When you are faced with an Old Testament passage being quoted in the New Testament, don’t just read the excerpt you have quoted before you in Acts. Go back to the quotation in the Old Testament and investigate the original passage and compare it with the passage quoted in the New Testament.
Sound the alarm in Jerusalem! Raise the battle cry on My holy mountain! Let everyone tremble in fear because the day of the LORD is upon us. It is a day of darkness and gloom, a day of thick clouds and deep blackness. Suddenly, like dawn spreading across the mountains, a great and mighty army appears. Nothing like it has been seen before or will ever be seen again. Fire burns in front of them, and flames follow after them. Ahead of them the land lies as beautiful as the Garden of Eden. Behind them is nothing but desolation; not one thing escapes. They look like horses; they charge forward like warhorses. Look at them as they leap along the mountaintops. Listen to the noise they make—like the rumbling of chariots, like the roar of fire sweeping across a field of stubble, or like a mighty army moving into battle. Fear grips all the people; every face grows pale with terror. The attackers march like warriors and scale city walls like soldiers. Straight forward they march, never breaking rank. They never jostle each other; each moves in exactly the right position. They break through defences without missing a step. They swarm over the city and run along its walls. They enter all the houses, climbing like thieves through the windows. The earth quakes as they advance, and the heavens tremble. The sun and moon grow dark, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD is at the head of the column. He leads them with a shout. This is His mighty army, and they follow His orders. The day of the LORD is an awesome, terrible thing. Who can possibly survive?
That is why the LORD says, “Turn to Me now, while there is time. Give Me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the LORD your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Who knows? Perhaps He will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine to the LORD your God as before. Blow the ram’s horn in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Gather all the people—the elders, the children, and even the babies. Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her private room. Let the priests, who minister in the LORD’s presence, stand and weep between the entry room to the Temple and the altar. Let them pray, “Spare Your people, LORD! Don’t let Your special possession become an object of mockery. Don’t let them become a joke for unbelieving foreigners who say, ‘Has the God of Israel left them?'”
Then the LORD will pity His people and jealously guard the honour of His land. The LORD will reply, “Look! I am sending you grain and new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy your needs. You will no longer be an object of mockery among the surrounding nations. I will drive away these armies from the north. I will send them into the parched wastelands. Those in the front will be driven into the Dead Sea, and those at the rear into the Mediterranean. The stench of their rotting bodies will rise over the land.” Surely the LORD has done great things! Don’t be afraid, My people. Be glad now and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things. Don’t be afraid, you animals of the field, for the wilderness pastures will soon be green. The trees will again be filled with fruit; fig trees and grapevines will be loaded down once more. Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the LORD your God! For the rain He sends demonstrates His faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring. The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil. The LORD says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the LORD your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will My people be disgraced. Then you will know that I am among My people Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other. Never again will My people be disgraced.
“Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out My Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. In those days I will pour out My Spirit even on servants—men and women alike. And I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth—blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and terrible day of the LORD arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved, for some on Mount Zion in Jerusalem will escape, just as the LORD has said. These will be among the survivors whom the LORD has called.Joel 2:1-32
“At the time of those events,” says the LORD, “when I restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming My people, My special possession, for scattering My people among the nations, and for dividing up My land. They threw dice to decide which of My people would be their slaves. They traded boys to obtain prostitutes and sold girls for enough wine to get drunk. “What do you have against Me, Tyre and Sidon and you cities of Philistia? Are you trying to take revenge on Me? If you are, then watch out! I will strike swiftly and pay you back for everything you have done. You have taken My silver and gold and all My precious treasures, and have carried them off to your pagan temples. You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, so they could take them far from their homeland. But I will bring them back from all the places to which you sold them, and I will pay you back for everything you have done. I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the people of Arabia, a nation far away. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
Say to the nations far and wide: “Get ready for war! Call out your best warriors. Let all your fighting men advance for the attack. Hammer your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Train even your weaklings to be warriors. Come quickly, all you nations everywhere. Gather together in the valley.” And now, O LORD, call out your warriors! Let the nations be called to arms. Let them march to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I, the LORD, will sit to pronounce judgment on them all. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread the grapes, for the winepress is full. The storage vats are overflowing with the wickedness of these people. Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the LORD will soon arrive. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will no longer shine. The LORD’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, and the heavens and he earth will shake. But the LORD will be a refuge for His people, a strong fortress for the people of Israel.
Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, live in Zion, My holy mountain. Jerusalem will be holy forever, and foreign armies will never conquer her again. In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk. Water will fill the stream beds of Judah, and a fountain will burst forth from the LORD’s Temple, watering the arid valley of acacias. But Egypt will become a wasteland and Edom will become a wilderness, because they attacked the people of Judah and killed innocent people in their land. But Judah will be filled with people forever, and Jerusalem will endure through all generations. I will pardon My people’s crimes, which I have not yet pardoned; and I, the LORD, will make My home in Jerusalem with My people.”Joel 3:1-21
A Psalm of David.
Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to You for refuge. said to the LORD, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from You.” The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them! Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods. LORD, You alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land You have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For You will not leave my soul among the dead or allow Your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever.Psalm 16:1-11
A psalm of David.The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at My right hand until I humble Your enemies, making them a footstool under Your feet.” The LORD will extend Your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem; You will rule over Your enemies. When You go to war, Your people will serve You willingly. You are arrayed in holy garments, and Your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew. The LORD has taken an oath and will not break His vow: “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” The Lord stands at Your right hand to protect You. He will strike down many kings when His anger erupts. He will punish the nations and fill their lands with corpses; He will shatter heads over the whole earth. But He Himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way. He will be victorious.Psalm 110:1-7
I know the above comparisons look complicated with the colour coding everywhere, but it is not as complicated as it looks. I have coloured the changes or additions in Acts from the Old Testament passages in Green. I figure that it is Luke writing it so I will stay with the colour Green for Luke as I used in the harmonization of Gospel passages. But in actual fact, it is Peter or the Holy Spirit who is behind the changes. I use blue myself to code prophetic utterances,. Look initially for the Big Picture comparisons rather than the little details. Most of the single word changes between Peter and Joel for instance, are simply alternative words for the same concept, or a matter of translation style. Here are the examples:
- GOD SAYS ~ I
- POUR FORTH OF ~ pour out
- SHALL ~ will
- BONDSLAVES ~ servants
- BOTH ~ alike
- GRANT ~ cause
- SKY ABOVE ~ heavens
- VAPOR ~ columns
- BE TURNED INTO ~ become
- SHALL COME ~ arrive
The Old Testament quoted portions are capitalised to match the format used in the New Testament portions.
But here are some changes which I suspect are significant:
|Changes in Quote (NT)||Original (OT)|
|AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS||Then, after doing all those things|
|YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS||Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions.|
|ALL MANKIND||all people|
|IT SHALL BE THAT||for some on Mount Zion in Jerusalem will escape, just as the LORD has said. These will be among the survivors whom the LORD has called|
Also, I am sure you have noted another difference, especially those of you who have done Deeper Bible to higher levels and bothered to do the exercises. In this case, the quotes are not dependant on context. They merely have been lifted out of the Old Testament context to provide the link or connection. Perhaps with the exception of the reference to Psalm 110 which is an ADVENT Psalm, ushering in the King. What better Psalm to refer to when it signifies the Coming of the King in this case. Oh, not the advent of the physical bodied King among us. For that we will have to wait until the Second Coming. But certainly the Coming of His Spirit to work among us is an ADVENT in itself.
I confess to you that I am not sure about the significance of the reversal of Young Men and Old Men by Peter in his speech. I am sure there is a significance. I am sure Peter knew well the accepted order of this passage from Joel. But he chose to reverse it and put the Young Men first. Why? Another of those biblical mysteries I need to ponder. Certainly I will. I trust you will too. Every detail of Scripture is important. I will address the significant changes I have listed above in the next Gem. Then move on to the additional material in Peter’s speech and finally put it all together. That is what is ahead of us. I tell you in case you would like to do it before I do it. At this point I am aware that you have a lot of detail in this Gem although not much interpretative comment. I won’t begin the comment yet to avoid overwhelming you with detail. Continuing process in the next Gem.
If you have hope in the future you will have power in the present!Chris Voss
Truth is not dependent on the approval of others. If a thousand people say something is right, it may still be wrong!Rick Godwin
Don’t ask God to guide your footsteps if you’re not willing to move your feet.Lisa Zen Purba
A computer makes it possible to do, in half an hour, tasks which were completely unnecessary to do before.Anon
I added the last quote because I just spent an hour sorting out the colour coding and formatting on the website.