Joel 3 The LORD Judges The Nations And Preserves His Remnant.
Joel is writing about a time when Judah and Jerusalem would be brought back from captivity (v. 1 Cf. Jer. 30:3) with all nations being gathered together with them, at the valley of decision, where the LORD would enter into judgment on the latter, on account of His people (v. 2 Cf. v. 14). In the last verse of the last chapter, Joel issued a call to repentance and faith, “that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” Ultimately the LORD’s covenant promise would be fulfilled in the remnant whom He would call (2:32). The nations, who oppressed God’s people, taking them into captivity, even selling them into slavery, and plundering the riches of the LORD’s house, would indeed be judged (vv. 3-6). So for their retaliation the LORD would retaliate against them, by selling them to Israel, who would in turn sell them to people from a far distant land (vv. 7-8).
Many are aware of the promise of the Messianic kingdom coming, when the nations “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks” (Is. 2:4; Mic. 4:3). However, here there is the beating of plowshares into swords, and pruning hooks into spears (v. 10). The LORD was calling all people to the valley of decision for judgment (vv. 11-12), “for their wickedness is great” (v. 13). “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision” (v. 14). Everything that can be shaken would be shaken, but the LORD will shelter His remnant (vv. 15-16). Through all this, all would know that the LORD was their God, dwelling in His holy mountain. “Then Jerusalem shall be holy, and no aliens shall ever pass through her again” (v. 17). These would not be ethnic aliens, but aliens from the remnant of the covenant of grace.
However, there would come a day when “a fountain shall flow from the house of the LORD” (v. 18), “a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High” (Ps. 46:4; Ezek. 47:1). “And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem…and the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be-‘The LORD is one,’ and His name is one” (Zech. 14:8-9). This is the new Jerusalem revealed to the apostle John where there is “a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the lamb” (Rev. 22:1). This is the reign of Messiah which was inaugurated when the Son ascended to the throne. His throne and his people will abide forever, only made possible because the LORD would “acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed…for the LORD dwells in Zion” (v. 21).