The Lord's Army!

— Joel 2:25 —

A study on the the Lord's great army.


Brian Kuehmichel

April 6, 2012





What are the four parts of this army?

  • the palmerworm
  • the locust
  • the cankerworm
  • the caterpillar

Joel 1:

4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.

Joel 2:

25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

Amos 4:

9 I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

Joel 2:

10-11 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

Haggai 2:

21-22 Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.


Is this really about four types of insect plagues? Or is it much bigger because "the earth shall quake...the heavens shall tremble"?


When used as a symbol in the Scriptures, the term "earth" represents mankind's broken social order. The term "heavens" would depict mankind's current sinful spiritual or ecclesiastical order. [These are in contrast to the new heavens and new earth spoken of in Isaiah 65:17; 66:22 and 2 Peter 3:13.] So when Joel in chapter 2 says, "The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble" and Haggai in chapter 2 says, "I will shake the heavens and the earth" it becomes evident this is neither a literal earth nor a literal heaven. God explains His intent in Haggai 2:21 when He says, "I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen".

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Who sends this strange and mighty army?

What then is this thing in Joel 2:25 called: "my great army which I sent among you" that God has prepared for "the day of the Lord?"


Isaiah 2:

12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:

Isaiah 13:

6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.

9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

Jeremiah 46:

10 For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiated and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.

Ezekiel 30:

3 For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.

Joel 1:

15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

Joel 2:

1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;

2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.

3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.

10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:

11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.

32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Joel 3:

9 Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:

10 Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

11 Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.

12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.

13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.

14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

16a The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake.

Amos 5:

18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.

19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

20 Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?

Obadiah 1:

15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.

Zephaniah 1:

7 Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.

8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD's sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.

14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.

Zechariah 14:

1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.

2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

Malachi 4:

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.

1 Thessalonians 5:

2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

2 Peter 3:

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

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What kind of army is this?


Could this army be Christians or another kind of army? In the Scriptures Jesus' disciples are described as a "little flock" (Luke 12:32) and their one weapon is not physical since it is called the "sword of the spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:17) Their "warfare" is the subduing of their own flesh and its desires. (2 Corinthins 10:4-5). In John 18:36 "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." And in Revelation 19:14-16 the Lord Jesus as King is described as riding a "white horse" and His "armies which were in heaven followed him." Another prophetic description is given in Psalm 149:5-9.

What other army would be suitable here? God has used foreign nations such as Moabites, Ammonites, Assyrians, Egyptians and Babylonians to punish Israel in the past. He has even called Assyria "the rod of mine anger" and when they were overly aggressive God subsequently punished them too. (Zechariah 1:15)

What kind of army would fit the prophetic description in Joel 2:7-8? Could it be an army that no longer follows its central command? This has recently happened in Eastern Europe and in Egypt. This army seems to have one collective purpose: to change the ruling powers. It may be fueled by perceived financial and social injustices, by greed or hatred, or by ideological or religious agendas. Since May 2011 places ranging from Spain, Egypt and Libya in the east to United States in the west have seen their groups of malcontents surge up. These can easily lead to an anarchistic debacle with significant consequences.

The four kinds of insect plagues (the palmerworm, locust, cankerworm and caterpillar) present as waves. This same thing is implied in the term "birth pangs" used in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3. In Revelation 16 it is described by saying: "the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell." The "great city" is the present spiritual order for "in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints" (Revelation 18:24). Then "the cities of the nations fell" impling their civil/economic/social structures collapsed one by one. Since Revelation 18:9-11 describes "the kings of the earth" in their "lament for her," these kings and their kingdoms collapse after spiritual Babylon is destroyed.

Speaking of Babylon God said, "Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the earth." (Jeremiah 51:24) Again God speaks saying: "Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillers; and they shall lift up a shout against thee. (vs. 14) Ezekiel also prophecies in chapters 38 & 39 speaking of the army of Gog as "even a great company with bucklers and shields." These come up against Israel who is dwelling peaceably or "safely" to destroy her and take "spoil."

The historical event in 2 Chronicles 22:15-23 [link] "in the valley of Jehosaphat" was predictive of the future gathering of nations against Israel. And Israel will be helpless against so many, therefore she must let God be the "hope of his people and the strength of the children of Israel." (Joel 3:1-20) [link]

2 Chronicles 20 [link]

2 Chronicles 20:27-29 Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies. And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD. And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel.

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. [These are symbolic mountains, nations and kingdoms as shown in vs 6.]

Joel 2:11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

Joel 3:16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

Zechariah 14:1-5 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.

Zechariah 14:13-14a And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem.

This whole event is described graphically in Ezekiel chapters 38 [link] and 39 [link].

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What will be the end results?


The results will be amazing —

2 Chronicles 20:15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.

Isaiah 2:2-4 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Isa 29:6-7 Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire. And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel [Jerusalem], even all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision.

Isa 66:15-16 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.

Zechariah 14:16-17 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.

Jeremiah 3:17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.

This tumultuous time is shown in Psalm 46 [link] where the symbols of earth, waters (seas), heathen (nations), mountains, and kingdoms are used helping us to understand their application in other scriptures.



What happens to the Christian believers?


The Christian is briefly mentioned in Psalm 46 under God's protection and care.

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

1 Thessalonians tell us about Christ's return and gathering up of His disciples.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

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Will Israel survive?


God will gather them out of all countries.

Jeremiah 32:37-41 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.

God will bring Israel into their own land.

Ezekiel 37:21-23, 26 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.

God will make Israel prosper.

Isaiah 60:12-13 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. (See: Zech 14:3-4)

Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob said Isaiah.

Isaiah 2:2-3 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.



What will happen to the nations?


God's spirit will be poured on mankind ("upon all flesh").

Joel 2:28 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.

The mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains said Isaiah in chapter 2.

Isaiah 2:2-4 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

The book of Revelation tells about God's dwelling on earth amongst men.

Revelation 21:1-3 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.



For further study see: This Land IS Mine!

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