Acts 2:21

Thursday, 11 November 2021

And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’ Acts 2:21

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

Peter continues to cite Joel 2 as a proof that the things that have occurred were prophesied in advance. As they are now fulfilled in the pouring out of the Spirit, then what has occurred is of God. Now, with his final citing of the passage from Joel, he conveys what is the expectation of those who see and take to heart those things.

In his citing of Joel, he cuts short the verse from which the words are spoken, giving only the part that is pertinent to the present time –

“And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.
For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance,
As the Lord has said,
Among the remnant whom the Lord calls.” Joel 2:32

Peter, under the influence of the Spirit, acknowledges now the first half of Joel’s words of prophecy from Joel 2:32. But he leaves off the second half of the verse. This is no different than what Jesus did when citing Isaiah. Notice the difference between Isaiah’s prophecy and of Jesus’ quoting of Isaiah’s words –

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn.” Isaiah 61:1, 2

“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’” Luke 4:16-19

Jesus stopped in the middle of the verse from Isaiah. The same Lord who came in His first advent to accomplish and set forth certain blessings for His people will come again in the vengeance of God. That these things are thousands of years apart was unknown when Isaiah prophesied. His words essentially portray a mountain range in one panorama view, but as the ideas are considered individually, it is as if one is focusing on either the closer or the more distant mountains at any given time.

This is what Peter is doing. His prophecy included details of the future (such as verses 2:19, 20), but the part about there being “deliverance” in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem is irrelevant to what is happening “right now” at Peter’s time. Those events will not happen for millennia. Therefore, the Spirit did not inspire him to speak them out. The deliverance Joel refers to, but which Peter left out is noted elsewhere in the Old Testament, such as in Zechariah. These are end times verses that have nothing to do with the time Acts 2 was occurring –

“The Lord will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” Zechariah 12:7-9

With this broader picture understood, the words of Peter that are applicable to the present time of his speaking are, “And it shall come to pass.” These words are a reference to Joel’s prophecy. As such, they are not to be taken as merely future to Peter’s time. Rather, Peter is saying that what Joel prophesied is relevant to his “right now.” The pouring out of the Spirit demonstrates that this is so. And so, the expectation and effects of that prophecy are next spoken by Peter, beginning with, “That whoever calls on the name of the Lord.”

This is a Hebraism where calling on a name means to call on the person who bears the name. Hence, to “call on the name of the Lord” is to call on the Lord. As Joel was referring to Yehovah, Israel’s God, and as Peter equates this passage to Christ Jesus now, it clearly indicates that Jesus is the Incarnate Lord (Yehovah). To call on the name of Jesus as Lord is the expectation. The effect of doing so is that such a person will find divine favor. As Peter says, he “Shall be saved.”

From this point, Peter will explain how Jesus is the One to fulfill the prophecy and what Israel needed to do about applying His work to their lives. Of Peter’s coming words, Ruckman incorrectly and ignorantly says on his comments of Acts 2:23 –

“Although Peter preaches about Christ’s death (here), His burial (vs. 27), and of His resurrection (vs. 31), he never applies those things as a blood atonement for sin (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).”

In other words, Ruckman is arguing that Peter’s words to the Jews now are a “different” gospel than what is preached by Paul. The utterly ridiculous nature of this is almost beyond comprehension. The thinking is a major flaw of the heresy known as hyperdispensationalism.

First, there is a reason why there are 1189 chapters in the Bible. It is because there is a lot for God to convey to us. If God wanted everything about the work of Christ explained in one speech, there would be one long chapter spoken by Him with every detail necessary to explain what He was going to do. Instead, He slowly and progressively has revealed His workings within the stream of time.

Secondly, it is – at this time – unnecessary to speak of blood atonement. Peter is making a point about what occurred within the past two months in Jerusalem and how what Christ did is the fulfillment of the typology the Jews had lived under for 1500 years. In verse 2:38, Peter will refer to the remission of sins based on Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. But the Bible clearly explains that “…according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).

The author of Hebrews states this based on the already known sacrificial system set forth by Moses, and of which he is referring to in his epistle. To speak of the death of Christ IS to speak of blood atonement. Ruckman, in his zeal to put forth heresy, attempts to separate the death of Christ from the blood atonement of Christ. The two are one and the same thing; they are inseparable. That will be further explained as the epistles (including Peter’s epistles) are put forth. What Israel needs at the time of Acts 2, is instruction on what they had done, how it had made them guilty before God, and to repent (change their minds) concerning those things.

Hence, they are to “call on the name of the Lord.” This is the exact same thing that Paul will say in His epistles, which are directed to the Gentiles –

“For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” Romans 10:11-13

“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:2, 3

Life application: The Bible is a big book, and yet its message is one united stream of God’s workings in the world for all people. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of what God is doing, and the work of Christ is exactly the same for all people – Jew and Gentile, males and females, masters and slaves, rich and poor, and so on. There is one gospel, there is one New Covenant upon which that gospel is based, and there is no other path to reconciliation with God apart from it.

In remembering this simple truth, you will avoid innumerable heresies that have been put forth over the years.  From there, you can work on proper doctrine based on that simple message. In this, your walk with God will be one of happiness and soundness.

Unfortunately, the only way to address such heresies is to highlight those who espouse them, citing what they have said. Without doing this, there can be no resolution to their improper or heretical doctrines. Today, we use terms like Pelagianism and Arianism to define the heretical doctrines of Pelagius and Arius. This is because they espoused heresy. With the advent of new heresies, the names of the heretics who espouse them are to be identified with the heresies themselves and they are to be called out for their teachings. Open rebuke of such things is fully established in Galatians 2 where Paul directly and publicly called out Peter for tolerating the heresy of the Judaizers.

The essential truth that there is one gospel must be defended and those who espouse otherwise are to be called out.

Lord God, Your word is rich and pure and beautiful. Help us to carefully evaluate it and to rightly consider it. When something is presented that is not in accord with Your intent, please lead us away from it and to what is right and proper. It is our desire to please You through right doctrine and a close and personal walk with You. Amen.