How are we to understand Joel 2:31, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood”? Some have related this with solar and lunar eclipses and the so-called “blood moon” sometimes seen in a lunar eclipse, it has been an attempt to predict the exact time Christ will return.
The Book of Joel, like many prophecies, sometimes jumped from one period to another. Verse 30 and 31 are clearly “before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord” (verse 31), while the surrounding verses are about the time after Christ’s return. We can find the time setting more clearly explained in Revelation 6:12, which refers to the same incident: “And the moon became like blood.” Since Revelation 6 is recorded in chronological order, it becomes clear that this sixth seal occurs after the five seals listed earlier in Revelation 6 and at the time “a great earthquake” happened. These things have not happened yet.
In the shadow of this destruction and doom, God pleads with the people to humble themselves and seek and worship Him. God said, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments” (Joel 2:12-13). He continued: “Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm” (2:13). All important to God in the process of repentance is a humble heart. An outward showing of worship needs to come together with a genuine change of the heart. Gt condemned the religious leaders of His day for having a form or outward show of religion that did not come from the heart: “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:25-28). He stated that such worship of Him is done in vain (Mark 7:7-9).
Upon repentance, God promises that He “will be zealous for His land, and pity His people” (Joel 2:18). God’s goodness and kindness will be poured out upon the people:
Joel 2: 19,24 – Inhabitants will be satisfied with grain, new wine and oil.
Joel 2:23 – Rain in due season.
Joel 2:26 – Abundance of food for all, “And My people shall never be put to shame.”
Major changes will happen once Jesus Christ returns to govern the entire earth (Revelation 11:15).
Joel 2:27 – He will return to dwell “in the midst of Israel,” and no other false god will ever be worshiped again.
Joel 2:28 – “I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.” Notice He specifies all peoples and nations.
Joel 2:32 – Those who call upon God will be offered salvation.
Joel 3:17 – God will dwell in Zion, and because He dwells in Jerusalem, the city will be declared “holy” or set apart from other cities. The city shall abide “from generation to generation” (3:20).
Joel 3:18 – Agricultural blessings will abound.
Joel 3:21 – God again emphasizes that He will live in Jerusalem.
These scriptures and prophecies of joyful end time events that have not yet happened.
The apostle Peter stated that “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). We need to acknowledge that the Bible predicts world shaking events for the future. God inspired these prophecies, and they are sure to happen. Yet remember the many prophecies that promise hope, joy and happiness as well.
Jesus Christ desires that we “watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worth to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).
Short Outline of Joel
A. The Call to Repentance, Chapters 1:1 – 2:17.
1. By the past scourge of locusts and drought, chapter 1.
2. By the scourge to come, 2:1-17.
B. Israel’s Repentance and Jehovah’s Promised Blessing, 2:18 – 3:21
1. Material blessing 2:18-27
2. In the world Judgment, chapter 3
May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with You