THE VALLEY OF DECISION
Joel’s prophecy spoke of judgment upon the heathen in the valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:12). Joel stated that their wickedness was great and that God’s judgment was near. He wrote, “Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great.” (Joel 3:13). Here, God is calling the heathen to battle with his people in the valley of Jehoshaphat. The heathen are being summoned for judgment!
Joel prophetically points to the Messianic age and the divine judgment that will fall upon the heathen nations that oppress spiritual Israel, the church. The gospel of Christ was to be proclaimed to all the nations of the earth. Matthew 24:14 says, “And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations, and then shall come the end.” Mark 13:10 states, “. . . and the gospel must first be preached among all the nations.” The gospel was preached to every creature under heaven in Paul’s day, for he wrote, “. . .if you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; Whereof I Paul and made a minister.” (Colossians 1:23). The stage is presently set for the Second Coming in final judgment of Jesus Christ.
The heathen are to be challenged by the gospel of Christ. Those who rebel and fight against the spiritual Israel, the church, are going to be brought down. Joel says, “let the heathen be wakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there will I sit to judge all the heathen roundabout.” (Joel 3:12). The name Jehoshaphat means “judgment” or “Jehovah judges.” God will “. . . put in the sickles for the harvest is ripe; Come, tread, for the wine press is full, the fat overflow; For their wickedness is great.” (Joel 3:13). So, the heathen will march into the valley of judgment. Joel describes the judgment by saying the nations of the world will go streaming into the valley of decision. He says, “. . . multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision; For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:14). The repetition of the word “multitude” signifies a great throng of people. The Pulpit Commentary says of the word decision; “decision is charuts, cut, something decided; severe judgment from charats, “to cut into, sharpen, dig.” Keil and Delitzsch gives similar meaning in their commentary by saying that the ideal is, “valley of the deciding judgment, from charats, to decide, to determine irrevocably, so that charuts simply defines the name Jehoshaphat with greater precision.
Jehovah will roar out of Zion in mighty judgment. The sickle of divine judgment will bring the heathen down, while the righteous will be exalted and enjoy the victory in Christ on that notable Day in the Valley of Decision.
Demar Elam via Forest Park Newsletter Forest Park Church of Christ October 28th 1987
TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE JESUS CAME
“Twas the Night before Jesus came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hope that Jesus would not come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby in lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.
When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY.
The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! Returning just like He said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said, “It’s not here,” my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who are ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.
I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There’s only one life and when comes the last call
We’ll find that the Bible was true after all!