Monday, July 05, 2021

2021.07.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joel 2:28–32

Read Joel 2:28–32

Questions from the Scripture text: When will this happen (Joel 2:28a)? What will God do (verse 28b)? Onto whom? Who will prophesy (verse 28c)? Who will dream dreams (verse 28d)? Who will see visions (verse 28e)? Upon whom else will Yahweh pour out His Spirit (Joel 2:29)? Then, what will Yahweh show, where? (Joel 2:30a)? What three things on earth (verse 30b)? What two things in the heavens (Joel 2:31a–b, cf. Revelation 6:12)? Before what (Joel 2:31c, cf. Revelation 6:17)? Who will be saved (Joel 2:32a–b)? What will be where (verse 32c)? What establishes/guarantees this salvation (verse 32d)? Who are the ones who end up calling on the name of Yahweh (verse 32e–f, cf. verse 32b)?

Earlier in the chapter, Joel 2:1-11 asked the question, “For the day of Yahweh is great and very terrible; who can endure it?” By the time we finish the chapter, we get the answer, “whoever calls on the name of Yahweh.” 

Joel 2:28 begins, “and it shall come to pass afterward.” The locust plague was a foretaste of judgment to come. And the repentance that He has commanded Israel in the face of the locust plague, and to which He has responded with marvelous grace, is a foretaste of salvation to come. What are some of the features of that salvation? 

In Joel 2:28-29, we saw that this salvation comes by a pouring out of the Spirit that would give to Gentile slave girls more of God’s revelation, and more understanding of it even than the prophets of old! But as they begin to understand the Bible, what is it that they will understand? They will understand a day of salvation for those who, by the pouring out of the Spirit of the Lord, recognize the death and resurrection of the Lord, call upon the name of the Lord, and join the church of the Lord, all by the electing grace of the Lord.

Because God is God of creation and providence, Lord of heaven and earth, He attended great redemptive works with wonders in the heavens and wonders in the earth. The Exodus event was full of them; if you include Sinai and the wilderness wanderings, there were multiple signs of the kind mentioned here. Fire and smoke at the bush, but the bush unscathed. The river turned to blood. The plague of darkness being second greatest, only eclipsed by death of the firstborn. Pillar of fire, pillar of cloud. Sinai shaking and smoking and burning. All of the blood, fire, and smoke of the sacrifices at the consecration of the tabernacle and the priesthood.

Joel puts us in expectation of such signs. So, when darkness covers the land at high noon with Jesus on the cross. And the juxtaposition of His dying with the slaughter of the Passover lambs. And the earthquake that opened the tombs, with the dead rising.  The blood that He shed from His side. The earthquake at His resurrection. Less than two months after these things, surely the wonders in heavens and the earth were still remembered and talked about.

So, when another sign of fire from heaven appears at Pentecost, with the pouring out of the Spirit, they know that the day has come. For, the word “before” in Joel 2:31 means not “in advance of” but rather “in the presence of.” The day of darkness has come! There had never been a day like it, and never would be.

But the greatness of the day was not only the day of darkness on the cross, but the day of salvation that the cross and resurrection had ushered in. The day of verse 31 ushers in a new age of salvation by calling upon the Name of Yahweh. The poured-out Spirit brings those who are being saved to the understanding that the day of darkness was Jesus’s crucifixion, and especially that Jesus Himself is the Yahweh of Joel 2:32b. 

The apostle Paul especially picks this truth up in Romans 10:9–14. The fact that Jesus is Yahweh Himself is the basic belief of all Christian hearts, the basic confession of all Christian mouths, the basic message of all gospel preachers. It is only in calling upon the name of Jesus as the LORD that we can be saved, and everyone who calls upon Jesus as the LORD in Spirit-given faith, will surely be saved.

We are also not surprised to find that the primary place where this preaching and believing occurs is the gathered church, because Joel tells us this too: in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance (Joel 2:32d). Here is where one tastes heavenly gifts, the work of the Holy Spirit, the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come (cf. Hebrews 6:4–5). 

This doesn’t mean that everyone in church is saved, but it does mean that though God be free to do otherwise, we ought not expect that anyone will be saved apart from His church. Here, especially, is that prophesying of all to all in the singing and supping, to which Joel 2:28-29 alluded. It is this way because Yahweh has said that it would be this way (Joel 2:32e).

And salvation comes in the way that Yahweh has said, because it comes to the men of God’s choosing by the method of God’s choosing. There is a remnant, those set aside from the whole. And it is God Who does the setting aside. If He didn’t all would perish. But He has a remnant, and when He calls them, they call upon the Name of Jesus as Yahweh, and are saved. This believing and confessing and calling continues for the rest of this life—and, because of His salvation, for unending ages to come!

Have you come to recognize the death and resurrection of Christ as the great day of the Lord that has brought in the day of salvation? Whom do you know Jesus to be? Who convinced your heart of this? How is your life one of calling upon His Name? How are you connected to the church within which He says this deliverance is found? 

Suggested songs: ARP130 “Lord, from the Depths to You I Cried” or TPH413 “Revive Thy Work, O Lord!”

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