THE PROPHET OF PENTECOST
I ask the readers of this to remember that these were term papers that I wrote in 74-78, I do not know the exact year. I looked at the Prophets in the light of those days and now I see them much more clearly in the light of these days.
We have no information concerning the Prophet Joel apart from the Book that bears his name. Some think that he was a priest, on account of his frequent references to the priests as leading the people in Penitence and Prayer. We do not know when the Prophet lived and labored. The date of the writing of this Book is not important for the interpretation of the Book.
We are told that the Prophet was the son of Pethuel, the name supposed to mean, “Persuaded of God”. Joel own name means “Jehovah is God”. The name seems to enshrine in its brief confession of faith, reflecting the possibility of the Piety of his Godly Parents. It is probable that the Prophet was a native of Judah. From his prophecies, it is very evident that He was not only a poet but a man of prayer. A Prophet is the strictest sense: for He preached Repentance with Divine Emphasis, and announced the coming of the Great and Terrible (Awesome) Day of the Lord.
Joel’s writings have two sections; (1) Chapter 1:2==2:17, in which the Prophet speaks describing a plague of locust accompanied by a drought, and closing by calling the people to Repentance. (2) Chapters 2:18==3:21, in which Jehovah speaks, announcing is the solemn language the Final Doom of Israel’s foes and closing with a description of the Glorious Victory of the People of God. The first half of the Book begins with Gloom and ends in Light, the second begins with Judgment and ends with Victory.
Joel was successful in his appeals to the people to turn and seek the Mercy of Jehovah. His predictions of the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit of Jehovah on all classes of people had its highest fulfillment at Pentecost.
Year after year thru the centuries of our History, our world has been torn by Calamity. Events over which man has no control whatever threatens to crush his spirit and snuff out his life. A lot more than physical hurt is involved. When the rubble has been cleared, the dead buried, and the wounded given aid and comfort, there is still the burning question that begins to take their toll: Why, Why this way? Why Here, Why me? Why Now? When again? Should we leave? where would we go? Modern man cannot answer these questions. Man cannot find ready answers to the puzzles that have perplexed people throughout history when they can’t understand the meaning of calamity.
The Book of Joel has Calamity as it subject. So we can only look to the Word of God when Calamity strikes on our doorstep.
An invasion of locust ravaged the land of Israel leaving no green thing alive. Wave after wave of insects has attacked the foliage, leaving waste the grape vines, splintering the fig tree, stripping their bark, and leaving their branches white. Palm, apple and pomegranate trees are all withered, as are the fields of wheat and barley. The plague has created a religious crisis as well because the priests have no food or drink for their daily offering in the Temple. A calamity had struck Joel’s land and country and the Prophet was called by God to help the people cope with it. Joel passed two; lessons along to the world that is torn by Calamity: how to learn from calamity and how to live with calamity.
Due to the invasion of locust, the people recognized that God, in some was, was at work. They learned a valuable lesson from this. They learned something about the provisions of God. Crops that they had taken for granted were now denied. Food for which they had not been truly grateful they now missed. What the Lord had once given Him now taken away. They began to realize who it was that provided their daily care. From Joel 1:19-20 both man and beasts acknowledge God’s provisions.
Joel’s countrymen also learned something about the power of God. The Lord who gave could take away. His blessings were not to be taken for granted. His grace was not to be tampered with nor taken for granted.
God took full responsibility for the locust invasion. His power is at work in the insect army. The insects move at His command. God is not beyond using bugs to teach us a lesson of His provisions and power. Our Character means more to God than our comforts, lessons in Calamity mold our Character.
We are all going to have to live with hardships and heartache. We must hold to the hope of restoration. Acts of Compassion, not calamity are what God is best known for. Returning to Him Always leads to Life. His Ways bank on His Mercy even when life seems to be merciless.
God tells us to believe the Promise of the Spirit. All flesh knows the Spirit of God. Joel begins with a picture of Judgment, the locust and ends with a Comforting Promise of the Worldwide Work of God in Power and Blessings thru His Spirit.
When Jesus formed His Church at Pentecost, He started this Prophecy on its way to fulfillment. Now around the World God has His People, called by His Name, Powered by His Spirit. God is constantly at work to try and draw People to Him even us His Church,
God is not done with the World. but He is making a World by the Power of His Spirit. God has a New Invasion force, not a swarm of Locust but Group after Group of People. Not Disaster but health and healing, march with them and the plan of Salvation. The Love of the God we serve thru His Son Jesus Christ will see man thru any disaster that may come his way.