“Gather the people. Sanctify the assembly. Assemble the elders. Gather the children, and those who nurse from breasts. Let the bridegroom go forth from his room, and the bride out of her room.”
Everyone is to be gathered in that whole nation assembly. The prophet is instructed that the priest sanctify the people and assemble the leaders with them. This event is for everyone and all the nation must be gathered together in solidarity with what they are doing. The old must be there, since they should know better than to descend into the dissolute lifestyle that the nation has imbibed. They are doubly to blame for the state of the nation, for they have age and wisdom on their side. The leaders also and especially the religious leaders, have gone so badly astray that they have let the people go to ruin. They will be judged more severely for their remiss attitudes.
Even the children and nursing babies must be there that they might witness the mercy of God in the repentance of His people. This is a state of national mourning and repentance and must be inclusive of every soul. The wrath of God is over the whole society including the beasts of the field. God holds them all culpable and will not exonerate any without repentance.
Those who have events or go to, even weddings, men and women, must leave them and attend this event. Everyone leaves their pleasures to attend to this pressing state of sorrow. It is inappropriate to enjoy the finer things on life, when all is lost for the people of God. Too many enjoy the fruits of sinful lives and do not mourn the state of the church and its weak and ineffectual state in our world. We countenance sin and cover over the judgment that awaits with feasting and enjoyment for ourselves.