Joel 2:32
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
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(32) Deliverance.—Or, perhaps better, those that escape. St. Paul quotes from this verse (Romans 10:13), transferring the reference to the Messianic advent, to prove the universality of the deliverance effected by our Lord, who abolished the difference between Jew and Greek. In His Church, the heavenly Jerusalem, freed from the persecutions and defilements of the world, there is salvation for all who call upon the name of the Lord, their names are inscribed upon the roll as citizens of Zion.

Joel 2:32. And whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord — Whosoever, having heard the gospel, shall repent and believe in Christ, and call on him, or shall make application to God in prayer through him, shall be delivered — Namely, from temporal and eternal destruction: thus St. Paul interprets this passage, Romans 10:13. For to believe in Christ, give ourselves up to him, and profess ourselves his disciples, is the most effectual, and indeed the only effectual means of escaping the judgments coming upon the unbelieving and disobedient, and likewise of being preserved from the wrath to come. The prediction, as it stands here in the prophecy, chiefly refers to those in Jerusalem who believed in Jesus as the true Messiah; for these, having a firm faith in what he had said, upon seeing some of the signs come to pass which he had foretold should precede the destruction of Jerusalem, they quitted the city in time, and so saved their lives, and escaped all those dreadful calamities which the unbelieving Jews suffered during the siege. For in mount Zion, &c., shall be deliverance — The gospel is described as taking its rise from Jerusalem, and as being from thence carried to all nations. The deliverance, therefore, here said to be in mount Zion, is deliverance by embracing the gospel, which had its rise there. Or mount Zion and Jerusalem may be here put for the gospel church, the mystical Jerusalem, the city of the Messiah, the only place of salvation present and eternal. As the Lord hath said — That is, according to his promises and declarations by his prophets. And in the remnant — Or, among the remnant, whom the Lord shall call — Namely, to believe in Christ, and by him to wait for eternal life. Or, whom the Lord shall appoint to be preserved. This may primarily be understood of those who were converted by the preaching of Christ and his apostles, and who therefore escaped the vengeance which involved the rest of the nation, Acts 2:40; 1 Thessalonians 2:16. These are called the σωζομενοι, such as should be saved, or delivered, Acts 2:47. But there is another remnant of the Jews included in this promise, who shall be converted at the end of the world, when the obstinate and incorrigible shall be destroyed. In this sense the word remnant is often understood: see the margin. This sense of the word agrees well with what follows in the next chapter.

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.Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord - To call upon the name of the Lord, is to worship Him, as He is, depending "upon" Him. "The name of the Lord," expresses His True Being, That which He is. Hence, so often in Holy Scripture, people are said to "call on the Name of the Lord," to bless the Name of the Lord, to praise the Name of the Lord, to sing praises to His Name, to make mention of His Name, to tell of His Name, to know His Name" but it is very rarely said "I will praise the Name of God" (Psalm 69:31; Hebrew), for the Name rendered "the Lord," expresses that He is, and that He Alone is, the Self-Same, the Unchangeable; the name rendered "God" is not the special Name of God. Hence, as soon as people were multiplied and the corrupt race of Cain increased, people "began," after the birth of Enos, the son of Seth, "to call upon the Name of the Lord" Genesis 4:26, i. e., in public worship. Abraham's worship, in the presence of the idolatries of Canaan, is spoken of, under the same words, "he called upon the Name of the Lord" Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:4; Genesis 21:33; Genesis 26:25. Elijah says to the prophets of Baal, "call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the Name of the Lord" 1 Kings 18:24. Naaman the Pagan says of Elisha, "I thought that he would come out to me, and stand and call on the Name of the Lord his God" 2 Kings 5:11. Asaph and Jeremiah pray God; "Pour out Thy wrath upon the pagan that have not known Thee, and upon the kingdom (families Jerome) which have not called upon Thy Name" Psalm 79:6; Jeremiah 10:25; and Zephaniah fortells the conversion of the Pagan, "that they may all call upon the Name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent" Zephaniah 3:9.

To "call" then "upon the Name of the Lord" implies right faith to call upon Him as He is; right trust in Him, leaning upon Him; right devotion, calling upon Him as He has appointed; right life, ourselves who call upon Him being, or becoming by His Grace, what lie wills. They "call" not "upon the Lord," but upon some idol of their own imagining, who call upon Him, as other than He has revealed Himself, or remaining themselves other than those whom He has declared that He will hear. For such deny the very primary attribute of God, His truth. "Their" God is not a God of truth. But whosoever shall in true faith and hope and charity have in this life worshiped God, "shall be delivered," i. e., out of the midst of all the horrors of that Day, and the horrible damnation of the ungodly. The "deliverance" is by way of "escape" (for such is the meaning of the word , "he shall be made to escape, slip through" (as it were) perils as imminent as they shall be terrible. Our Lord uses the like word of the same Day, "Watch ye therefore and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" Luke 21:36. Those who so call upon Him in truth shall be heard in that day, as He says, "Ask and it shall be given you; Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it you" Matthew 7:7; John 16:23.

: "That calling on God whereon salvation depends, is not in words only, but in heart and in deed. For what the heart believeth, the mouth confesseth, the hand in deed fulfilleth, The Apostle saith, "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit" 1 Corinthians 12:3; yet this very "saying" must be weighed not by words, but by the afflictions. Whence, we read of Samuel, "And Samuel among those who call upon His Name," and of Moses and Aaron, "These called upon the Lord, and He heard them" Psalm 99:6.

For in Mount Zion ... shall be deliverance - Repentance and remission of sins" were to "be preached in the Name" of Jesus, "in all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" Luke 24:47. "There" was, under the Old Testament, the center of the worship of God; there was the Church founded; thence it spread over the whole world. "The place," "whither the tribes went up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the Name of the Lord" Psalm 122:4, where God had set His Name, where alone sacrifice could lawfully be offered, stands, as elsewhere, for the whole Church. Of that Church, we are in Baptism all made members, when we are made members of Christ, children of God, and heirs of heaven. Of that Church all remain members, who do not, by viciousness of life, or rejecting the truth of God, cast themselves out of it. They then are members of the soul of the Church, who, not being members of the visible communion and society, know not, that in not becoming members of it, they are rejecting the command of Christ, to whom by faith and love and in obedience they cleave. And they, being members of the "body" or visible commumion of the Church, are not members of the "soul" of the Church, who, amid outward profession of the faith, do, in heart or deeds, deny Him whom in words they confess. The deliverance promised in that Day, is to those who, being in the body of the Church, shall by true faith in Christ and fervent love to Him belong to the soul of the Church also, or who, although not in the body of the Church shall not, through their own fault, have ceased to be in the body, and shall belong to its soul, in that through faith and love they cleave to Christ its Head.

As the Lord hath said - By the prophet Joel himself. This which he had said, is not man's word, but God's; and what God had said, shall certainly be. They then who have teared and loved God in this their day, shall not need to fear him in that Day, for He is the Unchangeable God; as our Blessed Saviour says; "heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away" Mark 13:31. God had said of both Jews and Gentiles, united in one; "Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people, for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful to His land and unto His people" Deuteronomy 32:43.

And in the remnant - While foretelling His mercies in Christ, God foretells also, that "few they be that find them" Matthew 7:14. It is evermore "a remnant, a residue, a body which escapes;" and so here, the mercies should be fulfilled, literally, "in the fugitives," in those who flee from the wrath to come. All prophecy echoes the words of Joel; all history exemplifies them. Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, all foretell with one voice, that a remnant, and a "remnant" only, shall be left. In those earlier dispensations of God, in the flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; in His dealings with Israel himself at the entrance into the promised land, the return from the captivity, the first preaching of the Gospel, the destruction of Jerusalem, "a remnant" only was saved. It is said in tones of compassion and mercy, that "a remnant should be saved. The remnant should return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God" (Isaiah 10:20; add Isaiah 10:21-22; Isaiah 6:9-13, etc.). "The Lord of hosts shall be for a crown of glory to the residue of His people" Isaiah 28:5. "The Lord shall set His Hand to recover the remnant of His people which shall be left" (Isaiah 11:11, add 16). "I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries whither I have driven them" Jeremiah 23:3. "Publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save Thy people, the remnant of Israel" Jeremiah 31:7. "Yet I will leave a remnant, that ye may have some that escape the sword among the nations" Ezekiel 6:8. "Therein shall be left a remnant which shall be brought forth" Ezekiel 14:22. "I will surely gather the remnant of Israel" (Micah 2:12; add Micah 4:7 : Micah 5:3, Micah 5:7-8). "Who is a God like Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?" Micah 7:18. "The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity" (Zephaniah 3:13; add Zephaniah 2:9). "The residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city" Zechariah 14:2. It is then a summary of the declarations of the prophets, when Paul says, "Even so, at this present time also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace. Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded" Romans 11:5, Romans 11:7. And so the prophet says here;

Whom the Lord shall call - He had said before, "whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be delivered." Here he says, that they who should "so call on God," shall themselves have been first "called by God." So Paul, "to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord" 1 Corinthians 1:2. It is all of grace. God must first call by His grace; then we obey His call, and call upon Him; and He has said, "call upon Me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me" Psalm 50:15. God accounts our salvation His own glory.

32. call on … name of … Lord—Hebrew, Jehovah. Applied to Jesus in Ro 10:13 (compare Ac 9:14; 1Co 1:2). Therefore, Jesus is Jehovah; and the phrase means, "Call on Messiah in His divine attributes."

shall be delivered—as the Christians were, just before Jerusalem's destruction, by retiring to Pella, warned by the Saviour (Mt 24:16); a type of the spiritual deliverance of all believers, and of the last deliverance of the elect "remnant" of Israel from the final assault of Antichrist. "In Zion and Jerusalem" the Saviour first appeared; and there again shall He appear as the Deliverer (Zec 14:1-5).

as the Lord hath said—Joel herein refers, not to the other prophets, but to his own words preceding.

call—metaphor from an invitation to a feast, which is an act of gratuitous kindness (Lu 14:16). So the remnant called and saved is according to the election of grace, not for man's merits, power, or efforts (Ro 11:5).

Yet when nature seems out of course, and such terrible convulsions overthrow all states and kingdoms, and nothing but ruin and destruction appear on every side, yet then most certainly

it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord; whoso heareth the gospel, repenteth of sin, believeth in Christ, and prayeth for grace, peace, and glory; whoso worshippeth the Father through the Son in truth and faith;

shall be delivered; either delivered from those sad outward afflictions, or else, which is infinitely better, from eternal miseries, which will swallow up the unbelieving and impenitent world. When the Jews who rejected Christ were destroyed by the Romans, all (as Eusebius reports) the Jews that believed in Christ and submitted to the gospel escaped.

In Mount Zion; in the true church, typified by Zion, the city of David; and in Jerusalem; not local Jerusalem; there was the chief place of slaughter, blood, fire, and death; but mystical Jerusalem, the church and city of the Messiah;

shall be deliverance; salvation, whether temporal or eternal, or both;

as the Lord hath said; according as God hath promised; and this promised deliverance gives the believer satisfaction and rest, whether in life or by death.

And in the remnant, not of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also, whom the Lord shall call; called of God to be his peculiar people; called to the knowledge of Christ, to profess his name, to believe in Christ, and by him to wait for eternal life and glory, John 10:16 Acts 13:46 Romans 11:4,5,7.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered,.... Or "saved", as in Acts 2:21; from those miseries and calamities before described, from the impending ruin and destruction of the city; and so it was, that those that believed in Christ, that were in the city, had an intimation of it beforehand, and removed from thence to a place called Pella (w), and so escaped being involved in the common calamity: though this also may be understood of a spiritual deliverance and salvation by Christ, from sin, Satan, and the world, and from the second death, and wrath to come, and out of the hands of every enemy; which such share in who call on the name of the Lord, pray to him for grace and mercy, life and salvation, through Christ; that have a spiritual knowledge of God in Christ, real and sincere desires after him, and trust and confidence in him, which this phrase supposes; and which also includes the whole worship of God, internal and external, performed in a spiritual and evangelical manner; see Romans 10:13;

for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said; either by this prophet, or some others before him; see Psalm 14:7; this cannot be understood literally of Mount Zion and Jerusalem, unless it be of deliverance out of it; not in it, for Jerusalem was the seat of blood, confusion, and distress; but mystically of the church of Christ, often called Zion and Jerusalem, Hebrews 12:22; hither the deliverer came, here he is, and to be seen; from hence the word of the Lord came, the Gospel of salvation, which proclaims deliverance to the captives; here it is to be heard, met with, and found, Isaiah 2:3;

and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call; not merely externally, by the outward ministry of the word; but internally, according to his purpose, and by his grace, powerfully and effectually, to the special blessings of grace here, and eternal glory hereafter: these are the remnant according to the election of grace; the little flock to whom God gives the kingdom; the few that enter in at the strait gate; the little city, and few men in it, delivered by the poor wise man; these share in the deliverance of Zion, and shall be certainly and completely saved, with an everlasting salvation. This may respect not only the remnant, or a small number of the Jews that believed in Christ, upon his first coming, and the preaching of the Gospel by his apostles, but the call and conversion of them in the latter day; which sense connects the words better with the following chapter.

(w) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 5. p. 75.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call {u} on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the {x} remnant whom the LORD shall call.

(u) God's judgments are for the destruction of the unbelievers, and to exhort the godly to call upon the name of God, who will give them salvation.

(x) Meaning the Gentiles by this; Ro 10:13.

32. Those however who have responded to the grace given to them (Joel 2:28 f.), and are the true servants of Jehovah, will be secure, even in the midst of such alarming manifestations (cf. Joel 3:16 b).

call on] this is the conventional rendering of the Hebrew phrase employed; but it means properly to call with, i.e. to make use of the name in calling; and it may denote (according to the context) either to proclaim (Exodus 33:19), or to announce publicly, celebrate (Isaiah 12:4; Psalm 105:1), or as here, to invoke (so Genesis 4:26; Genesis 12:8, and most frequently). The meaning is of course not an invocation rendered merely by the lips (the “Lord, Lord” of Matthew 7:21), but one which is also the expression of the genuine feelings of the heart. In the context, it is evident that the prophet is speaking only of the Jews; but the terms used by him are perfectly general (“whosoever”); the conditions of salvation are not membership in Israel, but trust in God: hence implicitly others besides Israel are included in the expression; and in this wider sense the words are quoted by S. Paul (Romans 10:13) to shew that the Greek not less than the Jew is entitled to share in the salvation of the Gospel.

shall be deliverance] there shall be those that escape (R.V.),—viz. from the impending judgment (comp. in the Hebr. Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 37:32). The same words in Obadiah 1:17 “But in Mount Zion there shall be those that escape,” whence indeed the clause following, “as Jehovah hath said,” makes it probable that Joel quotes them.

and among the fugitives (shall be) those whom Jehovah calleth] i.e. among the fugitives who in various places escape the disaster there will be some whom Jehovah will also call to His salvation. The reference is probably to the Jews dispersed among the heathen: amongst these also there will be some worthy to participate in the deliverance more abundantly shared in by their brethren of Judah and Jerusalem.

The word rendered fugitives is the one which regularly denotes those who succeed in escaping after an engagement, the capture of a city, &c., as Joshua 10:20 (“the fugitives which took flight of them”), 28, 37, 39 (R.V. none remaining; but the root, as Arabic shews, means to run away in fright): comp. Joshua 8:22 “left them no fugitive, and none escaping”; similarly Jeremiah 42:17.

The words from Joel 2:28 to Joel 2:32 (delivered) are quoted in Acts 2:17-21[46] by St Peter, with reference to the outpouring of the Spirit upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. It would be incorrect, however, to regard a particular occasion as exhausting the fulfilment of the prophecy. Joel’s words—like Jeremiah 31:33 f., for instance,—look rather to that fuller illumination to be enjoyed in general by God’s people in the future, which is to be a characteristic of the Christian Church throughout the ages; they are “not a prediction of the event of Pentecost, but of the new order of things of which Pentecost was the first great example” (A. B. Davidson, Expositor, March, 1888, p. 208).

[46] In the main (though there are slight deviations) from the LXX. ‘Notable’ (ἐπιφανὴς) in Joel 2:20 as here in LXX. Joel 2:31 : ἐπιφανὴς is a rend. of נורא (as though = נִרְאֶה) elsewhere; see Joel 2:11; Jdg 13:6; Habakkuk 1:7; Malachi 1:14; Malachi 4:5. The phrasing of Acts 2:39, “For to you is the promise and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God may call,” is evidently based upon Joel 2:32 b.

Joel 2:32For Joel 2:31, see at Joel 2:1, Joel 2:11. But it is only by the world and its children that the terrible day of the Lord is to be feared; to the children of God it brings redemption (Luke 21:28). Whoever calls upon the name of Jehovah, i.e., the believing worshippers of the Lord, will be exempted from the judgment. "Calling upon the name of Jehovah" signifies not only the public worship of God, but inward worship also, in which the confession of the mouth is also an expression of the heart. Upon Mount Zion will be pelētâh, i.e., not deliverance, but that which has escaped, or, in a collective sense, those who have escaped the judgment, as the synonym serı̄dı̄m, which follows, clearly shows. Mount Zion and Jerusalem are not mentioned here as the capital of the kingdom of Judah, but, according to their spiritual significance, as the place where the Lord was enthroned in the sanctuary in the midst of His people; that is to say, as the central spot of the kingdom of God. Consequently it is not "to the whole nation of Judah as such that deliverance is promised, on the assumption that in those times of distress the population of the land would have streamed to Jerusalem" (Hitzig), but only to those who call upon the name of the Lord, i.e., to the true worshippers of God, upon whom the Spirit of God is poured out. The words כּאשׁר אמר יי are not synonymous with נאם יי or כּי יי דּבּר (Joel 3:8; Isaiah 1:20; Isaiah 40:5, etc.), but point to a prophetic word already known, viz., to Obadiah 1:17, where the saying of the Lord, that in the midst of the judgment there would be rescued ones upon Mount Zion, occurs word for word. וּבשּׂרידים also depends תּהיה ... כּי: "and among those that remain will be those whom Jehovah calls." Sârı̄d is one who is left after a judgment or a battle; hence in Jeremiah 42:17 and Joshua 8:22 it is connected with pâlı̄t (one who has escaped from destruction), so that here serı̄dı̄m and pelētâh are actually alike, the serı̄dı̄m being just the escaped ones upon Mount Zion. Through this clause there is appended to what precedes the fresh definition, that among the saved will be found those whom the Lord calls. These may either be the believing portion of Judah, or believers from among the heathen. If we adopted the first view, the sentence would simply contain a more precise definition of the thought, that none are saved but those who call upon the name of the Lord, and therefore would preclude the possibility of including all the inhabitants of Judah among those who call upon the Lord. If we took the second view, the sentence would add this new feature to the thought contained in the first hemistich, that not only citizens of Jerusalem and Judah would be saved in the time of judgment, but all who called upon the Lord out of every nation. The latter view deserves the preference, because the expression קרא בשׁם יי did not need a more precise definition. The salvation of believers from the heathen world is implied in the first half of the verse, since it is simply connected with calling upon the name of the Lord. The Apostle Paul has quoted it in this sense in Romans 10:13, as a proof of the participation of the heathen in the Messianic salvation.

If we proceed now to seek for the fulfilment of this prophecy, the Apostle Peter quoted the whole of these verses (28-32), with the exception of Joel 2:32, after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples, on the first Whitsuntide feast of the apostolical church, as having been fulfilled by that Whitsuntide miracle (Acts 2:17-21); and in his subsequent reference to this fulfilment in Joel 2:39, "For the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call," he even adds the closing words of Joel (Joel 2:32).

(Note: In quoting this passage Peter follows the lxx on the whole, even in their deviations from the original text, viz., in ἀπὸ τοῦ πνεύματός μου instead of רוּחי (Joel 2:28, Joel 2:29), in the addition of μου to ἐπὶ τοὺς δούλους and δούλας (Joel 2:29), in ἐπιφανῆ for נורא (Joel 2:4), because these differences were of no consequence, so far as his object was concerned. On the other hand, he has interpreted καὶ ἔσται μετὰ ταῦτα (והיה אחרי כן) by καὶ ἔσται ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέπαις, and added for the same purpose, λέγει ὁ Θεός. He has also transposed the two clauses καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ... and καὶ οἱ νεανίσκοι, probably simply for the purpose of letting the youths follow the sons and daughters, and placing the old men in the third row; and lastly, he has added ἄνω to ἐν τῶ οὐρανῶ ..., and κάτω to ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, to give greater prominence to the antithesis.)

Consequently the Christian church from time immemorial has recognised in the miracle of Pentecost the outpouring of the Spirit of God predicted in Joel 2:1, Joel 2:2 :

(Note: See Hengstenberg, Christol. i. pp. 345, 346, translation.)

so that the only point upon which there has been a division of opinion has been, whether the fulfilment is to be confined to the feast of Pentecost (as nearly all the fathers and earlier Lutheran commentators suppose); or is to be sought for in certain events of Joel's own time, as well as the first feast of Pentecost (Ephr. Syr., Grot., and others); or, lastly, whether the occurrence at the first feast of Pentecost is to be regarded as simply the beginning of the fulfilment which has continued throughout the whole of the Christian era (Calov., Hengstenberg, and many others). Even the Rabbins, with the exception of R. Mose Hakkohen in Aben Ezra, who sees only a reference to some event in Joel's own time, expect the fulfilment to take place in the future on the advent of the Messiah (Yarchi, Kimchi, Abarb.). Of the three views expressed by Christian commentators, the third is the only one that answers to the nature of the prophecy as correctly interpreted. The outpouring of the Spirit of God, or the communication of it in all its fulness to the covenant nation, without any limitation whatever, is a standing mark with the prophets of the Messianic times (compare Isaiah 32:15 with Isaiah 11:9 and Isaiah 54:13) or new covenant (Jeremiah 31:33-34; Ezekiel 36:26.; Zechariah 12:10). And even if the way was opened and prepared for this by the prophetic endowment of particular members of the old covenant, these sporadic communications of the Spirit of God in the Old Testament times cannot be regarded as the first steps in the fulfilment of our prophecy, since they were not outpourings of the Spirit of God. This first took place when Christ Jesus the Son of God had completed the work of redemption, i.e., on the first feast of Pentecost after the resurrection and ascension of Christ. Previous to this the words of John 7:39 applied: οὔπω ἦν πνεῦμα ἅγιον, ὅτι ὁ Ἰησοῦς οὐδέπω ἐδοξάστη. The reference in this prophecy to the founding of the new covenant, or Christian church, is also evident from the words, "And it shall come to pass afterwards," for which Peter substituted, "And it shall come to pass in the last days," interpreting אחרי כן, the use of which was occasioned by the retrospective reference to בּראשׁון in Joel 2:23, with perfect correctness so far as the fact was concerned, by the formula answering to באחרית הימים, viz., ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις, which always denotes the Messianic future, or times of the completion of the kingdom of God. And just as achărē khēn precludes any reference to an event in Joel's own time, so does ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις preclude any fulfilment whatever in the times before Christ. But however certain it may be that the fulfilment first took place at the first Christian feast of Pentecost, we must not stop at this one pentecostal miracle. The address of the Apostle Peter by no means requires this limitation, but rather contains distinct indications that Peter himself saw nothing more therein than the commencement of the fulfilment, "but a commencement, indeed, which embraced the ultimate fulfilment, as the germ enfolds the tree." We see this in Acts 2:38, where he exhorts his hearers to repent and be baptized, and adds the promise, "and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost;" and again in Acts 2:39, where he observes, "The promise belongs to you and to your children, and to all that are afar off (τοῖς εἰς μακράν), as many as the Lord our God will call." For if not only the children of the apostle's contemporaries, but also those that were afar off - i.e., not foreign Jews, but the far-off heathen - were to participate in the gift of the Holy Spirit, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which commenced at Pentecost must continue as long as the Lord shall receive into His kingdom those who re still standing afar off, i.e., until the fulness of the Gentiles shall have entered the kingdom of God. See Hengstenberg, Christology, i. pp. 326ff. transl., where further reasons are adduced for taking this to be the allusion in the prophecy.

There is far greater diversity in the opinions entertained as to the fulfilment of Joel 2:30-32 : some thinking of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans (Grotius, Turretius, and the Socinians); and others of judgments upon the enemies of the covenant nation shortly after the return from the Babylonian exile (Ephr. Syr. and others); others, again, of the last judgment (Tertull., Theod., Crus.), or the destruction of Jerusalem and the last judgment (Chrys.). Of all these views, those which refer to events occurring before the Christian era are irreconcilable with the context, according to which the day of the Lord will come after the outpouring of the Spirit of God. Even the wonders connected with the death of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, of which some have thought, cannot properly be taken into account, although the marvellous phenomena occurring at the death of Christ - the darkening of the sun, the shaking of the earth, and the rending of the rocks - were harbingers of the approaching judgment, and were recognised by the ὄχλοις as warnings to repent, and so escape from the judgment (Matthew 27:45, Matthew 27:51; Luke 23:44, Luke 23:48). For the signs in heaven and earth that are mentioned in Joel 2:30 and Joel 2:31 were to take place before the coming of the terrible day of the Lord, which would dawn after the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon all flesh, and which came, as history teaches, upon the Jewish nation that had rejected its Saviour on the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and upon the Gentile world-power in the destruction of the Roman empire, and from that time forward breaks in constant succession upon one Gentile nation after another, until all the ungodly powers of this world shall be overthrown (cf. Joel 3:2). On account of this internal connection between the day of Jehovah and the outpouring of the Spirit upon the church of the Lord, Peter also quoted vv. 30-32 of this prophecy, for the purpose of impressing upon the hearts of all the hearers of his address the admonition, "Save yourselves from this perverse generation" (Acts 2:40), and also of pointing out the way of deliverance from the threatening judgment to all who were willing to be saved.

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