Video of this message is available on YouTube: Disciples Who Passed the Sobriety Test – Acts 2:14-21
When the crowd at Pentecost heard the Lord’s 120 disciples (Acts 1:15) speaking in different tongues (2:4), some thought they were drunk (2:13). So Peter corrected them (v.14,15).
It’s important to notice Peter was talking to Jews (v.14), because some say the Body of Christ began at Pentecost. But the Body is made up of Jews and Gentiles (I Cor. 12:13), so Peter wouldn’t have excluded the Gentiles. That’s just one of many proofs we’ll see that the Body did not start here.
After pointing out that it was too early to be drunk (2:15), Peter told them that what was happening fulfilled Joel 2:28-32 (v.16). But that means the Body couldn’t have started here, for “the church, which is His Body” (Eph. 1:22,23) was “a mystery” (Eph. 5:32), and a mystery is something that wasn’t made known to the prophets (Col. 1:26). Plus, Peter says that Joel called what was happening “the last days” (Acts 2:17). That means Pentecost wasn’t the first days of the Body of Christ, it was the last days of Israel’s program.
In those days, the kingdom was supposed to come (Isa. 2:2-4). The last days started with the Lord’s coming (Heb. 1:1,2). You can’t have a kingdom without a king! And you can’t have the kingdom of heaven without the Spirit, who made it so they couldn’t sin (I Jo. 3:9;5:18). That’s the only way to get rid of war (Isa. 2:4 cf. James 4:1,2).
The pouring out of the Spirit was also a time when God filled His sons with His word (cf. Pr. 1:23). It was supposed to change the earth back to Eden-like conditions (Isa. 32:12; 35:1,2). It didn’t because the dispensation of the mystery interrupted God’s prophetic program.
Some say God brought Israel back to the land in 1948, but He says He won’t do that until He pours out His Spirit again (Ezek. 11:19). That’s when He’ll put a new spirit in them and cause them to walk in His ways (Ezek. 36:25-27) and stop hiding His face from them (Ezek. 39:29) as He’s done for the past 2,000 years now. That’s also when they’ll mourn for Christ (Zech. 12:10).
When Peter said God poured out His Spirit on “all flesh” (Acts 2:17), that can mean everyone (Gen. 6:12). But when Peter tells Jews that God would pour Him out on “your” sons and daughters (Acts 2:17), we know it means all Jewish flesh, all Jews who believed on Christ.
“Dreams” and “visions” (2:17) are the same thing. They are how God talked to the prophets (Num. 12:6). That’s how He communicated His Word to them (Num. 24:4). And that’s what was happening here at Pentecost on all 120 of the disciples who were prophesying (Acts 2:18).
Blood and fire and smoke and wonders (Acts 2:19) are mentioned a combined 58 times in Revelation, the book that describes the Tribulation, so we know the time for the Tribulation had come. Some of the wonders in heaven included the darkening of the sun (2:20), the beginning of the day of the Lord (Isa. 13:9,10; Rev. 6:12).
But Peter says the sun would be darkened before “that great and notable day of the Lord” (2:20), and the Lord said it would happen “after the tribulation” (Mark 13:24). But while the entire 7 year 70th week of Daniel is the day of the Lord, the last 3 and a half years are the “great and terrible day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31). So the sun will be dark after the first half of the Tribulation, but before the second half.
If it bothers you that only half of Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled after Peter said “this is that” (Acts 2:16), the Lord only quoted part of Isaiah 61:1,2 in Luke 4:16-20. He left off the part about “the day of vengeance” because He added “this day is this scripture fulfilled” (Luke 4:21). He knew it wasn’t time for that, so He didn’t quote that part.
But then why did Peter quote all of Joel’s prophecy, including the part about the day of God’s vengeance? It is because he didn’t know that it wasn’t time for the vengeance. The mystery that interrupted the vengeance wasn’t revealed until Paul. We know Peter eventually learned the last days had been postponed because he later talked about what “shall” happen in the last days (II Pe. 3:3), and said if you want to learn more about the delay, see Paul! (v.15).