Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
What should I learn from this chapter?
Joel chapter one begins in the middle of the prophetic seven year tribulation which matches Isaiah 21. An army is coming against Jerusalem and the battle culminates at Armageddon. It is the Day of the Lord (Jesus’ return to set up His kingdom on earth).
This army is compared to a swarm of locusts.
“Thus the Lord showed me, and behold a swarm of locusts were coming, and, behold, one of the young devastating locusts/caterpillar was Gog, the king” Amos 7:1 LXX: Septuagint
The Locust Plague in Judah
Joel 1:1 The word of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
The Land Laid Waste
Joel 1:2 Hear this, you elders,
And give ear, all you inhabitants of the land!
Has anything like this happened in your days,
Or even in the days of your fathers?
- Matthew 24:21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Joel 1:3 Tell your children about it,
Let your children tell their children,
And their children another generation.
Joel 1:4 What the chewing locust (conspirators) left, the swarming locust has eaten; What the swarming locust left (helicopters, drones, planes), the crawling locust (army) has eaten;
And what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust (picking at the bones of the city) has eaten.
Chewing, swarming, crawling, consuming…
Joel 1:5 Awake, you drunkards, and weep;
And wail, all you drinkers of wine,
Because of the new wine,
For it has been cut off from your mouth.
- Drunkards: Those who have taken the kool-aid of lies suppressing truth to their own destruction.
- @Prophecy Alert! The new wine of the last supper is the new covenant which is embraced by gentile believers and by Jewish exceptions (for the Jews have been blinded in part).
The seven year tribulation is directed toward the Jews (although the entire world is pulled into the Mideast drama) because it is Daniel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:24)
Because of the “new wine”, the rejection of the Messiah, and the kingdom of God being given to the gentiles, the tribulation has come upon the Jews devoid of the resources of God. (Matthew 21:43)
Joel 1:6 For a nation has come up against My land,
Strong, and without number;
His teeth are the teeth of a lion,
And he has the fangs of a fierce lion.
- The Antichrist has betrayed Israel by breaking the seven year peace treaty in the middle of it.
The Locusts are a devouring nation destroying, plundering, pillaging.
- Rev. 9:7 7 The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. 8 They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 9 And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. 10 They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails.
- Isaiah 21:1 As whirlwinds in the South pass through, so it comes from the desert, from a terrible land.
Joel 1:7 He has laid waste My vine,
And ruined (Or splintered) My fig tree;
He has stripped it bare and thrown it away;
Its branches are made white.
- When the bark is stripped from a tree it is white and will die.
- The locust army strips God’s fig tree, Israel, bare.
Joel 1:8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth
For the husband of her youth.
- Yᵊhōvâ was the husband of Israel’s youth. She has lost her husband’s protection and covering and is in mourning.
Joel 1:9 The grain offering and the drink offering
Have been cut off from the house of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ);
The priests mourn, who minister to the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ).
Joel 1:10 The field is wasted,
The land mourns;
For the grain is ruined,
The new wine is dried up,
The oil fails.
- The grain, ie the Jews, are ruined. The new wine disappeared in the rapture. The term “oil” is symbolic of the Holy Spirit, specifically, olive oil-at a time when there is a famine of God’s Word.
- Amos 8:11 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the Lord.
Joel 1:11 Be ashamed, you farmers,
Wail, you vinedressers, for the wheat (autumn harvest) and the barley (spring harvest); because the harvest of the field has perished.
- The autumn harvest is called the former harvest and the the spring harvest is called the latter harvest.
Joel 1:12 The vine has dried up,
And the fig tree has withered;
The pomegranate tree,
The palm tree also,
And the apple tree—
All the trees of the field are withered;
Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men.
- Note: The term “field” is symbolic of the world and its worldliness. There is no fruit produced for the harvest. The Antichrist has set up his rule in Jerusalem.
Mourning for the Land
Joel 1:13 Gird yourselves and lament, you priests;
Wail, you who minister before the altar;
Come, lie all night in sackcloth,
You who minister to my God;
For the grain offering and the drink offering
Are withheld from the house of your God.
- The grain offering and the drink offering are withheld; In the middle of the tribulation the Antichrist brings an end to sacrifices and offerings.
- Daniel 9:27a Then he shall confirm a covenant (peace treaty) with many for one week (seven years); But in the middle of the week (after three and a half years) he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
- The purpose of a grain offering is to worship God, acknowledging His provision with thanksgiving. Unlike other offerings, it is a free will offering that comes from the heart of man.
- The pouring out of a drink offering is a metaphor for the blood Jesus spilled on the cross. https://www.gotquestions.org/drink-offering.html
- Luke 22:20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed (poured out) for you.
- John 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out (poured out).
Joel 1:14 Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;
Gather the elders
And all the inhabitants of the land
Into the house of the Lord your God (the third temple),
And cry out to the Lord.
- Hosea 5:15 I will return again to My place Till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction (tribulation) they will earnestly seek Me.”
Joel 1:15 Alas for the day!
For the day of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) is at hand;
It shall come as destruction from the Almighty (šaday).
The Day of the Lord is Jesus’ return to set up his kingdom on earth. (The rapture is called the Day of Christ in scripture).
- Jude 1:14b-15 “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
Joel 1:16 Is not the food cut off before our eyes,
Joy and gladness from the house of our God (‘ĕlōhîm)?
Joel 1:17 The seed shrivels under the clods,
Storehouses are in shambles;
Barns are broken down,
For the grain has withered.
Joel 1:18 How the animals groan!
The herds of cattle are restless,
Because they have no pasture;
Even the flocks of sheep suffer punishment (are made desolate).
Joel 1:19 O Lord (Yᵊhōvâ), to You I cry out;
For fire has devoured the open pastures (Lit. pastures of the wilderness),
And a flame has burned all the trees of the field.
Joel 1:20 The beasts of the field also cry out to You,
For the water brooks are dried up,
And fire has devoured the open pastures (Lit. pastures of the wilderness).
- The water brooks are dried up:
- For three and a half years it hasn’t rained
- Revelation 11:6 These (the two witnesses) have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.
- “Faithful” “rain” literally means the Messiah in the book of Joel.
- Joel 2:23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully (literally: Messiah), And He will cause the rain to come down for you— The former rain, And the latter rain in the first.
- Hosea 6:3 Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.
- Psalm 72:6 He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing, Like showers that water the earth.
- Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
- For three and a half years it hasn’t rained