Joel 2:1. Blow a trumpet in Zion;
sound an alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near,
2 a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
The day of the Lord. The most important day in all of human history. A day of darkness and gloom. Judgment day. The final battle where all of Yahweh’s enemies are defeated. Listen as the prophet Joel continues to describe this great and terrible day:
Joel 3:14-16. 14 Multitudes, multitudes,
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near
in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
16 The Lord roars from Zion,
and utters his voice from Jerusalem,
and the heavens and the earth quake.
But the Lord is a refuge to his people,
a stronghold to the people of Israel.
The day of the Lord is a scary thought. The sun darkened. Heavens and earth quaking. God roaring from Zion in judgment upon his enemies. Let’s just say it’s not going to be pretty.
In Jewish theology the day of the Lord is a single great and terrible day. It’s that one day that links history’s two ages: this “present evil age,” and the “age to come.” Or, the time before the Messiah and the time after the Messiah. The day of the Lord is the turning point of history. For the Jewish nation it was thought to be the day of their vindication as God’s chosen people. They will survive while all other wicked nations perish. Therefore, it’s a day that the Jewish nation awaits with great anticipation.
But Joel actually gives us a glimpse into God’s great big secret – the day of the Lord is not a single day. In fact, it’s a day that has already come and, at the same time, is yet to come. The day of the Lord is not a single 24-hour day, but rather a day that unfolds over time. And it is a “day” that is unfolded in Christ the Messiah. The day of the Lord, the day of God’s great wrath and justice, the day God defeats all his enemies has come in the cross of Christ. On the day Jesus died for our sin, just as Joel predicted, the sun was darkened, and the earth quaked. There was thick darkness and gloom. And on his cross, God roared from Zion – It is finished! Every sin paid for. Every enemy defeated.
Colossians 2:15. [God] disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in [Christ].
And yet, at the same time, the day of the Lord is still to come. It has yet to unfold fully. The battle that is already won still rages. The battle for souls. God’s desire is to see many come to him in faith. And so now the world lives in the valley of decision. The Apostle Paul, quoting Joel, will say it this way – everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13).
Now, the only way to escape the gloom and darkness, the quaking and roaring, of the coming day of the Lord is to trust in the day of the Lord that has already come and gone at the cross. That is the great hope that Joel offers to us today – But the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. Union with Christ is our refuge in the day of the Lord. He is our stronghold on the final day of judgment.
This “time between the ages” is the battle ground upon which we now strive for the souls of mankind. The sides are lining up. The coming day of the Lord is near, and we exist to help people choose their side in the valley of decision.
But we never strive alone. Joel goes on to reveal the great promise of God on the day of the Lord – the outpouring of the Spirit.
Joel 2:28-29. 28“And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
29 Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit.
The Spirit of God poured out ON us is Christ IN us. “To live is Christ” means the Spirit of the great Prophet, Jesus, is now prophesying through us as we speak the gospel to all we meet in this valley of decision. God’s message of love and light displayed on the cross on the day of the Lord, is now the only message that can save this world from the gloom and darkness of the day of the Lord that is to come.
Whose side are you on in the valley of decision?
You in Christ
In Christ you have already been through the day of the Lord on the cross. How does this free your heart from fear today?
Christ in you
To whom can you prophesy the truths of Christ to this week?
Playlist: Day of the Lord
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