A Brief Study of the Prophet Joel
Harold Edward Lafferty
The prophet Joel by divine inspiration presumably wrote the prophecies of the LORD at approximately BC700 – 698, immediately after the time of the Assyrian assault and conquest of Israel (the 10 tribes). His writings certainly address the future of Judah as oppressed by the coming kingdoms of men. It is addressed to ‘all ye inhabitants of the Land.’ It was the time of the first assault of the nations which God had purposed to bring against Israel as punishment for their waywardness before Him, and their expulsion from His land by “His army.”
Joel’s name means “YHVH is God.” He was probably from the territory of Reuben – the Moabite country east of the Jordan, and prophesied to Judah, the two tribes. He is sometimes said to be perhaps the oldest of the Hebrew prophets, but if this period of his activity is accurate, that statement is not correct. His prophecies extend from his own time to post-Second Advent days and extend even to the glories of the Kingdom Age. It is notable that his short prophecy is a credible summary of the major points of Jewish history from his time to the end time ... and the ultimate victory of the LORD Jesus over the Proximal Islamic States, setting up the refounded nation of Israel in peace and security for the coming Gogian invasion.
One commentator wrote this stunning summary of Joel: “It must be read through several times to grasp its vivid descriptions, the terse and solemn utterances, the full, smooth phrases, and above all the revelation it contains. His utterances are distinguished by the soaring flight of imagination, the originality, beauty and variety of the similes. The conceptions are simple enough, but they are at the same time bold and grand. The perfect order in which they are arranged, the even flow, [and] the well-compacted structure of the prophecy are all remarkable.” [Arno Clement Gaebelein, The Annotated Bible]
Joe 1:1 The word of the LORD (YHVH) that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
Pethuel is H6602 (Strong) and means “enlarged of God.”
Joe 1:2 Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?
Joe 1:3 Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
The events to be revealed are beyond comprehension, and without precedence – this prolonged, relentless browsing and consummate devouring of God’s people by the mighty ones of the earth. But YHVH makes clear to them that this treatment has been allowed by Him because of their resolute disobedience.
Joe 1:4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.
The four stages of the locust (the palmerworm, locust, cankerworm and caterpillar) are the four stages in the life cycle of the locust – the gnawer, the swarmer, the devourer, and the consumer. The clear symbol of the locust’s development is that of the hostile nations of their vicinity which would be the devouring powers sent upon them by God for their wickedness.
These were the forces of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, the destiny of the
First, to destroy Solomon’s Temple and take the people to Babylon, and that of the last power being the destruction of the Second Temple and dispersal of the Jews in the horrendous defeat of Judaea in the war of AD 70-73.
The next words of the prophet call to mind their debauchery, and their depravity spread over decades of disobedience to their God. A day of swift reckoning is approaching!
Joe 1:5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.
Joe 1:6 For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.
That “nation” is the princes of men of whatever nationality or persuasion. All the worldly forces outside Israel are made to turn violently against her in serial fashion in order to purge Israel of her wicked ways; but its effectiveness shall not be visible for millennia into the future!
Joe 1:7 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.
The vine, as well as the fig tree, are symbols of Israel, God’s people (cf. Hosea 9:10). This sentence reflects the desolate condition in which His destitute people were left for millennia. It may directly relate to the desolation just brought upon Israel, the Ten Tribes, by Assyria.
Joe 1:8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
The picture is of a desolate wife who has been bereft of her husband, now clothed in the sackcloths of distress and humiliation. Because of her unfaithfulness, her husband has gone away. There shall be serious consequences ... long-lasting effects for this disobedience.
Joe 1:9 The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD'S ministers, mourn.
This narrative points forward to the destructions of both the Temples in Jerusalem and the termination of its institutions of sacrifice and offering.
After the second is destroyed, the Temple service is entirely cut off – terminated – and the Abomination of Desolation then stands “in the Lord’s House.”
Jesus was nailed to the Tree of Golgotha, thus fulfilling the Law of Moses. So the Law is no longer valid to the Jews although they are oblivious, and continue to try to follow it after a fashion.
But their real condition is apparent to all ...
Joe 1:10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
The countryside has been destroyed in the fighting, but the prophet’s implications seem more applicable to the destitute condition of its people, most of whom are now in exile.
Joe 1:11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
The Land now begins its lengthy descent into complete impoverishment and despair ...
Joe 1:12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
This detailed description of a desecrated land reflects the desecration of its people, too; the woeful picture is one of dissolution and extreme degradation of the Land and its People.
Joe 1:13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
Such a response might have prevented the desecrations that had come to Israel – and that would come shortly to Judah as well, but this was not in the minds of the people.
In these words Joel forecasts the destruction of the Lord’s House itself, in Jerusalem.
The result was to be that “the meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the Lord,” and that Israel’s worship in the temple is ended by its destruction.
This is here termed “the day of the Lord … a day of destruction from the Almighty” (1:15), which indicates that it was the Lord’s will, and by His personal agency, that these great interruptions came upon her. The scene of utter desolation is depicted in the last seven verses of chapter one.
Joe 1:14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,
Joe 1:15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
His People were not unwarned of the results of their disobedience recorded extensively in Deuteronomy and Leviticus ... words of warning that were delivered to them by Moses, for example, in Deuteronomy 28:15 – But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee... the extended narrative following which outline in vivid detail what the People could expect for disobedience to their God.
These words reflect the sorrow and remorse felt by the People after the waves of invaders had done their work of persecution and destruction.
Joe 1:16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
Joe 1:17 The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.
Although the terminology is agricultural, the meaning has human implications as well. In a sense, the desecration of the land was reflective of the desecration of the people who had lived upon it. The desolation of the physical land reflects the despondency of its people. But their misfortune is of their own making ...
Joe 1:18 How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
Joe 1:19 O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
Joe 1:20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
This dire description agrees entirely with the earlier pronouncements upon Samaria, which were now in full progress of fulfillment ...
Joe 2:1 Blow ye the trumpet (the shophar) in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
If this chapter (as we think it does) has primary reference to 70AD, the "day of the Lord" in this instance indicates the time of Jesus’ first coming to Israel and His rejection by them; it includes the awful history of the 70-73AD Roman war of obliteration of Judah of that day.
There are several "days of the Lord" in scripture – and not merely that of the end time. The shophar alarm here is to warn of the oncoming war and commotion. The time was certainly a day of clouds and thick darkness, of thick darkness and gloom ... and of approaching judgment.
Joe 2:2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
Rome of Iron was the aggressor to which the prophet refers; it fits the description given in this verse, and its time in history had come.
Jerusalem’s outlook was bleak indeed. The city was to be utterly destroyed. Its Temple was to be burned and its holy vessels were stolen. Its population was to be either slain or sold into slavery – that is, other than those who died of famine during the siege.
The Arch of Titus in Rome depicts the Great Menorah as being among the spoils carried to Rome after its gruesome victory. The Temple Platform, after the destruction, was deserted, plowed and salted, and became a trash heap until the Muslims built the Dome of the Rock over the Holy of Holies in the 7th century A.D. The people of God were expelled from their lands on pain of death, and their beloved territory was renamed “Palestina” by the Roman overlords.
Joe 2:3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
This is an apt description of pagan Rome's assault – savage, relentless, persistent and terribly efficient. There was never one like it since. The beautiful Land was to be desecrated and despoiled – no exceptions.
In verses 4 – 11, the language is easily applicable to "his army" in the punishment of His people in this terrible time. The fourth stage of the locust is now composed of horsemen and chariots, efficient and unstoppable siege machines, and legions of Roman infantry. They devour His people with awesome savagery. Their final conquest comes at Masada, where about a thousand of the Zealots of Judaea committed suicide when it became obvious that their fortress had been breached and that slavery would be their future lot.
Joe 2:4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.
Joe 2:5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.
This description evokes the tantivy of chariot wheels clattering aggressively across the cobblestones of the Roman roads of the time, and the cries of aggression of their drivers pursing their frantic goals of conquest in pitched battle with the sons of God gone astray.
Joe 2:6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.
“Blackness” is hopelessness ... and dread. Josephus documents these doleful events when Jerusalem was besieged for months by the armies of Rome. Although water was available to all, famine soon overtook the city – a condition which led to human beings consuming other human beings. The most pathetic descent into savagery involved women cooking and eating their own children, their caloric needs being so overwhelming. It was an eventuality that had been foretold earlier by the prophets as they catalogued the stresses and temptations which would befall the people if they did not obey the LORD. See Deuteronomy 28: 15, 53, 55, 57; also Leviticus 26: 14 et seq.
The warning had been long-standing, yes ... but the LORD of all the earth does not forget His promises, whether beneficial or not so.
Joe 2:7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:
These phrases speak of the eminent proficiency, and the eventual success of the attacking warriors, their discipline of march, their strict regulation of order and rank and mission.
This army is doing YHVH’s business and cannot be deterred or resisted!
Joe 2:8 Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.
This word obviously does not mean that the entry of the sword does not cause a “wound,” but their “wounding” would not deter them from their cause. The Hebrew batsa (wounded) means to “break off ... to finish,” or to blunt their mission. The soldiers of God’s army (Rome, in this case) would not be deterred from their appointed goal – the quelling of the disorder and rebellion against Rome, which had been incessant from the Jews of Judaea.
Joe 2:9 They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.
We believe these words describe the intensity and passion of the Roman armies – the “army of the LORD,” (cf., vs. 11) as it took away the sovereignty and authority of the Jewish polity of the day. Rome’s armies were noted for their thoroughness of planning and execution of battle plans, sieges, and war campaigns; they were relentless.
Joe 2:10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:
Joe 2:11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
No force on earth could stop this mighty army of the Lord – this Roman titan operating on God’s terms and at His behest, in order to destroy His city and drive His people from their land because of their wickedness and apostasy – and for their stubborn refusal to accept the authority of their Messiah at His first appearance. The well-known discipline and order of the Roman army is clearly discerned in these verses.
Joe 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
This is the remedy that should have been adopted by the Jews of Judea. It would have been the direct opposite to their consistently haughty attitude and their deplorable lack of service and devotion to God. Although repentance was desired of the Father, it did not come forth from this haughty and heady people ...
Joe 2:13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
Heartfelt return rather than outward mourning is required.
If they had done so they should have witnessed the great mercy of God.
But they did not so observe His commandment.
Joe 2:14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
Joe 2:15 Blow the trumpet (again, the shophar) in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
Joe 2:16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. The prophet is here calling for a complete mobilization of Jewish society from the uppermost to the lowest levels – and a renewed dedication to God and His precepts. But his was a message shouted into the wind.
Joe 2:17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
This is the required remedy for the Jews – humble repentance and contrition; but they did not heed His warnings. They stubbornly and summarily rejected His Messiah at His first appearance; their claimed insight into God’s Law was either unknown or ignored by their leaders. The did not perceive the scores of prophecies relating to his first Advent ... so they nailed their Lord to a tree at Golgotha, and began an interminable period of languishing for His Advent for two millennia ... the Advent which they had already rejected out of hand!
But in the verses following, as He always does ... the Almighty leaps ahead to a time in which His mercy and compassion shall be poured out upon them, having tired of their enemies’ tirades and aggression.
He returns them to their land and blesses them abundantly, but not for their sakes. Cf., Ezekiel 36: 32. His favor should be shown to them at the end time – at the time when Zion’s favor should come as in Psalm 102:13, which describes conditions at the end time: Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.
At this point in Joel’s prophecy the crisis is reached – and it is at the time when, for the first time in over 2000 years, the Jews have been restored to nationhood, and been given a polity of their own – and have received the sanction of the nations of the world (by approval of the UNO) to form their own country in Palestine, and naming it “Israel” of the end-time!
From this time forward, prophecies that refer to “Israel” are referring to the nation as established in 1948, per se. Immediately His favor returns to the people ... and they steadily stream back to their homeland by every conveyance known to man: on foot, by boats, by airplanes, by stealth, by trickery, by subterfuge, boldly, confidently, aggressively returning to their Land in response to the age-old admonition which He had given by the mouth of Malachi (3:7).
So from this point in the prophecy, the outlook is much brighter ... but its span of time is not given in this prophecy. It would seem interminable to His People.
Here we encounter a significant “time marker” having to do with the fulfillment of this blessing ... “then ....” Note the abrupt pivot indicated in these phrases:
Joe 2:18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.
As it so often does, the adverb “then” marks a tipping point in the prophecy – a decisive turning point; in this case it would be a precise time (cf., Psalm 102:13) having profoundly to do with YHVH’s forgiveness of their waywardness, and His turning from His wrath upon them (cf., Isaiah 51: 17-22), all because of His promise to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Cf., Micah 5: 3 where after a long period of abandonment (I will give them up...), then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
This “set time” for His favor is described (presumably) by David, who authored the previous psalm:
Psalm 102:13 – Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come. 14 For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof. 15 So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. 16 When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. 17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. 18 This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.
The picture we see painted here is that of Israel today as it inhabits its Land again in great strength ... as the LORD is building up Zion ... after which He shall appear in His glory! And the People which He shall create shall praise the LORD indeed!! It is the destiny toward which we presently behold His People approaching, although as an whole, they realize it not!
Joe 2:19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:
We must presume that this promise of a good outcome was always available had His people obeyed Him. But He knew well in advance that they would not.
This promise and that of verse 19 guarantee prosperity and progress for His people when they obey.
But only much later shall it come to them, and then, only because of the time of Zion’s favor having come: Psalm 102: 13, as above. Their final vindication is foretold.
As already noted, that time of favor came suddenly upon His people when, in 1947, the UNO voted to partition Palestine, creating an homeland for the Jews on their old territories.
The plan did not succeed as planned but well exceeded that UNO decision; at the end of the War of Independence, Israel controlled much more land than had been awarded them under the Partition Plan.
The upshot of these events would be that Israel’s presence would continuously be opposed by all the nations round about her.
He now addresses conditions at that future time in one of the few references, we believe (few, in addition to Ezekiel 38 and 39), to the “northern army” of the Gogian host of the end time – in our studied view, the final aggressor against the Kingdom of Christ in the Land, and well beyond the time of the returned Jesus’ accession to the Throne of David upon Mount Zion, and the proclamation of His everlasting Kingdom having been established.
Joe 2:20 But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.
These words refer to a time in the distant future when they shall dwell in security and amidst plenty and great riches (spoil), as in verses 18 and 19: when Gog (the northern army of Ezekiel 38 and 39) comes down upon Israel, Gog shall be so dealt with! It is a long-term prophecy of their ultimate deliverance from the forces of evil which shall attempt to enter into His Land and His Kingdom in the end time.
His admonition to His People in that future day evokes fearlessness and confidence in Him, and reflects the mien of a People dwelling in peace and ultimate security under the Christ in that future day ...
Joe 2:21 Fear not, O land (meaning the Land and the People dwelling in it); be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.
We cannot escape the extreme irony of God's promise that it is THE LORD, not their foes, Who shall "do great things" – truly great! These are further elaborated in great detail, in chapter three of Joel. He does these “great things” as a solid witness that He is divinely mandating the events that are coming to pass in the land, including His People’s utter defeat of the nations round about who have fought Israel’s existence and her armies for an entire generation.
The magnitude of His greatness is summarized in the phrases which follow ...
Joe 2:22 Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.
The language now pictures the reversal of Israel’s fortunes in every parameter of being ... the land, its crops and herds, its climate, its population, its fortunes in general show a spectacular improvement.
All these events lead to a yet future destiny for the glorious people, returning now to their Land – still in unbelief, yes, but that is no surprise to the Father for He foretold such a condition – and to the People’s eternal blessings as the details of the Second Advent play out in perfect order as revealed by the Almighty!
The end result is that now pictured ...
Joe 2:23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
This language again takes the reader into the distant future, and well illustrates an abrupt change in climate in which physical rainfall shall be abundant; it also bears more spiritual overtones of great blessing of faith and spirit to the people whom He shall have recovered, as revealed in verses 28 and 29. It is a time of fulsome blessings and plenty – a condition which we are already beginning to behold in Israel when we visit His Land and His People today.
The visitor to Israel today can easily behold the great changes that have already come upon the Land! Israel even today is a net exporter of agricultural goods to the rest of the world – even in the time of yet sparse rainfall – for it has developed means of artificially producing potable water (as in reverse osmosis). The immediate result is that Israel is now self-sufficient in potable water even as its rainfall has not been fully restored.
Joe 2:24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.
Joe 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
Joe 2:26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.
As already stated, even today a visitor to Israel can see the abundant beginnings of this great promise!
Israel’s farmers of today already produce far more crops than those needed to sustain their people; they are thus net exporters of agricultural products even today – in the midst of their continuing severe (natural) water crisis.
But this reality is only the beginning of the Land’s productivity which awaits the Advent of the Dayspring from on High! Luke 1: 78, q.v. It awaits the time in which ... I am in the midst of Israel, personally!
Joe 2:27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
It is certainly AT THIS FUTURE TIME that Israel recognizes the Sonship and Messiahship of the Returned Jesus.
His emotional, heartfelt revelation of Himself to them ... and their surprised and humble recognition of Him ... is depicted in Zechariah 12 and 13. along with their earnest repentance and mourning for their earlier condemnation of Him.
The events as depicted are entirely similar to the surprised recognition which Joseph’s brethren gave him – the now prime minister of Egypt – as they came begging grain the second time, and were admitted to a private audience with Joseph.
At that time he revealed himself as their brother whom they thought to have slain, now standing before them in power and with immense authority over them which they could never have anticipated.
The same picture is before every student of God’s word today: an Israel ready to be delivered by its elder Brother who it believed it had destroyed at Gethsemane – the powerful, gracious, forgiving Son of God Who was raised from the dead (not stolen away from his tomb by zealots!) and raised to the nature of His Father. Such is the glorious One Who stands before them in that day ... and is then tearfully recognized and acknowledged as “He Who cometh in the name of the LORD,” as Jesus Himself foretold that they would in Luke 13: 35.
Note that this era incontestably precedes the Gogian invasion.
It is an era of a mighty blessing upon His now repentant and compliant People of Zion, bringing the era of His blessing upon them in perpetuity...
Joe 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh (i.e., not all men of the earth, obviously, but all the Israelites who have wholly accepted His person and identity); and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
The transformation of the People shall be spectacular ... unpredictable ... unprecedented for Israel and its people!! Their overwhelming acceptance of Him, and their repentance of their past deeds bring surpassing blessings to the people – immediate and exhaustive – as He raises their stony hearts to the more receptive state of “hearts of flesh,” which now hear and heed His words and tender their humble obedience to Him.
Joe 2:29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
In these summarizing phrases we understand that even in the beginning years of the Millennial reign of Christ, some representatives of the converted and then accepted Israelites, individuals of the now blessed and healed Nation, will be sent forth to teach the Gospel of the Kingdom to the people of the outside nations ... becoming in the truest sense, “a light unto the Gentiles” as they are promised. Cf., Isaiah 49: 6.
Joe 2:30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
In summary, verses 22 - 30 illustrate a future time of safety and abundance for Israel, and a time of plenty for His people – and the restoration of their fortunes in far greater measure – is indicated through verse 30. But it makes note of the marked change of heart of the nation as well, for in their new-found faith in their returned Messiah, they benefit spiritually as well.
As a direct result of their repentance and wholehearted acceptance of Him, He shall drench them in His Spirit without measure; and Israel shall finally begin to fulfill its role as “a light unto the Gentiles.”
Joe 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,
before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
The word here speaks of yet another "day of the Lord" – not the same as in earlier verses.
In light of the verse following, this seems to occur in the end time – at the actual return of Christ to the earth. That day is not a day of darkness for Israel, however, for their repentance shall have brought them the abundant favor of the Lord Jesus. He has come to save them “from their enemies, and those who hate them,” which by current definition means the proximal nations round about them, and the PLO within their present possessions. The dread of the Lord shall fall without mercy on His enemies, and their fate shall loom suddenly before their faces.
Joe 2:32 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 is a glorious summary of that day; it tells of the future time when those who DO call on the name of the Lord as admonished earlier, shall be delivered IN MOUNT ZION AND IN JERUSALEM, His Sanctuary. The promise is to "the remnant whom the Lord shall call." In this passage the Lord is certainly present with His people in their Land, and shall have delivered them. <HEL>
Joe 3:1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
This chapter starts with “…behold, in those days, and in that time,” meaning IN THE END TIME – specifically in OUR time, “when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem” – that is, when He is regathering His people for the second time (Isaiah 11:11) for their final redemption (Zechariah 12 -14).
That era can be ONLY today.
He now narrates the concise details of the end time wars of Christ and Israel against “all nations.” We place the phrase in quotation marks because we believe it has special meaning, and is limited to certain nations. Note that the text mentions “Judah,” and not “Israel,” and “Jerusalem” as capital of the Jewish Polity.
The astute student of prophecy must consider these words on a literal basis. It has been suggested to us in the past that these words of Joel are merely symbolic of the larger enemy of the Gogian host – that the narrative of this prophecy has nothing to do with the Islamic entities facing Israel for the past 70 years (1948 to 2018).
Joe 3:2 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.
Here the prophet is dropping back to a time generally earlier than the closing verses of chapter two. The Valley of Jehoshaphat here is equated with the Valley of Decision (cf. verses 12, 14). Both names indicate pits of Judgment, which shall there be rendered to God’s enemies ... by His Agent, the recently returned LORD Jesus Christ and His compatriots, the Immortalized Saints.
In light of several other prophecies, these nations – here termed “all nations” – are not all the nations of the world, but are all the nations “round about” Israel as newly reconstituted in our day.
These are those named specifically in Psalm 83, city-states and nations which comprise Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and those who identify themselves as “Palestinians” within and around Israel.
Their utter destruction is depicted thoroughly in prophecies such as Isaiah 63, Obadiah, Micah 5, Ezekiel 35-36, Isaiah 11, Psalm 63, and others such as Zechariah 14, where in verse 12, the prophet records the godly definition of these specific nations: And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
Please note that even the LORD Jesus made reference to these in His words recorded in Luke 21: 29, where he bade His followers, “Behold the fig tree (Israel) and all the trees” – the contemporary Arabic nations established around the same time as was Israel, in the lands of the “dried up Euphrates,” a phrase certainly referencing the defeat of the Ottoman Empire which had been driven out of these concise territories at the end of WW I.
Only THESE nations are drawn down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat – also called the Valley of Decision – for final judgment and destruction at this particular time, in our opinion.
The nature of this series of conflicts, when understood as the prophets carefully and concisely have related them to us, shall be diffuse, widespread, and shall occur over some length of time which is indeterminate.
The prophecy is to be fulfilled therefore, in our opinion, in many diffuse locations where the enemies of the Lord are soundly defeated one by one, mostly in their own homelands in the lands between the Rivers Nile and the Euphrates – the prime territory of the Abrahamic Lands of the Covenant (see Genesis 12 et seq). Their lands and wealth are then taken into Greater Israel by the Lord Jesus Christ, completely in harmony with the account in Zechariah 14: 14 and others noted above.
In our studied opinion, these battle venues are virtual locations – or typical locations – places which are entirely symbolic, for there is no venue in all the Promised Land large enough to contain the warfare that shall then be waged by the returned Jesus and the Saints, along with the Israel Defense Force, against Israel’s enemies ... ALL of them being located between the Rivers Nile and Euphrates, for it is THIS precious Land which He shall first undertake to liberate from His enemies!
The nature of this series of conflicts, when understood as the prophets have related them to us, shall be diffuse, widespread, and shall occur over some (very short?) length of time which is indeterminate.
It is to be fulfilled therefore, in our opinion, in many diffuse locations where the enemies of the Lord are soundly defeated one by one, mostly in their own homelands.
Their lands and wealth are then gathered into and absorbed into Greater Israel by the Lord Jesus Christ, completely in harmony with the account in Zechariah 14: 14 and others, and illustrated typically by Jehoshaphat’s gathering the spoils of Edom, Moab and Ammon in II Chronicles 20, q.v., (see below) which we believe gives credence to this principle of the Valleys being symbolic battle venues.
The actions of Messiah at this time quite thoroughly clears the Land of the squatters and interlopers who have moved into the land during the 2,000 years of the Jews’ having been expelled from it, and who have thoroughly sucked its resources dry over the centuries, never having added any value to it by improving it or lovingly cultivating it.
To reiterate in clear language, then: by reference to “the Valley of Jehoshaphat” we suggest that the Almighty is referring to that typical location depicted in the great victory of the Lord during Jehoshaphat’s reign when Edom, Moab and Ammon attacked Israel; II Chronicles 20. These were defeated outrightly by divine means, and all their wealth confiscated by Israel.
There is no location in Israel which at any time in the past is designated “the Valley of Jehoshaphat.”
Some have supposed the Kidron Valley is meant here, but its environs are not sufficient to contain the forces which shall be involved in this described struggle – pitched battles which shall be fought in many locations throughout the land among teeming millions of adherents to Islam and its idolatrous head, “Allah.”
We believe we can study the history of King Jehoshaphat and arrive at a reasonable conclusion as to the identity of this mysterious Valley.
II Chronicles 20 gives a detailed historical picture of Moab, Ammon and Edom preparing a massive attack on Israel and her king, Jehoshaphat, typical of the aggression toward Israel of peoples from the same areas today in the end time! It is a conflict parallel in every way to the prophesied events of Psalm 83! ... but in microcosm.
When Jehoshaphat hears of the impending invasion he fervently prays to God for deliverance, knowing that his forces are not formidable enough to ward off the attack.
He musters his army after being reassured by God that Israel is safe from these nations.
Jehoshaphat forms a group of singers who go ahead of the army singing praise to God and His glory.
As these armies approach and come near the valley of Berechah (the valley of “blessing,” somewhere in the wilderness of Judea; see verse 26), Moab and Ammon turn against the army of Mt. Seir (Edom) and destroy it wholly; then they turn against each other and one smites the other so that they all die. The blessing indicated is, of course, a blessing to Israel!
This action is reported as occurring when the singers of Israel and Jehoshaphat's army begins to move, and “ambushments” are set against these enemies – II Chronicles 20:22 – a decidedly divine action on His people’s behalf.
When Jehoshaphat’s army arrives, the enemies have all been destroyed, and scattered over the floor of the giant valley in the coldness of death ... a clear execution of “every man’s sword against his brother.”
Israel spends three days gathering the spoils of war – an incredible amount of booty – and “on the fourth day assembles its forces in the Valley of Berechah (blessing), for there they blessed the Lord.”
This “booty” is the plunder of war gathered from the warfare which GOD has leveled against His enemies of that day ... and thus is entirely parallel to the “spoil and the prey” which attracts the Gogian host of a still later time!
We have read somewhere that this phrase, “spoil and prey,” is more correctly rendered as, Gog will intend to “spoil the despoilers,” which in itself indicates wealth confiscated from others ... in other words, the spoils of war which at that future time (and not before that time) Israel shall possess.
This action is fully documented by Zechariah 14: 14, q.v.
It is likely that this is entire venue of the Land between the Rivers, is the mysterious, virtual Valley of Jehoshaphat (meaning, JHVH judged) – which serves as the type of that final conflict with the nations round about – for there the Lord delivered Israel, which He shall do in these latter days (fulfilling the antitype) when their enemies are doubtless perceived to be too numerous for Israel to defeat.
This is a time that seems rapidly to be approaching at the time of this writing.
Others have equated this showdown of Israel with the Proximal States with the Battle of Armageddon, and placed it in the Valley of Megiddo – the Plain of Jezreel. But, not only is that venue also completely insufficiently spacious for the unique conflicts of Christ with His enemies that are approaching, it is also on the wrong continent – meaning, in Asia, not in Europe!
Armageddon is mentioned only in Revelation 16: 16, and in this student’s opinion is an indicator of the primarily European execution of the showdown between the forces of Jesus Christ and the Roman Catholic Apostasy of the Beast, the False Prophet and the Harlot, a conflict we designate as Phase Three.
The word “Armageddon” is recorded in no other place in scripture ... and here is integrally placed precisely in the record of the Kingdom of Christ versus the Roman Harlot, Beast and False Prophet, in line completely with the character of the Apocalypse – itself a detailed prophecy of the interface of the forces of Apostasy with the forces of Christ. The Apocalypse (the Revelation) does not concern itself generally with any of the end time wars of Israel against its enemies.
“Armageddon” therefore does not describe or indicate any conflict around or related to Jerusalem or Israel the nation, in our opinion. We believe in the discipline of God’s word.
He is disciplined in His revelations; we also must be disciplined in our interpretations of these revelations.
“Hollywood” and the entertainment industry throw the word and the concept about in a helter-skelter way ... but we must not be so inclined.
In our opinion, the word does not apply to any earlier conflict than that we have indicated, although many have applied it to the conflicts (of Proximal Islam against Israel, and of Distal Islam under Gog against Jerusalem) over Jerusalem, that application does not fly in our opinion. And of course as already stated, the entertainment industry has bandied it about as being widely applicable to almost any drastic occurrence.
To “plead with them” is to defeat them utterly.
All these proximal enemies of God and Israel (Psalm 83: 1-2) did help scatter Israel among the nations, and either parted or intended to “part My land.” See Obadiah’s detailed description of the activities of Edom for adequate proof.
Even today, these precise nations INTEND to ... and are striving to ... do the same to Israel, but shall be completely powerless to do so because of the assurance of the Father that He is intent upon destroying them.
We invoke the direct words of the Prophet Zacharias in Luke 1: 71-74, where the prophet foretells this precise event … His “saving them from their enemies ... and from those who hate us,” phrases which contain the entire summary of the matter.
It quickly becomes obvious that the Jews at that time require His “saving” or it should not have been so stated by divine revelation.
To PLEAD with them is specifically to JUDGE them in this typical Valley of Judgment (“plead” is Strong H8199; to pronounce sentence – for or against; by implication to vindicate or punish); so will He vindicate Israel AND punish her enemies! For they are His appointed People and His select Heritage ... “whom they have scattered among the nations (by means of the second exile, specifically in 70AD and 135AD – Bar Kochba’s Revolt), and parted My land.”
Have the Proximal Islamic states “parted my land?” And have the nations parted My land?”
Here are three instances of such:
Jordan accepted 78% of the British Mandate to be its own Palestinian nation in 1922 at San Remo, Italy (associated with the Treaty of Versailles), and others such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have vociferously demanded a state for the “Palestinians” on the remaining portion of the Land which is Israel proper today, and are still stridently demanding Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, Gaza, and the Golan Heights – the remainder!
In God’s eyes agreeing to a principal and striving for its execution are the same as carrying it out!
In addition to that “parting” of the land, the United Nations Organization also parted the land ... divided it into two sections of its intended ownership: these were a proposed Arabic state and a Jewish state according to the UN Partition Plan of November 1947.
Even Ehud Barak, a former prime minister of Israel, proposed nearly the same solution at Shepherdstown several years later but Yasser Arafat turned it down out of hand! To intend it is tantamount to doing it. In this case Israel itself was culpable!!
The prophet’s next words show that the remembrance of His People’s persecution is indelible in the mind of the Father, for they refer to the active hostility of the nations round about, exercised against Israel in ages past, going as far back as the Babylonian conquest but including the Roman conquest and destruction.
Joe 3:3 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.
Joe 3:4 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;
Verse 4 begins the narrative’s detailed summary of the action to be expected. It names three specific locations which are to bring “recompense upon His people – the Arab term is REVENGE, which they seek daily ... integral to their “holy war,” or jihad.
Tyre and Sidon are in LEBANON, home of Hezbollah, the “party of God” in their parlance. Its leaders daily vilify and threaten Israel and its People.
The coast of Palestine is the GAZA STRIP, home of the unhappy campers of Hamas, another vile and intractable enemy of Israel. God’s recompense shall fall upon them in return – but only in God’s good time.
We wait patiently for His intervention.
Tyre, Sidon and Gaza are specially designated hotbeds of Islamic hatred and vituperation against God’s people and are fulfilling that specific role at this hour.
They are typical of all the centers of contempt against Israel in the nations round about. Psalm 83 groups all these nations together; for that reason we must conclude that their punishment comes in or near the same time period of time. Their punishments cannot be executed on two different occasions because they are all pictured as exhaustive and complete as to final judgment!
Their past crimes against God are enumerated in some detail ...
Joe 3:5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:
Joe 3:6 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.
Where are these infractions recorded? In secular history, doubtless, but more importantly, in the plain words of Obadiah 1: 14-18.
Joel 3: 5, 6 also list some of the most heinous acts of any people against another.
Again, the prophet (Obadiah, verses 14-18) details these despicable acts as well as those of the Romans in their adversity against Israel. In all these cases their goal was “that ye might remove them from their border.” The object of these enemies, of course, was to take the lands and villages of the Pleasant Land for their own possession.
Their goal is still the same!
Rome sold so many Jewish slaves after the defeat of 70AD that the slave markets of the world were glutted, and slave prices dropped precipitously for years.
Both Babylon and Rome carted away the wealth of the Jews after their victories, stealing the furniture and treasures of the Temple – such as the Great Menorah, pictured on the Arch of Titus in Rome as being among the items pilfered. It is still prominently visible in Rome today.
Joel 3:5 and 6 also list some of the most heinous acts of any people against another. Again, the prophet Obadiah (verses 14 – 18) details these despicable acts, as well as certain secular historians.
These peoples aided and abetted the Babylonians as well as the Romans in their adversity against Israel. In all these cases their goal was “that ye might remove them from their border.” The object of these enemies, of course, was to take the lands and villages of the Pleasant Land for their own possession.
Their specific aim, in league with especially the Romans, was to remove them far from their borders – to expunge them from their heritage; it was, however, due to the wickedness of Israel and Judah that God’s severe judgment came upon them.
Nevertheless, since this is completely in line with the wishes of the Proximal Arab communities they will be severely punished for these acts although their actions of being a thorn and a briar to Israel in the end time were the will of God – exactly similar to Pharaoh being held responsible for his judgmental actions upon Israel during and after the Exodus!
Joe 3:7 Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head:
Verse 7 continues the train of thought. God vows to return His people to their land in His own time, and to return these enemies’ recompense (revenge) upon their own heads. It will not be a pleasant issue! See also Amos 9: 14.
Joe 3:8 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.
Verse 8: Their aggression shall have its retribution – intensely and consummately. These estranged kinsmen of Israel shall have done to themselves all those things they have done to Israel. What was their motive? They coveted the good land of Israel for their own possession – the blessed land which God had promised to His people ... just as do their descendants today!
Joe 3:9 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:
Joe 3:10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.
The watchword, Prepare war! is an indication of venerating war – of making war
‘holy’ as in Jihad! It is translated from the Hebrew word qadash (meaning “to pronounce or observe as clean ... to dedicate, to hallow, to sanctify”).
It is the very definition of the Arab concept of jihad, and is the hallmark of militant Islam of this day: “holy war” is their answer to any perceived insult of, or difference of opinion with, Islam.
For the last seven decades, the Muslims have consistently beaten their plowshares into swords – arming for holy war against their only common enemy, the people of God.
Their aggression has not been effective, as the Lord has gone forth and fought against those nations as He fought in the day of battle (days of old).
The boastful words, “let the weak say I am strong,” are the watchwords of Hamas and Hezbollah in Gaza and Lebanon today. They regularly boast that they will wipe Israel off the map the next time they clash in warfare. But it cannot happen!
The “mighty men” are those who boastfully look upon themselves as “mighty.” But their fierce mien, their faces wrapped in scarves, heads bound with green bands, weapons boldly brandished, threatening slogans written on headbands, shouts of Allahu Akbar! (god is greater) designed to frighten and terrify their enemies (perhaps more to hide their cowardly identities) really mean nothing. Their mouths have few teeth.
Their only advantage is their sheer force of numbers: approximately 100 million Arabs against 6 million Jews!
Their ferocity is frightful to mere humans; but their boastfulness is nothing as they come to resist the power of the Spirit of God coming from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ! He has proclaimed that He shall “speak peace to the heathen,” which means to conquer them with nothing but the words of His mouth!
In the presence of His power, the weak may say they are strong; but their boast is not factual in any way.
The Proximal Arabs use all the massive amounts of donated available funds and other aid (food, clothing, etc.) for implements of war – beating their pruning hooks into spears and their plowshares into swords! Their young and families are deprived of ‘aid’ given them by other nations out of pity for their hunger, and they spend it immediately on implements of war, rockets, ammunition, explosives for suicide bombers, military vehicles, radar, tunnels, and offensive weapons. The Gaza Strip is a huge fortress at the present time, devoid of Jews and rife with murderous Arabs pitted against Israel. Its rocketry is said to be approximately a hundred thousand weapons in place ... all aimed at Israel to the east and north.
Joe 3:11 Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen (the unbelieving nations round about), and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.
These words “thy mighty ones,” is indicative of the hidden volition of the LORD – His army here –just as it had been in the case of Babylon’s and Rome’s armies – also identified as His army – as they came against His people for ill ends. But this time, the ill effect will be exerted furiously by His Saints and by Israel Defense Forces under the Christ of the Second Advent, as these concentrate themselves on Israel’s enemies; for the Cup of His Fury has passed from Israel to the lips of those who hate them. Cf., Isaiah 51: 17, 22; Jeremiah 25: 25.
Joe 3:12 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.
As a matter of extreme relevancy, please note that the invitations is to the heathen round about; it does not concern the Gogian host or any other enemy or group of enemies.
Verse 12 invites the heathen (nations) down to the (virtual or symbolic) Valley of Jehoshaphat – that Valley of Decision, or Valley of Judgment – in which these same peoples shall finally and eternally be judged by the Son of God; “For THERE will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.”
“To come down” is to descend upon, to press or to lead on against the forces of the Lord. But in Islam, it is the call to Jihad, to the irrational sacrifice even of young children to defeat the Zionist ‘offender’ of Islam!
The following verses (13 – 15) summon the vision of one reaping an harvest of grapes – grapes of wrath – gathering them into the vats of the Lord for trampling. The recipients of His wrath are “multitudes in the Valley of Decision.”
The guiding lights – the sun, moon and stars of Islam – shall be extinguished forever!
Joe 3:13 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.
Joe 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
Joe 3:15 the sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
The figure used for their defeat is the crushing of grapes of the harvest. The product of this activity is the wine of the fierceness of His wrath! The multitudes are about 50 million in total number, all of whom are seemingly destined for such destruction! It shall be a slaughter as yet unseen in the history of warfare. The conflict is here described as being ‘in the Valley of Decision,’ a parallel term to the ‘Valley of Jehoshaphat’ already referred to ... and please note: every event of this conflict precedes the Gogian affair by some indeterminate time.
The impending warfare is horrible to contemplate. Islam today is so fractured it can agree on almost no plan of action – except aggression upon Israel.
Whenever its internecine factions, which are so full of hatred even for their brethren, make up their differences to some reconcilable level, then – and only then – their attention appears to turn upon Israel with some force of unity and these nations strike at Israel with a vengeance.
Whether their attacks shall be coordinated to be simultaneous is not clear from the prophecies.
One element that does seem clear is that Edom (as related in Obadiah and in Isaiah 63: 1-6) is to be the initial strike; and it is stated at that time, in verse 21 … Saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S.
For “the kingdom ... to be the LORD’s” is a firm indication that AT THAT TIME THE LORD IS PRESENT.
So we believe it simply logical to assume that Christ and the Saints have arrived, have conquered all Israel’s enemies, and have been present throughout these final conflicts against the nations round about (Proximal Islam), especially since this conclusion is common to all the other relevant passages relating to it. The natural outcome of all this is that “the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.”
Joe 3:16 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.
Verse 16 is definitive. It absolutely summarizes the action that is to take place here; for the LORD to “roar out of Zion” requires that He be present in that place at that time.
Here is the picture of the Lord’s complete deliverance for Israel, His people!
The days and nights of darkness foretell the utter demise of those enemies!
The personal presence of Jesus Christ is clearly indicated here as He ‘utters His voice from Jerusalem.’ His personal presence is required here just as it is in Isaiah 63, where he is depicted as destroying the Islamists of the south, marching through them with blood-spattered garments. The events are coeval and conterminous.
And they produce the results desired by Him:
Joe 3:17 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 anymore.
Here is the blessed moment of enlightenment for Israelis in the Land. Their eyes shall behold His salvation as He roars out of Zion, and at the end of that series of conflicts, their eyes of recognition of Him and acceptance of Him are opened; sincere, humble acceptance of His Messiahship is indicated in the poignant words of Zechariah 12 and 13, in which their contrition and mourning is pervasive. At that time, Jesus is properly addressed by the term “the LORD your God” because He has already inherited the identical nature as that of His Father. As such, His presence among them is the same as the Father Himself being present with them!
This is therefore in no way an indication or proof of the doctrine of The Trinity!
Today many of the Jews in the Land profess atheism, but in that day all those remaining shall fully realize that the Lord He is the personal representative of God, and Savior of their nation!
God’s Son, now having reappeared in the nature and purpose of His Father, and bearing His name, shall have reappeared before them in the nature and purpose of his Father, shall then be enthroned upon Zion’s holy mountain, and Jerusalem shall indeed be ‘holy,’ or set apart for His eternal glory.
After this time shall ‘no strangers’ shall pass through her anymore as armies of aggression have for so many centuries.
And at this specific time, Israel shall come deeply and fervently to realize and confess the identity of their Messiah, and admit that this is He Whom they rejected at His first appearance and Who they so cruelly hung upon a tree.
So, in that sense, they shall “know that I am the LORD.”
The reconfirmation of that conviction in Ezekiel 38 and 39 does not obviate this indicated conclusion about Him on the part of liberated Israel of that soon-coming day, but is reconfirmation of this conviction among his People of the end time.
At the end of the conflict with the nations round about, He shall appear to His nation upon the Mount of Olives, at the place from which he ascended to the heavens in AD29.
When His feet touch the mountain, a great earthquake ensues. The resultant groundswell shall forever change the topography of the Land from Jerusalem outwardly.
And His people shall recognize that “the Lord” is the hope of God’s people, and that He is the force and power of the Lord God dwelling in Zion, His holy mountain. Only then shall Jerusalem be “holy” in its fullest sense, as NO STRANGERS shall pass through her any more.
ONLY then shall they “know Him.”
Infidels will be allowed to roam freely or exercise authority there no longer; they shall have no claim to the lands. Islam and Orthodox Christians, Baha’i and Druze, and other pagans will be excluded, for the Lord shall be there (Ezekiel 48:35) and in process of instituting His Gospel and His laws – and the infrastructure of His kingdom on the earth.
All these alien folk are incompatible with that arrangement!
It is also definitive in this sense – this is the precise time at which Israelis come to recognize Jesus as Messiah, for “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.”
Joe 3:18 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.
Only at that future blessed time shall peace and tranquility settle upon His People ... and the Kingdom shall be the Lord’s!
Verse 18 gives details of the coming halcyon days of Israel, the Kingdom of God – which is of course, the Kingdom of Israel now restored and rapidly progressing.
Finally the fierce enemies of Israel shall have met their destiny – dust and ashes – for their enmity against God’s people. The accusation that they “have shed innocent blood” in Israel’s land is an example of severe understatement in verse 19.
Under Messiah’s reign, the restored fertility and productivity of The Land shall be returned with great abundance. The long-dry streambeds of Israel even today, shall become flowing rivers of fresh, pure water resulting from the rains that shall regularly fall upon that blessed Land. The fruitful fields shall drop with produce. Cattle and sheep shall multiply abundantly. All His people shall return and their children shall be multiplied abundantly.
The desolate sand dunes of the Judean Desert of today shall truly blossom as the rose in that future day! The fountain of waters which shall then issue from the Temple of the Millennium shall furnish life-sustaining fluids for all the land so that even the valleys which formerly would sustain only shittim wood (the Acacia tree, which grows almost without moisture) shall then produce lavish greenery overabundantly, and the Tree of Life shall flourish there. Ezekiel 40-48, Revelation 22: 2.
This information indicates a drastic change in the local environment of The Land. The contrast between God’s people and their dire enemies of the ages is drawn in the next phrases:
Joe 3:19 Egypt (as such) shall be a desolation, and Edom (as such) shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.
Joe 3:20 but Judah shall dwell for ever and Jerusalem from generation to generation.
Joe 3:21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.
The events iterated here are the beginning events of their deliverance at the time of the return of their Messiah with His Saints.
This event happens only one time, and it is eminent to our day! Verses 20 and 21 spells out the final picture: “… Judah shall dwell forever and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will cleanse their blood (the meaning here is that He shall avenge their loss of lives) that I have not cleansed, for the Lord dwelleth in Zion.”
It shall be the definitive, utterly secure and peaceful future of Israel as it moves into the Millennial reign of Messiah, Who shall then have been restored to David’s Throne in Jerusalem, reigning over his beloved and redeemed people in peace and righteousness.
The aggressive lands round about shall have been made a desolation and a wilderness for their aggression against God’s people, their murderous campaigns against innocent women and children and all the elderly civilians of Israel, their ungodly demands for the holy places of Israel, their incessant jihad against God’s chosen people ended forever. (Later these accursed lands shall be ‘healed’ and brought under Messiah’s covenant of Greater Israel – and become superbly productive and verdant under the Lord Jesus’ benevolent administration.)
In that blessed day Judah and Jerusalem shall be enveloped in perpetual and universal peace and security under the protection of Messiah and His Saints, never to be violated again. From generation to generation, peace shall dwell there and be a sanctuary for God’s people forever.
We believe this last verse (21) speaks to the final solution of the endless oppression of God’s people, in which He shall vindicate His people in spite of their unrighteousness.
Isaiah wrote of this time in his chapter 59, verses 18 – 21: “According to their (Israel’s enemies’) deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury for His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; to the islands He will repay recompense. So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn aside from transgressions in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the Lord: ‘My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed,’ saith the Lord from henceforth and forever.”
These remarkably significant phrases indicate that at some near-future time, “the enemy shall come in (into the Land) like a flood.” The previously indicated ratio of 160 to 7 (see above) subtly hints at the overwhelming force which a forced march of Islam against the Jewish state would place upon Israel. The sheer force of numbers was the biggest factor in Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in WW II. The USSR’s soldiers were so dense that when the men on the front line were killed, innumerable soldiers from the rear would rush to the front, grab the rifles of the dead, and press forward against the Germans. The depth of the Soviet forces was the overwhelming factor in the defeat of the Germans.
Our conviction is that this expected move of innumerable Islamicists against Israel in the near future is quite possibly the event which triggers the second appearance to Israel of Christ their Messiah. In that sense, Jesus fulfills to the letter the phrases of Zachariah’s prophecy in Luke 1, that He shall “save us from our enemies, and those who hate us.”
But will Israel immediately recognize its Savior?
No. Isaiah 63 proves that they will at first have no clue as to His identity; they cry excitedly, in regard to their newly appeared Ally, “Who is This that comes from Edom ...?”
But they soon shall be convinced that He has come to assist them in their latest aggression from their enemies round about – and join Him forthwith in battle.
Several of the prophets reveal this fact, implicating Israel’s armed forces of today in the battles that ensue – and especially in those against “Edom” in the book of Obadiah – the PLO and its associated tentacles scattered throughout Israel’s present territories and adjacent areas of Gaza, the Negev, the Sinai and south Lebanon as well as Jordan.
This final result is seen as the ultimate mercy of God as exercised upon His people, as foretold in several passages in Isaiah, one of which is Isaiah 48: 9 – 11: “For My name’s sake will I defer Mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee; that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For Mine own sake, even for Mine own sake, will I do it: for how should My name be polluted? And I will not give My glory unto another.”
Note: Scriptural quotations herein are as downloaded from E-Sword, an electronic compendium of the Authorized Version of 1611. <HELafferty MD/USA January, 2011, edited April, 2017, August, 2017, and May/September 2018. ~12,400 words.