Monday, November 11, 2013

Joel 3: The Final Battle

Joel 3:14-21  Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. Then you will know that I, the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her. In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the Lord's house and will water the valley of acacias.  But Egypt will be desolate, Edom a desert waste, because of violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they shed innocent blood.  Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon.' The Lord dwells in Zion!

Joel's final prophecy focuses on the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Jehoshaphat means "the Lord judges"). Here it is described as the Valley of Decision, for it is here that the fate of the nations are decided by the Judge of all. This final battle is also known as the battle of Armageddon. The outcome is not good for the nations that will be gathered against Israel. The mention that the "sun and moon will be darkened" echoes Jesus' own reference to this prophecy in Matthew 24.
  • "Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'  At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." (Matt 24:29-31)
I do not say this condemn any religion but simply to state the geo-political reality in the Middle-East. And this is frighteningly consistent with biblical prophecy. There is no other reason for the nations to gather against Israel except to achieve this grand vision. The political leadership of Russia will be there to give moral and military support to help her neighbors achieve this grand vision. Russia has nothing to lose but everything to gain in terms of strategic economic and political influence.

But what perhaps these nations have not factored in is that Israel's God is not just some tribal national god, but the Creator-God of heaven and earth. And the outcome is negative for these nations as described here. The mention of the darkening of the sun and moon and the stars no longer shine seems to suggest nuclear detonations, creating a phenomenon known as the nuclear winter when large amount of earth is thrown up into the stratosphere. Iran is on the fast-track to acquire a nuclear device and Israel is known to have nuclear devices. In the likely desperate event of a do-or-die scenario, nuclear weapons will be used against Israel.

But it would take a divine intervention to stop this human MADness (Mutually-Assured Destruction). Perhaps that is one reason why Jesus said in Matthew 24:21-22 that unless those days be shorted, no one would survive: "For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now — and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened."

Let's stay alert and be ready for that moment. But in the meantime, we should get busy to bring in the lost sons and daughters of God before it's too late.

Father, give us a sense of urgency to preach the Gospel. May Your Spirit stir up the churches in Singapore and elsewhere to flow with Your agenda. Amen.

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