Joel 3:18-21 — The Lord Dwells in Zion

May 24, 2014

Joel begins with lament over the famine and drought as Yahweh’s army threatens Jerusalem with desolation, but it ends with abundance and water-filled ravines as Egypt and Edom become a wilderness. This reversal happens because “Yahweh dwells in Zion.” “In that day,” Joel announces, the fortunes of Israel are reversed. “That day” links Joel 3:18 […]


Joel 3:1-17 — The Nations Held Accountable

May 16, 2014

In the first half, Joel called Israel to lament and repentance, to fasting and assembly (Joel 1:1-2:17). In the second half, Joel assures Israel that their gracious and compassionate God will “restore their fortunes.” Yahweh promised a new creation where even the soil and animals as well as the people will rejoice (Joel 2:18-27). Yahweh […]


Joel 2:1-11 — Eden Despoiled

April 9, 2014

The “day of Yahweh,” or the “day of the Lord,” reverses creation. Through creation God subdued the chaos and gave it boundaries, but divine judgment releases chaos. The “day of Yahweh” uncreates. Eden is despoiled. Or, more specifically in the context of Joel, Israel is threatened with the prospect that the land flowing with milk […]


Revelation 11:15-19 — A Climactic Announcement

August 31, 2013

The drama of Revelation’s second vision (Revelation 4:1-16:21) comes to a climactic moment when the seventh trumpet sounds. The whole of heaven–the four living creatures, the twenty-four elders, myriads of angels and the great multitude–have seen the seven seals opened and all seven trumpets sounded. Heaven anticipates something dramatic. The seventh horn is trumpeted and […]


Revelation 8: Prayer and Plagues

August 3, 2013

The Lamb took the book out of the hand of the one who sits on the throne and began opening the seals. The opening of the first four seals were accompanied by four horses that spread destruction upon one-fourth of the earth. The next two seals asked two questions. The martyrs asked “how long” will the persecution continue […]


Revelation 6 – Divine Judgments on Empires

July 20, 2013

The Lamb, having taken the book of prophetic judgment from the hand of God, now begins to open it by breaking the seals. Systematically, the Lamb breaks one seal after another–six in Revelation 6. As each seal is opened John hears and sees a variety of images that evidence divine judgment or are related in […]


Revelation 1:9-20 — An Imperial Christophany

May 28, 2013

The Christophany–the appearance of Jesus to John–sets the tone for the letters to the churches (Revelation 2 & 3) and provides the ground for patient endurance through the dramatic conflict that the Apocalypse will unfold in the second and third visions (Revelation 4-16 and Revelation 17-21). It is, therefore, important to pay close attention to […]


Amos 8:1-14 — The Pride and Greed of Jacob

April 19, 2013

The dialogue between Amos and Amaziah (7:10-17), which interprets the third vision (7:7-9), is followed by a fourth vision (8:1-3) with a further interpretative comment (8:4-14). Ripe for judgment, Yahweh reminds Israel exactly why they will face eventual calamity. God judges them for their economic practices and the greatest calamity they will experience is divine […]


Amos 4:1-13: “Yet You Did Not Return to Me”

March 4, 2013

This is the second of Amos’s three prophetic speeches against Israel. They each begin with “Hear this word” (3:1; 4:1; 5:1). The first announced God’s coming visit in judgment against Israel while the third will voice lament. The second highlights divine patience and persistence in seeking to turn Israel from its sins. While this second […]


Amos 3:1-8 — An Oracle of Divine Punishment, Part I

February 20, 2013

The first two chapters of Amos set Israel’s sins within an international context.  As they heard Amos condemn one after another of their regional neighbors they were no doubt alarmed that Israel was included in the list and received the most attention. Israel is the focus of Amos’s concern. The second major section of Amos […]