“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,
before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls” (Joel 2:31-32, NKJV).
The darkening of the sun and the changing of the moon to blood should not be understood as natural disasters, but as supernatural signs of the approaching day of the Lord. In Bible times, many pagan nations worshiped heavenly bodies as their gods, something that Moses said the Israelites should never do (Deut. 4:19). In this sense, Joel’s prophecy is predicting that the idols of the nations will begin to fade away when the Lord comes in judgment. Joel 3:15 adds that even the starry host will lose its power and will no longer give its light, because the presence of the Lord’s glory will outshine everything.
In the Scriptures, the expression to “call on the name of the Lord” does not only mean to call oneself a follower of the Lord and to claim His promises. It also can mean to proclaim God’s name; that is, to be a witness to others about the Lord and what He has done for the world. Abraham built altars and proclaimed God’s name in the land of Canaan (Gen. 12:8). To Moses on Mount Sinai, God proclaimed His goodness and grace (Exod. 33:19, 34:5). The psalmist calls on the faithful to give thanks to God and call on His name by making known to the nations what He has done (Ps. 105:1). The same words are found in a song of salvation composed by the prophet Isaiah (Isa. 12:4).
Thus, to proclaim the Lord’s name means both to be messengers of the glad tidings that God still rules the world, and also to call on the people of the world to view everything in the context of God’s deeds and character. It also means to tell everyone about God’s generous gift of salvation that is offered to every human being.
What does it mean to you to “call upon the name of the Lord”? How do you do it, and what happens when you do?