An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 8 - Prophetic Truth - Page 280 of 304
'Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your
God ... Who knoweth if He will return and repent, and leave a blessing
behind Him?' (Joel 2:13,14).
'And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the
cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, My great army
which I sent among you' (Joel 2:25).
The passage that demands our attention is that which follows this
promise of restoration:
'And it shall come to pass afterward' (Joel 2:28).
The word 'afterward' cannot stand alone, we must supply mentally the
answer to 'after what?' and here the answer is 'after the promised
restoration, after the day comes when Israel as the people of God shall never
be ashamed'.  It is obvious to any student of Prophecy that this happy day of
Israel's restoration has not yet come, and that consequently some Scriptural
and logical reason must have justified Peter's quotation of Joel 2:28 -32, in
Acts 2:17 -21.  A few variations are observable in Peter's quotation, that
depart both from the Septuagint and from the Hebrew original, but these do
not constitute a problem.  What does constitute a problem of interpretation
is the reason for quoting Joel 2:28 -32 on the day of Pentecost.  Peter most
certainly called the people to repentance, and linked repentance with the
time of restoration which had been the burden of prophecy since the world
began, but if Pentecost was the restoration long hoped for, Peter could not
have said what he did in Acts 3:19 -26.  When we examine his quotation more
closely we discover that he made a most important alteration.  He Did Not
because he Could Not say 'It shall come to pass Afterward' for the promised
restoration was yet future, he could only say:
'It shall come to pass in the last days' (Acts 2:17).
It is an exegetical mistake of the first magnitude to assume that Peter
is providing us with a basic text upon which we may erect a structure of 'the
last days' here, he is simply accommodating the passage to answer a most
simple and somewhat trivial objection.  Upon twelve men had come the 'power
from on high' with the result that the Jews who had come from the twelve
specified nations (Acts 2:9 -11) heard them speak the words of God in the
tongue in which they had been born.  Some were amazed and said 'what meaneth
this?'  Others mocking said 'these men are full of new wine', but Peter said
'these are not drunken ... this is that which was spoken by the prophet
Joel', and proceeds to quote the whole passage.  His answer amounted to this:
'If you are going to attribute this initial outpouring of the Spirit which
has endued these twelve men with power for their ministry, to the effects of
wine and drunkenness, what will you say when the great outpouring of the
Spirit takes place After the restoration actually comes?'  For this reason,
if for no other, Acts 2:16 -21 is the last passage to refer to in the
construction of any scheme of the prophetic period known as the 'last days';
any other reference is preferable to this, for the simple reason that Peter
was accommodating this passage to rebuke those that mocked.
We do not attempt an examination of the prophetic period known as the
'last days' here, but the subject is considered in the article Last Days (p.
416), but a word to the wise we trust will be sufficient.  'In those days',
i.e. the days of which Joel was speaking, God said: