“But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘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 bond slaves, 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 will be saved.’
Peter stands up to refute the drunkenness charge. When it says he raised his voice it means he shouted. Men of Judea referred to the citizens of Jerusalem and of the area nearby — and all you who live in Jerusalem means to dwell temporarily in Jerusalem. These are the people who have come from all over the world. Let this known unto you is an idiom which means to stop talking about it and listen to what I have to say about it because I have the explanation. In other words, Peter demanded their attention. You might ask how a simple fisherman could ever gain the attention of a crowd like this, and how can he later demonstrated such characteristics of leadership and such confidence. The answer is first of all the fact that he had the gift of apostleship. God the Holy Spirit bestowed upon him the spiritual gift of apostleship which gave him a gift of confidence, a gift of command, and a gift of authority. In addition to this, as Peter becomes older he is going to recall many of the things that the Lord taught him, and later on he is going to learn from the epistles of Paul some of the great doctrines of the Church Age.
Then Peter gives a very common sense explanation, not that this is the only explanation, but he actually gives two. His first is common sense and his second is Biblical. Common sense and the Bible never conflict. In his Biblical explanation he quoted from Joel chapter 2:28-32, but in one quick sentence he gives a common sense explanation: it is “the third hour of the day” (nine o’clock in the morning). What time the Holy Spirit came that morning we do not know: possibly about eight o’clock. By nine o’clock the crowd has gathered, they have already heard the Gospel in their own language. Obviously they would not be drunk at that time of the morning.
But this is what was spoken of is an idiom and it means this is the same kind of thing as that was prophesied by Joel. It means that we have parallel situation. The Joel passage is fulfilled in the Millennium, not here: this was the beginning of the Church Age. In the beginning of the Church Age we have the coming of the Holy Spirit to permanently indwell believers. And, the first spiritual gift which was used is the gift of tongues, which occurred on the Day of Pentecost for the purpose of evangelism and warning to Israel. The Joel passage illustrates this same spiritual phenomenon, a phenomenon that will be fulfilled in the Millennium. Peter said, “This which is happening right now parallels that which was spoken by Joel.”
A quotation does not always interpret, a quotation sometimes illustrates. Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32, but it is not the fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32 but rather an illustration to rebuke the accusation of drunkenness. These believers are actually using the gift of tongues under the power of the Holy Spirit and can no more be charged with drunkenness than the believers in the Joel passage. The Joel passage by interpretation is Millennial; this phenomenon which they observed was the Church Age. Peter does not say that the Joel passage is fulfilled; he was merely establishing a parallel between the phenomenon described in Joel 2 and what was occurring at that moment.
The Joel passage could not be fulfilled at this point because of the doctrine of the mystery of the Church declared in Ephesians 3:1-6; Colossians 1:25.26; Romans 16:25.26. The doctrine of the mystery simply says that everything pertaining to the Church Age, beginning with the baptism of the Holy Spirit and terminating with the Rapture of the Church were not revealed in the Old Testament, and Joel is in the Old Testament. So Joel is not talking about anything in connection with the Church Age.
The Joel passage refers to believers in the Millennium only. Therefore what is being said here is that the Joel passage merely illustrates but does not fulfill. The charge of drunkenness is going to be refuted by Peter because he was going to say simply this: What you see before you is not unusual, it is not drunkenness - it is a spiritual phenomenon. These people are no more drunk than the Millennial saints filled with the Spirit who are depicted for you and with which you are very familiar in Joel 2:28-32.
Verse 17 this brings up the principle that every time an Old Testament passage is quoted in the New Testament, and this is done literally hundreds of times, it is not always an interpretation, but it is often an illustration. In verse 17 we have Millennial spirituality. The verse quotes Joel 2:28 — “And it shall come to pass,” referring to the Millennium after Christ returns and establishes His kingdom on earth; “in the last days I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh means that the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon all believers at that time.
There are three categories of who are going to receive the filling of the Spirit, and the three categories simply demonstrate the fact that the filling of the Spirit is not given on the basis of human merit but is a part of the grace package. There are three phrases used to express this. The first is “sons and daughters.” In other words, this means that whether a person is male or female that gender makes no difference. The second category has to do with age, and we have the words “old” and “young,” it doesn’t make any difference whether you are old or young, the Holy Spirit is poured out upon you. The third category is given in verse 18: “bond slaves.” This is a social category. So the point is, regardless of categories of distinction in the human race, in the Millennium at the beginning there are only believers and all believers receive the Holy Spirit.
Those who receive the Holy Spirit are said to do three things in verse 17: prophecy, see visions, dream dreams. The last two are ecstatic’s. “Prophecy” can be preaching, but number two and number three categories, seeing visions and dreaming dreams are both ecstatic experiences. The principle is that in the Millennium there will be ecstatic experience connected with the filling of the Spirit, but only in the Millennium. The filling of the Spirit never manifests itself in our day by ecstatic experience. You may have emotions which accompany the filling of the Spirit but this is strictly soulish. The only exception was on the Day of Pentecost when the filling of the Spirit resulted in the use of the spiritual gift which resulted in this dynamic approach to the Gospel for those who gathered together.
Spirituality in the Millennium will be characterized by ecstatic’s, but spirituality in the Church Age is not ecstatic’s. During the Church Age Christ is absent from the earth, therefore ecstatic’s become detrimental to the believer — II Corinthians 6:11-12. We are told in Romans 16:17.18 to avoid these people who get involved ecstatic’s; they are trouble makers. II Corinthians 6:12 — “You are not limited by us, but you are limited by your own affections (emotional pattern).” The word “affections” means to be limited, the word refers to the emotions. Emotions are very destructive in the Church Age. Christ is absent and yet we have the mind of Christ present in Bible doctrine. Everything is to be centered in Bible doctrine. If there is a conflict between your emotions and what the Word of God says, the Word of God is right and the emotions are wrong.
Romans 16:17.18 — “Now I beseech you. brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine winch you have learned” — this refers to several categories, anyone who is contrary to doctrine actually — “and avoid them,” keep on avoiding them, stay away from them — “for they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ but their own emotional pattern.” “And by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” The word “simple” refers to anyone who is ignorant of doctrine.
While Christ is absent from the earth the believer is His ambassador, and as His ambassador must produce the very character of Christ. This is only possible through the filling of the Spirit. The purpose of the filling of the Spirit is to produce the character of Christ, it is not to produce ecstatic’s — Galatians 4:19; 5:22-23. But the production of the character of Christ is not necessary in the Millennium; Christ is present. So the filling of the Spirit in the Millennium is to appreciate Christ Who is present. This is done by way of ecstatic’s. Ecstatic’s is the characteristic of the filling of the Spirit in the Millennium, but in the Church Age the filling of the Spirit is designed to produce the character of the absent Christ. Feeling is never the criterion for either salvation or spirituality. It isn’t how you feel; it is what the Word of God says.
Verse 18 is a quotation from Joel 2:29. “And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days my Spirit, and they shall prophecy.” The pouring out of the Spirit is, again, the filling of the Spirit as we have it at the beginning of the Millennium. “Those days” refers to the early days of the Millennium; “they shall prophecy” is, again, indicating the dissemination of spiritual phenomena.
Verse 19 pictures what happens immediately before the Second Coming and it quotes Joel 2:30, “I will show.” Just before the Second Coming, there is a warning, and the warning comes through signs and wonders — “wonders in the heavens above, and signs in the earth beneath: blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.” “Wonders” is an omen of a miraculous nature; miracles are indicated by the word ‘signs.” Miracles are performed on the earth and unusual phenomena in the heavens above.
Verse 20 is what happens on the day of the Second Coming. How can you tell the day of the Second Coming and how will it be characterized at that time? It will be a day of complete darkness. Verse 20 quotes Joel 2:31. The day of the Second Coming is characterized by supernatural darkness, but when Christ returns every eye shall see Him, Revelation 1:7. Christ is the Light of the world, and it is fitting that the Light of the world should return to a world completely shrouded in darkness, and every eye shall see Him because the only light which will be visible on that day will be the light of Jesus Christ Himself.
The darkness is similar to the darkness of the day of Christ’s crucifixion. The darkness which covered Golgotha at the crucifixion completely hid Jesus Christ from human eyes while He was bearing our sins. It is a supernatural darkness that is totally devoid of light. No one saw Him except God the Father who poured out the sins of the human race on Him, but everyone will see Jesus Christ when He comes back in His glory. (Revelation 1:7)
In addition, the darkness of the Second Coming protects the Jewish believers besieged in Jerusalem by the king of the north — Daniel 11, the last the last two verses, and Zechariah 12:1-3; 14:1-4; and some implication of this in given in Isaiah 63:1-6. In these passages the Jews are in danger of being annihilated by the kings of the east. The darkness delivers them; it immobilizes all the armies in Palestine. So the second purpose of the darkness is to protect Jewish believers from the satanic wrath in the day of the Second Coming. Other passages indicating the day of the Second Coming is a day of total darkness on the earth are Isaiah 13:9,10; Ezekiel 32:7,8; Joel 2:10,11; 3:15; Amos 5:18; Zechariah 14:6; Matthew 24:29b; Luke 21:25-27; Mark 13:24; Revelation 6:12.
Verse 21 — there will be deliverance. By interpretation this is the deliverance of the Jews at the Second Coming, the deliverance of anyone who believes in Christ: and by application it refers to the Gospel approach on the Day of Pentecost. “And it shall come to pass” — he is now quoting Joel 2:32. The future tense of “it shall come to pass” is a logical future, it is logical that Christ wants to save the world — “everyone who” refers to the entire human race. It means that when Christ died on the Cross He made “everyone” possible. This is what we call the doctrine of unlimited atonement — II Corinthians 5:14,15.19: I Timothy 2:6: 4:10; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Peter 2:1 (it says that Christ died for those who denied Him); I John 2:2.
“Who calls: it refers to the point at which a person believes; the point of faith in Christ. “Calling” does not depend on your ability - it depends on what God has given you. Anyone who believes in Christ and calls upon His name is benefited by it. The benefit is eternal salvation. But it depends upon your volition. And it indicates the fact that while salvation is open to everyone it does not follow that everyone is going to be saved. “Call” is a synonym for faith — “the name of the Lord” is specifically Jesus Christ.