|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:28-32 The promise began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, and it was continued in the converting grace and miraculous gifts conferred on both Jews and Gentiles. The judgments of God upon a sinful world, only go before the judgment of the world in the last day. Calling on God supposes knowledge of him, faith in him, desire toward him, dependence on him, and, as evidence of the sincerity of all this, conscientious obedience to him. Those only shall be delivered in the great day, who are now effectually called from sin to God, from self to Christ, from things below to things above.
Verse 30. - And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. Along with the wonderful distribution of gifts and graces at the Day of Pentecost, attention is directed to portents of destructive visitation; after a dispensation of mercy follows a dispensation of wrath; mercy and judgment thus succeed each other in the providence of God. The visitation of mercy may, by way of contrast, suggest that of judgment; or the connection of this and the following verses with the preceding may be the plague of the locusts, the mind passing on from that visitation to the visitation at the destruction of Jerusalem, as also to that which shall take place at the judgment of the last day. Our Lord, in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, seems to mingle the portents which were to precede the destruction of Jerusalem with those that shall usher in the judgment-day. There may Be some doubt whether the expressions before us are to Be understood literally or figuratively. In either case coming events were casting their shadows before; and the appearances enumerated, whether taken in a literal or figurative sense, were symbolical of great revolutionary changes. The expressions themselves reflect the miracles of Egypt. Of the wonders on earth which the prophet first mentions, the blood brings to mind the changing of the Nile-water into blood; the fire reminds us of the fire that ran along upon the ground, mingled with the hail; while the smoke carries back our thoughts to the wonderful events of the wilderness and of the encampment at Sinai, when, as Jehovah descended upon the mount, "Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth,.... This, and what follow, refer to the prodigies seen in the air, and done in the earth, a little before the destruction of Jerusalem (r); when in the air were seen comets and blazing stars, particularly one in the form of a sword, hanging over Jerusalem, and appearances of armies engaged in battle; and, on the earth, a flame was seen in the temple, and a voice heard in it, saying, let us go hence; the doors of it opened of themselves; an idiot went about, crying woe to the people, woe to the city, &c.
blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke; "blood" may design the great slaughter of then by the Roman army in the land of Judea, and by murders committed among themselves in the city of Jerusalem, which were very horrible, and of great numbers; "fire", the burning of towns and cities; though Kimchi interprets it of lightnings in the heavens; and "pillars of smoke", rising up in straightness and height like palm trees, as the word (s) signifies, vast quantities of it arising from cities and towns burnt. Gussetius (t) interprets this of the burning of the martyrs in the first ages of Christianity, and of their spiritual affections, which ascended upwards to God, and were grateful to him; see Sol 3:6.
(r) Vid. Joseph. De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 5. sect. 3.((s) "palmas fumi", Piscator, Cocceius. (t) Ebr. Comment. p. 947.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
30, 31. As Messiah's manifestation is full of joy to believers, so it has an aspect of wrath to unbelievers, which is represented here. Thus when the Jews received Him not in His coming of grace, He came in judgment on Jerusalem. Physical prodigies, massacres, and conflagrations preceded its destruction [Josephus, Wars of the Jews]. To these the language here may allude; but the figures chiefly symbolize political revolutions and changes in the ruling powers of the world, prognosticated by previous disasters (Am 8:9; Mt 24:29; Lu 21:25-27), and convulsions such as preceded the overthrow of the Jewish polity. Such shall probably occur in a more appalling degree before the final destruction of the ungodly world ("the great and terrible day of Jehovah," compare Mal 4:5), of which Jerusalem's overthrow is the type and earnest.
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