These are the significant changes between Joel and Peter (Luke):
|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|
I will deal with these one by one in order.
IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS (Peter) / In Those Days (Joel)
What does Joel mean “in Those Days” and Peter by “In The Last Days”? There is much debate.
- A) The Last Days of this era or dispensation of the world began with the First Coming of Christ and continues until His Second Coming.
- B) The entire period that we know as the Church Age or Christian Age.
- C) The period of time immediately preceding the Parousia (Appearing) of the Messiah.
- D) The Events spoken of by Joel and Peter refer to what happened at the time of Pentecost, immediately following Jesus ascension.
- E) The Events began at Pentecost and were fulfilled at the end of the time frame described by the Book of Acts
- F) The Events began at Pentecost and will be fulfilled at the End of the Age
- G) The Events began at Pentecost were partially fulfilled in the period following Pentecost but will find complete fulfillment during the time immediately preceding the Second Coming.
There is much debate over the intention of Joel in using this phrase. Many like to confine the intention to the period of time within the Old Testament, or until the early period of time in the Church Era. Some claim he could not have meant anything wider than that. Some also claim because it is set in an Old Testament context therefore it must be related specifically to the Jews in Joel’s mind. All Jewish flesh. But we are told by Paul and Peter that the Prophets did not know what their words were referring to but the Spirit within them was pointing to future events that their minds could not conceive of. The point being, the Spirit within Joel and others knew of the events which given the limited understanding of the Prophet himself he could not have known. I personally believe when it comes to prophetic utterances that we have to be prepared to receive the miraculous and not allow our minds to be swayed by what makes sense from a human point of view. Enough said although much more could be said.
I told you in the last Gem I am not sure about the significance of the reversal of Young Men and Old Men by Peter in his speech. Peter has to have known the original reading from from Joel but instead of quoting Joel accurately he switches the order. Joel’s “Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions” becomes Peter’s “YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS”. Two of you have asked me why the clipped material from the Old Testament in Peter’s speech is written in capitals. It is simply the convention for a number of publishers to print Old Testament quotes in capital letters. I preserved the practice so it would be clear to you which passage was being referred to.
As I have been working on this passage an answer occurs to me which at the moment satisfies me but I hasten to add it would not surprise me if there is something else behind this change. I suspect Peter’s switch in order of Young Men and Old Men as opposed to Old Men and Young Men is to highlight the reversal of the traditional. The cultural context is one which honours older people and people of distinction. Either distinguished because of what they have done or distinguished because of their standing in the Jewish community. So it is more natural for the elders and for men to take the lead. Notice in Chapters 1 and 2 Luke tells us of a number of older people (Zechariah, Simeon and Anna) who heard from God and spoke words of prophecy over the Baby Messiah. Culturally it was appropriate that God should speak through those who held religious office or through the elders of the community or through men as opposed to women. Hence in Joel’s day it was entirely appropriate to expect God to speak through the Old Men. Notice also the examples where by social convention is turned upside down. Women take a part in the heavenly revelation and outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Unheard until this time. I wonder what Joel thought when he first uttered the words 500 years before Christ. That men and women alike would take part in experiencing this outpouring of the Spirit. Yes ok, we can cope with the likes of Deborah being involved, or Anna, but really, their sons and daughters too. But it doesn’t stop there. Notice the element “this outpouring will be upon your manservants and maidservants too. MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN or what’s more “I will pour out My Spirit even on servants—men and women alike.” Yes God says, not only will I pour My Spirit out on men and women in the same way, but I will also pour Him out on the servants in the household. This was not in accord with the ancient traditions of a hierarchical society. But the coming availability of His Spirit would astound them.Those who will be recipients of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit are ALL FLESH, ALL MANKIND (using MAN in the generic sense). Not just prophets and priests. Not primarily men and sometimes women. Not old dudes but young people too. ALL FLESH will receive Him. Given that context it makes sense that the Holy Spirit would inspire Peter to turn the order around. This outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God is to be a whole new order of God dealing with His people. And in that context it is not to be just for the Jews but also for the non-Jews (Gentiles). God’s willingness to bless is for ALL PEOPLE.
Notice the repetitive elements which emphasize this in the following verses. This was not just for the those who became the Holy Spirit inspired witnesses but it was also true of the recipients. This new outpouring of the Holy Spirit was complete and radically new. No wonder Peter changes the word “people” to “mankind”. Note that “all mankind” is on the witness side of the ledger. This could happen to you. You could become a witness filled with the Spirit and emboldened by the power of His work within you.
Isn’t that what Jesus told them before the Ascension. Wait for the Holy Spirit and you will BE my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the outer most parts of the earth. I wonder if any of them pondered on the words Jesus had spoken to them of the widening geographic circle of the outpouring and concluded that what was happening was only the first phase of what Jesus had spoken about. This was just the beginning of something new.
Never say no to responsibility. Every responsibility is an opportunity for promotion.Anon
When you trust God to fulfill the promises He’s given you, all the forces of darkness cannot stop God from bringing your dreams to pass.Anon
Once you make peace with the possibility of failure; you are prepared to succeed!Rick Godwin
Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.Anon