Bible Question:I do not really understand Acts 2:19-20. What does it mean?
Bible Answer:As we come to the passage in Acts 2 we want to remember that Jesus Christ had already left this earth and returned to heaven (Acts 1:8). Some days after Jesus had left, we are told that the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost and indwelt the apostles in a very unusual way.
When the day of Pentecost had come . . . suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. (NASB) Acts 2:1-4
This event had been predicted by Jesus on several occasions (Luke 24:49; John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7; Acts 1:7-8). When the Holy Spirit did come, the result was that the apostles spoke in "tongues" or known languages (Acts 2:4). The Greek word for "tongues" in verse 4 is GLOSSA and it refers to human languages. Acts 2:5-12 tells us that people from different countries and cultures were present and heard the apostles speak in his or her own language. It appears that the apostles spoke as a group, but yet each person heard them in their own languages. All of these people were amazed that they could simultaneously hear the apostles speaking in their own language. It was a miracle.
Peter's Sermon. But some individuals attempted to explain the event by accusing the apostles of being drunk. It is obvious that the accusation did not explain how they could hear their own language being spoken at the same time, but Peter used the opportunity to tell them about Jesus Christ. So Peter quoted the prophecy in Joel 2:28-32 and added a few words. Here are Peter's words as recorded in Acts 2:15-21.
For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: "AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS," God says, "THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT and they shall prophesy.
AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED." (NASB) Acts 2:15-21
Last Days. Since Acts 2:15-21 is a quote of Joel 2:28-32, it is important to understand that the Joel passage describes some of the events that will occur before the second coming of the Messiah (Joel 2:31). Peter calls the period of time which starts before the Messiah's second coming (Jesus' Second Coming) the "last days." The phrase "last days" was also used to refer to the time when Jesus was here on earth.
. . . in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (NASB) Heb. 1:2
For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you . . . (NASB) 1 Pet. 1:20
The last days also include the end times - the tribulation and the earthly kingdom (Is. 2:2; Hos. 3:5). From a biblical perspective, we are in the last part of world history or the "final days of the world" (Heb. 9:26; 1 John 2:18).