This article is part of the Christ in All of Scripture series.
Bad and Good News
In typical prophetic form, Joel gives his readers both the bad news of God’s judgment and the good news of his promised deliverance. The book contains a description of a dramatic judgment on God’s people through a devastating plague of locusts. This serves as a warning of the great “day of the Lord” at the end of time. Joel also includes one of the Old Testament’s most significant promises regarding the future coming of the Holy Spirit.
The promise of the Spirit reminds us that the help we need is nothing less than supernatural.
Both the judgment and the promise remind us of our desperate need for God’s help. The judgment that our sins deserve is far worse than a plague of locusts. The promise of the Spirit reminds us that the help we need is nothing less than supernatural. Through the ministry of Jesus Christ, the requirements of judgment and of supernatural provision have both been met. Jesus took upon himself the plague of judgment for our sins (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24) and then promised (John 14:16) and provided (Acts 2) the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible features 375,000+ words of gospel-centered study notes, book introductions, and articles that explain passage-by-passage how God’s redemptive purposes culminate in the gospel and apply to the lives of believers today.
Preaching at Pentecost, the apostle Peter explains that in Jesus the “day of the Lord” prophesied by Joel has taken place—not at the end of history but in the middle of history (Acts 2:16–21). For believers, the end-time judgment has been carried out already—at the cross of Christ. The Spirit not only enables us to believe and receive this free gift but also empowers us to live a new, gospel-shaped life (Rom. 8:11).
This article is adapted from the ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible. Browse other articles in this series via the links below.
Genesis • Exodus • Leviticus • Numbers • Deuteronomy • Joshua • Judges • Ruth • 1–2 Samuel • 1–2 Kings • 1–2 Chronicles • Ezra • Nehemiah • Esther • Job • Psalms • Proverbs • Ecclesiastes • Song of Solomon • Isaiah • Jeremiah • Lamentations • Ezekiel • Daniel • Hosea • Joel • Amos • Obadiah • Jonah • Micah • Nahum • Habbakuk • Zephaniah • Haggai • Zechariah • Malachi
Matthew • Mark • Luke • John • Acts • Romans • 1 Corinthians • 2 Corinthians • Galatians • Ephesians • Philippians • Colossians • 1 Thessalonians • 2 Thessalonians • 1 Timothy • 2 Timothy • Titus • Philemon • Hebrews • James • 1 Peter • 2 Peter • 1–3 John • Jude • Revelation