Joel 3 - Outline of Joel
II. The Day of the LORD, at hand (2:1- 3:8)
A. The LORD's Army in the Land (2:1-11)
B. The LORD's Call for the Nation to Repent (2:12-17)
C. The LORD's Response to their Repentance (2:18- 3:8)
  1. The Promise of Deliverance (2:18-21)
  2. The Promise of Physical Renewal (2:22-27)
  3. The Promise of Spiritual Life (2:28-29)
  4. The Power of God in Deliverance (2:30-32)
  5. Israel Regathered (3:1)
  6. Gentile Nations Gathered and Judged (3:2-8)
1. For, behold, in those days, and in that time,
when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
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.
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?
will ye render me a recompence?
and if ye recompense me, swiftly [and] speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head;
5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold,
and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:
6 The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians,
that ye might remove them far from their border.
7 Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them,
and will return your recompence upon your own head:
8 And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah,
and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off:
for the LORD hath spoken [it].
I will also gather all nations... and will plead {HB=shaphat, judge} with them...
The Judgment of the Nations takes place at the time that Israel is regathered and delivered, at the coming of the LORD, in power and glory, as King and Judge. The basis of this judgment is the way in which the nations treated His people Israel, during their time of Trouble. (Zech 2:8-13; Mat 25:31-46).
...whom they have scattered... and parted my land... and sold...
Joel's use of the past tense, concerning these offenses, does not require that he was referring to events that were in the historic past at the time of his writing (as is claimed by scholars who consider Joel a post-exilic writer).
  • Joel wrote prophetically of the still future Day of the LORD. Many of these offenses will occur in that day.
  • Joel wrote as a prophet who knew the certainty of God's Word. Long before Joel, the LORD, speaking through Moses, had declared that His people would be scattered and parted from their land, if they turned from Him (Lev 26:27-33; Deu 28:58-67). Not long before Joel's day, Israel's kings had begun to turn the nation to false gods. The captivities were unavoidably certain, as the pre-exilic prophets declared.
Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied judgment on these (v.4) and other nations, in retribution for their mis-treatment of Israel and Judah, at the time of the captivities. In those passages, the LORD accuses those nations of similar crimes against His people, and pronounces judgment for those crimes. In some cases, partial judgment was meted out at the hand of other nations, such as Babylon (eg., Eze ch. 25-27).
     The judgment, here, is at the hand of the LORD, in just compensation for the cumulative wrongs committed, historically, and also in that future day of Trouble. Obad 1:15-21; Mic 7:16,17; Zech 1:14-17
     Today, although Israel has returned to her land, the land is divided according to the dictates of foreign powers. Even the temple mount, where Jews are presently severely restricted, will be divided by the Gentiles, during the Tribulation period (Rev 11:2).
Tyre... Zidon... the coasts of Palestine...-
The 'old hatred' which persists today, will intensify during the Tribulation (Eze 25:15,16).
the children of Judah... have ye sold unto the Grecians...
Tyre was a center of seafaring trade in all kinds of merchandise, including slaves (Eze 27:13, where 'Javan' or 'Ionia' identifies the people of Greece as among their customers).
...I will sell your sons... to the Sabeans...-
These nations would be paid in kind, for what they had done to the children of Israel. The 'Sabeans' are the people of Sheba (an ancient nation in southern Arabia), who engaged in overland trade (Eze 27:22,23; see also Job 1:13-15).

III. The Day of the LORD, in review
A. His Deliverance, in Retrospect (3:9-16)
B. His Kingdom, in Foreview (3:17-21)
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
{ie., nations}, and gather yourselves together round about:
thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.
12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat:
for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
...prepare war... beat your plowshares into swords...-
War has been a continual characteristic of the Times of the Gentiles (Mat 24:6-8). War will persist on the earth until the Kingdom of Christ covers the earth with righteousness and peace. Only then will it be safe to beat swords into plowshares (Isa 2:4; Mic 4:3).
Proclaim... this among the Gentiles... Prepare war... Assemble yourselves and come...
This is a call for 'all nations' (v.2), to unite for a confrontation with Israel's God. Zech 12:1-3
...come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat... for there I will sit to judge all the [nations]...
This is retrospective of the battle of Armageddon (Joel 2:30-32), the closing battle of the Tribulation period.
13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe:
come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow;
for their wickedness [is] great.
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision:
for the day of the LORD [is] near in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
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.
The sickle of judgment is wielded by the Lord Jesus Christ in His glory (Rev 14:14-20).
This is the gathering of the unsaved.for destruction (Mat 13:40-43,47-50).
multitudes... in the valley of decision...-
The 'decision' is that of the righteous Judge, who executes his verdict decisively upon the armies of the antichrist. Isa 34:1-4; 63:1-7; Rev 19:15,21
The signs in the sun, moon and stars... (mentioned in Joel 2:28-32, which Peter quoted in Acts 2:16-21)
...occur at this time, as the LORD goes forth to defend and deliver His people (Zech 14:1-3).
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 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.
This passage is retrospective of the blessings of the Kingdom, described in Joel 2:18-29.
So shall ye know that I am the LORD...-
Through the greatness of their deliverance and restoration, Israel (and all nations) will finally comprehend the greatness of the LORD God of Israel. Jer 24:7; Eze 34:24-30; 36:7-11; 37:13,14
Physical blessings and healing waters will flow from the Presence of the LORD dwelling in their midst (2:27; Eze 47:1-12; Rev 22:1-2).
The valley of Shittim is presently on the far side of the Jordan River from Jerusalem (see Num 25:1; Josh 2:1; 3:1). But at Christ's return, geography will be rearranged. The north - south rift, which is the Jordan Valley, will become an east - west rift (Zech 14:4-5,8).
Egypt... and Edom... desolate...-
Judgment upon Egypt and Edom will persist into the millennial Kingdom of Christ. The cause is not stated. However, it may be that during the final battle over Jerusalem, Jewish people seeking refuge in these countries, will encounter cruel and unjust mistreatment (Mat 24:15-22; The people of Moab may be more receptive: Isa 16:3,4). [Relative to the Dead Sea, Moab occupied the region to the east, while Edom was to the southeast.]
Judah shall dwell for ever... for I will cleanse their blood, that I have not cleansed...
Zech 12:10; 13:1; Isa 4:2-4
This cleansing comes when they turn, in repentance and faith, to 'the Branch of the LORD.' They were not cleansed previously, because they had rejected Him.
...for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.
These blessings will come to Israel, and the believing nations, when the LORD tabernacles in the midst of His people, as Christ the King, in Jerusalem. Today, He waits for that Day, at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Psa 110:1-7

This concludes the study in Joel.
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