Joel 1:14–15 talks about a fast and a solemn assembly (Hebr. atzeret, Strong’s H616), which is a reference to one of YHVH’s annual feast days, which occurs before the Day of YHVH Wrath. This is an a obvious prophetic reference to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), which occurs in the fall between Yom Teruah and Sukkot, and is the only annual high Sabbath/solemn assembly where YHVH’s people are required to fast (Lev. 23:27). In the prophetic end time scenario of the fall feasts, Yom Kippur occurs between the catching away (“rapture”) of the saints (pictured by Yom Teruah), and the beginning of Yeshua’s millennial rule (pictured by Sukkot). Yom Kippur is the time of the judgment of the world when YHVH will pour out his wrath upon rebellious and unrepentant man (Rev 15–16, the Seven Bowl Judgments).
Joel 2:1 speaks about blowing the shofar and sounding the alarm in Zion, for the day of YHVH is coming. This is a reference to the time period surrounding Yom Teruah, the day of shofar blowing or awakening blast. These shofar blasts seem to correspond to the Seven Trumpets of the Book of Revelation, which occur just prior to the resurrection of the righteous dead (Rev 11:14–18) and the Day of YHVH’s Wrath (Rev 15–16).
Joel 2:2 further calls the time period surrounding Yom Teruah a day of darkness, gloominess, clouds and thick darkness. This cross references with Matthew 24:29–31 and tells us the timing of the resurrection of the dead, which is after (verse 29) the Great Tribulation (verse 21). All this is the precursor to the great and terrible Day of YHVH’s Wrath (Joel 2:11). The word morning in verse two is the Hebrew word sachar (Strong’s H7837) meaning “morning, dayspring, dawn.” This is darkest time of the night, and Joel uses this poetic metaphor to describe spiritual conditions existing on earth just prior to the return of Messiah Yeshua who will come as the Sun of Righteousness with healing in his wings to break the hold that spiritual darkness has had on this earth once and for all (Mal 4:2, cp. 2 Pet 1:19).
Joel 2:12–15 further identifies the time period that this series of passages is discussing as being what is commonly called by the Jewish sages “the 40 Days of Teshuvah (repentance),” which begins on the first day of the sixth month on the Hebrew/biblical calendar and ends on the tenth day of the seventh month, which is Yom Kippur. These three verses clearly delineate the major aspects of this forty-day period. YHVH’s people are to:
- to turn from their sins (called teshuvah meaning to repent),
- to turn to YHVH with all their hearts indicating a deep (not just a surface), heartfelt repentance,
- to fast, which is a direct reference to Yom Kippur/the Day of Atonement when Scripture requires YHVH’s people to fast or afflict their souls (Lev. 23:27),
- and to weep and mourn for the sins one has committed that have separated one from YHVH.
In Joel 2:15–17, we see that within these days of teshuvah there is a time of shofar blowing, followed by the sanctifying of a fast which again is connected to the idea of a solemn assembly (atzeret, verse 15). This is a clear reference to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), which occurs on day forty of the forty days of teshuvah (repentance), and occurs on the tenth day of the seventh month. Verse 15 speaks of blowing the shofar (on Yom Kippur), which is a reference to the third in the trilogy of shofar blasts that occur on Pentecost, Trumpets and finally on Atonement. This final or jubilee blast and is called the Great Shofar Blast or Final Shofar (Shafar haGadol) and signifies when in ancient Israel all debts were forgiven, all land was returned to its rightful owners and all captives were set free. Prophetically, this pictures when the returning Yeshua will defeat all his enemies including the armies of the Beast, Babylon the Great, which has enslaved the world spiritually, economically and politically, and Yeshua will cast Satan into the bottemless pit. This is the Day of YHVH’s Wrath or Vengeance. It is even possible that the Day of YHVH’s Wrath may last for a year and terminate on Yom Kippur of the next year.
At this point, some honest Scripture students may wonder why we think that certain key prophetic end time events have to occur on the feasts. The answer is simple: Since certain key events pertaining to Yeshua’s first coming occurred on the specific feast days that until then had prophetically pointed to those events (for example, Yeshua was crucified on Passover when the Jews were sacrificing the Passover lamb in the Temple; Yeshua resurrected one the day the Levites were offering the first fruits of barley harvest; Yeshua poured out his Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and wrote the Torah on the hearts of the saints, which corresponds to the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai on Pentecost some 1500 years earlier; etc.), we have good reason to believe (based on scriptural precedence) that such will occur again regarding events surround the fall feasts.
Joel 2:16 speaks of the bridegroom going forth from his chamber and the bride coming out of her closet. This prophetically refers to the meeting of Yeshua, the Bridegroom, and his spiritual bride (the saints who have prepared themselves for the wedding of the Lamb) who will have a joyful reunion in the air at this time after the catching away of the saints. This occurs on or after Yom Teruah and during the Day of YHVH Wrath leading up to and on Yom Kippur.
Joel 2:12–14, 17 speaks of a time period of great repentance for all the inhabitants of the earth (including the saints) not only during the first 30 days of teshuvah (repentance) leading up to Yom Teruah, but especially for those inhabitants of the earth who were not caught away to meet the Bridegroom in the air on Yom Teruah, and who still remain on this earth during the “Ten Days of Awe” between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur when the wrath of Elohim will be poured out upon the earth (the Day of YHVH). Many will repent of their wickedness and rebellion against YHVH during this time, and many will not.
Joel 2:17 speaks of the priests weeping between the porch and the altar of the Temple and making intercession for the people. We know that this occurred on Yom Kipper when the priests would actually slaughter a bull as an atonement for the sins of the priesthood and the people between the porch and the altar (The Temple and Its Ministry and Service, by Alfred Edersheim, pp. 248–249). Their weeping and crying out to YHVH to spare his people indicates that prophetically this will be a time of great duress upon the earth as YHVH’s pours out his wrath upon unrepentant humanity.
Joel speaks of the Day of YHVH (1:15; 2:1,11,31; 3:14), which is a time period associated with the ten days between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur. The concluding event of this time period (the wrath of Elohim) will be the Battle of Armageddon when YHVH will gather all nations to mount one final assault against the Messiah in an effort to thwart him from establishing his world-ruling kingdom on earth (3:2; 12:14). Joel refers to this as the “Valley of Decision” for these nations (verse 12). They will be given the opportunity to choose to fight or submit to King Yeshua the Messiah. There YHVH will judge the nations based on the decision they make (verse 12) (this very likely is the judgment between the sheep and goat nations Yeshua refers to in Matthew 25:31-46) before slaughtering those who persist in rebelling against him (verse 3:13; Rev 14:14–20). Zechariah also speaks of the Day of YHVH when YHVH will gather all nations against Jerusalem (Zech 14:2) and he will “go forth and fight against those nations” (verse 3), after which Messiah will touch his feet down upon the Mount of Olives (verse 4)—an event that will usher in the rule of Messiah on earth and the 1000 year long Millennium (Messianic Age).
With the back drop of the fall feasts in mind as we read from the writings of Joel, along with the Forty Days of Repentance being a time of turning from sin, mourning and weeping prior to YHVH pouring out his judgment upon unrepentant humanity, what should be our emotional and spiritual disposition as we entire the time period of the fall feasts? Yeshua is coming again to judge both the wicked and the righteous. Each will be rewarded according to the fruits of their actions. With these things in mind, please read 1 Peter 4:17–18; 1 Corinthians 5:10 and Matthew 5:19.
Psalm 51:17, Sacrifices…broken spirit…contrite heart. Broken is the Hebrew word shobar meaning “to burst, break (down, off, in pieces, up), bring to birth, breach” and refers to a one’s personal spirit that YHVH has broken into or breached. This is necessary if there is to be a breakthrough in one’s spiritual life.
The fallow ground of one’s heart must be broken up or tilled for righteousness to occur as one seeks YHVH (Hos 10:12).
The hard and carnal heart of each person must be circumcised (Deut 10:16; 30:6; Jer 4:4; Col 2:11). This occurs through repentance from sin as this psalm explains.
It is then that not only one receives salvation, but joy comes with that salvation (v. 12) along with gladness (v. 8). Why? Because YHVH has lovingly purged and cleansed us of our sins and blotted our past sins out (vv. 1, 2, 9) and the guilt therefrom (v. 14) and has us whiter than snow (v. 7).
When does this happen? Only when we acknowledge our sins (v. 3), and not until then. This freedom from sin and spiritual heart, mind, and emotional cleansing only occurs when we humble ourselves, allow the light of YHVH’s truth (v. 6) to shine into deep and dark areas of our lives, and to expose the sin that lies therein (v. 3b).
This process all starts when we allow YHVH to break open the fallow ground of our hard, stoney and sinful hearts (v. 17). When this happens, the good seed of his Word can fall onto the fertile soil of our lives like rain on parched ground resulting in a rich harvest (Matt 13:23) of spiritual fruit (Gal 5:22–25). So repent of sin!