“Before them the earth shakes, the heavens tremble, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.” Joel 3:10
The Book of Joel comes to us from the 9th Century B.C., Joel ministered in the northern kingdom and has been seen as the Holy Spirit-encounter Book with Joel, the “Prophet of Pentecost”, because of his prophecy of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to those who will be saved by Christ as recorded in Acts in what is called as being fulfilled at Pentecost.
What was he about? Joel warned his people about a devastating plague of locusts resulting in extreme famine; it will illustrate God’s judgment unless they repent. This is about what happens when we ignore God’s directions and the consequences of losing everything. Even in this message of desolation from a locust plague, the exhortation of God to repent there is hope, the promise that God will restore (Joel 2:28; 3:1-13; Acts 2:16).
Joel was the visionary kind of prophet who could glimpse God’s eternal wonders in his temporal life. He ministers as God’s spokesman during a devastating locust plague, which took everything–those bugs ate all the crops, ruining the economy and starving the people only because the people lusted for their sins. He uses this occasion to warn them of the foreboding “Day of the Lord” when God would act directly, punishing the people, which He did when they went into captivity. God’s love and His judgments go together, because we can repent and He allows us to come back. He is not petty, and He blesses us both in the material and in His steadfast Love and robust spirituality (Psalm 30:5; Joel 2:12-13, 28-31).
Most of these statements are in a “figurative language,” like it is raining cats and dogs, as the moon turns to blood (meaning red, as in Lunar Eclipse as the earth’s shadow passes over the moon, reflecting the sunsets and sunrise of earth to its surface. Thus.
We are to look for the literal meaning first before attempting to interpret it as symbolic. Context is the key!
“Day of the Lord” means the Lord’s deliverance and salvation for Israel, and this is the final Day of Judgment where God settles all accounts and injustices. For Joel, it was a warning of what will come, which it did in the captivity.
For Amos, it was God’s hope to come when repentance was given. Just as the climax was in 722 B.C. and 586 B.C. But, as Joel showed us God’s mercy and Amos God’s judgment, there is hope. God will have His faithful remnant as Joel pointed out, a victory over darkness and sin will be achieved after God intervenes in the world with judgment and destruction of His enemies, and rewards and blessings to those who are in Him.
“Isogesis” is reading into a text what isn’t there. Interpreting it by different rules than a consistent understanding from the Bible. Using a presupposition to arrive at the meaning, by ignoring the language and culture it was used in.
For us, this Day started with the resurrection of Christ and His victory over sin and the coming of the Holy Spirit. It comes to its consummation and fullness after Christ’s Second Coming and Judgment–the anticipated eschatological climax of the events of life, time, and space (Isa. 2:11-20; 13:9-13; Joel 1:15; 3:14-21; Amos 5:18-20; Luke 1:68; 1 Thess. 2:1-3; 5:2; 2 Peter 3:9-11).
The main point is to tell us to “Rend Your Heart”
To listen to God, to repent of sin. Then, Hope, so as not to be discouraged, but to remain faithful and vigilant. For the Christian, it is also an encouragement and a warning to follow God’s directions or dreadful consequences will result by our own doings. As Christians, we are chosen by Him to be in Him as His possession in love. He called us out of our darkness into His Light by His mercy; He sets us apart to be holy participants in His Kingdom. Thus, we are called to show this wonderful, incredible place we have in Him to others by our goodness, attitude, and deeds-and, if necessary, with words (Heb. 12:14).