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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 (1:4).

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.


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