1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of Yahweh cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
The sounding of trumpets was a divinely appointed Mosaic institution. It was a holy convocation, styled "a memorial of blowing of trumpets," and was celebrated on the first day of the seventh month - Lev. 23:24.
It introduced one of the most important months of the Hebrew calendar - the month on the tenth of which was the Day of Covering of Sins; on the fifteenth, the Feast of Tabernacles; and on every fiftieth tenth, the Jubilee, when sins, were not only covered, but every man returned to his possession and family - Lev. 25:8-17.
The trumpets used were of silver, two fabricated from a whole piece. They were blown by the sons of Aaron "for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camp." If they blew with only one, then the princes, heads of the thousands of Israel gathered themselves to Moses; but when they blew an alarm with both trumpets, it was for war against the enemy that oppressed them; and with the assurance that they should be remembered by Yahweh their Elohim, and be saved from their enemies - Numbers 10:1-10.
When an alarm was blown it portended great evil. This appears from Jer. 4:5, which says:
"Blow the trumpet in the land: cry, Gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities. Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not, for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste without an inhabitant."
2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.
5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.
6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.
7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:
8 Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.
1. The overthrow of the kingdom and throne of David by Nebuchadnezzar is the burden of the first and second chapters to the eleventh verse inclusive. His hosts, which are also styled the Lord's army, bring a day of Yahweh upon Judah, which is styled "a destruction from the Almighty, " whose operations are thus described...
9 They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.
10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:
This was literally accomplished when the Jewish polity was suppressed, and the kings, princes, priests, and nobles, were carried captive to Babylon for seventy years.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, April 1855
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of Yahweh come.
After this overthrow [by Nebuchadnezzar] of David's kingdom, from which it never recovered, Joel predicted another break up of Judah's Commonwealth [around AD 70]
"before the great and terrible day of the Lord should come."
We learn this from the way Peter, on the day of Pentecost, handled Joel's prophecy of the outpouring of the Spirit upon Israel. He shows that Yahweh contemplated an early and a latter rain of the Spirit in the words of Joel 2:28, 29, -a rain in the last days; and a rain in the latter days, already eighteen hundred years apart.
Peter did not say that the Pentecostian outpouring was a complete fulfillment of Joel's prediction, but that it was spoken of by him in the words he quoted. This was the Spirit's own interpretation of what he meant by Joel; and the partial application of it to the last days of the Mosaic Economy gave to that generation "the earnest" of an approaching day of the Lord upon it.
After seventy years' captivity, Judah's Commonwealth, but not David's throne, was reestablished, under Gentile supremacy. This was its condition in Peter's day. Its sun, moon, and stars illumined its heavens, in which unrighteousness dwelt incorporate in its powers.
Peter took up the prophecy of Joel as the burden of his proclamation of "judgment to come" upon the State; and upon the "cursed children, who had forsaken the right way," and become again entangled in the pollutions of the world from which they had escaped in obeying the truth which he ministered to the circumcision.
He urged upon them a then approaching epoch of "wonders and signs," which should bring destruction upon them and their country "before that great and terrible day of the Lord," in which Joel foretold the redemption of Israel, and the punishment of their oppressors. Nevertheless, he promised deliverance to all Jews who should call upon the name of the Lord; for at that time he knew nothing of the salvation of Gentiles in the great and terrible day.
The "wonders" and "signs" of this Mosaic Epoch are some of them indicated by the Great Prophet in this message he delivered to the people.
"There shall be great earthquakes in places, and famines, and pestilences, (as) portents; and great signs also of heaven shall there be."
These portents were to occur before the encompassing of Jerusalem with armies, (which was the immediate sign of its approaching desolation,) and the manifestation of the "great signs of heaven." Immediately after the desolation of the city these signs would be visible; for then Jesus said,
"The sun should be darkened, and the moon should not give her light, and the stars should fall from the heavens."
These were the signs that indicated to the believers of that generation that Messiah the Prince, as Son of Man, though invisible, had come (see Mat. 10:23) with his armies, and taken vengeance upon his murderers, and burned up their city-Mat. 22:7.
Thus, in "the tribulation of those days," which were "days of vengeance," when there was "great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people," as their prophets had foretold, the words of Joel were germinantly fulfilled, and Zion's days of widowhood and mourning established.
Haggai speaks of those days as well as of the days to come.
"Thus saith the Lord: Yet once, it is a little while and I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea and the dry land;"
which signifies, as is explained in the next sentence,
"And I will shake all the nations."
The earnest of this is found in the overthrow of Judah by the Romans, five hundred and eighty years after Haggai prophesied; the full measure when "the desires of all the nations shall come," and the Lord shall "overthrow the throne of kingdoms (an imperial throne), and shall destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations;" and the anti-typical Zerubbabel shall be "as a signet, " or ensign, in Jerusalem. Hag. 2:22.
Paul quotes from this prediction, and points out its germinant fulfilment, by applying it to one particular system of things to which the Hebrew Christians, to whom he was writing, were politically related. Having reminded them that the Mosaic Economy under which they lived, had "waxed old and was ready to vanish away, " he speaks of its removal after this wise:
"He whose voice shook Sinai hath promised now, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also the heaven."
And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that may be shaken, as of things that have been fulfilled, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we taking a kingdom (not having received) which cannot be shaken, let us, &c." The heaven and the earth then shaken was one of "the heavens" spoken of by Haggai.
Yahweh began with Judah's heaven and earth, and will end with those of all other nations. This is his order of judgment, as it is written by Paul,
"Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile."
The tribulation and anguish of the Jew is rapidly closing, while that of the Gentile has notably begun.
In the Day of the Lord upon David's throne, Nebuchadnezzar was His sword; in the Day of the Lord upon the murderers of His Son, the Romans were His sword; but in the Day of the Lord upon the Gentiles, Judah and Israel in the hand of the Son of David, will be His battle-axe and weapons of war to "destroy the strength of their kingdoms."
The Day of the Lord upon His Son's murderers was "the Day of God" earnestly desired by the apostles and their brethren, who were suffering persecution at the hands of the Jewish power-a day δι ην, (di ain,) through which their inflamed heavens would be dissolved, and "pass away with a great noise." Peter says Paul spake of these things in all his epistles; that is, of the dissolution with judgment of "the heavens and earth which are now;" namely, those existing when Peter wrote, which, while I am writing, are no where to be found extant.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, April 1855