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--
a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come.
Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste-- nothing escapes them.
They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry.
With a noise like that of chariots they leap over the mountaintops, like a crackling fire consuming stubble, like a mighty army drawn up for battle.
At the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale.
They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course.
They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead. They plunge through defenses without breaking ranks.
They rush upon the city; they run along the wall. They climb into the houses; like thieves they enter through the windows.
Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.
The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?
"Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning."
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing-- grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.
Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly.
Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.
Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, "Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?' "
Then the LORD will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people.
The LORD will reply to them: "I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations.
"I will drive the northern army far from you, pushing it into a parched and barren land, with its front columns going into the eastern sea and those in the rear into the western sea. And its stench will go up; its smell will rise." Surely he has done great things.
Be not afraid, O land; be glad and rejoice. Surely the LORD has done great things.
Be not afraid, O wild animals, for the open pastures are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.
Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.
The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.
"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten-- the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm-- my great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.
Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.
"And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.
"In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.
They cast lots for my people and traded boys for prostitutes; they sold girls for wine that they might drink.
"Now what have you against me, O Tyre and Sidon and all you regions of Philistia? Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done.
For you took my silver and my gold and carried off my finest treasures to your temples.
You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, that you might send them far from their homeland.
"See, I am going to rouse them out of the places to which you sold them, and I will return on your own heads what you have done.
I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, a nation far away." The LORD has spoken.
Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.
Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, "I am strong!"
Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD!
"Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side.
Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow-- so great is their wickedness!"
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine.
The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.
"Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.
"In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the LORD's house and will water the valley of acacias.
But Egypt will be desolate, Edom a desert waste, because of violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they shed innocent blood.
Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations.
Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon." THE LORD DWELLS IN ZION!
The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him
and said, "You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them."
Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it had happened:
"I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was.
I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air.
Then I heard a voice telling me, 'Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.'8
"I replied, 'Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'
"The voice spoke from heaven a second time, 'Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.'10
This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
"Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying.
The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man's house.
He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, 'Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter.
He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.'
"As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.
Then I remembered what the Lord had said: 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'17
So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?"
When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, "So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life."
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews.
Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.
The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.
He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.
One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.)
The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea.
This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.