Truth, Understanding, Insight

Holy Spirit

9th August 2009, mgh


9) Joel and the Outpouring of the Spirit of Elohim

There is an Old Testament prophecy that could cause misconceptions in our era. It is to be found in Joel 2 and reads as follows:

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: (Joel 2: 28)

This quotation is referred to by Peter. The opinion of some Christians is that today we are awaiting the second coming of the Messiah and this refers to our times. It needs to be noted that this was a prophecy to Israel, to their sons and daughters. The last verse, which states 'before that great and notable day of the Lord come,' suggests a latter day application, but it is clearly a prophecy to Israel. Peter said

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of 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: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: (Acts 2: 16-20)

The Jews of the first century were witnessing the fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecies. There was an expectation that Messiah's return would be soon. So when Peter was speaking of this prophecy, they would think it would be within the next generation. That day was a foretaste of what would happen in the future. We know this as Peter does not say that the prophecy was fulfilled by the events on that day.

Peter is very happy to say the death and resurrection 'fulfilled' the prophets (Acts 1:16, 3:18. Also Stephen 13:27,29,33) But what Peter is recorded as saying in the Greek text is somewhat different in regards to this quote from Joel. Literally he says,

but, nevertheless this/the same exist this spoken of through the prophet Joel (Acts 2:16)

To say that 'the same exists' spoken of through Joel, is not saying it was fulfilled, he is saying it is 'like' that time. In fact it could not have been fulfilled as Peter also quotes the context, and that was not fulfilled. We can confirm this as Matthew uses the same Greek phrase when speaking of John the baptist the “voice of one crying in the wilderness”,

This/the same is what exist the/this speak through Isaiah the prophet (Matthew 3:3)

An analysis shows that in no way can the coming of John the Baptist fully fulfil Isaiah 40:3 as Isaiah writes,

Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she has received of Yahweh's hand double for all her sins. ..the Lord Yahweh will come with strong hand..: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him (Isaiah 40:2, 10).

At the time of John the Baptist Jerusalem's warfare was not finished and even now Yahweh is yet to come with his reward. Just as there is to be another crying in the wilderness (Elijah) to fulfil the detail of Matthew's quote, so too Peter's quote from Joel is yet to be fully fulfilled.

Since that time there has been nearly two thousand years and we have not yet seen the signs and wonders spoken of as concurrent with spirit being poured out on all flesh. That the spirit would be poured out on Israel is spoken of elsewhere. Ezekiel for example speaks of the regathered Jews being reformed with a new spirit

Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they shall come there, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.
And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. (Ezekiel 11: 17-20)

Just as in Peter's day, some miracle will be needed to convince the modern nation of Israel now regathered that their Messiah has indeed come. Paul observed that the Jews required a sign, whereas the Greeks sought after wisdom (1Corinthians 1:22). Just as in those days the Jews required a sign, so they will in modern times.

Of what sort was the evidence of the spirit the apostles showed? The kind that would make international headlines, such as a public instant healing of one known to be medically untreatable. But Joel says there will be a day of outpouring of the spirit of Yahweh: to bring deliverance to the political nation of Israel, when other nations seek to rule Israel.

Let the priests say.. Spare thy people, O Yahweh.. that the nations should rule over them: wherefore should they say.., Where is their God? (Joel2:17) And Yahweh shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executes his word: for the day of Yahweh is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:11)

It is this day that will see the outpouring of Yahweh's spirit on 'all flesh'. Note the 'all' is qualified in Joel's prophecy, it is not all people living but two classes: the Jewish people styled 'your sons and daughters' and those called by Yahweh Elohim 'my servants'. But in that same day many will “not abide” the outpouring of the wrath of Yahweh.

Until that day we have access, if we read it, to the work of the spirit of Yahweh, his mind revealed though his power to humans, which was the written word that we still have. Of what use are new revelations, if we haven't worked out what the one we have says? The work of the holy spirit was the word of God,

which effectually works also in you that believe. (1Thess. 2:13)

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