October 23, 2021
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will cease their shining.”
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will cease their shining. The Lord will roar from Zion and raise His voice from Jerusalem; heaven and earth will shake. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the Israelites. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who dwells from Zion; My holy mountain. Jerusalem will be holy and foreigners will never overrun it again.” Joel 3:14-17
I recall being in Israel one summer, and a young man I was traveling with was overcome with grief over the idea that God would send anyone to Hell. He said, ‘I believe that when each person stands before the Lord, He will give them one last chance to choose Jesus, and the evidence will be so overwhelming that everyone will choose Him.’ I wish that were so, but the Bible clearly discloses an opposite future for the unbeliever.
“And it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment; so the Messiah was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people. And He will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him.” Hebrews 9:27-28
Verse 14, of Joel’s third chapter, is a graphic depiction of a very solemn scene: The Judgment of God. It is a verse, which is often misunderstood. To be clear, it is the Lord who is doing the deciding, not a time when men are called upon to decide to follow Messiah, Jesus. It is common knowledge, among believers, that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin and that atonement is offered to all who would accept it. But, examining the eye-witness accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion, notice how exactly His punishment (on the cross) fits Joel’s description of God’s judgment in the “Valley of Decision” - literally, in Hebrew: The valley of YHWH’s judgment)
“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ – which means, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ When some of those standing there heard this, they said, ‘He’s calling Elijah.’ Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, ‘Now leave Him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save Him.’ And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His Spirit. At that moment the curtain of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely He was the Son of God!’” Matthew 27:45-54
Jesus suffered the exact penalty for our sin so that we can stand boldly (not proudly) before God, fully justified. (Romans 8:32-39) Run to the refuge while it is still offered!