The Berean Expositor
Volume 51 - Page 178 of 181
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How could Joel write that the Day of the Lord `is at hand', `is nigh at hand', `is near'?
This is indeed a problem and one which some expositors fail to face. We may not be able
to fully understand what is meant here but prayerfully and in all humility we should
consider it.
First this is not a problem of translation.
Joel 1: 15
Joel 2: 1
Joel 3: 14
is nigh at hand
is at hand
is near
is nigh at hand
is at hand
is near
is near
is near
is near
is at hand
is at hand
is at hand
is near
near it is
is near
is near
is upon us
is near
is close at hand
is near
is near
"Is close at hand"! "Is upon us"! We search the book of Joel in vain for an answer
but I Cor. 2: 13 exhorts us to compare "spiritual with spiritual" and if we can find the
same or similar expression in Scripture and see how that is used we can get a clue to help
solve the problem in Joel.
Matthew 3: opens with John the Baptist preaching . . . . .:
"Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3: 2).
He is not alone in this call. In Matt. 4: 17 the Lord Jesus Christ says:
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Mark 1: 14, 15 has similar words and if we understand that the kingdom referred to
and the repentance required are the same as those referred to and required by the O.T.
prophets then we can appreciate that we are again dealing with the repentance of Israel
and the restoration of their kingdom by their Messiah from heaven. But although this
kingdom was at hand, it wasn't set up! Instead of solving the problem of Joel we seem to
have added to it. Let's add more!
In Matt. 16: 28 the Lord says:
"Verily I say unto thee, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till
they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom."
This is repeated in Mark 9: 1 and Luke 9: 27. Some claim that this was fulfilled at
the transfiguration which took place soon after (Matt. 17: 1-9), but that does not seem to
be correct especially as Mark 9: 1 has:
"shall not taste of death till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power."