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,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains
a great and powerful people;
their like has never been before,
nor will be again after them
through the years of all generations.
The earth quakes before them;
the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
The Lord utters his voice
before his army,
for his camp is exceedingly great;
he who executes his word is powerful.
For the day of the Lord is great and very awesome;
who can endure it? Joel 2:1-2, 10-11 ESV
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. . . And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. Matthew 27:45, 50-51 ESV
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. Mark 13:24-26 ESV
Have you ever seen a solar eclipse? They happen when the moon moves between the sun and the earth and the sunlight is blocked from some part of the world. If there is a total eclipse in an area, it becomes as dark as night. Before people understood what was happening, they found eclipses very frightening. People in Vietnam thought a giant frog was eating the sun! The ancient Greeks thought that an eclipse meant that the gods were angry, and that there would be disaster and destruction.
Joel talked to the people about the locust disaster, but then he started to talk about a disaster that was much worse, when the sun, moon, and stars would go dark and earth would tremble. Joel called this day the Day of the Lord, when God would bring judgment to his people for their sins. The locusts were just a little taste of the trouble that the Day of the Lord would bring. It would be like an army invading them and completely destroying them in battle.
When Jesus died on the cross, the Day of the Lord had come. God carried out his judgment against the sins of the world through Jesus. It was a day of darkness, with an earthquake that split the rocks. The darkness of the sun that day showed the power and majesty of God as he poured out his anger against sin.
There’s a Day of the Lord still coming, when Jesus comes again to judge the world. When the end of the world comes, Jesus says that the sun and moon will go dark and the stars will fall. Jesus will return to earth on clouds of glory and power. Because God poured out his anger against sin at the cross, we don’t have to worry about the final Day of the Lord. We can be happy to know that Jesus has come to take us to his heavenly kingdom that will last forever. Jesus paid the price for our sins, and we can be sure that we won’t be punished for the things we’ve done, but instead we can praise God forever for giving us a place in heaven through Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive our sins for Jesus’ sake and keep us close to you, so that we never have to fear the time when he comes again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.