October 19, 2014

Joel, the Prophet of Pentecost

By Angelo Asiminakis, theologian

The Church honors the memory of the Prophet Joel on October 19th. The name "Joel" means "Jehovah is God". He is fourth in the series of the so-called Twelve Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. The son of Bethuel of the tribe of Reuben (but this is not clear, as some have him being of the tribe of Gad), Joel prophesied during the reign of Joash who was King Of Judah (878-838 B.C.). It is not known exactly when he lived.

His prophetic book is distinguished for its poetic style, ornateness, liveliness and it is a jewel of Jewish literature.

The Prophet preached repentance to the people of Judah and a return to God, saying: "'Even now,' declares the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.' Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in mercy, and He relents from sending calamity" (Joel 2:12, 13) He then expresses the gratification of God for the repentance of the people, as long as it takes place, and the promise that He would be with them and protect them: "Then will the Lord be jealous for His land, and pity His people. Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto His people...'My people shall never be ashamed'" (Joel 2:18, 19, 27).

Joel is a Prophet who among other things also foretold Pentecost with these words: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit" (Joel 2:28-29).

This prophecy was referenced by the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost, when he gave his first homily after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and three thousand people came to believe in the faith of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit is the river Who irrigates the Church, just as the Prophet Joel prophesied: "I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh."

The Holy Spirit "fills all creation with life", as the Church chants.

The Prophet Joel, seeing the future bathed in the light of the eighth day, unambiguously confirms the belief that "the Lord will dwell in the midst of Zion" (Joel 4:21).

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.