The conclusion of Joel 2 left the reader in the New Testament era. Joel 3:1 picks up from that point and continues all the way to the end of the age. “In those days … I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.” This name, “Jehoshaphat,” means “Yahweh has judged.” The Lord declares, “I will enter into judgment.”
Throughout Joel 3 foreign powers like Tyre and Edom are used to indicate the wicked who will be condemned, and Zion and Jerusalem signify God’s kingdom people who receive His salvation. The “surrounding nations” are held accountable for their malice against “Judah,” but the Lord’s “Jerusalem” shall finally “be holy.”
We know from Joel 2:32 (as quoted in Acts 2 and Romans 10) that people everywhere are being called to the historic Christian affirmation that “Jesus is Lord.” There can be no safe “refuge” for the “multitudes” that will stand before the Almighty except in the redemption accomplished by the Messiah.
The New Testament explanations of Old Testament images and ancient covenant promises shed a bright light upon passages that were once very difficult to understand. While an eternity of blessing is sure to come for the church, others without Jesus will instead be a “desolate wilderness.” When we read that “a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord,” we are reminded of what Jesus said to the woman at the well in John 4:14, “The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Consider also of the words of John 7:37-39 that our Savior spoke to a larger crowd at a festival in Jerusalem: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” A river of life will flow not from the building that once stood on Mount Zion, but from Spirit-filled people.
“Multitudes” who have called upon the Name of the Lord have now received the gift of God’s presence in their lives. Many others would prefer to be devoted to the powers of this passing present age (Revelation 17:15), but great numbers of people chosen by God would rather have Him than any other honor that the world can provide.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Glorious God, a great age is coming. When Your Son returns to judge, He will surely save us from this evil day. You will bring judgment upon men, will purify Your church, and reveal all of the children of God. We wait for You, O Lord. We turn to You now, trusting You for each moment and believing Your promises regarding eternity. You are the Lord, our God. You shall make Your new Jerusalem perfectly holy. We will eat and drink with perfect peace and joy. Even now You are with Your people, and You will dwell with us forever.