Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the LORD is coming, For it is at hand…. (Joel 2:1)
Our world is sick with sin. The immune system of a godly heritage that once offered protection to America against this plague has weakened to the point our nation is being overwhelmed by evil. Unless we turn to God, our condition is terminal, our demise perhaps imminent. A cascade of catastrophe can overwhelm a country. Our vital signs indicate distress!
I have been in the hospital numerous times—in fact, my first job was at St. Joseph’s Hospital—and heard the call, “Code Blue! Code Blue!” A patient was in a crisis situation—resuscitation was required immediately, or the patient’s next room would be in the funeral home. Sometimes, it is too late, the person too far gone—they cannot be revived.
The Jews of Joel’s era had come to such a critical condition. God tells His prophet to sound the alarm—a spiritual “Code Blue” call goes out. The parallels to America today should be obvious. We have an emergency. Our nation needs intervention—stat!
Joel’s “Code Blue” alarm is phrased as “The Day of the Lord.”
The first chapter contains a PREVIEW OF THE DAY OF THE LORD. Joel’s focus is on the Day of the Lord—a time of retribution for the Gentiles and of redemption for the Jews. The first chapter presents a preview of the Day of the Lord. These were literal events in history which preview future events in prophecy—a portrait of Divine judgment is painted. The devastation we read about was caused by a locust plague. It reminds us that when the Day of the Lord comes it will be a day of retribution. The intent of the suffering was to bring them to repentance. Their distress was meant to drive them to their knees.
The preview of the Day of the Lord, given in chapter one, brings us to PROPHECY OF THE DAY OF THE LORD in the second chapter of Joel. Joel’s, “Code Blue” extends beyond his day, to that future Day—a judgment previewed by historical experiences, that issues in a judgment prophesied in eschatological events. Joel had described a plague of locusts that would devour the land in the first chapter of his prophecy. In chapter two, he describes an invasion of a massive army like a locust plague which decimates the land. If the Jews are not led to repent of their sins by the insect invasion, something much worse is coming—infantry, not insects, from the north (v.20). As the locust plague was devastating in its scope, so the horror Israel faces in her future will exceed any previous terror. Jesus described it as a time of tribulation—not just for Israel, but the world—that if it were any longer all life would perish (see Matthew 24:21-22). Wars and rumors of wars mark the course of the last days and lead ultimately to Armageddon. Beyond the cataclysm of World War III and its bloody campaigns, there is a demonic locust invasion from the abyss during the Day of the Lord (see Rev.9:1-12). Ultimately, Israel’s suffering leads them to cry out to God. Scripture tells us that as the Great Tribulation comes to a crescendo of conflict, the Jews in Jerusalem will face certain genocide, but Christ will come again with the armies of heaven and obliterate Israel’s foes. Get ready! Jesus is coming soon!