No announcement yet.

Synopsis of Joel

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Synopsis of Joel

    Synopsis of Joel

    Chapter 1 of 3 in this post.

    This is a summary from my weekly Bible study that I hold in my community. A member here asked for the synopsis of it. PLEASE add to it if you wish, even if you feel something contradictory....or ignore it.

    I’ve left out much as this is all I could get to in one hour and 15 minutes during the Bible study.

    Chapter 1 – A physical and [then] present day calamity for Judah alone.
    Chapter 2 – A future, but a near future for Judah [at the time of the writing of Joel].
    Chapter 3 – A distant future time [not happened yet even in our day] of nations warring with God ending with restoration of God’s people.

    Chapter 1 – This is literal. I know people will disagree with that. [I didn’t get in to that with my Bible study group.] My thinking is that these people knew what devastation a locust caused because they had seen it before and after a REAL swarm – Joel comparing that to the devastation of a war – the understanding would be great! A real swarm of locusts devastated the Southern kingdom of Judah [Judah and Benjamín were the two tribes in that part.]
    These locusts are described as chewing, swarming, crawling, and consuming. Various stages of locusts were there – adults, then they lay eggs, then the “caterpillar” stage, and nymph [hopping stage]. Each one bringing its own devastation.

    Also a drought/famine came. All this was sent by God. And Judah [because of its sin which is unnamed in Joel but we can infer it’s the same old same old that we read in 1 and 2 Kings] – is in ruin – spiritual, physical, and even financial.

    Joel starts by telling them to tell these horrible events to their children, grandchildren, and so on. That’s how much devastation was cause by the locust, drought, and subsequent famine. My thinking here is that yes, we MUST make sure our children, grandchildren and so on know about Jesus, but also know about events like these where we suffer from ungodliness. They need to know the good and the bad. There are consequences when we don’t teach our children. Just like when the people of Jonah’s time – the Ninevites of Assyria were repentant and drawn to God – did they tell their children and grandchildren? Because the book of Nahum is about these very same people about 150 years later [well, their descendants] who were HORRIBLE and an abomination before God because of their extreme violence and God destroyed them. The generations after us MUST be taught.
    There is no grain, no wine [and no new wine], and no olive oil. Think on that – both the physical and spiritual meanings for Judah.
    [There’s sermon in just this]

    So many specific people are asked to mourn and lament: the “drunkards” [spiritual or physical, I’m not certain], priests, and the assembly. There will be more called later.

    He doesn’t pat them on the head and say “It’s going to be OK. Everything will grow back soon.” No. They could not “fix” anything nor merely sit on their hands and wait.

    He says “Get to mourning!!!!”

    Here is his five-fold direction as to their response to being torn up by these locusts.

    1. Declare a fast
    2. Call and assembly
    3. Gather the elders
    4. Go to the house of God
    5. Cry out to God

    There’s a powerful sermon merely in those five steps.
    "'s your nickel"

  • #2
    Re: Synopsis of Joel

    Chapter 2 of 3 in this post

    This takes the concept of the literal locusts and applies figuratively to a powerful enemy nation.

    God gives a warning that the “Day of the LORD” is at hand. It’s going to be a bad day for Judah – really bad. Is this the day that the Babylonians come and destroy everything and take them captive? Is this another warning of another nation to come and bring destruction and perhaps it didn’t happen because they repented? The commentators I read are not clear. It’s not yet the battle of Armageddon.

    Whatever it was – verse 11 says that day is “dreadful” and “who can endure it?” Whoever they are – this enemy – God is controlling them. Verse 11 of chapter 2 says that they are the LORD’s army. He controls all of it. God is sovereign over all. They are NOT the LORD's army in terms of being his "people".

    Joel gives a prediction of what this will be like. This army is disciplined and effective and has much energy. The people they attack “writhe in pain”.
    I can’t help but think what if God’s people would maintain order and effective individual and church discipline and “run the race” as Paul says and utilize the Holy Spirit’s power of “self-discipline/control” as Paul also says in 2 Timothy and understand the consequences of no control/self-control Proverbs 10:17 – what if the people of God exercised godly principles like discipline that same energy of this wicked nation. What if the people of God were as organized, focused on the bottom line, and living with intent as the devil is?

    I’m telling you – there is a BIG sermon just from Proverbs 10:17 alone!

    God also gives a way to Judah to avoid this invasion of a literal nation. These steps are important for us today.

    • Verses 12-17 - Turn to God with our whole hearts, fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear our hearts not our clothes and return to God. Joel says, “Who knows? God may relent”
    • Verses 18-20 – AFTER tremendous repentance and change comes from God’s people, God will restore things as they should be in your life and remove the devastation that the devil has caused and that you, personally, have caused. God is "dusting you off" here like a mother who picks up a small child who has fallen due to his own lack of heeding her warning and she dusts him off.
    • Verses 21-27 - God will take us at that point and use us to produce much fruit for his sake, not ours. He will send the “former” and “latter” rains – literally rains necessary for planting seed and then for harvesting. God will restore what’s been taken. He pours out cleansing "rains" to "grow us".

    But HERE is the ultimate restoration! And it will NOT take place until the above three have taken place.

    Verses 28-32 – When that fruit is finally produced in our lives of holy living, THEN God will pour out the Holy Spirit to such a degree that all people will dream dreams, have visions, prophesy the Truth of God so that people are changed, and he will send signs and wonders in the heavens and people will be SAVED.

    The PROBLEM with Joel 1 verses 28-32 is that not many preach, teach, or desire verses 12-27. Three steps have to occur before these signs and wonders happen.

    • We have to repent individual and corporately – fasting, weeping, and confronting our own sin.
    • God will then pick us up, dust us off, and began to heal us.
    • God will then make us fruitful and active for him again. Fruit begins to show in our lives and others can see it.

    ONLY THEN will we be used miraculously and of such a mighty and supernatural way that we live the Christian lives of Joel 2:28-32.

    And the sad thing is that some people don’t realize that the purpose of the dreams, visions, and wonders is for the salvation of people [Joel 2:32] – not just for the sake of experience or self-glory.

    This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. Paul says that in Acts 2.

    Will it happen again? Well, are the people of God ready to go through the steps of verses 12-27?
    "'s your nickel"


    • #3
      Re: Synopsis of Joel

      Chapter 3 of 3

      This is a warning to the nations, not Judah. Some prophecies in the Bible have dual meanings – both near and far meanings.

      God was/is going to one day bring the Jewish people back home. This already happened on a small scale:
      • In sometime around 537 B.C. [70 years after Judah was taken captive by Babylon, they by the grace of God were allowed to return.
      • In 1948, 1,878 YEARS after they were cast out by the Romans – Israel became a nation again.
      • It’s going to happen once more at the end – watch for the migration of Jews to Israel. Watch for more and more nations hating Israel. It’s all part of prophecy that will be fulfilled.

      This battle that God talks about in verse 2-3 is the Battle of Armageddon spoken of in Revelation 16:12-16. Read all of chapter 16 of Revelation and you will see the vile hatred towards God and blasphemies that these future nations will have. They hate Israel, yes, but it’s because they hate God so much and do not hide it.

      Psalm 2 [the first part] really gives a glimpse of this.

      “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”

      Chapter 3 is not about enemies attacking Judah. It’s about nations of the world battling God!!!! Crazy - just crazy!! This is where sin takes you! It takes you to a place where you justify it ALL and don't think you have a problem. Then you think, well - maybe GOD has the problem and you pout. You pout against God - trying to point out the flaws in his word and then you begin to hate him. You hate him and then you blaspheme against him - then there the point that you fight him daily.

      And you lose. Every. single. time.

      God speak to these nations [at the time, but it’s also for future nations] and warns them he will retaliate them every time they come against him. He tells them to prepare for war:
      • “Beat your plowshares into swords.”
      • “Beat your pruning hooks into spears.”
      • “The winepress is full”. God wrath is at it’s fullest point.
      • Meet in “The valley of decision.” This is not man’s decision whether or not to follow God. It’s is God’s decision – already made – to destroy the ungodly.

      Verses 18-21 describe God’s blessings on his people –new wine, milk, great waters, and fountain flowing from the LORD’s house.
      • Joel 1 WAS a disaster for Judah.
      • Joel 2 WAS an impending disaster for Judah.
      • Joel 3 IS an impending disaster for the nations hating God. Joel ends with good news for God’s people.

      If we could only glean from Joel how necessary and vital repentance is for us right now - today. That's my prayer.
      "'s your nickel"


      • #4
        Re: Synopsis of Joel

        Yes, Jayne, I think you've covered the most important parts of this. This book confused me for years because of my Pentecostal background. For me it was a locust plague which somehow led to the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Clearly, there is more to it.

        The most important point is the general principle in the book that God's People, Israel, were afflicted with a plague of locusts, a natural plague, due to their lack of attention to God's word. And so, they were called to repent, throughout the nation, in order to avoid complete destruction.

        The book, of course, assumes that Israel will not be completely destroyed, due to God's eternal promise to the nation. And so, following repentance during this locust destruction, Israel is restored. And Israel's enemies, who gleefully watched Israel's suffering, are themselves destroyed. While Israel has God's Spirit return to them, healing the nation, the ungodly nations suffer the signs of judgment, which is war and devastation.

        This is really a call for a decision to be made in Israel to either choose to obey God's word or not. Salvation depends on obedience. Thanks for your discussion of this little book. I do think we've missed a lot of what's important in our day, which is primarily the need to repent with great seriousness, knowing that this determines the course of our nation. And it determines where we stand with God individually.