Home > Free Essays > Religion > Religion History > The Prophet Joel and The Plan of Salvation

The Prophet Joel and The Plan of Salvation Research Paper

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Dec 7th, 2021

Introduction

The beginnings and the events of the Bible up to the time of Jesus and up to today all lead to God’s plan of salvation for Israel, but also to the people of God. The early Christians always thought of the eschatological age, i.e., the coming of the final events or “The Day of the Lord”, in the prophet Joel’s words. This is expressed in the author’s Fee and Stuart’s words as the Jewish Eschatological Hope – the coming of age as characterized by the presence of the Spirit, righteousness, health, and peace, as opposed to the Age of Satan (the present age) characterized by sin, sickness, demon-possession, and evil people triumph.

The plan of salvation in the Hebrew Bible started with the events in the first five books known as the Pentateuch. Although there are debates as to the number of books, because some scholars would say that there may have been six books or more, still the events lead to or compose God’s Master Plan.

Hebrew children were taught or have heard of these Pentateuch events: the story of Adam and Eve in Paradise, the temptation of Eve, the sending off from Paradise, and then Abraham’s covenant with God (or God’s covenant with Abraham), the great flood, Moses’ lead of the Israelites from bondage to the Promised land, the giving of the Ten Commandments, and so forth.

These are not only lessons for the Hebrew children but for all children of the world who want to know God and his Master Plan. And this is the Plan of Salvation in the Hebrew Bible that we plan to dissect in this paper.

The Historicity of Israel from Patriarchal to Post-Exilic Periods

The Plan of Salvation

The Pentateuch is a narrative of some of the best Biblical stories that include creation, God’s covenant with the Patriarchs, Exodus and the giving of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai. (Gooder 2004, 3)

The history of Israel can be divided into four main periods covering the time of the Patriarchs, the Exodus and the conquest, the period of the Kings, and the post-exilic Jewish community.

God had called Abraham and his descendants Jacob so that from them would emerge his people, “his own instrument to bring the history of all humanity to maturity and to a happy end.” (Christian Community Bible 1988, 10)

Abraham lived from 1800 to 1700 BCE. He lived a nomadic life along with his family, traveling with their flocks throughout Mesopotamia, Syria, Canaan, and Egypt. He left Haran for Canaan when God promised him that he would give him descendants in that country. (Christian Community Bible)

The Israelites would travel with their tents and their flocks within the two civilizations of that time: Mesopotamia and Egypt. Jacob lived around 1600-1500, and received new blessings from God.

The Israelites would live for hundreds of years under bondage in Egypt. Moses would lead them out of the land when God called him up in Mt. Sinai. God had led them, crossing the Red Sea, which for them was a sign that God was liberating them in order to put them at his service. A Covenant was formed between Yahweh and Israel through Moses in Mt. Sinai.

The Israelites would then spend 40 years in Kadesh. They would have to fight rather than make pacts with the Canaanites and other tribes of the land. When Moses died, Joshua succeeded him. Joshua succeeded in conquering a portion of the land of Canaan. After this, the twelve tribes of Israel were now being led by the “Judges”.

The Philistines were the next the Israelites would have to face. They arrived by sea, and subsequently occupied the coast and the Palestine valleys. This forced the Israelites to unite to preserve their independence. The period of the Kings followed, with King Saul being killed by the Philistines. He was succeeded by David who conquers Palestine and the surrounding areas. King David made Jerusalem the center of national unity. David worshipped Yahweh; he lived as a prophet receiving a promise from God that his descendants will reign after him.

David’s son Solomon built the Jerusalem Temple which replaced all the other sanctuaries. Israel became an organized and urbanized nation.

There was a split or division of the kingdom of Israel when Solomon dies: the Kingdom of Judah, to the South, with its capital in Jerusalem and with the Temple; and the Kingdom of Israel, to the North, larger and more prosperous, but more chaotic in terms of political life, and “tensions between traditional faith and the temptations of modern life”. (Christian Community Bible 1988, 11)

The Kingdom of Judah was led by kings, priests, and prophets. The great prophets were Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, who promoted a personal faith in the Living God, which demanded justice and sincerity. (Christian Community Bible 1988, 11)

The Persian Emperor Cyrus conquers Babylon and liberates the Jews. The liberated people reorganized Jerusalem with no known rulers or kings. Prophets are scarce. Priests are now taking charge of the community with the Mosaic Law as the basis for civil and religious life. The Mosaic Law is written in its final version by Ezra. The Temple and worship justify the life of the people of God, the Israelites.

Again crisis occurs with the coming in of the Greeks who introduces a new culture and a new religion. A minority of the Jews, known as the Hasidim, still promote the Judaic religion and introduce belief in the resurrection of the dead.

Around 167-160, the Syrians came in and persecuted the Jews who fought hard with armed resistance, this time under the leadership of the Maccabees. The Jews obtain religion and peace and become an independent nation once again.

In the following century, more foreigners came in to intervene, the Roman Empire came in to exert domination in a disguised form. This was during the time of Herod the Great. This precedes the birth of Jesus.

The Jews then spread through the great cities of the Mediterranean, in other parts of the Middle East, forming communities and spreading the faith in the One God.

All those events led to the plant of salvation of God. The birth of Jesus Christ can be called the culminating factor in that this led to the salvation of the world, not only the Jews, but for those who come and worship Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior.

The Pentateuch

The Pentateuch is the story of the beginnings of the people of God.

“…The whole of the Pentateuch is describing the beginnings of the people of God, starting with the creating and ending on the banks of the river Jordan, as the people who follow Moses prepare to enter the Promised Land. The theme of creation is present not only in the formation of the world but also in the formation of Israel as the people of God. As the narrative unfolds, the creation of Israel is revealed. (Gooder 2004, 1-2)

The Pentateuch has been the subject of many writings and influential works of Hebrew Bible scholars. It has a great role in the history of beginnings. It is valuable to understand the origins and aims of the Pentateuch.

Theories abound on who wrote the Pentateuch, which refers to the first five books of the Old Testament.

“Even the most superficial reading indicates that the Pentateuch contains a variety of literary styles: flowing narratives are placed next to genealogical lists; complex law codes appear alongside elaborate visions of God. (Gooder 2004, 10)

Some say it was written by Moses himself. This is the traditional view which arose from the statement in Deuteronomy 31:9 that ‘Moses wrote down this law, and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel’.

But a theory states that the Pentateuch was written by not only one writer but several, and one of them was an unknown writer called Yahwist. He wrote a first history of God’s people, beginning with the story of Paradise, and he could also be the same man who wrote most of the history of David in the books of Samuel.

Yahwist had sources at his disposal and these were the memories and legends that the Israelites had passed on from generation to generation. He used the literature of the Babylonians, which were composed of poems, in writing about Adam and Eve and Paradise, the great flood, etc. He transformed some of these writings to express God’s plans for His creation. (Christian Community Bible 1988, 40)

In the 9th century before Christ, another author who was called Elohist wrote about the patriarchs and of Moses. He sometimes repeated some of the writings of the Yahwist, at times combining his with the Yahwist. The priests after the Exile in Babylon also added poems about creation that were added in the book of Genesis.

Moreover, Gray (2008, 4) has an interesting argument on the authorship of the Pentateuch, saying that Moses wrote the five books that compose the Pentateuch. Gray stated his grounds for Moses’ authorship of the Pentateuch:

  1. “The whole Christian church and the whole Jewish nation have believed it” (Gray 2008, 4);
  2. Jesus Christ believed it “… [r]ead his words in Mark 12:26,Luke 14:44, John 5:46, 47, and elsewhere. In these words he speaks of Moses, of Moses’ writings, the book of Moses, the Law of Moses, etc., and it is admitted by all the critics that in so doing he has in mind the Pentateuch as we have it today.” (Gray 2008, 25)
  3. “Because other Scriptures of the Old Testament bear testimony to it. So frequent are these testimonies as to be quite familiar to every reader of the Bible, without question. The ‘Law,’ the ‘Book of the Law,’ the ‘Law of Moses,’ ‘The Book of the Law of Moses,’ how frequently we meet such references.” (Gray 2008, 26)
  4. The passages in Exodus 17:14, 24:3, 4, 7, 34:17, Numbers 33:2, Deuteronomy 28: 58-61, 31:9, 22, 26, etc. – which all state that “Moses wrote the account of the battle with the Amalekites, he wrote all the words of the Lord received in the mount…” (Gray 1008, 26)

As one reads through the five books discreetly, he/she can notice the presence of different writing styles. There are inconstancies and repetitions in the five books.

“The presence of different writing styles and various inconsistencies within the Pentateuch has raised questions about whether it was written by a single hand.” (Gooder 2004, 10)

Historicity and the Different Arguments on the Books’ Date

As early as the seventeenth century, a question has already been raised as to the notion that a number of sources lay behind the final text of the Pentateuch, and the dating of the possible sources.

“In 1883, J. Wellhausen set out the ‘Documentary Hypothesis’ in its classic formulation in his now famous Prolegomena to the History of Israel (first translated into English in 1885). The significance of Wellhausen’s theory lay not in his enumeration of four sources, since that had been done before, but in the order he proposed for their composition.” (Gooder 2004, 12)

The four sources for the Pentateuch are: the Yahwist Source (abbreviated as ‘J’ from the German ‘Jahvist’), the Elohist Source (‘E’), the Deuteronomic source (‘D’) and the Priestly Source (‘P’). (Gooder 2004, 12)

Wellhausen (cited in Gooder) used this technique to identify the sources and when these sources were written. He said that the ‘J’ and ‘E’ were written first, and edited by an editor after their composition, and could have been written ‘in the monarchial period’. The ‘P’ could have been written last. Wellhausen also noted that there are six books, instead of a ‘Pentateuch’ or five books. (Gooder 2004, 12)

More consistently, Wellhausen states the chronology in writing the Pentateuch by the four sources: the ‘JE as the earliest source, followed by the ‘D’, and last the ‘P’.

Wellhausen’s statement of the possible date of composition of the four sources:

  • Yahwist Source (‘J’) – c. 950-850 BCE
  • Elohist Source (‘E’) – c. 850-750 BCE
  • Deuteronomic Source – 622 BCE onwards before ‘P’
  • Priestly Source (‘P’) – Late exilic/early post exilic, before Ezra (Gooder 2004, 13-14)

The Prophet Joel

The Book of Joel was written about 810-660 B.C. Joel is a contemporary of the prophets Amos and Hosea. (Hutchinson 1864, 44)

Joel and the prophets knew that everything is temporary in our world. Joel knew that in every event threatening the lives of the people, they saw the coming of the Lord who judges this world in order to establish the definitive world. For the church, Joel is the prophet who announced Pentecost.

His style of writing

Joel writes “in glowing, beautiful language … speaks of the conversion and return of God’s favored people to the land of their fathers. His style is poetic, solemn, vehement, elegant, and sublime.” (Hutchinson 1864, 445)

The prophet graphically describes the sins of the priesthood and laity, calling upon both to repent, to fast and pray.

Joel’s style uses eschatological language, which is metaphorical.

“Sometimes these metaphors express poetically the language of the final events but are not necessarily intended to be predictions of those events per se.” (Fee and Stuart 2003, 201)

In Chapter 2, verse 12 that says “Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning”, Joel invites the reader to penance. During the time of biblical Israel, public fasts were proclaimed in times of hardships. They would wear mourning clothes or sackcloths and cover their faces with ashes.

Also in biblical times, God communicated through the prophets. In those days, the normal means of prophetic communication was by “dreaming dreams”. Accompanying the wave of prophecy are the signs or “wonders from the heavens” indicating a grave crisis in the world. The image of the sun darkening and “the moon turn to blood” indicate natural chaos and disorder.

Joel however says that those who call upon His Name, i.e., Yahweh’s, will be saved. Men therefore will have to choose, i.e., hanging on to their lifestyles or to call upon God and surrender their lives and hopes to him and to rely on his powerful intervention. This situation was present during the years following the resurrection of Jesus and previous to the destruction of the Jewish nation.

In Chapter 3, Joel announces the Day of the Lord, meaning the coming of the Lord or judgment and salvation. This also means God’s coming. Eschatological time refers to the end, when God brings this age to its close: the end or “The Day of the Lord”. The fullness of the Spirit in Joel is also expressed when the New Covenant spoken of by Jeremiah would be realized (Jer 31:31-34; 32:38-40, cited in Fee and Stuart 2003, 146).

The Greek word for the end the Jews were looking for is eschaton. “Thus to be eschatological in one’s thinking meant to be looking for the end.” (Fee and Stuart 2003, 145) This is expressed in a diagram by the authors Fee and Stuart (2003, 145), symbolical of the cross:

The Jewish Eschatological Hope

The eschatological way of looking at life is figured in this way. Early Christians understood this – Jesus’ coming, death and resurrection, and his giving of the Spirit – were all related to that end which they all expected, the Day of the Lord.

Conclusion

The events of the Bible did not just happen without a purpose. God planned it all for his one purpose of saving his people and be one with him in Paradise. The Jewish people studied and contemplated on the Bible with some thought of the eschatological age, or the coming of age. They always thought of the coming of the Day of the Lord. Early Christians also thought the same – the hope of the Lords saving them from sin.

The plan of salvation of the Hebrew Bible started with great and magnanimous events. They have always been there as part of a child’s primary lessons – first for the Hebrew children, later for the other children of the world – because they connect to the other events in the Bible, until the birth of Jesus Christ. This will ultimately climax in the Second Coming of Christ.

While most of the present-day Christians may have thought of the Eschatological hope, the rest of the peoples of the world do not think of this ‘kind’ of hope, but the hope of material things of the world.

It’s possible that the ‘ultimate event’ of the Plan of Salvation is near at hand.

Reference

Christian Community Bible. 1988. Commentaries. Saint Paul Publications. ISBN 971-501-283-3.

Gooder, Paula. 2004. The Pentateuch: A Story of Beginnings. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0567084183, 9780567084187.

Gray, James. 2008. Primers of the Faith. BiblioBazaar, LLC. ISBN 0559513410, 97805595113411.

Hutchinson, Enoch. 1864. Music of the Bible: Or, Explanatory notes upon those passages in the Sacred Scriptures which relate to music, including a brief view of Hebrew Poetry. New York: New York Public Library. (Digitized, 2008).

This research paper on The Prophet Joel and The Plan of Salvation was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Research Paper sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2021, December 7). The Prophet Joel and The Plan of Salvation. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-prophet-joel-and-the-plan-of-salvation/

Reference

IvyPanda. (2021, December 7). The Prophet Joel and The Plan of Salvation. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-prophet-joel-and-the-plan-of-salvation/

Work Cited

"The Prophet Joel and The Plan of Salvation." IvyPanda, 7 Dec. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/the-prophet-joel-and-the-plan-of-salvation/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Prophet Joel and The Plan of Salvation." December 7, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-prophet-joel-and-the-plan-of-salvation/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "The Prophet Joel and The Plan of Salvation." December 7, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-prophet-joel-and-the-plan-of-salvation/.

References

IvyPanda. 2021. "The Prophet Joel and The Plan of Salvation." December 7, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-prophet-joel-and-the-plan-of-salvation/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Prophet Joel and The Plan of Salvation'. 7 December.

Powered by CiteTotal, easy citation generator
More related papers