“Shall I leave their innocent blood unavenged? No, I will not.” The Lord dwells in Zion! Joel 3:21
As we complete our reading of Joel, remember this: The Lord dwells in Zion. It is a past statement, harkening back to the first Temple: home of God’s presence. It is a present statement, in how He indwells the hearts of believers while working through events in His chosen land. It is a future statement, of how He will return to make His throne on Zion.
A key to understanding this verse is actually in Isaiah 59:20: ““The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord.” In this verse, the prophet is talking about how God forgives sin when we confess it. In verse 20, he also talks about “The Redeemer,” meaning God Himself will come to Zion, to His throne among people. Joel didn’t know about Jesus; neither did Isaiah, though both of them were aware of times in history when God had appeared as a man. Still, they didn’t know about the physical person of Jesus, who was still hundreds of years in their future.
Yet Jesus did come, God born as a man, living as a man, and crucified as a man at Jerusalem, in sight of Mount Zion, where His original temple (and mercy seat throne) had once stood. In His death and resurrection, He redeemed us from our sins. He paid for them in full. He avenged the death of every man and woman who believed in Him, and He paid for all sins of all mankind for all time.
Some days later, after Jesus ascended, He sent His Holy Spirit to live in us and work through us, to make each of us His Zion temple home, so that His work would be done everywhere He was preached. We live in the age when this is still happening today. At some time in the future, He will return to earth, end time, judge all of mankind on their belief in Him, and usher in the Kingdom where He, descendant of Judah and Master of Jerusalem, will reign forever among us. Once again, at that time, Jesus will avenge the deaths of those who believed in Him and were persecuted or killed for that belief. His Holy word does and will do this.
That’s the message of Joel, and I hope you’ve taken hold of that all these weeks. God used this prophet to give a message of hopeful anticipation about the pending judgment on mankind. The Lord did this not to accuse or punish us, but to gather us to Him so that more might know Him and come to put their faith in Him. Remember and share that always, especially this Christmas.
Next: Good News.
For more reading: Psalm 74:2, Isaiah 1:15, Isaiah 59:20, Ezekiel 36:25, Ezekiel 48:35, Zechariah 8:3, Matthew 1:1
Lord, all praise and thanks to You for the message of Joel, Your prophet.