A Doctrinal Study of Acts 2:14 -- By: Clifford Rapp, Jr.
A Doctrinal Study of Acts 2:14
Chafer Theological Seminary
[*Editor's note: Clifford Rapp received his B.A. degree from Biola University; and a Th.M. in Old Testament Literature and Exegesis from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is a professor of Old Testament and general biblical studies at Chafer Theological Seminary. Cliff also pastors Orange Coast Free Methodist Church, Costa Mesa, California.]
“This is that.”1 What did Peter mean on the day of Pentecost when he declared that the day’s phenomena was “that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:14). Does he mean that what happened or began at Pentecost was the complete fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy as many Covenant interpreters understand him to mean?
Or does he mean that the spiritual activity of Pentecost was the inauguration of that which was spoken by Joel as the Progressive Dispensationalists allege? Does Peter mean that “this is the conditional offer of that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel, as some Traditional Dispensationalists interpret? Or does Peter mean “this is that kind of thing spoken of by the prophet Joel, as other Traditional Dispensationalists hold?
This is the Complete Fulfillment of That
The approach used by Covenant interpreters does not take the physical phenomena mentioned in Acts 2:19–20 literally. In order to sustain their interpretation they must “spiritualize” (allegorize) the verses or point to the darkness and earthquakes associated with the crucifixion as the fulfillment. This approach is not adequate.
This is the Inauguration of That
Progressive Dispensationalists see the exaltation of Christ to the right hand of the Father and the pouring out of the Spirit as fulfillments of the Davidic and New covenants respectively. To find a fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant in Christ’s exaltation to the right hand of the Father requires an identification of Christ’s sitting at the right hand of God with his sitting on David’s throne. But the Old Testament knows nothing of David’s throne being located in heaven.
Darrell Bock tries to equate the two through Peter’s allusion to Psalm 132:11 in Acts 2:30, which he then links with Psalm 16, which he then further links with Psalm 110 to end up with an identity between the Father’s throne and the throne of David.2 But linking do...
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