Day 198: The Day of the Lord
Isaiah 14:1-23 The fall of Babylon would be more dramatic than its victories. Babylon’s powerful domination and fall both bring to light God’s power over history and creation. (CCC 668)
Ch 14:24-27 Assyria did the Lord’s bidding in its defeat of Samaria and its attacks on Judea, but the Assyrians took their barbaric onslaughts further than God had desired and afterward took all the credit for their victories. Assyria was thus condemned for its pride and its excesses.
Ch 14:28-32 The Philistines at one point stole the Ark of the Covenant and battled Assyria during its alliance with Judah during the reign of the corrupt King Ahaz.
Chs 15-16 These chapters are devoted to a prophecy against Moab, a people who sometimes did battle with Judah. Isaiah mourned Moab’s condemnation because the Moabites were distant relatives of the Tribes of Israel.
The Book of Joel
Author and Date:
According to the book that bears his name, Joel, son of Pethuel, lived and ministered in Judah.
He appears to have been well versed in the political situations of his day and in the Temple and its worship.
There appear to be two distinct parts to the book that may have been written at different times as early as the eighth or ninth century BC, but most scholars today believe it probably was written around 400 BC.
The apocalyptic nature of the book, which helps situate its likely date in the post-exilic period, suggests that the intended audience of Joel was the post-exilic Jews whose attention was beginning to look beyond the restoration of Jerusalem and toward a “day of the Lord” when God would free them from all oppression and renew the face of the earth.
This short book has two sections.
In the first the prophet preaches on how Judah is overrun by locusts, which represent sin and evil, followed by a “great and powerful people,” representing divine punishment for sin.
Joel calls the people to penance and conversion before the “day of the Lord” (cf. 1:2-2:17).
In the second section the people do repent, and the blessings of the “day of the Lord” are announced-prosperity, judgment against nations, peace, the Lord dwelling among his people, and the ultimate renewal of Jerusalem (cf. 2:18-3:21).
Joel tells us that the day of the Lord brings both judgment and salvation, an apocalyptic message that lends hope to those who suffer injustice and persecution in this life.
His call to conversion stresses interior conversion-not a mere external ritual devoid of sincerity but a full change of heart in which people turn away from sin and back toward God (cf. 2:13).
To everyone who will do this, God will give a new spirit (cf. 2:28-29).
The people therefore need not fear but only repent, and God will deliver them from their plight.
Joel is quoted or referred to several times in the New Testament, notably in the Acts of the Apostles by St. Peter, who explains the events of Pentecost by citing the prophecy, “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (Jl 2:28; cf. Acts 2:17-21).
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Joel 1:1-20 This book begins with an urgent prophecy to react to the chastisements heaped on Israel. These troubles-represented by the plague of locusts-were a warning of still heavier punishment awaiting the people if they would not turn away from sin. Joel called for Israel to repent through prayer and fasting in the hope of securing forgiveness.
Ch 1:14 Fast: Abstaining from food for reasons of atonement for sin and love of God is a traditional religious practice that dates to the early days of ancient Israel. It remains a discipline in the Church today, especially during Lent. (CCC 1387, 1969, 2043)
Ch 2:1-17 Sounding the alarm, Joel announced poetically a coming tribulation. God would manifest justice by punishing his people for their sin. These verses reflect a sense of urgency to offer God a contrite heart expressed in deeds of penance.
Ch 2:12-18 These verses explain the nature of true conversion. Repentance must transcend mere words or external gestures and elicit true contrition for sin and commitment to keep God’s laws. Visible signs and acts of penance are meaningful only if they express a true interior sorrow and resolution to avoid sin. Without that change of heart, these gestures remain false and empty. Christ re-emphasized the need for a change of heart when he stated that God desires mercy and not sacrifice (Mt 9:13; 12:7; cf. Hos 6:6). These verses are read at Mass on Ash Wednesday, the first day of the penitential season of Lent. (CCC 1430, 1856)
Ch 2:18-27 God speaks of a time to come when he will come to the aid of his people and Israel will prosper once again.
Fear not...great things: This verse brings to mind the Annunciation, the announcement of the angel to Mary that she would conceive the Son of God made flesh, as well as the Magnificat, Mary’s joyful canticle as she greeted her cousin Elizabeth.
Praise the name of the Lord your God: God revealed his name to Moses on Mount Sinai as “I AM WHO I AM,” which denotes his infinite perfection, especially his existence from eternity.
I am in the midst of Israel: This verse hints at the Incarnation, by which Christ became man and dwell among us. (CCC 207)
Ch 2:28-32 The outpouring of the Holy Spirit described here by Joel is an infusion of supernatural grace that purifies and sanctifies a person. Immediately following the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, Peter used this passage from Joel to explain their sudden transformation and their newly acquired ability to speak many different languages (cf. Acts 2:1-21; St John Paul II, Address, November 8, 1989). This passage is read at mass on the Vigil of the Solemnity of Pentecost. (CCC 707, 739)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
GOSH YOU GUYS!
How awesome is this?
This is AAAAAH!!!!!
What a unique kind of place we get to be here by going through the Bible like this
In the Book of the Prophet Isaiah...we have gotten every single day...you might have been....I don’t know how you’ve been coming into this Book of the Prophet Isaiah because you might think well GOSH
Here is Isaiah preaching 700+ BC somewhere in there…700-600+ BC in there...and like what does he have to say for us?
AND YET AT THE SAME TIME we hear about him talking about JUDAH REPENT and HERE COMES BABYLON and ALL THESE KINDS OF THINGS
There are still interspersed in The Prophet Isaiah these FAMILIAR WORDS
Isaiah Ch 14 he is talking about the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar
Isaiah 14:4, “You will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon…”
So he addresses VERY SPECIFICALLY who he is talking to
“...How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased!”
Basically, he is saying “HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN!”
Later on in Isaiah 14:10, “All of them will speak and say to you: ‘You too have become weak as we!’”
I mean, you’re the KING OF BABYLON for crying out loud!
You are the BIGGEST KING in the BIGGEST SUPERPOWER at that time
But here, you too have become as weak as we!
You have become like US
Isaiah 14:11, “Your pomp is brought down to Sheol…”
Sheol is the abode of the dead back in Old Testament times
Now here is this piece you may be familiar with
Isaiah 14:12-15, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend...I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.”
Yes, this is a prophecy against the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar
AND YET…(Prepare to have your minds BLOWN 🤯🤯🤯)
There is also a SPIRITUAL meaning to this prophecy
Remember the PROPHETS aren’t just FORETELLING the future, but they are FORTHTELLING
A lot of the prophecies have an IMMEDIATE meaning and a DISTANT meaning
They have the SHORT TERM meaning
They have the LONG TERM meaning
They have maybe a very clear HISTORICAL sense
They also have a SPIRITUAL sense
In THIS case, THIS IS WHERE WE GET THE NAME LUCIFER!!! 🤯🤯🤯🤯
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!”
The translation of “O Day Star” is LUCIFER!! 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯
Lucifer is SATAN HIMSELF 🤯🤯🤯
One of the origin stories of Lucifer is that he is an angel of light
Lucifer means “light bearer” or “O Day Star”
Lucifer was a good angel
God ONLY makes GOOD
Lucifer used his FREE WILL to REBEL AGAINST THE LORD
He did this by saying, “I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God...I will make myself like the MOST HIGH.” 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯 (WHOA!!! WHOA!!! Ok these are my own WHOAs!!!!)
So yes here is the King of Babylon who could have been saying things EXACTLY LIKE THIS
BUT... in a REAL WAY, in the SPIRITUAL SENSE, this is what LUCIFER had done, basically saying, “I WILL NOT SERVE!”
“I WILL MAKE MYSELF LIKE THE MOST HIGH!”
We will contrast that in the next number of weeks in the Book of Daniel
We will learn about the Archangel Michael
We have already met the Archangel Raphael, whose name means “God heals”
That makes sense because Raphael healed Sarah of the affliction of the demon Asmodeus
He healed Tobit of his blindness
Michael means “who is like God”
It’s not a question of DESCRIBING
Fr. Mike’s name is Michael, did you know that?
Michael does not mean the STATEMENT “Who is like God.”
Michael means the QUESTION “Who is like God?”
Michael led the angels in Heaven in battle against Lucifer the Light-bearer, the Day Star who REBELLED AGAINST GOD
What did Lucifer say?
“I will make myself like the Most High.”
And here is Michael whose name means “WHO IS LIKE GOD?”
So you have Lucifer saying, “I WILL NOT SERVE”
And you have Michael saying, “I WILL SERVE”
Lucifer is saying, “I WILL MAKE MYSELF LIKE GOD”
Michael is saying, “NO NO NO NO NO, LISTEN, WHO IS LIKE GOD?”
So we have in Isaiah Ch 14 we have not only the prophecy about the King of Babylon who WILL ULTIMATELY BE TOPPLED
We also have the prophecy against and about LUCIFER who will ULTIMATELY BE TOPPLED 🤯🤯🤯🤯
THIS IS REMARKABLE!!! 🤯🤯🤯🤯 (Ok please let me collect myself for a moment…that was so….WOW!!)
We also have Moab in Isaiah Ch 15
There is an oracle concerning Moab, telling them they will be destroyed
There will be Moabite refugees and things will be very difficult
Now we move on to The Book of Joel
We only have two days with Joel
We don’t know exactly when Joel was written
We do know that Joel was preaching to the Southern Kingdom of Judah but we aren’t sure WHEN
What we do know is that his preaching in this book came on the heels of a NATIONAL TRAGEDY
The national tragedy is in Joel 1:4, “What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten.”
A PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS
This happened in the land that stripped EVERYTHING
EVERYTHING IS GONE
The same thing happened to the Egyptians and the People of God were SPARED
Now, it has happened to the People of God and it is HORRIBLE
Joel is saying, “Yes but here is what’s coming. What’s coming is EVEN WORSE than a plague of locusts. What’s coming are these soldiers, this army that is coming to you. And what they are going to do, if you think the plague of locusts was bad, this is going to be EVEN WORSE. Those locusts were all over each other. They were completely disordered and they stripped everything bare. There is an army coming and they are going to be completely ordered. They are not going to even touch each other. They are going to march lockstep in line and they are going to destroy EVERYTHING.”
Joel is basically saying, “And THAT is the Day of the Lord!”
They have experienced the Day of the Lord with the locust thing
But this arm is coming
And THAT is going to be THE DAY OF THE LORD
That army that is coming, IS THE VOICE OF GOD
IT IS DIFFICULT TO ACCEPT
Joel 2:11, “The Lord utters his voice before his army, for his host (meaning army or battalion) is exceedingly great; he that executes his word is powerful. For the day of the Lord is great and very awesome; who can endure it?”
So this is GOD’S ARMY?
This is God ALLOWING this army to essentially call the People of Judah BACK TO REPENTANCE
AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN
Whenever God allows TRAGEDY to befall His people, it is ALWAYS oriented NOT TOWARDS THEIR DESTRUCTION
BUT...TOWARDS THEIR EDUCATION
NOT TOWARDS THEIR END
BUT TOWARDS THEIR REPENTANCE
THAT IS ALWAYS THE GOAL
That DAY OF THE LORD is meant to bring JUSTICE
That DAY OF THE LORD is meant to bring RIGHTEOUSNESS
That DAY OF THE LORD is meant to bring VINDICATION
BUT ALWAYS ALWAYS
That DAY OF THE LORD is meant to bring the people BACK TO GOD
It’s one of the reasons in Joel 2:12 God says, “‘Yet even now,’ says the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart…’”
Here comes the soldiers and the incredible army
“YET, EVEN NOW RETURN TO ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART WITH FASTING WITH WEEPING AND WITH MOURNING AND TEAR YOUR HEARTS AND NOT YOUR GARMENTS.”
Even that YET is SO GOOD!!
What that means is DON’T JUST LOOK HOLY
DON’T JUST TEAR YOUR GARMENTS AND LOOK HOLY
TEAR YOUR HEARTS AND BE HOLY
DON’T JUST LOOK LIKE A GOOD WORSHIPER, ACTUALLY WORSHIP
DON’T JUST LOOK LIKE SOMEONE WHO REPENTS, ACTUALLY REPENT
God says so POWERFULLY in Joel 2:25, “I will restore to you the years which the swarming locust has eaten…”
Not just is God going to restore the CROPS or their HOMES or their LAND
God is going to restore THE TIME THEY LOST!
That is something SO POWERFUL
THIS PROMISE OF GOD
When we COME BACK TO GOD and we are HIS AGAIN
The RESTORATION is not just, “Here is your stuff back!”
GOD RESTORES ALL THAT YOU LOST AND MORE!!
God is even going to restore THE YEARS THAT YOU LOST
God is even going to restore THE TIME THAT YOU LOST
This is the GREAT PROMISE OF GOD
This is the GREAT INVITATION OF GOD TO COME BACK TO HIM WITH ALL OUR HEARTS
That’s the invitation for Fr. Mike, for me, and for you
Let’s not just SOUND HOLY
Let’s not just LOOK HOLY
Let’s ACTUALLY BE HOLY
Let’s not just SOUND like people who LOVE GOD
Let’s actually BE PEOPLE WHO LOVE GOD
Fr. Mike is praying for that for all of us
Please pray for each other for that, to be PEOPLE WHO LOVE GOD
Here we are in the middle of this time together
WE NEED EACH OTHER
WE NEED GOD’S HELP
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and with our mouths we want to give you glory and we want to say words that honor you, God, because you are so good. You love us so well and you love us so fully every single day. So please, Lord, help us to know your love. Help us to know your name. And help us to know your voice. And help us always to speak of your love, to speak of your name, and to speak with the voice that you would speak because it is true that we need to guard our words and we need to guide our words. Another way to say it, Father, I just ask that you guard my words and that you guide my words. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”