Joel 3:9 The same phrase found in Joel 3:9 is found in Jeremiah 6:4. “prepare for war, arouse the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up.” This similarity is uncanny because the woe, judgement, is unto the invading armies in both Joel and Jeremiah passages. As we noted in the previous commentary (Joel 3a) The “hook” is set in the jaws of Israel’s enemies. They will come up from Megiddo to the Valley of Kidron (judgement) be it by hook-or-crook.
This is precisely what God desires. Israel must be totally dismayed at any possibility of victory. Sometimes this is referred to as being at the bottom of the barrel. Over the thousands of years since Abraham, Israelis have had an attitude; an attitude of “it is all about us. How can we lose. We are invincible.” It will take this extreme situation with no allies on the side of Israel (yes, that includes the USA) for them to finally accept that they have lived more for self than for God. Up to this point God has been their relief-valve. Once upon a time God removed obstacles or enemies out of their way yet they always returned to self. God wants the credit. He is sovereign. It is here that God finally convinces them that “then *they will know that I am their God, and they are my people.” (see Joel 3:17)
Joel 3:10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning-knives into spears; let the weak say, I am strong. The plowshares and pruning-knives are obvious. Not so when reading “let the weak say, I am strong.” Who are the weak and perhaps cowardly? This massive invasion of Israel and Jerusalem by global powers even the weak amongst them will volunteer to join the defense against this the invasion. The odds are so stacked against Jerusalem the weak, faint-hearted, and the normally cowards will join these invading forces. It will seem impossible to lose. This is also true of Israelis. They will think it impossible to win.
Once more we run the risk of a lack of understanding of a verse due to casual words. We too often fail to spend time looking up and understand the Hebrew and a word’s meaning. In our previous article [Joel 3a] we noted that what appears to be casual is all but that. As in Joel 3a we found out that haym (they will know) is an emphatic. At last, there will now remain no Israelite who doubts Jehovah-God.
Joel 3:12 “Let the nations be awakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat. For there I will sit to judge all the nations all around.” [LITV] Direct your attention to the words “all” in this passage. The word “all” in this section of scripture is kole in the Hebrew. It means “without exception.” It is like one asking, what part of NO do you fail to understand. There will be no exceptions. [Malachi 4:1-3] In the ESV it reads “Let the nations stir themselves up.” This translation is good. Invading nations will have such confidence of bulldozing Israel and Jerusalem once and for all, it is the confidence of a varsity squad playing against their 6th graders. The 6th graders wouldn’t stand a chance. This talk by the enemies of Israel is why the “weak will say they are strong.” Strong? Yes! Their opposition is so weak there is no fear even in the hearts of the weak in the enemy forces…similar to mob psychology. Jump into the middle or backside of the fight because the big guys on your side will make a mess out of Israel.
JIV: It is possible that this is driven by Satan to wipe out huge populations of foreign nations like suicide by police. Even if Satan knows the outcome, he does not want God to have their souls. Get them killed while yet sinners without salvation.
Joel 3:13 “Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great.” What harvest is Joel addressing in verse 13. The consequence of continued sin against God. Joel 3:13 is similar to world events in the time of Noah [Luke 17:26].
Joel 3:14 multitudes, multitudes…The obvious is the vast horde of forces coming up against God and Jerusalem in the valley of decision (Jehosephat). By this time Satan has exhausted his warehouse of tools to displace God in heaven. Overwhelming forces should do the trick, thinks Satan. If not this, then the gathering of forces from all nations is an attempt to destroy all mankind.
JIV NOTE: Satan will be released after his 1,000 years of being bound by God. Somehow during the Millennial Reign of Christ multitudes and multitudes will rally to once again attack God, this time from his headquarters in Jerusalem. The difference in the final judgment may be that Satan will include the use of his own forces of fallen angels to assist in this final attack. “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea” [Revelation 20:7 & 8]. Such a verse should stagger us. How will it be possible for Satan to gather men from the four corners of the earth to fight God a second time? The thousand-year millennial reign will distinguish between the goats and the sheep [Matthew 25:32]. A new spirit has yet to be put into the hearts of men.
Ahamoment: In the Jewish Publication Society Bible, chapter 3 is chapter 4 in their bible. They subdivide chapter two into chapters 2 and 3.
How might we distinguish these as two different events in history? Joel 3:14b may offer good insight. “…for the day of the Lord is near” [ESV]. This means this initial confrontation with all nations against Jerusalem is not the final confrontation. The second confrontation is (JIV) Satan’s attempt to destroy God himself. Satan comes out to deceive the nations when in fact it is him who is deceived. He knows he cannot destroy God but if he can prove that after a thousand years of perfect justice there remain many of God’s creation who still want to reject him. Maybe, and just maybe thinks Satan, he can at least cast God out of the earth. The earth that once was Satan’s domain.
Now we have the theological issue of “is it the church or is it just Israelis?”
Joel 3:16 “The LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth [both] quake. But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel.” A stronghold to whom? To the people of Israel, not the church. We see that it will be the second coming of Christ when final judgement is given, Satan is condemned, his minions along with the anti-Christ and false prophet are tossed into the “lake” of fire. The church has been raptured so it is not on earth to be either condemned or to be a light onto the world.
In short, the time to which Joel refers is only near the time of the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is the end [of] time itself. This is after Satan is released for a short time to rally earthlings to do his bidding once again along with his minion of fallen angels and deceived.
Here is a quote from David Guzik’s commentary notes on Joel:
The idea of the “Valley of Decision” has been used in countless evangelistic meetings to show people that they stand in the “Valley of Decision,” and must decide for or against Jesus. Joel’s context is exactly the opposite. Man does indeed stand in the valley of decision, but it is God who does the deciding, not man. It is a valley of judgment – and we should decide for Jesus right now, so we never stand in this valley of decision. [italic emphasis mine]
Joel 3:17 And you shall know that I am Jehovah your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be a holy thing, and aliens shall no more pass through her.
How can anyone read this verse and think it is about anything or anyone other than Jerusalem and the Israel? God dwelling in Zion; My Holy Mountain; Jerusalem shall be the holy thing; aliens will no longer pass through her. It is impossible other than to spiritualize this passage to include the church body of Christian believers who have been redeemed and raptured. We believers re-enter the scene when Christ returns in the clouds of the sky to do away with Satan once and forever. Now and only at this point do we get the New Heavens and the New Earth. This is not the time or the beginning of the Millennial Reign. It is at the end of it.
Joel 3:18-20 “And it shall be in that day, the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streams of Judah shall flow with waters. And a fountain shall come forth from the house of Jehovah, and it shall water the valley of Shittim. (v19) Egypt shall be a ruin, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, from violence done to the sons of Judah, whose innocent blood they poured out in their land. (v20) But Judah will dwell forever, and Jerusalem to generation and generation. (v21) And I will cleanse their blood which I did not cleanse. And Jehovah is dwelling in Zion.”
God’s last covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is now fulfilled as we close the Book of Joel. God fulfills and keeps his promises [2 Peter 3:9, Romans 4:21, Joshua 21:45].