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Sound the alarm in Jerusalem! Let the blast of the warning trumpet be heard upon my holy mountain! Let everyone tremble in fear, for the day of the Lord’s judgment approaches.

It is a day of darkness and gloom, of black clouds and thick darkness. What a mighty army! It covers the mountains like night! How great, how powerful these “people” are! The likes of them have not been seen before, and never will again throughout the generations of the world! Fire goes before them and follows them on every side! Ahead of them the land lies fair as Eden’s Garden in all its beauty, but they destroy it to the ground; not one thing escapes. They look like tiny horses, and they run as fast. Look at them leaping along the tops of the mountain! Listen to the noise they make, like the rumbling of chariots, or the roar of fire sweeping across a field, and like a mighty army moving into battle.

Fear grips the waiting people; their faces grow pale with fright. These “soldiers” charge like infantry; they scale the walls like picked and trained commandos. Straight forward they march, never breaking ranks. They never crowd each other. Each is right in place. No weapon can stop them. They swarm upon the city; they run upon the walls; they climb up into the houses, coming like thieves through the windows. 10 The earth quakes before them and the heavens tremble. The sun and moon are obscured and the stars are hid.

11 The Lord leads them with a shout. This is his mighty army, and they follow his orders. The day of the judgment of the Lord is an awesome, terrible thing. Who can endure it?

12 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me all your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, mourning. 13 Let your remorse tear at your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful. He is not easily angered; he is full of kindness and anxious not to punish you.

14 Who knows? Perhaps even yet he will decide to leave you alone and give you a blessing instead of his terrible curse. Perhaps he will give you so much that you can offer your grain and wine to the Lord as before!

15 Sound the trumpet in Zion! Call a fast and gather all the people together for a solemn meeting. 16 Bring everyone—the elders, the children, and even the babies. Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her privacy.

17 The priests, the ministers of God, will stand between the people and the altar, weeping; and they will pray, “Spare your people, O our God; don’t let the heathen rule them, for they belong to you. Don’t let them be disgraced by the taunts of the heathen who say, ‘Where is this God of theirs? How weak and helpless he must be!’”

18 Then the Lord will pity his people and be indignant for the honor of his land! 19 He will reply, “See, I am sending you much corn and wine and oil, to fully satisfy your need. No longer will I make you a laughingstock among the nations. 20 I will remove these armies from the north and send them far away; I will turn them back into the parched wastelands where they will die; half shall be driven into the Dead Sea and the rest into the Mediterranean, and then their rotting stench will rise upon the land. The Lord has done a mighty miracle for you.”

21 Fear not, my people; be glad now and rejoice, for he has done amazing things for you. 22 Let the flocks and herds forget their hunger; the pastures will turn green again. The trees will bear their fruit; the fig trees and grapevines will flourish once more. 23 Rejoice, O people of Jerusalem, rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rains he sends are tokens of forgiveness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as those of spring. 24 The threshing floors will pile high again with wheat, and the presses overflow with olive oil and wine.

25 “And I will give you back the crops the locusts ate!—my great destroying army that I sent against you. 26 Once again you will have all the food you want.

“Praise the Lord, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people experience disaster such as this. 27 And you will know that I am here among my people Israel, and that I alone am the Lord your God. And my people shall never again be dealt a blow like this.

28 “After I have poured out my rains again, I will pour out my Spirit upon all of you! Your sons and daughters will prophesy; your old men will dream dreams, and your young men see visions. 29 And I will pour out my Spirit even on your slaves, men and women alike, 30 and put strange symbols in the earth and sky—blood and fire and pillars of smoke.

31 “The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon to blood before the great and terrible Day of the Lord shall come.

32 “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved; even in Jerusalem some will escape, just as the Lord has promised, for he has chosen some to survive.

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