The DAY OF THE LORD is “The Day of Jehovah,” and its usage is always associated with something dire, with judgment, and with events outside the implementation of man. In other words, it is the intervention of God with the power of God in the affairs of this world. It has a primary application to Israel, but that is always extended often to a wider field, and that involves the world. Its main focus is in the Tribulation that is coming. We continue –
. Joel 2:28-32, “(And) It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind, and your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. 29 Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. 30 I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth – blood, fire, and columns of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 32 And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered, for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, there will be those who escape, as the LORD has said, even among the survivors whom the LORD calls” (NASB).
((This is another amazing prophecy, one that has not been fulfilled. Peter quoted this in part at Pentecost, but the proper fulfillment is set right at the end of the Tribulation and in the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom.
It is absolutely vital here to consider the context. Verse 28 states, “after this,” and those two words must be placed in context. We need to ask, “After What?” To understand this correctly, we have to backtrack so we realize what precedes the “AFTER THIS,” and the “after this” was partly covered in PART 3. The KJV and the NIV translate as “afterward.”
What goes before that verse is the account of great judgment on the land and on Israel’s enemies, BUT then there comes a great restoration. This is when the Lord returns to the nation, and Israel is restored in righteousness to God.
Let us look at the preceding verses leading into verse 28. Joel 2:25-27. “Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. 26 You shall have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. Then My people will never be put to shame. 27 Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other; and My people will never be put to shame.”
When the Messiah returns, and after defeating all the world’s armies in Israel, then He rules from Jerusalem. Zechariah covers that well. Look above at verse 25. The promise is that all the wasted years of sin and rebellion and hardship and persecution among the nations of the world for 2,850 years is going to be righted and everything restored to them. Israel will be redeemed and settled in its own land with no more “locusts of shame and defeat.” Look at verses 26 and 27. “Then My people will never be put to shame.” Imagine that just for a moment. Israel will be settled in its own land forever, and never more will the people of God know war and/or disharmony. Rebellion will be gone forever. No more will Israel ever be shamed again.
That is the context for the momentous verse 28. It is “in those days” of verse 29; all this will happen when God pours out his Spirit.
ONLY AFTER ISRAEL IS SETTLED WITH THE LORD IN HER MIDST, only then, with the land at rest and the people righteous, only then, will the Holy Spirit be poured out on them. It will not happen before. All those conditions must be fulfilled first. These are the Tribulation saints, brought back from all over the world and settled in their own country once the Lord Messiah reigns in Jerusalem. Redeemed and contrite, they are the Lord’s chosen nation.
Mention must be made about the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. In that event, God poured out His Holy Spirit, and Peter was so stunned that the only thing he could explain it by were the words from Joel, from this present passage we are speaking of. I am going to quote that passage from Acts, and notice the parallels with Joel 2:28-32 and also with Matthew 24.
Acts 2:15-20, “…but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy. And I will grant wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.’”
Now, this is not a play on words, but Peter did not say the scripture was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. He said, “This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel.” What is meant is that this event that has happened is in the same vein as what Joel was talking about. It is necessary to understand that because it is at this point that those who believe in Replacement Theology say Joel was fulfilled at Pentecost, so there is no future happening. These are the ones who claim all the promises given to Israel now apply to the Church. They shamefully write Israel off, something that displeases God greatly. This is a downfall of Reformed Theology.
Verses 30 and 31 of Joel 2 are consistent with the signs of the Second Coming used by the prophets and by Jesus Himself – Matthew 24:29-30, “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”
The last verse speaking of survivors on Mt Zion is in line with Obadiah 1:17 (“But on Mount Zion there will be those who escape, and it will be holy. And the house of Jacob will possess their possessions.”) and connects with Matthew 25:23 (“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things so I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’”). It speaks of the Jewish saints who survive through the providential care of the Lord in the Tribulation and are brought victorious to Zion from where the Lord will reign.
Verse 32 of Joel 2 begins with “whoever calls on the name of the LORD,” and that refers to Jews of that time. But we know from Revelation that the salvation of God will go to all the world with the preaching of the 144,000, for Gentiles will be saved as well. However, we must always keep in mind that all references in the Old Testament prophets are always Jewish in the themes.))
. Joel 3:11-16, “Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, and gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Your mighty ones. 12 Let the nations be aroused and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. 13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the wine press is full. The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision, for the Day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and moon grow dark, and the stars lose their brightness. 16 The LORD roars from Zion and utters His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people and a stronghold to the sons of Israel.”
((This is an extremely important passage for the Day of the LORD, the foundation of all the references for the next 900 years that come after it. Previously it was mentioned that Joel wrote his book about 870 BC, the very first of the prophetic books. All the prophets would have known this book. The central theme of this passage is the Day of the LORD and the execution of God’s wrath in that Day. The Day is going to be 7 years, for the wrath of God is played out over the 7 years of the Tribulation. Most references to the Day of the LORD tend to focus on the very end of the 7-year Tribulation, the cosmic signs, the great battle, and the Second Coming.
Earlier in chapter 3, Joel explains the preparation for Armageddon, the very same preparation Revelation explains when the three frog spirits of satanic delusion go out into the whole world to gather the nations’ armies for the great battle of Armageddon. (Rev 16:13-14, “I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs, 14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.”).
It was mentioned at the beginning of this series that the Day of the LORD will cover the time right after the removal of the Church, the Tribulation, and into the Millennium and beyond, but the greatest concentration is leading up to the Second Coming, which is Armageddon. The section of Joel we are currently considering concerns itself with the events in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
The preparation Joel mentions is this – Joel 3:9-10, “Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare a war. Rouse the mighty men. Let all the soldiers draw near. Let them come up. 10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say, ‘I am a mighty man.’”
The world armies (more specifically not Gog) will be gathered in the Valley of Jehosophat described two times as “the valley of decision,” and some suggest this will be the Kidron Valley near Jerusalem. But we know from Revelation that the armies will be amassed in the Jezreel Valley – Rev 16:16, “They gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.” “Har-Magedon” is a hill in the Jezreel Valley and is where the word “Armageddon” comes from. It is there they will be judged and destroyed by the fierce anger of the Lord and His hosts of angels because they will be gathered to exterminate Israel. Gog will be all over the hills of Israel and breaking into Jerusalem. Gog is described in Ezekiel 38 and 39.
In verse 12, the rousing of the nations is the ministry of the satanic frog spirits. That same verse says God will sit to judge all the surrounding nations in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There are so many references to this that mean the whole world is represented by national armies, that the expression “surrounding nations,” I think, means more all the surrounding nations that have bound up Israel. God will judge them in a mighty but one-sided battle!
“The mighty ones” of verse 11 are angels equipped for battle. Verse 13 is quite colorful language, and the picture of harvesting is very clear. Putting in the sickle and treading the winepress is the same as Rev 14:19-20, “The angel swung his sickle to the earth, and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.” The crushing of the grapes will be the crushing of the armies of the world.
I remember a brother in Christ who used to make reference to the “I trod the winepress of the wrath of God” as being what Christ endured at Calvary, but it is judgment on the armies, not Calvary.
Verse 13 says the treading occurs when the winepress is full. It is not full today but is starting to fill up. During the Tribulation, it fills more so that on the eve of Armageddon, it is full up. The nations will bring this on their own heads because they are now hostile to God, not just indifferent, but are enemies of God. The mystery of iniquity (lawlessness) will continue to work until it hits the brick wall in the Valley of Jezreel. There is some confusion about the Valley of Jehoshaphat with some saying it is the same as Jezreel, and a few suggesting it is the Kidron Valley. There is no need to define that because the whole area will be the battleground.
Twice in our passage, it mentions “the valley of decision.” How do we understand that expression? Whose decision is it? That’s an interesting question, and I leave it with you except to say that it was the decision of the nations to send their armies, and it is the decision of a God of wrath to exterminate those armies. The leaders of the nations will send the armies under the frog spirits, but they are 100% deluded. It is their decision, so they are still wrong.
The same cosmic signs that often occur in the prophets and by Jesus in Matthew 24 are given in verse 15 – “The sun and moon grow dark, and the stars lose their brightness.” The trembling and moving of the earth as in an earthquake are given here and in other passages. When all is looking so dark for Israel, and the armies have closed in and are about to strangle the nation, then the LORD returns. And He is a stronghold for His people, as Zechariah teaches, as well as being a stronghold for the Jewish Tribulation saints shown in Revelation 12. All that is part of the Day of the LORD.
Joel is the most significant writer on THE DAY OF THE LORD and set the foundation for all other writers.))