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Joel study guide

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Preparation Prior to the study session, participants should read:
Joel 1: Locusts destroy the crops
Joel 2: 1-3: But the worst is yet to come
Joel 2: 12-14: But you still have a chance
Joel 2: 28-32: Prophecy: signs of the end, and the spirit is coming
    and Acts 2: 1-21:: Prophecy fulfilled
Joel 3: The judging of the nations
Orientation Joel is book #29 of 39 in the Old Testament, and the second book of the Minor Prophets. For more information see the Bible Overview page.

Synopsis Joel takes advantage of a natural disaster to prophecy about coming events. A plague of locusts has ruined the crops (1:4). This, and a drought (1:20), have brought the economy to a standstill. Joel says this is insignificant compared to the coming Day of the Lord, when the land will be invaded and made desolate (2:11). There is still a chance to avoid this if the people repent (2:12). God will show mercy in both the fertility of the land (2:18 ) and spirituality (2:28). A ray of hope: everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved (2:32).

Joel then describes a Valley of Judgment (3:14) in which all nations must account to God in the end times. God controls history (3:17) and will bless the remnant of God's people (3:18).

Discussion points Joel calls for the wearing of sackcloth (1:13). What is the purpose? Does our clothing/appearance make a social statement?

The Day of the Lord tells of dreams and visions (2:28). Who will have these? What could they be about?

Connections End times: Joel prophesies warnings of the end times (2: 29-31). Compare this prophecy to Isaiah 13: 9-10, Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:24, Luke 21:25, Revelation 6:12.

The Holy Spirit: Joel prophesies a day when God will pour out His spirit (2:29), which is fulfilled after the resurrection of Jesus; when the Holy Spirit comes on Pentecost. Joel says it will be poured onto servants, men, and women. Does this mean everyone is included? Are any excluded? Read the fulfillment in Acts 2. Did everyone get the Holy Spirit? What was the criterion? Read Peter's speech reminding people of the prophecy, in Acts 2:14-21.

Swords and spears: Compare Joel's prophecy about war and peace (3:10) with that of Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3. How can this startling difference be explained?

For source citations see the home page. Revised April 9 2014

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