The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The sun shall be turned into darkness.—Both clauses bring before us the phenomena of an eclipse: the total darkness of the sun, the dusky copper hue of the moon. Signs, of which these were but faint images, had been predicted by our Lord, echoing, as it were, the words of Joel, as among the preludes of His Advent (Matthew 24:29).
That great and notable day.—St. Luke follows the LXX. version. The Hebrew gives, as in our version, “the great and terrible day.” As seen by the prophet, the day was terrible to the enemies of God; a day of blessing to “the remnant whom the Lord should call” (Joel 2:32). The Greek word for “notable” (epiphanès) lent itself readily to the thought of the great Epiphany or manifestation of Christ as the Judge of all.Matthew 24:29. The same images used here with reference to the sun and moon are used also there: They occur not infrequently, Mark 13:24; 2 Peter 3:7-10. The shining of the sun is an emblem of prosperity; the withdrawing, the eclipse, or the setting of the sun is an emblem of calamity, and is often thus need in the Scriptures, Isaiah 60:20; Jeremiah 15:9; Ezekiel 32:7; Amos 8:9; Revelation 6:12; Revelation 8:12; Revelation 9:2; Revelation 16:8. To say that the sun is darkened, or turned into darkness, is an image of calamity, and especially of the calamities of war, when the smoke of burning cities rises to heaven and obscures his light. This is not, therefore, to be taken literally, nor does it afford any indication of what will be at the end of the world in regard to the sun.
The moon into blood - The word "blood" here means that obscure, sanguinary color which the moon has when the atmosphere is filled with smoke and vapor, and especially the lurid and alarming appearance which it assumes when smoke and flames are thrown up by earthquakes and fiery eruptions, Revelation 6:12, "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood," Revelation 8:8. In this place it denotes great calamities. The figures used are indicative of wars, and conflagrations, and earthquakes. As these things are Matthew 24 applied to the destruction of Jerusalem; as they actually occurred previous to that event (see the notes on Matthew 24), it may be supposed that the prophecy in Joel had an immediate reference to that. The meaning of the quotation by Peter in this place therefore is, that what occurred on the day of Pentecost was the beginning of the serges of wonders that was to take place during the times of the Messiah. It is not intimated that those scenes were to close or to be exhausted in that age. They may precede that great day of the Lord which is yet to come in view of the whole earth.
That great and notable day of the Lord - This is called the great day of the Lord, because on that day he will be signally manifested, more impressively and strikingly than on other times. The word "notable," ἐπιφανῆ epiphanē, means "signal, illustrious, distinguished." In Joel the word is "terrible or fearful"; a word applicable to days of calamity, and trial, and judgment. The Greek word here rendered notable is also in the Septuagint frequently used to denote "calamity" or "times of judgment," Deuteronomy 10:21; 2 Samuel 7:23. This will apply to any day in which God signally manifests himself, but particularly to a day when he shall come forth to punish people, as at the destruction of Jerusalem, or at the day of judgment. The meaning is, that those wonders would take place before that distinguished day should arrive when God would come forth in judgment.The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood; this agrees with the other words in the forecited prophecy, Joel 2:31. How these amazing signs shall be fulfilled, whether literally, and by what means; or whether only that the consternation and dread upon men shall be so great, as expecting the change of the whole frame of nature, is not so material for us to know, as it is to be always prepared for it.
Great and notable day; epifanh, manifest and illustrious day; and it may be taken in a comfortable sense, and will be a comfortable day indeed, to all that preparedly wait for it; for it is the day of the Lord, it is Christ’s day, in which he will be magnified over his enemies, and in his friends, children, and servants.
and the moon into blood; as at the opening of the sixth seal, Revelation 6:12.
before that great and notable day of the Lord come; when he shall come in power and great glory, as he did in a few years after this, to take vengeance on the Jews, and destroy their nation, city, and temple; in which there was a display of his greatness, and power, and which was awful and "terrible" to them, as in Joel it is called; see Gill on Matthew 24:29.The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 2:20. For similar prophetic imagery taken from the startling phenomena of an eclipse in Palestine, cf. Isaiah 13:10, Ezekiel 32:7, Amos 8:9.—πρὶν ἢ ἐλθεῖν. The LXX omit ἤ, and Weiss contends that this is the reason of its omission here in so many MSS. Weiss retains it as in Acts 7:2, Acts 25:16; cf. also Luke 2:26 (but doubtful). Blass omits it here, but retains it in the other two passages cited from Acts: “Ionicum est non Atticum”; cf. Viteau, Le Grec du N. T., p. 130 (1893).—τὴν ἡμέραν Κυρίον. It is most significant that in the Epistles of the N.T. this O.T. phrase used of Jehovah is constantly applied to the Coming of Jesus Christ to judgment; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 1 Corinthians 1:8, 2 Corinthians 1:14, Php 1:10; Sabatier, L’Apôtre Paul, p. 104.—καὶ ἐπιφανῆ: if the word is to be retained, it means a day manifest to all as being what it claims to be, Vulgate manifestus, “clearly visible”; Luke 17:24; also 1 Timothy 6:14, 2 Thessalonians 2:8, where the word ἐπιφάνεια is used of the Parousia (cf. Prayer-Book, “the Epiphany or Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles”). But in the Hebrew the word הַנּוֹרָא = “terrible,” not “clearly visible,” and the LXX here, as elsewhere, Habakkuk 1:7, Malachi 1:14 (Jdg 13:6, A.), etc., has failed to give a right derivation of the word which it connects with רָאָה, to see, instead of with יָרֵא, to fear (Niph. נוֹרָא and Part, as here, “terrible”). Zöckler holds that the LXX read not הַנּוֹרָא, but הָנּוֹדָא.
art. grammatical particle.20. that great and notable day] Instead of notable we have in Joel terrible. The words of the N. T. are those of the LXX. The Hebrew verbs to fear and to see have often been confounded in that version. On the various senses of this expression cp. Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. Mark 9:1. The prophecy of Joel was primarily and partially fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, but also looked onward to its destruction by the Romans.Acts 2:20. Ὁ ἥλιος, the sun) These words must be taken literally. See note, Matthew 24:29. [The darkening of the sun must be literal, as distinguished from the calamities which precede, described in the previous verses.]—αἷμα, blood) A bloody colour, somewhat black. Comp. Genesis 49:11, “Washing His clothes in the blood of grapes.”—τὴν ἡμέραν Κυρίου, the day of the Lord) the day of the last judgment, not excluding the other revelations of the Divine glory which precede it.—ἐπιφανῆ) נורא, bright shining, notable, is translated by the LXX., ἐπιφανὴς, more than once.Verse 20. - The day of the Lord come, that great and notable day for that great and notable day of the Lord come, A.V. and T.R.
The Rev. heightens the emphasis by following the Greek order, the day of the Lord, that great and notable day. Notable (ἐπιφανῆ) only here in New Testament. The kindred noun ἐπιφάνεια, appearing (compare our word Epiphany), is often used of the second coming of the Lord. See 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13.
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