Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry
By: Darrell G. Young
Joel 3:13-14 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes inthe valley of decision: for the Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
The dictionary defines a valley as being an elongated depression or low lying area between two higher ridge points. One Hebrew definition of a valley refers to a “deep place” that exists between parallel mountain ridges.
The Bible often uses the topographical imagery of “valleys” to transmit an overview of a prophetic theme. For instance, the prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of a dry valley full of dusty bones to portray a symbol of the House of Israel wandering in world exile, which is picture far away from the imagery conveyed about the Promised Land by the phrase, “a land flowing with milk and honey.” In another analogy, the Psalmist paints a picture of death as being a deep dark precipice, or as a place being likened unto a sunken lowly place, such as a valley. (Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.)
In ancient history, valleys, although being the most fertile places for farming and growing food, also proved to be the places most susceptible to flooding and to attacks from marauding bandits and invading armies. Large traveling overland caravans usually pitched their tents in valleys, and always found themselves and their wares being the prime targets of thieves and raiders. Many of the large horse-mounted marching armies (chariots, battering rams, etc.) of the regions Kingdoms used the valleys for traversing through the countryside, and valleys (because of the flatter topography) often lent themselves to being the ideal battlefields. Usually, when competing armies contended with one another, they would meet and fight in a valley. Therefore most towns were built on hilltops, as the high places were much more easily defended, and provided a natural watchtower.
(Clarence Larkin’s Peaks of Prophecy Drawing, depicting the valleys between the High Points in Prophecy)
(The Valley of Decision could be depicted as a low place in time just in front of the climactic Coming of Jesus)
(The Valley of Decision could be depicted as a low place in time just in front of the climactic Coming of Jesus)
Also, in prophetic literature, as well as in spiritual literature, valleys are often depicted as low-points in the time-line of history between major epic events. People often refer to great emotion-filled times of spiritual highs as mountain-top experiences, and then refer to other times when they experience deep depression and anguish as a valley, or a low-point in life. In prophecy typology, valleys are often depicted as a kind of unseen low-lying plateau spanning the well documented prophetic landmark highpoints that can be more clearly seen on the distant horizon.
Therefore, it is somewhat ironic that before the “Mountain of the House of the Lord” can be established on Mount Zion, (as foretold in Micah chapter four) the world must first pass through a valley of Judgment. Before the glorious light of the Lord shines forth from Jerusalem to beckon the nations to come and worship the King of Israel, and beat their swords into plowshares, there will be a decisive rebuke of the nations of this present world.
Although most of the people in the world are still unaware of it, our world is racing headlong towards a fateful date with destiny, an epic struggle that the Bible indicates will reach its climax at the place called Armageddon. As the world nears that epic date of infamy, the people and nations of this world will have a decision to make. The primary reason that the Lord God Jehovah provided so much prophetic detail in the Holy Bible is so the world could analyze history and be informed about what the Lord says will come about in the Latter Days so they could make the wise choice and choose to be on the Lord’s side when it comes time for the armies of the nations to march down into the Valley of Decision.
Let me emphasize directly, that it has been Satan’s grand conspiratorial strategy since time immemorial to recruit the nations of this world into an epic battle against the Lord God almighty. Just as the prophet Elijah three thousand years ago challenged the children of Israel, that, “if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him,” the world will soon be faced with a final decision on whom to follow; either the world will follow Jesus Christ or it will choose Satan’s deceptive masterpiece, the Antichrist. This is the essence of the world’s imminent fateful decision.
(a view of the Valley of Jezreel, also known as the Valley of Megiddo, or Armageddon)
The Valley of Armageddon
Most people have heard of the infamous valley of Armageddon. And most people will readily recognize that Armageddon is a type of synonym for the final conflict of the ages between good and evil. The word Armageddon however is a corruption of the Hebrew term, Har Megiddo and means literally, “the mount of Megiddo.” Whereas Armageddon is actually a mountaintop, most references relative to it are concerned with the valley that lies below it. During the past 4000 years, at least 34 bloody conflicts have been fought at the ancient hilltop site of Megiddo and the adjacent areas below in the vast Jezreel Valley. Throughout history Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley have been Ground Zero for battles that determined the very course of civilization. Megiddo is a fascinating site of twenty cities built directly on top of one another and inhabited continuously from 3000 to 300 BC. Megiddo lies at an ancient strategic junction of roads running north-south and east-west. Whoever held control of Megiddo held absolute control of one of the major trade routes of antiquity, the Via Maris. (the “Way of the Sea”) Winding its way directly through Israel, right past Megiddo in the Jezreel Valley, this strategically placed road ran between Egypt in the south and Mesopotamia (modern Iran/Iraq) or Anatolia (modern Turkey) in the north. Virtually every invading army that came through this region during the past 4000 years fought battles for control of Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley.
Revelation 16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
The infamous Battle of Armageddon is but the final staging ground of Satan’s Last Stand. It is the last battle of a bloody war that during its relatively short duration will have ravaged the world during the Great Tribulation like no other war in the history of mankind.
But the Valley of Armageddon is not the only valley that the world will traverse through in the Last Days.
The Valley of Jehoshaphat
The "Valley of Jehoshaphat" is another valley that the world will be drawn down into in the Final Conflict. According to Jewish tradition, the Valley of Jehoshaphat is that part of the Kidron Valley lying between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives. The name Jehoshaphat means "Jehovah is Judge." The word Jehoshaphat is found a number of times in Biblical history. The valley of Jehoshaphat is mentioned specifically by that name only twice in the Bible, and specifically in relation to prophecy, in the third chapter of Joel, as the place of The Lord's end-time judgment upon the enemies of Israel.
Jehoshaphat, taken from the Hebrew is pronounced yeh-haw-shaw-fawt, and is a combination of two other Hebrew words, yeh-ho-vaw, from which comes from the English word, Jehovah and shaw-fat, meaning to judge.Thus the word Jehoshaphat literally means “The Lord judges.”
Startlingly, the Lord God made this pronouncement concerning the Valley of Jehoshaphat:
Joel 3:1-2 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, 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.
Joel 3:9-12 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: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. 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. 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. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of The Lord is near in the valley of decision."
(a view of the Valley of Jehoshaphat connecting the Kidron Valey to the Valley of Hinnom, a valley of graves)
The term, "Valley of Jehoshaphat" is a term that acquired its name King Jehoshaphat, an ancient King of Judah. Jehoshaphat was a son of Asa who succeeded his father as king of Judah. Jehoshaphat was 35 years old when he became king, and he reigned for 25 years in Jerusalem from about 873BC to about 848BC.
While Jehoshaphat was King of Judah, Jerusalem was besieged by a multitude of enemies from Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir (modern Palestinians) joined with other multitudes from throughout Syria. The narrative of Judah’s plight and hopeless situation before a vastly larger army are detailed in the second book of Chronicles by Jehoshaphat:
II Chronicles 20:1-13 It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazon-tamar, which is Engedi. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord. And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, And said, O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever? And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying, If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help. And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit. O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. And all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
The earnest beseeching prayer of Jehoshaphat regarding the looming battle is recorded in II Chronicles chapter twenty, and serves as a prophetic paradigm in history. King Jehoshaphat recounted how Israel avoided war with the eastern neighbors of Canaan’s Land, as God had instructed when they traversed toward the Promised Land out of Egypt, and now they are rewarded by these hordes of people now banding together to steal from them the very land that the Lord God Jehovah had given to the children of Israel by virtue of giving Israel with its great victories over the giants that dwelt in Canaan land. And so after Israel had defeated the mighty Canaanite armies, the Ammonites, the Moabites, and the Seirites eyed the land of Judah as an easy spoil, especially since the kingdom of Israel had been divided away from kingdom of Judah.
At the end of Jehoshaphat’s prayer there is recorded a very important statement from Jehovah God Almighty himself. The Lord emphatically declares to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah the following:
vs. 14-15 Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of the congregation; And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
Within the context of Jehoshaphat’s battle against the heathen gathered around Jerusalem to annihilate the children of Israel, the Lord Jehovah God implicitly informed Jehoshaphat that the battle for the Promised Land was not a battle that was solely left unto Israel, but that it was a battle that the Lord will fight, and will win! The Lord God brought victory to the righteous King Jehoshaphat and to Judah because it was the Lord’s Battle.
Secondly, the battle that Jehoshaphat fought against the enemies of God was blessed of the Lord because the children of Judah blessed the Lord God, and believed in Him, and praised the Lord with a loud voice on high.
II Chronicles 20:18-20 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the Lord, worshipping the Lord. And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a loud voice on high. And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.
The history lesson of the Valley of Jehoshaphat serves as a paradigm for Israel, to teach Israel that she must learn to mourn for the “One” that came in the name of the Lord God Jehovah, and to trust and believe in the prophecies of God, before she will see peace and prosperity in the Land. (Matthew 23:39, Zechariah 12:10)
The victories won by God in the days of King Jehoshaphat demonstrate to Israel that the ultimate battle for the Land is the Lord’s Battle, and in the Day of the Lord, He will fight and prevail on the Day of Battle.
The references found in the book of Joel relating to the Valley of Jehoshaphat point to the coming Judgment of God against the modern enemies of Israel, and also point to the valley areas outside Jerusalem as one of the last strategic battlegrounds in the Day of Decision!
The Valley of Jehoshaphat is the battle field of the Lord! Together with the valley of Armageddon, they are the valleys where the nations will be judged!
The Valley of Decision will be a great turning point in the history of Israel, and indeed the whole world. In Jehoshaphat’s day, Jerusalem rejoiced in their great and miraculous victory. They gathered spils for 3 whole days, and assembled in the Valley of Berachah and gave thanks to Jehovah for winning the battle with the assembled armies of the Ammonites, Moabites, Seirites and Assyrians. They returned unto Jerusalem with great joy and peace.
II Chronicles 20:25-30 And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much. And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the Lord: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day. Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies. And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the Lord. And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.
And so it will be again on the day that the Lord fights against Israel’s numerous enemies in the Valley of Decision. The Lord Jesus Christ will establish his house on the Mountain of Jerusalem, and Israel will be exalted above its enemies, and Israel will enjoy a thousand years of quiet rest. And all nations shall serve the Lord!
Zechariah 14:2-8 For I (Jehovah God) will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall The Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the Day of Battle. And His feet shall stand in 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. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and The Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
Today, the enemies of the God of Israel are calling for Israel to “wiped off the map”, and are coordinating in a league effort to empower a network of evil designs to hasten the world’s encroachment down into the Valley of Decision. The Islamic Mullahs, and the current Iranian President hope that they can hasten the day of Allah by coordinating a giant onslaught against Israel, but little do they realize that they are acting in conjunction with the designs of Satan. They are deceived, and their demonic princes are leading them to fulfill God’s call for them to gather into the Valley of Judgment, for the harvest of the wrath of Almighty God is nearly ripe, and their wickedness against his anointed is great. The heathened of Satan’s conspiracy are awakened, and they are intent on parting God’s Land, and preserving it for another. But as the Day of Battle looms, the sickle of the Lord is readied! The Day of Decision is NEAR, and its Valley still stands at the crossroads of human history!
Ironically, many of Israel’s enemies today are the same national entities that contended with Jehoshaphat over Jerusalem, and the present children of Israel need to be remindful of how their forefathers way back in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, looked to the Lord for guidance, and trust in His words, and not heed the scintillating false-peace enticements of the coming Antichrist!
Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.