Empty Cross Ministries
April 4, 2021
Joel Chapter 3
Verses 1-21: Joel notes the national restoration of Israel, in which the people will be re-gathered to Palestine (Isa. 11:15-16; Matt. 23:31).
Joel 3:1 “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,”
“For, behold, in those days, and at that time”: Which Kimchi refers to the times of the Messiah; and is true of the latter times of the Messiah, of his spiritual reign yet to come.
“When I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem”: Not from the Edomites, Tyrians, and Philistines, that had carried them captive in the times of Ahaz. Nor from Babylon, where they had been carried captive by Nebuchadnezzar. For nothing of what is after foretold followed upon the return of these captivities.
But this designs the present captivity of the Jews, and the restoration of them to their own land (of which see Isaiah 52:8).
The days that are spoken of, here, are the same as the Day of the Lord in the last devotional, when God would pour out of His Spirit on all flesh. I believe the time when Jerusalem and Judah were brought again to their land, is in our times. In 1948, Israel became a nation, and Jerusalem is the spiritual city again.
Joel 3:2 “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and [for] my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.”
“Gather all nations”: The nations of the world will be gathered to Jerusalem to the battle of Armageddon (Zech. 12:3; 14:2; Rev. 16:16; 19:11-21).
“Valley of Jehoshaphat”: The name means “Yahweh judges” (3:12, 14), and although the exact location is unknown, other prophets spoke of this judgment as occurring near Jerusalem (Ezek. 38, 39; Dan. 11:45; Zech. 9:14; 12:1). This judgment of the nations includes the event of (Matt. 25:31-46).
I believe this is speaking of the great battle of Armageddon. There has never been a time in history before, when all nations were gathered in battle in Israel. This is the same as the battle that is dealt with (in the 39th chapter of Ezekiel). God fights the battle for Israel in this valley of Jehoshaphat.
Israel was promised this land back in Abraham’s time. It was also promised that there would be a King that would rule on the throne in Jerusalem, who would be like unto David. The physical house of Israel is, even now, returning to the land of Israel. They have been scattered in all the countries of the world. God’s plan all along was to restore Israel.
Joel 3:3 “And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.”
“And they have cast lots for my people”: Not only parted their land, but cast lots for their persons, Or played at dice for them, how many captives each soldier should have, and which should be their share and property.
Ninety seven thousand Jews, Josephus says, were carried captive by the Romans, who very probably, cast lots for them, as was usual in such cases (see Nahum 3:10).
“And have given a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink”: Either they gave a boy to be prostituted to natural lusts, in lieu of a whore; and a girl to be debauched for a bottle of wine: or they gave a boy for the price of a whore, as the Targum and Kimchi interpret it.
That is, they gave a boy, instead of money, to a whore, to lie with her, as the eunuch was given to Thais. And they gave a girl to the wine merchant for as much wine as they could drink at one sitting.
These phrases both express their uncleanness and intemperance, and also the low price and value they set upon their captives; and is applicable enough to the Papists, notorious for the same abominable lusts.
The people of Israel have been treated with very little respect, since the time of the prophets. They went into slavery, and were sold for a very small amount. The worst thing that happened to them, was possibly in Adolph Hitler’s time, when he killed so many Jews, and even made soap out of some of them.
Joel 3:4 “Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? And if ye recompence me, swiftly [and] speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head;”
“Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine?” The Tyrians, Zidonians, and Philistines were near neighbors of the Jews, and implacable enemies to them. And are here put for the enemies of the true church of Christ, the Roman Catholics and Turks, and in whose possession those places now are.
These are addressed by the Lord, inquiring or demanding the reason of their ill usage of him and his people: “what have ye to do with me?” to be called by my name, or accounted my people? I know you not, nor will I have any fellowship with you. Or what have ye to do with my people, to disturb and distress them? What wrong have I or they done you, that you thus use them?
“Will ye render me a recompence?” For turning you out of your land, and putting my people into it? Do you think to retaliate this?
“And if ye recompense me”: By doing an injury to my people:
“Swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head”: Bring swift and sudden destruction upon you.
2 Thessalonians 1:6 “Seeing [it is] a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;”
Vengeance is the Lord’s. Tyre and Zidon, along with the coastal area of Palestine, were well known for oppressing the people of God. They will now, taste of the very same injury they had done to God’s people. They had allied with the evil nations that came against Judah, instead of helping Judah.
Verses 5-6: The exact historical event referred to here is uncertain. Slave trading was a common practice among the Phoenicians and Philistines.
Joel 3:5 “Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:”
“Because ye have taken my silver and my gold”: Which is all of the Lord’s (Hag. 2:8); or which he had bestowed upon his people, and they had taken from them.
“And have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things”: Either the rich furniture of the houses of his people, which they carried into their own houses, or “palaces”, as it may be rendered. Having either taken them away themselves, or bought them of others that had taken them.
Or else the rich vessels of the temple; as these were carried away by the Chaldeans, and put into their idol temples (Dan. 1:2); so afterward they were taken by the Romans, and put into the temples of their gods.
Whether any of these came into the hands of the Tyrians, etc. by any means, and were put into their idol temples, as the temple of Hercules, is not certain; however, it is notorious that the Roman Catholics and the Tyrians are an emblem of, not only build stately temples, and dedicate them to angels and saints, but most profusely adorn them with gold and silver.
And all goodly and desirable things; which is putting them to an idolatrous use they were not designed for.
They had taken the silver and gold in the temple, and also, robbed the people of their silver and gold. They worshipped false gods, and used God’s precious metals in that false worship.
Joel 3:6 “The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.”
“Grecians”: Although not prominent militarily, the Greeks were active in commerce on the Mediterranean in the 9th century B.C.
They had sold them to the Greeks to get them further away from their homeland, so there would be less chance of them returning. This speaks in the past tense, and is not connected to the end time prophecy, except that God had not forgotten what they had done.
Verses 7-8: The reversal of fortunes will be startling. The victims themselves will be called upon to be the instruments and avengers of the Lord’s wrath (Isa. 11:12-14; Zech. 12:8).
Joel 3:7 “Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head:”
“Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them”: That is, bring them back to their own land, from their places whither they have been carried captive, and where they have dwelt in obscurity, and as if theft had been buried in graves, but now should be raised up and restored. And this, their restoration will be as life from the dead.
“Behold, I will bring them publicly from the place whither ye have sold them”: This is to be understood, not of the same persons, but of their posterity, they being the same natural body. Kimchi interprets it of them and their children; them at the resurrection of the dead, their children at the time of salvation.
Some think this had its accomplishment in Alexander and his successors, by whom the Jews, who had been detained captives in other countries, were set free.
Particularly by Demetrius, as Josephus relates: though it may be applied to the future restoration of the Jews, out of all countries, unto their own land. Or rather to the gathering together the spiritual Israel, or people of God, who have been persecuted from place to place by their antichristian enemies.
“And will return your recompence upon your own head”: Do to them as they have done to others; pay them in their own coin; retaliate the wrongs done to his people (see Rev. 13:10).
God will restore them to their land, and punish those who sold them.
Joel 3:8 “And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken [it].”
“And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah”: That is, deliver them into their hands, to dispose of them. This is thought to have been literally fulfilled in the Tyrians, when thirty thousand of them were sold for slaves, upon the taking of their city by Alexander, who put some of them into the hands of the Jews, they being in friendship with him.
It mystically designs the power that the Jewish church, converted, and in union with Gentile Christians, will have over the antichristian states.
“And they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off”: The inhabitants of Sheba, a country by the Jews reckoned the uttermost parts of the earth (see Matt. 12:42). These are not the same with the Sabeans, the inhabitants of Arabia Deserts, that took away Job’s oxen and asses. But rather those who were the inhabitants of Arabia Felix, which lay at a greater distance.
“Sabeans”: Trading merchants who lived in Arabia (1 Kings 10; Jer. 6:20).
“For by the word of the Lord it is so decreed”: Whose counsels and decrees can never be frustrated. This, in an ancient book of the Jews called Mechilta, is referred to the prophecy of Noah concerning Canaan, whose sons inhabited Tyre, “a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren” (Gen. 9:25).
Whatever they did to Judah happened to them in return. God is just in His judgment. These Sabeans were Arab traders.
Verses 9-17: In anticipation of the judgment that will be visited on them, God taunts His enemies and urges them to get ready for war, to come and fight Him.
Even though it is a hopeless cause (verse 9);
To get their armaments ready, though they will be of no avail (verse 10);
To get their allies ready, though they will be of no help (verse 11);
And to get all the nations ready to fight Him.
All of their efforts and preparations will be futile, for God will judge them. Just as the land was helpless before its devastators, so they will be helpless before God, who will judge them on behalf of Judah and Jerusalem.
Joel resumes the theme (of verses 1-3), the gathering of the nations to the earthly courtroom, the valley of Jehoshaphat. The sentence has been handed down and the judge orders His agents to ready the scene for the execution.
Joel 3:9 “Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:”
“Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles”: This decree of God, concerning the deliverance of his church; and the destruction of their enemies. Which is to be proclaimed among them, to the terror of them, and the comfort of God’s people, encouraging them to the battle, since they might be sure of victory.
For the prophet here returns to give an account of the armies to be gathered together, and to be destroyed in the valley of Jehoshaphat, as appears (from Joel 3:12). And to this end heralds are here ordered to make proclamation of war throughout the nations, and to gather them to the battle of Almighty God.
Whether seriously, or ironically, may be considered; what follows seems to be spoken in the latter way, to the enemies of the church. Though they may be interpreted as spoken seriously to the people of God themselves.
“Prepare war”: Get all things ready for it, men and arms.
“Wake up the mighty men”: Generals, captains, and other officers, men of strength and courage. Let them arouse from the sleep and lethargy in which they are, and get themselves in a readiness for war, and put themselves at the head of their troops.
“Let all the men of war draw near, let them come up”: To the land of Judea, and to Jerusalem. That is, either the Christian powers with their armies, to defend Jerusalem against the Turks, and deliver it out of their hands; let them appear on the behalf of the Jews.
Or else let the enemies of Christ’s church and people come up against them, even the most powerful of them. Let them muster up all their forces, and do the most they can, they shall not prevail.
The Gentiles here, would be speaking of the unbelieving world. Whatever their rights were before they went to war is what is spoken of here. The Hebrews had prayer and made sacrifices to God before war.
Revelation 16:16 “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”
Joel 3:10 “Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I [am] strong.”
Prepare for war, let all the enemies of God and of his people join together. Let them even call all the tillers of the ground to their assistance, instead of laboring in the field. Let every peasant become a soldier.
Let them turn their agricultural implements into offensive weapons, so that the weak, being well armed, may confidently say, I am strong. Yet, when thus collected and armed, Jehovah will bring down thy mighty ones; for so the clause (in Joel 3:11), should be rendered.
This is the opposite of beat your swords into plowshares. They are to prepare for the great battle. This war would be so great, that all the farmers and husbandmen would have to fight too.
Joel 3:11 “Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.”
“Assemble yourselves”: From different parts into one place: “Be ye gathered”; or “gather yourselves together”, as the Targum and Kimchi. Get together in a body, muster up all the forces you can collect together.
Jarchi, from Menachem, by the change of a letter, renders it, “make ye haste”. Don’t lose time in preparing for this battle; get men, and arms for them, as fast as you can. Be as expeditious as possible.
“And come, all ye Heathen”: Antichristian nations, Mohammed or the Catholic Church: Which latter, especially, are sometimes called Heathen and Gentiles, because of the Heathenish rites introduced into their worship (Psalm 10:16).
“And gather yourselves round about”: From all parts, to the valley of Jehoshaphat or Armageddon (Rev. 16:14). This is spoken ironically to them, to use their utmost endeavors to get most powerful armies against the people of God, which would be of no avail, but issue in their own destruction.
Or it may signify what should be done by the providence of God, bringing such large numbers of them together to their own ruin.
“Thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord”: Which is a prayer of the prophet, or of the church, to God, that he would send down his mighty ones, the angels that excel in strength, and destroy this great army thus gathered together. As an angel in one night destroyed the army of Sennacherib.
So Kimchi and Aben Ezra interpret it of angels, and many other interpreters. But perhaps it may be better to understand it of Christian princes and their forces, those armies clothed in white, and riding on white horses, in token of victory; with Christ at the head of them (Revelation 19:14).
Who may be said to be caused to “come down”; because, being assembled shall go down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, where their enemies are gathered together, and discomfit them.
The Targum is, “there the Lord shall, break the strength of their strong ones.”
They are rushing to their doom. The mighty ones could come to battle, but they are no match for God. God, Himself, fights for Israel.
Joel 3:12 “Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.”
“Let the Heathen be awakened, and come to the valley of Jehoshaphat”: That is, let the enemies of Christ and his church be aroused from that state of security in which they are, and prepare for their own defense. For in such a state the antichristian powers will be before their destruction (see Rev. 18:7).
Let them bestir themselves, and exert all the rigor and strength they have. Let them come in high spirits against the people of God; let them invade the holy land, and come even to the valley of Jehoshaphat. And, when come thither, let them, descend into the place appointed for their ruin.
The land of Judea being said to be higher than other countries, going to it is generally expressed by going up to it. Otherwise it is more usual to say that men go down to a valley than come up to it; and mention being made again of this valley, shows that the same thing is referred to here (as in Joel 3:2).
These words are said in answer to the petition (in Joel 3:11); for they are spoken by the Lord, as appears by what follows.
“For there will I sit to judge all the Heathen round about”: There gathered together from all parts. The allusion is to a judge upon the bench, sitting to hear and try causes, and pass a definitive sentence. And here it signifies the execution of that sentence; such a pleading the cause of his people, as to take vengeance and inflict just punishment upon their enemies (see Psalm 9:4).
This is the same battle where 2/3 of Gog in the land of Magog will die in battle. So many die in this battle, that people on the Mediterranean Sea must put clothes pins on their noses to stop the death odor. All Israel will be 7 months burying the dead.
Ezekiel 39:12 “And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.”
This plainly says that the deaths in this great battle are a judgment of God against the heathen people.
Joel 3:13 “Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness [is] great.”
“Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe”: This is said to the mighty ones sent, the Christian princes, the executioners of God’s vengeance on antichrist. The angels that will pour out the vials of his wrath on the antichristian states, compared to reapers, with a sharp sickle in their hands, to cut them down, as grain is cut when reaped.
As the same states are compared to a harvest ripe, the measure of their sins being filled up, and the time of their destruction appointed for them come (see Rev. 14:15).
“Come, get ye down”: To the valley: or “go tread ye”; for another simile is made use of. The reference here is to the treading of clusters of grapes in the winepress, as appears by what follows: and so the Targum renders it, “descend, tread their mighty men”.
In like manner Jarchi interprets it; and so the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it: and Dr. Pocock observes, that the word in the Arabic language signifies to tread, as men tread grapes in a press: the reasons follow:
For the press is full”: Of clusters of the vine; or the valley is full of wicked men, compared unto them, destined to destruction.
“The fats overflow”: With the juice of grapes squeezed out, denoting the great effusion of blood that will be made (see Rev. 14:18).
“For their wickedness is great”: Is come to its height, reaches even to heaven, and calls aloud for vengeance. An end is come to it, and to the authors of it (Rev. 18:5).
The Targum of the whole is: “Draw out the sword against them, for the time of their end is come; descend, tread their mighty men slain, as anything is trodden in a winepress; pour out their blood, for their wickedness is multiplied.”.
Revelation 14:14-16 “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud [one] sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” “And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.”
Joel 3:14 “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD [is] near in the valley of decision.”
“The valley of decision”: This location is the same as the valley of Jehoshaphat where the sentence of judgment will be carried out (3:2, 12; see note on 3:2).
This is synonymous with the valley of Jehoshaphat (verse 2). The scene is not one where the multitudes are in the midst of making a decision in favor of the Lord and repenting of their sin. Rather, the decision is made by God, a decision to judge the multitudes for their treatment of Judah and Jerusalem!
This judgment will be meted out against them in the Day of the Lord that takes place in the Great Tribulation.
These multitudes are the heathen armies of many nations that are judged in the valley, and found guilty as charged. God, Himself, destroys them. This is speaking of that day of judgment.
Verses 15-16: “Sun … moon …stars” (2:10, 30-31). These are signs that precede the coming eschatological Day of the Lord at the end of the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:29-30).
Joel 3:15 “The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.”
“The sun and moon shall be darkened”: Both the politic and ecclesiastic state of antichrist shall be ruined and destroyed.
“And the stars shall withdraw their shining”: Antichristian princes and nobles in the civil state, and the clergy of all ranks in the church state, shall lose their glory.
Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”
Joel 3:16 “The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD [will be] the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.”
“The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem”: Christ, the Lamb, shall now appear as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and utter his voice in his providence and judgments on the behalf of his church and people, signified by Zion and Jerusalem.
And therefore, said to roar and utter his voice from thence; he will be heard far and near, and strike terror in the hearts of his enemies (see Jer. 25:30).
“And the heavens and the earth shall shake”: Great revolutions will be made in the world, both in church and state, among the antichristian powers. And such as will also make them shake and tremble, as well as alter the form and frame of things among them (see Rev. 16:18). Changes in government, civil and ecclesiastic, are sometimes signified by such phrases (Haggai 2:6).
“But the Lord will be the hope of his people”: The object, author, ground, and foundation of their hope of salvation here and hereafter. In whom they may hope for and expect safety and security in the worst of times; since he will be their “refuge”, or their “harbor”.
As it may be rendered; to whom they may have recourse, to shelter and screen them from the rage and wrath of their enemies. And where they will be safe, till the indignation of God be over and past; and while calamities and judgments are upon the unchristian and ungodly world, they will have nothing to fear amidst these storms, being in a good harbor.
“And the strength of the children of Israel”: Of the spiritual Israel; of all such who are Israelites indeed, the Lord’s chosen, redeemed, and called people, both Jews and Gentiles. The author and giver of their spiritual strength. The strength of their lives and of their hearts, of their graces and of their salvation; by whom they are furnished with strength to do the duties of religion.
To exercise grace; to wrestle with God in prayer; to withstand spiritual enemies; to bear afflictions patiently, and to persevere to the end. Or he is their “fortress”; their strong hold and place of defense, where they are safe from every enemy, free from all distresses, enjoy solid peace and comfort, and have plenty of provisions (Isa. 33:16).
Zion is the church. When Jesus comes to the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords, He will set His feet on the Mount of Olives, and it will cleave in two.
Zechariah 14:4 “And his feet shall stand on that day upon the mount of Olives, which [is] before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, [and there shall be] a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”
Jesus will enter the eastern gate, and set up His reign in Jerusalem.
Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Jesus will reign as King. He is our Salvation.
Joel 3:17 “So shall ye know that I [am] the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.”
“Zion, my holy mountain”: This will be the earthly location of God’s presence in the millennial temple (Ezek. 40 to 48) at Jerusalem.
“No strangers pass through her any more”: God has promised a future time when His glory in Judah will not be eclipsed. This time of ultimate peace and prosperity will be experienced after Christ conquers the world and sets up His millennial kingdom on earth (Ezek. 37:24-28; Matt. chapters 24 and 25; Rev. chapter 19).
Revelation 21:27 “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
He is LORD, and there is no other. Zion again, is the church. This is New Jerusalem which comes down from God out of heaven. He will be our God, and we will be His people. Jesus will reign as King.
Verses 18-21: Joel’s final prophecy pictures the great millennial age when “the Lord dwelleth in Zion.” The word “dwelleth” (Heb. shakan), indicates the abiding presence of the shekinah glory of old with His repentant and restored people (Ezek. 48:35).
Joel 3:18 “And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.”
“Valley of Shittim”: Known for its acacia trees, the valley was situated on the northern shores of the Dead Sea and served as the final stopover for Israel prior to her entrance into the Promised Land (Num. 25:1; Joshua 2:1; 3:1). This valley is also the place to which the millennial river will flow (Ezek. 47:1-12; Zech. 14:8).
Psalms 46:4 “[There is] a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy [place] of the tabernacles of the most High.”
Revelation 22:1 “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
This is speaking of that perfect time, when there is perfect peace, and God provides for all the needs of His people.
Joel 3:19 “Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence [against] the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.”
“Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness”: These two nations having been the implacable enemies of Israel, are here put for the future adversaries of the church of Christ, Pagan, Papal, and Mahometan; who will all be destroyed as such, and be no more.
Rome is called, spiritually or mystically Egypt (Rev. 11:8); and Edom is a name that well agrees with it, it signifying “red”. As it is with the blood of the saints: and it is common, with the Jewish writers, by Edom to understand Rome.
Which though it may not be true of all places they so interpret, yet is of many, and so here. Kimchi, by Egypt understands the Ishmaelites, or the Turks; and by Edom, Rome.
“For the violence of the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land”: Either in the land of Judah; or rather in their own land, Egypt and Edom. This respects the violence and outrages committed by the antichristian states upon the true professors of the Christian religion.
The Waldenses and Albigenses, and others, whose innocent blood, in great quantities, has been spilled by them.
Antichrist is represented as, drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, and in whom will be found the blood of all the prophets and saints. And for this reason ruin and destruction will come upon him and his followers, and blood will be given them to drink, for they are worthy (Rev. 17:6).
Egypt symbolizes the evil world. Edom was opposed to God from the beginning. This is a curse spoken against the enemies of God and His people.
Joel 3:20 “But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.”
“But Judah shall dwell for ever”: The converted Jews shall dwell in their own land for ever, to the end of the world and never more be carried captive (Ezek. 37:25). And the true professing people of God, as Judah signifies, shall continue in a church state, evermore, and never more be disturbed by any enemies. They shall dwell safely and peaceably to the end of time.
This is in reference to Christ’s millennial kingdom on earth, which is yet to be fulfilled.
“And Jerusalem from generation to generation”: Shall dwell so in like manner, age after age; that is, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, or the members of the true church of Christ, who shall see and enjoy peace and prosperity, both temporal and spiritual, as Jerusalem signifies.
Zechariah 8:8 “And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.”
Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.”
Joel 3:21 “For I will cleanse their blood [that] I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.”
“For I will cleanse their blood which I have not cleansed”: Which some understand, as the Targum, of the Lord’s, inflicting further punishments on the enemies of his people, for shedding their innocent blood.
And that he will not expiate their sins, nor hold them guiltless, or suffer them to go unpunished. But rather this is to be interpreted in a way of grace and mercy, as a benefit bestowed on Judah and Jerusalem, who are the immediate antecedents to the relative here.
And in the words a reason is given why they should dwell safely and peaceably for ever, because the Lord will justify them from their sins; forgive their iniquities; cleanse them from all their pollution, signified by blood. Of which grace they will have had no application made to them till this time.
But now all their guilt and faith will be removed; and particularly God will forgive, and declare to be forgiven their sin of crucifying Christ. Whose blood they had imprecated upon themselves and their children, and which has remained on them.
But now will be removed, with all the sad effects of it. Though this may also refer to the conversion of the Gentiles, and the pardon of their sins. And the sanctification of their persons, in such places and parts of the world, where such blessings of grace have not been bestowed in times past for many ages, if ever.
“For the Lord dwelleth in Zion”: and therefore, will diffuse his grace, and spread the blessings of it all around. Or “even the Lord that dwelleth in Zion”; he will do what is before promised; being the Lord, he can do it. And dwelling in Zion his church, it may be believed he will do it; and this will be forever, when his Shekinah shall return thither in the days of the Messiah.
The world had shed the blood of God’s people, and God will punish them for it. It will be enough when they are destroyed, and Judah established forever. The LORD dwelleth in His church.