Bible Study-JO-Chapter 1

The Book of Joel

Chapter 1__Judgments Inflicted

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     As Hosea was sent to the House of Israel so is Joel sent to the House of Judah.

     Hosea told the people of the impending destruction that would come upon them by our Father using the Assyrians to take them into captivity for their constant and continual neglect of His Laws and Commandments. This began around 740 B.C. under the rule of King Pul of Assyria and King Tilgathpilneser:

     Ref: 1st Chronicles 5:26 And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day. KJV

      However, the capitol city, Samaria, was not taken until 722 B.C. by Sargon II, approximately 20 some years later. By 716 B.C. the Assyrians had removed most of the Northern Tribes to other areas.

     We assume that all the peoples of these Northern Tribes would become the Ten Lost Tribes but were there any who made it back to Samaria or Jerusalem? The various dates are considerable and determining the year exactly is difficult at best but if we go to 2nd Chronicles, chapter 31 we can read a little about it:

     Ref: 2nd Chronicles 31:1 Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities. KJV

     The timeline given for this verse, in the margin of the Companion Bible, is somewhere around 616 B.C. That was a very, very brief history but I think that it serves the purpose as we transition from Hosea and the House of Israel into Joel and the House of Judah.

     About 200 years have gone by since the prophecies of Hosea and our Father takes us to Joel, who prophesied around the years 488 B.C. to 477 B.C. so this will be the time period as we study this book of Joel.

     Let me repeat so that we’re clear on who is doing what to whom: Hosea prophesied to the House of Israel and now Joel will prophesy to the House of Judah. Israel’s capitol was north of Jerusalem, by some 30 miles, the city of Samaria, and Judah’s capitol is, of course, the city of Jerusalem.

     Joel 1:1 The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.

     Our Father wants to make it clear at the outset that these are His Words and not the words of Joel. The inspiration came from the Holy Spirit, Joel simply penned the words to paper. (Or papyrus.)

     Joel 1:2 Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?

     OLD MEN? Hey, wait a minute! 72 isn’t all that old! Alright, He’s not talking to me but using the words old men gives us a sense of many days and years passing by and nothing like this has ever happened before.

     Nothing of what has never happened before? The degradation of the people and how they live and how low they have sunk morally?

     Joel 1:3 Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.

     And to make sure that it’s never forgotten in the future, our Father tells them to carry this story forward to the next generation and the next generation and the next generation. Make it a story that you tell during the feast days throughout the year but make sure you tell it enough so that it’s never forgotten concerning what happened here.

     Joel 1:4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.

     Don’t overlook the fact that verse three is foretelling of some eminent disaster that has never been seen before and verse four begins to tells us what that disaster is and, my goodness, there was a lot said in that verse: we’ve got the palmerworm, the locust, the cankerworm and the caterpiller. What the heck are these?

     They are the four stages of the growth of the locust or four species of the same insect, as some would view this, but either way, it’s a prophesy that shows that the eminent destruction is going to get worse and worse.

      This should not be new to you because this is the formulation of the locust army of Revelation, chapter 9, so none of this has happened as of yet. This whole book, in fact, will be dedicated to the end-times so it really ought to be interesting!

     In the Hebrew, this verse is spoken in a sing-song, poetic kind of way, but let’s take a closer look:

  •      Palmerworm_OT:1501 gazam (gaw-zawm'); from an unused root meaning to devour; a kind of locust: KJV - palmer-worm.

     Having just emerged from the egg in spring, and without wings.

  •      Locust_OT:697 'arbeh (ar-beh'); from OT:7235; a locust (from its rapid increase):KJV - grasshopper, locust.

     At the end of spring, still in their first skin, they put forth little ones without legs or wings.

  •      Cankerworm_OT:3218 yekeq (yeh'-lek); from an unused root meaning to lick up; a devourer; specifically, the young locust: KJV - cankerworm, caterpillar.

     After their third casting of the old skin, they get small wings, which enable them to leap the better, but not to fly: being not able to go away until their wings are matured, they devour all before them-grass, shrubs, and bark of trees.

  •      Caterpiller_OT:2625 chaciyl (khaw-seel'); from OT:2628; the ravager, i.e. a locust: KJV - caterpillar.

     The matured winged locust, translated the canker-worm.

     The Hebrew reads:

     ✡   Gnawers’ remnant, the Swarmer eats;

     ✡  Swarmer’s remnant, the Devourer eats;

      Devourers’ remnant, the Consumer eats.

     It demonstrates the completeness of its feast. There is nothing left when he gets through. So will the Ten Tribes of Israel be in that same condition. They will be scattered across the face of this earth and many people might say:

     “Well, that’s that. They’re gone and that’s that.”

     But that’s not really true, you can’t just forget about them because they are out there, they get married, they have children and this cycle repeats itself over and over again until the prophesy that was given to Abraham becomes true: these scattered people will become the multitudes that will be known as “the stars of heaven and the sands of the sea”.

     Ref: Exodus 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. KJV

     They will grow in number and populate many nations.

     The thing about the locusts, described here in Joel, is that, in the natural environment, they do not go through the four successive stages in the same region. Only two stages of locusts remain in the area: the female will lay her eggs and when they hatch early the next spring these little ones begin the period again and then destroys what is left of the vegetation. In nature, four orders do not succeed one another.

     What Joel probably saw in this vision was to emphasize that Satan would come after Israel and Judah in succession to achieve his destruction.

     The locust army of Revelation is simply representative of the followers of Satan in his role as the Antichrist. They are different than those deceived by him, these are his core, and they are the fallen angels from Genesis, chapter 6.

     And the beauty of Satan’s army is that our Father allows that army to do what they do, He is in control of it. It’s His army. We’ll read about that in chapter 2, verse 11 of this same book.

     He is in charge and controls everything, nothing is out of order or in a place where it should not be.

     This great country, the United States of America, can sink to its lowest denominator, politically, socially, morally and spiritually, and He oversees every single event. Nothing is chaotic.

     So many people are afraid these days and it seems that just a select few seem to be able to tell the entire world how to act. From politicians to an individual that stopped prayer in school. The masses are being told how to live by a select few and it just boggles my mind why we sit around and let them do that to us. Why don’t we have the cojones and will power to tell them to kiss our butts, sit down, and shut up?

     Just in the last few days, 405,000 people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, walked the streets protesting their president and a poor economy. Those people have cojones. They stand up for what they believe. Would that ever happen in this country? Not on your life. Too content to sit on the couch and live off their government handout….don’t want to rock the boat, don’tcha know.

     Rather sit around and drink beer and watch TV…

 

     ”Hey, I’ve had a hard week at work, don’tcha know.”

 

     And the others could just care less about the whole situation. Less than 40% of voter age citizens will ever cast a ballot in their lifetime.

     And we sit around and wonder why the crud of politicians keep getting into office? Stop wondering.

     I truly believe that if people today were on the Mayflower, or the Nina, or the Santa Maria we’d still be speaking the Kings’ English today. I remember when people were proud to work their tails off; now they sit on the curb with a placard in their hands begging for food or money and when they finish they climb into a new car and drive off. I worked in Atlanta for too many years to know that that is the truth. I’ve seen them on the exit ramps off the freeways and interstates.

     But on a grander scale, it really upsets me that people are afraid to read some parts of the Bible, the book of Revelation for one. I know why they’re afraid, they’ve listened to preachers that take the words literally and it scares them. These preachers are too stupid and too lazy to dig down into the languages and find out exactly what it is that our Father is telling us.

     I can’t change everyone’s mind by the things that I write but I have expounded on Revelation, in its entirety, and if you study that work and still walk away afraid, then it’s not my fault. Just keep doing what you’re doing, maybe the Father has put His cloak of ignorance, or maybe innocence, on you and He’s waiting for the Millennium to teach you the truth. I hope so because if it turns out that you’re just plain butt-ugly stupid, then I don’t want to associate with you in Heaven at any rate.

   Joel 1:5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.

     These drunks are going to howl alright because the good wine will be gone and you cannot get drunk by drinking new wine because that is unfermented juice, like pomegranate juice.

     Joel 1:6 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.

     We’re talking about the House of Judah here so it won’t be the Assyrians coming against them, it will be the Babylonians. And the cheek teeth of a great lion indicates their strength because these are the crushing teeth.

     Joel 1:7 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.

     In the natural sense the locust has eaten everything, even the bark off the tree.

     In the spiritual sense, the entire country is laid waste because they are all spiritually dead. Sure, the locust will even eat the bark off of a tree but spiritually it refers to the day of the Lord, the end of this dispensation whereby not just Judah and Israel but the entire world will be involved. We’ll read of that in verse 15.

     Joel 1:8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.

     When you’re young you feel affections the strongest and so it is also with grief, our Father grieves for Israel and Judah as a waiting virgin does for her husband but it’s to no avail. The youth will soon pass into wrinkled bent-over bodies and some of Zion will soon pass into obscurity around the world.

     Joel 1:9 The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the Lord; the priests, the Lord's ministers, mourn.

     Not even their sacrifices nor their priests can change what is fixin’ to come. It’s a time of wailing and no one can stop it.

     Joel 1:10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.

     Everything that they once produced is now for naught. It seems that the life has gone out of it all.

     Joel 1:11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.

     Be ashamed, alright, because this could all have been prevented. They could have fallen down on their knees before the Living God and asked for His forgiveness and help but they were too stubborn.

 

     “We’ll just do things our way and forget about Him.”

     And so they did and see what happened? Everything they owned was gone. Had they spent a little time in building up the things of the spiritual and not the earthly they would have been in much better shape.

     How you doin’, people? Got anything built up that isn’t made of some earthly material? Got anything up there when you get there? Oh sure, it’s going to be heaven and all that comes with it but if you read the last eight chapters of Ezekiel or the latter chapters of Revelation you’ll see that there is much more to heaven than you probably know.

     There’s things going on up there; souls interacting with each other. What are you going to be wearing? A bikini or a long flowing robe that will be admired by all. The prophets and the apostles will have those robes on and you can have one too, it just depends on how you want to live in these earthly bodies.

     Want to stay drunk and on drugs all your life? You’ll probably end up with a jock strap, if you make it there at all.

     Want to be all you can be and spend your life chasing after the almighty dollar? I did it for years, put my kids and my wife second, and justified it by telling myself that I was doing it for them. And I look around today and say to myself:

 

     “What the hell was I thinking?” Where is everybody and where did they go? Didn’t they know I was doing it for them?”

     Maybe our Father is saying the same thing about you right now:

 

     “After all that I’ve done for them, where did they go? Why do they treat Me as Israel and Judah are doing right now, right here in this book?”

     Life without the Father in it is getting up every day with a 100 pounds of concrete around your neck and the world is what put it there. He can take it off if you’ll just ask Him to do it. But you have to have the cojones to want to do it. He’s not going to do it for you.

     Get up and start doing just one small thing that will put you back on a road that leads to Him and if you keep doing that every day He will soon begin to think that maybe you’re going to stick with it this time and when He sees that, He’ll begin to come into your life in very small ways. Some so small that you may not even recognize them when they happen.

     But it takes TIME and that’s something we don’t have and it’s something that He has PLENTY of. It’s not going to happen overnight so bear with it and keep doing it and after a few months you might see some small things happen in your pitiful, miserable life that you hadn’t seen before. They’re small, you may have to look for them, but they will be there.

     He promised that they would be. And He doesn’t lie to us like the world and all that’s in it does.

     And, for heaven’s sake, don’t start going to some church thinking that the saving grace can be found there. Going to a church, at this point in your life, is only going to give you false hope because they’re not equipped, mentally or physically, to help people like you. Someone that is struggling to find hope and comfort in something beyond what the world has to offer.

     CHURCHES TODAY ARE THE WORLD.

     OUR FATHER SAYS THAT THE WORLD CANNOT HELP YOU.

     HE CAN.

     Joel 1:12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.

     There is no joy in this life without Him in it. I really like this word languisheth:

 

      Languisheth_amal (aw-mal'); a primitive root; to droop; by implication to be sick, to mourn:

 

     Even the earth mourns because of the way these Tribes are living their lives.

    

     There’s no doubt in my mind that the entirety of His creation feels everything else around it. The trees feel it, the animals feel it. Everything that is living on this earth feels it. Everything is all a part of one whole. It’s a living, breathing, entirety of His work, all coming together and living together, waiting until His return.

 

     Joel 1:13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.

     Back in the days that these folks lived they all wore robes. No Levi’s or shorts or fancy blouses. And when you wanted to Gird yourself up, you reached down between your legs and grabbed the back end of the robe and pulled it through your legs and up to your waist.

     Usually it was secured there by a rope or a tie of some sort, but it allowed your legs to move quickly without stumbling over the front edge of the robe. Allowed you to swing that sword and fight if you had to.

     But Father is saying that, even now, that’s not going to help you. Even your preachers can’t help you at this point. These preachers can wail all night long and He’s not going to listen to their nonsense. They were a large part of why the people are doing the things that got them in so much trouble with the Father to begin with.

     And it’s no different today. You listen to those boys behind the lectern long enough, they’ll take you to hell right along with them. Why? Because that’s their job. They’re told what to preach by the higher critics, the church leaders, the ones that give them their license to preach.

     Hey, preachin’ is a pretty good job. Don’t have to do any really physical work, dress in a suit all day, act like you’re concerned with the problems of other people, preach what they tell you and bring in the paycheck.

     Only bad part about that is that they’re preaching for money! And the Father doesn’t like that! You preach His Word or you don’t preach at all!

     Kind of reminds me of ‘ole Balaam in the book of Numbers:

     Ref: Numbers 22:20 And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do. KJV

     But ‘ole Balaam was being paid NOT to preach His word by Balak, the son of Zippor, they wanted Balaam to curse the Tribes, not bring the Word of our Father to them.

     And they were willing to give Balaam a whole house full of silver and gold for doing so. And it took the ass that Balaam was riding on to speak to him and turn his head around. (Through the Angel of the Lord, of course.)

 

     Joel 1:14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord,

     Call a solemn assembly….literally means a day without doing any work at all. Let’s all get together and pray as one unit before the Lord.

     Joel 1:15 Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

 

     For the day of the Lord is at hand…literally, in the Hebrew, is:

     “Near is the Day of the Lord, like destruction from the Almighty shall it come.”

     And when they gathered they pitifully cried unto Him:

 

     “Oh Lord, we know that You are going to deal harshly with us and we pray that You change your mind.”

     Joel 1:16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?

     “We see what you’ve done to us, Lord.”

 

     The joy that they used to have at their regular feasts and offerings is gone because He has cut them off.

     Joel 1:17 The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.

     We couldn’t plant anything right now anyway, there’s no seed worth anything, the corn is dried up, all the barns are broken down. We’ve just let everything go to hell.

     Joel 1:18 How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.

     The cattle didn’t have a thing to do with it and yet they suffer the consequences as well.

     Joel 1:19 O Lord, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.

     This is Joel speaking here:…

 

     “Oh, Father, we’re going to cry to You because of their condition…”

     Joel 1:20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness. KJV

     Even the cattle raise their eyes towards heaven and reprove Israel for neglecting our Father and putting them in this predicament.

     A lot of learned scholars will tell you that the four stages of the locust stands for the four major powers of the earth at the time: Assyria, Babylon, Macedonia, and Rome but as the centuries have gone by can this still be held as truth? Wasn’t the truth back then, isn’t the truth today.

     Not by a long shot. This entire book looks forward to the coming of our Lord and His dominance over spiritual powers that He has allowed to work, especially during the last five months of this dispensation.

     And, as always, He will prevail. But what are we to do in the meantime? How many days are we left to our own devices and diversions? How much longer can we stagger through this world saying:

 

     “I don’t know what to do or where to go.”

     Turn to Him and He will show you the way. But you have to do it, it will take some time, but He is the only way in this world.

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___22 August 2015___

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