“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my spirit.” Joel 2:28
On the day of Pentecost….. “But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day. And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know —“ Acts 2:14-22
Once again in the first century we have an apostle telling us that the event they are in at that moment is the fulfillment of a prophecy; in this case, Joel 2:28-29. This then should be a very good indication that whatever is spoken of prior to those verses in Joel had also been completed prior to the first century Pentecost.
The book of Joel was most likely written during the reign of Joash in the ninth century B.C. well before the Babylonian exile. So the most likely fulfillment would be the next happening which would have been the Babylonian exile spoken of as the destruction brought by the Almighty and called “the day of the Lord” [1:15]. You, reader, may be familiar with the dispensationalist interpretation of Joel which says that “The day of the Lord” refers to a future-yet day and the locust in chapter 1 are an invasion of real live ‘insect’ locust. There is no historical reference to a locust invasion nor is there any mention in Samuel, Kings or Chronicles. Remember it would have to happen before first century AD.
FYI: Comparing references between the Hebraic Bible and English translations can be difficult as the numbering system doesn’t always match up.
Taking the first chapter in Joel and looking at it from a Historicist view point the four kinds of locust or worms, depending on your translation, are reminiscent of the four beasts in Daniel. They come and eat up or take over The Land and its people. Historically there have been four kingdoms that have conquered, divided up, or ruled over The Land starting with the Babylonian exile; Babylon, Persia, Greece, and finally Rome.
Now the people of Judea did come back to The Land after their exile, 5th century BC. However, they were never again an independent nation. They were always under someone else’s rule until finally in 70AD with the complete destruction of Jerusalem and The Temple the Jews were dispersed forever.But for those of you who cry “duel prophecy”; well let us count for you: one… Babylonian exile two … 70AD and the complete destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple How many more do you need before you are satisfied that the prophecy is fulfilled?
Chapter 2 comes back around and talks about what is imminent; an army is coming against Jerusalem. Joel pleads with them to sound the trumpets/shofars, sound a warning to the people to come to their senses and repent! The warning was not heeded and the Empires came. One after another they took all the wealth. Finally they took all the people and left the land desolate. The other nations ask, “Where is their God”? verse 17.
Beginning with verse 16 in our English translations we have clear Messianic allusions. God is jealous He wants a people to call His own again. He says, “Behold, I am sending to you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied.” The Messiah is our “Bread of Life” who satisfies our hunger. [Jn 6:35, 48] Vs 24 “The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.” Believers in Messiah are likened to new grain and new wine in fresh wine skins. [Matt 3:12; Lk 3:17; Lk 5:38]
In the Hebrew verses 28-32 are considered a separate chapter. Chapter 3 contains the verses that Peter quotes as being fulfilled at Pentecost.
Then there is a full break and the Hebrew goes into Chapter 4. The Hebrew Chapter 4 is the English chapter 3 and should be interpreted as a completely new thought, subject or idea; fit for another time and another discussion.