The church is the new Israel of God.

Joel 3


This chapter, which some make the fourth, contains a prophecy of God's judgments on all the antichristian nations at the time of the Jews' conversion, and the reasons of them, #Joel 3:1-3; a threatening of Tyre and Zidon, by way of retaliation, for carrying the riches of the Jews into their temples, and selling their persons to the Greeks, #Joel 3:4-8; an alarm to prepare for the battle of Armageddon, or the destruction that shall be made in the valley of Jehoshaphat, #Joel 3:9-15; and after that an account of the happy state of the church of Christ, their safety and security, plenty, prosperity, and purity, to the end of the world, #Joel 3:16-21. (John Gill)

As we look a little at this chapter, we should notice something first. Actually, this chapter begins at 2:28, which is where the thought and paragraph starts. The chapter divisions are not inspired, and to begin a new thought or theme at 3:1 will cause some problems. 3:1 starts with For, which connects the former passage with the new passage.

2:28-32 is quoted by Peter in Acts 2, as we have already pointed out. He identifies it as taking place at Pentecost, which is when this passage (2:28-3:9 or so) is put into effect. Therefore, it is referring to both Jew and Gentile, the Gospel Church, starting at that time, and continuing through time until the final judgment.

2:28-3:9 and probably through the rest of the chapter, must be viewed as a complete unit. Doing otherwise will make these verses a text with no context, or a pretext.


1) 2:28-31, the day of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all men, Jew and Gentile from Pentecost on.

2) Vv. 30, 31 (Acts 2:19, 20) refers to the crucifixion of Christ, because:

3) based upon Acts 2:20, the next step is whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13, Joel 2:32.) This call could not take place until after Christ accomplished his redemptive work.

4) Peter goes right on to preach Christ crucified and risen to the right hand of the Father upon his throne over God's people, as was his father, David.

5) Acts 2:38, 39, tells us that Peter identified Joel 2:28, 29 as a promise to whosoever will; that is, to all.

The promised spirit of Joel 2:28, 29, was not a one time affair, but the start of something which was to continue until Christ returns in judgment. V. 28, prophesy, dreams and visions must mean something different than what we think of, i.e., prophesy such as Joel, visions such as John and dreams such as Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel.

If it is not different, then we must follow all Christians around because they may have a further revelation from God at any time. When they do, it must be written down and published, and added to Holy Scripture. The Bible would need to be updated every few weeks.

The above idea of prophecy is stupid, to put it mildly. Revelation 19:10 as well as 2 Peter 1:19 clearly show that anything we might dream, see or speak must be based in the written word of God. We can have new applications and further insight into his word, but as far as saying God speaks apart from his Word today is heresy, and must be avoided as such. See 2 Peter 2:1, "false prophets."

Thus, Joel simply continues what he started in 2:28.

V. 1. Joel now gives the detail of what he has already given in his outline. He will detail God's judgment against those who oppress God, his people and his church.

He will give the details in imagery with which he describes God's punishment against sin from the first to the last–from his judgment against Tyre and Sidon, Assyria and Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar), Greece and Rome, all the way to the final day of judgment yet to come at the last day. Joel uses these nations to show mankind what happens to those who oppress his people; that is, his judgment against the enemies of God's people.

Notice that Tyre, Sidon, Assyria, Babylon, Greece and Rome have all met their fate, and passed into history. What Joel here gives is an illustration of what lies ahead for those nations and people who oppose and oppress God and his people of our day. Psalms 2 is a good example.

Before we proceed, let us establish something. Joel 3:1 is a repeat of Jeremiah 30:3. Joel 3 and Jeremiah 30 are too identical to avoid. Read the two together, and notice the parallel. Jeremiah 30:9 is quoted by Peter in Acts 2:30. Therefore, Peter identifies Jeremiah 30 as referring to the Gospel Church. To use Jeremiah 30 as a literal, physical nation requires setting v. 9 off by itself, thereby destroying the context.

The sermon which we have in this and the following chapter is of a very different complexion from all those before. The prophet does indeed, by direction from God, change his voice. Most of what he had said hitherto was by way of reproof and threatening; but these two chapters are wholly taken up with precious promises of a return out of captivity, and that typical of the glorious things reserved for the church in the days of the Messiah. The prophet is told not only to preach this, but to write it, because it is intended for the comfort of the generation to come, #Jer 30:1-3... (Matthew Henry)

Ch. 30 and 31. Israel's Deliverance and Glorious Condition in the Future

A great day of judgment, before which all the world trembles, will bring to Israel deliverance from the yoke imposed on them. The Lord will bring them out of the land of their captivity. {#Jer 30:4-11} He will bind up and heal the wounds which He inflicted on them because of their sins; will render to those who oppressed and chastised them according to their deeds (vv. 12-17); will again build up His kingdom, and render His people glorious, both in temporal and spiritual respects (vv. 18-22). The wrath of the Lord will be poured forth upon all evil-doers like a tempest, till He has performed the thoughts of His heart at the end of the days (vv. 23, 24). At that time the Lord will become the God of all the families of Israel, and show them favour as His own people; {#Jer 31:1-6} He will also gather the remnant of Israel out of the land of the north, lead them back into their inheritance, and make them glad and prosperous through His blessing (vv. 7-14); the sorrow of Ephraim will He change to joy, and He will perform a new thing in the land (vv. 15-22). In like manner will He restore Judah, and make want to cease (vv. 23-26). Israel and Judah shall be raised to new life (vv. 27-30), and a new covenant will be made with them, for the Lord will write His law in their heart and forgive their sins (vv. 31-34). Israel shall for ever remain the people of God, and Jerusalem be built anew to the honour of the Lord, and, as a holy city, shall no more be laid waste for ever (vv. 35-40). (Keil and Delitzsch)

Jeremiah 31:31ff., cannot be mistaken–it refers to the Gospel Church.

Jacob and Israel are two names for the church because the Old Testament prophets could not see the church. They could not distinguish between the two, so could not name it as the church. Though they had the shadow of the gospel of Christ, e.g., Isaiah 53, they could not clearly see that all of God's people, Jew and Gentile, would be one in him. All they could name was something with which they were familiar. They knew there was something, but as far as seeing it clearly, they could not.

They could see the Old Testament people of God, Jacob and Israel, and they could see the judgment against Jacob and Israel for turning from God. They could see the regathering of God's people to him. The only means they had of identifying who God's people were to be was what they were familiar with–that is, Jacob and Israel.

Of course, the New Testament reveals the church as being God's people today, through Christ.

Jeremiah 30 and Joel 3 fit together, and Peter quotes Jeremiah 30 as being the new church where King Jesus reigns.

Jeremiah 30:7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

Ver. 7. Alas! for that day [is] great, &c.] For sorrow and distress:

so that none [is] like it; such were the times of Jerusalem's siege and destruction by the Romans; and which was an emblem of those times of trouble from antichrist in the latter day; see #Mt 24:21,22 Da 12:1,2;

it [is] even the time of Jacob's trouble: of the church and people of God, the true Israel of God; when Popery will be the prevailing religion in Christendom; when the outward court shall be given to the Gentiles; the witnesses shall be slain; antichrist will be "in statu quo"; and the whore of Rome in all her glory; though it shall not last long:

but he shall be saved out of it; shall come out of those great tribulations into a very happy and comfortable estate; the spirit of life shall enter into the witnesses, and they shall live and ascend to heaven; the vials of God's wrath will be poured upon the antichristian states; the kings of the earth will hate the whore, and burn her with fire; the Gospel will be preached everywhere; the Jews will be converted, and the fulness of the Gentiles be brought in; and an end be put to all trouble; of which there will be no more, nor any occasion of it: or, "therefore he shall be saved out of it" {r}; as the effect of the divine compassion to him in such great trouble.

r} evwy hnmmw "ideo ex eo servabitur," Schmidt. (John Gill)

Though most commentators identify v. 7 with Old Testament Israel, I believe the context requires Gill's understanding. However, I must probably say that rather than the enemy being Rome it is more likely Muhammadans.

Hosea 3:5 fits in here also. Either we have the spiritual Israel-Judah referred to here, and the descendant of David, Christ, or we have physical Israel-Judah and literal David rising from the dead to rule as their king. V. 5, does say, in the latter days: "but always the closing future of the kingdom of God, commencing with the coming of the Messiah (see at #Ge 49:1 Isa 2:2)." (Keil and Delitzsch)

The end time Israel consists of the elect, and they will all be saved before the end of time comes.

Note the problems with a literal understanding of passages like Hosea 3:5, and Joel 3:1.

First, only the Lord God knows who is and who is not physical Israel. All records were destroyed in 70 AD. The only reason for the preservation of those records from Adam was to prove the genealogy of Christ. He came, the proof is before us in Matthew and Luke, so there was no need to preserve the records any longer.

Second, Christ told them in Matthew 23 that the physical house would be destroyed, v. 38. Paul also tells us in Romans 11 that the branches were broken off, but could be grafted back in upon the same conditions as the wild branches would be grafted in, through Faith in Christ.

Third, I have a problem accepting that David himself will rise from the dead to once again rule as he did 2500 years ago. I have had professed Bible believing preachers contend that David would rise again to rule. Dispensationalists must hold to his literal resurrection in order to be consistent to their faith.

With the above in mind, it is inescapable that the passage must refer to the New Israel of God, the Elect or the Gospel Church.

Most of the commentators I have checked say that the physical Israel must be regathered and saved one day. There are some obvious problems with that idea. 1) Does God save by race or grace? 2) By what means will they know who is of the Old Testament national Israel? 3) Will God lay aside the Gospel Church, the Bride of Christ, for that Old Testament nation? 4) Did Christ die for national Israel or for his church?

We will only know how it all works out when we get to the end, for he alone controls the future, and it is for his purpose and glory. I only know how the passages fit together best for me when I consider the context, history and the whole of Scripture. Ephesians 1.

In those days... The time he has been speaking of from Christ to the end. During that time, he is going to draw his people to himself. He is going to call them out of captivity (to sin; Christ came to set those captives free).

It is certain from Paul, {#Ro 11:26} that there shall be a complete conversion of the Jews, before the end of the world, as indeed has always been believed. This shall probably be shortly before the end of the world, and God would here say, ‘when I shall have brought to an end the ‘captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,' i.e., of that people ‘to whom were the promises', {#Ro 9:4} and shall have delivered them from the bondage of sin and from blindness to light and freedom in Christ, then will I gather all nations to judgment.' (Pusey, Barnes' Notes.)

Though he uses Romans 9:4 as a proof text, he does not proceed to vv. 6ff., which makes it clear that the seed of Abraham has never been by the flesh, but by faith. Thus, the seed of Abraham who must come to Christ before the end is the children by faith, both "Jews" and "Gentiles."

What fits best according to the context?

Joel 3:1 speaks of God's delivering power for his people. There are many New Testament confirming passages:

Romans 8:21, speaks of deliverance from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Galatians 1:13 speaks of us being translated into the kingdom of his dear son. Hebrews 12:22, 23 identifies the kingdom as Mt. Zion... the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem...the church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven... Acts 26:18–As Paul speaks before Agrippa, he tells of God speaking to him, telling him to take the gospel to the Gentiles, that they might be delivered from the power of Satan unto God, and that they might have the inheritance also. Then we have,

1 Peter 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Peter is speaking of both Jews and Gentiles, returning unto the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. Return: that is, come back as one would return to his native land. The ones he is speaking to here must have been taken captive somewhere and in some way. Our "fathers" (see 1 Corinthians 10:1) were taken captive by sin, and Peter speaks of their spiritual seed as returning from that captivity, and that seed is both Jews and Gentiles.

Thus, Joel 3:1 is a reference to God delivering "whosoever will" or the elect (2 Thessalonians 2:10) from wherever they might be, which fits best with the passages above. Joel 2:32, includes the elect remnant, whether Jew or Gentile; that is, those called out according to his sovereign purpose. It includes all who are Israelites according to the promise. Romans 9:4-7. The seed of Abraham is only through faith, i.e., those who have been delivered from the bondage of sin by their faith in Christ.

Observe something here. What if the Jews, as they read this passage in Joel, expected a physical regathering (as today's "scholars" do)? Then when Christ came, he did not gather them as they expected?

First, they would reject him, which they did.
Second, they would put this off for somewhere in the future, which it seems they have done, and it seems that the whole world has gone after this false hope. Not only do the Jews still look for a literal fulfillment of Joel 3, but it seems that a vast majority of God's people do also.

The context fits much better by understanding it as referring to the Gospel Church which is established by faith in Christ.

V. 2. Valley of Jehoshaphat is the valley of Kedron, where was located the garden where Christ often went; there Judas betrayed Christ; there is where they took Christ from as a lamb before his shearers. On one side was the temple mount, and on the other the Mt of Olives from where Christ looked upon Jerusalem and wept. From here after his death, burial and resurrection, he ascended into heaven. Here also is where the angels foretold his like return. Acts 1:11. Many hold the opinion that here he will return in his glory to judge the world.

Plead... He that hath ears, let him hear...

My people... God's elect. Galatians 6:16 identifies the Israel of God as those in Christ Jesus.

For My people (NOTE: from Rup.): ‘God's people are the one true Israel, ‘princes with God,' the whole multitude of the elect, foreordained to eternal life.' Of these, the former people of Israel, once chosen of God, was a type. As Paul says, ‘They are not all Israel which are of Israel'; {#Ro 9:6} and again, ‘As many as walk according to this rule' of the Apostle's teaching, ‘peace be on them and mercy, and upon the Israel of God', {#Ga 6:16} i.e., not among the Galatians only, but in the whole Church throughout the world. Since the whole people and Church of God is one, He lays down one law, which shall be fulfilled to the end; that those who, for their own ends, even although therein the instruments of God, shall in any way injure the people of God, shall be themselves punished by God. God makes Himself one with His people. ‘He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of My eye'. {#Zec 2:8} So our Lord said, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?' {#Ac 9:4} and in the Day of Judgment He will say, ‘I was a hungered and ye gave me no meat. Forasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these My brethern, ye did it not to Me'. (NOTE: {#Mt 25:34-35} Poc.): ‘By calling them ‘My heritage,' He shows that He will not on any terms part with them or suffer them to be lost, but will vindicate them to Himself forever.' (Emph added. Pusey, Barnes' Notes.)

Among the nations...

Whom they have scattered among the nations Such was the offence of the Assyrians and Babylonians, the first "army,' which God sent against His people. And for it, Nineveh and Babylon perished. (NOTE: Rib.): ‘Yet he does not speak of that ancient people, or of its enemies only, but of all the elect both in that people and in the Church of the Gentiles, and of all persecutors of the elect. For that people were a figure of the Church, and its enemies were a type of those who persecute the saints.' The dispersion of God's former people by the pagan was renewed in those who persecuted Christ's disciples from ‘city to city,' banished them, and confiscated their goods. Banishment to mines or islands were the slightest punishments of the early Christians (NOTE: See Tertullian, Apol. c. 12. p. 30; Oxford Translation Cypr. Ep. x. 1; xi. 1; xx. 3; xxii; xxxi; xxxvii. 2,3; xxxix. 1; lxxvi. 2. p. 304. n. y.). (Ibid.)

Joel is writing before the final carrying away of Judah. In this, he is looking forward to the scattering of God's people, and to the regathering of them in Christ. He also speaks of God's people, and the regathering of them in Christ. He also speaks of God's judgment against the heathens who have, are and will lift their hands against the church.

The day is approaching when he will judge all who have lifted their hand against his elect, the Body of Christ.

Joel 3:3-6 shows us the utter disregard that the world has for his people, as well as the treasuries which have been dedicated to him. The history of the church, from 70 AD to the present, has been plagued with the heathen (civil government if you please) disregard for his people as well as their view of the silver and gold as a source of income for the state. These funds are used to serve their own gods. Although this passage probably speaks more of the personal wealth of God's people.

Vv. 7, 8. Here God is going to return upon them the very thing they sought to do to his people. I think in this we see God working out his purpose and plan through his people. The grace of God working in his people to fulfill Matthew 5, 6 & 7. In response to their obedience, they 1) inherit the kingdom of God, 2) are comforted, 3) inherit the earth, 4) are filled, 5) obtain mercy, 6) see God, 7) are called the children of God, and 8) become the salt of the earth.

Here is the formula for dominion over the earth as Adam was instructed to do. Also, the new church was under the same instruction. Matthew 28:19, 20.

Joel 3:7, 8 I believe shows us God's people in control over the heathen; that is, the tables reversed through the intervention by God's grace. When, where and how? Only He knows.

Vv. 9-11.

This is Isaiah 8:9, 10 and Ezekiel 38:7. Isaiah 8:10 is Psalms 2. In these passages, the Lord says, "Go ahead, make your preparation":

consecrate a war, i.e., to prepare for war by sacrifices and religious rites of consecration. (Keil-Delitzsch)

"Do your best to try to overthrow me one more time. Strengthen yourselves against me and my word all you want to."

Beat your plowshares...

The nations are to summon up all their resources and all their strength for this war, because it will be a decisive one. They are to forge the tools of peaceful agriculture into weapons of war (compare #Isa 2:4 and #Mic 4:3, where the Messianic times of peace are depicted as the turning of weapons of war into instruments of agriculture). (Ibid.)

"Oppress my people, but here, let me tell you the end of your efforts before you even begin. You may say you are strong, but actually you are weak as water against me."

Fulfilment of the judgment upon all the heathen predicted in v. 2. Compare the similar prediction of judgment in #Zec 14:2ff. The call is addressed to all nations to equip themselves for battle, and march into the valley of Jehoshaphat to war against the people of God, but in reality to be judged by the Lord through His heavenly heroes, whom He sends down thither... (Keil and Delitzsch)

The nations think they are assembling to completely overthrow the Lord and his Christ, that is, the church, when actually it is God's providence that is drawing them together for his judgment upon them.

V. 11b, Joel calls upon God to send his "heroes" down to execute his judgment against those seeking to overthrow his kingdom on earth.

Vv. 12, 13 seem to refer to the "end time judgment" spoken of in Matthew 25:31, 32 (and 13:30, 39) which seems to be the harvest at the end. Though that may well be an application, the context does not seem to support the idea.

For their wickedness is great. God, in his long-suffering mercy, has withheld his judgment for as long as he could. Romans 2:1-6. Time has run out, and the long-suffering of God is full. The result of men's sin and rebellion is coming to pass. I believe Psalms 2 as well as Psalms 37:13 give a clearer picture of the context here in Joel. Certainly, I am in no way dogmatic, but this is the way it fits best for me. I believe Joel shows us there is still "life" after vv. 12, 13, whereas Matthew 25 and 13 show the final judgment.

Valley of Jehoshaphat... valley of decision. This is not really a physical location, but the place of God's judgment against sin. The name Jehoshaphat means Jehovah has judged.

symbolical name of a valley near Jerusalem which is the place of ultimate judgment; maybe the deep ravine which separates Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives through which the Kidron flowed. (Online Bible Hebrew Lexicon.)

They all ‘tumultuously rage together, and imagine a vain thing, against the Lord and against His Christ'; {#Ps 2:1-2} but the place where they are gathered, (although they know it not,) is the ‘valley of decision,' i.e., of ‘sharp, severe judgment.' The valley is the same as that before called ‘the valley of Jehoshaphat;' but whereas that name only signifies ‘God judgeth,' this further name denotes the strictness of God's judgment. The word signifies ‘cut,' then ‘decided;' then is used of severe punishment, or destruction decided and decreed (NOTE: destruction determined, #Isa 10:22; destruction, and that determined, #Isa 10:23 28:22 Da 9:27; that which is decreed of desolations, i.e., the desolations decreed, #Da 9:26), by God. (Pusey, Barnes' Notes)

Does this not show us the strictness of God's judgment wherever sin is found? Sinful men left to themselves only become more convinced and determined in their rebellion. "Education without God only makes man more effective in his rebellion against God." (Statement by Gothard in the ‘70s. Sadly, Gothard now supports education without God.)

As God leaves them to themselves in their rebellion against him, they are only calling for more and harsher judgment against themselves, and the natural results catch up with the sinner. Today, we see two major things with which we can identify: AIDS and Herpes. Ebola will fit here also. Sinful man left in his sin has caused these two diseases to become an epidemic. Health is only one area that is reaping judgment. Look at the areas of finances, arts, science, politics, education–they all have God's judgment upon them.

Any area we can name that has forsaken God's word is on the verge of collapse, including the church. Are we not even now seeing the world-wide financial collapse?

The day of the Lord is at hand. Is this the end of the world? It could be, but if it is, we are left with a problem in v. 16.

V. 14, Day of the Lord is a general term speaking of his judgment against sin. There have been several days of the Lord throughout Bible history, and may be several more before the end. Again, it could be the end, but only the Lord knows.

I am simply giving what fits best for me according to the context we have to work with. Obviously, I do not know Hebrew nor Greek, so I must take what I read and what others say at face value.

V. 15, sun... moon... stars seems to be a common saying when speaking of judgment and destruction. Our Lord used the illustration in Matthew 29:29. Peter used it in Acts 2:20 where he cannot be speaking of the end of time, for it is followed by his quote from Joel, v. 21. It is used in Isaiah 13:10 as well as Ezekiel 32:7. Thus, we see the phrase is used as a general phrase to refer to judgment against the sins of the people. In other words, the powers that be are shaken, and fall. See Hebrews 12:27.

V. 16 Pusey identifies as the end time judgment. "The brightness of his coming." Yet he uses Isaiah 11:4 as a proof text. There the Lord is exalting the meek by the word of the Lord. In fact, Isaiah 11:4 in its context seems to have been placed in effect at the ascension of the Lord, far above every name that is named. Ephesians 1, 2. There the context, again, seems to indicate the roar out of Zion of our God is out of Mt Zion, the church. See Malachi 4:6.

Pusey also gives Jeremiah 25:30 as a reference. However, the context there seems to be calling for the judgment of God upon sin here and now. The cross reference in my Bible gives Isaiah 42:13, where the context indicates the roar of God is his judgment against sin.

What fits best for me?

I am inclined to say that Christ is seated in the heavens upon David's throne, now. He judges sin from his throne by his living word. He allows the results of sin to take place in the sinner. Zion, Jerusalem speak of the church of the firstborn. (Hebrews 12:22) From his throne, he judges the earth. From his throne he strengthens his people.

V. 16, our hope is in our resurrected Saviour, seated far above all power and might which we can name. His power works through his faithful servants in every area of their lives.

Our hope and calling is victory over the world, flesh and the devil here and now, not in the by and by. 1 Peter 1:18-20. Our strength lies in our Lord, for as he is, so are we in this world. 1 John 4:17. Our strength and hope is not in the hope he will return one day and chop off the heads of his enemies. May God deliver us from such a pagan hope.

Our call is to be busy going, preaching, baptizing and teaching obedience to his total word. Our call is not to sit back and wait for the end to come when he will deliver us from the mess we have made.

Our call is not to take everyone we can to heaven with us. Rather, our call is to subdue the earth and advance his kingdom for his glory here and now. Matthew 6:33, 1 Corinthians 10:31. Part of that call is to reach others, but that is not our main responsibility. John 15:16, 1 Corinthians 4:2.

He is our strength. As we obey his call upon our lives, he provides the enabling grace to do his will. Philippians 2:13.

V. 17, So shall... The Lord reveals himself to his people, so they can know who he is. He shows himself strong through the church, not through the old city of Jerusalem. His dwelling place is in the church which is his end time dwelling place. Ephesians 1:19-22. A stranger could pass through Old Jerusalem, but God will not be there. Only those who are members of his body will be in the new Jerusalem. His judgment will go out from his church in defense of his church. He will judge those who oppress his body, for they are oppressing Christ himself. Matthew 5:40-45.

Vv. 18-21. Implied here is a reversal of the natural order; by natural, I mean the sin nature. Ezekiel 47:1-12.

Those who refuse to worship and serve him will suffer for their refusal. Those who do submit to him will reap his blessings.

Peace and prosperity will be based on one's relationship with the Lord. He deals with his people by his grace, and they start glorifying him as God over every area of life. They glorify him by his grace. Romans 1:21. Through grace motivated obedience, Matthew 5 is fulfilled as God's people are exalted over the heathen.

The results of the heathen's sins catching up is that they "drop out of the picture." They either serve God or die of natural causes.

Just a speculation that fits well for me. What if the Lord would speed up the natural results of sin? How long would it take the anti-Christ element to either turn from their sins or die off leaving the godly in their places in society?

These last four verses sure imply, to me, that the Lord rules out of Mt Zion, the New Jerusalem; that is, his church.

V. 16. But the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
All I can say in conclusion to Joel is, "The Lord is certainly the only hope and strength of his people."

I have a difficult time thinking our only hope is in his return with a sword. Does Scripture teach a bloody vengeful literal king moving against the ungodly, or do we believe in the Spirit of God changing hearts?

Certainly, he does use literal armies to move against his disobedient people, but will he use literal armies to subdue sinners to himself? I think not!

To me, the hope of the gospel is victory over everything the enemy can throw at us right now.

Our allegiance must be first of all to him and his kingdom. (April 1, 2009)

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