Unpacking Joel chapter 3
Part 1 of 2. This was originally a six part series republished in two parts with permission from the author
By Bill Randles
For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring back the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, 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. And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink - Joel 3:1-3.
God Sues the Nations
Joel, the biblical prophet, (835-800 BC), prophesied with amazing clarity geo- political events that are occurring right before our eyes. We see:
The Time of fulfilment
For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem….
This prophecy is set for the time when God would bring back the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, i.e. it is going to be fulfilled post 1948.
I will also gather all nations…
The fulfilment of this aspect of the prophecy could only be recent. At no other time in human history, since the judgment at the Tower of Babylon, has there been the possibility for the “gathering of all nations”. Now all nations have been assembled into a congress, the United Nations, which arose, as did Israel, out of the aftermath of World War II in the late 1940′s.
Now as never before just as Psalm two predicts:
The kings of the earth and their rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Christ (verse 2).
Valley of Jehoshaphat
...and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat
The point is not that there is or isn't an actual geographical valley of Jehoshaphat, the point is that the name Jehoshaphat is part of the prophecy. It means “Yahweh (Jehovah) shall Judge”, i.e. God will judge the nations of the earth.
It could also be a reminder of the story of the siege of Judah in the days of King Jehoshaphat, in which, after repentance and a national day of prayer and fasting, the instruction was given not to fear the combined gentile armies of the Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites.
This is the battle where Judah, at God's command, marched the Priests out in front of the army, with musical instruments instead of weapons, praising the goodness of the Lord! The enemy turned upon itself and was routed.
...and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel
This is not a prediction that God will ask the nations to go easy on Israel. This is legal language. God is going to slap a lawsuit upon the Nations. He is serving an indictment, for this is the court of Divine Justice!
The indictment has four counts:
1. They scattered God's people;
2. They parted God's land;
3. They cast lots for God's people;
4. They sold the Israelites for the hire of a harlot and for wine.
Indictment 1: “My people, whom they have scattered among the nations.”
The Nations did indeed scatter the Children of Israel, thoroughly across the world. It is not unusual even to this day to find a tribe in remote China, India, or even Africa, who keep kosher, and observe other practices of the Jews, though cut off for centuries from the rest of the Jews.
This was exactly what God said would happen, should Israel prove faithless.
And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste - Leviticus 26:33.
So why is there an indictment on the nations of the world for doing exactly what God said He would do? We have to turn to Zechariah for the answer:
And I am very angry with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little angry, and they helped forward the affliction - Zechariah 1:15.
God is bringing a lawsuit against the nations because though He used them to scatter the Children of Israel, and to afflict them, they have taken it further than He wanted.
The nations were “at ease” when holocausts and pogroms were occurring; it didn't bother them. Hitler was offering shiploads of German Jews to any nation that would shelter them, but there were no takers. He then knew that his 'final solution' was possible to undertake without impugning His justice or the legal rights of the nations whom He had used.
All through the 1940′s into the 1990′s the word of the nations to Israel, in the midst of intifada and terror campaigns has been, “Don't 'rock the boat' by inflaming the Arabs. Give them “land for peace” so that OUR oil prices will be stable.”
The nations could overlook the Palestinian bombing and murder campaigns, the slaughter of children, women, Olympic athletes, etc., for they themselves were “at ease”. This is what is bringing upon the world the final judgment.
Indictment 2: –they parted my land—
In other words they have participated in the partition of God's land. This will bring judgment to the World. Israel isn't the property of the United Nations (UN), the Vatican, the European Union or the Arabs, nor is it the property of the Jews. Israel belongs to God himself.
The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me - Leviticus 25:23.
For the nations of the world to deliberate at the UN, or in Rome or Washington or Cairo over the disposal of the Holy Land and its borders, as if it were theirs to dispose of, is arrogant presumption.
Not even the Jews have the right to trade land for peace, even though the leadership of Israel, being for the most part secular in outlook, would desperately love to do so if it would bring peace.
The British were given the mandate of the “Holy Land” after defeating the Ottoman Turks at Jerusalem in the First World War. The Turks had taken the losing side in the War, and it was to the winners that the middle eastern spoils were divided.
Interestingly the Turks fled Jerusalem after learning of the name of the British General who besieged it, which was “Allenby”. The reason they fled was because they heard the name Allenby- as “Alla Nabi” which means “Allah's prophet” in Arabic. (God does indeed have a sense of humour!)
The British had promised a Jewish chemist, Chaim Weissman, a homeland for the Jews in the traditional borders, after the war, in exchange for the invention of a synthetic gunpowder. These traditional borders included much of the land on the eastern side of the Jordan River, in the area now known as the kingdom of Jordan.
The problem arose because the British promised the same area east of the Jordan River (known post World-War I as Trans-Jordan) to the royal Hashemite family of Arabs. (The Hashemites having been displaced – out of Arabia [i.e. Saudi Arabia] – by the help, ironically, of the British). Since partitioning the land, and especially Trans-Jordan, in favour of, and to appease, the Arabs, the sun has continued to set on the British Empire. At the same time, though, Israel was given only a sliver of the land that they were promised.
Currently this prophecy is being fulfilled by the insistence of the UN that Israel return to its pre 1967 borders (rendering it indefensible), as well as the pressure being exerted to cede the Gaza, and the so-called “West Bank” territory, which is biblically named “Judea and Samaria”. The United States under the Obama administration, has been insisting upon a “No Natural Growth” policy for Judea, which means that the number of Jewish settlers there is to be “capped”, allowing for no further growth in population. This would effectively strangle the existing population.
While Arab leaders, International statesmen, “Human Rights” champions of every kind, the Pope, the presidents of the free world, UN delegates, and a host of other parliamentarians from all over the world heatedly debate the “status” of Jerusalem and the “legitimate” borders of Israel, the Holy God of the Bible carefully observes. It would be well to remember the Words of the prophet Ezekiel in his prophecy to the “West Bank”, that is the mountains of Judea,
Also, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, “You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD”: Thus says the Lord GOD; “Because the enemy has said against you, 'Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession': Therefore prophesy and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD; Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that you might be a possession to the residue of the heathen, and you are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people:
Therefore, you mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about;
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD; 'Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.’
Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus says the Lord GOD; 'Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because you have borne the shame of the heathen: Therefore thus says the Lord GOD; I have lifted up my hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame.
But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown: And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be rebuilt- Ezek. 36:1-10.
Indictment 3: –the nations of the world have “cast lots” for God's people.
As we said earlier, now is the only time in history where this strange charge can even possibly be made.
Where do the Nations of the world meet together to cast lots for God's people? There is indeed a congress of nations which casts lots regularly for God's people, (among a few other things). It is the United Nations (UN).
Interestingly, the UN is composed of 192 member states, 57 of which are Islamic, and virtually vote as a bloc. The member states are divided into several regional groupings of which turns are taken to serve on the UN Security Council.
Israel is the only state in the UN which is not put in a regional grouping, and thus cannot serve on this UN human rights Security Council! Libya has served on it! Israel can never serve on the UN Security Council. In 2002 Syria was put on the US State Department list of terrorist states, yet in that same year Syria served on the UN Security Council.
The statistics are stunning, for example as of 2002:
- The Security Council had passed 175 total resolutions. 74 of these were neutral to Israel, 97 were against Israel, four went against perceived Arab interests.
- The U.N. Security Council, which Israel is barred from sitting on, has either “condemned”, or ”censured”, or “deplored”, or “strongly deplored” Israel 49 times!
- The Security Council has passed 131 resolutions, of which 43 were neutral. But 88 of them criticised or opposed Israel, and never an Arab state, Arab body, nor even the PLO, which is the “father” of modern terrorism!
- The U.N. General Assembly voted 7,938 times for Israel, but 55,642 times against her interests!
- The U.N. General Assembly has passed 429 resolutions against Israel but only 56 against Arab states. They have either“ condemned ”, ”vigorously condemned”, ”strongly condemned”, ”deplored”, ”strongly deplored”, ”censured” or “denounced” Israel 321 times, and never the Arabs!
There is something dreadfully wrong here, this is more than bias and prejudice, it is satanic and will bring the world into judgment!
Quoting best-selling author and Bible scholar, Dave Hunt:
More than 60,000 Individual votes have been cast in the U.N. condemning Israel. Yet not once has the U.N. reprimanded those who have without provocation waged four wars of aggression against Israel with the declared intention of annihilating her. Nor have the terrorists been condemned by the U.N. In November 2003, Israel introduced its first request for a resolution since 1976, asking for a prohibition against Arab terrorists who deliberately target Israeli women and children. Its request was rejected and instead, the U.N. adopted a resolution demanding protection of Palestinian children from Israeli aggression. The U.N.'s adamant opposition to Israel and everything it does is in defiance of the God of Israel and His pledge to restore His people to their promised land. [Dave Hunt, The Battle for Jerusalem. ed. Mal Couch, "The Gathering Storm: Understanding Prophecy in Critical Times" (Springfield, MO: 21st Century Press, 2005), 129.]
NEXT - Unpacking Joel chapter 3 - Parts 4,5 & 6.