Is salvation in Acts 2:21 salvation from the destruction of Jerusalem?


A member of the church has told me that Acts 2:21 is talking about rescue from danger or destruction, not salvation. He told me “saved” in verse 21 is not salvation from sin, it is saved from the Jerusalem destruction.

Another member of the church said in the immediate context of the quotation from Joel, yes (referring to the destruction of Jerusalem), and said but the Holy Spirit intended the physical salvation of the Israelites to be a typology of spiritual deliverance in Christ; and that's how Peter uses the passage from Joel as evidenced by Acts 2:38.

I have never in my life heard of this about Acts 2:21. I always thought it was referring to salvation.


Acts 2:21 is the last portion of a longer quotation from Joel.

"It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, rour young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the LORD has said, even among the survivors whom the LORD calls" (Joel 2:28-32).

Joel earlier had prophesied that an army was coming of such great strength and destruction that is rarely seen on the earth (Joel 2:1-11). It was too late for Judah to avert the coming disaster, but if the people would repent, God would lessen the blow (Joel 2:12-17). However, it would have to be true repentance -- repentance of the heart -- and not just an outward form of repentance (Joel 2:12-13).

Despite the destruction, God would remove the army (Joel 2:18-20) and the land would become more productive to make up for the losses (Joel 2:21-27).

At a later time, a greater blessing would come. It would be signaled by the pouring out of God's Spirit upon the people (Joel 2:28-29). Peter tells us that the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles was the beginning of that time (Acts 2:1-21).

However, Joel also warned there would also come a greater judgment (Joel 2:30-31). Peter launched from his quote of Joel to discuss how God had sent Jesus to Israel, proven to be from God by the miracles he did, and the people had killed him! (Acts 2:22-24). But as prophesied, Jesus did not remain dead but is now risen and reigning as Lord (Acts 2:25-36). Thus, Peter answers the question of why Joel talks about a great blessing followed by great destruction. God would be punishing those responsible for the death of His Son.

"Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!" (Matthew 23:34-38).

Yet, God does not leave His people without hope. "For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape" (Joel 2:32). This can be confusing because we just talked about the destruction of Jerusalem; yet, God then says some of those in Jerusalem would escape. But the confusion is resolved when we realize that there are two Jerusalems. "Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother" (Galatians 4:25-26). The church is the spiritual Jerusalem that continues long after physical Jerusalem was destroyed (Hebrews 12:22-24).

"And He said to them, 'Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem'" (Luke 24:46-47).

This is what Isaiah and Micah also taught. "Now it will come about that In the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:2-3; see also Micah 4:1-2).

"Calling on the name of the Lord" is a phrase meaning to appeal to the authority of the Lord. See Calling on the Name of the Lord for a detailed explanation. When you call on the name of the Lord, you are appealing to the Lord’s authority to save you. Now, it is true that tradition holds that no Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem because they heed Jesus' warnings, such as the ones found in Matthew 24. But Peter's application of Joel shows us that this prophecy was about something greater than surviving the destruction of a city. Noticed in Joel 2:32 that those who will be delivered, those who escape, those whom the Lord calls, will be from among the survivors of Jerusalem. Peter uses that phrase again, "Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself'" (Acts 2:38-39).

"But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thessalonians 2:13-14).

The concern in Peter's lesson is that the Jews had killed their Messiah and God's Son. That Son is now ruling will all power and will bring retribution upon them for their actions. Thus, the question asked in Acts 2:37 is what can they do to be saved from God's wrath? Peter's answer is that they need to be forgiven of their sins. This is the true salvation that they, and we as well, need. Those who answer God's call would come to Mt. Zion and the new Jerusalem (the church), where they will be saved from the wrath of God.

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