My question is, am I wrong in considering a dual purpose for Peter referring back to Joel (2:28-31) relating Christ's 3 and a half year ministry this way,
Acts 2 is an important point for Christians. Many denominations have different ways to think about what happens at this point. Some see the establishment of a new covenant. Others see the start of a new dispensation. Many see the start of the "church" age.
I think what appears as duality is the potential and immanency of the kingdom. I think it can be helpful to look at this not so much as a transfer from Israel to the church but as a loss of potential for Israel to receive the kingdom. Israel had been given this opportunity (for the kingdom) starting as early as the announcement of the birth of Jesus by the angels until the destruction of the temple 70 years later.
In a way, this potential is similar to the offer of salvation to all men. It is a legitimate offer, but no one will accept it unless they are drawn by the Father. In a similar way the offer of the kingdom was made to Israel. Jesus didn't wink and say, "I know you guys are going to blow it, so here is the real plan". Every word he spoke was true regardless of what Israel did.
The was a need for national acceptance of the kingdom and the new covenant.
The first covenant had been accepted by the nation.
Exodus 19:8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that
the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the
people unto the LORD.
There was a promise of a new covenant for Israel.
Jeremiah 31:31-33 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will
make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of
Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers
in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land
of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto
them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will
make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I
will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts;
and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jesus came heralding the kingdom and offering the new covenant.
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say,
Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is
the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
- The birth of Jesus announced by angels did not move Israel to receive her king.
- The teaching ministry of Jesus did not move Israel to receive her king.
- The crucifixion of Jesus did not move Israel to receive her king.
- The resurrection of Jesus did not move Israel to receive her king.
- The ascension of Jesus did not move Israel to receive her king.
- The pouring out of spiritual gifts did not move Israel to receive her king.
- The giving of grace to gentiles did not move Israel to receive her king.
- The destruction of the temple did not move Israel to receive her king.
We are told that a time of trouble is coming for Jacob and that a faithful remnant of Israel will receive her king.
Revelation 12:16-17 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth
opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out
of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to
make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of
God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Israel had the legitimate opportunity to receive the kingdom during the 70 year period between the announcement of the birth of Jesus until the destruction of the temple 70 years later.
Paul writes that one result of the "stumble" of Israel is salvation brought to the gentiles.
Romans 11:11-12 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall?
God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the
Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be
the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the
Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
However, if Israel had received her king at that time, the world would look much different today we can get a hint of what this "fulness" would have been and now will be;
Isaiah 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke
many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and
their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against
nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Isaiah 11:8-9 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the
asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth
shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the
Isaiah 65:19-20 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my
people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor
the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of
days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child
shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years
old shall be accursed.
We can get a picture of how this kingdom was expected to start.
Mark 16:15-18 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is
baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they
cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take
up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt
them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
It was expected that the kingdom was immanent.
Acts 2:16-20 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out
of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall
prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall
dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour
out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will
shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood,
and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into
darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day
of the Lord come:
Several years later as gentiles started coming into the assembly, we see the application of what Jesus told Peter about the keys to the kingdom. James applies the "binding" and "loosening" in regard to gentiles coming into the kingdom by placing on them the restrictions that were to be placed on "sojourners" in Leviticus.
Paul still expected an immanent kingdom by his use of the word "we".
1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the
air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Peter's quote of Joel was right. What was happening was the start of the kingdom. It was not brought to completion because Israel failed to receive the opportunity it was given. We are now living in a time when salvation is still available to both Jews and gentiles. However, the "fulness" of which Paul writes in Romans is still in the future.
Looking back, we can take the Christian life we know today and place on top of it the supernatural things described in the early church. This can give a sense of duality. However, I think it can be of help to see it as that which was then offered and is now on hold.