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My Commentary On Joel

This Section - Chapter 3:17 - 21

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Blessings For Godís People (ch. 3:17-21)

In verse 17 God says to Israelis, the Jews, that at that time they will know, and finally know, that the LORD (Yahweh) is their God.  Remember, it was the LORD, that is, Yahweh, that revealed Himself to Moses and entered into a covenantal relationship with Israel.

God also said that  Zion will at last be Godís Holy hill and Jerusalem will be His Holy city, and foreigners will no longer occupy this city.  As we have seen earlier, this portion of land was special to God.  As a matter of fact we saw that He considered it His land.  Here He says that He will inhabit the land, the mountain of Zion, and Jerusalem.  It is here where Jesus will rule the world for one thousand years.

I realize that not all people agree with me that the land or the Jews mean anything special to God anymore, but it is my opinion that we should take these words as literally as possible.  If we do, then this land means something to God at the end of this age.  Unlike those who embrace Replacement Theology, I believe land in this other similar verses means literal land.  

Concerning Jerusalem, we should note the last few verses of the book of Ezekiel.  Jerusalem will no longer be called Jerusalem .  In English, it will be called, "The Lord Is There."  In Hebrew that is "Yehovah Shammah."  Also, it appears that this new city will be slightly north of the present day city of Jerusalem, probably because of the way in which the geography of this area will change because of the last big earthquake in that region. 

Note that Jerusalem, once Jesus returns to rule from the city, will no longer be occupied by foreigners as it as been over the centuries.  This is similar, but not the same, as Amos 9:15 that states that once Israel gets its land back, it will never lose it again.  For this reason, even though Israel has never got all of its land back, it is in at least part of its land.  I, therefore, believe that Israel will never be pushed off the face of the map ever again.

Verse 17 says that Jerusalem will be holy.  That means that Jerusalem will be separated unto the Lord and for His services.     

What is described here in the last part of Joel 3 is actually a glimpse into the thousand year rule of Christ on earth, as noted in Revelation 20.  After the nations of the world have been judged and defeated, Jesus will rule with a rod of iron, and what is written here will take place during that time.

Over the centuries Jerusalem has been occupied by other peoples and nations for various reasons, but this will come to an end when Jesus returns and sets His feet on the Mount of Olives .

In verse 18 we see a "fountain that flows out of the
Lordís house."  This appears to be the river that flows out of the millennial temple that is described in Ezekiel 47 and Zechariah 14.  After the Mount of Olives is split in two because of an earthquake caused by Jesus' feet standing on the mountain, a valley will be formed.  There will be a stream of water flowing from under the temple.  It will flow to the east and the west in the newly formed valley.  The water will reach the Dead Sea and bring life to it once again.  It will no longer be salted water.  The river will also flow to the west, right to the Mediterranean Sea .  Many Bible teachers believe the Dead Sea died and became salty because of God's judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah.  This would reverse God's judgment on that sea.

Zechariah 14:8 talks about this living water as well
that flows from  Jerusalem to the Mediterranean Sea.
to the west and the Dead Sea to the east.  There will be
great geological changes during this period of time.

We also note that agriculture that the locust nations destroyed will be restored, and probably to be in better shape than ever before.       

In verse 19 we see that both Egypt and Edom will be a desolate desert for the blood they have shed in Israel.  We know where Egypt is today.  Edom takes up most of southern Jordon today.  At this point in the prophetic scenario of Joel we should realize that we are entering the thousand year rule of Jesus on earth.  Therefore, both Egypt and Edom will be in sad shape during that time.  They may not even exist.  That being said, Zechariah 14:18 states that if Egyptians don't go up to worship the Lord in Jerusalem they will have no rain on their land.  That might well be why their land is a desert.    

The judgment seen on Egypt and Edom here is because of the Abrahamic Covenant that states "he who blesses Abraham (Israel) will be blessed and he who curses Abraham (Israel) will be cursed" (Genesis 12:3).

In verse 20 we note that Judah (Israel) and Jerusalem will be inhabited forever.  The city of Jerusalem that we see here in the thousand year rule of Christ will eventually be replaced by the New Jerusalem as seen at the end of the book of Revelation.  Thus, forever does mean forever.  At that point, there will not only be a New Jerusalem, but a new earth, a new heaven, and new heavens, as in the universe.  Basically, all things will become new.

Verse 21 asks this question.  "Shall I leave their innocent blood unavenged?"  The obvious answer is "no."  We must remember, although God is a God of love, He is also a God of justice.  His justice is just as important as His love.  If God is not just, He is not God.  All that true justice is, is God.  This verse reminds me of the martyred saints under the altar in Revelation 6 who cry out to the Lord for justice.  They cry out that God would avenge those who executed them for no legal reason.  God said that He would avenge the martyrs blood but more believers had to first be martyred.         

The words "the Lord dwells in Zion" end the book of Joel.  Restoration Theology maintains that Zion refers to the church, but if you interpret this and other passages as literal as possible, this should mean that the Lord does dwell on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem.  He will eventually reside in the New Jerusalem as seen at the end of the book of Revelation.  If you understand the New Jerusalem to be a literal place as seen in the book of Revelation, then you know that God and the Lamb will dwell on a new earth with His people.  I canít say this for sure, but it might just be that the Jews will live in the New Jerusalem, while Gentiles will live in the rest of the newly created earth that is also seen in the book of Revelation.

Again, the last words of the prophetic book of Joel are;
"the Lord dwells in Zion."  What a blessed ending for
a book that although speaks to Gentile nations, is
mainly directed to the Jews in the land of Israel. 

It's my thinking that before one approaches the book of Revelation for serious study, he should start with the Old Testament prophetic books first, and, Joel is one very good prophetic book to begin you study on Biblical prophecy.  

As the world today, here in 2017, is, and has, been trying to figure out what to do with the nation of Israel and especially the city of Jerusalem, the book of Joel, like many other prophetic books, gives us a clue to Israel and Jerusalem's future.  The nations of the world would do well to pay attention to Biblical prophecy, but of course, they won't.  I certainly do.    



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