Three Part Coalition
“When they began to sing and to praise, Jehovah set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, whichwere come against Judah; and they were smitten” (2 Chronicles 20:22).
Another testimony respecting God’s deliverance of Israel is in 2 Chronicles. In that chapter good king Jehoshaphat faced a coalition of three dire enemies — Ammon, Moab, and Edom (mount Seir). In Revelation 16 there is also a coalition of three forces that gather “the kings of the earth” for the Armageddon conflict, “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:13- 16). The three forces in Revelation are the Dragon, Beast, and False Prophet.1
(1) Ammon and Moab are areas that were defeated by Moses on the east side of the Jordan, as the Israelites came toward the land of promise. Thereafter the Israelites crossed the Jordan and captured Jericho. Perhaps Ammon and Moab, who were related, represent the Beast and False Prophet (Papacy and allied Protestants), who fall together (Revelation 19:20), and Edom the Dragon (Satan in his control of the political powers of Christendom).
When Jehoshaphat pleaded with Jehovah for intervention, God comforted Jehoshaphat. God caused His Spirit to rest upon Jahaziel, “a Levite of the sons of Asaph,” who gave this reassurance. “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of Jehovah with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed … for Jehovah will be with you” (2 Chronicles 20:14, 17).
As a Levite, perhaps Jahaziel represents members of the Great Company class, as Levites sometimes do, lingering here for a time after the taking of the Bride class. (Compare the closing message of the Great Company to Israel in the Song of Solomon 5:8-6:1, a message of hope respecting their deliverer.) However, an option respecting Jahaziel might be the Ancient Worthies. For the Ancient Worthies, perhaps more than the lingering Great Company, will be informed respecting God’s deliverance of the Israelites.
Jehoshaphat was deeply moved. “Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before Jehovah, worshipping Jehovah. And the Levites … stood up to praise Jehovah God of Israel with a loud voice on high … they rose early in the morning … and said … Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in Jehovah your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper … Praise Jehovah; for his mercy endureth for ever” (2 Chronicles 20:18-21).
When the fateful day arrived, Jehoshaphat “appointed singers unto Jehovah” as the leading force in the face of the approaching enemy (verse 21). When they began to sing and praise God, Jehovah “set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten” — each enemy helping to destroy another. “And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped” (2 Chronicles 20:23,24).
As later with Sennacherib against Hezekiah, the Israelites did not fight in this deliverance. God managed the whole experience. So, too, with the coming deliverance. The influence of Israel outward toward others will be peace, grace, “as showers upon the grass” (Micah 5:7).
By this means, as the Kingdom opens, the spirit emanating from Israel may be recognized as one of peace, by thoughtful observers among other nations. This may encourage them to think about what they hear coming from Israel, in the opening times of the Kingdom.
Israel will then recognize the Ancient Worthies as godly emissaries from the Heavenly Father. Other nations, noting the spirit of peace and goodwill emanating from this influence, will be drawn closer by the attractive prospects. Then, “the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before Jehovah, and to seek Jehovah of hosts: I will go also. (22) Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek Jehovah of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before Jehovah” (Zechariah8:21, 22).
Israel Does Fight Previously
Israel has fought in previous conflicts, and God has given them large victories. This appears to be the point of Micah 5:8, 9. “The remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.”
But in the final experience, God’s deliverance is still more remarkable. Israel will not need to take the offensive. In fact, it seems that their armaments will be put aside. “I will cut off thy horses … and I will destroy thy chariots,” which are instruments of war (Micah 5:10).
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream … [they] shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees” (Isaiah 66:12). “From one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Jehovah” (Isaiah 66:23).
Joel Chapter Three
The third chapter of Joel gives another prophecy that focuses more expressly on the latter day fulfillment of God’s deliverance of Israel. Joel 3:1 says, “Behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem” (that is, restore them from captivity). This applies after the Babylonian captivity, for there was no captivity of Judah and Jerusalem until the time of Nebuchadnezzar.
It is possible that there was some limited fulfillment of God’s deliverance for Israel in the days of the Maccabees, which followed Israel’s return from Babylon. However, verse 20 says then “Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.” This could not be fulfilled until the current regathering of Israel at the close of the present Gospel Age.
Joel 3:2 says, “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.” The mention of he valley of Jehoshaphat recalls the deliverance of Israel in the days of Jehoshaphat, discussed in a previous article, which itself is symbolic of God’s final deliverance of Israel leading us into the Kingdom.
Joel 3:3-8 outlines the difficulties Israel has endured, forward from Joel’s day, and it seems symbolic also of the long diaspora of the Gospel Age. Verses 9 and forward then describe the final conflict of nations against Israel, which introduces the Kingdom. Verses 9 and 10 address the Gentile nations opposing Israel. “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.”
Joel, as a younger contemporary of Isaiah, would have known the prophecy of Isaiah 2:4, predicting the end of war. “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Joel reverses the words in speaking of this last attack on Israel.
Verses 11 and 12 indicate that this gathering of nations against Israel will be the occasion for God “to judge all the heathen round about.” Verse 13 expresses this judgment in terms that appear in Revelation 14:18-20 and Revelation 19:13-15 about the winepress, symbolic of the judgments closing the Gospel Age harvest.3
(3) Revelation 14 is an introductory chapter about the harvest, closing with the treading of the winepress. The work of the harvest and the judgments of the harvest are then detailed further in chapters 15-19. Chapter 19 speaks of the marriage of Christ and the Church in verse 7, showing that the Church is complete — followed by verses 11 and forward that speak of the treading of the winepress, showing that this is an event following the completion of the Church.
In response to the attack upon Israel, Jehovah “shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but Jehovah will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” The indication is again that God will deliver Israel — rather than Israel fighting victoriously for the triumph.
This will be a final deliverance. “Then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more” (Joel 3:17). Then the blessings of Christ’s Kingdom will begin to flow. “In that day … the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk … and a fountain shall come forth of the house of Jehovah,” for the blessing of all (Joel 3:18).
Categories: 2023 Issues, 2023-March/April