October 22, 2021
“Woe because of that day! For the Day of the Lord is near and will come as a devastation from the Almighty. Hasn’t the food been cut off from our eyes...”
“‘After this, I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions; and also on your male and female slaves: In those days I will pour out My Spirit. I will show wonders in the sky and on the earth – blood, fire, columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and terrible Day of the Lord.’ At that time, whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. For in Mount Zion and Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the Lord has promised; among the survivors will be those whom the Lord has called.” Joel 2:28-32
As I mentioned in yesterday’s devotional of Joel 1, prophecy in the TANAKH (Old Testament) speaks to three measures of time: 1.) The somewhat immediate future, 2.) The first coming of Jesus/His earthly ministry, and 3.) the 2nd coming of Jesus/the establishment of His Heavenly Kingdom. In today’s chapter, the images are clear enough for the average Bible student to decipher because they speak of events that we are familiar with: 1.) The Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem (Joel’s extended generation), 2.) the Roman destruction of Jerusalem (After Jesus’ resurrection in 70A.D.), and 3.) the coming Day of the Lord as depicted in The Revelation.
As in all three periods, a call has gone out for the people to return to the Lord wholeheartedly.
“‘Yet, even now,’ says the Lord, ‘turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and lamenting.’ Tear your heart, not your garments; and turn to the Lord your God. For He is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace, and willing to change His mind about disaster. Who knows? He may turn, change His mind and leave a blessing behind Him, enough for grain offerings and drink offerings to present to the Lord your God.” Joel 2:12-14
There are false notions about God in the Church at large. One false assumption is that the God of the Old Testament is different from the New Testament God. Some people believe God used to be angry all of the time, judging sin more frequently than in our time. They also think that the New Testament God is loving and kind, not so hasty to judge sin, more like a cosmic grandfather. In today’s chapter, Joel tells us that, even in the days of Uzziah, God was merciful, compassionate, and slow to anger.
Another false notion is that the Old Testament was written to the Jewish people alone. Today’s passage (from the Old Testament) reveals that God has always planned to pour out His Spirit on “all humanity.” In fact, that happened when the Holy Spirit was given on the Day of Shavuot (Pentecost), in Acts 2. Important to note is that “all humanity” does not mean “everybody.” It refers to the fact that people from every nation and tongue will believe in Messiah Jesus, and God will give His Spirit to all who place their faith in His Son’s atoning work. Also, among the survivors are “those who are called,” i.e., Jewish believers are seen mixed with the Gentile believers, yet still distinguished as Jews, in the New Jerusalem, as they are, even today.