The Valley of Jehoshaphat
Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday 20 March 2004
"I (Yahweh) 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
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" (Joel 3:2,12, KJV).
The prophet Joel is perhaps best remembered amongst Christians as the servant of Yahweh who prophesied the coming of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) in a special way such that the gift of prophetic dreams and seership would be poured out on all flesh in the last days (Joel 2:28; Ac.2:17). The prophecy was fulfilled at Pentecost (Shavu'ot) and is still being fulfilled today. We are in the last days and have been now for nearly two thousand years. And we remember it especially because it was quoted by Peter in Acts. But there is far more to the prophet Joel than this, and in particular since it is a book about the end times it has some very salient messages for us in the 21st century.
The rise of Christianity two millennia ago began to push the borders of heathenism and paganism back across the whole world thanks to the early evangelism of the first apostles and latterly by missionaries from the imperial Western powers. Today those borders are again receding and no nation upon the earth can regard itself any longer as a dominantly 'Christian' one in more than name. The world, once again, has become pagan.
This state of affairs has certainly not escaped the notice of pagans themselves who at the millennium shift declared the end of the supposedly Christian age of Pisces and the beginning of a New Age of Aquarius, as though the stars themselves had shoved Christianity aside. We know, however, that the cause of Christianity's decline is not the movement of celestial bodies in outer space, or their action on human beings, but the choice of men and women everywhere to reject the Messiah and listen to the flesh. The Saviour of the world has virtually been traded back for idols of wood and stone.
Pagans, being what they are, like to trumpet their gains. And they rightly observe that a tide of paganism has now struck the West which shows no signs of ever receding. They fully believe that Christianity has 'had its day' and that the world is heading for a pagan paradise of 'merry meets' and hearty carousing. But in this they are sorely mistaken, as they were once before when Yahweh's people were reduced to a mere eight souls amongst millions.
One thing that all who seek to know Yahweh must understand is that numbers mean nothing to the Most High. Righteousness is not a function of a human head-count. When the pagans were gloating, many millennia ago, over the state of the world and the fact that it was, to all intents and purposes, entirely pagan when the fallen Watcher angels who came to the earth and defied Yahweh without any apparent opposition or punishment when Satan saw, and concluded, that Yahweh was weak and impotent because of the magnitude of his victory on the earth - then the Creator suddenly struck. Bold, arrogant, and complacent, pagan man reclined in his anarchistic 'paradise' and concluded that Satan was the true master, as many Satanists I meet today conclude as they see the power of Satan extending farther and farther afield without any apparent opposition. But then, one day, unexpectedly, Yahweh vindicated four men and four women and drowned all the rest millions of them. And it is important for any of you who may be hearing this who are pagans, or who retain pagan sympathies, to remember this, for Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) prophesied and His prophecies are always infallible that when He returned to put an end to the satanic world system which is symbolically called 'Babylon', conditions here would be exactly as they were in the days of Noah with his surviving family of eight (Mt.24:37; Lk.17:26)). Moreover and this is the crux the result will be the same too
utter destruction for all but the righteous, this time by fire.
The Book of Joel ends with a description of this scenario. To be more accurate, he vividly describes the place of judgment as the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Here the pagan nations will be summonsed and here they will be judged whether they like it or not. This is not an invitation, it is a command, and they will be powerless to resist.
Some of you may well know that there was a King of Judah who went by the same name. He was the fourth king of Judah and the son and successor of Asa. That Yahweh should name the place of Judgment after this man is therefore of some prophetic significance and should not be missed.
Jehoshaphat was a good man. He was an able administrator and was a man of great piety who earnestly sought in all things to honour Yahweh. He was not content simply to purge his kingdom of pagan forms of worship (2 Chr.18:6; cp. 1 Ki.22:43) but he took positive steps to ensure that Torah was known and understood (2 Chr.17:7-9). He reorganised the judiciary, assigning judges to all the more important cities of his kingdom, and established a special mixed court of appeal in Jerusalem composed of Levites, priests and elders, thus creating a landmark in the legal history of the nation (2 Chr.19:5-11). And his impact historically would have been far greater had he not made a fundamental mistake, a mistake which we must examine carefully and learn from.
These were the days when Judah and Israel were two separate feuding kingdoms, following the apostasy and death of King Solomon. It was Jehoshaphat's wish that relations between the two halves of Jacob should be improved, partly because he wanted to secure his own northern borders, partly out of a sense of misguided fraternal affection. He therefore took the unprecedented step of ending the blood feud between Judah and Israel by concluding a marriage alliance with the House of Omri (1 Ki.22:44). Now you might think this a good thing long separated brethren patching up their differences, for the sake of their ancestors David, Jacob and Abraham, and on the surface you might be right. However, as history proved, the entire advantage was gained by the semi-pagan Israelite king and not the Yahweh-fearing Judahite one. The Israelite king gained security on his southern border which released him to concentrate on his Syrian enemies to the north.
So what was wrong with this marriage alliance? If I tell you that the King of Israel at this time was Ahab, and his queen was Jezebel, would this give you a clue? Yes, Jehoshaphat arranged for his son, Jehoram, to marry Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, a marriage which bore evil fruit in latter years and brought the Davidic line to the verge of extinction (2 Ki.11:1-3).
This dynastic marriage was an act of compromise motivated by a desire to heal wounds. It was well intended but spiritually way off the mark. There was no way that Israel and Judah would be reconciled at this time, an event which has yet to take place. The cost was paid entirely by Judah, and only Israel gained. It must remembered at this time that Israel had abandoned the faith of Yahweh and had become pagan. The ruling king married a foreign pagan woman, imitating his ancestor Solomon, who influenced him to lead his nation to apostasy and great evil. Out of sentimentality for blood kinship and of an earlier history of glory and Yahweh-reverence, Jehoshaphat allowed himself to be blinded to reality and to believe in a myth. Whatever Israel was, she was no longer a servant of Yahweh, but a divorcee and His enemy.
Yahweh had sobering words to say to Israel through His prophet Jeremiah, revealing her true status with heaven:
"And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also" (Jer.3:8, KJV).
There are many people today who were formerly Christians who maintain an allegiance to Christianity in name but who in their hearts are backslidden and in a state of apostasy. Many of these Yahweh has already divorced, annulling their salvation which they did not guard. It is therefore a highly dangerous business for a true redeemed son or daughter of Yahweh to contract alliances with fallen believers, whether by marriage or by denominational association. When such alliances are contracted, the result is as disastrous as it was for Judah when she brought the daughter of a spiritual harlot into her temple.
Athaliah, like Jezebel, was a scheming murderess. She massacred the royal seed which she considered rivals to her own (2 Ki.11:1) and ruled Judah alone for six years, bringing much evil to the land. She met a similar end to her mother, Queen Jezebel of Israel. Jehoshaphat's sentimental goodwill brought disaster. It brought great judgment upon his nation when, had he been wise, prudent and obedient to Torah, it might have brought it great blessings.
So why, then, did Yahweh call the place of judgment for pagans 'The Valley of Jehoshaphat´? Is it because of the meaning of the name, which in Hebrew is Yehoshapat, meaning 'Yahweh has judged´? Well, yes, this, of course has to be the primary meaning, but why describe it as a valley which historically is not know to have ever existed and may only be a metaphor? (Some think it may be the Kidron Valley). It is interesting that the 'valley of Jehoshaphat' is linked in verse 14 of the chapter with another valley called the 'the valley of decision':
"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 fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of Yahweh is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining" (Joel 3:12-15, KJV).
This is describing not a general condition of wickedness on the earth but a particular one: we are looking in this prophetic scenario at a time when "the press is full" and "the vats overflow" with the wickedness of the heathen. This is descriptive of a ripening in iniquity. This is descriptive of the condition of the souls of men when they have reached a point of no return, when the day of repentance has fully departed from them.
And it has happened many times in history. It happened to the Canaanites when Joshua advanced into the Promised Land. They were ripened in iniquity, ready for destruction, because their hearts were so possessed by Satan that they would not even consider repentance. Therefore Yahweh gave His execution order. But and make note of this Joshua made a similar mistake to Jehoshaphat by allowing himself to be tricked by the Gibeonites into making a treaty with him (Josh.9:16), thus sparing the execution order on this Canaanite clan an act that would cost Israel dearly later. And as we know they failed to deal with the natives, leaving them in the land to harass, kill and enslave them for generations.
It happened in the days of Noah, as we have seen, when mankind was past redemption. Yahweh regretted He had ever made mankind and was prevailed upon to spare them by Noah. He had similar regrets after bringing Israel out of Egypt because they constantly rebelled, and only the pleadings of Moses prevailed upon Him to give them another chance.
It happened for Sodom and Gomorah when Abraham tried to intercede. Only four souls were redeemable in several cities, and one perished on the way. Interestingly, all of them were in the Jordan valley. Judgment here took place in a literal, geographical valley.
And it is about to happen again, in our day perhaps not tomorrow, but certainly within the generation of our children. We see the advance of wickedness all around us and you hear me preaching about it, no doubt until you are weary of hearing it. However, even though the valley of Jeshoshaphat does not concern us as a planet just yet, it most certainly does on an individual basis.
There is, for every living man and woman who resists the truth, a Valley of Jehoshaphat, a day of judgment, and a day of decision. Only a few weeks ago I was ministering to a very able young woman who was raised in a good Christian home who had subsequently embarked on a life of lesbian sexual promiscuity. When I met her she knew that her very soul was standing on the edge of the abyss. She knew that there were demons in her life driving her relentlessly into even more addictive sexual perversion. She knew she was ruining others. And Yahweh brought her to me and my wife to offer her deliverance and a way out of her hell. She was offered a new life. For some weeks she was torn between the two and could not make her decision. We prayed for her and ministered to her. She had become a close family friend. And then, one day, Yahweh told me to tell her that her 'day of decision' had arrived and she had to choose to follow Him or the devil. The total silence that followed was the sad answer I got. I hope this was not the final valley of Jeshoshaphat for her I don't think it is because she is basically a good person, but once you have spurned divine love once, it becomes more difficult to receive it later, especially if you have grown up with the Saviour. My heart grows heavy whenever I think about her. I still pray that she will turn round and choose deliverance.
For many who are involved in overt evil, like Satanists, final judgment is definitely coming. Many are already fully ripened in iniquity, especially those who chose Satanism of their own free will and were not forced into it as unwilling victims of abuse. In my own ministry I have witnessed such judgments. The latter-day prophets of Yahweh will be called to judge them as they are given utterance by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), ending their physical life of torturing and abusing their victims, a most terrible word for any servant of the Most High to speak¸ but often necessary to save those wretched imprisoned souls who have known nothing but anguish and the deepest misery all their lives at their wicked hands. For these Satanists, judgment is on their very doorsteps.
I am today principally concerned about those who are lured into the pagan camp because of foolish compromises born of a well-meaning heart that is not rooted in Yahweh's Word. As believers we love souls who are on the pagan side. And you young ones may at times fall in love with young pagans and have your heart torn apart by a division in loyalties to them and to your Heavenly Father. You may even listen to Satan's lie that by marrying a pagan you can help them the more easily come to Christ. If you have listened to my former sermons on marriage you will know that this almost never happens. Worse, the believer is pressurised to compromise especially if she is a woman and may end up losing her salvation. That is why Yahweh has expressly forbidden His people to unequally yoke themselves to unbelievers, and that would include nominal believers who are only Christian in name. Please learn from the mistake of King Jehoshaphat!
The good news is that the Judgment of Yahweh passes right by the blood-purchased son or daughter of Yahweh who is living in obedience to Torah. True believers are not called to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Only the heathen are called there. In particular, the prophecy concerns Judah's and Jerusalem's neighbours, and for us as witnesses it likewise only concerns our immediate neighbours those who are within the radius of our influence. Those who are within that radius are our responsibility, and those amongst them who are ripened in iniquity and will not repent now or ever in the future, we may have to call to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for the sake of those whom they would abuse or destroy the child molesters, the rapists, and those who would lead innocent souls to destruction. These Yahweh may call you to announce His judgment to.
We must not compromise. We must keep our families and those under our care carefully guarded at all times. The road to hell, they say, is paved with good intentions, and we must scrupulously avoid these and only follow the righteous diktats of Yahweh. We have to live so very close to the Word and the Ruach (Spirit) if we are to survive and triumph in these dangerous times. It is my prayer today that we will do just that and not repeat the mistake of King Jeshoshaphat. Amen.
This page was created on 10 February 2004
Last updated on 10 February 2004
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