Summary: What does the endtime judgment look like? See God's judgment and justice come to fruition.
Words of Warning – Series on Joel
The Final Chapter
* Over the years many movies that carried the title- “THE FINAL CHAPTER.” Generally, with these words comes a sense of finality. Additionally, when we get to the final chapter in a book we are reading we know that our reading time is short, that the complete story has been told, and if it has any kind of ‘mystery’ in its plot—that mystery will be revealed. Final chapters carry a sense of mixed emotions.
* Having made our way through the Prophecy of Joel, we not only complete the book but we also catch a glimpse of end-time judgment. One of the truths about God word seems to be that the teaching on the end of days should serve not only as a ‘warning’ but also an ‘encouragement’ to the people of God. Candidly, it is easy to get the sense that the forces of evil have the upper hand on earth. While this is not particularly true, it is easy to be lulled into sensing this. The story of the end time events serve to remind us that a great day is coming when evil (I.E. sin, selfishness, self-economy, persecution of the saints & more) will be dealt with by Jehovah God so it serves as both an encouragement for the child of God who walks with and lives for God and it serves as a warning for those who do not walk with God.
* In reviewing, praying through, and studying this text, I see a ‘reiteration’ of other parts of the book of Joel. This “Final Chapter” gives insight into the “Final Chapter” of humanity, it divides very easily into 2 thoughts;
1. The Judgment of God - Look at these four words and allow them to burn into your mind. Americans, by and large, don’t care to hear about this subject because it can warp our sense of “a loving God.” Well, at least this seems to be the mantra of the day. Yet, like it or not and ready or not, God’s judgment is a truth from which we cannot escape. In verse 2 we read, “The Valley of Jehoshaphat” and some will wonder about the location of this valley. Well, some say it is between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives while others speculate that when Jesus comes in revelation He will split the Mount of Olives in two creating a valley between two hills and this will form Jehoshaphat. I submit that the geographic location is not nearly as important as what this means and what it is. The word Jehoshaphat means, “The Lord Judges.” In verse 14 this is referred to as the “Valley of Decision.” I submit this reference is strategically placed because God foreknew that the time would come when people would not believe that, in His love, He would judge.
a. His Actions – In verse 1, the words ‘in those days and at that time’ conveys that He is talking about a specific event in historical time. The picture almost resembles a court room where some are restored while others are gathered (brought in) and judgment begins. At that time (the end time, Judgment day), God’s people (Judah & Jerusalem) will be restored. (This is an important encouragement for God people but let’s save this thought for last.) Then God will gather all nations. This will be a ‘cattle-call’ (no disrespect intended) of all the nations who have used and abused His people. It is a gathering of those who have chosen to oppose God, His righteousness, and His people. The reason He gathers them is for the purpose of making them answer for their actions! In the valley of judgment or decision, they will face HIM.
b. His Accusations – The accusations or indictments of the unbelievers are many and scary. Start at the end of verse 2 through verse 6 and discover these; abuse of God’s people, stealing of God’s land and temple treasures, slave trade, & child trafficking. In God’s accusations I find something that is pretty interesting; it seems that God knows these people are trying to get back at HIM or ‘show Him a thing or two.’ How amazingly arrogant! Yet, this is becoming the norm instead of the exception in the 21st century. There is a strong delusion among today’s culture that we can ‘stand up’ to God and I believe it is spoken to in this section of scripture. By the way, it carries devastating effects. To fall under an indictment as dictated by deity is to be found guilty.
c. His Approach – Do you see how God’s responds to the arrogant words of His enemies? Let’s read verses 7 and following. He offers a warning about what lies ahead. He uses the words which mean ‘to deal with’ or ‘to give retribution or recompense.’ Basically, God’s words are like, “You want to try me? Go for it?” Then God paints a picture of what will happen (He’ll will treat these people the exactly way that they have treated HIS people.) And He doesn’t stop there; He challenges His enemies to declare war on Him, gather the people, make weapons to do battle, and meet Him in the valley of decision. Make no mistake, at this point, God has had enough and judgment is at hand.