We’ve been examining how the feast of Pentecost seems to mark dispensation changes in the past. The question is, will it also mark a future dispensation change? Specifically, will Pentecost end the dispensation we are currently in?
To examine this, we turn to Acts chapter 2.
I have been fascinated by the way Peter quoted Joel 2 in Acts 2:16-21 – on the first Pentecost of the Church Age. Through this passage, I believe he defines the beginning and end of the church age for us. Peter affirms that the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost was a partial fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy:
But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
[start of church age]
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on 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 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
[end of church age]
Verses 17-18 mark the beginning of the Church Age – its’ conception, if you will (borrowing Scottie Clark’s terminology and using the frequent birth analogy that is found in Scripture). At the start of the church age is the mystery of the new birth; being “born again” spiritually and sealed by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Instead of only being upon God’s prophets and holy men, the Holy Spirit is now gifted to all who believe. This gifting of the Holy Spirit is marked by prophecy, visions, dreams, and many other spiritual gifts not mentioned here, but above all – sealing. It is clear why Peter quotes Joel 2:28-29 on Pentecost as fulfilling that part of Joel’s prophecy.
There is a “pregnant pause“, so to speak, between Verses 18 and 19.
Verses 19-21 mark the end of the Church Age – its’ birth. This is the redemption of our bodies! This is the removal of the Restrainer – the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the body of Christ as a Temple! Note that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, before the day of the Lord. The end of the Holy Spirit’s sealing ministry in the church will be marked by wonders in the heavens, signs on the earth, blood, fire, vapor of smoke, darkened sun, and a blood red moon. These events clearly did not occur on the first Pentecost, so why would Peter mention them in his sermon – on Pentecost? Could it be that he is announcing the future fulfillment of the remainder of Joel’s prophecy on some future Pentecost?
What Peter Did NOT Quote
I believe that what Peter did NOT quote is just as important to study as what he DID quote. Let’s examine the passage Peter is referring to in Acts 2, which is found in Joel chapter 2:28-32 (ESV):
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Peter stops quoting Joel here. We discussed these verses already. Now let’s see what he left off:
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls. Joel 2:28-32 ESV
The question we must ask is, why did Peter stop where he did? We know that only verses 28-29 were fulfilled in his day. Why did he include verses 30-32a, but leave off 32b? If he was just referencing the entire prophecy, surely he would have included verse 32b as well. Or, if the ending of the church age would have nothing to do with Pentecost, surely he would have ended his quotation after verse 29, don’t you think?
I believe Peter is clearly defining the ending of the church age for us, on Pentecost. That’s why he included verses 30-32a in his sermon, on Pentecost. I can think of no other reason why he would bother including verses 30-32a and leaving off 32b. He did NOT include verse 32b, as that part will be fulfilled at the second coming, during the Fall Feasts.
The rest of Joel’s prophecy will be fulfilled at the time of the Second Coming of Christ. There are two escape opportunities. One, at the rapture. The second, right before the final judgment. Both times, everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (that portion, verse 32a, is prophetically repeated).
This second escape is detailed further in Zechariah 14, where God’s people flee right before Bowl 7 is poured out and Jesus arrives for the Battle of Armageddon flanked by His holy ones (us).
Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one. (Zechariah 14:1-9 ESV)
Yes, this is consistent with Mystery Babylon being the latter-days city of Jerusalem (NOT how Jerusalem is today). I know you probably don’t agree, but please give the following a read before you toss it aside: The Mount of Olives – Final Escape Route; and Who is Mystery Babylon, and What Does She Do?
If Peter is telling us that the church age will end with the signs detailed in Acts 2:19-21, where do we find a match for this in scripture? There is only one place:
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:12-17 ESV
When the fullness of time for the wrath of God arrives, the body of Christ will be redeemed from the earth and stand before the Lamb in heaven.
- The Blood Moon Sign
- The Prophetic Significance of Blood Moons and How They Relate to the Rapture of the Church
- Part 1 – Where is the Church in Revelation?
- Part 2 – The Large Multitude Coming “Out Of” Great Tribulation
- Who Will Stand Before the Son of Man? Examining Luke 21:36
Understanding the prophetic difference between a Blood Red Moon and a Darkened Moon is a special key that unlocks critical understanding of future events. The blood moon is unique to 3 specific passages: Joel 2 (prophecy), Acts 2 (prophetically suggested future fulfillment in Pentecost), and Revelation 6 (fulfillment).
The blood moon in particular is a major key in Biblical Prophecy. A darkened moon, on the other hand, occurs more frequently and is thus harder to pinpoint to a specific event. Both the blood and darkened moons are equally accompanied by a darkened sun and darkened or falling stars. Both announce a revealing of Jesus Christ, when the skies roll back as a scroll. The blood red moon occurs BEFORE the great and terrible Day of the Lord; darkness occurs DURING the Day of the Lord; a darkened moon occurs at the END of the Day of the Lord at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Note how Pentecost/Shavuot seems to introduce new dispensations – first, the Dispensation of Law (Mosaic covenant), then the Dispensation of Grace (Spirit of the Law). Will it also introduce the interim dispensation of wrath (the Day of the Lord, commonly called the “Tribulation”, which seems to involve both Law and Grace)? I believe Peter is strongly hinting at this exact fulfillment in his sermon given at the first church age Pentecost.
The Church Age, the “dispensation of grace”, will end when the Holy Spirit is removed just as He came, along with all who have Him inside them as a seal. It seems entirely plausible that it could occur on some future Pentecost. For now, let’s continue our study by further examining this “Removal of the Restrainer”.
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV).
Main Pentecost Study Menu: Everything You Need to Know About Pentecost, the Feast that Ties It All Together For The Church
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!