At the close of Chapter 2, Joel wrote 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. This verse serves as a timetable marker for Chapter 3.
Father, thank You again for the prophet Joel. Give us understanding as we conclude our study in his prophecy. Help us to apply what we learn and to share it with others. We ask this in Jesus’ name, the name above all names. Amen.
1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
The time when whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be delivered (Joel 2:32) arrived on the Pentecost that followed the death and resurrection of Christ. Jews have been returning to modern Israel from all around the world for generations now, but there are still more Jews in America than there are in Israel. We are living in those days, but that time has not yet arrived. I believe the final return of the Jews to Israel (Ez 37) will occur after the rapture.
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.
There are different theories on what or where the valley of Jehoshaphat is. A map from the Fourth Century AD identifies the valley of Jehoshaphat as the Kidron Valley, which is on the east side of Jerusalem and extends to the southeast for 20 miles until it meets the Dead Sea. Just as there are different theories about the location of the valley, there are different interpretations about what exactly Joel is saying in the chapter. I believe that this passage corresponds with what Jesus said about Judgment Day in the Olivet Discourse (Matt 25:31-46). Jesus said And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: (Matt 25:32)
Verse 2 indicts the nations for their treatment of Israel in ‘scattering them among the nations’ and ‘parting God’s land’. The diaspora began with the Northern Kingdom in the Eighth Century BC during the time of Isaiah. It continued with the Southern Kingdom in the late Seventh and early Sixth Centuries BC during the time of Jeremiah. That is the clear meaning of ‘scattered my people among the nations’. As for the charge that they parted my land, people have been fighting over the land ever since the diaspora began. The Romans conquered Jerusalem in 63 BC, then renamed the land ‘Palestine’ following the Bar Kokhba Revolt in the Second Century AD. The land was later annexed by the Ottoman Empire, then the British Empire, eventually leading to the birth of the modern state of Israel in 1948.
What about the United States? It has been official US policy ever since 1991 under President George HW Bush to divide (part) the land of Israel. The Trump Peace Plan, touted as the ‘deal of the century’, continues this policy of dividing the land of Israel. (The UN Security Council recently said that the peace talks should be based on pre-1967 lines.) I believe that the deep division we are seeing in America is a result of said policy, at least in part. Joel is explicitly stating that parting (dividing) the land of Israel brings God’s judgment. In the book of Obadiah, the Bible says For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done [to Israel], it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. (Obad 15) For three decades now, the US has been attempting to divide Israel. It should come as no surprise then that our country is the most divided it has been since the Civil War.
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.
4 Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine [Heb Philista]? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head;
Palestine, or Philista, was more or less what we would today call the Gaza Strip. Judea and Samaria is the correct name for what people call Palestine today. Tyre and Zidon, as well as Philista, were allotted to Joshua but the Israelites did not annex them. Consequently, they became pricks in [their] eyes and thorns in [their] sides (Num 33:55). They plundered Israel for spoil and slaves (cf Ez 27).
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 tables were turned when Alexander the Great took 30,000 captives of the Phoenicians. Verse 8 is thought to have been fulfilled when Alexander gave some of these slaves to the Jews, as Alexander had made an ally of Israel.
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.
Verses 9-11 refer to the battle of Armageddon. Following their defeat at the Second Coming, Jesus will judge the nations:
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.
Verse 13 is parenthetical and corresponds to Revelation 14:14-20; the slaughter that takes place at the Second Coming, immediately before Judgement Day. Actually, Judgment Day is a misnomer. The judgment of the nations in Matthew 25:32 and following accounts for the additional 45 days in Daniel 12:12.
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
The valley of Jehoshaphat and the valley of decision are two different terms for the same thing. Jehoshaphat means ‘Jehovah has judged’. The ‘decision’ referred to here is how Jesus decides to judge the nations. (Matt 25:31-46) Although this verse is often used by evangelists to elicit a decision for Christ, that does not seem to be the primary meaning. However, the decisions we make will determine how we are judged, so in a certain sense I suppose it could refer to everyone worldwide, the way evangelists use it. The most important decision anyone ever makes is whether or not to receive Christ as his or her personal Saviour.
15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
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.
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 of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
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.
20 But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.
21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.
The prophecy ends with a new millennium of peace, judgment for Egypt and Edom, and deliverance and forgiveness for Jerusalem. Jerusalem has shed much innocent blood, both in biblical and modern times, but Joel says they will be forgiven and cleansed of their guilt and shame. Messiah saves.
Last week I talked about Yom Kippur and the fifty-year Jubilee cycle. I recently learned that the Nascent Sanhedrin in Israel has once again begun the counting of years for the Jubilee. This required them to rule that the Jews have returned to the land as a nation, not just as individuals. (See verse 1 above.) This year marked the sixth year since they began counting again. I find it interesting that the Sanhedrin’s calendar of sevens coincides with the one that Johathan Cahn popularized in his book, The Mystery of the Shemitah. Next year, the seventh year, also coincides with the ‘Great Reset’ being hosted by the World Economic Forum in 2021. If the dates set by the Cahn and the Sanhedrin are accurate (which nobody disputes as the shemitah year is well documented) then 2022 is a possible candidate for the Jubilee Year.
Now that September is over I will revisit the prophecy I posted in July from Pastor Dana Coverstone. According to the prophecy, there was supposed to be a significant event in September. The passing of Justice Ginsburg could fit, given the temper tantrums that some on the Left immediately had over the prospect of a conservative Supreme Court. Once nominee Amy Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, if Trump is then elected on November 3, which looks likely, I can see how these events could lead to more chaos from sore losers on the Left, or possibly provoke the new world order to do something even more drastic. According to Pastor Coverstone’s prophecy, chaos is supposed to erupt in November. He even claimed to see some sort of Red Dawn event involving China. We shall see. Whatever the rest of 2020 may bring, I am convinced that the church age will be ending soon. With all the things we have discussed in these weekly notes coming together, I would be very surprised if we make it through the next decade before the Lord comes back.
Lord Jesus, thank You that You no longer call us servants, but friends. Father thank You for giving us your Son. Thank You for giving us your Spirit as the earnest of our inheritance. Thank You for telling us all these things before they come to pass that we may believe. Should persecution come, please give us the courage and strength to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.