Psalm 65; Joel 2:18-32; Acts 2:14-24; Luke 8:4-15
“Dwelling Securely in the Land”
Partial or even layers of fulfillment are necessary when putting the big picture together. While nailing down the date of Joel is not possible (pre or post exile?), it is still beneficial to ask what THE HEARERS of Joel’s prophecy understood him to be saying? Certainly to be brought back into the land, and having the temple rebuilt was exhilarating as far as Joel’s promise of renewal in the latter days. They probably thought these were them. They looked with great hope and expectation that these truly are the latter days. The barns were to be full; the land was to yield its abundance; the rains were to drench the ground, etc. But hindsight is often much clearer, and history often reveals an over-realized optimism. Such was to be Israel’s experience; indeed, they were destroyed in 70AD. Were they wrong to look at their days as the latter days? Yes and no. I believe there were layers of fulfilment – at the very least, on a typological level. Meaning, their land restoration was a certain kind of fulfillment, but it POINTED to the future, and its substance is found when Jesus would bring the Kingdom of God to bear upon the earth.
The New Testament reveals that the latter days of prophecy and outpouring of God’s spirit was actually inaugurated when Jesus came, and in particular, on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. There was the theophonic (a miraculous appearance of God) element in Acts chapter two (wind, fire, and blood), but the substance of the latter days, is to be found in the OUTPOURING of the Holy Spirit upon His church, the elect of God. This divine enablement is the New Covenant where God writes the law on the heart.
What about the land promise? All the blessings? Are they yet coming to Israel as a nation? Are those promises actually literal? Or is fulfillment on a typological level? Is a piece of geography in the Middle East still the focal point? Or is it a picture of heaven? Here, Christians can differ, but all will conclude that ultimate fulfillment and blessing comes when heaven is in full operation and we are forever with the Lord.