Joel 2 and the supernatural tasks of the Holy Spirit


Koot van Wyk


           The Holy Spirit will do supernatural events and tasks. “And I will perform signs in the heavens and on the earth: blood, fire and pillars of smoke” (Joel 3:3 in Hebrew = Joel 2:30 in English). The sun shall turn to darkness and the moon to blood prior to the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord (Joel 3:4). Remember that Joel 3:3 has the Lord in their midst (Joel 2:27). This verse is before that event and thus a slight rewinding. It is before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord [lipne bo yom Yahweh hagadol wenora] (Joel 3:4 in Hebrew = Joel 2:31 in English). Even Martin Luther knew that it should not be interpreted preteristically as happened in the days of Joel “A something strikingly awful shall forewarn that the world will come to an end, and that the last day is even at the door”. G. I Butler said that “the sun, therefore, must be darkened in the first part of the last twenty years of the 1260. Any other darkening will not answer the prophecy” (G. I. Butler, Facts for the Times: A collection of Valuable Historical Extracts on a Great Variety of Subjects of spiritual Interest to the Bible Student, from Eminent Authors, Ancient and Modern [Battle Creek, Michigan: Review and Herald, 3rd edition 1885], 158). His reason for his calculation is Matthew 24:29 which stated that the signs will come “immediately after the tribulation of those days”. Butler’s emphasis of “immediately after the persecutions” is thus well taken. It was divinely scheduled to be permitted for 1260 years until 1798, but it was shortened. “The persecution ceased about 1776 or at the latest 1778” (Butler 1885: 157). For this reason the darkening of the sun 19 May 1780 is applicable as a signal in the domain of Joel 2:31. Butler provides evidence that historians are saying that Maria Theresa abolished torture in 1776 in her states. In Italy the arbitrary powers of the Inquisition was circumscribed within narrow limits. Butler is including the phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis as a signal in the sky or heavens (Butler 1885: 170). The Aurora Borealis was first seen in America 11 December 1719. It was seen prior than 1706 as an object of terror to the people of Iceland (Butler 1885: 171). Rabbi Redak of the Middle Ages came to Joel 3:4 = Joel 2:31 and he placed it in the context prior to the coming of the Messiah that Israel will suffer from the war of the Gog and the Magog as in the prophecy of Zechariah 14. So far we have seen a Rabbi Redak, a Protestant Luther and an Adventist Butler placing Joel 3:4 = 2:31 squarely in the domain of the End Times.