Two cataclysmic events will take place. First, Israel will war with its Arab neighbors and have a decisive victory. The warfare will probably be confused with Jacob’s Trouble, which will occur subsequently and involve a much greater conglomeration of people. That very last battle will be more along the lines of hand-to-hand combat, but prior to Jacob’s Trouble, regular warfare methods will continue. In Jacob’s Trouble, technology and electronic instrumentation will break down and fail. For example, a little cog missing from a wheel can halt machinery. To wage nuclear warfare requires technicians, money, etc. Hand-to-hand combat is another matter, and the fighting will be on this lower level in Jacob’s Trouble. Isaiah 10:28-32 describes the route Gog will take in coming down from the north, going from city to city and approaching closer and closer to Jerusalem.
To blow the trumpet, or the alarm, means that each of us has a certain degree of responsibility to inform others who are similarly trying to please God. We should alert or warn of the trouble that is about to occur. However, the account here is painting a more natural picture. The Lord’s Great Army of the future will be somewhat like what happened in the past along literal lines. They will pillage and cause destruction in pulling down the present order and feeding upon the remnants of civilization as they now exist. As Christians, we have a responsibility, knowing that a judgment is coming and that judgment begins with the “house of God” (1 Pet. 4:17).
Joel performed the duty of a watchman in his day. He was addressing those in Israel who were asleep and should have been more alert. In addition to being intoxicated and not watching, the people were in a stupefied condition and had difficulty reasoning in a rational fashion.
From the spiritual standpoint, those who have been imbibing the false wine (doctrine) of Christendom are intoxicated and asleep. The “drunkards” need to wake up and realize what is happening, but because they fail to watch and sound an alarm, they will sleep through the doctrines of demons in the coming church-state hour of power. However, a time will come for shock and renewal. The old wine will wear off, and a new experience will come upon them—a radical change for which they are ill prepared.