Valley of Decision, The [Heb. בְּעֵמֶק הֶחָרוּץ, the Valley of Decision/Concision/Jehoshaphat/Threshing”].


Scripture and Translations

בְּעֵמֶק הֶחָרוּץ is twice used in Joel 3:14 and is translated differently by various translators: Valley of Decision (NIV; ESV; NASB; KJV; JPS Tanakh 1917; KJV 2000; or Valley of Judgment (Septuagint) or Valley of Destruction (Vulgate) or Valley of Jehoshaphat (ISV; Good News; Contemporary English Bible); Valley of Threshing (see Keil). The chapter does mention the Valley of Jehoshaphat עֵמֶק יְהוֹשָׁפָט (Joel 3:2; 12). The interplay between these two words by the translators is not illusionary. The Vulgate used the words valle concisionis “valley of cutting” or “valley of breaking up”. Jerome in 389 CE may have had the closest proper understanding of the word than the other translations. By the time the evil reach this point in the eschatological history of the world, there is no longer a decision that will help them. The Door of Mercy has closed. It is elimination time.


Not related to any geological area in Palestine/Israel

With this context that Keil (1878) also understood very well, it is important not to allocate to the words Valley of Jehoshaphat or Valley of Decision a connotation that is geomorphologically narrowed in and around Israel. John Gill (November 23, 1697-October 14, 1771) an English Baptist, scholar, and a staunch Calvinist summarized it very well: “The same with the valley of Jehoshaphat before mentioned; which shows that not any valley of that name is intended, but a certain place so called from the judgments of God in it; and here named "the valley of decision", because here their judgment will be determined, as Kimchi and Jarchi; and at this time the controversy between God, and his people's enemies, will be decided, and at an end: or "the valley of concision", as the Vulgate Latin version; because in this place, and at this time, the nations gathered together in it will be cut to pieces: or, as others, "the valley of threshing". Gill felt that it is either the Turks as Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 39:11 in his own time [see Uriah Smith’s similar links in 1900 with the contemporary history of the Turks for Daniel 11 in Adventism] or the future armies at Armageddon referred to as “vast carnage of the antichristian kings and their armies at Armageddon” following Revelation 16:14; Revelation 16:16; 19:18-21.  Targum Jonathan to the prophets read it as “armies, armies, in the valley of the division of judgment: for the day of the Lord [is] near in the valley of decision” and on this Gill reported “that is, the great and terrible day of the Lord, to take vengeance on all the antichristian powers, both eastern and western, is nigh at hand, which will be done in this valley.”


Analysis of the Valley of Decision or Valley of Jehoshaphat or Armageddon addresses the same set of questions:

Anyone, who considers the place of the Valley of Decision or the Valley of Jehoshaphat, or the Valley of Threshing or Armeggedon will have to ask the same questions Adventism asked about Armegeddon past and present:

Q Is Armageddon before the Coming of Christ or After the Coming of Christ?

Q Is it a climatic historical event or a final eradication of evil for eternity event?

Q Are there two "Days of the Lord"?

Q Are there two "final battles"?

Q Is Armageddon a war between nations or "Axis and Allies" nations or spiritual "Axis and Allies"?

Q Is Armageddon a mental attitude battle?

Q Is Armageddon physical or spiritual?

Q Should one connect Armageddon to the final verses of Daniel 11 powers?

Q Is Armageddon geomorphologically in Palestine and the East, worldwide or is it in the brain?


If the term is eschatological it is no longer the literal area known to scholars

By substituting Valley of Decision to these questions, it is evident that the Valley of Decision cannot be the Kidron Valley, nor the Jizreel Valley, nor the city of Megiddo, nor any valley close to the present-day Jerusalem.

Keil (1887: 220) is adamant and correctly so that the Valley of Jehoshaphat is not the Valley in 2 Chronicles 20 [contra Ibn Ezra, Hoffmann and Ewald]; not the Valley of Kidron [contra Bertheau]; the Jezreel Plain [contra Kliefoth].


A valley/plain will be created for this purpose for the Hell event in Zechariah 14

When the final eschatological battle starts after the millennium, a valley will be created according to Zechariah 14 and the New Jerusalem will come there with the saints safely inside and God will be their tower and the Battle of the Warrior Messiah will be concluded against the evil. Indeed a Valley of Concision and not Decision.

As correct as Keil is so far, (1887: 220) he claims the traditions of Eusebius and Jerome “correctly assigned it to the valley of the Kidron”(?) which is a position he just dismantled before. The paradox can be explained that maybe he and Delitzsch did not exactly agree on the matter and he included also Delitzsches notes which is directly opposed to his own?


The remnant is not literal ethnic Israel only but all nations

Then follows this remarkable statement about the “remnant of God” by Keil (1878: 222): “The people and inheritance of Jehovah are not merely the Old Testament Israel as such, but the church of the Lord of both the old and new covenants, upon which the Spirit of God is poured out ; and the judgment which Jehovah will hold upon the nations, on account of the injuries inflicted upon His people, is the last general judgment upon the nations, which will embrace not merely the heathen Romans and other heathen nations by whom the Jews have been oppressed, but all the enemies of the people of God, both within and without the earthly limits of the church of the Lord, including even carnally-minded Jews, Mohammedans, and nominal Christians, who are heathens in heart.”


Revelation 14 harvest motif as a key for the understanding of Joel 3:13-14

The motif of the harvest in Revelation 14 is a key to the two different sets of gatherings: the righteous in Jerusalem and the evil outside in the Valley of Concision or [Decision?].

Keil (Vol. I. 1878: 229) aptly described the Valley of Decision in the following way, which is probably the closest to Adventism that one can find: “For Zion or Jerusalem is of course not the Jerusalem of the earthly Palestine, but the sanctified and glorified city of the living God, in which the Lord will be eternally united with His redeemed, sanctified, and glorified church. We are forbidden to think of the earthly Jerusalem or the earthly Mount Zion, not only by the circumstance that the gathering of all the heathen nations takes place in the valley of Jehoshaphat, i.e. in a portion of the valley of the Kidron, which is a pure impossibility, but also by the description which follows of the glorification of Judah.” The other remarkable Adventist Theological application by Keil is the bringing together of Revelation 14:15, 18 of the two aspects of the harvest: reaping and treading as two distinct processes, the one prior to the other, the one the salvation of the blessed and the other the elimination of the evil (Keil, Vol. I 1878: 227) “But we have a decisive proof in. the resumption of this passage in Rev. xiv. 15 and 18, where the two figures (of the corn-harvest and the gathering of the grapes) are kept quite distinct.. . ” Adventist’s pillar of doctrine includes these two phases of Judgment as Investigative Judgment prior to the Time of Trouble prior to the Second Coming of Christ and Executive Judgment or Hell after the Millennium with the saints already in the heavenly New Jerusalem. The harvest of the good and press of the evil is in Joel 3:13 and links to Revelation 14:17-18. With the saints safely in the heavenly New Jerusalem and Valley of Decision or Concision can only be a reference to the Hell event when all evil will be eradicated bringing together the concepts of the prophets and many other similar references as well as Zechariah 14.


Spiritual application of the term Valley of Decision as an expression of a chance to decide by Ellen White

Ellen White used the term "valley of decision" for an individual's time of decision making during difficult circumstances: 1899 someone was for a time in the valley of decision [E. White (Manuscript Releases, Vol. 11 [Nos. 851-920] p. 223.1; also The Review and Herald, February 19, 1901 paragraph 2; also Ms 69a, 1896, par. 45]. Citing Joel 3:14 White indicated that when the moment is lost Protestants will find out too late to escape the snare of the impending danger of the Roman Catholic church, [which of course will be when they all burn in the Hell event finally, this writer's interpretation]. The term is used by Ellen White not to interpret Joel 3:14 but because decision making is important for salvation and Satan wants to prevent people from doing that. In Testimony to the Church at Battle Creek page 52.1 she said that "the souls that were in the valley of decision took their position in the ranks of the enemy and became enemies of God and the truth". It sounds like a finality statement. In Testimony Treasures, vol. 3 p. 156.1 she applies the phrase "Multitudes are in the valley of decision" homiletically as a spiritual decision opportunity and people have a chance to decide their eternal destiny. Although the phrase is used from Joel 3:14 the intention of her writing here is not to explain Joel 3:14 but make an appeal with their free choice for God. Ellen White do admit that people use to call the Valley of Jehoshaphat the Kidron valley along the wall of the Temple [Ellen White, 1884. The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4 page 33.2]. She is not making an interpretation of the term in Joel 3 but wants to describe the geography of Jesus' last days in conventional understanding of the areas of Jerusalem. For Ellen White Valley of Decision is a mind-set and Valley of Jehoshaphat is the Kidron part next to the temple but not with the intention of explaining or interpreting Joel 3.



Gill, J. (1747 [original date] 2016, March 29). John Gill's Commentary

on the Bible.doc. Downloaded on the 18th of November 2018 from

Gulley, N. (2018, June). Sabbath School Quarterly on End Times 2018


Keil, C. F. [and Delitzsch, F.] (1878). Commentary on the Old

Testament: The Twelve Minor Prophets. Vol. I. Edinburgh: T. & T.


Mansell, D. E. (1967)."What Adventists have Taught on Armageddon"

Review and Herald November 1967: 26-29.

Mansell, D. E. (1967). "What Adventists Have Taught on

ARMAGEDDON and the KING of the NORTH (Part II)" Review and Herald December 1967:30-32.

Moore, M. (1992). The Crisis of the End Times (Boise, Idaho: Pacific

Press Publishing Association, 1992) chapter 21 on The Battle of Armageddon, pp. 229-242.

White, E. at Seach All. Multiple sources.