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"and not of the time of their captivity; for then they had not “David for their king. Neither can it be understood of the “time immediately before Christ's coming, and after their re"turn; for then they had princes, and priests, and sacrifices. “What remaineth then, but to understand it of the time that “now is, at the end whereof the Jews shall turn to Christ! “And herein Gualter and Tossarius follow Jerome.”
All that has been said will be made yet more evident by that punctual specification of the time, in the next verse following, when the Israelites shall be delivered and saved : viz. in the latter days; i. e. in the last or end of days, as the Septuagint and Chaldee render it. Dr. Mayer says, “It is said, that this “should be in the last days; whereby the time of the Gospel is
always set forth; all the time before being counted old. Heb. “i. 1, 2. But these novissima tempora are the newest times, be
cause all things are new. Yea, and at the latter end of them "the Jews shall be new creatures, (as are all that are in Christ,) "and then the world shall be destroyed, and God will make a “new heaven and a new earth.” It is worth while also to hear Alapide, a papist ; because whilst an enemy to the truth in hypothesis, he telleth the very truth in thesis. “In the last of "days, (saith he,) that is, in the end of the world, when a lit"tle before, or at the coming of Antichrist, especially after the “slaying of him, the Israelites and Jews, who clave to him “while the said Antichrist was alive, and reigned, (partly by re“membering the sermons and miracles of Elijah and Enoch, "and partly by the exhortations of other preachers,) shall be “converted unto Christ; even as I have said upon
Revelation “xi. For then all Israel shall be saved. (Rom. xi, 25.) So "says St. Hieronym. Haymo. Albert. Hug. Lyran, and others. " Isidore and a Castro think these things to be done in the in“carnation and first coming of Christ ; to wit, inchoatively: for " then a few of Israel began to be converted. Others err, who “think these things to have been performed in the relaxation of "the Babylonish captivity by Cyrus.” Thus Alapide confesses twice over in his works the just time of fulfilling these things : but like a papist he blindly supposes, that Antichrist is not yet come ; that so his Pope might not be thought to be Antichrist.
Having now noticed the time of their deliverance, next comes the deliverance itself : viz. "they shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king ;"—that is, God, and his Son Christ, or God in his Son Christ. Their own Rabbins render it in their Chaldee Paraphrase nearly the same: " Afterwards the children of Israel shall be led by repentance, and shall seek the worship of their God; and shall obey Christ, the Son of David, &c." And thus learned and pious Christians (e. g. the Geneva notes, our new Annotations, and Dr. Mayer,) understand it by authority of Scripture. “In the latter days, (Hebrew,
the end of days,) when the world is now near to an end, they "shall seek David their king, (that is, the Messias, Christ the “Son of David,y) and his kingdom ; in which David's kingdom " is promised to be for ever, even to the end of the world.”w For David himself is long since dead; as the Apostle argues, when he would prove, that by David, mentioned Isaiah lv, and Psalm xvi, Christ is signified. Nor shall David return again, till the physical corporeal resurrection of the saints, which must be preceded by the metaphorical resurrection, as we have before proved. So this return of Israel is not only from captivity, but from sin; as is plain by that which follows, “they shall fear the Lord and his goodness." Fear is commonly, throughout the Scriptures, put for all the inward graces and the worship of God in the heart; and this fear is to be for his goodness,—that is, in and for Christ; who, as he is called the Wisdom of God,y and the Word of God,z so is he the Goodness of God; because God cannot be communicative of his goodness to the fallen sons of Adam but through Christ.a
Which things being so, they speak of themselves, that they were never yet fulfilled according to the purport of the text. For the generality of Israel and Judah are to this day without a king, without a prince, without a priest, without a sacrifice; (that ceasing, at least, ever since A. D. 366 ;) nor have they instead of those princes, priests, and sacrifices, sought the Lord their God and David, that is, Christ their king, as hath been before expounded...
v Jer. xxx, 9; Ezek. xxxiv, 23, 24 ; xxxvii, 24 ; Matt.ix, 27; Rev. xxii, 16. w Psal. Lxxii, 17. * Acts xiii, 34–36. y 1 Cor. i. 2 John i. a Tit. iii, 4-6.
Chapter ii, 28-32.
And it shall come to pass afterwards, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall "prophesy ; your old men shall dream dreams; your young
men shall see visions : and also upon the servants, and upon "the handmaids, in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And “I will show wonders in the heavens and in earth, blood, and "fire, and pillars of smoke : the sun shall be turned into dark"ness, and the moon into blood, before that great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered : for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as "the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall
Note first in general, touching this text, that though St. Peter truly applies a part of it to the wonderful effusion of the Spirit at Pentecost ;b yet it is not solely applicable to that event: nor is the intent or meaning of the whole, or of any part thereof, completely fulfilled and terminated therein.* Peter himself tacitly intimates as much in translating the words >> afterward by ev tals coxatais ñuepacs in the last days : and Joel himself drops expressions, which are inconsistent with limiting it to Pentecost; e.g. God's pouring out of his Spirit upon all flesh; &c. Mean while, let me entreat the Reader to remember that golden rule, which I have laid down before, viz:--that prophecies of this nature, touching the kingdom of Christ, have their gradual, progressive, and vicissitudinous fulfilling, from the first breathing of them to the end of the world ; as it were from one type to another, till they come to the antitype and full meaning and perfection of the whole. Thus the ark of Noah might be an occasion of the ark of Moses : I am sure it signified baptism ; and baptism leads us to salvation in Christ.c Just like parhelion, when we see two or three suns or rainbows, the one carries up the sight to the other, till at last it be fixed upon the sun itself, the substance of all. The Church hath its growth, and her eyes are not able to endure all degrees of light at first. The infant hath but the glimmering of the light of the fire ; afterwards it can behold the candle ; at last it endures the light of the sun : and the sun of the choicest Gospel-light is not in its vertical point and apogee in an instant, but becomes so by gradual ascension.
b Acts ii, 16–21, &c. * That I may not be condemned of singularity, the Reader may note what @colampadius, Calvin, Alapide, Lyra and others hint to the same effect, though they do not speak out to the same extent as I shall.
To come however to the particulars of the text; that I may deal faithfully with the precious word of God, and with my Reader, and mine own heart, let us see, and say ingenuously, what of it hath been fulfilled at Pentecost and afterwards, and what not. These things have in part been fulfilled. 1st.--The pouring out of the Spirit : for those mentioned in Acts i, 13-15 were all filled with the Holy Ghost. 2ndly.-The seeing visions : for Peter had a vision,d and Paul had a vision,e and Ananias, f and Cornelius,& and Stephen.h 3dly.—The prophesying of their sons and daughters : as Paul did,i and Agabus,k and Philip the Evangelist's four daughters ;l and afterwards John, Peter, and Jude prophesied, as the Revelation and their Epistles testify. 4th.—The darkening the Sun : for before this notable day of the Lord's pouring out his Spirit upon the disciples, there preceded that terrible darkening of the sun at Christ's passion :m for surely all that darkening of the sun, mentioned by our Prophet, must not be made more dark by an allegory, or evaded by a figure ; seeing it is set down as a mark of time, when God is about to do some visible exploit. 5th. There was a deliverance : and in a certain sense in Jerusalem, and at Mount Zion ; for there were converted at Peter's sermon about 3000 souls,n which were soon after increased to 5000.0 All these five heads of this text were fulfilled in part; and in regard to them Peter had just reason to apply this prophecy of Joel. For although the stream were to flow on and increase to the magnitude of an ocean, when arrived at its fulness; yet running first by
ci Peter iii, 21. h Acts vii, 55, 56. m Matt. xxvii, 45.
d Acts x.
e 2 Cor. xii, 1. f Acts ix, 12.
8 Acts x, 3. 1 Acts xxi, 9.
Peter's door, he might well say these waters were for his use, and so take up as many buckets full as he needed.
II. In the following respects this text was not fully accomplished by the Acts of the Apostles, nor is it yet fulfilled. 1st. The pouring out of the Spirit, and upon all flesh, and upon all sorts,-viz. on old men, young men, fathers, children, men-servants and maid-servants; neither in the variety of gifts to them, expressed by visions, dreams, and prophecies. Whether we expound these things of extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, or of ordinary, (yet so as to be in order to salvation, as the last verse constrains us to extend it,) they can intend no less than a plentiful communication of the Spirit, not only to the generality of the Gentiles, but also (and I should think chiefly) to the generality of the Jews. But, alas ! what were five thousand persons converted of the kingdom of Judah, to the generality of the twelve tribes ? And to what does the story of the Acts of the Apostles amount, as regards the fulfilling this clause of Joel, when in the thirteenth chapter we find the generality of the Jews give the Gospel a bill of divorce and send it away? so that the next news we hear of it is in the Epistles of Paul to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, &c.— i.e. to the Latin, Greek, and Galline* Gentiles, &c. And therefore doth St. Paul give up all Israel into utter blindness, till the fulness of the Gentiles shall be come in. That this fulness is not yet come experience teaches us : “For one (saith Mr.
Medet) hath well observed, that christianity at this day is not “ above the sixth part of the known world. For if we divide “the world into thirty parts, Christianity is but as five,
Mahometanism as six, and Heathenism as nineteen ; and thus
Christianity is the least part of all, and plain Heathenism “ hath far more than one-half of the world; and the better “ part of the other are also Mahometans.” I only add, that even in this account I suppose popery to be included in Christianity, and then the account falls far shorter of the fulness of the Gentiles : yea, we may daily observe, that scarce
* Galatia minoris Asiæ regio, Phrygiæ contermina, a Gallis ita dicta ; qui relicta patria ibi sedes fixerunt. Incolæ appellantur Galatæ, et Gallo-græci, Steph.
t Diatr. pars 4, p. 82.