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 Joel 2:1-2 NIV
Darkness – Day one: God separates light and darkness. In the first creative act, God rules over the dark, assigning it a subordinate role, removing its reign of terror over the lives of men. God controls darkness.
But there is another day coming; a day that should make every human being quake.
Joel combines the Hebrew word hoshech with several synonyms. Together they capture the full range of horror associated with darkness. Gloom, clouds (of evil), thick darkness (blackness). All of these words have historical tracks in the mind of the Hebrews. Look back at the plagues of Exodus 10 and you will see God’s power over the sun-god pharaoh as He casts the entire land of Egypt into “thick darkness”. Look at the giving of the Law at Sinai when the mountain is covered in darkness (Deuteronomy 4:11). Finally, consider the use in Job where darkness is symbolic for confusion, ignorance and death. Now read Joel again.
What is coming in this second day? A return to the primordial chaos, the horror of a place where life is extinguished, where all hope ends. In the second day, light will be removed. Those who are left behind will remain in the darkness, a darkness that the world has not known since it was created. If that doesn’t scare you, nothing on this earth ever will.
But there is a promise in this terror. Isaiah 29:18 is just one example of the promise. God guides His children out of the darkness. Even though they are blind, yet He is able to “turn the darkness into light”. Isaiah 49:9 tells us that God brings the prisoners out of darkness to freedom. And Micah tells us that even if we sit in confusion and chaos, God will bring light (Micah 7:8).
Tonight the light shines even in the dark. The stars, the moon, the city lights illuminate the sky. Even in the dark, I see. But what would it be like to live in a place where all light is gone; where the thick dark means I cannot see my hand before my face? What would it feel like to spend eternity in a place like that?
God is light. On the second day, He will be the only light.