Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost and to Messianic Jews in this same era.
Peter quotes the passage affirming that it applies from Pentecost onwards to the present.
Summaries of relevant information from related passages.
The book of Joel’s theme is “The Day of the Lord” (KV 2:11). He explains it as a day of “destruction from the Almighty” (1:15). In chapter one, he uses an actual locust plague in Israel to illustrate its horror (1:4). Simultaneously there is also drought (12) with forest fires (19-20) to show that God’s judgment can be intense. Chapter two depicts the actual Day of the Lord. In v1-11 is a vivid portrayal of a modern army marching to the city i.e. Jerusalem (9) and the word “army” is clearly stated in v11 and v20. It is amidst darkness and gloom, obviously referring to the Tribulation as it is unmatched in history nor will it occur again (2). This fits with armies of the Antichrist in Rev. 16:13-20 as they march to Armageddon and Jerusalem towards the end of the Tribulation. But as the army threatens, the priests in v15-17 is to lead a repentance that includes all, even those in the midst of their weddings. In fact such a repentance of all Israel is predicted in Zech. 12:10-14 and Ps. 79 near the end of the Tribulation. God will act and in v20, the army is destroyed in a manner that harmonizes well with the locality. The army’s vanguard heading south to Jerusalem is thrown to the eastern or Dead Sea while the rear is at Armageddon in the north. This is a broad valley with a wide opening to the west and so the army is ejected to the western or Mediterranean Sea. Then v21-27 is a call to rejoice in the Lord for the land will now be blessed and most of all He will be in their midst (27). They will never again be put to shame (26-27) indicating the beginning of Christ’s millennial rule.
Explaining the Passage – Joel 2:28-32
It is logical to read this section as continuing into the Millennium from v27. But v31 seems to be the Tribulation and why is deliverance needed in the Millennium when Christ is on the throne (32)? So the timeline doesn’t tally. In Hebrew, “come about” is “hayah” (28), use often to present a new prediction and may not denote chronological sequence. Since Peter quotes the passage in Acts 2:16-21 for the advent of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1-4, “come about after this” in v28 can be after 1:20. The timeline then fits for v28-29 will start after this in Acts and v30-31 is later on in the Tribulation. Also in v32 calling on the Lord must be as in 2:12 and Zech. 12:10-14 and Christ then returns to deliver them in Zech. 14:3-5. In fact this sequence is essential for the Spirit must first come before real conversions can occur and only then is Israel’s repentance spiritually complete. Note that Peter in Acts 2:17 differs slightly from Joel 2:28 for it states that it is the “last days” rather than “after this”. Often when the OT is quoted, NT authors can be inspired to add information. The “last day” is really the NT term for the present Church Age (Heb. 1:2; 2Pet 3:3) and so Peter has pinned Joel 2:28-32 to the present Church age and not in the Millennium. What is unknown to Peter is a long period of partial hardening of the Jews, albeit with an end point. Paul aptly calls it in Rom. 11:25 a mystery. So the rise of Messianic Jews with the end of partial hardening in this Church Age harmonizes well with all these passages. It also matches the pattern in v28-29. Sons, daughters and old men simply means that all ages are involved. The male and female servants portrays the inclusion of all Jews rather than just the priests and royalties under their monarchy. As the Spirit is poured out to the Jews, the next big event in v30-31 is the Tribulation and the flow of the passage suggests that the Messianic Jews will surely participate in it.
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