Joel 3:2 (ASV)

2 I will gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will execute judgment upon them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations: and they have parted my land,

Matthew 25:31-32 (ASV)

31 But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: 32 and before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats;

Revelation 20:12 (ASV)

12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Are these judgements in Joel 3:2, Matthew 25:31-32, and Revelation 20:12 distinct events or referring to the same event? Some similarities between them are:

  • All prophecies at the time given (so point to some future event)
  • Event related to end times (Mt and Rev especially, Joel maybe)
  • Judging from a throne (Mt, Rev)
  • A gathering of peoples ("nations" Mt, Joel; the "dead" Rev, which one might reasonably assume refers to a group coming from all nations)
  • A judgment of works ("my people ... they have scattered ... parted my land" Joel; "according to their works" Rev)

Various arguments either for or against (or both) identifying two or all three passages as being the same event or not are appreciated.

  • Can you edit this to indicate what you mean by "difference"? Are you expecting the same words (you know they were written in different languages right?) or that they refer to the same event or what?
    – Caleb
    Feb 16, 2015 at 12:02
  • 1
    This question is a contextual, not a linguistic question and in that vein, is fully answerable from the text. She's not asking if the 'words match'(they obviously don't) but do they contextually describe the same event, which is yes for Matt. 25 and Rev. 20, and no for Joel 3. There are interpretive clues which are given from the text and therefore there is no reason not to answer this question.
    – Tau
    Feb 19, 2015 at 5:36

3 Answers 3


There is indubitably a verbal resemblance between the Greek (LXX) version of Joel 3:2:

καὶ συνάξω πάντα τὰ ἔθνη “and I shall gather together all the nations”

and Mt 25:32:

καὶ συναχθήσονται ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη “and before him will be gathered together all the nations”.

συνάξω and συναχθήσονται are two forms (future active and future passive respectively) of the same verb, συνάγω.

The difference is that in Joel τὰ ἔθνη translates goyim (הגוים) ‘gentiles’, while in Matthew it evidently encompasses all the nations of the earth, gentiles and Jews alike. So I would say that the author of Matthew has imitated the wording of Joel, but in reference to a different event.

The verse in Revelation refers to the dead only, and is thus not so close to the other two in wording, but close to Matthew in meaning.


The answer to the question may vary depending on the hermeneutic one employs. However I would suggest that the context of Joel 3:2 is the return of Judah after the Babylon captivity, notice that we read "whom they have scattered among the nations." that seems to a reference to the sacking of Jerusalem in 586BC.

Matt 25 and Rev 20 are both in reference to the second coming (in my opinion).

So at a surface level I would say that they are not speaking about the same judgement. However one could possibly argue that the Joel text isn't fully satisfied in the return from captivity and that there awaits a fuller and more complete fulfilment which is written about in such passages as Rev 20


In my understanding of scripture both Joel and Matthew are referring to the judgment of God on the nations that are live at the end of the tribulation. Christ is coming to establish his Kingdom and to judge the living who have been unrighteous in relation to their personal kindness toward a Israel However in Revelation those who stand there in judgment are the unrighteous dead who will be raised to stand before the great white throne. To be banished to the lake of fire.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.