About Jesus Steve Sweetman
My Commentary On Joel
This Section - Chapter 2:28 - 32
In verse 28 it says, "and
afterwards I will pour out my Spirit on all people
the words "and afterwards" in verse 28 for they are important to
the fulfillment of this part of Joel's prophecy.
We should ask, "after what?"
What Joel says here is right after what was prophesied in the last
chapter and that is the violent end to this age, the restoration of
Israeli land, and the salvation of the surviving Jews after the Great
This verse is one very much preached
verse in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles. The
Apostle Peter preached on this verse in Acts 2 after the initial
outpouring of the Spirit on the disciples took place. He
quoted from Joel and said that this prophecy spoken by Joel was now what
was being seen in Jerusalem.
Peterís words are interesting in the
sense that Joel says "afterwards" God would pour out His Spirit
on all people or all flesh depending on what version of the Bible you are
reading. In light of what I
said that this prediction of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is yet to
be fulfilled, what did Peter mean when he quoted this passage?
Was he suggesting that the Day of Pentecost was the ultimate
fulfillment of this passage? I
don't think so.
First of all Peter did not exactly say
that the Day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy.
This may be reading things into Peter a bit but Peter said,
"this is what was spoken of by the prophet Joel."
Does that mean Peter thought Joel 2 was then being fulfilled?
Other New Testament passages that spoke of Old Testament fulfilled
prophecy often said something like this.
"This is in fulfillment of
..." Peter did not say
Beyond this, and maybe even more
significant is this. Peter's
quote from Joel included the phrases that spoke of the devastation of the
earth, sun, and moon. It is
obvious that these things did not happen on the Day of Pentecost and I'm
sure Peter understood that.
I think Peter was using Joel to
confirm and defend what was happening on the Day of Pentecost to the Jews
who would have known Joel's prophecy.
His words were in defense of the outpouring of the Spirit, not to
suggest any prophetic fulfillment.
I suggest that Acts 2 was the beginning of
I believe in Peter's mind, and really,
the mind of the first generation church, the last days began on the Day of
Pentecost. If you do a serious
study of the term last days you will see that it has 2 meanings.
The last days began on the Day of Pentecost, and, the last days are
the last few years that end this present age.
In this verse God says that He will
pour out His Spirit on all people or all flesh.
Does that mean all people, as in all the Jews, or does it mean all
people as in all peoples of the world, whether Jew or Gentile?
It means the latter. I
think we should take Joel at his word.
When he said "all people" I believe he meant "all
people." This didnít
happen on the Day of Pentecost, but it did begin to happen in Acts 10 when
the Holy Spirit was first poured out on the Gentiles, but again, Acts 10
wasn't all people.
We also should remember what I said in
my introduction and in chapter 1. Many
times Biblical prophecy has a double fulfillment. Itís
not necessarily fulfilled one time. Maybe,
the Acts 2 outpouring of the Spirit fits into this prophetic scenario.
Here in the year 2017 I hear of
massive revivals around the world, especially in Muslim nations.
It seems to me that there is a decline in Christianity in the
western world, but in other parts of the world the Holy Spirit is being
poured out. I believe this is
just the continuation of what we saw in the book of Acts.
It's not the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy.
Note that the Holy Spirit is poured
out on both male and female, young and old, rich and poor.
There is no distinction when it comes to God pouring out His Spirit
on people. There is no
favouritism. Note also that
part of this outpouring of the Spirit includes dreams and visions.
It has been noted by many these days that many Islamic people are
becoming Christians due to visions and dreams of Jesus.
So, in conclusion to verse 28, I
believe we should understand this massive outpouring of the Holy Spirit
beginning during the Great Tribulation up to and including Jesus' return
and into the days of His 1,000 year rule.
I believe we see hints
of this in Revelation 7:9 and following where I believe this last great revival is
The Hebrew word "naba" is
translated here as "prophesy."
This word finds its roots in the idea of something "bubbling
up." This is where
"naba" and thus our English word "prophesy" means
"to speak under the inspiration."
The bubbling up suggest the inspired motivation behind the
speaking. The Greek word
"propheteuo" is translated as "prophesy" in the New
Testament. Although this Greek
word might not be derived from the concept of bubbling up, it means the
same as its Hebrew counterpart. That
is to say, to means "to speak under inspiration."
With the above concept of prophesying in mind, we should then understand that in a Biblical godly sense, prophesying is to speak under the inspiration of God in order to communicate what God wants to be heard. One who prophesies is a spokesman for God.
People often think prophecy is predicting the future, but it is more than that. It is simply speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as I've said. Therefore, a Sunday morning sermon, if it is spoken under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit can be considered prophecy. Being what one would call a Charismatic Christian, I do also see prophecy as someone saying something like, "thus says the Lord," and then gives forth what he or she believes is the Word of the Lord. On the other hand, one can be inspired by the Holy Spirit on a street corner as he preaches the gospel to someone he meets. That would also be considered prophecy.
as a reminder in verse 29 that not just men will prophesy but women will
prophesy as well. Both men
Verse 30 and 31 proves that this
passage has yet to be fulfilled because the prophecy speaks of signs in
the sky and on the earth. The sun will turn dark and the moon to blood,
which we see in Revelation at the end of this age. This
has not yet taken place. It
must be in the future. So, we
acknowledge that Peter, when he quoted this passage on the Day of
Pentecost, was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
What he said was right, but in the context of Joel, we need to
conclude that this passage is still yet to be fulfilled.
This passage also reminds me of what
Concerning Gentiles receiving the Holy
Spirit in a great latter day revival, many Bible teachers say this will
happen in the last seven years of this age.
There will be a great revival and many of these revived people will
be killed by the anti-Christ. You
see them mentioned in Revelation 7:14.
They might well be the saints crying out to God to have their
deaths avenged, as seen in Revelation 6:9 through 11.
Concerning these tribulation saints as
they are often called, that is, those who get saved during the last seven
years of this age and are executed for their faith, there is debate among
Bible teachers about just who they are and when they were killed.
Some say they are only Israelis while others say they are both Jews
and Gentiles. Some say they
died during the tribulation while others suggest these are the martyred
saints throughout history. They
may be both.
In verse 30 the Day of the Lord is
called a "dreadful day." It's
dreadful for those who don't know Jesus, but for those who do know Him,
it's a glorious day. It's also
dreadful because of the bloodshed, death, and all of the ecological
disasters that accompany the return of Jesus to earth.
Jesus' return alone would be a very scary thing let alone all the
calamities that fall on the earth.
Before we move to the
next verse there are few Old Testament passages that speak so clearly to
the Holy Spirit in New Testament terms, but Joel does just that.
Verse 32 says, "and everyone who
calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." The
word "and" puts things in context. When all these things happen,
anyone who genuinely calls on God will be saved. I
know that we use this verse to say that anyone at any time will be saved
if they truly call on God, and there is nothing wrong with that, but
in context, this statement applies to those living at the end of the age.
The Apostle Paul quoted this verse in
Romans 10:13. There Paul uses
this verse in a different context. He
is saying that anyone at anytime can call on the name of Jesus and he will
be saved. Like Peter in Acts
2, Paul quoted from Joel but puts a bit of a different spin on the quote.
This chapter ends with God saying that
The deliverance this verse speaks of
is the total deliverance of both the Jews and their land.
It is also the deliverance of the Jews back to their God as we see
in Ezekiel 37 and elsewhere.
The final words of this chapter say,
"among the survivors who the Lord will call." As
I've mentioned above, in Romans 11 Paul calls Jewish survivors the remnant
Note also that those Jews who are
saved are those Jesus calls to be saved.
He will call the Jewish survivors and they will respond because of
the grace and spirit of supplication and repentance He gives them.
I've always understood
the "survivors" mentioned in this verse to be Jewish survivors,
but, it might well be all survivors, both Jew and Gentile, who will enter
into the thousand year rule of Christ.
The last verse of this chapter also
includes the words "as the Lord has said."
The question could be asked, "when did God say that?"
If the book of Joel was the first prophetic book to be written,
then what God had said must have been written in the book of the Law, in
the Law of Moses. If Joel
wrote this book later then what God has said might come from another
prophetic book. Nevertheless,
if you read Deuteronomy 28, the chapter that outlines the curses that
would experience, you will note that once all the curses have been
fulfilled, then restoration will come to Israel. This might well be what God
has said according to Joel. The
other way to think of "what God has said" might well be what He
has said in this very book of Joel.
people don't view the Law of Moses as having significance to end time
prophecy, but it does. It is vital to read Deuteronomy 28 because
there you read all of the curses that would come upon
When Joel says that
anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, we should
understand the word "calls" to be a serious crying out to the
Lord. This is how we should
always understand the word "calls," even in today's world, but,
remember this. This final
calling out from people will be a real cry from their hearts due to the
severity of the things they are experiencing.
This call will sure be a cry.
When Joel says that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, we should understand the word "calls" to be a serious crying out to the Lord. This is how we should always understand the word "calls," even in today's world, but, remember this. This final calling out from people will be a real cry from their hearts due to the severity of the things they are experiencing. This call will sure be a cry.