Questions about specific scriptures

ID #1022

I wondered if you might be able to explain why the Old Testament text relating to the sign of the day of the Lord (sun turning dark, moon to blood, etc.) is presented in Acts 2:20 at Pentecost. I have read one argument somewhere against the pre-wrath position trying to state that somehow this text was fulfilled at Pentecost.

First, I believe this is an example of a near/far prophetic fulfillment in scripture which is common in prophecy. For a detailed explanation of near/far prophetic fulfillment see "PREWRATH > Daniel's 70th Week."  This scripture was fulfilled in part in the days of Pentecost as God's Spirit was poured upon the disciples, but it also foreshadows a coming fulfillment at the Day of the Lord. He begins the passage in Acts by saying in the last days He will pour out His Spirit on all people. Then He says:

Acts 2:18 (NIV) Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy...

Now it is not a complete explanation, but it is interesting that He speaks of "last days" and "those days." Then He goes on to say that...

Acts 2:19 (NIV) I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke...

Now this did not happen on the day of Pentecost - or else if it did - it didn't seem important enough to record!

Therefore, one must conclude that there is still a further fulfillment waiting for this prophecy. Now even more important, if Pentecost WERE the fulfillment of the Day of the Lord, then all of the other prophecies surrounding the Day of the Lord in the Old Testament, New Testament, and the book of Revelation had to also be fulfilled. And simply stated, that just did not happen. Men's faces did not melt away:

Isaiah 13:6 (NIV) Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. 7 Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man's heart will melt. 8 Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame.

Also, we are told very clearly that the Antichrist will be revealed before the Day of the Lord...

2 Thess 2:2 (NIV) not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

Some might argue that some historical figure like Judas fulfilled this prophecy, but it goes on the say about this "man of lawlessness" that...

2 Thess 2:4 (NIV) He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Therefore, it is impossible to state that the prophecy quoted in Acts 2:20 which is actually from Joel 2:28-32, was completely fulfilled at Pentecost.

However, Peter himself quotes this passage as prophecy as to what was happening at Pentecost when some even thought the disciples were drunk. The important point is that Peter does not identify this event as a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel - he simply states that what they are seeing happen (which is being mistaken for drunkenness) is the same thing that Joel spoke about. So, his reference to Joel does not require a complete fulfillment because that will come later.

 

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Last update: 2012-04-17 05:36
Author: Elbert Charpie
Revision: 1.1

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