Joel, Pentecost, Peter, Ladd, and the Millennium

Posted: February 2, 2010 by Rick Hogaboam in Eschatology, Pentecostal/Charismatic Interests, Theology
Tags: , ,

From Ladd’s “New Testament Theology”

Ladd (1974:344) speaks of the “last days” paradigm that Peter employs from Joel:

The promise given to Israel to be fulfilled at the Day of the Lord, said Peter, has now been fulfilled, not to the nation, but to a group of men who believed in the messiahship of Jesus. Furthermore, Peter adds an expression that gives the event pointed eschatological significance. He substitutes for Joel’s “after this” the words, “and in the last days” (Acts 2:17). In the prophets, “the last days” was an expression designating the time of the Kingdom of God, the messianic era.

Ladd (1974:344) adds:

Peter reinterprets Joel by asserting that the outpouring of the Spirit also belongs to the last days. By so doing he also reinterprets the meaning the meaning of the last days themselves; he separates the last days from the Day of the Lord and places them in history. The last days have come. The last days are the days of the Spirit who has now been given. In some real sense of the word, the messianic era has come, the eschatological salvation is present.

As for the placement of the millennium, Ladd (premillennial) cautions against an unhealthy preoccupation on the matter, “American evangelicalism has placed an unwarranted emphasis on this doctrine of a millennium” (1974:204).

Though Ladd holds to a premillennial position, he is not of the dispensational mold and has rightly recognized that Jesus inaugurated the messianic age in His ministry and in the outpouring of the Spirit upon the Church. Ladd does believe that Jesus will occupy an earthly reign as part of the consummating process, but he does not confine Joel’s fulfillment solely to that earthly reign. I am appreciative that Ladd emphasizes some fulfillment, though he fails to fully qualify what exactly it is. I don’t think I could qualify perfectly what the inauguration is in detail either, so we stand on common ground. We’re clearly agreed that it would be wrong to say that nothing has been inaugurated.

Is it possible that the Joel 2 speaks of Armageddon, and the promised restoration occurs contingently on Pentecost, where blessing now comes to Israel, which awaits yet another day of battle (Gog), whereas the enemies are permanently cut off from the land? We would therefore be in the time of restoration for Israel right now, awaiting the final climatic event. In my preaching series through Joel, I saw this a plausible eschatological scheme. Pentecost inaugurates the restorative age for the “new Israel” (Joel 2:18-27), which will culminate in Christ’s second advent and permanent judgment over the nations (Joel 3), which then ushers in a fully restored age.

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