Joel Commentaries & Sermons

 

RESOURCES ON JOEL
Commentaries, Sermons, Illustrations, Devotionals


Click chart to enlarge
Chart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission
Joel Chart from Charles Swindoll
Another Joel Chart


The Minor Prophets and their Message

  1. Hosea  - The Lord loves Israel despite her sin.  755-15 B.C.
  2. Joel - Judgment precedes Israel’s future spiritual revival. 835–796* B.C.
  3. Amos - God is just and must judge sin. 765-50 B.C.
  4. Obadiah - Sure retribution must overtake merciless pride. 848* B.C.
  5. Jonah - Divine grace is universal in its sweep. 780-50 B.C.
  6. Micah - Bethlehem-born Messiah will be mankind’s Deliverer. 740-690 B.C.
  7. Nahum - Doom is to descend on wicked Nineveh. 630-12 B.C.
  8. Habakkuk - Justification by faith is God’s way of salvation. 625 B.C. or earlier
  9. Zephaniah - The Day of the Lord must precede kingdom blessing. 625-10 B.C.
  10. Haggai - The Lord’s Temple and interests deserve top priority. 520 B.C.
  11. Zechariah - The Lord will remember His people Israel. 520-15 B.C.; Zech 9–14 after 500 B.C.
  12. Malachi - Let the wicked be warned by the certainty of judgment. 433-400 B.C.
  • All dates are approximate. *The text does not specifically date these prophets. As a result differences of opinion exist concerning the time of their ministries. (from The New Unger’s Bible Handbook)

CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
JOEL
A M HODGKIN

Joel was the first to prophesy the outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh. His prophecy seems to have been delivered all at one time—not like that of Hosea, spread over a period of many years—and its scope extends from his own day to the end of time.
He was probably the earliest of the prophetic writers, but he tells us nothing about himself beyond the few words necessary to authenticate his book and give it its Divine authority. “The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel” (Joel 1:1).
Locusts. He was prophet to Judah, and, using God’s present judgment of a plague of locusts, with urgency he calls his people to repentance in order to avert the still severer judgment upon their sins by means of hostile armies, of which the army of locusts was a type.

In graphic language he describes the plague, calling first on the old men to confirm its unparalleled severity. The drunkards feel the effects of it, for the vines have perished. The priests have no meat offering of corn, nor drink offering of wine to offer. The husbandmen and vine-dressers are ashamed. The cry of the cattle and sheep goes up to God. Joel urges the people to call a fast, and then, in the beginning of the second chapter, he continues his description of the plague.

Before the army of locusts the land is as the Garden of Eden—behind them it is a desolate wilderness (Joel 2:3). An army of locusts is incredible to those who have not watched it. They fill the air, and darken the sun like an eclipse (Joel 2:2), and spread for miles over the land. The advance columns will attack all that is green and succulent; in half an hour every leaf and blade is destroyed (Joel 1:11–12). Others coming on in succession will strip the bark from the trees (Joel 1:6–7). A land so devastated takes years to recover (Joel 1:17–20). The noise of their wings can be heard for miles, and the noise of their browsing is like a fire (Joel 2:5), and the land over which they have passed has the appearance of being fire-swept (Joel 2:3). Having stripped the country, they scale the walls of the cities, in serried ranks like mailed horsemen and chariots, and marching into the houses consume everything which can be consumed in their resistless onslaught (Joel 2:4, 7–9).

“The Day of the Lord.” “Blow the trumpet in Zion ... for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand. Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly; gather the people” (Joel 2:1, 15–17). Joel urges all classes of the people to repent, from the priests—the ministers of the Lord—and the elders, to the bride and bridegroom, and the children, even the little ones. “The day of the Lord” always signifies judgment; the expression occurs five times in this short book, and is its Keynote. It refers, doubtless, to a series of judgments—the present locusts, the coming armies of invasion which were about to come as a scourge of God upon the land, and the final Day of the Lord described in the third chapter [Joel 3].

Joel calls on the Lord to spare His people, and, like Moses, urges the plea that the heathen would question “Where is their God?” (Joel 2:17). His call to repentance is enforced by promises. The pity of the Lord, His readiness to bless if the conditions are fulfilled, the removal of the scourge, the plentiful rain and abundant crops, and the outpouring of the Spirit.

Promise of the Spirit. This brings us to the great central promise of the book. Other prophets have foretold details of our Lord’s life on earth and of His future reign; to Joel was committed the privilege of telling that He would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, alike on Jew and Gentile, bond and free, male and female; for all should be one in Christ Jesus. He tells us that the blessing shall flow forth from Jerusalem (Joel 2:32; 3:18). This prophecy, we are distinctly told, was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost; for Peter said, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” And again: “This Jesus hath God raised up, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:16, 32–33). It no doubt has a further fulfillment yet to come after the great Day of the Lord, which is described in Joel 3, when unquestionably the prophet looks forward to a final day when the Lord shall come in judgment. Christ speaks of this day in the same figure of a great harvest (Joel 3:13; Matthew 13:36–43), and we find the figure of the wine-press again in the Book of Revelation (Joel 3:13; Revelation 14:18–20).

A Lesson for Today. The whole book contains a beautiful spiritual lesson for today. First, the desolated condition of the Church of Christ. It is laid waste by many spiritual foes, well described in Joel 1:4. There is famine and drought on all sides. The call goes forth afresh today to the Church of God to come down into the very dust before the Lord in true repentance of heart. This repentance should begin with the leaders, the ministers, the elders, the vine-dressers. But it may be the work will begin with the little ones, as it has been so often in times of revival. If only there is this turning of heart to the Lord we may count on the fulfillment of His promise of the abundant outpouring of His Spirit, and that He will restore the years that the canker-worm hath eaten.

Although Joel 3 is one of judgment we may take it also in a spiritual sense, and see the Church, prepared by the fulness of the Spirit, ready to fight the battle of the Lord against the hosts of darkness, ready for a great ingathering of souls, and multitudes, multitudes shall be brought into the valley of decision.

REFLECTIONS OF CHRIST
BOOK OF JOEL
PAUL VAN GORDER

Although the book of Joel contains only three chapters and is seldom read, it is one of the most stirring of all the prophetic writings. The date of the book is uncertain because it names no kings. However, many feel that Joel must have prophesied during the reign of Joash (2Chronicles 22-24). If so, he was a contemporary of Elisha. His name means, ''Jehovah is God,'' and he prophesied to a people who had forgotten that.

This prophecy surveys the history of Israel, from the time it was given, to the second advent of Christ. The book is an illustration of how God makes the future known to man; in fact, it illustrates the way all biblical truth is revealed. It demonstrates that revelation is progressive. Joel unfolds and develops a new concept, ''the day of the Lord,'' as do the prophets that follow him. The three aspects of his vision increase in scope as the book progresses.

OUTLINE OF THE BOOK--

A Plague Destroys the Land (Joel 1:1-5)

The Vision of the Invading Army (Joel 1:6-2:27)

Future Judgment and Deliverance (Joel 2:28-3:21)

Every book of the Bible has its own key to its interpretation. Sometimes the key is at the front door of the book; other times at the back door. The key to the prophecy of Joel is found near the front door: ''Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come'' (Joel 1:15).

The land of Palestine had been a wonderful place. The hills were dotted with fig and olive trees, the slopes were covered with luxuriant vineyards, and the valleys were filled with corn. It had previously been described in metaphor as ''a land that floweth with milk and honey'' (Joshua 5:6). But when Joel was called to prophesy, a terrible judgment had befallen it.

THE LOCUST JUDGMENT--

Four plagues had come upon the land: palmer worms, locusts, canker worms, and caterpillars. Some of the best authorities on the locust, as well as Hebrew scholars, maintain that four stages of the development of the locust are described here. The context shows what they did to their fair land. The advance column destroyed every leaf and blade of grass. Those that followed even devoured the bark from the trees. The noise of their wings was heard for miles, and the land looked as though it had been swept by fire.

The prophet revealed the cause for the plagues. These scourges had come from God as chastisement upon the people because of their sin. Although the judgment was regional in nature, it was filled with prophetic importance.

INVASION BY ASSYRIA PROPHESIED--

The Lord said through Joel, ''For a nation is come up upon My land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion'' (1:6). The specific prediction of invasion is recorded in chapter 2. The primary reference is to the impending invasion by Assyria, but the fuller picture is of the day of the Lord. The Assyrian invasion was but a shadow of something far more terrible to come. The devastation by the invading Assyrians fulfills the prophecy, but a complete and greater fulfillment will occur in the day of the Lord. In chapters 2 and 3, Joel spans the centuries and gives to us, by inspiration, a detailed description of the time that will close this age and usher in the next.

The armies will surround Jerusalem. As the locusts had attacked and destroyed the land, and as the nations of Babylon and Assyria would attack and destroy, so the endtime will be characterized by warfare and destruction. Compare Joel 2:1-10 with Zechariah 14:1-3, where the prophet warned, ''Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.'' This is in keeping with our Lord's dire prediction in the Olivet Discourse, ''Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down... And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened'' (Mat 24:2,22).

Joel 2:11 declares that the Lord's ''army'' (the locusts) is already in the land. Men have always failed to take Jehovah into account. Read again the story of Sennacherib and the Assyrians [2Kings 18:13-19:37], and recall how God intervened to destroy that army. All of this is a picture of what will happen in the future. Joel declared the intent of Jehovah when he wrote, ''I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and will judge them there for My people and for My heritage, Israel...'' (Joel 3:2). This is what John saw in Revelation 19:17-19, and is preceded by the regathering of Judah to Jerusalem (Joel 3:1).

THE OUTPOURING OF THE SPIRIT--

A plan is revealed in Joel 2:28-32. Note the words, ''And it shall come to pass afterward...'' When Peter quoted this passage on the day of Pentecost, he did not say that the scene they witnessed was the fulfillment of the prophecy, but simply that ''this is that which was spoken through the prophet, Joel'' (Acts 2:16). We know that many of the signs accompanying the prediction were not witnessed on the day of Pentecost. There was no blood or fire or vaporous smoke. The sun was not turned into darkness, nor the moon into blood. These signs did not follow the coming of the Spirit in Peter's day because Israel was not repentant and obedient. But they will appear just before the glorious return of Christ. They will surely be seen in that future day.

THE DAY OF THE LORD--

Chapter 3 of Joel's prophecy gives us the order of events for that period of time known as ''the day of the Lord.'' We list them briefly with accompanying Scriptures for you to study.

  1. The regathering of Judah to Jerusalem (Joel 3:1). Compare Zechariah 10:6.
  2. The gathering of the Gentile powers against Jerusalem (Joel 3:2, 9-15). Compare Revelation 17:12-15; 19:17-19.
  3. God's controversy with the Gentile powers over their treatment of His people (Joel 3:2-8). Consult Deuteronomy 30:5-7; Matthew 25:31-45.
  4. The Deliverer who came out of Zion (v.15,16). See Joel 2:32. In connection with this tremendous event, the reader will do well to study Obadiah, Romans 11:26-29, and Revelation 19:11-21.
  5. The millenial blessing of Israel with Jehovah dwelling in Zion (Joel 3:17-21). This will be the time of ingathering, the time of Jewish conversion.  Isaiah spoke of that time as follows:

''And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; for He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem'' (Isaiah 2:2,3).

Joel sets forth the mighty works of Jehovah, our Lord Jesus Christ, both in judgment and blessing upon His covenant people, Israel. He ''shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel'' (Joel 3:16). - Paul Van Gorder

PAUL APPLE
OUTLINE STUDY OF JOEL

  • Joel Overview - Repentance and Restoration Contrasted with the Devastation of the Coming Day of the Lord
    Excerpt -
    Big idea: the devastation of the coming day of the lord (prefigured in the locust plague and severe drought) should prompt heartfelt repentance that will lead to god’s gracious promises of restoration and blessing “Yet even now, declares the Lord, Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.” (2:12-13)

    INTRODUCTION: Both the book of Hosea and the book of Joel provide solid support for the dispensational position of maintaining a distinction between God’s program for Israel and God’s program for the church. How does a passage like Isaiah 49:14-15 fit into an amillennial perspective? Edward Young comments: “Even though the forces of infidelity andunbelief, of indifference andignorance, may attempt to overthrow the Church, yet God iw with her, for she is ever before His eyes.” That view really waters down the impact of Hosea where God restores His adulterous people to the covenant relationship. In Joel we are going to see more of the details of God’s program for Israel as it relates to the coming Day of the Lord.

    MacArthur: The phrase does not have reference to a chronological time period, but to a general period of wrath and judgment uniquely belonging to the Lord. It is exclusively the day which unveils His character – mighty, powerful, and holy, thus terrifying His enemies. The Day of the Lord does not always refer to an eschatological event; on occasion it has a near historical fulfillment, as seen in Eze 13:5, where it speaks of the Babylonian conquest and destruction of Jerusalem. As is common in prophecy, the near fulfillment is a historic event upon which to comprehend the more distant, eschatological fulfillment.

ALBERT BARNES
Commentary on Joel

Beware: Does Not Always Interpret Literally!

BRIAN BELL
Sermons on Joel

JOHN CALVIN
Commentary on the book of Joel

Note: First, the good news - Calvin's prayers are excellent, and are very convicting - Suggestion: Read them aloud, very slowly and as a sincere prayer to the Almighty God. On the other hand the careful Berean (Acts 17:11-note) should be cautious when reading Calvin's comments, for he often interprets passages that in context clearly relate to the literal nation of Israel as if they spoke of the Church. Furthermore, he makes no mention of a future Millennial Reign of Messiah as described in passages like Joel 3:17, 18. Commenting on Joel 3:18, Chisholm says that "At that time (in that day, when Messiah will reign over His people in the Millennium) the land will be a virtual paradise, enabling the Lord’s people to enjoy His agricultural blessings to the fullest. [Bible Knowledge Commentary]. Contrast commentaries such as Driver (1898) below (Joel 3:18) or Dr McGee (listen to his commentary on Joel 3:13-21). (See disclaimer)

BIBLE.ORG RESOURCES
Resources that Reference Joel

BIBLICAL ART
Related to the Joel

BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR
Anecdotes, illustrations, etc

Be a Berean - Not Always Literal Especially in prophetic passages

THOMAS CONSTABLE
Expository Notes
Literal, futuristic interpretation

RON DANIEL
Sermon Notes on Joel

J N DARBY
Synopsis of Joel

S R DRIVER
Commentary on Joel
Cambridge Bible Commentary

Be a Berean: Interpretation not always conservative and literal See Caveat

JOHN DUMMELOW
Commentary Notes on Joel

EASY ENGLISH
Commentary
Simple Translation and Comments on Joel

CHARLES ELLICOTT FOR ENGLISH READERS
Commentary on Joel

Beware: Does Not Always Interpret Literally!

ARNOLD FRUCHTENBAUM
Israelology - Commentary on Israel

Note: This resource is listed because it has numerous commentary notes that relate to the OT Prophetic Books

A C GAEBELEIN
Commentary on Joel
The Annotated Bible

See Gaebelein's longer commentary below. Conservative, Literal Interpretation Highly Recommended

Introduction

Joel 1 Commentary

  • I. The Plague of Locusts
  • Joel 1:1-4 The Prophet's Appeal
  • Joel 1:5-7 The Call to the Drunkards
  • Joel 1:8-14 The Call to the People and the Priests
  • Joel 1:15-18 The Day of the Lord; The Suffering Land
  • Joel 1:19-20 The Prayer of the Prophet

Joel 2 Commentary

  • II. The Coming Day of the Lord; The Ruin; The Repentance and the Restoration
  • Joel 2:1-2 The Alarm Sounded; The Day at Hand
  • Joel 2:3-11 The Invading Army from the North
  • Joel 2:12-17 The Repentance of the People and Cry for Help
  • Joel 2:18 "Then" The Great Change
  • Joel 2:19-27 Promises of Restoration. The Early and Latter Rain
  • Joel 2:28-31 The Outpouring of the Spirit Upon All Flesh
  • Joel 2:32 Deliverance in Mount Zion and Jerusalem

See in depth word studies - Repent = metanoeo; Repentance = metanoia

Joel 3 Commentary

  • III. The Events of the Day of the Lord; Israel's Enemies Judged; The Kingdom Established.
  • Joel 3:1-8 The Judgment of the Nations
  • Joel 3:9-16 The Preceding Warfare of the Nations and How it Ends
  • Joel 3:17-21 Jehovah in the Midst of His People

A C GAEBELEIN
Commentary on Joel

NOTE: This is different from Gaebelein's works above - this is more in depth

SEE ALSO:

JOHN GILL
Commentary on Joel

Be cautious (Acts 17:11-note): Does not always interpret the Scripture Literally
and sometimes replaces Israel with the Church (note)

Comment on this Commentary: John Gill unfortunately all too often offers a non-literal interpretation in the Old Testament (especially the prophetic books) as shown in the following example from Joel 3:17 where Gill interprets "Jerusalem will be holy" as "not Jerusalem literally...but rather the church of God everywhere consisting of holy persons". Yet there is nothing in the context that allows for the spiritualizing Jerusalem. The interpretation as a literal city is clear from the context. Comments of this ilk can be very misleading and cause one to completely miss God's the intended meaning of the passage being studied! John Calvin, Matthew Henry and Adam Clarke are among a number of older commentators who exhibit a similar propensity to identify OT references to the literal nation of Israel as references to the New Testament church. Jamieson's commentary is generally more literal (see his notes on 3:17) These commentaries have some good material (e.g., Gill does occasionally inject interesting comments by Jewish writers) but clearly must be approached with a Berean mindset (Acts 17:11-note). The best rule to apply in the interpretation of the OT (especially the prophetic) passages is to remember the maxim that if the plain sense of the text (the literal sense) makes good sense in context, seek to make no other sense lest it turn out to be nonsense!

JOE GUGLIELMO
Sermon Notes on Joel

Literal, futuristic interpretation

DAVID GUZIK
Commentary on Joel
Literal, futuristic interpretation

EBENEZER HENDERSON
Commentary on Joel

    James Rosscup writes "This 1858 work supplies much help on matters of the text, word meaning, resolving some problems, etc. Some have found it one of the most contributive sources in getting at what a text means." (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works)

    MATTHEW HENRY
    Commentary on Joel

    Be cautious (Acts 17:11-note): Does not always interpret the Scripture Literally and sometimes replaces Israel with the Church (note)

    Comment on this Commentary: Matthew Henry's comments on the OT like John Gill's (and like Adam Clarke's and John Calvin's) are not always literal (see preceding discussion). For example, his interpretation of "Jerusalem will be holy" (Joel 3:17) is that "The saints are the Israel of God; they are his people; the church is his Jerusalem". To make the beloved literal holy city of God "the church" is nonsense and makes the text almost impossible to comprehend (See Tony Garland's article - Rise of Allegorical Interpretation). So why is Henry even listed? Matthew Henry is included because he often has very practical, poignant devotional thoughts and/or pithy points of application. But "Caveat emptor!" ( See Related Resources : Millennium and the Israel of God)

    HOMILETICAL COMMENTARY
    Commentary on Joel

    Interesting Resource Be a Berean - Not Always Literal

    Introduction

    Joel 1 Critical Notes - Scroll down for Topics Listed Below

    • Joel 1:1-4 God's Message Demands Earnest Attention
    • Joel 1:4, 6, 7 National Calamities
    • Joel 1:5 A Solemn Warning to Drunkards
    • Joel 1:8-10 National Lamentation
    • Joel 1:8-9 A Cast Off People
    • Joel 1:11, 12 Disappointed Husbandmen
    • Joel 1:13, 14 Ministries of the Sanctuary An Example of Penitence & Piety in the Day of Calamity
    • Joel 1:15 The Terrible Day
    • Joel 1:16-18 Great National Calamities
    • Joel 1:19, 20 Stupidity in National Calamities Reproved by Brutes & Good Men
    • Joel 1 Illustrations to Chapter 1

    Joel 2 Critical Notes - Scroll down for Topics Listed Below

    • Joel 2:1 Alarm in Zion
    • Joel 2:2, 11 The Dark Day
    • Joel 2:4-11 The Army of the LORD
    • Joel 2:12-14 Space for Personal Repentance
    • Joel 2:15-17 A Call to Public Repentance
    • Joel 2:18-20 Restoration of Lost Blessings
    • Joel 2:21-27 The Great Things of God
    • Joel 2:28-32 The New Dispensation
    • Joel 2 Illustrations to Chapter 2

    Joel 3 Critical Notes - Scroll down for Topics Listed Below

    • Joel 3:1-3 Punishment on the Persecutors of God's People
    • Joel 3:4-8 Righteous Recompense
    • Joel 3:9-12 The Holy War
    • Joel 3:13-16 The Terrible Overthrow
    • Joel 3:17 The Unprofaned City
    • Joel 3:18-21 The New World
    • Joel 3:1-21 The Final Scene
    • Joel 3 Illustrations to Chapter 3

    HYMNS RELATED
    to Joel

    Joel 1:15

    Joel 2:1

    Joel 2:12

    Joel 2:13

    Joel 2:21

    Joel 2:28

    Joel 2:30

    H A IRONSIDE
    Commentary on Joel
    Literal, futuristic interpretation

    JAMIESON, FAUSSET, BROWN
    Commentary Critical and Explanatory
    on the Whole Bible

    One of the best "older" commentaries for it tends toward a more literal interpretation.

    SEE UNABRIDGED VERSION BELOW

    S LEWIS JOHNSON
    Sermon Notes on Joel
    Literal, futuristic interpretation

    KEIL & DELITZSCH
    Commentary on the Old Testament

    Caveat emptor: Does Not always interpret literally

    Comment on this Commentary: While Keil and Delitzsch generally (in my opinion) interpret the text literally, unfortunately they also occasionally spiritualize the text as attested by their comments on Joel 3:17, 18, 19...

    "this passage does not teach the earthly glorification of Palestine, and desolation of Egypt and Idumaea, but that Judah and Jerusalem are types (Ed: see discussion of typology) of the kingdom of God, whilst Egypt and Edom are types of the world-powers that are at enmity against God; in other words, that this description is not to be understood literally, but spiritually." (Joel 3 Commentary)

    Comment: Note also the non-literal interpretations of Joel 3:17 by Matthew Henry and John Gill. It is noteworthy that these three commentators end up with different interpretations (Henry and Gill differ from Keil in stating that Jerusalem is actually the church!), which is a perfect illustration of why one must assiduously avoid allegorizing or spiritualizing the Scriptures! (See discussion of the Rise of Allegorical Interpretation)

    To the contrary, there is nothing in the text or context of Joel 3:17-19 which warrants spiritualization or typological interpretation because the plain (normative) reading of the name Jerusalem (Zion) dictates that it is most logically (literally) interpreted as a literal city and it is this literal city which will be the future dwelling place of the LORD (Joel 3:17). To be sure, the "hills will drip with sweet wine" is figurative language, but remember that even figurative language has a literal meaning and in this context this description speaks of the extreme fertility of the land that will follow the Lord's return (Joel 3:16). When one begins to spiritualize God's Word, the range of interpretations is limitless as illustrated in the previous paragraph. Literal interpretation is always the safest road to accurate interpretation. Remember that commentaries (even those that are conservative and literal) should be secondary resources. It is always best to first make your own observations of the Scriptures and arrive at your own interpretation (see Inductive Bible Study) before consulting the commentaries. In so doing, you will be better prepared to "comment on the commentaries"! (See Consult Conservative Commentaries)

    Arno Gaebelein (who wrote in the early 1900's) is an excellent expositor of the prophetic books because he assiduously adheres to the literal approach to interpretation. Compare his comments on the same passage (Joel 3:17, 18, 19)...

    It is the literal Zion and not something spiritual. (Ed: The exact opposite of Keil and Delitzsch!) Even good expositors of the Bible have missed the mark. One good commentator says: “For Zion or Jerusalem is of course not the Jerusalem of the earthly Palestine, but the sanctified and glorified city of the living God, in which the Lord will be eternally united with His redeemed, sanctified and glorified church.” Such exposition emanates from ignorance of God’s purposes with His earthly people and in not dividing the Word of Truth rightly. (see his commentary which is recommended)

    James Rosscup writes that "This (Keil and Delitzsch) is the best older, overall treatment of a critical nature on the Old Testament Hebrew text verse by verse and is a good standard work to buy. The student can buy parts or the whole of this series. Sometimes it is evangelical, at other times liberal ideas enter." (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works)

    J VERNON MCGEE
    Thru the Bible
    Commentary on Joel

    Mp3 Audio, Literal, futuristic interpretation

    Complete Commentary of Joel on one zip file

    F B MEYER
    Our Daily Homily

    MISCELLANEOUS RESOURCES
    Commentaries, Sermons, Devotionals

    THEOLOGICAL JOURNALS LIBRARY

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    • Joel- Introduction, Outline, and Argument
      Excerpt

      Theme and Purpose - Joel was written because of a locust plague (described in chap. 1) in order to call Israel to repentance (1:13-20; 2:12-17). The locust plague was only a forerunner of much greater judgment in the coming day of Yahweh. This judgment would take the form of an invading army (2:1-11) and devastating signs in the heavens (2:10, 30-31) followed by divine judgment in the nations (3:2, 12-16) and blessing for Israel (3:16-21).

      Contribution to the Bible - Joel provides a framework for later prophetic development of the theme "day of Yahweh" (the LORD). All of the prophets build upon common themes of the call to repentance, judgment of the nations and eventual blessing for Israel.

      Christ in Joel - Christ can be seen in His relation to the coming messianic blessing. It is possible, indeed probable, that 2:23 should be translated, "for he has given you a teacher for righteousness." If so, this is a reference to Messiah. The context clearly calls for Messiah's presence (2:26-27 and 2:32-3:2).

      Summary Outline of Joel
      I. The locust plague--calling for repentance Joel 1:1-20
      II. The invader from the North--calling for repentance Joel 2:1-27
      III. The day of Yahweh revealed Joel 2:28-3:21

    A M HODGKIN

    HAROLD HOSCH

    DAVID HOLWICK

    INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT JOEL

    LOCUSTS

    LOGOS.COM

    LOUISIANA PRECEPT

    JOHN MACARTHUR

    • Joel - - Intro, Date, Setting, Themes, Interpretative Challenges, Outline
    • Excerpt - Interpretative Challenges -  

      It is preferable to view chap. 1 as describing an actual invasion of locusts that devastated the Land. In chap. 2, a new level of description meets the interpreter. Here the prophet is projecting something beyond the locust plague of chap. 1, elevating the level of description to new heights, with increased intensity that is focused on the plague and the immediate necessity for true repentance. The prophet’s choice of similes, such as “like the appearance of horses” (Joel 2:4) and “like mighty men” (Joel 2:7), suggests that he is still using the actual locusts to illustrate an invasion which can only be the massive overtaking of the final Day of the Lord.

      A second issue confronting the interpreter is Peter’s quotation from Joel 2:28–32 in Acts 2:16–21. Some have viewed the phenomena of Acts 2 and the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 as the fulfillment of the Joel passage, while others have reserved its fulfillment to the final Day of the Lord only—but clearly Joel is referring to the final terrible Day of the Lord. The pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was not a fulfillment, but a preview and sample of the Spirit’s power and work to be released fully and finally in the Messiah’s kingdom after the Day of the Lord. See note on Acts 2:16–21.
    • When were the Bible books written?

    DAVID MALICK

    RICHARD MAYHUE

    G CAMPBELL MORGAN

    • G Campbell Morgan's devotional/practical thoughts make good fodder for sermon preparation!
    • Joel - Living Messages

    J VERNON MCGEE

    ON SITE

    ON SITE

    JOHN PIPER

    PRECEPT MINISTRIES

    MAX I REICH

    The Witness of Joel By many scholars Joel is regarded as the oldest of the writing prophets, and thus the first to use the term "the day of the LORD," so often taken up in the prophetic literature.

    he Messiah is not introduced in person, but in a wonderfully tender way His SPIRIT speaks in this prophecy. Thus who but the Messiah could speak in Joel 1:6-7, "For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion. He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree; he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white." Speaking of "my land," "my vine," "my fig-tree", do we not hear His intercession in Joel 1:19?: "O LORD, to thee will I cry!" Is this not the sympathetic identification of Messiah with the woes of His people?

    Again in Chapter 2, we read: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit" (Joel 2:28-29). In John 1, the One who is there spoken of as the sin-bearing LAMB of GOD, is also the baptizer in the SPIRIT, by virtue of His being "Son of GOD."

    Beautiful is the way in which Joel refers to Mount Zion as the resource of GOD's tribulated people. Zion speaks of the resources of grace established in a risen CHRIST. Christians, according to Hebrews 12, have come to Mount Zion. They are in the good of the Kingdom of GOD. Seven times does Joel bring in Zion as GOD's resource, when the utter failure of man is made evident, as historically Zion does not appear in Scripture till everything established by GOD and committed to human responsibility had broken down; Priesthood in the house of Eli; the prophet in the evil sons of Samuel; the monarchy in the hands of Saul; the ark in captivity, and then hidden away in Kirjath-jearim, neglected and forgotten, etc. Then Zion became the center of the national and religious life of Israel. So CHRIST, risen from the dead, is the guarantee that all that GOD has purposed for His own glory and man's good, will be eternally established. Joel says: "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call" (Joel 2:32). The passage is applied to our LORD in Romans 10:13.

    "Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month." (Joel 2:23).

    ADRIAN ROGERS

    • Joel 2:1-2 (et al passages) The Best is Yet to Be
      Rogers elsewhere mentions these pictures of Christ in the Minor Prophets:
      Joel describes Him as the Hope of His people. 
      Amos tells us that Jesus is the judge of all nations.
      Obadiah warns of the coming eternal kingdom.
      Jonah offers a picture of Jesus being dead for three days, then coming back to life to preach repentance. 
      Zephaniah says that He will be the king over Israel. 
      Zechariah is the prophet who speaks of Jesus riding on a colt.
      Malachi is the one who calls Him the Son of Righteousness.

    LLOYD STILLEY

    CHARLES SWINDOLL

    • Book of Joel Overview - Insight for Living Ministries
      Excerpt - Why is Joel so important? The book of Joel’s importance to the canon of Scripture stems from its being the first to develop an oft-mentioned biblical idea: the day of the Lord. While Obadiah mentioned the terrifying event first (Obadiah 15), Joel’s book gives some of the most striking and specific details in all of Scripture about the day of the Lord—days cloaked in darkness, armies that conquer like consuming fire, and the moon turning to blood. Rooted in such vibrant and physical imagery, this time of ultimate judgment, still future for us today (2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10), makes clear the seriousness of God’s judgment on sin.
    • Click for nice Chart Summarizing the Book of Joel

    JAMES VAN DINE

    JOEL COMMENTARIES

    EXPOSITOR'S DICTIONARY OF TEXTS

    GENE GETZ - short video discussions of principles in Joel

    • Joel 1:1-14; Preparation for Eternity: Parents should use natural disasters as opportunities to teach their children to be ready to meet God at any moment.Video
    • Joel 1:15-2:11;The Day of the Lord: We should live our lives as if the Day of the Lord could begin at any moment. Video
    • Joel 2:12-27;God's Love and Compassion: We should pray for a peaceful environment in which to communicate the good news of salvation. Video
    • Joel 2:28-32; The Holy Spirit: When each of us receives the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior, we are to claim the promise that we are all baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ's spiritual body, the church. Video
    • Joel 3:1-21;God's Chosen People: Both believers and unbelievers should respect God?s chosen people, regardless of their spiritual status at this moment in history.Video

    JAMES GRAY

    HOMER HEATER, JR

    HOLMAN

    • Holman Christian Study Bible Notes - literal interpretation, conservative
      Excerpt from notes on Joel 3:
      Joel 3:1-2 Moses predicted that the Jewish people would be scattered among the nations, and that when they came to their senses and returned to God, He would restore them to their land and cause them to prosper (Dt 30:1-10). Sometime after this the Lord will gather and judge the nations (Isa 66:18; Zeph 3:8; Rev 16:14-16; 19:11-16). The Valley of Jehoshaphat is literally "the valley where Yahweh judged," but no valley by this name is known. Most likely this is the valley of Jezreel near Megiddo where the battle of Armageddon will take place (Rev 16:16).

      Joel 3:3-4 When Israel lost wars, their children would be sold by their enemies as slaves. Tyre and Sidon were trading hubs for slaves. The Lord is the defender of widows and orphans and will bring retribution on the guilty.

      Joel 3:5-6 The crimes of these enemies were not only against Israel but against Yahweh. It was God's silver and gold that they took. The slaves were sent as far away as Greece.

      Joel 3:7-8 The (Lat) lex talionis (Dt 19:21) will be applied, where punishment for wrongdoing is meted out "life for life, eye for eye," etc. The Jews were sent in exile to the northwest, and so those who exiled them would be sent to the southeast. The Sabeans dominated the trade routes to the south.

      Joel 3:9-12 The nations are summoned to battle (in Rev 16:14 demonic spirits are used to motivate the nations for the final battle). The nations are to mobilize for war (cp. the opposite in Isa 2:4; Mic 4:3).

      Joel 3:13 The Lord will trample His enemies like grapes in a winepress (Isa 63:1-6; Rev 14:14-20).

      Joel 3:14-17 Multitudes, multitudes are hordes of people in the valley of judgment. The decision is the verdict that Yahweh is pronouncing on an unbelieving world, not a decision that people are making to follow God. It is too late because it is judgment day for Israel's enemies but salvation day for the people of God—a refuge... a stronghold. This will be a time of revelation to Israel and the nations because Yahweh will be known as He is.

      Joel 3:18-21 Joel summarized the result of the Day of the Lord. The land of Israel will have miraculous fertility and fruitfulness. Traditional enemies will be punished. Yahweh will dwell with His people, and they will receive pardon for their sins.

    WILLIAM KELLY

    HAMPTON KEATHLEY IV

    • Joel Commentary - Below is an excerpt:

      Raymond Dillard, in his commentary on Joel gives the following information about locust plagues:

      In our generation areas having the potential for a locust outbreak are monitored by international agencies using satellite reconnaissance and other technology; incipient swarms are met by aircraft and trucks carrying powerful pesticides. However, if the locusts are not destroyed or contained shortly after the hatch, once the swarm has formed, control efforts are minimally effective even today. For example, in 1988 the civil war in Chad prevented international cooperation in attacking the hatch, and a destructive swarm spread throughout North Africa devastating some of the poorest nations and threatening Europe as well. It is difficult for modern Western people to appreciate the dire threat represented by a locust plague in earlier periods. Such outbreaks had serious consequences for the health and mortality of an affected population and for a region's economy. Scarcity of food resulting from the swarm's attack would bring the population to subsistence intake or less, would make the spread of disease among a weakened populace easier, would eliminate any trade from surplus food products, and would stimulate high inflation in the costs of food products. Disease outbreaks are further aggravated when swarms die; the putrefaction of the millions of locust bodies breeds typhus and other diseases that spread to humans and animals (see the description in Augustine's City of God 3.31). Baron (Desert Locust, pp. 3-7) catalogues many locust outbreaks known to have been accompanied by outbreaks of pestilence.

      It was only in 1921 that the mystery of the locust was solved. Prior to this date researchers wondered what became of the locust during the years in which there were no outbreaks. In 1921 B. P. Uvarov demonstrated that the swarming locust was none other than an ordinary species of grasshopper. However, when moisture and temperature conditions favored a large hatch, the crowding, unceasing contact, and jostling of the nymphs begin to stimulate changes in coloration, physiology, metabolism, and behavior, so that the grasshopper nymphs make the transition from solitary behavior to the swarming gregarious and migratory phases of the dreaded plague. Plagues continue as long as climatic conditions favor the large hatches. Once entering their gregarious phase, swarms, of locusts can migrate great distances and have even been observed twelve hundred miles at sea. The swarms can reach great sizes: a swarm across the Red Sea in 1889 was estimated to cover two thousand square miles. A swarm is estimated to contain up to 120 million insects per mile Baro Desert Locust, (Raymond Dillard, The Minor Prophets, “Joel,” p. 255-56)....

      If one assumes that Joel was written around 850 BC, then the coming army could be the Assyrians or Babylonians. The following diagram would depict this view.

    ULTIMATE DELIVERANCE AND PROSPERITY IN THE LAND (Joel 3:18-21) - Here we have a description of life in the millennial kingdom. It will be a utopia. We also have another promise to the Jews. It says, “Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem for all generations.” Again, we have to look to our future for this fulfillment. Note the symmetry in the book (Diagram below is taken from overhead in Charlie Dyer’s class). (Click to enlarge)

    MIDDLETOWN BIBLE

    • Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah - study - Excerpt

      The Locust Judgment - Joel’s prophecy speaks of a terrible plague of locusts which came upon the land of Palestine (Joel 1:4). The destruction that locusts can cause is almost unbelievable. They strip all crops and green vegetation. In 15 minutes they can completely strip a tree of its leaves. A Desert Locust swarm that crossed the Red Sea in 1889 was estimated to cover 2000 square miles. Such swarms are like dark clouds dense enough to hide the sun and they contain countless millions of these "grasshoppers." Because of the sins of His people, God sent these creatures as a form of judgment. As is true with all judgment, the CAUSE was sin and the CURE was repentance (Joel 2:12-14)! An Even Greater Judgment - God used this locust judgment to point to an even greater judgment that would come in the future. Joel has much to say about this future time of judgment. The key phrase in the book of Joel is "the day of the LORD." 

    G CAMPBELL MORGAN

    • The Book of Joel - 8 page introductory commentary - Excerpt:
      The final word of the living message is this. We are to remember where we are in the plan of the ages. We are in the midst of the age of the outpoured Spirit. The message we have to deliver to men is that of the possibility of the fullness of the life of the Spirit. Our business is to urge men to call on the name of the Lord, and thus to be saved from the judgment of His immediate day; from the judgment of His imminent day; from the judgment of His final day. Let it be ours, who know anything of what it is to have received the Spirit, to hand over to that indwelling One all the keys of all the chambers of the being, that He may fill us, and use us as the instruments of both the government and the grace of God.

    See also G Campbell Morgan's application of following passages in Joel

    MYER PEARLMAN

    • Joel - Through the Bible Book by Book - Excerpt:
      The first section (Ch. 1) describes the literal plague of locusts. The terribleness of the plague may be Judged of by the following description of the locusts: "The land over which their devastating hordes have passed at once assumes the appearance of sterility and dearth. Well did the Romans call them 'the burners of the land' which is the literal meaning of the word 'locust.' On they move, covering the ground so completely as to hide it from sight (see picture of a locust swarm), and in such numbers that it often takes three or four days for the mighty host to pass by. When seen at a distance this swarm of advancing locusts resembles a cloud of dust or sand, reaching a few feet above the ground as the myriads of insects leap forward. The only thing that momentarily arrests their attention is a sudden change of weather, for cold benumbs them while it lasts. They also keep quiet at night swarming like bees on the bushes and hedges until the morning sun warms and revives them and enables them to proceed on their devastating march. They 'have no king' nor leader, yet they falter not, but press on in serried ranks, urged in the same direction by an irresistible impulse and turn neither to the right nor to the left for any sort of obstacle. When a wall or house lies in their way, they climb straight up, going over the roof to the other side and blindly rush in at open doors and windows. When they come to water be it a puddle or river, a lake or an open sea, they never attempt to go round it, but unhesitatingly leap in and are drowned; and their dead bodies floating on the surface form a bridge for their companions to pass over. The scourge thus often comes to an end, but it as often happens that the decomposition of millions of insects produces pestilence and death." -Van Lennep. 

    SERMONS VERSE BY VERSE - note not always literal, compiled from Biblical Illustrator

    JOHN STEVENSON

    • Joel - Well Done -  Scroll down for notes on Joel nice charts. Below is an excerpt:

      THE LOCUST PLAGUE C.S. Lewis described pain as God's megaphone. That is true on the personal level and sometimes it is also true on the national level. The story of the Old Testament is a story of the people of God falling away and then being judged for their sins and then coming back in repentance. It happened again and again in a repeating cycle. If you are a parent, then you understand this process. We went through it when we were raising our daughter. She would be warned of the consequences of disobedience. Then she would disobey. And then would come "the Day of the Father." The church experiences the same thing. God warns and sends His prophets and eventually He says, "Enough is enough." Judah went through her period of prosperity where stocks were up and everything was prosperous and when pride built up to new levels. And then God took a little bug and demonstrated His power. The event that began Joel's prophecy was a plague of locust. That doesn't mean too much to us today, but in that day this sort of thing could be devastating. It was an agricultural economy and a locust invasion meant that everyone who starve. If you do not read this chapter through the eyes of faith, then you will only see bugs. But if you look to see what is really happening here, you will learn that these locusts are really the army of God. They are to be a lesson to future generations. I did not live through the Great Depression. But my grandmother and my wife's grandparents did and they told me what it was like. Joel tells people to do the same thing. They are to ask whether there has ever been a time as bad as this.

    JOEL
    VERSE BY VERSE

    GOSPEL LIGHT

    RICHARD OWEN ROBERTS

    S LEWIS JOHNSON

    C H SPURGEON

    S R DRIVER

    TODAY IN THE WORD

    S R DRIVER

    JOHN KITTO

    GOSPEL LIGHT

    TODAY IN THE WORD

    F B MEYER

    S R DRIVER

    TODAY IN THE WORD

    Joel 2

    DAVID LEGGE

    S LEWIS JOHNSON

    GOSPEL LIGHT

    TODAY IN THE WORD

    C H SPURGEON

    ALAN CARR

    S LEWIS JOHNSON

    GOSPEL LIGHT

    F B MEYER

    C H SPURGEON

    TODAY IN THE WORD

    J MIKE MINNIX

    DANIEL J TREIER

    RAY PRITCHARD

    C H SPURGEON

    P G MATTHEW

    C H SPURGEON

    JOHN PIPER

    CHARLES KINGSLEY

    C H SPURGEON

    WIL POUNDS

    W A CRISWELL

    C H SPURGEON

    Joel 3

    GOSPEL LIGHT

    S LEWIS JOHNSON

    M R DEHAAN

    TODAY IN THE WORD

    GOSPEL LIGHT

    S LEWIS JOHNSON

    W A CRISWELL

    F B MEYER

    C H SPURGEON

    LANGE'S COMMENTARY
    Book of Joel

    Be cautious (Acts 17:11-note): Does not always interpret the Scripture Literally

    HENRY MORRIS
    DEFENDER'S STUDY BIBLE NOTES
    BOOK OF JOEL

    Conservative notes from Dr Morris who approaches the text seeking it's literal meaning in the context. Millennial. Click the words or phrases after the Scripture for the Study Notes and note that they are from the KJV translation.


    Joel 1 Commentary

    Joel 2 Commentary

    Joel 3 Commentary

    NET BIBLE NOTES
    Joel Notes
    More Technical

    OUR DAILY BREAD
    Devotionals & Sermon Illustrations
    Radio Bible Class

    See all devotionals on one page

    PULPIT COMMENTARY
    Joel Commentary

    Be cautious (Acts 17:11-note): Does not always interpret the Scripture literally and sometimes replaces Israel with the Church (note)

    JOSEPH PARKER
    Joel Commentary

    Be cautious (Acts 17:11-note): does not always interpret the Scripture literally

    EDWARD B PUSEY
    Commentary on Joel

    James Rosscup writes "This work originally appeared in 1860. The present publication is set up in two columns to the page with the text of the Authorized Version reproduced at the top. Scripture references, Hebrew words, and other citations are relegated to the bottom of the page. The work is detailed and analytical in nature. Introduction, background and explanation of the Hebrew are quite helpful. Pusey holds to the grammatical-historical type of interpretation until he gets into sections dealing with the future of Israel, and here Israel becomes the church in the amillennial vein." (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works)

    RANDALL RADIC
    Commentary on Joel
    Conservative, Literal Interpretation

    REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE
    NOTES ON JOEL

    One needs to be a Berean as these notes do not always render a literal interpretation and in fact "shy away" from mention of the Messianic Age, the Millennium, as shown by comparing Reformation Study Bible (RSB) Notes on Joel 3:18 with the MacArthur Study Bible (MSB) notes by Dr. John MacArthur (who does accept a literal Millennium).

    RSB note on Joel 3:18 -The final scene of the drama is one of paradisal prosperity and blessing (cf. Joel 2:19–26). fountain shall flow. The temple itself will be the source of a life-giving stream (Ezek. 47:1–12; Ps. 46:4; Rev. 22:1, 2), which will water even the dry and barren valley where acacia trees grow.

    MSB note on Joel 3:18Zion, My holy mountain. This will be the earthly location of God’s presence in the millennial temple (cf. Eze 40–48) at Jerusalem. will pass through it no more. God has promised a future time when His glory in Judah will not be eclipsed. This time of ultimate peace and prosperity will be experienced after Christ conquers the world and sets up His millennial kingdom on earth (cf. Eze 37:24–28; Mt 24, 25; Rev 19).

    Comment: Notice that the RSB Note does not interpret Joel's record as a description of the Millennium (which I favor) and in fact lists Rev 22:1-2 as a cross reference, this passage clearly referring to Heaven and not the Millennium. On the other hand Dr MacArthur clearly identifies Joel's description with Messiah's "Millennial Kingdom on earth" and cross references Revelation 19 (where 1000 is mentioned 6 times by John). MacArthur does not list Revelation 22:1-2 as a cross reference to Joel 3:18. All this to say that the RSB notes while having some helpful comments, do call for a Berean like attitude when reading the notes on passages that clearly speak of events that will be fulfilled in the future. As an aside the popular ESV Study Bible notes in general also show a definite bias against the mention of the Millennium and like the RSV cross reference Revelation 22:1-2.

    C I SCOFIELD
    Brief Notes on Joel
    Conservative, Literal Interpretation

    CHARLES SIMEON
    Sermon on Joel
    Conservative, Literal Interpretation

    NOTE: If you are not familiar with the great saint Charles Simeon see Dr John Piper's discussion of Simeon's life - you will want to read Simeon's sermons after meeting him! - click Brothers We Must Not Mind a Little Suffering (Mp3 even better)

    Charles Simeon lived from 1759-1836 and was an excellent, conservative expositor - notice that he interprets despite preaching in the 1800's, he still interpreted the Millennium as the Millennium!

    Read his literal interpretation - "THE return of the Jews to their own land at some future period seems to be predicted so plainly (Ed: What a contrast with many modern commentators who seem to find this interpretation enigmatic and confusing, primarily because they have replaced Israel with the Church! ) and so frequently, that no reasonable doubt can be entertained respecting it. As for their future conversion to the faith of Christ, that is absolutely certain. But previous to their final settlement in their own land, there will be a violent contest with them in Palestine: but their enemies will be defeated with great slaughter: and after that will the long-wished-for period arrive, when all, both Jews and Gentiles, shall turn unto the Lord, and all “become one fold, under one Shepherd.”" (Excerpt from "The Millennium") ( See Related Resources : Millennium and the Israel of God)

    CHUCK SMITH
    Sermon Notes on Joel
    Literal, futuristic interpretation

    EXPOSITIONAL MESSAGES

    SERMON NOTES IN OUTLINE FORM

    GEORGE A SMITH
    Commentary on Joel
    The Expositor's Bible
    1903

    SPEAKER'S COMMENTARY
    Commentary on Joel

    Be cautious (Acts 17:11-note): Does not always interpret the Scripture Literally and sometimes replaces Israel with the Church (note)

    JOEL 1

    JOEL 2

    JOEL 3

    C H SPURGEON
    Devotional Commentary
    Morning and Evening
    Faith's Checkbook

    C H SPURGEON
    All of His Sermons on Joel

    RAY STEDMAN
    Sermons and Commentaries
    Conservative, Literal Interpretation

    • Joel: The Revelation Of God's Hand
      Excerpt - The little book of Joel is only three chapters long, and we should all read it. We ought to give ourselves to the reading of God's word, as the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and encouraged him to do. Now, while the prophecy of Hosea reveals the heart of God, the prophecy of Joel reveals the hand of God, the hand that controls destiny, the hand that moves history.

      For centuries men have been looking for the principle upon which all the events of history turn, and ever since the dawn of history there have been many guesses about what that controlling principle is. Long ago, the great Greek philosophers came up with the idea that history moves in cycles; and a leading modern historian, Arnold Toynbee, agrees with that. Aristotle also said that history follows this kind of course. He said that first a tyrant rises, a man of iron, who seizes control of a nation or a group of people and rules until his dynasty ends. Then control gradually passes to a ruling family of aristocracy. And gradually their power deteriorates until control passes down to the people, and this is what he calls a democracy. But a democracy also deteriorates and gradually yields to the breakdown of all power, and anarchy ensues. Out of anarchy a tyrant again seizes control, and on goes the cycle of history. And there is a lot of truth in that theory.

      Through the centuries other men have contributed guesses about the controlling principle of life. Thomas Jefferson thought it was political, and when he wrote the Declaration of Independence he incorporated that idea in the prologue -- that human governments recognize that certain inalienable rights are granted to men, and that to preserve these rights, governments are instituted among men. He felt that the forces that shape human history and form the nations of earth are political in nature.

      Back in the last century, Karl Marx dipped his pen into the acid of his own embittered spirit and wrote the great work that has dramatically influenced our modern times. His idea was that the controlling force of history was economics, that it is the need to meet the material demands of life that shapes the course of history. He called this force dialectical materialism -- the principle of materialism arrived at through debate, through discussion of these issues. And this idea has so seized the minds of men today that all over the earth are millions who feel that economics is the controlling interest of life.

      Others have said that the principle is sociological. H.G. Wells, for instance, was one of a great number of thinkers who said that evolution shapes the course of human destiny. It is often taught in schools today that behind all the events of human history recorded in our daily newspapers and by historians there is an evolutionary principle always trending higher and higher, making life better and better.

      But the Bible says that all these are wrong. The Bible says that behind the whole course of human history is God. The hinge on which history turns is spiritual -- God's Spirit is at work among men, and you cannot understand human events if you do not first recognize that fact.

      One of the most meaningful statements ever written in the scriptures and one of the most terrifying things that can ever be heard by men was said at the time of the flood when God told Noah, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever." (Genesis 6:3 NASV) And whenever that statement is uttered it means that judgment is at hand. For God's Spirit strives with man by patiently restraining evil so that human life can go on. God tries to win men to himself by holding back the destructive forces in human events. But at last God's patience reaches an end and there comes a time -- repeated throughout human history -- when God says either to an individual or to a nation, "My Spirit shall not always strive with men." And when he removes his Spirit -- the controlling force of life -- everything collapses. That is when catastrophe occurs and judgment strikes. And that is essentially the message of the book of Joel.

      This young man Joel was a prophet to the kingdom of Judah, the southern kingdom. He was probably a contemporary of Isaiah, Hosea, and Amos. We don't know much about Joel, but he was one of the most far-sighted men who have ever written, even in the pages of the word of God. Joel saw clear to the end of human history, far past our own day to the final stages of God's dealing with human events; and he links it all to a great dramatic occurrence in his own day.

    • Joel - God Persists
      Excerpt - Many have quoted the famous words from Micah and Isaiah, "beat your swords into plowshares and your spears into pruning hooks," but little mention is made of this statement from Joel in which the nations are summoned not to make peace, but to make war. It is clear that Joel's prophecy must be fulfilled first and the present course of world events seems to indicate that there is no hope of universal peace until first there must come universal war and divine judgment.

      Once again mention is made of the terrible judgments of the great day of the Lord: "Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining" (Joel 3:14,15).

      But the final scene is one of beauty and glory: "And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the stream beds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the valley of Shittim" (Joel 3:18). As we have already seen, this is the way Ezekiel's great vision ends, with a river flowing out from under the threshold of the altar and watering the land. Water in Scripture is a picture of the Holy Spirit and fulfills the word of Jesus in John 7:38: "He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'"

      It is apparent from Joel that the future is in God's hands and not man's. It is in the hands of One who is preparing something which is beyond anything eye has ever seen or ear has ever heard or has ever entered into the heart of man. God deals with us in judgment that He may capture our attention and wake us up to reality; but through these difficult things God in grace is simply saying: "Adjust your life to reality now that you may be ready for the great things which are yet to come." The promise to Israel is: "But Judah shall be inhabited for ever, and Jerusalem to all generations. I will avenge their blood, and I will not clear the guilty, for the Lord dwells in Zion" (Joel 3:20,21). Again, this is where Ezekiel ended his prophecy, with a picture of the restored city under its new name "the Lord is there."

    • The Coming Time of Trouble - primarily about Zephaniah but also discusses Joel and Day of the Lord
    • Joel (Day of the Lord) The Fate of the Earth - primarily 1 Thes 5:1-11 but cross references Joel

    THIRD MILLENNIUM
    Study Notes on Joel

    Beware that even though the name is "Third Millennium" this site does not interpret Revelation 20 literally (as the Millennium!) as shown by their note on 1000 in Revelation 20: "One thousand is ten to the third power and denotes fullness. It is therefore more in line with the tone and tenor of Revelation to interpret the term metaphorically." Beloved, I humbly beg to disagree with this supposition of "10 to the third power" interpretative approach, for if we begin to interpret Scripture with such hermeneutical "abandon," we can surely make it say anything we want! No, "one thousand" is one thousand and years is years, so if the plain sense makes good sense, then we should attempt to make no other sense out of it, lest it become "nonsense!" E.g., is it a mere "symbolic" coincidence that Rev 11:2 has "42 months" and Rev 11:3 has "1260 days" which equates to 42 months? It is far easier to interpret those times literally than symbolically. See a well written discussion of Interpreting Symbols by Dr. Tony Garland. So these links are included with the the clear caveat that they do not favor uniform literal interpretation of Scripture (one might say they as many of the resources above, utilize "selective literal" interpretation method.)

    Joel 1

    Joel 2

    Joel 3

    TODAY IN THE WORD
    Moody Bible Institute

    BOB UTLEY
    Commentary on Joel

    Caveat Emptor: Not Millennial! (See Related Resources: Millennium; Israel of God)

    DEVOTIONAL
    COMMENTARIES
    ON JOEL

    OT Reflections of Christ
    by Paul R. Van Gorder

    JOEL

    Although the book of Joel contains only three chapters and is seldom read, it is one of the most stirring of all the prophetic writings. The date of the book is uncertain because it names no kings. However, many feel that Joel must have prophesied during the reign of Joash (2Chronicles 22-24). If so, he was a contemporary of Elisha. His name means, ''Jehovah is God,'' and he prophesied to a people who had forgotten that.

    This prophecy surveys the history of Israel, from the time it was given, to the second advent of Christ. The book is an illustration of how God makes the future known to man; in fact, it illustrates the way all biblical truth is revealed. It demonstrates that revelation is progressive. Joel unfolds and develops a new concept, ''the day of the Lord,'' as do the prophets that follow him. The three aspects of his vision increase in scope as the book progresses.

    OUTLINE OF THE BOOK--

    A Plague Destroys the Land (Joel 1:1-5)

    The Vision of the Invading Army (Joel 1:6-2:27)

    Future Judgment and Deliverance (Joel 2:28-3:21)

    Every book of the Bible has its own key to its interpretation. Sometimes the key is at the front door of the book; other times at the back door. The key to the prophecy of Joel is found near the front door: ''Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come'' (Joel 1:15).

    The land of Palestine had been a wonderful place. The hills were dotted with fig and olive trees, the slopes were covered with luxuriant vineyards, and the valleys were filled with corn. It had previously been described in metaphor as ''a land that floweth with milk and honey'' (Joshua 5:6). But when Joel was called to prophesy, a terrible judgment had befallen it.

    THE LOCUST JUDGMENT--

    Four plagues had come upon the land: palmer worms, locusts, canker worms, and caterpillars. Some of the best authorities on the locust, as well as Hebrew scholars, maintain that four stages of the development of the locust are described here. The context shows what they did to their fair land. The advance column destroyed every leaf and blade of grass. Those that followed even devoured the bark from the trees. The noise of their wings was heard for miles, and the land looked as though it had been swept by fire.

    The prophet revealed the cause for the plagues. These scourges had come from God as chastisement upon the people because of their sin. Although the judgment was regional in nature, it was filled with prophetic importance.

    INVASION BY ASSYRIA PROPHESIED--

    The Lord said through Joel, ''For a nation is come up upon My land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion'' (1:6). The specific prediction of invasion is recorded in chapter 2. The primary reference is to the impending invasion by Assyria, but the fuller picture is of the day of the Lord. The Assyrian invasion was but a shadow of something far more terrible to come. The devastation by the invading Assyrians fulfills the prophecy, but a complete and greater fulfillment will occur in the day of the Lord. In chapters 2 and 3, Joel spans the centuries and gives to us, by inspiration, a detailed description of the time that will close this age and usher in the next.

    The armies will surround Jerusalem. As the locusts had attacked and destroyed the land, and as the nations of Babylon and Assyria would attack and destroy, so the endtime will be characterized by warfare and destruction. Compare Joel 2:1-10 with Zechariah 14:1-3, where the prophet warned, ''Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.'' This is in keeping with our Lord's dire prediction in the Olivet Discourse, ''Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down... And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened'' (Mat 24:2,22).

    Joel 2:11 declares that the Lord's ''army'' (the locusts) is already in the land. Men have always failed to take Jehovah into account. Read again the story of Sennacherib and the Assyrians [2Kings 18:13-19:37], and recall how God intervened to destroy that army. All of this is a picture of what will happen in the future. Joel declared the intent of Jehovah when he wrote, ''I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and will judge them there for My people and for My heritage, Israel...'' (Joel 3:2). This is what John saw in Revelation 19:17-19, and is preceded by the regathering of Judah to Jerusalem (Joel 3:11).

    THE OUTPOURING OF THE SPIRIT--

    A plan is revealed in Joel 2:28-32. Note the words, ''And it shall come to pass afterward...'' When Peter quoted this passage on the day of Pentecost, he did not say that the scene they witnessed was the fulfillment of the prophecy, but simply that ''this is that which was spoken through the prophet, Joel'' (Acts 2:16). We know that many of the signs accompanying the prediction were not witnessed on the day of Pentecost. There was no blood or fire or vaporous smoke. The sun was not turned into darkness, nor the moon into blood. These signs did not follow the coming of the Spirit in Peter's day because Israel was not repentant and obedient. But they will appear just before the glorious return of Christ. They will surely be seen in that future day.

    THE DAY OF THE LORD--

    Chapter 3 of Joel's prophecy gives us the order of events for that period of time known as ''the day of the Lord.'' We list them briefly with accompanying Scriptures for you to study.

    The regathering of Judah to Jerusalem (Joel 3:1). Compare Zechariah 10:6.

    The gathering of the Gentile powers against Jerusalem (Joel 3:3, 9-15).

    Compare Revelation 17:12-15; 19:17-19.

    God's controversy with the Gentile powers over their treatment of His people (Joel 3:2-8).

    Consult Deuteronomy 30:5-7; Matthew 25:31-45.

    The Deliverer who came out of Zion (Joel 3:15,16). See Joel 2:32.

    In connection with this tremendous event, the reader will do well to study Obadiah, Romans 11:26-29, and Revelation 19:11-21.

    The millenial blessing of Israel with Jehovah dwelling in Zion (Joel 3:17-21).

    This will be the time of ingathering, the time of Jewish conversion.

    Isaiah spoke of that time as follows:

    ''And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; for He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem'' (Isaiah 2:2,3).

    Joel sets forth the mighty works of Jehovah, our Lord Jesus Christ, both in judgment and blessing upon His covenant people, Israel. He ''shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel'' (Joel 3:16).


     

    C H SPURGEON'S
    Sermon Notes on Joel 2:13

    Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord you God. — Joel 2:13

    EXPLAIN the oriental custom of rending robes. People were ready enough to use the outward signs of mourning when, as in the present instance, locusts appeared to devour their crops, or when any other judgment threatened them.

    They failed in mourning as to the Lord, and in rendering spiritual homage to his chastising rod. Hence the language of the text.

    Let us revolve in our minds—

    I. THE GENERAL DOCTRINE THAT TRUE RELIGION IS MORE INWARD THAN OUTWARD.

    The expression "Rend your heart, and not your garments," casts somewhat of a slur upon the merely outward.

    1. This respects forms and ceremonies of men's devising. These are numerous and vain. "Not your garments" may in their case be treated in the most emphatic manner. Will-worship is sin.

    2. It bears also upon ordinances of God's own ordaining if practiced without grace, and relied upon as of themselves effectual.

    Among good things which may become unprofitable we may mention—

    The regular frequenting of a place of worship.

    The practice of family prayer in one's own home.

    The reading of Holy Scripture.

    The holding of an orthodox creed.

    The practice of private prayer.

    The attendance upon sacraments.

    All these good things should have their place in our lives; but they do not prove saint-ship: since a sinner may practice them all, after a sort. The absence of a true heart will make them all vain.

    II. THE FURTHER DOCTRINE THAT MAN IS MORE INCLINED TO THE OUTWARD OBSERVANCE THAN TO INWARD MATTERS.

    Hence he needs no exhortation to rend his garments, though that act might in certain cases be a fit and proper expression of deep repentance (See in depth word studies on The verb Repent = metanoeo; the noun Repentance = metanoia), and holy horror for sin.

    Man is thus partial to externals—

    1. Because he is not spiritual, but carnal by nature.

    2. Because the inward is more difficult than the outward, and requires thought, diligence, care, humiliation, etc.

    3. Because he loves his sin. He will rend his robes, for they are not himself; but to rend off his beloved sins is like tearing out his eyes.

    4. Because he cares not to submit to God. Law and gospel are both distasteful to him; he loves nothing which necessitates the obedience of his heart to God.

    Many throng the outer courts of religious observance who shun the holy place of repentance, faith, and consecration.

    III. THE PARTICULAR DOCTRINE THAT HEART-RENDING IS BETTER THAN ANY EXTERNAL ACT OF PIETY.

    1. Heart-rending should be understood. It is—

    To have the heart broken, contrite, tender, sensitive.

    To have the heart grieving over past evils.

    To have the heart rent away from sin, as by holy violence.

    To have the heart torn with holy horror and indignation in the presence of temptation. The sight of sin should rend the heart, especially when it is seen by the light of the cross.

    2. Heart-rending is to be preferred to external observances, for—

    These are not commanded for their own sakes.

    They are good or evil as the heart may be.

    Their observance may co-exist with sin, even with great sin.

    Outward signs may even be Antichrists keeping us from Christ.

    They can never supply the place of Jesus himself.

    3. Heart-rending should be practiced. "Rend your hearts."

    This would need a great tug. Can a man rend himself?

    This drives us to look to a higher power.

    This is met only by Jesus. Looking to him whom we have pierced, our hearts are rent.

    This, when fully done, leaves us at his feet, who alone "heareth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."

    Ad Rem

    An old Hebrew, story tells how a poor creature came one day to the Temple, from a sick bed, on tottering limbs. He was ashamed to come, for he was very poor, and he had no sacrifice to offer; but as he drew near he heard the choir chanting, "Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt-offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." Other worshippers came, pressed before him, and offered their sacrifices; but he had none. At length he prostrated himself before the priest, who said, "What wilt thou, my son? Hast thou no offering?" And he replied, "No, my father, for last night a poor widow and her children came to me, and I had nothing to offer them but the two pigeons which were ready for the sacrifice." "Bring, then," said the priest, "an ephah of fine flour." "Nay, but, my father," said the old man, "this day my sickness and poverty have left only enough for my own starving children; I have not even an ephah of flour." "Why, then, art thou come to me?" said the priest. "Because I heard them singing, 'The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.' Will not God accept my sacrifice if I say, 'Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner'?" Then the priest lifted the old man from the ground, and he said, "Yes, thou art blessed, my son; it is the offering which is better than thousands of rivers of oil." — "The World of Proverb and Parable," by E. Paxton Hood

    If this hypocrisy, this resting in outward performances, was so odious to God under the law, a religion full of shadows and ceremonies, certainly it will be much more odious under the gospel, a religion of much more simplicity, and exacting so much the more sincerity of heart, even because it disburdens the outward man of the performances of legal rights and observances. And therefore, if we now, under the gospel, shall think to delude God Almighty, as Michal did Saul, with an idol handsomely dressed instead of the true David, we shall one day find that we have not mocked God, but ourselves; and that our portion among hypocrites shall be greater than theirs. — William Chillingworth

    As garments to a body, so are ceremonies to religion. Garments on a living body preserve the natural warmth; put them on a dead body and they will never fetch life. Ceremonies help to increase devotion; but in a dead heart they cannot breed it. These garments of religion upon a holy man are like Christ's garments on his own holy body; but joined with a profane heart, they are like Christ's garments on his crucifying murderers. — Ralph Brownrig

    Rending the clothes was a common and very ancient mode of expressing grief, indignation, or concern; and as such is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures .... It is said that the upper garment only was rent for a brother, sister, son, daughter, or wife, but all the garments for a father or mother. Maimonides says that the rents were not stitched up again till after thirty days, and were never sewed up well. There is no law which enjoins the Jews to rend their clothes; yet in general they so far think it requisite to comply with this old custom as to make a slight rent for the sake of form. — Pictorial Bible

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    DISCLAIMER: Before you "go to the commentaries" go to the Scriptures and study them inductively (Click 3 part overview of how to do Inductive Bible Study) in dependence on your Teacher, the Holy Spirit, Who Jesus promised would guide us into all the truth (John 16:13). Remember that Scripture is always the best commentary on Scripture. Any commentary, even those by the most conservative and orthodox teacher/preachers cannot help but have at least some bias of the expositor based upon his training and experience. Therefore the inclusion of specific links does not indicate that we agree with every comment. We have made a sincere effort to select only the most conservative, "bibliocentric" commentaries. Should you discover some commentary or sermon you feel may not be orthodox, please email your concern. I have removed several links in response to concerns by discerning readers. I recommend that your priority be a steady intake of solid Biblical food so that with practice you will have your spiritual senses trained to discern good from evil (Heb 5:14-note).