Many Bible writers have little “time indicators” they use to “forward” the stories they tell or the doctrines they teach. Matthew loves the adverb “then.” And Mark frequently utilizes the word “straightway.” But the Old Testament Prophets (Joel included, of course) use phrases like “in those days” or “at that time.” Normally (and logically) with the Prophets some future event is in view.
For example, Joel 3:3 … “For, behold, IN THOSE DAYS, and IN THAT TIME, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem.” Joel here is relating words from Almighty God, clearly.
God is going to “congregate” Israel!
To “gather” (or “re-gather”) her from the far-flung corners of the world.
The Lord perhaps began to do that back in 1948 with the re-establishment of Israel as a little Nation. BUT … Joel has in mind a greater and fuller re-gathering.
By using “Judah” and “Jerusalem” the Prophet here gives us his own time-line. Yet he still means all the Jewish people.
But WHY does God want them “in the land” once more?
Because He promised such to Abraham and his children, his offspring! Genesis 15:18 tells it in brief: “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” That’s a lot of real estate! Much more than Israel has ever literally possessed, so far.
Then too, God is going to subject Israel to a time of Tribulation (out of love for her, to humble her and ultimately bring her to Jesus) … for this she needs to be in the Land, her Land!
So … Joel here tells us of the gathering process.
Isaiah, I think, describes the same gathering. “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time TO RECOVER the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and SHALL ASSEMBLE the outcasts of Israel, and GATHER TOGETHER the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Isaiah 11:10-12
Jeremiah too. “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The LORD liveth, which BROUGHT UP AND WHICH LED led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.” Jeremiah 23:5-8
Then … tomorrow … Lord willing, we shall see the next event in Joel’s chronology.
This man sure says a lot in a little space!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell