Prayer and Praise First
“Thus saith Jehovah unto you, Fear not ye, neither be dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15 ASV).
Jehovah God gave victory to many kings of Judah when they went into battle. But Jehoshaphat and his army were given victory without ever engaging in battle.
The sons of Moab and of Ammon, and the inhabitants of Mt. Seir1 had come in great numbers around (or across) the Dead Sea to Engedi, on the central west coast of the Dead Sea.
Jehoshaphat rightly looked unto Jehovah (2 Chronicles 20:5-13), and He answered with the theme text above, “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of Jehovah with you” (2 Chronicles 20:17).
So Jehoshaphat and the people of Judea went out to the wilderness of Tekoa (about 12 miles south of Jerusalem, as the crow flies) to watch the three enemies enter the valley just south of Tekoa. When the Levite singers “began to sing and to praise, Jehovah set liers-in-wait against the children of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir … and they were smitten” (2 Chronicles 20:22). First, the Ammonites and Moabites ganged together to utterly destroy them of Mount Seir, and then the Ammonites and Moabites utterly destroyed each other. There was nothing for Judah to do but come down and take the abundant spoils. They named the place The Valley of Beracah (The Valley of Blessing), and they returned to Jerusalem with joy and thanksgiving at the Temple. And then they had peace (2 Chronicles 20:26-30).
Prophetic Significance to the Watchers?
Jehoshaphat’s three enemies call to mind Gideon’s battle against three enemies (Judges 7), which typifies Armageddon, and the three unclean spirits just before the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13-17). However, Jehoshaphat’s encounter shows something that the others do not. Namely, that two of the enemies vanquish the third, before they destroy each other in the Armageddon battle.2
Many have been thinking these three correspond to the Political, Papal, and Protestant factions.
Those living in the 1930s could have supposed these three would be Communism and Fascism (both considered “progressive” and atheist at that time) and Christendom. Then, in the 1950s it could have been supposed to be Communism, Catholicism, and Protestantism. Today it might appear to be Communism/Socialism, Islam, and institutionalized Christianity. Let us watch to see whether it will be, as we approach Armageddon.
The prophet admits that the Lord’s people have sinned, but asks Jehovah God why He will allow the wicked to administer the punishment on those more righteous than they (Habakkuk 1:2-4, 13). If God’s answer means the power of Christianity in the world will be broken by opposing ideologies, there will nevertheless be a consolation prize for the Christian: The world will then not be able to blame Christ for Armageddon.
(1) “Some of the Ammonites” are called “mount Seir” later in 2 Chronicles 20. It appears some Ammonites
had come south and conquered Mt. Seir in Edom.
(2) Perhaps three forces are also suggested in Genesis 14, where the two Sumerian and Elamite alliances subdue the West before being destroyed by Abra(ha)m.