Bible Studies in the Book of Joel
Joel Chapter 3 Lesson: The Judgement of the Nations
by I Gordon
 ↩ Can you remember all the blessings and curses of the law that Moses gave to the nation of Israel? Basically it spoke of great blessings if they would obey but included curses of being scattered amongst the world and finding no rest there (among other things) if they disobeyed. That was all given around 1500 BC and history has seen all these blessings and curses play out on this unique nation. The interesting point is that Moses didn't stop there. He also saw the restoration of Israel once all these things had taken place. Moses told them:
Deut. 30:1-5 When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, (2) and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, (3) then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. (4) Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. (5) He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers.
 ↩ The Bible Knowledge Commentary states the following on the valley of Jehoshaphat: ' the site of the judgment will be the Valley of Jehoshaphat, mentioned only in Joel 3:2, Joel 3:12. Whether such a geographical site was known by this name in ancient Israel is not certain. Some scholars suggest it is a yet-future valley, to be formed by the splitting of the Mount of Olives at the Messiah's return (Zec14:4). At any rate, the importance of the name is not in its geographical location, but in its meaning, 'the Lord judges.' '
 ↩ The world currently is trying to divide up Israel in the present Israeli-Palestinian 'piece process'. Argh... I mean 'peace process'. They puzzle long and hard over how they can have two states side by side and who is going to get what. Biblically speaking, the land is GOD's! I bet they haven't taken Him or this fact into consideration!
Did you know that when God gave the land to the tribes of Israel they were not even allowed to sell the land permanently? Do you know why? Well, it the same reason as just mentioned - It is because the Promised Land is God's! Here is what God said to the Israelites:
Lev. 25:23 The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.
So we could say, 'well, that was ages ago. Surely God doesn't think of the land as still His. I mean, He isn't still interested in this piece of dirt in the Middle East is he?' The interesting thing is that in Joel here we have a picture of how God judges the nations at the end of the age and you know what? We find that God is very interested in who is dividing HIS land and He is judging the nations because of it. Take note of this US. Listen up EU and all who would pressure Israel in this way.
 ↩ Author and Pastor Bill Randles has written a good blog on this here:
 ↩ Wikipedia says the following concerning the foundation and aim of Hezbollah:
'From the inception of Hezbollah to the present, the elimination of the State of Israel has been one of Hezbollah's primary goals. Some translations of Hezbollah's 1985 Arabic-language manifesto state that "our struggle will end only when this entity [Israel] is obliterated". According to Hezbollah's Deputy-General, Na'im Qasim , the struggle against Israel is a core belief of Hezbollah and the central rationale of Hezbollah's existence.' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezbollah#The_Hezbollah_manifesto
Their leader has said: If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide. ( Daily Star, Oct. 23, 2002) For other 'lovely' quotes from their leader see http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=7&x_issue=11&x_article=1158
Of course, Hamas (now ruling Gaza) is on the same level of hatred. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. From 2006 onwards it has been run by the terrorist organization Hamas and it has been used to fire over 8000 rockets into Israel. ( http://www.idfblog.com/facts-figures/rocket-attacks-toward-israel/ ). Of course, what would you expect from an organisation that puts the following quote from Muhammad in their very charter (article 7)!:
"The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'
 ↩ The Philistines had 5 main cites: Ekron, Gath, Askelon, Ashdod and Gaza (the most prominent). And as mentioned in the previous footnote, the hatred coming out of Gaza today hasn't changed.
 ↩ It is worrying that more Christians, ignorant of Bible prophecy, are starting to believe the world's media and blame Israel for the ills of the Middle East. The 'boycott Israel' voices are rising - even among parts of the church! I recently had a Christian man write in who was very pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. After explaining the background of the conflict to him, I gave him the following quote from Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu: 'If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.' I agree with this quote. He responded: 'Benjamin was wrong in your quote. If he would withdraw from Gaza, he may find peace he has never known. You support apartheid and you don't even know it...' Um, the fact is that Israel did withdraw from Gaza in 2005 so we don't need to theorise here. So did Israel experience peace for giving up Gaza? Not even close. Hamas soon ruled Gaza and fired over 9000 rockets from Gaza into Israel since that time. What's coming (in the short term at least) for Israel is not the 'day of Jacob's peace'. It is the 'day of Jacob's trouble'. I understand that those in the world who aren't familiar with the Bible would not 'get' the conflict. But there isn't any excuse for Christians to remain ignorant.
 ↩ No doubt you will recognize this phrase. Well, you'll probably remember the reverse of this phrase. Both the prophets Isaiah and Micah spoke the following words 'They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.' (Isaiah 2:4 & Micah 4:3) The United Nations building in New York has a wall with this verse from Isaiah 2:4 inscribed on it. Great sentiment... Wrong timeframe. Before the nations beat their swords into ploughshares (which emphasises the peace that will ensue when the Messiah Jesus rules and reigns from Jerusalem in the Millennium) the nations will in fact do the opposite. They will fulfil the prophecy of Joel and beat their ploughshares into swords and advance against the nation of Israel. And God Himself will rouse them and encourage them to do so for the time of judgement has come.
 ↩ I should add that while Joel speaks of the judgment of the nations, it should be remembered that Israel too will be judged. Zec.13:8-9 In the whole land," declares the LORD, "two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. (9) This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.' "
 ↩ I have spoken elsewhere of this 'winepress' at the end of the age so won't go into it again but if interested, I suggest you read accompanying verses as well on this subject such as Isaiah 63:1-6 and Revelation 14:14-20.