Joel 3 (King James Version)
Joel 3:1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
See, 3:1 goes right along with 2:28-32 and what we have been talking about.
2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
This chapter deals with Judah and Israel reunion, restoration and God’s judgment upon the nations who held His people captive and treated them so harshly. This verse also speaks of the Battle of Armageddon.
Rev. 16:16; 19:11-21 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon… And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
This valley has gone by many different names, Joel calls it Jehoshaphat, Hosea calls it Jezreel, other places it’s called Megiddo or the Valley of Decision. It is here where God will destroy the wicked and vindicate and restore His People.
3 And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.
This speaks of the cruel and humiliating way God’s people have been treated by the nations of the world in which they were held captive in.
4 Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head; 5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things: 6 The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border. 7 Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head: 8 And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it.
The Stones Tanak says, “Israel has done you no harm, so you cannot claim that you are repaying them (of Me) for past wrongs.”
These people of Tyre and Zidon were two Phoenician cities, sort of Sodom and Gomorrah, close in relation and proximity. Israel once had good relations with Tyre, for Hiram, King of Tyre assisted King Solomon in supplying building materials for the Temple. However, shortly after Hiram’s dynasty ended, so did good relations between them and Israel.
Tyre ended up handing Israel over to the Edomites (Amos 1:9) and the Greeks (Joel 3:5-6) Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied of Tyre’s defeating (Jer. 27:1-11; Ezk. 26:3-21) Nebuchadnezzar then Alexander the Great, then Antiochus the III and seems to indicate that they will have their ultimate and final defeat at Armageddon.
Sidon resisted efforts of the tribe of Asher to drive them out and they turned on their sister Tyre when Alexander the Great came. They are condemned for spiritually oppressing Israel with Baal worship whereas Tyre physically oppressed Israel.
The enemies who are called out are mentioned before, the Phoenicians, but also the Philistines and Sabians (Arabs).
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.
ADONAI issues a challenge to the nations for one final and ultimate showdown. He basically tells them to gather every able bodied man, even ones considered weaklings, for they will need every one of them. HE also tells them their implements of war will not be enough, that they should modify their farm equipment into instruments of war (Isa. 2:4, Mic. 4:3).
The Bullies Bluff is called, this is where it ends, This is the “after school on the playground” if you will. The wicked and their wickedness is likened unto fat and heavy grain, ripe and ready to be harvested and the L-RD is more than happy to oblige (Mk. 4:29, Rev. 14:15, 18-20, Zech. 14:1-9). Even creation itself will turn against the wicked and aide God in the final fight; Just as they did for Moses and Joshua.
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. 17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.
Just as ADONAI created all we see and know with His Voice, His Word (Gen. 1, John 1), HE will destroy it with His voice, a roar and the only ones left standing will be the Jew and Gentile who has covenanted with the God of Israel. For it says that no stranger, meaning a stranger to the covenant, will not set foot on, nor pass through the Promised Land ever again (Amos 9:11- 15, Mic. 4:1-3, 5:2, Zeph. 3:13-20, Zech. 6:12, 13; 12:8-9).
18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth out of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
Ezk. 47:1-12 Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.
Amos 9:13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
Zech. 14:8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
19 Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.
Egypt and Edom, symbolic of Enemies foreign and kin will be judged for their actions against Judah.
20 But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.
Rev. 21:1-22:5 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. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life…. And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.
By this ultimate and final judgment upon the nations and the restoration of Israel will more than make up for whatever may have been seen as Israel not being fully avenged for wrongs perpetuated on them.
The Stones Tanak words it differently and therefore interprets this a little different. The translation reads:
“Though I cleanse, their bloodshed I will not cleanse when HaShem dwells in Zion.”
Meaning, “Though I will cleanse the nations by forgiving many of their sins, I will not forgive them for the bloodshed they perpetuated against Israel. When “HaShem dwells in Zion,” i.e., at the End of Days, they will be punished. When HaShem (Messiah) returns he will punish the enemies of Israel.
Rev 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Rev 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Rev 19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
The Full Life Study Bible says, “The book of Joel ends with a promise that Jerusalem will someday be delivered from her enemies and god’s blessing will be showered upon His people. This blessing consists first of all in God Himself dwelling among His people and showing His love and care. With the destruction of the ungodly nations, God’s kingdom will prevail. Joel’s conclusion shows Israel that those who remain unrepentant will face God’s wrath, while those who repent and seek the Lord will experience His blessings and have a glorious future for all eternity.”
One may say, “How does that console those in the midst of plague or judgment?” It shows that the people thought more of their future progeny than they did themselves. To know that this plague of judgment wouldn’t be an end of them as a people and that there was the promise of a better and brighter tomorrow was comforting indeed. It also put that assurance of a better tomorrow on the shoulders of the present in that repentance was the key to endurance and restoration that secures the glorious future prophesied for ones descendants.
The thought of vengeance upon those who shed innocent blood causes us to rest assured that no death of a believer is meaningless or in vain.
Let us walk away remembering what looks like the end is really a new beginning.
In the service of the God of Israel, Shalom,
Yehudah ben Shomeyr (Kris Shoemaker)