Acts 2:19-24
Acts 2:19 (KJB)
And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
Acts 2:19-20 have been touted as being immediate events right after Pentecost, but as I have been looking at these two verses, it seems more like God has jumped right to the end of time. In the end of verse 18, we read that all the true believers will receive the Holy Spirit and will then prophesy, or declare God’s Word to the world. We can equate that with the Great Commission which Christ gave to His disciples and to us before He ascended into Heaven. (Mark 16:15 KJV) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. If we were to take verse 19 as literal events in the times of the Apostles, we would have a problem because Verse 20 speaks of these events occurring before or prior to the Day of the Lord which is Judgment Day.
Then the Christians will prophesy or declare God’s word throughout the entire New Testament period and then the end will come. Some have stated that these verses refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D, however in light of the Gospel going forth all over the world, these events will be worldwide in scope. I am not sure what the wonders in Heaven will be. The signs in the earth may be the Great falling away for the truth of the Gospel, the great Apostasy. Blood and fire in Scripture have been identified with Judgment. The Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood for our sins. He came under the judgment of God to grant us salvation. Fire is also a judgment. (Gen 19:24 KJV) Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; Sodom and Gomorrha were judged by fire. The vapour of smoke also speaks of judgment as the word for smoke in the Greek is used here and only in the book of Revelation 13 times, all dealing with judgment. These may be judgments which have occurred throughout history leading up to the final judgment. (Rev 8:4 KJV) And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
Acts 2:20 (KJB)
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
(Mat 24:29 KJV) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: This verse is definitely speaking of judgment day because the words “shall be turned” in the Greek are one word and it is in the passive voice which means that the sun is darkened by an outside source and that would be God Himself who would be darkening the sun. Then when that happens, Judgment Day will be here.
Acts 2:21 (KJB)
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Now here we have the reason that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit took place and that was for the purpose of evangelizing all the world with the Gospel and those who are the Elect of God will respond by calling on the name of the Lord and they shall be saved. In the first century, there was a tremendous response to the Gospel. If there wasn’t, we would be in trouble today because it was the first century Christians that began the evangelizing of the world and with many who were martyred, the Gospel could have been stymied but that was not God’s plan. They started to send froth the Gospel to different parts of the Roman Empire and from there to the rest of the world.
Acts 2:22 (KJB)
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Hear - Hear with understanding
After the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, the main message was now focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 15:26 KJV) But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: The charismatic movement makes a grave mistake and focuses on the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not even focus on Himself, His ministry is to direct us to Christ. Here Peter starts out by stating that Jesus of Nazareth was approved by God because it was through the power of God that Jesus had performed so many miracles and signs. Here Peter is stating that the people who were present had heard him and were well acquainted with the miracles that Christ did. Many knew about the raising of Lazarus and some were probably present who witnessed it. So these people were familiar with Jesus since He was crucified only 53 days prior. Peter was able to preach his sermon to those who knew Jesus and could attest to the fact that he worked many miracles.
Acts 2:23 (KJB)
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Determinate - Appointed, designated, having been fixed
Counsel - Purpose
Here Peter is stating a tremendous fact. That the crucifixion and death of Christ was not something that just happened because He made the Jews angry, but it was already fixed and determined in Heaven that it should happen. In fact, it was necessary because it was through the death of Christ that salvation was now obtainable by the Elect. (Isa 53:5-7 KJV) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. {6} All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. {7} He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
It was already prophesied as far back as the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve fell into sin but here we have the prophecy from Isaiah which was about 750 years before the crucifixion. As for the anger factor of the Jews toward Jesus, this too was prophesied in the book of Psalms. (Psa 76:10 KJV) Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. The wrath of man will turn into the praises of God because it was the wrath of man that crucified Jesus but those who become saved now worship God in Spirit and in truth.
Acts 2:24 (KJB)
Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Then Peter quickly preaches the fact of the Resurrection of Christ. He states that God had raised Him up from the dead because death has no hold or authority over the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter could boldly preach the resurrection of Christ because the tomb which they borrowed would have still been easily accessible and anyone could go there and see that it was empty. Jesus had died physically for the sins of the Elect because eternal death is the payment for sins and Jesus being God had suffered the equivalency of eternal damnation but once the payment was made and God accepted that sacrifice, death no longer could hold Jesus because the penalty was fully paid and because we are in Christ, eternal damnation has no hold on us either and neither does physical death. Our bodies may go into the grave but our souls go directly into the presence of God and we are there until the last day when we are united with our bodies making up our new glorified spiritual body.