GOD’s PROMISE to POUR OUT His SPIRIT upon US
September 20 Bible Reading: Joel Chapters 1-3
"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, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days." (Joel 2:28-29)
This is the prophecy for which Joel has become most famous in modern days. This prophecy must be considered in the light of its context and in the light of its New Testament usage.
After describing the physical blessings that would come upon his generation if they would repent, Joel describes the spiritual blessings that God would bestow upon His people in the future. This passage was quoted by Peter on the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:17–21) to explain the miracle of speaking in tongues. Some Bible scholars suggest that Joel’s prophecy was partially fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. The gift of the Holy Spirit was given, but the signs mentioned in vv. 30–32 will be fulfilled later in connection with the return of Christ in great glory.
We need to note that the words “pour out” is derived from the imagery of Israel’s heavy winter rains; it speaks here of abundant provision. “All flesh” anticipates the inclusion of both Jews and Gentiles in one body in Christ (see Eph. 2:11–3:6). The ministries of the Spirit mentioned here were experienced in the early church (see Acts 11:28; 21:9; 2 Cor. 12:1–4; Rev. 1:1–3). The outpouring of the Spirit and the ministries done through His power will be accomplished without regard to gender, age, or class.
Christians are now experiencing the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of Joel’s promise. However, the prophet also describes other events associated with the “day of the Lord,” which it appears will not have their ultimate fulfillment until the end times.
The only condition throughout Joel’s prophecies is true repentance to the Lord, which involves turning from sin on the one hand and trusting by faith (with all one’s heart) on the other. The Old Testament emphasizes repentance (turning) and the New Testament emphasizes faith (trusting). Repentance and faith are inseparable. That is why repentance results in turning to the Lord with all one’s heart.