It's time to derive your worldview from the Bible

Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”

by Charles Clough
Always envelop problems inside the Word of God. The detail of prophetic fulfillment reflects the veracity of the Word of God. The Old Testament Jewish calendar is the timepiece of human history. Mastering the logic of Peter’s presentation at the Pentecost event. Questions and answers.
Series:Chapter 2 – The Earthly Origin of the Church
Duration:1 hr 26 mins 27 secs

© Charles A. Clough 2001

Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003

Part 6: New Truths of the Kingdom Aristocracy
Chapter 2 – The Earthy Origin of the Church

Lesson 169 – Basic Calendar for Israel, Problem Solving by Peter and a Return to Acts

22 Mar 2001
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD

I want to make sure that we’re all clear on the calendar of the nation of Israel so that we under­stand the significance of the Pentecost happening. One of the proofs, one of the evidences of the Word of God and the veracity of the Word of God is how the prophecies that it makes are so specific and so detailed, and the fulfillment is so detailed. We’ve been studying Israel’s calendar because it’s the only calendar on earth that has been inspired by God and reflects history.


Calendar Event

Picture Given

Historical “fulfillment”


Judgment/Salvation exodus from Egypt via the judgments and the blood on the doors

Christ’s Judgment/Salvation exodus from Satan’s dominion via the Cross

Unleavened Bread

No continuity between the pagan culture of Egypt and Israel

No continuity between the old life in Adam and the new life in Christ


Assurance of a future, full harvest by the first barley crop

Assurance of a future, full resurrection by Christ’s resurrection


Harvest realized and laid up for use

Christ’s resurrection power ready for national use by the coming of the Spirit


Reminder of the following two events

None yet

Day of Atonement

National repentance and confession

None yet

Feast of Tabernacles

Enjoyment of God’s finished harvest

None yet

Table 4. Israel’s supernaturally-designed calendar as an outline of history.

On the chart on page 131, we’ve gone through the seven highlights of Israel’s calendar, at least their ancient calendar, there are some more Jewish holidays in there since then but in the New Testament times these were the key events. The important thing to recall is that the first four form the spring cycle; the last three form the fall cycle. The first four have been literally fulfilled; the last three have never been literally fulfilled. That tells you that history is still progressing and that Israel is still God’s time piece. Passover fulfilled the very day that Jesus Christ died; it’s not an accident, He died exactly on Passover. We have the feast of Unleavened Bread and then we have Firstfruits. Exactly on the day of Firstfruits Jesus Christ rose from the dead, because Israel’s calendar is a time piece of history. Exactly on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came because the calendar is a time piece of history.

That chart shows, however, that Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles have not yet been fulfilled. There’s nothing in history that matches those, but we can speculate that what we do know from that fall cycle is that whatever event those three feast days, holidays on the calendar refer to it will happen in the fall. We don’t know exactly what the feast of Trumpets, what the day of Trumpets commemorates; it will commemorate something, possibly some event in Israel’s history that will focus attention on the Messiah. The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur we speculate will be the day in which the nation Israel will confess Isaiah 53; that’s when their eyes will be opened to who Jesus Christ was and they will confess nationally … they will confess nationally that He is the Christ. Once that happens then the prophecy that Jesus said on Palm Sunday when He rode into the city of Jerusalem and said you will not see me again until you say “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.” Therefore, when the Day of Atonement happens in some autumn season in the future and the nation Israel confesses their sin and looks to the atonement of the Messiah, then very shortly thereafter the Millennial Kingdom starts because the Feast of Tabernacles seems to picture that peace. There’s a matter of days, weeks between the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. So when it happens, it happens pretty fast. But that hasn’t happened yet, so we’re only halfway through the calendar of Israel.

We’re going to spend most of our time tonight in Acts 2; this gets to be a little complicated. This is why it requires a little bit of understanding what we’ve come through. We looked at the birth of Christ, the life of Christ, the death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ and the ascension of Christ. If you think about it, those of you who either have come out of Roman Catholicism or you have Roman Catholic friends, you always can tell a crucifix in Roman Catholicism from a crucifix in Protestantism by what? Jesus is still on it. Catholic crucifixes always have Jesus on it. Protestant crucifixes have Jesus off of it. That’s saying something. In Catholicism, Jesus, the mass is a recapitulation all the time of the work of the cross, the work of the cross, the mass, the mass, the mass, we redo the sacrifice, we redo the sacrifice, we redo the sacrifice, so Jesus is on the cross.

I remember someone saying once that there was a Catholic school in New York City, they have a lot of Catholic schools there, and there was this Jewish boy who was misbehaving so his parents decided to straighten him out and they sent him to the Catholic school and the boy came home the first day almost trembling. The parents said what happened? He said I got in that classroom and I saw that guy on the cross and I knew they meant business around here. So if Catholicism has Jesus Christ on the cross, Protestants have at least got Him resurrected. But Protestant theology, I don’t believe, has pushed far enough in the chain here. We don’t talk too much about the ascension of Jesus Christ.

In talking to the missionaries from Haiti last week, of course Haiti is a country that was dedicated to Satan, it’s kind of a rare thing in history, it was self-consciously dedicated to Satan because the Haitians wanted to get rid of the French and so they prayed and they had ceremonies to Satan that if Satan would give them freedom from France Haiti would serve Satan forever. The result of that was that it’s an entrenched culture of voodooism and demonic stuff, etc. We were talking about the importance of emphasizing this in the demonic culture, because in a demonic culture they were telling us you can go to witch doctors …, and by the way, they blew away my image of witch doctor by pointing out that they’re usually very well dressed and would pass very well for western businessmen, most of them are wealthy by Haitian standards.

It’s remarkable that the witch doctors to whom they’ve been witnessing can tell you the whole gospel. Not only can they tell you the whole issue, but then they’ll conclude, of course you’re sitting there as a Christian wondering if you know the gospel why don’t you believe, and their response is very interesting. They say we can’t, we envy you Christians because you will go to Heaven forever and we know we go to Hell, we know that Satan once he’s through with us he will discard us like a piece of trash. But we cannot believe. So they said well why can’t you believe? And they said because it would betray the covenant that we have made.

This is the kind of mentality of a very damning type of mentality in that situation. Of course the irony is that one of the greatest opponents to missionary work in Haiti right now are the sociolo­gists who have come down under the auspices of the United Nations. She was telling us about how she had taken some kids to the pool and this lady was from the U.N. delegation was also at the pool and found out she was a missionary and almost yelled at her, how despicable, you missionaries come down here and try to rupture this voodoo culture, this is their national heritage and you should be happy with it, and you should stop trying to interfere with it; same kind of thing, cultural relativity.

What did we say; go back in the Old Testament. What began with Abraham? When the pagan civilization, we have the Noahic civilization paganized out, God called Abraham and what happened? The disruptive kingdom. From Abraham’s call in 2000 BC, all the way to this year we have had a situation where everywhere the Word of God goes it has an exclusivist claim because beginning with Abraham God does not reveal Himself to all people directly. He reveals Himself to an elect special subset of the human race, who then becomes missionaries to the rest of the human race. That act is profoundly disturbing, disruptive and even evil from the standpoint of a person who believes there’s good in all men and everybody’s got a little piece of the truth, how arrogant you are, you Christians with your gospel thing that you think you’ve got the only way. It’s not our way. 2 + 2 is 4; I don’t get chewed out in math class because there’s only one answer to the problem. Why should we get chewed out in a spiritual area because there’s one answer to sin?

Here we are in a situation where Jesus Christ’s career consists of these crucial events. We need to understand how He is the focal point of all these things. We said that the Lord Jesus Christ - all of these events in His life are tremendous points to reflect upon and meditate on. All of them are anchoring critical doctrines and all of them require a great deal of attention and theological and spiritual balance or you find yourself in trouble real quick. We said here’s the birth of Jesus Christ, that’s the hypostatic union. What do we mean hypostatic union? Hypostasis means being, it’s the union of two natures, Jesus Christ undiminished deity united with true humanity, not phony humanity, not half humanity, not He’s just a human body in whom God dwelt. He had a human spirit, He had a human soul, He had a human body He had everything human, He was true humanity. But He was also undiminished deity united in one person without confusion forever, without confusion maintaining the Creator/creature distinction.

That’s critical. What that does, the birth of Jesus Christ, which is associated with the virgin birth and therefore ridiculed by all the critics, Jesus, Mary and Joseph didn’t know that that wasn’t supposed to happen. The hypostatic union is critical because it’s that union that ratifies the Creator/creature distinction on one hand, and at the same time in a day of skepticism, particularly in the area of literature, that guarantees that God can talk to man. Think about it. If Jesus Christ is undiminished deity united with true humanity in ONE person, not two, not a schizophrenic, in one person, then deity and humanity can fellowship. There’s the proof that the infinite Creator in His omniscience can commune with a finite creature with his limited experience, because it happened in the person of Jesus Christ. So we Christians don’t have a problem with language, we don’t have a problem that language has to be interpreted and you have to have all this cultural bias, etc. There’s no cultural bias going on here. Do you see what I’m saying? These are substantive thoughts and great truths that are not just religious. This applies to literature; this applies to philosophy; this applies to the theory of language. This is not just religious.

Then we come to Jesus Christ’s life and we’ll pick up on that further as we go further into the events of the New Testament but all these difficult doctrines that we talked about in connection with the life of Christ become critical when in the New Testament we are said to share the life of Christ. What was the life of Christ? What did we say about kenosis? We said that Jesus Christ gave up the what? Kenosis is giving up. He gave up the use of His attributes? NO, because He used His attributes. He gave up the voluntary use of His attributes. What does that mean? It means that He submitted to His Father’s will, He could not arbitrarily, when Satan said to Him turn these stones into bread, was Jesus omnipotent, could He have done that? Yes He could have.

But, because Jesus Christ was like a test pilot testing the aircraft, Jesus Christ preceding us, Jesus Christ had to rely on the Holy Spirit like we have to, and at that point even though He had omnipotence, we don’t have omnipotence it’s not even a temptation for us, but He had it and He refrained from using His omnipotence and instead relied upon the cues from His Father, relied upon the Holy Spirit and when they gave the green light and said hey, show your attributes, then He would show His attributes.

But He showed His attributes very, very selectively: the Garden of Gethsemane, the temple police come up there and they all hit the deck because all of a sudden He said “I AM,” and what caused that? Because suddenly His deity flashed forth in some spooky way that we don’t understand and these guys just went boom. He could, if He wanted to, reveal that, but that’s all kenosis and it’s a tremendous testimony to His mental attitude of faith, because that’s the passage in Philippians 2 where Paul says “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” and if you don’t understand the hypostatic union and kenosis you can’t really understand what Paul’s saying in Philippians 2.

Then we had impeccability, that Jesus Christ was able not to sin and in God’s plan looked at from His sovereignty He was not able to sin. He was infallible, and there is the defense of Scripture when we talk about an infallible Bible, Jesus was infallible. If Jesus couldn’t minister without error, then we would have an argument for the errancy of the Bible. But it’s the other way around; Jesus Christ demonstrated inerrancy every day of His life, so if Jesus Christ could demonstrate in His person, in experience, in real history, walking around Palestine inerrancy, what do we have a problem with the Bible for? If you have a problem with inerrancy in the Bible you’ve got a problem with Jesus Christ.

Then in His death, this was a tremendous event because that was the substitutionary blood atonement, looked forward to in the Old Testament and it’s that death and that death alone that is the basis for the forgiveness of sin. It’s not going to church, it’s not being baptized, it’s not dedicating your life to Christ, it’s not inviting Jesus into your heart, it’s not all the other stuff, it’s only one thing, the blood atonement of Jesus Christ, believe that He has paid for your sin personally and you trust in that and that alone. Anything else tacked on is not the gospel.

Then we have the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that’s the glorification issue. That is, the Lord Jesus Christ in resurrection shows something new in the history of the universe in that Jesus’ body is the first material, remember the resurrection is material—Jesus’ resurrection body is the first material component of the eternal universe. Jesus’ resurrection body is the first component of the eternal universe! We finished the ascension of Christ and now comes Pentecost.

The issue in Acts 2 is going to be on Jesus Christ’s ascension and the responsibility of that ascension for the next event which is Pentecost. That’s the argument. We don’t want to lose the forest for the trees because we’re going to get into the trees now very quickly. And there are certain people going around in our own camp, including coming out of Dallas Seminary, that are kind of fouling up the waters here in Acts 2. So let’s look at it and we’ll begin in verse 14.

Beginning at verse 14 through verse 36, what we want to do is master the logic of Peter’s presentation. In the notes, on page 31, I want you to follow under “The Day of Pentecost: The New Testament interpretation.” “It will be convenient to study the New Testament interpretation by looking at two apparently” please under line “apparently” “apparently different streams of thought put forward by Peter and Luke/Paul. Peter’s interpretation of the events occurred within minutes and is recorded for us in Acts 2:14–36. It primarily concerns the nation Israel. On the other hand, Luke portrays a longer historical perspective spanning the years described in his book of Acts from Pentecost to the imprisonment of Paul in Rome. As the close traveling companion of Paul, Luke undoubtedly reflects Paul’s view of the origin of the Church and the gradual realization of its existence as an entity separate from the nation Israel.

That’s what’s going on in Acts, a gradual realization that something else happened on Pentecost. I want to introduce this by pointing out as we look at Peter’s interpretation of Pentecost because Peter is interpreting Pentecost solely as it deals with the nation Israel. He is not talking about the Church; he probably doesn’t have a clue that the Church is even started yet. The Church has not emerged. Actually, we’ll find out from Paul and Luke, the Church was formed on the day of Pentecost, that every person who is a believer in Jesus Christ, this is the beginning of the body of Christ in history. But they don’t know that right now, and for a reason. Remember that funny passage where Jesus said if you had believed John the Baptist and accepted Me, the Kingdom would come now and he would be Elijah. But we know that John wasn’t Elijah, so there’s this contingency. If the nation had accepted Christ as Savior, the Kingdom would have come and that guy, John the Baptist, would have been Elijah.

The same kind of thing is happening here in Acts. Peter is going to, beginning in verse 14, address the nation and he is going to address specifically the issue of Israel and its Messiah and if you’ll skip down to the end of this address, look how he ends this address in verse 36. He says, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified. [37] Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’” When he got through this interpretation of the events of Pentecost it was just like a body blow to the people who had heard this thing. This is a sermon that cuts to the heart of the Jewish mind. This is a sermon that’s profoundly disturbing. In fact, this is a message that is eventually going to get Peter in jail. This is a message that will stimulate murder of believers because it, like Paul in Acts 17, like we don’t do today when we preach the gospel, Peter and Paul both encircled their addressees so there was no escape.

Paul in Acts 17 when he preached to pagans, what did he say? What was his conclusion? God calls all men everywhere to repentance and He has given assurance of this in that He has raised Jesus from the dead, and He will judge all men by the person of Christ. So you can believe, you can disbelieve, you’re going to meet Jesus Christ, period. Like it or not, believe it or not, it doesn’t matter whether you believe it, He is still judge. That is offensive; that is a very offensive, disturbing, politically incorrect message. This is what Peter’s doing here because in verse 36 it’s quite clear that he is blaming the nation for the crucifixion of Christ, he not only is blaming the nation but he has the audacity to say that the very guy you murdered is the guy that God made Kurios, the Lord, and the word Kurios is the word that is used to translate Yahweh in the Old Testament. Talk about get on the train or get off, this is a sermon that did it.

What we want to understand is how his logic works. This is not easy because Peter presumes a literacy of the Old Testament. We don’t have that literacy today so the average Christian reading Acts 2 is never going to get it; he doesn’t know enough about the Old Testament. And he’ll come up with something, well gee that’s an evangelistic sermon and we ought to do the same thing. No, this is not a Church Age evangelistic sermon in Acts 2:14–36. It is a specialized sermon at a critical point in national Israel’s history over their relationship with Jesus Christ. Yes, it applies to us and yes there are truths that apply, but it was not a typical Church Age evangelistic message.

Let’s go into the message, let’s look at the structure of the message before we go into the details. Notice if you have a modern translation you’ll see Acts 2:17–21 are set off because they’re quotations from the Old Testament. So immediately as you look at this passage you observe verses 17–21 is an Old Testament citation, specifically it’s Joel 2:28–32. Then if you look further down in the passage, verses 25–28 are also a quote from the Old Testament. This is from Psalm 16.

Then you have bits and pieces quoted; in verse 30 you see Psalm 132 quoted. And in verse 31 he’s referring back to Psalm 16. In verse 34 is some more pieces, there’s Psalm 110. So you’ve got Psalm 132, Psalm 16, and Psalm 110. That’s a lot of Old Testament texts and if you count the number of verses you’ll see it’s almost 50% of his sermon is citations out of the Old Testament. That’s why this makes it such a challenging passage to interpret correctly and accurately.

What we want to do is break it up into parts. Let’s watch what he does in verses 14-16 because that’s the lead into his first quote. What is he saying in verses 14-16? “But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them,” notice, who is he addressing, Greeks or Jews? Jews. He says “‘Men of Judea, and all you who live in Jerusalem,’” we said when tongues happened, verse 5, “there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven,” because they were there for the Pentecost feast. And they had heard all the languages, verses 7-13, and then they were all in amazement and they knew, verse 11 clearly says they understood them to be foreign languages. But then in verse 13 it says “others,” “others were mocking.” So it’s a second group of Jews that says these guys are drunk, they didn’t understand. So obviously the people in verse 13 by their remark, what do you know about them? Did they know those languages? No, so these guys were probably native Jews, Jews that were not polyglots, not people who spoke all these other languages.

So Peter is going to talk particularly to the men of Judea because they’re the ones that didn’t get to first base with the tongues, they still thinking the guys are drunk, because in verse 15 he addresses drunkenness, so it’s clear from his remark in verses 14–15 he must be referring to the “others” of verse 13, because it’s the people in verse 13 that have made the claim that these guys are drunk. So he’s addressing them because notice in verse 14 he’s not addressing the Elamites, he’s not addressing people from Mesopotamia, he’s not addressing Pontus, he’s not addressing people from Asia, he’s addressing people from Jerusalem and Judea. So these are his own people, living in his own backyard. [14, “Men of Judea, and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give heed to my words. [15] For these men are not drunk, as you suppose….”]

Verse 16, “but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel,” so now what is Peter doing? He’s doing what we ought to do and make a habit of in our lives, when we encounter some event, [or when] something that happens, we envelop it in the Word of God. Always wrap the Word of God around a problem. Learn to do that. Always take a situation in life and encase it inside the Word of God because if you don’t do that, that problem will encase the Word of God. It’s either the Word of God controls the event or the event is going to control your memory of the Word of God and you will not believe—the faith-rest principle. So in order to believe you’ve got to learn to control events, circumstances and situations by an interpretation based on the Word of God. That’s what Peter is doing.

He says this phenomenon that you have just heard, verse 11, “we hear them in our own languages speaking the mighty deeds of God,” that was a good observation that the out of town Jews say, he says this thing of the Word of God coming in other languages from a whole bunch of people, so here are all the people that were speaking in tongues, all these people talking in various languages, and they were presenting the deeds of God. So there was revelation occurring in a miraculous way through their mouth. So he says “this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel.”

Now he’s going to begin a quote, and he’s going to split the quote with a comment. So if you look very carefully at verses 17 and 18 you will notice at the end of verse 18 he injects a comment that tells you how he’s interpreting the Old Testament passage. It’s not a mystery. So we’re going to stop and take verses 17–18 first, because that’s what he did. Then we’re going to stop at the end of verse 18 and reflect on what he just said.

This is the citation from Joel. Verse 17, “And it shall be in the last days, God says, That I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; [18] even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit,” then Peter adds this comment, “and they shall prophesy.” So by adding that comment that cues us as to what was on Peter’s mind when he went back to that Old Testament text. That’s what he saw in that Old Testament text, that that Old Testament text was foretelling a time when revelation would come through what we would call “the lay people.” This wasn’t the classical standard prophets, this all of a sudden was a breaking out of revelation and the ordinary lay people were doing this. After all, if you think about it socially, where did Peter stand? Was he considered to be a lay person? You bet. He wasn’t in the leadership of the nation of Israel; he wasn’t in the high priesthood. He was just in the regular street people. That’s what he was, a business man, an ordinary person. So he’s saying don’t be shocked when this revelation’s happening here, it’s not coming through the high priest, it’s not coming through Isaiah, it’s not coming through a classical prophet, it’s coming through street people and that’s exactly what Joel said would happen.

Now we’ve got to go over to Joel to see the context of that passage in Joel. We want to look at this Joel passage to see what back there Joel was talking about and we want to remember that Joel ministered in the declining period of the nation. So we’ve got to rely on our knowledge of the Old Testament and you remember that we have the golden era of Solomon—that was the cultural zenith of the nation; everything from there on went downhill. It was during this time when the kingdom was in decline that the great prophets wrote. What did we say the great prophets did? They weren’t social reformers like you learn in some university college classroom by some liberal who thinks that he identifies with these social reformers. They weren’t social reformers, they were prosecuting attorneys. What they were doing was bringing the covenant of Moses to bear upon the nation and say God promised blessing for obedience and cursing for disobedience, you have disobeyed, therefore don’t be amazed when the Assyrians come in and they destroy your homes, they kill your husbands, they rape your wives and they turn your children into slaves. Don’t be shocked at that, God’s said that’s what would happen, because you were chosen people, you were supposed to shine with the Word of God, you were supposed to carry the Word of God forth and you didn’t do that, so your God …, and He has a right to do what He wants to do with you. So that’s the message of the prophets.

Now the prophets understood that sin was so entrenched in the nation there was no solution to the problem. By the way, here’s a political argument from the Scriptures. It’s amazing; people always say oh, the Bible is a religious book. It’s a political book and a science book too. One of the arguments of Scripture that comes out of this is that if the period prior to the monarchy, was democracy, Judges, everybody did what was right in their own eyes, that showed the sinfulness of the citizens. Who are the leaders here that caused all this mess? The politicians, the leaders. So if the people were sinners and had to have strong leadership and then the leadership failed, there’s no hope for the nation. Both the people and their leaders are sinners, according to the Old Testament and that’s why you can’t have a perfect society, and all the king’s men are not going to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, including the United Nations is not going to put the world back together again, or all the do-good programs are not going to put society back together again because the evidence is right here. Here you have a society that had the Word of God for its law code and they still couldn’t get it right.

Therefore the prophets in this period prophesied of the coming kingdom, and that’s when the coming kingdom that would have to have two qualities politically and spiritually. What do you suppose they must be? Two qualities. What were the two failures? Failure of the people, failure of the leaders. So in order to get the kingdom what do you have to have? A regenerated powerfully enabled people and you have to have perfect leadership and that’s where the big picture begins to grow, you have to have a perfect leader … a perfect leader, where are we going to get a perfect leader? The seed of David—that’s who’s going to be the perfect leader. So now the focus starts in the Old Testament on where do we get the perfect king to have the perfect kingdom? It’s got to be a perfect person. So there’s this anticipation.

Joel 2 is talking about the days just prior to the inauguration of that wonderful kingdom. So he looks forward in time, and in verse 28, we’re going to read this in its context. “And it will come about after this” or in the last days “that I will pour My spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters,” by the way, look carefully in Joel, who is the subject of “pour out?” We want to do a little grammar here, remember to spot this because Peter is going to turn this around. “I will pour out My Spirit,” God is the subject of the verb “pour out.” “I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. [29] And even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” End of the first citation of Peter’s quote.

Now he’s going to quote the second part of this. Verse 30, “And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire, and columns of smoke. [31] The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before” and this tells you contextually in the flow of history when Joel is looking here, “before the great and awesome of the LORD comes.” Now what is “the great and awesome day of the Lord?” It’s the coming of the kingdom and the judgments that are going to inaugurate that kingdom. Remember judgment/salvation, you can’t have salvation without judgment; you can’t have the kingdom without purging. The great and awesome day of the Lord is coming, so the signs in verses 30–31 precede the coming of the day of the Lord.

Now the conclusion of this little vignette inside Joel is verse 32, and verse 32 gives a tremendous sense of the thrust of this passage. What is the reason for pouring out the Spirit in verse 28? What is the reason for the wonders in the sky and on the earth in verse 30? The reason is verse 32, that’s what’s supposed to happen as a result of the pouring out of the Spirit and the great signs and wonders. Verse 32, “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the LORD has said, even among the survivors” or the remnant “whom the LORD calls.” Not everyone is going to believe, not everyone in verse 32 is included.

So the issue is going to be just prior to the Kingdom God will call people to Himself, and it’s the people who He calls to Himself that will respond and say I trust in Jesus Christ who will enter that kingdom, and those who refuse to do so are ejected from the planet, bye, don’t want to have you around. You people had your day; you didn’t want to buy your knee, so you’re out of here. It’s not a nice message. But remember the evil chart? God has to separate good from evil, doesn’t He, and here’s where it’s happening. It says in verse 32, only those who call on the name of the Lord are going to be saved, not everybody, just those who call on the name of the Lord, those and those alone. That’s why the word “survivors” or “remnant” is used at the last part of verse 32, it’s talking about a remnant—the saved remnant will be those who enter the Kingdom.

Let’s go back to Acts 2. Peter in verses 17–18 of this passage cites the first part of that Joel text, and Peter’s clearly interpreting it at the end of verse 18 by saying see, Joel said before the great and mighty day of the Lord there would be this break out, this pouring out of the Spirit. Before we get spooky let’s think and remember, what does the phrase, the verb “pour out the Spirit” really mean? Does it mean the people in Toronto that are laughing like hyenas and falling all over the place? That’s not the pouring out of the Spirit. It’s not some weird group in Florida where now they’re vomiting; the evidence of the pouring out of the Spirit is you throw up. I think you’d throw up looking at them doing this. But this is all the bizarre, stupid, religious junk that goes around by idiots that can’t understand the normal English language. What do you do when you don’t know what a word means? You look it up in a dictionary. If you don’t have a dictionary you learn by how people use the word. So let’s watch.

Turn to Proverbs 1:23, here’s an example of what that verb means and how it was used [blank spot] … poetic parallelism, so it’s quite clear, it’s a neat passage to discern meaning with. Here’s lady wisdom and she’s in the role of a teacher. In verse 23 she says “Turn at my reproof,” this is the teacher and the students. “Turn at my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;” what’s the next sentence say, teacher: “I will make my words known to you.” So therefore backing up, what do you think the expression “pour out the spirit means?” It’s a teacher sharing her heart, that’s what it’s saying. I’m pouring out my spirit, I’m telling you my thoughts, I’m sharing my thinking with you, I’m communicating to you. If that’s the way it would have been understood in a normal situation, a classroom situation with a teacher sharing her heart or his heart with students, if you replace lady wisdom in verse 23 with God, and you replace the students in verse 23 with the people on the day of Pentecost, what does “pouring out the Spirit” mean? It means God is now sharing some new revelation that wasn’t known before. Ooh, a revolutionary act here. God is now revealing new truths, He’s sharing His heart and that’s what that gift of languages was.

Go back to Acts 2 now. That’s why Peter says what you have observed on this day of Pentecost in those 8–10 or however many languages there were, what did you hear those people do? He said those men who were speaking in foreign languages were communicating “the mighty deeds of God” and what do you suppose the “mighty deeds of God” are that they communicate? It doesn’t say in the immediate context but we’ll get a clue as we go down through here what the content of the message was on the day of Pentecost. Right now Peter, at the end of verse 18, is encapsulating that event and saying you’ve got to think about this event, you’ve got to think Scripturally about the event. So he says go back in your Old Testament and before the kingdom was to come, before this great moment of history, there was to be a preview of coming attractions when new revelation would come out and in the Joel passage that new revelation was intended to do what? Remember verse 32 in Joel, what was the intended purpose of the new revelation? To call the nation to repentance so they would believe and be able to enter the Kingdom.

Now he quotes Acts 2:19–21. Verses 19–20 are a nub of a problem in this passage because there are people who say that verses 19–20 were fulfilled on Pentecost. Peter’s not saying that. But we’ve got to learn why he’s quoting this verse. This is where things get tricky. There was no “blood, fire and vapor of smoke” on the day of Pentecost. There were no geophysical disturbances that answer to that. What we have now happening in evangelical circles is people are looking at that and saying well, since there weren’t any blood, fire and smoke and the sun wasn’t turned to darkness and the moon wasn’t turn to blood, therefore we must learn to interpret the Old Testa­ment allegorically; Peter was interpreting the Old Testament allegorically, he didn’t really mean as a literalist. Wait a minute. Joel was looking forward to geophysical disturbances with the coming of the Kingdom. So, why is Peter quoting verses 19–20? We can understand verses 17–18 but why verses 19–20, and then in verse 21 he quotes the 32nd verse which shows you, by the way, he finished out verse 21, he knows also that the purpose of that Joel passages was “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

We’ve got to say okay Peter, what are you talking about here, verses 17–21 are quotes so the only thing we can do is do what? Keep reading. Let’s see if a cue is given somewhere in the text. He starts out in verse 22 with his commentary, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— [23] this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. [24] And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.” Let’s skip this Old Testament quote here, keep going, verse 29, “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day,” that’s the commentary on the last thing he had said.

Skip down to verse 33, “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has” what? “He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” Oh, ooh, we see our verb here in verse 33, there’s the “pouring out.” Connect that with the first part of the quote from Joel. The first part of that quote from Joel, verses 17–18, was concerned with “pouring out the Spirit.” Who did we say in the Old Testament was the subject of the verb “pour?” God. Subject, verb. Who is the subject of the verb “pour” in verse 33? Jesus Christ. This is one of those cases in the Bible, when you get some Jehovah’s Witnesses or something that come knocking on the door, the Bible never says, “He was God.” Oh yeah, what do you think this is right here? Here Jesus Christ is substituted for Jehovah God. Can you imagine Jews doing this arbitrarily? I don’t think so! Monotheistic Jews being this careless to substitute a man in God’s position? No, not unless He really was God.

So this is a tremendously important point in verse 33 and tells you how Peter uses the first part of Joel. He’s saying look at Pentecost and you’ll see languages and the content of emphasis right here really isn’t on the fact that they’re foreign languages because the issue isn’t the miracle of the language, the issue is what? What is being communicated? To the Diaspora Jews it is the wonder­­ful deeds of God, and we presume that the deeds of God are things that just recently happened in history which were the life and death of Jesus Christ. Is that new revelation to these guys? Yeah, they never heard about it before. So this is new revelation and it’s being communicated in the street by ordinary people. So Peter says hey, don’t get on my case, because this didn’t come through the high priest, it didn’t come through an Isaiah, it didn’t come through a Jeremiah, it just came through me, I’m just a fisherman, I’m in business, I on a Galilean fishing boat or something, I’m just an ordinary guy. And so are the rest of these guys here. But don’t think because we’re ordinary guys that God can’t speak to this way because we have the precedent of Joel. This is exactly, Peter says, the kind of thing you people should expect just prior to the Kingdom.

There’s some things we have to deal with and we’re not going to finish tonight because this passage gets involved but one of the things I want you to see right away, from the first part of the Joel passage is Jesus Christ is being substituted, deliberately and emphatically for Jehovah God. If Jehovah God is the subject of the verb in the Old Testament, Jesus Christ is the subject of the verb in the New Testament, and you can’t get around it, either these guys are blasphemers or Jesus Christ is who they say He was. That’s the scourge and the offence of the Christian faith. The Christian faith won’t let you stand in the middle of the road, there’s not gray territory, it’s black or white and there’s no in between. There’s no demilitarized zone. You have to take your allegiance on one side of the fence or the other, you can’t sit on this fence, it’s razor sharp. Either Jesus Christ and the gospel is the most blasphemous message, the most anti-Semitic message that has ever hit the street, or it’s a fantastic revelation of who Jesus Christ really is.

That’s what Peter’s saying. We can tell from verse 33 where he’s moving and why he brought in that Joel passage. And he’s saying, he’s connecting it, notice in verse 33, with the ascension. Remember I said why do we study the ascension and session of Christ first, then we studied Pentecost? Everybody wants to go from the cross, the resurrection, to Pentecost. They leave out the ascension and session. Notice the content in verse 33 what is going on there. Look at how much is stated in verse 33, look at it carefully again; observe this.

“Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God,” what do you suppose that means? That means when Jesus Christ ascended and He walked in His humanity into the throne room of God and God said “Sit down,” suddenly He accepted a member of the human race who is the second Adam, who represents every human being on this planet. He has the genes, he has the body, the fingernails, the hair, the beard, the eyes, the skin of a human being, and He stands at the very helm of the entire cosmos. So it says He is “exalted to the right hand of God,” now after He is exalted to the right of God, He receives “from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit.” What is the promise of the Holy Spirit? Let’s conclude by going back to where this promise has occurred.

Turn to John 7:39 because Jesus spoke of this promise and it’s interesting that it’s quoted in the Gospel of John, of all things, where scholars want to petition John from all the synoptics and make it appear like John is some out-of-touch person, when as a matter of fact here’s Luke citing something that apparently was common knowledge in the Christian community but it’s only reported in the Bible by John. Back in Jesus lifetime, during His earthly ministry, “He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because…” Why? “Because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Jesus had to die, He had to be raised from the dead and he had to be exalted at the Father’s right hand before the Holy Spirit could be given. At the very least, with all due apologies to some of our more Reformed brethren, verse 39 clearly depicts a new dispensation, but clearly the Holy Spirit coming is doing something that He didn’t do before, and wasn’t doing even in the time of the apostles when Jesus walked the face of the earth. Something new, a new dispensation, has happened.

Two more verses, John 14:26, same Gospel, this is the upper room discourse, Jesus is talking here to the disciples, and what does Jesus Christ say about the Holy Spirit? He says, “But [the Paraclete] the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,” meaning it’s connected, the coming of the Spirit is connected to the what of Jesus Christ? The authority at the Father’s right hand, the authority of Jesus Christ over the Holy Spirit. Another thing that bugs people down through church history, they had a big fight about that back in the 4th and 5th centuries or later, somewhere in there. “…whom the Father will send in My name,” what is the Holy Spirit going to do? “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” That’s how the Gospels were written. What is one of the Holy Spirit’s works promised in verse 26? The writing of the what? You’re holding it in your lap. The Holy Spirit came to reveal new truths that would be encapsulated in something called the New Testament.

John 16:7, again, look at the dispensational change-over forecast to happen when the Spirit comes, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Comforter [Helper] shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” So who sends the Spirit? This is a Trinity question. Which members of the Trinity send the Holy Spirit? The Father only? No, the Father and the Son. That’s why it’s written in the creeds, “Who with the Father and the Son is glorified,” etc., who proceedeth from the Father and the Son. That’s why these verses. We’ve run out of time so we’re going to have to halt in the middle of Joel but the big idea here so far is that Peter is citing Joel for a precedent to show that what is happening has tremendous consequences in the overall purpose of history and that there’s something going on on the day of Pentecost. It’s not just a miraculous event, it’s part of a chain of things that are happening, and he’s going to develop that as time goes on. Look at the notes before next time, particularly pages 32-34 because you’ll see where we’re going and try to give it some thought.

Question asked: Clough replies: That’s a good question about resources because one of the reasons why years and years ago I conceived of this Framework approach, I was thinking about going through the Scripture number one; number true, dealing with the true doctrines, and number three dealing with apologetic issues as they come up with the events. It’s precisely because of that. Years and years ago I ministered in a university environment where that was happening all the time, and you can give people quick answers, but the problem is they do exactly what you said, three weeks later they’re going through another crisis and you’re still putting out another band-aid on a new wound. After a while you get tired of putting band-aids on. So the problem with those kinds of people is that they need to be shook up. It gets back to what repentance is; my illustration that I use all the time about the interior decorator shows up with a bulldozer instead of a ladder. They need to have their whole house blown apart and rebuilt from the ground up, because what apparently they must be doing is adding Scripture onto a foundation that’s otherwise of unbelief. Why the Lord keeps putting them in those situations is deliberately to knock their house down, because obviously God is sovereign over the situation, God doesn’t enjoy it, to have his people picked on.

On the other hand, we do know from church history that the only way the Church ever has advanced is to be kicked in the ass (and that’s my theological language); that’s the way it’s happened. Every great doctrinal clarification has come only after heretics have almost destroyed the Church. And in the 20th century and now the 21st century one of the great areas of contention is the domain of general revelation. This is where the Protestant Reformation fell down and didn’t continue. The Protestant Reformation was great in that it said if this is the Bible, what the Protestant Reformation did is the Church and this is the Bible, the Protestant Reformation went like this and said all this corruption down here that we don’t like, the selling of indulgences and the rest of it, all that is due to the fact that the Church tried to exalt itself here and it fell apart. It must not; the Word of God must take priority over the Church. There’s where Luther and Calvin came up. How did these guys have the guts … the guts to take on all of Europe? They weren’t just taking on the Pope, they were taking on every country in Europe and said you’re wrong, and you can burn me at the stake, you can do whatever you want to, you’re still wrong, and not only are you wrong, you’re going to hell unless you listen to what I have to say to you. Why did they do that? Because they saw that the Scripture must be exalted over the Church.

That was their battle and that a hundred, two hundred years to straighten out. But then what the Protestant Reformers failed to do is to deal with the whole domain of general revelation out here, history, science and all the rest. The Bible is over here, this is over there. Because this wasn’t subdued by that, we’ve allowed to grow all kinds of theories, frameworks, organization of data into data sets that are deliberately construed on an unbelieving basis. If you could think in terms of data sets, it’s as though we’re dealing with a data based program whose query language won’t even permit a query of the kind we want to make. It’s not that the data in the data base is wrong; it’s that the query language is all screwed up. That’s coming about because the Word of God was never put over here.

That’s why the creationist/evolutionist debate, when Henry Morris did his thing in the middle part of the 20th century, that was a revolutionary act because all of a sudden here’s a chunk, a vast chunk of data, geology, biology, that all of a sudden he walks in with the Bible. And I was there when that happened and I did my thesis on every single criticism Morris and Whitcomb ever got for the first eight years of that book. And there were evangelical geologists who said oh, well, historical geologists have been building this frame of reference for 120 years and now Whitcomb and Morris come along in the name of the family Bible and say it’s all wrong, nonsense, if Whitcomb and Morris have their way all geologists will take up bus driving. That’s what happened, it happened in the 60s, that’s when all this was happening, but it was a revolutionary act because what did Morris and Whitcomb do? They had done to the sciences what the Reformers had done to the Church, and they didn’t like it any more than the Roman Catholics liked submitting to this.

That hasn’t been done, so this Biblical criticism, all this stuff that you keep getting articulated in the classroom, it all comes out of a historical frame of reference that grew up like a toadstool free from any control of the Word of God. And the sad thing is that it grew up over a hundred years, 100–200 years and to undo and built a counter structure now requires millions if not billions of dollars and hundreds and millions of man hours, an awful lot of work out there to take all that data and rebuild it into some sort of a frame of reference. And from a human point of view it’s not going to be done; it’s sad. But we let history get out of control and now we’re paying a price for it. It’s in every area, it’s infecting language, it’s infecting how we read the Constitution of the United States, it’s how we look at art, it’s how we look at music, it’s how we look at history, it’s how we look at science, the whole field is just full of weeds and toadstools. That’s what’s happening.

And what happens to people like you’re talking about is that they never get challenged to get down, deep down roots, and figure out where they are coming from and what the criteria of truth is in life. That’s why you see me up there giving that diagram on thinking God’s thoughts after Him versus the pagan idea of taking finite experience and trying to expand it, and then I have the fight on evil. Why do I do that over and over again? It’s because that’s where the problem is, that’s exactly the heart and the guts of what’s going on that’s wrong. Either you start with finite knowledge and try to expand it as a creature, which is a futile thing because you never can build universals or absolutes out of a finite data set, or you realize this doesn’t work, I’ve got to abandon that methodology and search for one that gives me a base for saying right and wrong and true and false. The only base is an omniscient infinite mind, because only an omniscient infinite mind has absolutes. It has the line that goes all the way from infinity to infinity, that’s God’s knowledge. Mine is only a segment, so I don’t know what goes on, I don’t know that and I can’t build it. If I lived a million years I still couldn’t build my line from eternity to eternity.

So I’ve got to go somewhere and I can’t go to another creature, and I can’t even build a committee of creatures. So I have to go to something, an omniscient personal being and that’s exactly what the Scripture says that God is. That’s why when He speaks He speaks authoritatively. We may not understand it, we may have bits and pieces, and He does, He feeds it out in little chunks, then you figure it out.

Question asked: Clough replies: The abortion issue bred the ground for this. You see the problem goes back, in this bioethics question, it’s terrifying, I mean this is really terrifying stuff because it’s not just stem cells, it’s all into the food we eat and everything and everything else and the problem that we’re seeing, we’re not going to see Christian legislation. We don’t have the pull any more. But what we might see is a horror and a fear of consequences. Chuck Colson was pointing out not too many broadcasts ago, he made an interesting observation. He said do you know what the strictest nation in Europe is against genetic research? Guess. The strictest nation in Europe? Germany has the most restricted legislation, and Germany is the most scientific nation. Why do the Germans, why have they encapsulated this ethical issue like that? Because they lived through the experiments in the 30s and they were taking Jews apart and using their skin for lamp shades, and cutting them up, using their teeth for something, while they were still alive. They lived through that and they lived through the horror of that, and they haven’t forgotten it; they will in a couple more generations if it’s not renewed but the point is that horror of the 30s and 40s hasn’t left their minds because there’s enough German older people around to remind the younger people of their history. When the old people die off the young people will just cut loose because history is a controller.

So there’s no realistic understanding of history and what’s going to happen, probably, we can pray God won’t let it happen because God does restrain sin, is some bizarre thing will happen that will literally scare the bee-jeebers out of everybody; either a virus will get lose that they’ve been experimenting with and all of a sudden we can’t control it, or some freak will happen, or something else will happen, and maybe that’s what it will take. But it’s not going to be because we have a bunch of Christians saying don’t legislate against it. I’m saying we should say that, I’m just saying that it’s blowing into the wind. See the problem is that it’s always …, if you look carefully every one of these things starts with (quote) “good intentions.”

The way they like to sell it is they like to sell it as oh, we’re so in sympathy with Parkinson’s people, and if you Christians, all your restrictions, you don’t care about the Parkinson’s people, so they always take … what they try to do, you see this again and again, is if this is the floor that we’re all on, they try to come up here with their pulpit, and we’re for Parkinson’s, you guys aren’t for Parkinson’s, you guys aren’t for Parkinson’s, we’ve got a holy cause. They try to take the ethical high ground and the only way I think you can fight that and I’ve thought about it, I pray about it, for those in the middle of the stuff that goes on down there, feeling totally overwhelmed by every vote that comes up in the Senate down in Annapolis, the few Christians there are down there, I mean, what do you do when you live in a sewer.

I’ve thought about it, it takes somebody with skill, charisma and political skill that’s good on their feed, but I think that somebody needs to figure out how we can take the high ground back away from them, by exposing what they’re doing in such a way that we don’t come across like we’re trying to obstruct something, rather like we’re actually positively for something. We tried that with the abortion debate, pro-life, and somehow we really didn’t make that point strongly enough, because the women would quote choice, I have a right to do with my body the way I want to do! They basically won that discussion because in the masses, in society at large, the image was I have a right and that blended perfectly with the fact that the bugs have a right, everybody has a right except believers and Jesus. So everybody’s got the right; once that sets in you hide beneath that, you share all the momentum of that thing. We’ve got to figure out how to articulate and communicate our case to a society that doesn’t share our values. That isn’t easy.

Statement made something about battling pro-life pro choice, this time it’s pharmaceutical companies that stand to make a lot of money, change the approach, we want to solve the problems of Parkinson’s and other problems, but we don’t want these people to feel like they’re living on the death of …: Clough replies: There’s an approach. It’s going to require a major and brilliant, brilliantly skillful approach. It may come down to a tug of war. I heard from a liberal source, I forgot where it was, I was reading it, that they said, the latest episode that we had with John Ashcroft, they said they were totally stunned in both houses of Congress by the outpouring of pro-Ashcroft; they said they never dreamed that he had the support. Well, he really didn’t, what happened was that it hit an issue. The Ashcroft hit an issue that was sitting there percolating all along and finally people that didn’t know Ashcroft from the man in the moon realized wait a minute, you talk about racial profiling, this is Christian profiling, they’re just waiting for a Christian to come up so they can shoot him. So there were thousands and tens of thousands of Christians said enough is enough of this stuff and we’re going to do something about it. Well, all of a sudden, phone calls, e-mails, everything else came in. Whoa, we got a hot potato here, we’re good politicians we’ll leave that one alone. That’s what happens, and that’s the kind of response we’ve got to get it, but how we get that I don’t know; it’s just a lot of prayerful support. But we’ve been out maneuvered in a lot of areas.

Someone says something: Clough says: I think what breeds that is the one good thing … see, the dirty little secret that the liberals haven’t figured out yet, nobody’s clued them is that growing underneath this evangelical community are tens of thousands of home-schooled kids that are not emerging, they’re hitting their 20s and they don’t share that core value system that was imposed in the public schools, they don’t even come in contact with it.

So now all of a sudden, now you really do have two cultures. Our young people, the guys and gals that are hitting their 20s, they’re going to really see some interesting days because you talk about black-and-white society with no gray in between, that’s what they’re going to live in. It’s going to be exciting because they’ll be in a situation where it won’t be like the 50s and 60s where kind of everybody was operating on a quasi-Christian basis. This is going to be the out-and-out pagans and the out-and-out Christians. It’ll be a fascinating.

It’s just that they have to be fortified and they have to realize they’re taking on a big thing here. Yeah, I think that’s right, I think that’s the fruit of a lot of work, why we’ve been praying for revival and we’ve been praying for these kind of things, very quietly, and not just home schoolers but godly couples raising their kids as best they can with the public system, as well as parents who have sent their kids to Christian schools, I think that’s been going on now for a generation or two and that’s bound to cause some interesting problems for the other side.

Our time is up, next week we’ll try to finish up with this Pentecost commentary.