I've always heard that the army described in Joel 2 was some kind of end-time army, but reading about in the NLT (as in the link) the chapter subtitle is "Locusts Invade like an Army". Is there a Biblical basis for either position?
There is very similar imagery in Revelation to particular verses in Joel. A comparison is shown below:
So, there is support for the idea that Joel's Army is an end-times army. But wait! Shortly after that bit in Joel, there's these few verses:
This sounds more literal, and as such, it makes it seem like the earlier passages may have been metaphors. However, immediately after that, it's back into end-timey talk:
As it doesn't really make sense that Joel/God would insert a short literal passage in a chapter of symbolism, I'm going to say that Joel's Army appears to be an end-times army.
Joel 1 tells of an invasion of locusts which eats everything.
Joel 2 describes what the appearance of the locusts will be like. They will block out the sun like clouds and making a loud noise like an army. After they devour a field, it will be like it has been devoured by fire.
Compare Joel ch 1 with Matthew ch 13 - and understand that what is taken away in both cases, is the Word of God.
Joel is an Old Testament book, but it tells us of the "new wine," being cut off, which I believe to mean the New Testament Gospel; and the one who steals away God's Word, is of course Satan, the Devil - God's opponent, and our opponent.
It is clear from Joel, that the effect of the locusts (which is believe are false prophets and teachers), is one of destruction, and leads to much fear, corruption, and loss, among what started out as the product, and fruit, of God's Word, the Gospel of Jesus Christ - the love of the great body (church) will grow cold - the falling away of the body of Christ.
It culminates in what could perhaps be described as the very worst of the 'locusts,' "a people come, great and strong" - (but NOT a righteous people), the "northern army." (which I believe could be North America - home to the 'Toronto Blessing' - a powerful deception, that is corrupting the true Church of God - that being the baptized Church - the Holy Spirit filled Church - God's temple here on Earth - clothed with Power from on High to be a witness to God - doing His Will. See Matthew 13 v 37 - 43. This Scripture also relates to the Northern Army being destroyed - Joel 2 v 16 - 32.
Joel 2 v 25, relates to 2 THESSALONIANS 2, and DEUTERONOMY 13. "He who endures to the end shall be saved."
Joel 2 v 20, can be related to Matthew 13 v 37 - 43, and also Jeremiah 25 v 29 - 38. Satan masquerades as an angel of light - false Christian prophets, and false Christian teachers, operate within churches, where they can influence people, fleece, and mislead them, feeding from them as wolves in the sheepfold.
God permits Satan to 'test' us, but God still destroys Satan in the end -2 Thessalonians 2. God can tempt no man, so Satan has to be allowed to, just as he did with Job, just as he will be permitted to after the thousand years when he was shut away.
'Joel's army' as it is referred to, God's army as Scripture refers to it, is NOT made up of God's people, but they will present themselves as being God's people.
Please relate Jeremiah 25 v 29 - 38, to being 'slain in the spirit.'
And please also relate people hopping around their churches with Revelation 16 v 13 - 14.
There is much more to the manifestations of the 'Toronto Blessing,' than we may know, every manifestation, has a negative connotation - howling - like wolves, roaring - Satan roams around like a lion, looking for someone to devour, (see Joel 1 v 5 - 7), even the laughter, is it just Satan laughing at us, as he laughs through us - the manifestations are simply temptations, and operate in the same way as any other temptation (tongues is a God given GIFT, but should never be taken as evidence of a continued love and obedience towards God, only our doctrine, behaviour, opinions, and beliefs are evidence of our love and obedience towards God, for they indicate which spirit/Spirit has got our attention - test the spirits - test the doctrine, behaviour, opinions, beliefs.)
How about this. The army of the book of Joel maybe talking about people that turn into something that eats flesh of anything living. Somekind of zombie. It says when they fall upon the sword they will not be wounded and their face is the face of blackness . They run to and fro and climb on the tops of houses and climb the walls and run every one on their way. kind of funny how all the shows and movies these days are all about that sort of thing. It also talks about that they eat the flesh that your enemy is in your own house and daughter will turn against mother and son turn against father. They leap from the tops of mountains and climb on the top of houses and enter like a theif in windows.
Joel 2:28-32 is quoted by Peter in Acts 2:17-21. He says in verse 16 "this is that which the prophet Joel spoke of". So in other words, Joel 2:17-32 were being fulfilled in front of their very eyes at that moment.
Now notice Joel 2:28 says, "after this..." So the events leading up to Joel 2:28 had to be fulfilled before Peter spoke in Acts 2. The only way this could be is if the army were the Assyrians or Babylonians. They are the only two Armies to invade Judah in this way before Acts 2. Rome invaded and destroyed Jerusalem in 70A.D.
Assyria invaded Judah in 2 Kings 18:23 about 100 years after this prophecy but never took Jerusalem. Babylon invaded and took Judah and Jerusalem captive about 200 years after this prophecy in 2 Kings 24 .
It is the key phrase in Joel 2:28 "after this" that sets a least a range of time in which it had to be fulfilled.
My interpretation of Joel 2 is an army possessed with demons. If you look at Joel 2:9 it says they come in at the windows. Jesus comes in at the door. Demons come in any way but the door. Snakes and scorpions are demons also. There are many types and shadows to know in Scripture.
In Luke 11:11-13, Jesus explains that if you ask for something of God, why would he give you a demon. The context was the Pharisee's were accusing Jesus of casting out demons in the name of Beelzebub, but why would Beelzebub cast out his own seed.
Joel 2 speaks of the Last Days so IMO, locusts would be an inconvenience, but I think Joel is predicting a war on Israel by human enemies. This army however is controlled by the devil and will bring about the Salvation of Jerusalem by the 2nd coming of Christ. Israel has had many battles but not every one was a Biblical happening. You can be certain this army will appear and will attack because a prophet has seen it.