Unpacking Joel Chapter 3 - Part 2
Part 2 of 2. This was originally a six part series published at http://cetf.co/gg9YB0 and http://cetf.co/fjA1W9
Republished in two parts with the permission of the author.
Part 1 – see CETF # 53/54 – Dec. 2010 – (pp 27-29) Indictment(1) God Sues the Nations; Indictment (2) They Parted My Land;Indictment (3) They cast lots for My People.
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.
The Nations are Harlots
The final of the four count indictment against the nations of the world by the infinite, personal, Holy, Sovereign King of the Universe, is that they have sold out the boys and girls of Israel, God's people, for the hire of a harlot and that they might sate their thirst for wine.
What does this mean and how could it possibly apply to the nations of the world? How have the nations prostituted themselves in regard to the children (literal) of Israel? Why did they do this, and what is it that they have been so thirsty for that they have been willing to do so?
Israel is a nation which from its rebirth in 1948, has been in a state of siege by its sworn, implacable and yet impotent enemies, the Muslim Arab states that surround it. They hate Israel and would wipe it off of the map if they could!
Having been humiliatingly defeated in five major wars in which the Muslim armies outnumbered the fledgling state of Israel some ten to one, the Arabs have resorted to the same kind of cowardly warfare that the Amalekites waged against Israel, as Moses relates,
Remember what Amalek did to you by the way, when you came forth out of Egypt; how he met you by the way, and smote the stragglers , even all that were feeble behind you, when you were faint and weary; and he did not fear God - Deuteronomy 25:17-18.
This included a war on the unsuspecting, the weak, vulnerable, and on children, boys and girls. The so-called intifada of the last 40 years have been well documented. They are known for the quality of their merciless savagery against the innocent.
The cold-blooded slaughter of the 1972 Israeli Olympic team, the exploding of buses, attacks on Jewish schools, the murder of school children in caves, parks, pizza parlours, and anywhere else that these so-called “martyrs” manage to “pull off” their atrocities, have been met with a strange indifference by the rest of the word. There has been little official outrage or condemnation that hasn't also include an equivalence argument, or lecture against the Jews.
On the other hand the late Yasser Arafat, the father of modern terrorism, has been feted as a man of peace, a virtual George Washington, a freedom fighter standing up for his people. He actually addressed the United Nations (UN) with a holster 1 strapped on his hip, to a standing ovation!
He also kept the PLO front-and-center in the world's news media. In 1970, the PLO wore out its welcome in Jordan after a rash of terrorist attacks, including several high-profile airliner hijackings. His eviction from Jordan sparked a civil war there, but Arafat simply moved his base of operations to Lebanon. In 1974, Arafat, wearing a gun, parlayed his notoriety and the divisions of the Cold War into an invitation to address the U.N. General 2 Assembly.
The ultimate sign that the world is utterly insane in its opposition to God, was the fact that this blood stained murderer was actually awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1994.
Jewish boys and girls have not been valued by the nations of the earth, for when vicious predators such as Arafat and the terrorism that he spawned, slaughtered them, the world could only for the most part lecture Israel for 'provoking' these modern Amalekites!
In the Arab world there are streets named after the slaughterers of innocent women and children. They are regarded as holy men, and their families are praised!
One sickening example of this is that of the child killer who was released in one of those disproportionate prisoner exchanges Israel is often pressured into. This from Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald,
In Jerusalem, an Israeli spokesman condemned the hero's welcome accorded to Kantar in Beirut yesterday. “Kantar is a brutal child murderer who instead of being rejected upon his return was cheered and greeted like a rock star and this is disgusting and deplorable,” said David Baker, a spokesman from the Israeli prime minister's office”.(http://cetf.co/hjizua)
How have we nations prostituted ourselves, selling out Jewish boys and girls? We have betrayed our own values of human rights, selling them out by looking the other way, to appease perhaps the worst violators of human rights in the world today, the Arab Muslim world. To appease them we hold Jewish life and rights cheap, forcing them into indefensible borders, muting our usual condemnation of Human rights violators so as not to offend those who oppose Israel.
What is it that we are so thirsty for, that we would prostitute our own stated values, which we were never afraid to champion before, in the face of Communism and Fascism? We called them on human rights, why not the Saudis?
Our 'wine' in the modern industrial world is oil, cheap, easily accessible oil, which the Lord has seen fit to put in the hands of the Arabs, as a moral test, which western nations are failing.
God and Southern Lebanon
What have you to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Philistia? will you retaliate? and if you retaliate, swiftly and speedily will I return your retaliation upon your own head; - Joel 3:4.
An interesting exercise for Bible readers is to take the geographical predictions of the Hebrew prophets and transpose the ancient place names with modern place names, e.g. Amman, would be Jordan, as would Moab and Edom; Elam would be Iran as would Persia; Assyria would be part of Iran and part of Iraq; Babylon proper is Iraq.
In this end-times scenario, God directly addresses “Tyre and Sidon”, in a menacing fashion, challenging them to take vengeance upon Him if they can. Tyre and Sidon and the “coasts of Philistia”, as the passage relates, is the area now called Southern Lebanon and Gaza.
Lebanon has been known as the only Christian country in the Middle East. Christianity in Lebanon goes back to Jesus himself, who healed the daughter of a Syrophenician woman in Matthew's gospel chapter 15 (verses 21-28 cf. Mark 7:24-30).
For centuries, Christian sects such as the Maronites, Melkites, Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, and Protestants constituted the majority in the land of the ancient Phoenicians. But in our own lifetime things have changed dramatically. Decades before The 9/11 (2001) attack in Times Square woke America to the reality of the international war against humanity that Islam is waging, Lebanon suffered a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” of Christians by Muslims.
Christian villages were assaulted and centuries old Christian communities were broken up and destroyed by well armed and supported Muslim militias, driving many Christians out of the country. Mercenaries from across the Muslim world have been involved in this jihad of pillage and murder.
From Southern Lebanon, during the 1970s and early 1980s, the Terrorist group, the PLO, would often launch border raids upon Israel, terrorizing and killing many innocent Israelis and others.
The provocations increased until they became intolerable and the U.N. proved impotent to stem the slaughter along Israel's northern border. In June 1982 Israel launched Operation Peace For Galilee, an invasion of Lebanon that stopped just short of Beirut.
There the U.N. stepped in and literally saved Yasser Arafat and the remnant of his shattered army, shipping them off to Tunisia, to live and terrorize for many other days. Israel occupied southern Lebanon, making the area a sanctuary for Christian refugees from the jihad in Lebanon.
But in May of 2000, Israel voted to withdraw from Lebanon, wearying of the steady casualty count, primarily due to the terrorist activity, of the Iranian/Syrian backed group Hezbollah. As Israel withdrew, Hezbollah became brazen in advancing, thus giving the Arab world the delusion that they had driven Israel out of Southern Lebanon!
Thus Hezbollah, and in particular its spokesman Sayyad Nasrallah, have become “Rock Stars” throughout the Muslim world, for being the first to impose defeat on the modern state of Israel.
Nasrallah has become outspoken in his pledge to wipe out the state of Israel, and feels emboldened by his recent “successes”. Hezbollah has actually become a legitimate part of the Government of Lebanon, and has been stockpiling 40,000 rockets to rain upon Israel. Here are some of his statements:
Palestine, from the sea to the river, is the property of Arabs and Palestinians and no one has the right to give up even a single grain of earth or one stone, because every grain of the land is holy. The entire land must 3 be returned to its rightful owners. Could Israel be wiped out of existence? Yes, and a thousand times yes. If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.[Israel is] a cancer that needs to be 6 removed at its roots. Our weapons, our blood and our rockets are all yours [the Palestinians], too, and we will stay with you until we can pray with you at the Al-Aqsa mosque in united 7 Jerusalem, capital of all of Palestine!7
Could the Holy God be addressing Hezbollah, when He singles out “Tyre and Sidon”, i.e. Southern Lebanon, in Joel 3?
Will you avenge yourself upon me Tyre and Sidon? See how I will avenge myself on you!
Nasrallah and the terrorist group Hezbollah, which have insinuated themselves into the vacuum of Southern Lebanon by the withdrawal of Israel, have been boasting of their upcoming total victory over Israel and Israel's God. We will see soon enough how that turns out.
In my distress I cried to the LORD, and he heard me. Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue. What shall be given to you or what shall be done to you, you false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper. Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! My soul has dwelt too long with him that hates peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war. – Psalm 120
Valley of Decision
Proclaim this among the Gentiles; Prepare for war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your ploughshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all you nations, and gather yourselves together round about: cause your mighty ones to come down, O LORD. Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the nations round about.Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, go down; for the press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision - Joel 3:9-14.
Remember that Joel 3 is the vision of the lawsuit God brings against the nations. The charges are clearly announced. The Lord will deal with the nations over how they treated Israel His people.
We have demonstrated that only since the inception of the U.N. has a literal fulfilment of this prophecy ever been possible. This is the only time in human history where there has been a truly universal deliberative body composed of representatives of all nations.
Furthermore, this body literally “casts lots” that determine policies towards God's people, and presumes to determine the borders and disposal of the Holy Land, which God calls “My Land”! About a third of the time in the U.N. is spent doing this.
God calls the Nations to assemble in the “valley of Jehoshaphat”, (the Hebrew meaning of 'Jehoshaphat'- “Jahweh shall Judge ) to prepare for open war.
Whatever the geo-political situation this involves is only incidental to the events described here. There will be factions in the end, “the Kings of the East”, the Revived Roman Empire, the Kings of the North, and of course the Muslim world,but ultimately it will be revealed that man is at war with God himself and that for a long time.
The U.N. was given a sculpture by the Soviet Government, which was placed in a garden across from its headquarters, with a wall that has a scripture inscribed on it, a citation from Isaiah 2, which points to the millennium,
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more - Isaiah 2:4.
But in the day of the Valley of Decision, God reverses the scripture. He quotes it in an inverted fashion as He calls the nations to the valley of God's Judgment,
Beat your ploughshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong - Joel 3:10.
At the culmination of human history a wonderful clarity occurs, for suddenly all is revealed for what it truly is and perhaps always has been!
The Kings of the Earth often have pretended to piety, and given lip service to religious sentiment, (when it suited them to do so), but really and truly, as the Psalmist said, They have taken counsel against the Lord and against his Christ, and they have done their best to “Cast off the cords and bondages” of the Lord and His Christ's religion!
We speak especially of the modern “kings”, presidents, democratically elected politicians and leaders in every field. Tirelessly they have worked to dismantle every last trace of Christian morality, culture, ethics, law, thought form, in short anything of God and Christ.
Are these not the very ones who in the West have championed the “brave new godless world” in which homosexuality, abortion, atheism have been the prevailing mores? In their resistance to God they have ruined a once great civilisation!
In the name of tolerance they have attacked any public display of Christianity, even going so far as to promote Islam to counter it? How do they expect it to end?
On that great day, Revelation 19 tells us, the so-called Kings of the Earth are revealed for what they really have been all along. They come out of the shadows directly to confront the Lord and His Christ openly,
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war…And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him who sat on the horse, and against his army - Revelation 9:11,19.
The Valley of Decision, is not a place where men are making decisions for or against the Lord. The Valley of Decision is the place where the decision is already made by the Lord. It is the valley of God's judgment on the nations, the place of execution of judgment.
The time to make our decision is now. Now is the time to take God's side, to repent, to rethink the course of your whole life, to realize that the glory and vindication of God is all that really matters, and most importantly to learn by experience the meaning of the blessed promise, “Whoever will call upon the Lord shall be saved” (Joel 2:32).
Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, go down for the winepress is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision - Joel 3:13-14.
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About the author
BILL RANDLES came out of the Word of Faith Movement and is the founder and pastor of Believers in Grace Fellowship in Marion, Iowa which has been in existence since 1982. He is the author of 4 books: Making War in the Heavenlies, Weighed & Found Wanting, Beware the New Prophets, and Mending the Nets. He has travelled to Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Australia, New Zealand, India, Russia and the Philippines preaching the gospel and contending for the faith that has been delivered to the saints. He and his wife, Kristin, have 6 children and 10 grandchildren.