Joel 2:12-17, there is a call to repentance- specifically a call to what the Bible refers to as a Solemn assembly. While solemn assemblies were instituted under the Mosaic law, the application of it’s key component, the solemn assembly, transcends the limitations of the Mosaic law. The solemn assembly was critical to the Feast of Tabernacles. Seven days of observance is followed by a solemn assembly on the eighth day (Lev 23:36).When the temple of Solomon was dedicated (2 Chr 5-7) it was at the time of then Feast of Tabernacles. They observed seven days and had a solemn assembly on the eighth day. During that solemn assembly, fire came down from God and the priests fell under the power of God. (2 Chr 7:1-9). After this solemn assembly, the Lord appeared to Solomon with this message:
And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
– 2 Chronicles 7:12-14
God told Solomon that, as a result of the sacred assembly, He has heeded their prayer and decided that He would hear prayer from the temple where people set out to seek God. If God’s people seek Him, He will respond. Scripture describes God as seeking out those who would seek Him. In 2 chronicles 16, Asa is rebuked after gaining victory that he gained that through trusting in man rather than God. He cut a deal with the king of Syria rather than trusting God for total victory. The prophetic word instructs us that “the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. ” God is looking for people who would trust Him to do great thing to them and through them.
In Rev 5:6, we see another reference to the eyes of the Lord. We are instructed that there are seven eyes of the Lord and that they are the seven spirits of God. This is an ornate literary reference to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is looking to show Himself strong on behalf of those who trust in God. Whenever the people of God will seek Him out in sacred assembly, He will respond. This is not just for the folks who part of the Mosaic covenant, but it is for all times and seasons. The apostles discovered this truth in the upper room.
We know from the passion narratives that on the third day after Christ died, He rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven 40 days later. the apostles were commanded to abide in an upper room. The apostles stay in the Upper Room where they engaged in “prayer and supplication”; this was engagement in a solemn assembly. Christ died and rose on the third day. Since He died on the Day of Preparation (Erev Pesach) just before Passover (Pesach), the third day was both the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1) and day 3 of the Omer out of the fifty that the Israelites were to count in their countdown to Shavuot/Pentecost. Christ ascended to Heaven on the fortieth day (Day 43). Days 43 through 49 of the Omer, seven days, the apostles and their associates were seeking God with one accord (Acts 1). On the eighth day, a day appointed for sacred assembly, The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and believers in Jesus Christ – and the church was born(Acts 2).
The call to solemn assembly or sacred assembly is applicable to all legal contexts, not just the Mosaic Covenant. The call to seek God in solemn assembly for public and collective repentance is for today. We are to make prayers and supplication for redemption and revival in the context of impending doom for God to glorify himself by reviving us.
Acts 2 the beginning of the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy.
The other promise is that of great revival. Vss 28-32 are also recorded in Acts 2 as the prophetic basis of Pentecost. In the context of Joel, this revival occurs before the End-time Day of the Lord judgments. That is why Joel’s prophecy includes the darkening of the sun and reddening of the moon as signs accompanying the revival. The revival in Acts was the initial, but not complete, fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. The complete fulfillment occurs just before the Return of Jesus Christ.
The initial awakening resulted in a mighty movement of the Holy Spirit, but this was just the former rain. Scripture speaks of both a former and latter rain. Hosea 10:12 instructs us to prepare our soil for rain, that the Lord may “come and rain righteousness upon you.” This was not a physical rain, but a spiritual rain. Hosea 6:3 says “ shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. ” God Himself is coming as the former and latter rain; this rain is the rain of revival – the First Great Awakening and the Final Great Awakening are both prophesied.
The end-time revival will see both a continuation of the this mighty move and great manifestation of the Sovereignty of God: The sun darkening and the moon reddening followed by judgment on the nations and great deliverance of His people.
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