it does not seem an essential part of the gospel plan. However, self-denial and confession of sin should be constantly practiced, as plain living leads to high thinking.
2. The prophecy of the outpouring of the Spirit had one fulfilment at Pentecost, Ac 2:17-21, hut it would not be right to regard that particular occasion as exhausting the fulfilment of the prophecy.
Rather Pentecost was the first great example of the universal outpouring of the Spirit that is to take place in the Last Days.
Great Fact III. Pall and Permanent Kingdom Blessing
Only by inspiration could Joel, the earliest of the prophets of Judah, have foretold the return from captivity. The language is such, however, that it is evident that the prophet had in his vision not only the return from Babylon, but the last regathering of the Jews from among the Gentiles, and the judgement of the nations after the battle of Armageddon as seen in Mt 25:32; Re 19:18.
After the restoration of Israel and the judgement of the nation, Joel 3:1-2, comes the setting up of the everlasting and universal kingdom, Joe 3:20. That kingdom will be heaven in origin, principle and authority, Da 2:44, and will be set up on the earth, not by persuasion, but by power. It will be a kingdom of righteousness and peace. The meek not the proud, will inherit the earth, the knowledge of the Lord will be universal, and the out breaking of sin will be visited by instant judgement. With Satan’s powers restricted , it is impossible to conceive all the spiritual and temporal blessedness that the race will enjoy.
LESSON–Joel’s picture of final deliverance and glory is very much like that of
Zechariah in his prophecy, showing that the hope of final triumph dominated Israel in its dark days. So hope will keep our hearts from breaking under the pressure of evils, and ever hold before us the prospect of greater good. Deep humbling.; of the heart are often the door of hope to joy and victory. In the Psalms of David, written in his deepest trouble from the persecution of Saul and the rebellion of Absalom, we always find some ray of hope. In 1Pe 1:13, Peter says, “Hope to the end,” and he is called the apostle of hope because in five chapters he refers ten times to the triumphs of the future.
Questions on the Lesson
1. Who was Joel and where did he live?
2. In whose reign did he prophesy and when?
3. What was the purpose of the book?
4. Name the great facts.
5. What is the key word and verse
6. What the occasion of this prophecy?
7. When was there a previous plague of locusts?
8. Give Thompson’s description of the plague.
9. If we outdo our fathers in sin what may be expected?
10. What should we do when calamities come upon us?
11. Describe the solemn fast.
12. To what does “The Day of the Lord” refer?
13. Read the outline of events.
14. Of what value is fasting in religion?
15. When was the Spirit outpoured?
16. When will there be a universal outpouring?
17. Tell about the return from Babylon and final regathering.
18. What sort of kingdom is to be set up?
19. What encouraged Israel in the dark days?
20. Are the Psalms full of hope?
21. What did Peter say about hope?
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: — John 1:12 KJV