Bible Answer

Comparing Joel 2 to the judgments of Tribulation

In the sixth seal judgment of Tribulation, the sun goes dark and the moon turns to blood. Are these the same signs Joel is writing about in Joel 2?

Joel's prophecy in chapter 2 describes events during Tribulation, and some sound very similar to those described in the sixth seal judgment of Tribulation, but these are actually different judgments. In Revelation 6 we read:

Rev. 6:12  I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 
Rev. 6:13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 

These events take place in the first half of the Tribulation. Joel describes similar events:

Joel 2:28  “It will come about after this
   That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions. 
Joel 2:29  “Even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days. 
Joel 2:30 “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,
Blood, fire and columns of smoke. 
Joel 2:31 “The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood
 Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 
Joel 2:32 “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Will be delivered;
For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
There will be those who escape,
As the Lord has said,
Even among the survivors whom the Lord calls. 

The book of Joel describes events during Tribulation, and like in Revelation, Joel describes moments of God's wrath when the sun is darkened and other signs appear in the sky. Nevertheless, these signs are not the same as those described in Revelation 6 because the context of the two passages does not match. 

In Revelation 6, the events of the seal judgments occur at the very beginning of the seven-year Tribulation, while the events described in Joel are associated with the very end of Tribulation. In Joel 2:32 we read that the signs in the sky will immediately precede the rescue of Israel, but the rescue of Israel occurs at the very end of the Tribulation, according to Zechariah 12-14. Therefore, the signs in the sky in Revelation 6 are different than the ones that are described in Joel 2.

In fact, these types of signs do appear numerous times during Tribulation. Across the Old Testament prophets and in the book of Revelation, we can find at least four separate occasions when blackouts or other signs in the sky occur during Tribulation. The book of Joel describes two such occasions, one in chapter 2 and another in chapter 3. 

Therefore, the blackout described in Joel 2 is the blackout associated with the fifth bowl judgment near the end of Tribulation. Soon thereafter, the nation of Israel will be saved as described in Zechariah 12. The blackout of the sixth seal judgment is an earlier moment in Tribulation.