Blow the horn in Zion; sound the alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the residents of the land tremble, for the Day of the Lord is coming; in fact, it is near-Joel 2:1(HCSB)
Israel were God's chosen people. They were promised blessings if they would trust and obey the Lord, but were warned of judgement and punishment if they became rebellious and disobedient. Scripture identifies 'the Day of the Lord' as a time when God not only punishes His people but also brings reconciliation.
In Old Testament times, we read of past judgement on the northern kingdom of Israel when they were defeated by Assyria, and the southern kingdom of Judah who were disciplined by their 70 year-long captivity in Babylon.
Both Testaments also identify 'the Day of the Lord' as a time when disobedient Israel will turn back to the God of their fathers and repent of their sins. Their enemies will be destroyed, God will pour out His blessings on His people, and their promised Messiah will come in the clouds of glory to establish His heavenly kingdom of peace and prosperity on earth.
Most of Joel's prophecy refers to the coming 'Day of the Lord' and yet this particular verse was also a serious warning of the fast-approaching Babylonian captivity, which would be but a taster of the future wrath in the 'Day of the Lord'.
This verse gives us a graphic and descriptive precursor of that the terrible time that is yet to come. The warning alarm is sounded by the long, loud, penetrating blast of a shofar, and it is sounded by a watchman to alert people to an approaching danger.
The trumpet-call was the wake-up call for Israel to prepare for a battle and Joel urges God's people: "Blow a shofar 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 – surely it is near."
The urgent words of warning come from the Lord Himself and emphasised that the great and dreadful 'Day of the Lord' is close at hand. There is no time to delay.
It is in the holy city of Jerusalem where the Lord Jesus was slain, that the warning blast will be sounded. Elsewhere in Scripture, it is described as 'a Day of darkness and gloom' – 'a Day of clouds and thick blackness'.
Today, we live in the Church dispensation. Today, we are in the age of grace when God is carrying out His plans and purposes through Christian believers. But when this Church age is finally ended, 'the Day of the Lord' which was spoken of by so many prophets of old, will finally arrive. It will come as a thief in the night when everyone is calling 'peace and safety'.
Revelation gives a step-by-step overview of the terrible judgements that will fall on this God-hating, Christ-rejecting, sinful world. But after that time of great distress, Satan will be bound for 1000 years and Christ will rule and reign on earth with a rod of iron. Jesus Himself will finally bring in the promised period of peace on earth.
The time for Christ's return is closer than when we first believed and 'the Day of the Lord' is certainly closer than when Joel wrote his prophecy to Israel: "Blow a shofar 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 – surely it is near."
We rejoice to know that God's plans and purposes can never be thwarted and that His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Israel, and David will certainly be fulfilled. In the meantime, let us do our part in proclaiming the gospel of grace to Jew and Gentile alike, before the great and terrible 'Day of the Lord'.
Heavenly Father, thank You that Your Word is true and stands fast forever. Thank You that You told us the end from the beginning and that we know that Christ’s victory on the Cross and the full power of the Resurrection, will be realised in the promised kingdom of heaven on earth, when the earth will be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea. Give me the urgency to tell unsaved Jews and Gentiles alike, the good news that Jesus has paid the price for the sin of the world, through His sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection. Use me to go and proclaim the good news of the gospel of grace to those You put in my path, while there is still time. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.