The Day of the Lord

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Joel 3

There is a lot of history as well as prophecy in this small Old Testament book. Beginning with a severe drought following invasions of locusts, as we have already glimpsed, Joel sees this as punishment from God for the sins of His people. He uses the picture of these locusts to illustrate a future invasion in the Day of the Lord.

Centuries later, John is given a vision expanding on what we learn from Joel about that Day. In Revelation 16 John describes the war of Armageddon, which consists of several battles. First there will be the campaign of the Antichrist into Egypt (Daniel 11:40-45). Zechariah explains the Lord’s second coming. ”A Day of the Lord is coming…Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations [who have been attacking Jerusalem], as He fights in the day of battle. On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives and the mount of Olives will be split in two” (14:1-4).

Joel is given a preview. When God sets out to restore Judah and Jerusalem, the nations will gather together in the valley of Jehoshaphat, which may refer to the Kidron Valley on the East of Jerusalem. Kidron is known by Jews, Christians, and Muslims as the Valley of Judgment. Jehoshaphat means “The Lord Judges”. Another name for this is the “Valley of Decision”(3:14). Here indeed is where the nations will be judged for their treatment of God’s people (3:2).

Leaving them in no doubt, God lists their offenses. They scattered God’s people among the nations and divided the land – “My land” declared the Lord (Joel 3:2b). They sold the Jews and introduced their children to prostitution (3:3). The Phoenicians and Philistines who were notorious slave traders swept all before them, people and even the sacred temple treasures. God then calls these primary offences to account, requiring all-out war (3:9).

However, faithful to His people, God has not left them without hope. He actually spells out how His Divine intervention will take place, in the midst of battle. “I will drive the northern army from you, pushing it into a parched and barren land….and its stench will go up” (Joel 2:20). God Himself will meet the nations in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (3:12). After many generations, and centuries of time when pagans sat in judgment about God, finally He will judge them. Multitude upon multitude will gather on the Day of the Lord, to face the One whom they have rejected.


Jesus gave His listeners a preview of that day, signs we are looking for, as I write. He warns that God’s children should not be deceived by false prophets; when we hear of wars and civil unrest we are not to be frightened. He could have been describing the global chaos of our day. “Nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and [pandemics] pestilences” as well as cosmic disturbances (Luke 21:10-11). Family disruptions will end in estrangement or worse. “You will be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death” (Luke 21:16).

However, God once again gives us hope. Looking past the judgments which will surely come, His blessings will follow. He describes the Millennial reign of Christ. Remember, Joel doesn’t have the advantage we do today of knowing who the Lord [Yahweh] Jesus Christ is. Yet God gave Joel the vision of abundance which will bless the people who celebrate the consummation of the Kingdom of God. Judah and Jerusalem will celebrate as never before!

by Marilyn Daniels (

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