Joel’s contribution to the Scriptures is clearly his depiction of the Day of the Lord in all its awesome power and splendor. He compares the utter destruction of a locust plague with that future utter destruction of the nations—a world wide judgment of mankind.
Author and Date
Little is known about the date of Joel’s prophecies. The clue of the great locust plague is not quite enough for scholars to pinpoint the date though some believe it to be around 800 B.C.
- Day of the Lord – Locusts (1)
- Day of the Lord – Last Days (2-3)
Joel teaches the reader that the phrase, “day of the Lord,” has two senses. The first is a generic, terrible calamity of any kind. In Joel, the day of the Lord consists of a plague of locusts which is about to devastate the land of Israel. In chapters 2 and 3, Joel uses this phrase to describe a singular event, namely, the great catastrophic Day of the Lord which consists of world-wide devastation.
Joel 2:28-32 is a well-known passage that describes events that will take place during the Day of the Lord. Joel gives temporal markers in this passage to describe the timeline of these events. After a time of judgment on Israel (2:1-11), the Lord will open the hearts of his people, remove their blindness, and pour out his Spirit upon them (2:28-29). Then God will show great wonders in the heavens and on the earth (2:30-31). After these wonders, the intensity of the Day of the Lord increases and spreads to all the earth. Joel refers to this end time as the “great and awesome day of the Lord.”