Saturday, July 6, 2013

Joel -- Introduction

Joel  We know nothing about this prophet except his father’s name (Joel 1:1.). Scholars place the date as early as the 8th Century BC and as late as the 4th Century BC. There is little internal information to support either claim. (Sometimes the scholars make assumptions based on little or no internal information.) Joel is second in the book of the 12 because the Rabbis understood Joel to have been written shortly after Hosea. The book is dramatic and is loaded with energy and powerful imagery. The core of this prophetic book is an understanding of “the Day of the Lord.”

Day of the Lord: Many ancient writers and theologians believed that the world was divided into two ages. “This Present Age” which was seen as evil, corrupt, and violent. “This Present Age” would be followed by the “Age to come” which would be peace, harmony, and restoration. The “Age to come” was visualized as the peaceable kingdom – the lion and the lamb resting together.  Between these two ages was “The Day of the Lord.” This day was usually marked with cataclysmic and universe-altering signs, omens, and events.

Joel can be outlined as follows:

·         Joel 1:1-2:17                The Day of the Lord
·         Joel 2:18-3:21              Israel repents and is delivered

Key learning: Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, quotes Joel’s prophecy of the “Day of the Lord.” Pentecost and the rise of the church have been viewed by theologians as the transitional period that Joel spoke about.

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