As we come to chapter 3 of Joel the focus centers on the battle of Armageddon. Verse 2 is specific in stating that all is happening according to God’s sovereign purpose.
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.”
Never in history have all the nations gathered together for war against the LORD. John also records prophecy of this time in Revelation.
Revelation 16:14-16 “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”
Armageddon is the staging ground, but the heat of battle will be focused in the valley of Jehoshaphat, also known as the Hinnon Valley and the Kidron Valley according to Easton’s Dictionary. It is the valley between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives.
The wording of the KJV is a bit confusing. God isn’t going to plead with the nations as in trying to reason with them; He is going to exact judgment. Context of the chapter clearly states that this judgment will be in vengeance on behalf of “my people…my heritage Israel.” Again, I will quote from my journal.
Scripture tells us that God specifically singled out the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob as His unique possession among the nations and the land of Israel as His special allocation on planet earth.
Deuteronomy 14:2 “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.”
Numbers 35:34 “Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.”
Leviticus 25:17-18 & 23 “Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God. Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety….The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.”
“They” (verse 2) refers back to “all nations.” God holds all the nations accountable for the dispersal of the Jews throughout the nations. As you follow the history of Israel, it is clear that they were driven from land to land due to greed for their wealth, refusal to renounce their faith, and/or unjustified fears or blame for plague, etc. The land of Israel has passed under the rule of empire to empire. However, since the reestablishment of the nation of Israel in 1948, this verse has taken on more obvious application. The predominant news in the Middle East since that time has focused on dividing the land of Israel to make way for another Palestinian state in addition to Jordan. Israel’s borders were initially established by UN mandate and miraculously defended by the fledgling nation. They have since withstood major attacks from surrounding countries in 1967 and 1973 that resulted in their conquering more land. Since that time, the calls for dividing the land have continued nonstop.