The book of Joel was written at a time of great catastrophe
in Judah and Jerusalem. God had, from the earliest times,
warned Israel that if they turned from Him and disobeyed His
commands, great disasters would follow (Deuteronomy 28).
Literal plagues of locusts were sent to remind God's people
of what He had said. When He appealed to the Jews through
the prophet Joel, about 800 BC, God likened the forthcoming
invasions of human armies to the cutting, swarming, hopping,
destroying locusts, which they may already have experienced
The invasions of the land of Israel by the Babylonians and
the Assyrians (foretold in chapter 2) were followed many,
many years later by the Greeks, then Romans, and by the followers
of Mohammed. These invasions left the Holy Land desolate until
the Jews returned in the 20th century.
God sent these troubles on His people to encourage them to
return to the true worship of God. Great blessings are promised
when this national repentance finally comes. Meanwhile the
greatest invasion of the Holy Land has yet to take place!
Details are given of an invasion, by all nations, at a time
when Israel are back in the land (3:1) as they are today.
The wickedness of all nations is now so great (verses 12-13)
that when North and south become involved in a great Middle
East conflict, God's judgements will be seen on the earth.
The time is ripe for the putting in of His "sickle"
(v.13) and the cutting down of the wicked!
God will intervene dramatically by sending Jesus Christ to
Jerusalem (v.16) as so many other scriptures indicate. Jerusalem
will become the centre of God's Kingdom on earth and Jesus
will reign as King.