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Reading for Today: Joel 1:1–3:21


Reading for Today:

Joel 1:1–3:21
Psalm 140:6-13
Proverbs 29:24
Revelation 2:1-29
Notes:

Joel 1:2 Hear…give ear. The gravity of the situation demanded the undivided focus of their senses, emphasizing the need to make a conscious, purposeful decision in the matter. The terminology was commonly used in “lawsuit” passages (Is. 1:2; Hos. 4:1), intimating that Israel was found guilty and that the present judgment was her “sentence.” elders…all you inhabitants. The former term refers to the civil and religious leaders, who, in light of their position, were exhorted to lead by example the entire population toward repentance.

Joel 2:28 afterward. The abundance of material blessings would be followed by the outpouring of spiritual blessings. When coupled with the other temporal phrases within the passage (“in those days” [v. 29] and “before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD” [v. 31]), the term points to a Second Advent fulfillment time frame. all flesh. Since the context is “your sons and your daughters,” “all flesh” best refers to the house of Israel only. The nations are the recipients of God’s wrath, not the effusion of His Spirit (3:2, 9ff.).

Revelation 2:4 left your first love. To be a Christian is to love the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:21, 23; 1 Cor. 16:22). But the Ephesians’ passion and fervor for Christ had become cold, mechanical orthodoxy. Their doctrinal and moral purity, their undiminished zeal for the truth, and their disciplined service were no substitute for the love for Christ they had forsaken.

Revelation 2:8 Smyrna. Smyrna means “myrrh,” the substance used for perfume and often for anointing a dead body for aromatic purposes. Called the crown of Asia, this ancient city (modern Izmir, Turkey) was the most beautiful in Asia Minor and a center of science and medicine. Always on the winner’s side in the Roman wars, Smyrna’s intense loyalty to Rome resulted in a strong emperor-worship cult. Fifty years after John’s death, Polycarp, the pastor of the church in Smyrna, was burned alive at the age of 86 for refusing to worship Caesar. A large Jewish community in the city also proved hostile to the early church.

Revelation 2:13 where Satan’s throne is. The headquarters of satanic opposition and a Gentile base for false religions. On the acropolis in Pergamos was a huge, throne-shaped altar to Zeus. In addition, Asklepios, the god of healing, was the god most associated with Pergamos. His snakelike form is still the medical symbol today. The famous medical school connected to his temple mingled medicine with superstition. One prescription called for the worshiper to sleep on the temple floor, allowing snakes to crawl over his body and infuse him with their healing power.

Revelation 2:24 the depths of Satan. This unbelievable libertinism and license was the fruit of prognostic teaching that one was free to engage and explore the sphere of Satan and participate in evil with the body without harming the spirit.

DAY 12: Who was the prophet Joel, and what was he writing about?

The author identified himself only as “Joel the son of Pethuel” (1:1).The prophecy provides little else about the man. Even the name of his father is not mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament. Although he displayed a profound zeal for the temple sacrifices (1:9; 2:13–16), his familiarity with pastoral and agricultural life and his separation from the priests (1:13, 14; 2:17) suggest he was not a Levite. Extra-biblical tradition records that he was from the tribe of Reuben, from the town of Bethom or Bethharam, located northeast of the Dead Sea on the border of Reuben and Gad. The context of the prophecy, however, hints that he was a Judean from the Jerusalem vicinity, since the tone of a stranger is absent.

The theme of Joel is the Day of the Lord. It permeates all parts of Joel’s message, making it the most sustained treatment in the entire Old Testament (1:15; 3:14).The phrase is employed 19 times by 8 different Old Testament authors (Is. 2:12; 13:6, 9; Ezek. 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18 [2x],20; Obad. 15; Zeph. 1:7, 14 [2x]; Zech. 14:1; Mal. 4:5). The phrase does not have reference to a chronological time period, but to a general period of wrath and judgment uniquely belonging to the Lord. It is exclusively the day which unveils His character—mighty, powerful, and holy, thus terrifying His enemies. The Day of the Lord does not always refer to an eschatological event; on occasion it has a near historical fulfillment, as seen in Ezekiel 13:5, where it speaks of the Babylonian conquest and destruction of Jerusalem. As is common in prophecy, the near fulfillment is a historic event upon which to comprehend the more distant, eschatological fulfillment.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214

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