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On the day of Pentecost, Peter reminds the Jewish listeners of this prophecy spoken by the prophet Joel:

"'And it shall be in the last days', says God, 'that I will pour forth of my Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of my Spirit and they shall prophesy.

And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come, and it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved'" (Acts 2:17-21)


Many have taken Peter's recitation of this prophecy to indicate that it's fulfillment was at hand. However, the context of the prophecy in Joel suggests a future eschatalogical fulfillment. The fact that Peter is reminding his Jewish audience of the prophecy does not necessarily mean that Pentecost was the actual fulfillment, expect to point out the significance of Pentecost of ushering in the work of the Spirit.

I also find Acts 2:19-21 (Joel 2:30-32) to be compatible with events unfolded during the tribulation period as indicated in Revelation 14-16.

So what are your thoughts regarding Peter's use of this prophecy?

Does this mean the prophecy is being fulfilled at Pentecost or is yet to be realized?

Tags: holy, pentecost, prophecy, spirit

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Ser, that is a great question. I think last days can refer to the start of the church age OR the tribulation period. Both have been referenced in Scripture. For example, in Hebrews 1:2 says 'in these last days, God speaks in His son', referencing the current church age. But this can be distinguished from the last days, meaning a future time as indicated in 2 Timothy 3:1.

love4theword said:
first a question Lisa. What/When do you consider the 'last days'?
I believe Pentecost (in tandem with the Christ-event) was the initiation of the last days. But since the last days are the entire period between the two advents of Christ, then there is a future fulfilment to come as well. We could say it has an aspect of cumulative fulfilment, meaning the reality of the prophetic words are fulfilled cumulatively throughout the entire Messianic age/last days.
Mathew 24 is a good passage to consider with Lisa's questions, because not only was it prophetic and about the destruction of Jerusalem and 70 a.d. but it obviously(or at least to me and my hermeneutics)had parts that were not about 70 a.d. but future to Christ's second coming.
The Joel prophecy which is claimed by Peter on the day of Pentecost , I think did mark the beginning of the last days . Hebrews 1:2 tells us we are in the last days but it is obvious that not all of that prophecy was fulfilled with Christ first advent, the day of Pentecost or the destruction of Jerusalem but a future “THE” ultimate fulfillment awaits. Lots, if not most ,of the prophecy in scripture had different phases and partial and more complete fulfillment. I expect this prophecy of Joel to be fulfilled in maybe not an exact literal word for word way but in the very cataclysmic way the prophecy exudes. Some would say that ,that was 70 a.d. in some ways it was but not totally or completely. I do expect the heavens to literally be involved.
Peter cites Joel and the prophecy begins with dreams and visions and the pouring out of the Spirit on all men. The prophecy does not say that they would dream dreams and prophesy until the day of the Lord but only that it would happen before “the great and notable day of the Lord” The prophecy doesn’t say it would be 2 days before he came or a week or month , only that these things would happen before “The great and notable day of the Lord”
Also, I would say that Acts 2:19-21 (quoting Joel) consist of the Hebrew apocalyptic-poetic way of speaking of the significant ending of some kind of order or power.

For example, Isa 13:10 says -

For the stars of the heavens and their constellations
will not give their light;
the sun will be dark at its rising,
and the moon will not shed its light.


Sounds similar to Joel 2/Acts 2. But when we read Isa 13:1, we see that Isa 13:10 speaks about the destruction of Babylon. Vs1 says, The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.

So, the Hebrews used apocalyptic imagery, and specifically describing a changing in the heavenly bodies, to speak of the ending of a major order/power. Therefore, I believe Joel's words, which Peter quotes, speak of the full change from the old covenant to the new covenant.
I think that Peter means to use Joel's prophecy in regards to what was taking place at Pentecost. Based on his introductory remarks of explaining the strange way they are talking, I take Peter to mean that the Last Days are upon us. Peter even goes out of his way to change Joel's word 'afterwards' into 'The Last Days' in vs. 17. He also adds 'And they shall prophecy' (presumably to explain what their audience is hearing) in vs. 18.

I think the only thing 'yet to be realized' in the prophecy is the invitation and warning to everyone to call on the name of the Lord (in Joel: YHWH, in Acts: Jesus) to be saved before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. Everything else is being realized as Peter speaks.
I think Isaiah 13 is speaking not only about Babylon but also "The day of the Lord" It is another example of what we have been talking about and not too different then Joel's prophecy.

Isa 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
Isa 13:10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
Isa 13:11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
Isa 13:12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.
Isa 13:13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.


In the day of his fierce anger, the day of wrath, "The day of the Lord"...I still expect the heavens will rattle.
But Chad, how do you reconcile the 2nd part of the prophecy (Acts 2:19-21) to Pentecost? How did that happen at Pentecost?

Chad Gibbons said:
I think that Peter means to use Joel's prophecy in regards to what was taking place at Pentecost. Based on his introductory remarks of explaining the strange way they are talking, I take Peter to mean that the Last Days are upon us. Peter even goes out of his way to change Joel's word 'afterwards' into 'The Last Days' in vs. 17. He also adds 'And they shall prophecy' (presumably to explain what their audience is hearing) in vs. 18.

I think the only thing 'yet to be realized' in the prophecy is the invitation and warning to everyone to call on the name of the Lord (in Joel: YHWH, in Acts: Jesus) to be saved before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. Everything else is being realized as Peter speaks.
Kim -

Though there is one final day of the Lord, there are also many days of the Lord. Therefore, the destruction of Babylon was a day of the Lord - He was visiting His enemies with judgment.

So Isaiah 13, in its initial context does speak of the destruction of Babylon (as vs1 makes clear). Yet, because it is prophetic, I also believe it speaks of the great day of the Lord and His judgment on His enemies. And 'Babylon' is one typical name for the enemies of God. So the great Babylon, which is all of God's enemies, as opposed to the great Jerusalem, which is all of God's people, will receive judgment one day.

But, in regards to the particularity of my comment, I was saying that Isaiah 13:10 was an apocalyptic-poetic way of speaking of the end of Babylon. I don't believe they expected the stars, moon and sun would stop giving their light. But they knew Isaiah was saying that Babylon was coming to an end.

And Acts 2:19-21 (pointing back to Joel) is a very similar apocalyptic-poetic way of speaking of the end of the old covenant. They were not expecting the sun to 'literally' go dark, the moon go blood read, etc, as they did not expect similar things to 'literally' happen with Babylon. It was an apocalyptic-poetic Hebrew way of saying something had come to an end, and a new order had begun. Therefore, it was fulfilled in their day when they saw the Spirit poured out. They new the Messiah was reigning (Acts 2:33) and the proof was that the Spirit was being poured out.

Still, I wouldn't be surprised if those words in Acts 2 typified something near the end of human history. Heck, I believe the 'positive' (vs17-18) is happening in major moves of God over the past 50 years in the earth. So I would definitely say we are closer to the ending of this age and the beginning of the age to come than we have ever been before. But that goes without saying, since each day moves us closer. :)

Kim said:
I think Isaiah 13 is speaking not only about Babylon but also "The day of the Lord" It is another example of what we have been talking about and not too different then Joel's prophecy.

Isa 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
Isa 13:10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
Isa 13:11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
Isa 13:12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.
Isa 13:13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.


In the day of his fierce anger, the day of wrath, "The day of the Lord"...I still expect the heavens will rattle.
Are heavenly manifestations of God's working unprecedented? Why is it that we can trust the weather man when he says that tomorrow it will be dark and dreary but when God says the same we trash the comment as a figurative figment?
But Scott

The Sun did go dark for three hours and the earth did quake and the veil was rent and the dead came out of their graves. Those things happened. I think they expected miracles and I think they literally expected the sun to go dark. Heck, the sun stood still, why would they not expect it to go dark. I think your wrong on what they expected, but we do agree, I hope, that there is going to be a shake up at the end that will be far worse then Babylon's destruction or Jerusalem's. These were both warnings, previews, we were and have been warned.

oops, I guess I should say maybe they understood that it was not just Babylon the prophet Isaiah speaking about, but maybe they got that it spoke of "THE" day or a dual prophecy.
My short answer is that it's apocalyptic. God is moving. For example, read Judges 4 and 5. Judges 4 contains an account of the battle against Sisera, and Judges 5 is the song of that same battle. In the song it says that 'the earth shakes, and the heavens poured', 'the mountains quaked before the Lord', and 'the stars fought from the heavens', yet nothing like that actually happened in Judges 4.

In Acts it doesn't sound like Peter was intending it to be taken as actual cosmological events either. It just really sounds like Peter is saying that Joel's prophecy is being fulfilled (This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel...). To ask for something more, like a second fulfillment or something like that is to not take Peter at his word, I think. It doesn't necessarily sound like that prophecy was fulfilled to me either, but if Peter thought so, I'm going to go with his judgment. I would say the same thing about Isaiah's prophecy to Babylon. If these prophets are intending these prophecies to belong to certain events, why are we questioning that, or demanding an future (and hopefully better) fulfillment? Because we personally don't like how it sounds?


Lisa Robinson said:
But Chad, how do you reconcile the 2nd part of the prophecy (Acts 2:19-21) to Pentecost? How did that happen at Pentecost?
Chad Gibbons said:
I think that Peter means to use Joel's prophecy in regards to what was taking place at Pentecost. Based on his introductory remarks of explaining the strange way they are talking, I take Peter to mean that the Last Days are upon us. Peter even goes out of his way to change Joel's word 'afterwards' into 'The Last Days' in vs. 17. He also adds 'And they shall prophecy' (presumably to explain what their audience is hearing) in vs. 18.

I think the only thing 'yet to be realized' in the prophecy is the invitation and warning to everyone to call on the name of the Lord (in Joel: YHWH, in Acts: Jesus) to be saved before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. Everything else is being realized as Peter speaks.
Rey -

I trust God's Word, more than the weather man.

1) I am trying to understand Hebrew poetic, apocalyptic language. I don't believe they 'literally' expected the stars, moon and sun to stop giving their light (Isa 13:10), but they expected the end of Babylon.
2) Yes, dark and dreary happens (a lot in Belgium). But Acts 2:20 says: the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood. That seems to speak of no light and a red colour. Or are we to simply think it means that it will become somewhat dark outside and the moon will shine a kind of orangey colour?

Kim -

I believe the gospel accounts say that it was dark in the land, but not that the sun actually stopped giving its light fully. But I'm not sure, I wasn't there. :)

The sun has always stood still. That passage is phenomenological. Maybe the earth stopped its rotation.

Isaiah was speaking of Babylon then and the future Babylon (Rev 18). Babylon represents the enemies of God, just as Jerusalem represents the people of God.

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