Plain Sense Syllogisms from Acts 2

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Tim, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. Tim

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    I recently heard a sermon which directly addressed the prickly issue of Peter citing Joel's prophesy as fulfilled at Pentecost. It inspired a few plain sense syllogisms. As the old saying goes, "if the plain sense makes common sense, seek no other sense." But if it doesn't . . .

    #1
    Premise:
    Prophecy should always be interpreted literally.

    Statement:
    Peter said that Joel's prophecy was fulfilled at Pentecost.

    Conclusion: (pick one option)

    A Peter was wrong.
    B It was fulfilled (except for those things about the sun, moon and stars because they're still there).
    C It was fulfilled. (better re-examine the premise)

    #2
    Premise:
    We are living in the last days.

    Statement:
    Peter said Pentecost happened in the last days.

    Conclusion: (pick one option)

    A Peter was wrong.
    B The last days are lasting more than 2000 years now, and counting.
    C Peter was speaking of different last days, specifically pertaining to the nation of Israel. (re-examine premise)

    #3
    Premise:
    A literal fulfillment of all of Joel's prophecy is obviously yet future.

    Statement:
    Peter said that after those events it would come to pass that whosoever called upon the name of the Lord would be saved.

    Conclusion:(pick one option)

    A. Peter was wrong.
    B. He's talking about people being saved in the future tribulation or millenium.
    C. Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."(Praise God! and . . . ahem re-examine premise)
     
  2. Pastor Larry

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    The common sense of Acts 2 is that PEter was using an analogy or illustration, a "this is like" scenario. This is common in speech and theology so it is not unexpected. And we know that Peter was not speaking of the true fulfillment of Joel because what Joel prophesied didn't happen. When we understand that both Joel and Peter told the truth, then we see that Peter was using Joel as an illustration of what was presently happening. There is nothing deep or confusing here.
     
  3. Tim

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    Funny that Peter used the words "this is that" in Acts 2:16 rather than "this is like" as you used above.

    Most commentators say that Peter is saying that Pentecost was the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy, not that it bore some resemblance to Joel's prophecy.
     
  4. Tim

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    I did a search to see if I could find any other place in the New Testament where someone referred to an Old Testament prophesy, saying "this is . . ." when they clearly did NOT mean that the event at hand was a fulfillment of that OT prophecy.

    Couldn't find one. Do you have an example?

    Jesus said that John the Baptist was a fulfillment of OT prophecy as the precursor of Christ. He didn't mean he was like that fulfillment yet to come.

    Stephen said that Jesus was a fulfillment of Moses' prophecy of a greater prophet to come. Again, he didn't say he was LIKE that, but we were still waiting for one greater.

    Yes, I see clear metaphors citing prophecy, like Jesus being the stone rejected by the builders. But again, I don't see that actually pointing to some future event.

    So, if I am to accept your claim that Peter said this (Pentecost and subsequent events) is that (Joel's prophesy), but really meant something else far in the future, then Peter succeeded in being uniquely confusing to his audience in one of the most pivotal sermons in the New Testament.
     
  5. Grasshopper

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    Very good Tim. Perhaps we should throw this "this is" in as well.

    Mal 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

    Mat 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
    Mat 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
    Mat 11:14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
     
  6. Grasshopper

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    You mean it didn't happen the way you think it should happen. If it doesn't fit the futurist view, then it just didn't happen?
     
  7. Pastor Larry

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    No, I mean it didn't happen. Read Joel (and Peter's quotation) and you will see very clearly it didn't happen like Joel said it would.

    As for the "this is," remember, a common figure of speech is that of illustration of similarity. We use it all the time in English with very clear understanding. You take a picture of your child out of your wallet and hold it up and say "This is my oldest child." Yet everyone has the common sense to know that it is a picture or illustration of it.

    YOu say Peter confused his audience, yet I see no proof of that. There is no evidence that anyone then took it the way that you do. It seems to me that you are the one confused here.

    Tim, your objection is the result of failure to apply common sense to Scripture. We all use the figure of speech that Peter used. It is used all through Scripture, for instance at the last supper. What you have in your view is a position that denies the truthfulness of Joel in order to maintain a theological position. It is unnecessary and illegitimate.
     
  8. Grasshopper

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    So let me get this straight, "this is" is a figure of speech and not to be taken literally but Acts 2:19 and 20 are not figures of speech but are to be taken literally? So who gets to decide what is to be taken literally and what must be figures of speech? Dispies only?

    Act 2:19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
    Act 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
     
  9. Tim

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    Pastor Larry,

    To be perfectly honest, your response reminds me of a policeman at the scene of a accident, saying, "Move along. There's nothing to see here." When everyone can see that there's a problem!

    I'm not saying that Peter confused his audience. Eastern people of that time were used to prohecies in the form of dark and difficult sayings. They may have wondered exactly what it meant. But if they were familiar with the OT scriptures, they would have remembered similar language about the sun, moon and stars in regard to the judgment on Babylon in Isaiah 13, or the judgment on Egypt in Ezekiel 32. Both of which came to pass, even though the sun, moon and stars still stand.

    What I was saying is that if Peter meant what you think he meant, his audience would have been confused, because (I repeat) no other NT passage cites an OT prophecy as being similar to something being fulfilled without actually being the fulfillment. I asked if you could find me any example of that phenomenon, and you did not give me one.

    The real issue is allowing scripture to interpret scripture, rather than holding onto your premise at all costs.

    Tim
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    Who said it wasn't to be taken literally? The literal meaning is the illustrative use of it. As I said we do it all the time. This is not difficult at all.

    This is precisely how we know that my understanding is correct. This didn't happen. So we are left with Joel being wrong about this happening, Peter being wrong about it being in Acts 2, or Peter meaning exactly what the common sense tells us he means ... "This is like ..."
     
  11. Tim

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    Grasshopper,

    You and I know all too well that this is the number one rule of interpretation for dispensationalists:

    "I believe in a literal interpretation of the scriptures (except when it doesn't fit my system)"
     
  12. TomVols

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    Do Paul's statements regarding "last days" as present tense not give us a hint that this is the correct interpretation?
     
  13. Pastor Larry

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    That might be your honest response, but it certainly isn't accurate. Here is the problem: If you are right, then Joel was wrong. Period. Joel said certain things would happen before the DOL. Anyone can read Acts 2 and see that it didn't happen. There is a great problem with your position.

    If you are right, the Peter confused his audience. He would have said "This is exactly what Joel prophesied" and everyone there could have read Joel and seen that it wasn't. Then they would be confused: "If this guy can't read Joel right, how can he get the gospel right?"

    I am not sure there is no other one. ACts 15 comes to mind as a clear example, again if you compare the original text with the NT citation. The problem is that many don't want to listen to what the OT prophets actually said. And I don't have time to go around that barn again.

    But again, just read Joel and read the account in Acts 2 and ask if it happened. The obvious answer is No, It didn't happen.

    Absolutely correct ... which is why I don't understand you holding on to your position rather than allowing the Scripture to speak. But that's just me I guess ...
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    Don't you think it is a little early in the discussion to stoop to this? Why degenerate this so fast?

    Tom, I think that Paul is a great comparison. When Paul talks of the last days, he is referring to things that are actually going on. Joel's comments on the last days also refer to things, but when we read Acts 2 we can see that they aren't going on. So comparing the uses of "last days" argues that my interpretation is correct.

    We must remember that "last days" has a different connotation depending on the context of Scripture in which it is being used.
     
  15. Grasshopper

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    Good, then you agree preterist interpret the scriptures just as literal as dispies do.

    Then the question is why didn’t he say “this is like” instead of "this is"? Secondly why did Peter quote this from Joel? What does it mean if it is not a fulfillment?

    So what “last days” was Paul speaking of 20-30 years after Christ?????


    Keep reading in Acts.

    Act 2:17 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,

    Act 21:9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
    Act 21:10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.

    and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

    Act 9:10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

    Act 22:17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;

    Act 2:19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
    Act 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,

    Figurative language right out of the OT. In my opinion referring to the dissolution of the Mosaic economy/Old Covenant.

    before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

    The same day that Malachi told of and which Jesus said John was the fulfillment of Elijah.

    Mal 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and
    dreadful day of the LORD:

    Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    Are you saying this is still future? Sure sounds like a relevant New Covenant message.

    Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
     
  16. Tim

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    PL

    I think Acts 15 is a big enough text for a separate thread. But simply said, once again you have a time problem if you say that James is not applying the prophecy he cites in a figurative way to an immediate fulfillment.

    The result of the raising up of the tabernacle of David is the salvation of the Gentiles. Just as the result of Joel's prophesy regarding Pentecost leads to the salvation of "Whosoever (read more than Jews) calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

    If you acknowledge that God has invited Gentiles to find salvation in a way unknown in the OT, then you have to acknowledge that these prophecies have been fulfilled--even if you will not accept the plain sense of what James or Peter said regarding their fulfillment, i.e. "this is that".

    The results are in--Gentiles are being saved! And both NT writers associated that phenomenon with the fulfillment of prophecies which are then clearly NOT to be taken literally.
     
  17. JackRUS

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    Grasshopper,

    You and I know all too well that this is the number one rule of interpretation for dispensationalists:

    "I believe in a literal interpretation of the scriptures (except when it doesn't fit my system)"
    </font>[/QUOTE]How many Preterists take the real visual appearing of Christ at His coming literally as described in these passages?:

    "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail
    because of Him. Even so, Amen." Rev. 1&

    "Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven,
    shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." Acts 1:11

    "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall
    look upon me
    whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for
    Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." Zech. 12:10

    I would argue that the answer is none, including you two. Rom. 2:1
     
  18. Grasshopper

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    1. Who do the NT writers say pierced Jesus?
    2. Acts 1 refers to "in like manner" not "as you see Him".
    3. Perhaps you should read John 19:37 for the fulfillment of Zech 12:10.
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    Huh??? That makes no sense. Preterists have a load of problems apart from this, but they certainly don't interpret Scripture as literally as dispensationalists do.

    When you hold up a picture of your daughter, do you say "This is my daughter" or "This is like my daughter"? I would be willing to bet you say the former, and no one ever questions you because they understand exactly what you mean. When Christ held up the bread and cup and said "This is ..." he clearly was using an illustration. Why didn't he say "This is like ..." For the same reason Peter didn't. It was obvious; it was the normal use of language.

    The last days is the church age. That is not under dispute. But look at what was happening. That is the key. And look at the context.


    Ah hah ... you are exposed :D ... You read the first part (language right out of the OT) as literal and then in the middle with no contextual reason at all. Your reason for switching is to support your position. This is the problem with your position. You take the same passage and read part of it literal and part of it figurative. That is problemmatic to a high degree.

    The fact is that the things Joel prophesied of didn't happen. How can it be fulfilled if it didn't happen?

    Yes, but how long is that day? And what particular part of it are you referring to? The DOL is a long period of time, and the time preceding it is also.

    It is the gospel message. It has always been true.

    Again, we will not solve this because we look at Scripture differently. My plea is for you to put aside your preconceived notions and take it for what it says. Obviously you think I should do the same. And we have been here enough times to know there is no resolution between us.
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    It has had its own several times.

    If James is arguing for immediate fulfillment, then why isn't it fulfilled? Read the passage and look for the fulfillment markers. You can't find them unless you say that Amos didn't really mean what he said. I don't think we should go down that path.

    But when you read the prophets, that is millennial, not church age. All James says is that what was happening "agrees" with the prophets. It is what should be expected.

    Yes, but that is not at dispute. That will happen both now and in the end times.

    Why? First, the "unknown way" was Christ, who was becoming more clear throughout the OT. But that doesn't affect these prophecies. Again, just read them without injecting your conclusions on to them.

    I do accept the plain sense reading. We do it all the time.

     

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