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Joel and Obadiah Overview

The Day of the Lord features prominently in the prophets!

The day of the Lord refers to any period of time in which God deals directly with the human situation either in judgment or in mercy. The expression may refer to a specific day or to an extended period of time, as in the eschatological day of the Lord, which stretches from the rapture of the church to the end of the millennial kingdom (I Thess. 5:1-9; 2 Peter 3:10-13). -John Walvoord, Every Prophecy of the Bible, page 276

Joel is the 29th book of the Old Testament and Bible.

Up until now, we have simply read the next section in the Bible.

But because the Minor prophets include so many short books, we will combine a few. Tonight we combine Joel and Obadiah

The Minor Prophets in the English Old Testament jump around chronologically and geographically.

The theme of the Minor Prophets is judgment for sin, call to repentance, and hope of future restoration.

R.G. Lee’s famous sermon, “Payday, Someday!”

Joel was probably written during the reign of Joash (835-796 B.C), although some believe it’s not until just before the Babylonian judgment of 586 B.C.

We learn about Joash’s reign in Judah in 2 Kings 11-12 and 2 Chronicles 24. 

Joel certainly says the Babylonian invasion is coming, but the other enemies he refers to fit an earlier date: Philistines, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Edomites. The earlier date would also make him a contemporary of Elisha.  

The Day of the Lord is coming, a day of judgment!

A plague of locusts is a picture of God’s judgment on His people!

It’s bad, but God’s day of judgment will be worse!

If you think the locust plague was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet if you don’t repent!!!

The book of Joel emphasizes God’s sovereign work in history.

Joel has a message for his nation of Judah: Repent before God brings the army from the North against Jerusalem!

Joel also has a message to the nations: The Day of the Lord is the final settling of the accounts of justice. God will bring human history to its just conclusion.

Joel also contains one of the key prophecies of the Old Testament in 2:28-32: The era of the Holy Spirit and Day of the Lord!      

Yo’el means “Yahweh is God.”

Outline of Joel:

Ch. 1           Day of the Lord in retrospect

Ch. 2-3        Day of the Lord in prospect

The Day of the Lord mentioned 7 times!

Disasters mentioned in Joel:

Locust plagues, famine, raging fires, invading armies, celestial phenomena

A Closer Look at the Book of Joel:

1:1     All we know about Joel – His dad was Pethuel, which means “openhearted toward God!” This is the only time that name occurs in the Bible.

But Pethuel who was openhearted toward God had a son named Joel whose name means Yahweh is God!

I wish we knew more about Joel.

The key thing is that like other prophets “the word of Yahweh” came to Joel, and through him, to us! 

1:4     Poetic language for their locust problem

1:6     A nation has invaded my land

1:13   It’s a time for lamenting and mourning, you priests

1:14   So proclaim a sacred fast; proclaim an assembly

Gather the leaders and the people at the house of the Lord and cry out to the Lord.

1:15   The Day of the Lord is near…

It will come as devastation from the almighty.

2:1     Blow the horn in Zion; sound the alarm on My holy mountain!

Let all the residents of the land tremble, for the Day of the Lord is coming.

2:3     Reference to the garden of Eden?

2:11   The Day of the Lord is terrible and dreadful – who can endure it?

Here’s the hope:

2:12-17       Even now – this is the Lord’s Declaration –

Turn to me with all your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, and He relents from sending disaster.

Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him, so you can offer grain and wine to the Lord your God.

Blow the horn in Zion! Announce a sacred fast; proclaim an assembly. Gather the people; sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children…

Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers, weep…

God’s response:

2:18-19        The Lord became jealous for His land and speared His people!

Look, I am about to send you grain, new wine, and olive oil.

You’ll no longer be a disgrace among the nations. 

2:20             I will drive the northerner far from you…

His front ranks into the Dead Sea.

His rear guard into the Med. Sea.

2:25             I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten!

2:28-32       After this I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity:

Then your sons and your daughters will prophesy…

V. 32           Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Peter says this has been fulfilled in Acts chapter 2/ Day of Pentecost.

He means the outpouring of the Spirit, the rest awaits the great tribulation, second coming, and millennial kingdom.

3:1     Future day of judgment for nations after Jerusalem is restored.

Valley of Jehoshaphat.

That is a valley between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. Jehoshaphat won a big battle there. His name means, “The Lord Judges.”

Also: Tyre, Sidon, Philistia.

3:12   Again, the nations gathered in the Valley of Jehoshaphat for judgment.

3:13   Revelation language: Swing the sickle because the harvest is ripe.

3:14   Multitudes in the valley of decision! For the Day of the Lord is near!

3:16   The Lord will roar from Zion!

3:17   Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who dwells in Zion.

Jerusalem will be holy and foreigners will never overrun it again.

3:19   Trouble for Egypt and Edom.

3:20   But Judah will be inhabited forever!


Obadiah is the 31st Book of the Old Testament and Bible.

It joins a handful of the prophetic Minor Prophets directed toward a foreign nation.

Obadiah preaches a message against Edom, a historical enemy of Israel southeast of Judah bordering on the Dead Sea.

The Edomites were descendants of Esau who had given Israel problems since they left Egypt.

They had built a fortress in the steep mountains, giving themselves a false sense of security in their “nest” in the rocks.

Obadiah predicts doom for Edom for their continual refusal to help Israel.

Obadiah’s name means “servant of the Lord.”

The Book of Obadiah is the shortest in the Old Testament, and was probably written between 850-840 B.C. during the reign of Jehoram in Judah. If true, that makes it one of the earliest Minor Prophets, just before Joel.  

The book issues a strong statement to those nations who rely on military might for security at the expense of honoring and trusting God.  -Irving Jensen

Key Verse:

The Day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.      -Obadiah 1:15

Outline of Obadiah:

Judgment on Edom is coming because of persecution of Judah       V. 1-14

Day of Judgment is coming for all nations                                         V. 15-16

Day of Restoration is coming for Judah                                             V. 17-21

A Closer look at Obadiah:

V. 1   Against Edom

V. 2   I will make you insignificant among the nations

V. 10 Because of violence to your brother Jacob

V. 15 For the Day of the Lord is near

Compare what is said with the Golden Rule

V. 17 But there will be a deliverance on Mount Zion!

And it will be holy!

V. 19f f         They will possess…

V. 21           The kingdom will be the Lord’s!

The Edomites were crushed by a series of military disasters and were almost completely wiped out by Titus the Roman General in connection with the subduing of Israel in AD 70.