Sermons From Book of Joel
"The Salvation Of Israel"
by Pastor Ron Thomas
Rodgers Baptist Church
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040
Sermon Three: The Salvation Of Israel - Text: Joel 2:28-32.
Joel is one of the twelve minor prophets in the Old Testament. Joel's prophecy appears second in the canon's order of the twelve minor prophets.
It has been observed, that while the prophecy of Hosea reveals the heart of God, The prophecy of Joel reveals the hand of God. The course of history is determined by the hand of God, and is being directed to a culminating event known as "the day of the Lord." Joel warns the nation Israel of this coming great and dreaded day. Joel uses the phrase "the day of the Lord," to refer both to events in his own day, to events in the future, and a culminating event that will determine their eternity!
In Joel 1, the prophet Joel uses the recent destruction by an invasion of locusts, to picture the coming day of the Lord. The locusts served to teach them that God can use anyone or anything, even nature, to chastise His people. Joel urges his people to repent and return to the Lord. They must lament and weep over their sin, evidencing "godly sorrow," which leads to true repentance.
In Joel 2:1-27, Joel looks to the distant future, and speaks of an invading army from the north, that shall swoop down on Israel. He describes this army, comparing them to the locusts, and prophesying this future threat to their existence. Joel goes on in verse 20 to reveal that this army will be intercepted and destroyed by God, sparing Israel. Could Joel be speaking of the future invasion attempt made by Russia and her allies, described in Ezekiel 38-39?
Joel once again cries out for his people to repent both individually and corporately as a nation. They must rend their hearts, not just their garments! In verse 13b, Joel reminds them that God is "...gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil."
This brings us to our text passage and Sermon Three:
The Salvation Of Israel
Text: Joel 2:28-32.
Introduction: In the Hebrew Bible, these verses comprise a separate chapter, which means this would be chapter 3 in our Bibles. With the word "afterward" in verse28a, the prophet Joel is transported by the Holy Spirit to the time of Christ's second coming, and the spiritual birth of a nation. It reads, "And it shall come to pass afterward..." We see this same thing in Hosea 3:5. After picturing Israel as an adulteress, having gone after other gods, Hosea speaks of a day when Israel will return to love and serve the Lord with a whole heart. Verse 5 begins with the same word, "afterward." "Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days." Both Hosea and Joel are speaking of a future day when their people will be reconciled with God, as they recognize and receive Jesus as their Messiah. This future salvation of Israel, will occur at the second coming of Jesus Christ.
What do we mean by the second coming of Christ? The second coming of Jesus Christ is the visible return of Christ to the earth in great power and glory at the end of what we know as the Tribulation Period. Jesus will then rule and reign on the earth for one thousand years. This is not to be confused with the rapture or catching out of the saints, which will occur just before the Tribulation Period. At the rapture, we will be caught up and out to meet Jesus in the clouds. At the second coming, we will be with Jesus as He returns to the earth. The rapture is secret, occurring in a nanosecond. The second coming is public and visible. The rapture is a mystery revealed to New Testament saints. The second coming was prophesied in both the Old and New Testaments.
We cannot fully understand or appreciate the second coming of Christ, unless we view it in context of the nation Israel. While God's redemptive plan and purpose focuses upon and flows through the person of Jesus Christ, we must understand that Jesus is forever connected to the covenant made to Abraham recorded in Genesis 12. In that covenant, God promised to make the name and offspring of Abraham great. Out of Abraham's lineage, would come a great nation, the nation Israel. Israel would be given a land that would be an eternal possession. Those who bless the seed of Abraham, his descendants the Jews and the nation Israel, will be blessed. Those who curse them, will be cursed. God promised to bless all families, all nations of the world through Abraham.
Jesus is the fulfillment or realization of this blessing. Notice the words of Paul in Galatians 3:6-9. "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen (Gentiles) through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." Verse 13 continues, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." We are the children of Abraham by faith in Jesus Christ!
The great covenant promise God made with Abraham still stands today, because of the faithfulness of God. The Old Testament reveals that Israel failed. They did not remain faithful to God, and when Jesus their Messiah came to them, they refused to believe and receive Him. This is why the burden of the covenant was designed to rest upon God, not frail, sinful humanity. God foresaw the failure of Israel, and charted a path for them far into the future. This journey for Israel and the Jews will lead through great tribulation, and a powerful encounter with Jesus Christ. The Bible has prophesied and outlined:
Four Periods Of Israel's Journey
Period one: Their Dispersion.
Leviticus 26:27-28. "And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; 28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins." Verse 33. "And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste." Beginning with their captivity by the Assyrians and Babylonians, the Jewish people have been scattered among the Gentile nations of the world. Under the Persians, there was a return to Judea, but it was small and short lived. With the coming of the Romans and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. the Jews became sojourners in the Gentile nations of the world.
Period Two: Their Preservation.
Leviticus 26:44. "And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God." Even though the Jewish people have been scattered, often severely persecuted, and almost extinguished during the Holocaust, they have survived and retained their identity among the people of the earth. God promised in His Word that He would never cast away His people. As a people, the Jews have never lost their sense of identity, or their longing for Zion.
Period three: Their Restoration.
Leviticus 26:42. "Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land." Deuteronomy 30:3. "That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee." On May 14, 1948, the Declaration of the Establishment of the Jewish State was signed, and the state of Israel was formed. The prophecy of Ezekiel 37 is being fulfilled right before our eyes! Since that humble beginning, Jews have poured into the land, making Israel one of the great nations of the world. The words of Israel's national anthem say, "So long as still with our breasts, the Jewish heart beats true. So long as still towards the east, to Zion looks the Jew. So long our hopes are not yet lost, two thousand years we cherish them, to live in freedom in the land of Zion and Jerusalem."
Period four: Their Reconciliation.
Leviticus 26:45. "But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD." Deuteronomy 30:5-6. "And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and He will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. 6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live." While Israel has been restored to her land, we must understand that she has not as yet been reconciled to God. The Jews have not recognized their Messiah, Jesus Christ. They are as a standing army, waiting for the breath of God. It has been prophesied that one day, Israel shall be saved. At that time, God will give them a new heart. When will this take place? What will it take for them to acknowledge their sin and need of Jesus as Messiah and Savior? Joel gives us a brief look at this great moment of Israel's salvation.
We are given:
Three Components That Lead To Israel's Future Salvation
Component one: The Holy Spirit.
Joel 2:28-29 reads, "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit." There can be no spiritual birth minus the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin, and convinces us of our need of a Savior. There can be no impacting ministry minus the Holy Spirit. With the rapture of the saints, all believers, including the Lord's church, will be taken off the face of the earth, yet some of the greatest evangelism and ministry the world has ever seen, will take place during the Tribulation Period. As the "man of sin" comes on the scene, and the days of the Tribulation Period begin, the Holy Spirit will be at work, particularly on behalf of the Jewish people and nation. One hundred forty four thousand Jews will be saved, sealed, and set loose to witness for Jesus Christ. The presence and work of the Holy Spirit will intensify, culminating in the salvation of Israel. God's Holy Spirit will be poured upon all flesh, empowering and equipping for ministry during the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.
It is interesting and somewhat baffling that Peter referenced this prophecy of Joel, on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:14-21. In verse 14 it says, "But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel." This was obviously not a fulfillment of Joel's prophecy, because the setting is not the Tribulation Period. Peter is standing at the beginning of the church age, a period of time not seen by Joel or the Old Testament saints. On the day of Pentecost, there was no blood, fire and smoke, and the sun was not darkened. Peter was telling those who witnessed the out pouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, that such things were not evidence of people getting drunk. It was like in kind, if not a preview, to what Joel prophesied, and one day would be fulfilled!
Component two: Great Tribulation.
Joel 2:30-31 says, "And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come." These "wonders in the heavens and in the earth" described here are the manifestations of God's judgment during the Tribulation Period. They shall come as a consequence of the seal, trumpet, and "vial" or bowl judgments poured out on the earth. Verse 30 gives us these wonders on the earth.
On the earth, there will be blood. The breaking of the fourth seal judgment, will bring death to one quarter of the world's population. Revelation 6:8 reads, "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." The trumpet judgments will destroy one third of both sea and human life. Revelation 8:8-9 reads, "And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed." Notice Revelation 9:13-15. "And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men."
During the "vial" or bowl judgments, the remainder of the sea will become like blood and destroy what is left of life in the sea. Revelation 16:3 says, "And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea."
On the earth, there will be fire. During the trumpet judgments, fire will be flung to the earth, burning up one third of the trees and all vegetation. Revelation 8:5 reads, "And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake." Verse 7. "The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up." The fourth bowl judgment will scorch men with fire. Revelation 16:8 says, "And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire."
On the earth, there will be smoke. The fifth trumpet judgment will bring smoke so dense, it will obscure all light and pollute the air supply. Revelation 9:2 says, "And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit."
Verse 31 describes the wonders in the heavens as having to do with the sun and the moon. "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come." In Matthew 24:29, Jesus said of this time, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken."
The horrors of the Great Tribulation will prepare Israel for the culminating event. Two thirds of the Jewish population will die or be killed during this period of time. Zechariah 13:8 says, "And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein." God however, will preserve a remnant who will call upon Him at the coming of Jesus Christ.
Component three: The appearance of Jesus Christ.
Joel 2:32 concludes, "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call." Zechariah 13:8-9 speaks of this as well. "And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. 9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God."
At the second coming, Jesus Christ returns with millions of His holy angels and saints to planet earth, to put an end to man's war called Armageddon. The heavens will radiate with the glory and splendor of Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords! Revelation 19:11-16 reads, "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. 13 And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
One of the first things the returning Christ will do, is destroy the armies of the earth gathered against the city of Jerusalem. These armies will suddenly go from heroes to zeros! Looking up, seeing King Jesus the mighty deliverer with His massive military sweeping down out of the heavens, they will be utterly destroyed. Millions will die! The Antichrist will be forcefully taken and thrown into the lake of fire, and the devil will be thrown into the bottomless pit, where he is kept prisoner there for 1000 years. It is at this time, that Israel, seeing Jesus' return in great power and glory, will be saved!
Paul writes in Romans 11:25-27, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." The returning Christ, will move from heaven to the Mount of Olives in preparation for the millennial kingdom.
What a moment in time, when Israel shall see Jesus and be saved! Have you had your moment in time? Are you saved? Are you ready for the Judgment Day?