The sun shall be spurned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2:20-21
Peter references the prophecy passage from Joel to help the onlookers understand those tongues of fire and the multitude of languages telling of God’s mighty works. Peter’s quote from Joel includes the end-of-time portion of Joel’s prophecy. Within Joel chapter 2 is a frequent reminder to call on God, now using the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. When Jesus Christ was crucified there was a time of darkness for 3 hours but it was not what Joel predicts as the Day Of Our Lord.
Recently I read about an event in the year 1666 where Sir Matthew Hale was presiding judge in a Western England courtroom. During a trial in progress the courtroom grew dark, though it was mid-day, and the entire building seemed to shake as huge thunderbolts gave bright flashes and noise. People inside the courtroom were overcome with fear and as if by common consent they fell to their knees pleading for the mercy of God using Jesus’ Name.
During this, one of the lawyers looked up at Hale’s bench and saw that he was quite unaffected. Hale continued to take notes as if nothing extraordinary were happening. The lawyer was quoted as saying that Matthew Hale’s heart was, “so stayed upon God that no surprise, however sudden, could decompose him.” This lawyer called it right.
Born in 1609 in Gloucestershire, Hale’s parents had died when he was young and he was raised by his guardian, a devout Puritan. She raised him to act on faith in Jesus. Yet there was a time when he was a teen at Oxford when all the guys went out drinking and one of his friends ended up drink-poisoned, lay on the floor, Hale though he was dead. Hale ran into another room, fell on his knees and prayed for God to spare his friend and to forgive him for his own rebellion. God spared his friend’s life and Hale never drank again.
Hale became a lawyer and did not overcharge as others did, he married and they had ten kids, he and his wife read and studied the Bible with the kids and he wrote letters to his children and grandchildren. One preserved letter, to a son who had just recovered from smallpox, he writes to admonish him and to direct him to think frequently about the love of God in Jesus Christ, and to set aside time every morning to read his Bible. Hale did this, read and studied each morning.
Matthew Hale knew the Word and so when the 1666 year came and lots of talk about end-times was surrounding him, he had Jesus’ words that no one know the day or the hour when the end of this world as we know it will occur, excepting Heavenly Father for He knows. The importance of spending each day with the Lord, whether it be the last day or not, gives a calm that comes with the assurance that we are right with God in Jesus Christ.
Lastly, Hale had a Christ given concern for the poor and the system of taxation in place at that time. He worked to correct those inefficiencies and to change the corruption in the system. By faith’s stand, Hale did not let the widespread corruption overtake him and other’s noticed this, and it became his reputation.
So as to today’s Scripture, the bottom line in Peter’s words as he speaks the full passage from Joel 2 is this: Peter could have just quoted 2:28-29, and yet the Holy Spirit has him quote 2:30-31 also. For there must have been those in the onlookers crowd who were convinced that this was the end time. And actually, it was the beginning time– Jesus’ New Birth revolution in the hearts of all ages, races, and creeds had begun that day at Pentecost. His crucifixion and His Resurrection are what Peter speaks about next.