Engaging the Critics

On Thomas Ice and Joel 2/Acts 2

In reference to Thomas Ice and his claims about Joel 2 and Acts 2. I have had, so far, two radio debates with Thomas Ice. In the first encounter, the question was posed as to whether we are living in the last days. I responded by noting that Ice’s paradigm absolutely forbids that Israel’s last days could have been existence on Pentecost, or at any time in the first century after the crucifixion, because of their “gap theory.” In this paradigm, the prophetic clock of the 70 Weeks of Daniel 9 were interrupted, or suspended due to the Jewish rejection of the kingdom offer. That offer was withdrawn, and will not be offered again until after the Rapture, when the 70th Week countdown ostensibly resumes.

I took note that Peter, in Acts 2:15f, emphatically says of the events on that day, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” and then directly quotes from Joel 2:28f! There could not be a more positive, emphatic, and unmistakable statement anywhere in scripture! Joel’s anticipated last days, Israel’s fateful last generation, was present! This single fact utterly destroys the entire millennial house of cards.

I repeatedly called Thomas’, and the audience’s, attention to Acts, noting that Peter did not say, “This is something like what it will be when Joel is fulfilled.” Nor did he say that Joel was being “partially fulfilled,” as Ice’s book Prophecy Watch, p. 137 says. Ice co-authored Prophecy Watch with Timothy Demy. Near the end of the show, Ice, clearly frustrated, told the audience that if they wanted to know what he really believed about Acts 2 and Joel, that they needed to contact him. He implied that I was misrepresenting his position. I denied that, quoting again from Prophecy Watch. He said, repeatedly, that he had never written such a thing, and had never believed, at any time, that Joel’s prophecy was “partially fulfilled” on Pentecost.

It was at this juncture that I asked him, “Thomas, are you telling us that you put your name on books, and you don’t even agree with what they say?” His response shocked not only me, but lots of other people that contacted me after the show. He said “Yes.”

The problem for Ice is that Peter knew exactly what he was saying, and no amount of manipulation or denial can change his emphatic words. When Peter said “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” he clearly did not mean, “This is not that which was spoken by the prophet Joel!” Further, had he wished to say that the events of Pentecost were a type, a foreshadowing, of a future fulfillment, he had plenty of Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic words that could have conveyed “likeness.” He did not use those words. He said “This is that!”

After the debate was over, Thomas contacted me asking for verification of the quote from Prophecy Watch, again insisting that he had never taught that Joel was “partially fulfilled” on Pentecost. I sent the documentation, and Ice responded by admitting that the quote was as I had stated. However, he insisted that Timothy Demy had written that part of the book, and that had he, Ice, caught it, it would never have made it past the editing stage.

Thomas sent me a copy of an article written by Arnold Fructhenbaum, saying that the article accurately represents what he believes about Joel 2 and Acts 2. In that article, Furchtenbaum says that “virtually nothing that was foretold by Joel occurred on Pentecost.” This is more than remarkable, and shows the willingness of the millennialists to overtly deny the inspired text.

Joel said in the last days, the Spirit would be poured out. On Pentecost, the Spirit was poured out in an unprecedented way. There has never been anything like it before or since. Joel said when the Spirit was poured out, it would result in the manifestation of the miraculous. On Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out, the twelve miraculously spoke in tongues, and then proceeded to perform miraculous healings. Joel said the Spirit would be poured out on the house of Israel. Peter was addressing the house of Israel, and said that those who obeyed the gospel of Jesus, the Messiah now on David’s throne in the heavens, would receive the right to receive “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Joel said that the outpouring of the Spirit would be a sign of the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord, and Peter urged his audience “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” This is all but a quote of Deuteronomy 32, which was a prediction of Israel’s last days judgment (Deuteronomy 32:20, 28)

Thus, virtually everything that Joel said would happen in the last days, did happen on Pentecost! Yet, Ice and virtually all millennialists insist that Joel was not fulfilled on Pentecost! Now, not everything Joel foretold happened on Pentecost, nor was it supposed to. The Gentiles were not given the Spirit on Pentecost. That would take a bit of time. And, the Day of the Lord did not occur on Pentecost. Nor was it supposed to. The outpouring of the Spirit was to be a sign of the impending Day of the Lord. The Spirit was not to be poured out on that Day. In fact, that Day would be the termination of that miraculous outpouring.

The only reason that Ice, and millennialists, deny Peter’s words is because of preconceived ideas. If Israel’s last days existed on Pentecost, after the Jewish rejection of Jesus, the millennial theory is destroyed. It is that simple, for this means that Daniel’s prophetic clock was still clicking, and the seventieth week was present! Thus, they cannot allow “this is that” to mean “this is that.” They are forced to make it mean “this is not that.” This is more than a little remarkable considering that the millennialists vehemently insist that, “The Bible means what it says, and says what it means.” In the case of Peter and Pentecost, however, for the millennialists, the Bible does not say what it means, and does not mean what it says! One can only wonder what would happen to all of the other NT statements like, “This happened that it might be fulfilled,” etc. etc. if we were to apply Ice’s hermeneutic. In short, what would happen is that the Deity of Jesus as the fulfiller of the Law and Prophets would be destroyed. For, after all, “this happened that it might be fulfilled,” probably does not mean prophecy was actually being fulfilled. It actually meant that virtually nothing that was being done by Jesus was really the fulfillment of what the prophets spoke!!

If, in fact, Thomas Ice did claim, that the word translated “is” (estin) in “this is that,”does not appear in the Greek text, this is irresponsible. The word “estin” most definitely is in the Greek text. For Ice to claim otherwise is, tragically, typical, however. He seems all too willing to make virtually any claim to avoid the Truth. If he knew that “estin” is in the Greek text, and claimed otherwise, he is guilty of blatant dishonesty. If he did not know if “estin” is in the text, which of course takes but a moment to determine, then he should not have made any claim about it one way or the other.

Personally, it is difficult for me to imagine, after my emphasis on Acts 2:15f in our radio debate, that Ice had not gone over the Greek text with a fine toothed comb looking for any kind of excuse whatsoever to escape the force of Peter’s words. In such a case, he could not have failed to know that “estin” is in the text. However, only Thomas Ice knows for sure whether he did or did not know if “is,” “is”!!

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