James Nisbet Commentary - Joel 3:21 - 3:21

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James Nisbet Commentary - Joel 3:21 - 3:21

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:


‘For the Lord dwelleth in Zion.’


The preceding verses graphically describe the destruction of the enemies of the Church of God. These enemies among the nations are to gather together their mighty men, and convert the instruments of peace into weapons of war. All their mighty ones are to assemble in great multitudes in the ‘valley of decision,’ the place of God’s judgment. Brought together in all their forces, as if for war, they are to be reaped in one harvest of destruction: ‘Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.’ But, amid all this, ‘the Lord will be the hope of His people,’ and He will have His dwelling-place in Zion.

I. The Lord’s abiding Presence with His Church on earth.—The Church is this Mount Zion, this city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. (1) The purposes of His Presence are: (a) He is the centre of its Unity. We are one in Him. The sun is the centre of the solar system, and Christ is this to His whole Church. There is nothing Christ so much desired, and nothing now so much needed, as the visible unity of the Church of God. (b) For its security. The boat on the Galilean Lake could not sink with Christ on board: nor can His Church fail while He is in the midst. (c) For its guidance. ‘Lo, I am with you always,’ etc. His promise has not failed. He is at the helm. (d) For its triumph. He still leads forth the valiant hosts who follow the standard of the cross. (2) The method of His Presence. (a) By His sacraments. (b) By His Spirit.

II. The Lord’s Presence with His Church in Heaven.—‘Where I am there ye may be also.’ He is, then, the centre of the concourse of the redeemed. It is God of which the text speaks, and our Saviour is the eternal God. There His Church is perfected in Him, and He is perfected in it. There bride and bridegroom are for ever united.

Learn: (1) The unspeakable privilege of your membership in His Church. Into this privilege you were introduced at your baptism. (2) The unspeakable necessity of a holy membership in His Church. Only by this can you be transferred, through Christ, from the Church Militant to the Church Triumphant.


(1) ‘God’s dwelling-place. With this the description begins and ends (Joe_3:17; Joe_3:21). His present home is in the heart of those whom He has redeemed (Joh_14:23; Eph_3:17). But the glory of Zion in the Millennial age is that God will dwell there (Eze_48:35). Numerous blessings result from His indwelling. He makes “holy” every place where He abides (Eze_48:17; Eze_48:21); assures of unfailing security (Eze_48:17; Eze_48:20); and makes rich provision (Eze_48:18). The history of Israel has shown that national judgments result from national sins. The future will prove that all blessings, temporal and spiritual, result from holiness.’

(2)      ‘Jesus, Thy Church with longing eyes

For Thy expected coming waits:

When will the promised light arise,

And glory gleam from Zion’s gates?

Teach us in watchfulness and prayer

To wait for the appointed hour;

And fit us by Thy grace to share

The triumphs of Thy conquering power.’