NextLevel Online: Messianic Prophecy

Session 7: Joel 2:28-32 / Acts 2:17-21

Joel 2:28-32 / Acts 2:17-21 - This will help us understand how the NT church understood what Jesus came to do.


Classroom Instructions

Materials: Lesson Outline

Joel 2:28-32 / Acts 2:17-21

  • This will help us understand how the NT church understood what Jesus came to do.

NT Context

  • Now, the apostles are filled with the Spirit and stand up on the Day of Pentecost in order to proclaim truth.
  • The sermon, like any good sermon, starts off with a disclaimer that the preacher is not drunk. Then, Peter launches straight into Joel 2.
    • The text immediately moves then to talk about Jesus.
  • After describing Jesus' work, Peter proclaims that he is the Messiah: "God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
    • They repent and are baptized; 3,000 added to the church on that day.

OT Context

  • The OT book of Joel moves back and forth between judgment and blessing.

    • The first chapter or two include this call for both mourning and repentance, because God's judgment will soon come.
    • Starting in Chapter 2 and going through Chapter 3, though, we find God promising blessing for Israel but judgment for the nations.
  • Analysis of 2:28-32

    • 28 seems to be the action, and 29 is the result.
    • Then, 30 and 31 specify what else will happen along with that.
      • Basically, this provides two progressive - and supernatural - events (or series of events) that will occur.
    • 32ab describe a reality, but the only reason is because of 32cd.
    • The whole thing, then, connects as 28-31 being an Action, and 32 being the Result.
  • The main point of this text seems to focus on the cause/effect or action/result of what will happen when God's Spirit is poured out.

Biblical Development

  • This idea of the pouring out of the Spirit is actually developed all throughout the OT. Two specific places...

    • Jer 31:33-34 speaks of the democratization of the knowledge of God. This passage in Joel makes clear how that might happen...through the Spirit of God.
    • Ezek 36:24-28. God will put his spirit within his people.
  • God will also save for himself some, but they will only be able to be saved because of God's gracious actions.

NT Usage

  • This seems to me to be Direct Prophetic Fulfillment. This is what Joel is literally coming true as they prophesy.

    • Notice: we don't have all of the details of Joel 2 coming to pass here. Peter and the 11 are speaking in tongues, and he says, "this fulfills Joel 2." This helps us, then, perhaps understand how the later part of Joel 2, the sun to darkness and the moon to blood, could have been fulfilled already as well.
  • Remember our guiding principles? Several are at play here.

    • The end times have begun in Jesus, so Jesus is the "goal" of history. This text, perhaps more than any others we have looked at together, highlights his work.
  • Notice, however, how Peter uses it. He quotes from all of Joel, but he leaves out the very last part. Why? Well, because he saves it for the end of his sermon. It is the punchline....even though you crucified Jesus, remember that the Joel 2 promise is for you because God is good, not because you are.

    • Interestingly enough, Jews interpreted this only to refer to Israel. What was shocking to them was when this same reality happened to Gentiles in Acts 10. Only then did they begin to realize that Joel 2:32 applied to all people, not just to Israel itself.


  • This occurs during the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost. This was a time when they observed and celebrated God's faithfulness in harvest.

About NextLevel Online

The vision of Ozark Christian College is to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and edifying Christians worldwide. The mission of Ozark Christian College is to train men and women for Christian service as a degree-granting institution of biblical higher education.