We left off in Part 8 talking about the Valley of Jehoshaphat in Joel 3.2. We had discussed that there is no Valley of Jehoshaphat but that this is alluding to a place southeast of Jerusalem called Tophet. We learned that in Jewish eschatology, the people will be brought into a broad valley. Tophet is in the valley of Hinnom, which is “Gay Hinnom” in Hebrew and where the word “Gehenna” comes from. It is located specifically where the Hinnom Valley and the Kidron Valley meet southeast of Jerusalem. Some kings of Judah placed pagan idols there and buried children who had died in sacrificial rites to the pagan god Molech. Tophet is referred to in Isa 30.33; 2 Kings 23.10; 2 Chr 28.3; Jer 7.31-32, 19.1-15 and 31.40. It came to be understood as the most cursed place on earth. Let’s look at some backround and understanding of these verses.
A king of Judah destroyed the Tophet and the idols of Molech and these were ground to dust and thrown into the Brook Kidron. The Kidron Valley was known as the “Valley of the Shadow of death” and it was near the Valley of Hinnom. The Valley of Hinnom became known as the “place of judgment of idolatry” and no longer the “place of idolatry.” They took the trash from Jerusalem and threw it into the Valley of Hinnom and was overflowing with maggots. There were so many that you could see the mounds of trash “moving” from the walls of Jerusalem. There was a continual burning of trash day and night. Isa 66.24 refers to the unbelievers (the goats of Matt 25) being cast into the Valley of Hinnom. The Greek word “Gehenna” is from the Hebrew “Gay Hinnom” and referred to in Matt 5.22 and Mark 9.47. The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is set in Gehenna, or Tophet. Sheol at the time of Yeshua had two compartments before the resurrection. The righteous went to Paradise (Pardes) or Abraham’s Bosom and the unrighteous went to Torments. Hell is the Lake of Fire or Gehenna and nobody is there yet.
Joel 3.3-11…This is what happens before Yeshua comes. Notice in v 10 where they will beat their plowshares into swords, and their pruning hooks into spears. This is opposite of Isa 2.4 and Micah 4.2-3, which is after Yeshua comes.
Joel 3.12-13…The nations will be aroused and they come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there he will judge. You can see where this is play on words. Harvest imagery is used to describe this judgment. In Rev 14.14-20 and Isa 63.1-6 we see the same imagery of the harvest. Now, we know that the Birth-pains start on a Yom Kippur and end on a Yom Kippur.
The feast of Sukkot begins five days after Yeshua returns and that feast is called the “Feast of Ingathering” in Exo 23.16. So let’s look at the festivals quickly:
1) Pesach (Passover)-Nisan 14-Yeshua crucified
2) Hag ha Matzah (Unleavened Bread)- Nisan 15-21st-Yeshua buried on the 15th
3) Bikkurim (First Fruits)-First day of the week after Passover; first fruits of Barley, count the omer, Yeshua resurrected, 1 Cor 15
4) after 49 days we come to Shavuot (Pentecost)-first fruits of wheat harvest, first tithe brought, feast of harvest, sheva minim (7 fruits) brought, the “atzeret” (conclusion) of the Passover season, also called the feast of harvest, Matan Torah (giving of the Torah on Sinai that day), coming of the Ruach upon believers in Acts 2.
5) after four months we come to Yom Teruah, Tishri 1 (day of the awakening blast, also called Rosh ha Shannah (head of the civil year)
6) Tishri 10-Yom Kippur (day of atonement)
7) Tishri 15-22-Sukkot (tabernacles) and the 7th day of Sukkot is called “Hoshanna Rabbah” or “the great salvation.”
There are three required festivals that all males were to appear at every year: Hag ha Matzah, Shavuot and Sukkot.
These are called the “season of our joy” and Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur are called the Solemn festivals. Of the three festivals in the “season of our joy”, Sukkot is called the “festival of our joy.”
Now, in John 4.1-14 we have the account of the Samaritan woman at the well with Yeshua. The main point of contention between the two was where to worship. John 4.14 says, “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become I him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” This is basically the same thing he says in John 7.39, which was the 7th day of Sukkot called Hoishanna Rabbah, the Great Salvation. This day is a picture of the end of the Messianic Kingdom. Why speak of the Spirit being poured out on Hoshanna Rabbah when it happened at Shavuot? Because you always speak from the fullness looking back. The Basar (gospel, good news) came to the Jewish people first (Matt 15,24-27). It was then to go to the “nations” starting in Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1.18). John 4 is set at Shavuot (he is returning from there-John 4.35). Yeshua is going to Samaria in John 4.4 and is prophetic of Acts 1.8. In Part 10 we will pick up here in John 4 and bring out more concepts related to the harvest in Joel 3 and see how this plays into our understanding of biblical eschatology and the book of Joel.