Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen: But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things. Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things.( Joel 2:18-21)
Joel saw a Locust invasion, a real one, which left the land devastated, stripping away everything living in a series of destructive waves. But He also beheld in it, the “Day of the LORD”. His prophecy was fulfilled in the Babylonian invasion. In four successive waves between 586 -539 BC, the Babylonians stripped away the Royal family of Judah, the skilled artisans, craftsmen and military leaders, and then they came and stripped away the local leaders, eventually they plundered and burned down the Temple, killed many of the Priests and gutted the external trappings of the only true religion on earth at the time.
But Prophecies of the future are like mountain tops. There would be many more “Locust invasions”; the Seleucids would come, as would the Romans, the Mongols, Arabs, and Ottoman Turks, Russians and Poles, Germans, and lately, The British as well.
All would come in their waves, stripping the people of Judah of their children, their lands, their religion, their culture, in short , they would take everything.
This would continue to the very end. This is Joel’s message of the removal of the “Northern Army”.
Joel, by the Spirit of the LORD, is referring to Israel’s final conflict and deliverance, the coming war of Gog and Magog, also to be prophesied by Ezekiel in chapter 38.
We know this because Ezekiel mentions the burial and stench of the dead of that army, after God himself destroys them, and that God will let their bodies be a feast to the birds of carrion (Can you imagine the stench?) and will ordain that their bodies be buried (eventually) on the east of the Sea,(Which is downwind),
On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals.You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord…On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east of the Sea. It will block the way of travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog. (Ezekiel 38: 4-5,11)
Thus Joel and Ezekiel are talking about the same thing. This stripping, gnawing, swarming and devouring of Israel and Judah would continue on down to the very end of time. It is a miracle that God has kept Israel in existence!
Joel’s message tells us that it really didn’t have to be so, but that it will be so. Israel could repent!
God is so much inclined to forgive, to relent, to give a blessing and tor restore, and in fact one day He will be able to do so, in a way constant with His own Holiness.
The LORD loves his people, backslidden though they are, He wants to restore, He would give a blessing again, as in olden times,
Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:
The Lord alone can remove the shame and reproach of His people. But they must turn to Him, repent before him, and in lowly supplication they must seek Him with all of their hearts.
Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.( Joel 2:22-25)
Until that restoration, for Israel all is barren, dead and fruitless.
In the Holy Land, there are two seasons of rain, the one for the planting, and the final Rain for the harvest. Each is essential in it’s turn, the “early rain” and the “Latter Rain”. God made the Holy Land to be morally sensitive, If the People sinned, committed spiritual adultery, and became unfaithful, the rain would be withheld, the crops would fail and the people would die.
God is telling the “Beasts of the field” not to fear, for the grazing lands would be watered again, the trees would bear their fruit, notably the “Fig Tree”(Israel) and the “Vine” (the Church). his barren, dead and fruitless world would soon come back to life, on the day when God pours out the “Latter Rain” upon his Holy people.
On that day, the harvest of grain (Souls) would cover the floors, and the Vats would overflow with “New Wine” (Spiritual life), and God will restore to the people, of what the successive waves of locusts had stripped, gnawed, licked and swarmed away from them.
This will be the day of the resurrection of Life, not just for Israel, but for the whole world!