Judgment on the Gentiles
Verse 1 – “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,
Verse 2 – I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land.
This prophecy has three fulfillment’s; immediate, ongoing, and final. There is no such Valley of Jehoshaphat, so this must be symbolic. It signifies the judgment of God. The Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites, had frequently entered into territories of Israel and divided among themselves the lands they had overrun. Foreign nations, Arabs, today are still wanting Israel’s land to be divided for peace, they say – ongoing. Then there will be a final gathering of all the nations in the Valley of Jezreel near Migiddo where the battle of Armageddon will take place.
Verse 3 – They have cast lots for My people, have given a boy in exchange for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they may drink.
When Israel lost wars, including the war with Assyria, and when Judah lost to Babylon, their children were sold for whatever they needed. The enemies treated God’s people as of no account. They divided their captives by lot.
Verse 4 – “Indeed, what have you to do with Me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the coasts of Philistia? Will you retaliate against Me? But if you retaliate against Me, swiftly and speedily I will return your retaliation upon your own head;
Verse 5 – Because you have taken My silver and My gold, and have carried into your temples My prized possessions.
Verse 6 – Also the people of Judah and the people of Jerusalem you have sold to the Greeks, that you may remove them far from their borders.
I remember another time not so long ago in our history, where God’s people were rounded up, all their possessions confiscated, and the people were held in bondage or exterminated.
Verse 7 – “Behold, I will raise them out of the place to which you have sold them, and return your retaliation upon your own head.
Verse 8 – I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off; for the Lord has spoken.”
Verse 9 – Proclaim this among the nations: “Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up.
Verse 10 – Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears; let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’ ” (Let none be absent from this war.)
Verse 11 – Assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around. Cause your mighty ones to go down there, O Lord.
Verse 12 – “Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.
Demonic spirits are used to motivate the nations for this final battle. Revelation 16:14, 16 – For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out before kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Verse 16) And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
Verse 13 – Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe, come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow – for their wickedness is great.”
The Lord will trample His enemies like grapes in a winepress.
Verse 14 – Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
This is the Valley of judgment. Not for the unbelievers to make a decision about God, but the verdict that Yahweh is pronouncing on an unbelieving world full of wickedness.
Verse 15 – The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness.
Verse 16 – The Lord also shall roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and earth will shake; but the Lord will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
Verse 17 – “So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be, and no aliens shall ever pass through her again.”
This promise is not yet fulfilled, but refers to a time coming when all God’s enemies are destroyed and no strange god, or unbelievers, shall be permitted to enter His city, or even pass through it. There will never again be any religious connection with any one who does not worship the true God in spirit and in truth.
Verse 18 – And it will come to pass in that day that the mountains shall drip with new wine, the hills shall flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water; a fountain shall flow from the house of the Lord and water the Valley of Acacias.
This prediction of Jerusalem is one of perfection, similar to the Garden of Eden. Revelation 22:1 – And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Verse 19 – “Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom a desolate wilderness, because of violence against the people of Judah, for they have shed innocent blood in their land.
Egypt and Edom were two of Israel’s most persistent enemies. They represent all the nations hostile to God’s people. God’s promise that they will be destroyed is also a promise that all evil in the world will be destroyed.
Verse 20 – But Judah shall abide forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.
Verse 21 – “For I will acquit them of bloodguilt, whom I had not acquitted; for the Lord dwells in Zion.”
Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved! Those who turn to Him will enjoy the blessings mentioned in Joel’s prophecy!