v1: Trumpet: The trumpet referred to here is the shofar. It reminds us of G-d’s provision for entering into His Kingdom. This is a proclamation of Kingdom provision, and it gives us Kingdom hope.
· Zion: This word is another reminder that we are reading about the Kingdom of G-d.
· Holy mountain: The provision of G-d enables us to be able to worship Him in the place that He desires to be worshipped.
· Tremble: This word for trembling also implies change. When we have seen truth and have understood divine revelation we are going to respond to it with seriousness.
v2: Thick darkness: Exodus 10v21-23
· Morning…spread over the mountains: An image that speaks of the sun rising. The sun rises at a very rapid pace – especially as it rises over a mountain. This is telling us that G-d’s judgment on the world is going to come quickly. We need to be ready.
· Nor will there ever be any such after them: This is a unique time. It is unlike anything that has ever happened before.
v3: No one will be able to escape this consuming wrath.
v4: Swift steeds: Cavalry
v5: Leap: Chariots descend very quickly down a mountain.
· A strong people: This mighty army that is coming.
v6: Every face will lose its colour because of fear.
v7: They do not break ranks: They will remain on the path that they are meant to be on.
Note: This verse is portraying an image of a large and mighty army that is well disciplined, well equipped, and well prepared for battle. What Joel wants us to understand is that left to themselves, without any help from G-d, there is utter hopelessness.
v8: Do not push: They all march in the proper path, perfectly ordered.
· Lunge between the weapons…not cut down: If they receive what should be a death blow it has no effect on them. There is a supernatural quality to this army. This enemy cannot be killed (Much like the angel called “destroyer” in Egypt – Ex 12v23).
v9: As a thief: They do so in an undisturbed way. This again conveys to us the total sense of hopelessness. Weapons of warfare are not going to be able to stop or hurt this army. There is no way to defeat the enemy through human power.
v10: This is very similar to what we read in Matt 24v29. This verse speaks about the signs of the second coming of Messiah (a very different event to the rapture).
v11: His camp is very great: This word speaks about size and power. This is a vast and powerful army, and G-d is directing them.
· Who can endure it?: All of this has one purpose – for the people to experience a total hopelessness in relying upon themselves.
Note: This destruction is happening to those who are rebellious against G-d – both Jew and Gentile. The hope, however, is that in the midst of this Israel would understand that the only One that can provide deliverance for them is G-d.
v12: When G-d’s wrath comes upon this world the only hope people have for salvation is the mercy of G-d. For those of us who have experienced G-d’s mercy, through the blood of Messiah, our lives should be changed. We should be a grateful and thankful people who are serious about worship. Here, Israel was not worshipping G-d as they had been commanded to. This is why they were not experiencing the blessing of G-d. This lack of worship gave the enemy a stronghold over them and ultimately they became the recipients of G-d’s judgment.
· Now: Portrays a great sense of urgency.
· “Says the L-rd”: Rabbinical scholars tell us that this phrase should always be understood within a context of a promise. When G-d declares something, He is making a promise.
· Turn: Repent. Even at this dire time, this late hour, G-d is calling the people to repent, to fast, to weep, to mourn. These last three verbs have to do with mourning.
v13: Rend (tear) your hearts: There is a tradition that when someone you love dies you tear your clothes. G-d is telling these people that they need to tear their hearts.
· Slow to anger: He is willing to suffer long because He wants to provide grace (restoration) and kindness to people. G-d does not run out of grace.
· Relents: This word has to do with comfort. When people are grieving they find something that comforts them. This is what this word is alluding to. G-d’s abundant grace has the potential to comfort us.
· Harm: The Hebrew word here is “Evil”: G-d does not do evil in the sense that we might think of evil. Humanly when we think of evil we relate it to something bad or unG-dly. This word, however, speaks to that which was not G-d’s original intent. Evil is falling short of G-d’s will for our lives. Evil is that which is outside of G-d’s original plan.
v14: Instead of casting off the people maybe G-d will return to them (Malachi 3v7).
· A grain offering and a drink offering: The blessing that G-d may leave behind is the means whereby they would again be in a position to worship Him, with the offerings which He required. True blessing, true victory, is being able to worship G-d.