Joel Chapter 3
After studying God’s wakeup call to Israel in the first two chapters, we’re concluding our 3-part series on the book of Joel with chapter 3 this week. After God called His people to repent and return to Himself, He turned His attention to the nations that mistreated Israel—those that scattered its people and divided its land. Joel 3 records the Lord’s intention to gather these nations together in Jerusalem for judgment.
In those days, Israel was in the midst of a long line of world powers who fought for control of the Holy Land. Even today Israel’s land division is not in its people’s hands but is instead at the mercy of the United Nations. But disaster is coming for those that brought trouble to Israel. Join us as we wrap up this key book of prophecy, and remember that how you treat Israel matters to God too!
To catch up on this series, visit our Archives page.
Are you interested in studying the Scriptures from a Jewish perspective? Check out our FREE online classes at foiequip.org.
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. We're so glad you chose to be with us. Everything related to today's program and every previous episode can be found at foiradio.org. It's there you'll find trustworthy and accurate news on Israel and the Middle East. And while you're there, you can support our ministry by clicking on the donate button and helping us to continue teaching biblical truth about Israel and the Jewish people. Once again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, we're wrapping up our series on Joel today. We're actually going to look exactly at God's zealousness for his people, the Jewish people, and the land of Israel, and how all of that ultimately plays out in the end times. And so again, we'll be wrapping up our series in Joel 3.
Steve Conover: We look forward to that. But first in the news, at the United Nations meeting last month, British Prime Minister Liz Truss told Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid that she's considering relocating the United Kingdom's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Lapid sent on Twitter a thanks to the new prime minister saying, "We will continue to strengthen the partnership between the countries."
Chris Katulka: Steve, here's my take. Of course, all the naysayers are now all of a sudden coming out and they're claiming that the relocation of the British Embassy would be a disaster. The Guardian wrote, "Liz Truss's next disaster, a plan to move the British Embassy to Jerusalem." The Middle East Eye wrote, "Liz Truss moving UK embassy to Jerusalem would be disastrous." Everybody said the exact same thing when the Trump administration moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
But what ended up actually following was peace, not a disaster. It was peace between Israel and several Arab nations. It was not a disaster like the mainstream media promised. Hey, you know what, Prime Minister Truss? I say, move the embassy because history is on your side.
Chris Katulka: This always happens so fast. Whenever we begin a series, I think to myself, let's just settle into this portion of Scripture together for a little bit, but then all of a sudden, in a blink, in an instance, we're at the end of the series and that's exactly what happened. I entered Joel thinking we could spend a lot of time in Joel 1-3, and now we're at the end of our series.
Now, if you've been listening on the radio or on the podcast, maybe this is the first message you're hearing of our Joel series. If so, welcome. Let me encourage you though to go to foiradio.org. And there you can listen to our previous programs where we covered Joel 1-2, which are very important to understanding Joel 3. Now, let me just say that the book of Joel is a prophetic book that's full of both Israel's history and Israel's prophetic hope.
Now listen, we started Joel a few weeks ago where we looked at Joel 1 and what we saw in chapter one was that God was using Joel to spiritually wake up the Jewish people. He did this by using Israel's history as a preview of what's to come because of their spiritual slumber.
And God reminded his people of a great swarm of locusts that at one point devastated their crops and he compared it to a future swarm of locusts that will do even more harm. But this time, the future locusts aren't insects, they're actually a great army of people that would devastate the land of Israel. And I personally tend to think that that great army that Joel is talking about is the Babylonian army that would come to destroy the temple and Jerusalem in 586 BC. And ultimately, this could date the book of Joel around 601 BC.
Now in Joel 2, the Lord tells the Israelites to sound the shofar, the trumpet, sound the alarm of the coming invasion judgment that the Lord was bringing. The Babylonian army was on the march, and Joel's prophecy was not only one that was picturing the Babylonian army coming, but also a greater battle that would come to Israel and the future when all the nations of the world would attack Israel and the Jewish people.
And that's when God commanded Joel to tell the Israelites to sound a second shofar, the second trumpet, a trumpet of repentance. God wanted his people to return to him to repent because God is jealous for his people, the Jewish people and the land, the land of Israel. He wanted his people to tear their hearts, not their garments, which means that God wanted the Jewish people to genuinely repent and God would be faithful to forgive them.
Now, as we're moving into Joel 3, God is going to turn his attention to the nations that inflicted pain on Israel and the Jewish people. Listen to the beginning of Joel 3 starting in verse 1. "For look! In those days and at that time I will return the exiles to Judah and Jerusalem. And then I will gather all the nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment against them there concerning my people Israel who are my inheritance, whom they scattered among the nations. They partitioned my land, and they cast lots for my people."
This prophecy clearly takes place in the future. These events have not yet taken place. God will return the exiles of Judah and Jerusalem to the land, which is something actually that we're seeing happening right now as we speak. The Jewish people are returning to the land.
Just prior to the Holocaust, the largest Jewish populations in the world were in Eastern Europe. That's just 80 years ago. There were not that many Jewish people in the land of Israel at that time. Today, just 80 years since the Holocaust, Israel has the largest Jewish population, and behind that is America.
Jewish people are returning to the land. They are beginning that regathering process from the nations. But an even larger ingathering of the exiles is still to take place. During the future tribulation period, God will again turn his attention back to Israel and the Jewish people, and God will judge the nations on the way they treated his chosen people.
Notice what it says again in Joel 3 starting in verse one, it says, "I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat." The Valley of Jehoshaphat is the valley of judgment. Jehoshaphat is a name, but in Hebrew, it means “judgment.” And Joel is probably speaking of a physical valley that's between the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount. And that valley is called the Kidron Valley, and it's the location where Jesus will return one day in the future at his second coming.
So God is saying that one day he will draw all the nations of the world into Israel, specifically Jerusalem right to the Kidron Valley to judge them for their actions toward Israel, specifically the way they treated his people and scattered them and the way they divided the land. God will judge the nations in the future for the way they divided or partitioned the land. And folks, the nations actually, if you think about it, they've been doing this for thousands of years.
On October 6th, I'll be teaching a live online class that you're invited to join if you want to on Intertestamental History where we're going to be studying the events that took place in between the testaments, the 400 years between Malachi and Matthew. You can actually go to a website called foiequip.org to register for that free class and you can journey through those 400 years with me.
But if you actually study those 400 years, you'll find that the nations of the world were slicing and dicing and dividing the land of Israel up like a food processor. Nations came and usurped the land. They fought for the land, they took portions of the land for themselves, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantine Empire, the Muslim empires that existed throughout the centuries. Those old examples of the nations were dividing up the land that God promised the Jewish people.
Well, those are the old days. What about today? Nations have been attempting to portion out God's land for quite some time. In the early 20th century, the British Empire took control of the Holy Land and they originally promised to give it to the Jewish people. However, within decades, the British government prevented Jewish people from returning to the land, even during the Holocaust for safety, caving to Arab pressures.
All of this led to a two-state solution or a better term, is dividing the land. Today, the United Nations is a centerpiece for dividing up the land of Israel. A 2021 resolution that was approved by the UN General Assembly called for the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem. And the Arab population and occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.
The United Nations doesn't just want to divide Israel. They also want to divide Jerusalem into two segments like it was prior to 1967, before the Six-Day War. The United Nations is arguing that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a Palestinian state, which would require Israel to divide up not only Jerusalem, but also the West Bank, which is areas of Biblical Judea and Samaria.
Did you also hear that the UN resolution wants Israel to give up the Golan Heights in the North to war-torn Syria? The Golan Heights is Israeli land according to their laws, and even America recognizes Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
We know what happens when the land is divided. Israel on their own decided to divide the land in 2005 to give the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians as a gesture of peace. Israel ripped their own citizens out of the Gaza Strip, their land, thousands of them. Some of them lived and farmed those areas of the Gaza Strip for 40 years. Israel no longer has any jurisdiction within Gaza, and today, that fertile land is used by Hamas and Iran as a launchpad to send rockets into Israel.
The nations have been attempting to divide Israel for years, and God's passion for his inheritance as Joel is showing us, his people, his land, will put a stop to it in the future when he draws all the nations of the world to Jerusalem, the Valley of Jehoshaphat, the valley of judgment to be judged for the way they treated Israel and the Jewish people. That's how seriously the Lord takes this matter.
Now listen, when we come back, we're going to look more at how God settles this issue in Joel. But the reality is this, we want you to dive deeper into the book of Joel, into the prophet Joel. Remember I said, this has only been a three-part series. I wish we could go deeper and study more into the book of Joel, but you can actually do that on your own with the resources that we give you here at The Friends of Israel.
Chris Katulka: And Joel: The Day of the Lord is a book written by our very own David Levy. And David takes much of the uncertainty about the end times, which actually comes from the failure of understanding the major messages found in the minor prophets. And Joel's prophecy that you'll get from David Levy's book will provide you with a greater understanding of Israel's prophetic history and give you a renewed appreciation for Israel's struggle to survive over the centuries.
You're going to gain a love and an understanding for Israel's present plight and the future day of the Lord that it must face. And listen, these practical lessons will draw you closer to the Lord and give you a fuller understanding of the millennial kingdom and the blessings that are yet to be experienced at the Messiah's return.
Chris Katulka: Hey, Steve, how can our listeners get their copy of David Levy's book, Joel: The Day of the Lord?
Steve Conover: Yeah, as I mentioned at the top of the program, everything related to this program or any resource that you hear us mention, you can find it at foiradio.org. If you'd like to purchase or learn more about this book on Joel by David Levy, visit us at foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Welcome back, everyone. We're wrapping up our series on Joel, and we're in Joel 3, and we're looking at the fact that God is zealous for his chosen people and zealous for his land, the land of Israel. And God is going to draw one day in the future. He's going to draw the nations to Jerusalem, but he ultimately draws them there to judge them for the way that they treated Israel and the Jewish people.
And Zechariah 14 actually shows us with some detail as well when this post-exilic prophet is writing, he shows us in detail what it will look like when God gathers the nations to Jerusalem. He writes this in the beginning of Zechariah 14, "For I will gather all of the nations against Jerusalem to wage war. The city will be taken, the houses plundered, and the women raped, and then half the city will go into exile, but the remainder of the people will not be taken away."
"Then the Lord will go to battle and fight against those nations just as he fought the battles in ancient days. And on that day, his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives that lies east of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, leaving a great valley."
Notice, it's the Lord who gathers the nations to Jerusalem to be judged. In Matthew 25 Jesus picks up on this concept from Joel and from Zechariah, the concept of the nations being judged for how they treated Israel and the Jewish people. And listen to this, Matthew 25, starting in verse 31 says, "When the son of man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne and all the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate people one from another, like a shepherd separates sheep from the goats and he will put the sheep on the right and the goats on his left."
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. And I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you took care of me. I was imprisoned, and you visited me.' And then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the king will answer them, 'I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.'"
The brothers and sisters that are being talked about here are the Jewish people, and it's actually specifically talking about Jewish people during the tribulation period and whether or not the nations treated the Jewish people during the tribulation period with respect and honored them during this great time of trouble and help them just as the prophet Joel and the prophet Zechariah had talked about.
I can never stress enough the significance of Genesis 12:3, "I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you." That's a promise God made to Abraham 4,000 years ago, but still is applicable today as we see in Joel and even in Jesus's prophecy about the coming tribulation.
This is why the Friends of Israel exist today by God's grace, to connect the church to the truth of what God's Word says about Israel and the Jewish people, and to share the good news of Jesus, the Messiah, the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of the world.
I hope that you take the opportunity to dive a little deeper into the prophet Joel and to see the richness of God's prophetic Word, not only how it connects to what God is going to do in the future for Israel and the Jewish people, but also what it means for us as believers today.
Steve Conover: First off, Chris, thank you for teaching us these important truths these last three weeks from the book of Joel. When God goes to battle for his people, his chosen people in the future, what does that tell us about his character?
Chris Katulka: It tells us that he's faithful and it tells us that he is a God of mercy and grace. Because if you remember in the book of Joel, the Jewish people didn't deserve it. They actually were sinning. God had said, "Tear your heart, not your garments. Repent, turn back to me."
And yet in one picture you get the Jewish people and their disobedience, but then in the next chapter you get how God plans to restore them because of his kindness and mercy. So when you see the entire book of Joel, Joel even mentions this, that God is a God of compassion and mercy and kindness and grace, which is something that we see go all the way back to Exodus 34. So when I look at Joel, I see God's grace and mercy when it shows his relationship with his people.
Steve Conover: Israel, on the verge of becoming a state, a teenage Holocaust survivor arrives on her shores alone. His name is Zvi Kalisher. Little did he know his search for a new life in the Holy Land would lead him to the Messiah. Zvi, enthusiastic to share his faith, engaged others in spiritual conversations, many of which can be found in our magazine, Israel My Glory. While Zvi is now in the presence of his Savior, his collected writings from well over 50 years of ministry continue to encourage believers worldwide. Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life of Zvi.
Mike Kellogg: Miracles do not happen every day. Therefore, when they do, we must thank the Lord who alone has the power to perform them. This past week, my wife and I went to Tel Aviv on an errand. Afterward my wife said, "It's almost time to catch the bus back to Jerusalem. I want to get home early." "Why do you have to rush?" I asked. "Let us take our time." But I gave in and we hurried along.
When we arrived at the station, we learned that we just missed the bus to Jerusalem. 15 minutes later, the next bus arrived. About a half hour after leaving Tel Aviv, we heard that the bus we were hurrying to catch had been attacked by a terrorist. 15 people died and many were seriously injured. As we passed the side of the crash, I saw ambulances and helicopters.
Everyone on our bus was outraged. The man in front of us said, "The minute I get home, I'm going to spread pure oil on the mezuzah, on my doorpost. We all must do this to thank God for preserving our lives." I said, "I'm not sure that's the right thing to do. I am praying that the Lord will heal the injured and comfort the families of the dead instead."
The longer we drove, the more foolish this man's statements became. I told him, "You feel you are right with God, but you are spiritually blind." As it is written, if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a ditch, Matthew 15:14. Oh, that someone would remove the dust from your eyes. He became extremely angry and said, "That is enough. I do not believe you are Jewish." I assured him I was a Jew, but he responded, "You are not. You talk like the Gentiles."
Some of the others agreed and became suspicious. I told him about my love for Israel, my service in Israel's wars, and then challenged the man to prove he was a better Jew than I. I said, "We, as the chosen people of God, should be a light to all nations. But how can we tell other nations if you spread pure oil on your doorpost? You'll be cleansed from your sins and find acceptance with God." That's ridiculous. And the nations would think we were fools.
Please think for yourselves, I urged them. Do not follow the empty faith of false teachers. God told our forefathers, "You shall not go after the gods of the peoples who are all around you." Everything I have said is in your own Hebrew scriptures. If you open your eyes and read God's Word rather than books of tradition, you will see what the Lord has done for us and how he wants us to worship him. As it is written, for you are a holy people to the Lord your God, he has chosen you for himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on earth.
We discussed the Lord for the remainder of the ride. My wife and I praised the Lord for miraculously preserving our lives that day. We prayed fervently for those who were injured and for the families of those who were killed. We also prayed for the man on the bus who was so confused about how to properly thank and worship God.
We prayed that he and the others will allow the Lord to save their spiritual lives as he did their physical lives.
Chris Katulka: The impact of Zvi's life and ministry in Israel, it didn't end when he went home to be with the Lord. In fact, Zvi's legacy lives on. Our Friends of Israel ministry representatives continue to share the gospel in Jerusalem, Israel, and really all throughout the world. We also serve Holocaust survivors and their families. We provide free food, medicine and clothing, and we even promote the safety and security of the state of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere.
So when you give to The Friends of Israel, your donation actually allows us to advance the gospel of our Messiah Jesus. You can give online by visiting foiadio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org. You can click right there on our donate link. Also, be sure to let us know where you listen when you contact us.
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us for today's program. We've wrapped up our series on the book of Joel. Chris, where are we headed next week?
Chris Katulka: Yeah. We have our FOI in Action, our Friends of Israel in Action week, where we're going to look at the ministries of The Friends of Israel, and specifically what's happening around the world in our international ministries.
Steve Conover: Join us then, our host and teacher for The Friends of Israel Today Radio program is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. And I'm Steve Conover, executive producer.
Our mailing address is FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. And I'll give you one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org.
The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
Joel: The Day of the Lord
Dive deeper into Joel with David Levy’s expert commentary! Learn about the prophecies God revealed that came to pass and the ones still to come that will culminate in the Battle of Armageddon in this concise, insightful work.
IN CANADA? ORDER HERE!
To order the eBook, search the book title in your E-reader store.
Apples of Gold: Zvi and His Wife are Miraculously Spared
Zvi and his wife missed their bus to Jerusalem. They caught the next bus and found out shortly after that the bus they missed was attacked by terrorists. As they passed the bus and the carnage, a passenger on their bus exclaimed that they all must go home and put oil on their mezuzahs and thank God for preserving their lives. Zvi called out the man’s pride and said that he chose rather to pray for the victims and their families. He then explained how they, the Jewish people, should be a light to all other nations not by empty superstitions but by real faith in God.
The Friends of Israel Today theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
Your gifts help us reach people all around the globe with our message of truth to bless the Jewish people.