by Phil Enlow

(Editor's note: This article was originally published in the Midnight Cry Messenger in the early 1970s -- slightly revised and updated, 2022.)

The eternal God, the Sovereign Creator of heaven and earth, the God before Whom all men will one day stand, and to Whom every man will give an account, has a message in this hour for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. I believe this is the hour so often spoken of by the prophets of old. We, today, stand on the very threshold of the great day of the Lord, the climax of the ages, the last hour of human history.

The God who said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever,” (Gen. 6:3) has long held His peace despite the almost total rejection of His love and grace by hell-bound humanity. But the judgment of God will not forever wait. Soon the curtain will fall, and the day of grace will be eternally past.

The prophet Joel spoke forth a mighty word of warning relating to this very hour in which we live. Joel 3:13-14 says, “Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow—so great is their wickedness! Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”

The fulfillment of this great prophecy of Joel is placed at the time when “the harvest is ripe.” Harvest time is the time when that which has been planted has grown and come to full maturity. The crop awaits nothing now but to be reaped.

The Bible in several other places speaks of harvest time. In Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus gave us the parable of the weeds. He spoke of the man who sowed wheat in his field only to have an enemy slip in by night and sow weeds as well. The two kinds were allowed to grow together until harvest time and then separated, one destined for the barn, and the other for the fire.

The parable is explained in verses 36-43. The two kinds represent the sons of the kingdom and the children of the wicked one. The field in which they grow is the world. The harvest is the end of the world. These two types of humanity are to undergo a process of separation during harvest time which will finally result in fire for one and the glorious eternal kingdom of God for the other. Rev. 14:14-20 graphically portrays the reaping of two types of men during harvest time.

Harvest time will see the coming to full maturity of the remnant of those made righteous through faith in the blood of Christ on the one hand and of the vast majority of men who are Christ-rejecters on the other.

Man as a whole is rejecting light. Jesus said, “Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going.” John 12:35. The wrath and damnation of God will fall upon those who, “refused to love the truth and so be saved,” and who, “have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” 2 Thess. 2:10,12.

Paul speaks of the same principle in Romans 1:18-32 concerning men, “who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” When men reject light, they become filled with darkness and God gives them over finally to a reprobate mind. From that very moment on there is no hope. A man may live a long time after God gives him up, but there is still no hope. His destiny is sealed. He is as good as in the lake of fire because no man can come to Christ unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). A man can only come when God calls. Our world is increasingly populated by reprobate men in this hour.

The great separation is upon us. Everyone is even now being gathered to his own kind. In Isaiah 60:2 we read, “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.”

Isaiah’s prophecy applies wonderfully to the time in which Christ came to earth. His coming was a time of separation of the believing remnant of Israel from those who willfully remained in their blindness. But is it not also a picture of the end of the age?  This present age will end with “thick darkness” for some, but the dawn of eternal glory for others. God has decreed that it shall be so.

Joel himself says of this harvest time, “so great is their wickedness” (3:13). Friend, do you have eyes to see what is taking place in our world today? It’s the gathering of thick darkness spoken of by Isaiah, the falling away and the revealing of the man of lawlessness spoken of by Paul in 2 Thess. 2.

God proceeds, by the mouth of Joel, to specifically warn us of the great separation which will take place just prior to the day of the Lord: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”

The key expression in that crucial verse is repeated twice: “the valley of decision.” Surely, it’s true that there have always been valleys of decision through which men have traveled along the pathway to eternity. Every man has his valley of decision, whether he recognizes it as such or not, in which he either bows to or else rejects God-given light.

But the valley of decision of which Joel speaks with such urgency is not just any valley. Rather it is THE valley of decision which immediately precedes the day of the Lord and in that valley stand not a few, or even multitudes, but “multitudes, multitudes,” indicating that this valley represents the last place of decision for mankind as a whole, the place beyond which all destinies are sealed. This “valley” pictures the great crossroads of the ages where every man must choose either the narrow way which leads to life or the broad road which leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14). There is no other exit from this valley. It is one or the other.

We are even now in this great valley of decision of which Joel prophesied. Indeed, multitudes have already chosen judgment and the lake of fire as their destiny and they know it not. Man as a whole does not see or understand what is taking place. Only by the revelation of God can we see that it is indeed decision time.

It is no different today than it was in Jesus’ day in that respect. Most in that day knew not the hour of their visitation and joined in crucifying the very Son of God. It was only to a relative few that God was able to reveal what was actually taking place.

Today, as then, it takes revelation to see that things uttered by prophets centuries ago are being fulfilled before our eyes. Men everywhere are embracing every conceivable form of philosophy and religion that comes to them under the guise of truth and they do not understand that they are being deceived into choosing final destruction.

The scripture is being fulfilled which says, “For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” 2 Thess. 2:11-12. When men harden their hearts and refuse truth, God Himself will see to it that they are deceived. And it is the nature of man to love darkness instead of light (John 3:19).

Much of the strong delusion which is capturing men consists of perverted forms of true Bible Christianity. I am not speaking primarily of what many call cults, but of churches which might be widely accepted as being genuine representatives of Christian faith.

Many churches have been filled with people who have embraced a watered-down so-called gospel which does not demand true repentance. Some of the most deceived people on earth today have walked down an aisle, accepted certain doctrines, have been outwardly reformed, have joined supposedly gospel churches, and yet they are as surely on the road to the lake of fire as the vilest sinner.

God has never apprehended them with a revelation of their own total corruption and wickedness and their need to truly repent and rest their eternal destiny on the finished work of Christ on the cross in true heart faith. They perhaps go through a form of all that, yet never are truly born again and sealed by the Spirit of God.

Many other religious groups which consider themselves fundamental preach a gospel which is not the true gospel of grace and faith, but a thinly disguised legalism in which our standing before God depends upon what we do or don’t do. Others emphasize experience and feeling to the extent that they beget many spiritual children who have no true faith.

There are many such perversions abroad in the religious world that produce children who will never inherit the kingdom of God.

In this hour, Satan, who has been loosed as never before, is employing every means possible to capture men. He knows that his time is short. He is going about in great wrath seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8, Rev. 12:12).

He is appealing to every facet of human nature in his last all-out campaign to keep men from God and truth. For one man it may be through the lust of the flesh in some form, for another, just plain old hellish self-will, for another the pursuit of wealth or power, for another some form of philosophy or religion. The list would be endless, but it would contain anything which Satan employs to snare precious souls and put them on the road to the lake of fire by deceiving them into rejecting God’s truth.

The voice of God in the valley of decision may come in many forms. A man may hear the words of a God-called preacher. He may observe the life of a member of the body of Christ and find his mind stirred up to consider the source of that life. He may hear a broadcast or read a piece of literature. God may even speak to a man through a dream. He may be impressed through the wonders of creation to realize that there is a God to Whom we are responsible. God may bring about some judgment in an attempt to awaken the man to his need of Christ. Only eternity will reveal the ways in which God has spoken to men.

Most men do not recognize the valley of decision or the voice of God. Most are not aware of the choice they are making. But thank God, there is an elect remnant of people who have eyes to see and ears to hear. They are capable of being awakened and warned of the awesome hour facing us. This message is for them. It will not be recognized by most as God in mercy trying to warn them to flee from the wrath to come. But some will see and believe.

Perhaps you are one who can see and hear. You need to praise God and obey the admonition of Jesus to “walk while you have the light.” It will not be long before you will either be one with those in gross darkness or one with the people of God whose way is lighted by the glory of God Himself. Which will it be?

Are you in the valley of decision? I urge you to flee to Christ, the only refuge from the awful wrath of God. Bow before Him and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior from your heart. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts...” (Heb. 3:7-8). “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). Let that word NOW sink deep into your heart.

Tomorrow may be too late. Before very many tomorrows have passed it will be eternally too late. God’s judgment hangs over our world, yet its full fury is stayed by His infinite mercy for the last man who will heed the call to forsake the road that leads to eternal damnation. “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”


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