Acts 2:14-21

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke:

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Peter (v.14) — stands up boldly before the crowd in the same city where he denied Christ a few weeks earlier. He was now Spirit-filled and no longer a coward.

It is not merely twelve men standing up, but “Peter, standing up with the eleven.” He alone is named. And this is consistently so in early Acts. The reader will recall that in Acts 1:15 it was Peter who “stood up in the midst of the disciples” and proposed the appointment of a successor to Judas. Here in Acts 2:14, “Peter, standing up with the eleven,” brings the great Pentecostal address. At the close of that address those who were convicted said to “Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). And later, when persecuted for Christ, “Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Indeed, all of early Acts revolves around Peter. He is the chief actor.

This is in close harmony with our Lord’s words before His departure, for He had appointed Peter as the leader of the twelve, saying: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thous shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).

Authority in the Messianic Church, then, was centralized in the twelve apostles and personified in Peter himself, whom the Lord had singled out as the chief apostle and the supreme head of the Church of that day (see John 20:22-23; Luke 12:32 and Matthew 16:18-19). — Stam, pages 84-85.

eleven (v.14) — proof that Matthias was rightly of their number

Judea/Jerusalem (v.14) — those from the two tribes of the southern kingdom (Peter addresses the other 10 tribes in verse 22.)

The “third hour” [v.15] … reckoned from sunrise. According to the Jewish computation, the day and night were each divided into twelve equal parts called hours. These would vary in length, according to the duration of daylight. But we may say, roughly speaking, that the “third hour of the day” would be about nine o’clock a.m. It was the earliest of the stated hours of prayer, and the time of offering the morning sacrifice. Men do not, usually drink to excess in the early morning. It is stated, moreover, that the Jews took wine with flesh only, and that never in the morning but only in the evening; also that they abstained from food till midday on the occasion of their great festivals. — Walker, page 40.

this is that (v.16) — Pentecost was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy and not just “the same kind of thing.”

Joel (v.16) — Peter’s quote is from Joel 2:28-32. It is part of Joel’s call for Israel to repent (Joel 2:12-14), as Peter was doing.

last days (v.17) — the Lord’s second coming at the end of the Tribulation (Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1; Jeremiah 23:20; Hosea 3:4-5)

pour out (v.17) — copiously

of My Spirit (v.17) — referring to what the Spirit gives

visions (v.17) — appearances to those who are awake, watching (as young men are likely to do)

dreams (v.17) — appearances to those who are asleep (as old men are likely to be)

sons and daughters, young and old, servants and handmaidens (vs.17-18) — The Spirit was available to all regardless of gender, age or social standing.

notable (v.20) = manifest, glorious

Peter saw Pentecost as the offering of the kingdom to Israel and the beginning of the set of events leading to the last days — and rightly so. His offer was sincere and Spirit led. (The Jews had the free will to accept the offer, although the Lord knew they would not at this time.) The Mystery had not yet been revealed and Peter didn’t know that Israel would reject the Messiah again and that the last days would be postponed for the age of grace.

At Pentecost, twelve Jewish men who were chosen to sit on twelve thrones over the 12 tribes of Israel spoke to a large crowd made up entirely of Jews who were in Jerusalem (the capitol of Judea where Christ will reign on the throne of David during the Millennial Kingdom of Israel) to celebrate a Jewish feast as a fulfillment of a promise made by a Jewish prophet about the future of Israel. The apostles spoke about Messiah, whom the Jews had rejected and to whom they needed to repent. There is no indication that any Gentiles were present. There is no mention of the Body of Christ and there is no explanation of what the death and resurrection of Christ means to us in the Church. And  yet, most theologians insist that this was the beginning of the Church and ridicule anyone who thinks otherwise. To me, it seems as though the Holy Spirit did everything possible to show otherwise.

Was Peter correct, then, or mistaken, when he said more than nineteen centuries ago that the last days had come?

He was correct. As we have pointed out, he was taught by our Lord (Acts 1:3) and filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). Moreover, he was Scripturally correct, for in the light of all Old Testament Scripture these were the last days.

As we read this story we must not anticipate revelation. We must remember that God’s purpose concerning this age was still a secret.

The prophets had predicted nothing about the dispensation of grace or the Body of Christ. (Read carefully Ephesians 3:1-11.) They had spoken only of the sufferings of Christ and the kingdom glory to follow (see 1 Peter 1:11 and Zechariah 1:13-14).

Now that the sufferings were over, the Spirit was being poured out in preparation for the glory to follow (see Joel 2:28-3:17) and presently Peter was to offer to Israel the return of Christ and the long-promised times of refreshing (Acts 3:19-21).

Thus, as far as God’s revealed plan was concerned, the last days had begun — the days when Israel should at last be ushered into the glorious reign of Christ, her Savior-King. — Stam, pages 88-89.


While the signs of the last days began to appear at Pentecost, they did not all appear. Indeed, after a time those which had appeared began to disappear again. According to Joel’s prophecy, as quoted by Peter, the signs of Pentecost were to be followed by signs both in heaven and on earth, and the pouring out of the Spirit was to be followed by the pouring out of God’s wrath.

Thank God, these latter signs did not appear — have not even yet appeared. God had not altered His plan to judge this wicked world, but in matchless love He interrupted the prophetic program, held off the day of judgment, saved the chief of sinners and ushered in the day of grace.

This secret purpose of God’s grace was first made known through Paul, from whom Peter later learned of it.

Peter writes about it in the closing words of his last epistle, explaining how it was that the Lord, who was to have come to judge and reign, had now delayed His coming.

First he cautions his readers not to count the delay “slackness” — at least not the slackness of indifference — and then he explains just how the delay should be viewed:

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you (2 Peter 3:15). — Stam, pages 91-92.

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