God Judges The Nations

A number of years ago I was stopped for driving too fast in a speed zone, and in the courtroom I pleaded guilty. The judge was not only friendly but embarrassed for me to be in his court. The fine was ten dollars. If he let me go free, it would have been inconsistent with j … More

Judgment

This passage is a judgment speech against the Gentile nations concerning their treatment of Christ’s “brethren,” the Jews (Matthew 25:40). These nations had scattered the Lord’s people, sold them as slaves to distant lands, and divided up His land (v. 3). In the future the Lord will restore Judah and Jerusalem in fulfillment of Moses promise (Deuteronomy 30:3). At the same time He will gather the nations for judgment. This judgment has been long in coming, but it will come.

The phrase “at that time” refers to the time when those who call on the Lord will be saved (v. 1). All of these nations will be gathered by the Lord in the valley of Jehosaphat (v. 2). The exact geographical location is not given but it is probably near Jerusalem. Some scholars suggest that it is a yet-future valley that will be formed by the spitting of the Mount of Olives at the Messiah’s return (Zechariah 14:4).

As might be expected, people experiencing the judgment of God will seek to make overtures to Him to ease His judgment against them. However, what the enemies of Judah and Jerusalem have sown they will reap (v. 8). The Lord spoke directly to Tyre and Sidon, (the Phoenicians and Philistines) located northwest of Israel, who had been involved in a slave trade with the Greeks (v. 4). They had actually taken their prized possessions and carried them off to their temples (v. 5).

The judgment threatened here was fulfilled at least in part in the fourth century when the people of Tyre and Sidon were sold into slavery by Antiochus and Alexander (vv. 6-8). The passage also carries prophetical significance in the future when all of God’s people will gain control over their enemies.

Application

God in the past, and will in the future bring severe judgment on those who have mistreated His chosen people the Jews. We need to always keep this in mind in our dealings with Jewish people.

Joel 3:1-8 (English Standard Version)

"For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have traded a boy for a prostitute, and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it. "What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will return your payment on your own head swiftly and speedily. For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to remove them far from their own border. Behold, I will stir them up from the place to which you have sold them, and I will return your payment on your own head. I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away, for the LORD has spoken."

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