Saturday, December 7, 2019

Joel 2-3: The Day of the Lord

"Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on My holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand" (Joel 2:1).

In Genesis 1:5, God called the light “day.” Thus 'day' in the Bible means “time of light,” or “light-time.” Because God’s glory shines around Him, whenever He appears there is light. The expression “day of the Lord,” therefore, refers to a time when God appears.

There is a second aspect to the “day of the Lord,” however. In Genesis 1, we are told repeatedly that God saw what He had made and that it was good. God was passing judgments. Judging requires sight, and seeing requires light. Thus, when God appears and shines His light, it is a time of judgment. The day of the Lord, then, is a time when God comes to His people. He shines His light upon them, exposing their deeds to His view, and passes judgment on them.

At various times in the history of the church and in the history of nations, God chooses to pay a visit and to bring judgment. These events are often predicted by the prophets and are called “days of the Lord.” Joel 2, for instance, prophesies a coming day of the Lord when an invading army will bring devastation to the land. Joel says that the sun, moon, and stars will be darkened. God’s day outshines all other lights. Sun, moon, and stars refer to the rulers of the nation, for according to Genesis 1:14 and 16, these heavenly objects were created in part to function as symbols and were set up as rulers. Thus, they are often used to symbolize rulers, as in Genesis 37:9–10.

After the day of the Lord, God will restore the people to the land and bless them. This refers to the restoration of the Jews after the Babylonian exile. Then Joel says that a greater day of the Lord is coming, when the Holy Spirit will be poured out (Joel 2:1–32). Peter says that this happened at Pentecost (Acts 2:16–21).

The greatest day of the Lord will be when Jesus Christ returns to earth to judge the living and the dead. Before that time, however, every Sunday is the Lord’s Day, or day of the Lord. On the Lord’s Day, Jesus summons us to His house to be evaluated by Him and to worship Him. Each Lord’s Day is a little foretaste of the day of the Lord, as the communion meal is a foretaste of the marriage supper of the Lamb.

The relationship between the day of the Lord and the Lord’s Day is more than simple semantics. Because our weekly celebration of the Lord’s Day is a foretaste of the final Day, we do well to prepare ourselves properly. Use today to spiritually, physically, and mentally prepare for this coming Sunday.