"For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the
captivity of Judah and Jerusalem."
The Lord will deliver His people in the day of the LORD. This is, of course,
primarily about deliverance from the Babylonian exile. But a further and
fuller fulfillment of this prophecy is found in the redemptive work of
Christ. And we await the time when the redemptive work of Christ will also
be applied to many Jews. The number of Christian Jews is still so small!
But that Day of the LORD is not only a day of grace and deliverance but
also a day of judgment. Ultimate salvation for the people of God cannot
happen without a day of judgment and reckoning for the enemies. We read
this repeatedly in the prophets, for example, in Amos 1 and 2, Obadiah,
Nahum, and Habakkuk 2 and 3. God saves by justice for all his people
through Jesus Christ, but also executes judgment in justice for all
unbelievers who pass by Jesus Christ.
Joel adds in verse 2a, "I will also gather all nations, and will bring them
down into the valley of Jehoshaphat." We know of no valley by that name.
So, we should probably look at the meaning of this name. Jehoshaphat
means "The LORD (Jahweh) had judged" or "The LORD pronounces
justice." In Revelation 16:16, we read that the kings and their people gather
in Armageddon. And again, no place is known by that name. In Ezekiel
39:11, we read that the enemies, the God and the Magog, will be defeated in
a "valley of the passage to the East." That valley, too, is unknown to us. But
that valley will be called "Hamon Gog," which means "the hordes of Gog."
Again and again, the language is symbolic. But it is about the rich promise
that the LORD will deal with the enemies of His people! And we all know
how He has done that in Christ. And while complete deliverance is not yet
here, the enemies' power is limited. We live between "D-Day" and V-Day,
between the day of decision (Good Friday) and the day of deliverance (the
great day of judgment). But though we face enemies, we are not without
hope. And we are not without help. The Great Conqueror, the Christ,
reigns, and He is the heavenly Advocate. But there is also the Spirit,
Christ's witness, and our inner Advocate. And an innumerable host of
angels sent out to help the struggling Church, fighting as soldiers of Christ
against the devil, the world, and sin. Let us go forth to Christ in boldness.
Rev. J. Th. Pronk