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?

6 Answers 6


There is very similar imagery in Revelation to particular verses in Joel. A comparison is shown below:

Joel 2:4-5 (NIV)
4 They have the appearance of horses;
they gallop along like cavalry.
5 With a noise like that of chariots
they leap over the mountaintops,
like a crackling fire consuming stubble,
like a mighty army drawn up for battle.

Revelation 9:7-8 (NIV)
7 The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. 8 Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 9 They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle.

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:

Joel 2:25-26 (NIV)
25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm[b]—
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.

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:

Joel 2:28-32 (NIV)
28 “And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.

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.

  • 1
    Wow, could we have posted any closer together? Upvoted for the Revelation reference.
    – a_hardin
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 17:32
  • @a_hardin: [chuckle] I never saw a "new answers have loaded" thing. I'm guessing you didn't either? :P Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 21:15
  • Nope. We were less than a minute apart. :P
    – a_hardin
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 22:13
  • @a_hardin: LOL. [high-five] :D Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 22:18
  • 1
    Except, in Acts 2 Peter says that "end-timey" stuff from the end of Joel 2 was happening then (when Jesus first sent them the Holy Spirit).
    – Guy
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 3:13

Joel 1 tells of an invasion of locusts which eats everything.

Joel 1:4-7 NIV
4 What the locust swarm has left
  the great locusts have eaten;
what the great locusts have left
  the young locusts have eaten;
what the young locusts have left
  other locusts[a] have eaten.

5 Wake up, you drunkards, and weep!
  Wail, all you drinkers of wine;
wail because of the new wine,
  for it has been snatched from your lips.
6 A nation has invaded my land,
  a mighty army without number;
it has the teeth of a lion,
  the fangs of a lioness.
7 It has laid waste my vines
  and ruined my fig trees.
It has stripped off their bark
  and thrown it away,
  leaving their branches white.

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.

Joel 2:2-5 NIV
2 a day of darkness and gloom,
  a day of clouds and blackness.
Like dawn spreading across the mountains
  a large and mighty army comes,
such as never was in ancient times
  nor ever will be in ages to come.

3 Before them fire devours,
  behind them a flame blazes.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
  behind them, a desert waste—
  nothing escapes them.
4 They have the appearance of horses;
  they gallop along like cavalry.
5 With a noise like that of chariots
  they leap over the mountaintops,
like a crackling fire consuming stubble,
  like a mighty army drawn up for battle.


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.)

  • 2
    David, welcome to C.SE. just a note for next time, you need two line breaks, or two trailing spaces to achieve a paragraph break in the SE markup. I have fixed it here, but you can see your output just below the text entry box next time. Again welcome and if you are new to SE check out our FAQ
    – wax eagle
    Commented Sep 18, 2011 at 1:52

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.

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE! And thanks for providing an answer. If you wish to get further oriented on this site, please take the Site Tour. And for tips and pointers on getting the most out of the site, you can brows some of the articles in the Help Center. Commented May 20, 2015 at 12:53

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.

  • Welcome to Stack Exchange! The questioner is asking for a "Biblical basis." Could you point to specific verses in the chapter your interpretation is based on? Or verses from elsewhere in the Bible where similar imagery is used and the connection is clearer? Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 17:20

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.

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE! And thanks for offering an answer. Before offering further answers, I would suggest taking the Site Tour to get oriented to this site. Also, please see the article, How we are different than other sites for some points about what is and isn't on topic here. Meanwhile, I hope you'll also browse some of the questions and answers here! Commented May 22, 2015 at 14:52

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