|Minor Prophets: Major Messages
The following summary draws and expands on the outline given in the Summary Exposition of the Prophets and Psalms.
The message of the prophecy of Joel is for all people. It is a message that needs to be shared with our children, the children of our children, and their children to another generation.
What is the story the Lord, through the prophecy of Joel, wants us to tell them? We are to tell them about the dangers of the "sensual man." The sensual person is not interested in, nor cares for, spiritual things. The sensual person does not look toward the life that awaits the soul after death. Immediate gratification is of greater importance to the sensual person, and therefore sensual people become vulnerable to a myriad of philosophical, scientific, and self-centered arguments that induce hateful and oppositional feelings toward the Lord and His Word. The falsity from the sensual person and afterwards the evil therefrom "consumes all things of the church."
The plagues of the four kinds of locust represent the intent of the spiritual attack hell waged on the Word. There are the "gnawers," the "swarmers," "the lickers," and "the consumers." With the terrifying sound of the beating of their wings, and numbers so great, they blocked out the light of the sun, they consumed all things in wave after wave of their attack. They stripped the external church, and its doctrines from the Word, bare.
A call for repentance was made by the Lord. The Lord provided examples of how the evil of the sensual people worked, and He illustrated the kind of destruction they brought to the church.
A call for mourning was issued by the Lord. He wanted the people to sincerely grieve over the destruction of the goods and truths of the church.
The Lord delivered an exhortation to be converted and to reflect that the "day of the Lord" was at hand. The Lord announced the imminent approach of His advent. This advent was crucial because everything of the church was devastated, and thus, there were serious reasons to lament over the state of the Word and church.
Because the sensual people had destroyed the "whole church" with falsities and evil, it was time for the Lord to come and execute His judgment. The variety of insanities of the sensual people caused good and truth, and knowledges, to be dispersed.
The Lord was going to wage war against the sensual people. He blew the trumpet to sound the alarm. His approach would cause those who were opposed to Him to tremble. Upon the proud and resistant, there was to be a terrible judgment. The evil felt the approach of the Lord, and they did not want to lose their power.
So the evil took on the appearance of "steed horses." They hooked themselves up to chariots. They started fires in the stubble of the field. A call was made to form up a mighty army. They lined up in a formation and did not break rank. They lunged with their weapons, running throughout the city. They climbed the walls of the city, breaking through the windows of the houses like thieves.
The battle was not without some temporary negative aspects. The action of the sensual person caused the darkening of the sun and moon, and it made the stars of heaven fall from the sky.
Another call was made by the Lord to His people. He asked them to return to Him with "all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and mourning…Rend your hearts and not your garments." The exhortation here is to be converted and repent, and to be wise.
We are taught that the Lord will establish the church again; He will give it goods and truths, and He will remove evil and thus hell. The new church will have trust in the Lord and will acknowledge Him from the heart. The Divine of the Lord will fill those of the new church with all things, and He will vivify them. Falsities of evil and evils of falsity will dissipate in the "day of His judgment." Those who acknowledge the Lord will be saved.
The theme of this chapter is a call to "awake," to hear the Word of the Lord and respond to His battle cry. For there is no doubt regarding the outcome of this battle: The Lord will, in the end, win the battle for His Word and His Church.
The church will be gathered together, and the great judgment will be executed upon those who resisted the Lord and were responsible for the scattering of the goods and truths of the church. Those who sought to separate the conjugial principle with their focus on faith "alone" and knowledges "alone," and who thereby had destroyed the Word and doctrine, would face the consequences of their decisions. The light of heaven would be restored. The sun, moon, and stars would be seen again.
We are taught that the Lord’s Divine Love and Divine Wisdom will be too much for the evil. In His presence, their evil will be consummated. Their reign of terror, their variety of insanities and boastful claims will be removed under the guidance of our powerful and loving Lord.
For the remnant, there will be a spirit of newness in the truth taught to them. They will be acquitted, lifted, and forgiven. A new form of illustration of the truths of the Word will enter their life. Forgiveness will be extended to those who made errors of judgment and had misunderstood the Word. Let us listen to the closing statement of the Writings regarding the outcome of this great judgment:
Then the church "will be the Lord’s" and the church will be "from the Word."
Until these events occur, Joel 3:10 reminds us that we are to remain very courageous: