Blow the trumpet in Jerusalema! Sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let everyone tremble in fear because the day of the LORD is upon us.
It is a day of darkness and gloom, a day of thick clouds and deep blackness. Suddenly, like dawn spreading across the mountains, a mighty army appears! How great and powerful they are! The likes of them have not been seen before and never will be seen again.
Fire burns in front of them and follows them in every direction! Ahead of them the land lies as fair as the Garden of Eden in all its beauty. Behind them is nothing but desolation; not one thing escapes.
They look like tiny horses, and they run as fast.
Look at them as they leap along the mountaintops! Listen to the noise they make -- like the rumbling of chariots, like the roar of a fire sweeping across a field, or like a mighty army moving into battle.
Fear grips all the people; every face grows pale with fright.
The attackers march like warriors and scale city walls like trained soldiers. Straight forward they march, never breaking rank.
They never jostle each other; each moves in exactly the right place. They lunge through the gaps, and no weapon can stop them.
They swarm over the city and run along its walls. They enter all the houses, climbing like thieves through the windows.
The earth quakes as they advance, and the heavens tremble. The sun and moon grow dark, and the stars no longer shine.
The LORD leads them with a shout! This is his mighty army, and they follow his orders. The day of the LORD is an awesome, terrible thing. Who can endure it?
That is why the LORD says, "Turn to me now, while there is time! Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Don't tear your clothing in your grief; instead, tear your hearts." Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful. He is not easily angered. He is filled with kindness and is eager not to punish you.
Who knows? Perhaps even yet he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this terrible curse. Perhaps he will give you so much that you will be able to offer grain and wine to the LORD your God as before!
Blow the trumpet in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting.
Bring everyone -- the elders, the children, and even the babies. Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her private room.
The priests, who minister in the LORD's presence, will stand between the people and the altar, weeping. Let them pray, "Spare your people, LORD! They belong to you, so don't let them become an object of mockery. Don't let their name become a proverb of unbelieving foreigners who say, 'Where is the God of Israel? He must be helpless!'"
Then the LORD will pity his people and be indignant for the honor of his land!
He will reply, "Look! I am sending you grain and wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy your needs. You will no longer be an object of mockery among the surrounding nations.
I will remove these armies from the north and send them far away. I will drive them back into the parched wastelands, where they will die. Those in the rear will go into the Dead Sea; those at the front will go into the Mediterranean. b The stench of their rotting bodies will rise over the land." Surely the LORD has done great things!
Don't be afraid, my people! Be glad now and rejoice because the LORD has done great things.
Don't be afraid, you animals of the field! The pastures will soon be green. The trees will again be filled with luscious fruit; fig trees and grapevines will flourish once more.
Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the LORD your God! For the rains he sends are an expression of his grace. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring.
The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with wine and olive oil.
The LORD says, "I will give you back what you lost to the stripping locusts, the cutting locusts, the swarming locusts, and the hopping locusts. c It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.
Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the LORD your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced like this.
Then you will know that I am here among my people of Israel and that I alone am the LORD your God. My people will never again be disgraced like this."
"Then after I have poured out my rains again, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions.
In those days, I will pour out my Spirit even on servants, men and women alike."
"I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth -- blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon will turn bloodred before that great and terrible day of the LORD arrives.
And anyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved. There will be people on Mount Zion in Jerusalem who escape, just as the LORD has said. These will be among the survivors whom the LORD has called."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)