Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Joel 2: 28-32

The Promise of the Spirit
28"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, your young men will see visions.
29"Even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
The Day of the LORD
30"I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,
Blood, fire and columns of smoke.
31"The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood
Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
32"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.

Chapter 2 concludes with text that is intended to be viewed through "second coming" eyes. Joel returns to forth-casting the Day of the Lord. If it seems an abrupt jump, given that we are still in chapter 2, note that my study Bible indicates that in the Hebrew text, today's passage actually begins chapter 3. (There are 4 chapters of Joel in the Hebrew.)

God says that one of the significant events to occur in this time will be the full pouring out of His Spirit. I use the word full, here, because this pouring out has not been completely fulfilled, though the Holy Spirit has already been given to us (Acts 2). Interestingly, Peter, upon receiving the Holy Spirit, takes his place on the platform and delivers a sermon to those surrounding him, quoting Joel to those who have questioned what had just taken place. (Acts 2: 14-21) Confused?

My S.B. makes it clear that Peter's use of the Joel passage was not to demonstrate that Joel's prophecy was completely fulfilled at the time of Pentecost but that the Spirit's first appearance was a foretaste of things to come. As Joel reads, the Spirit's coming will allow not just apostles and prophets to see "dreams and visions," but the sons and daughters of Israel--the old, the young, the servants. (vs. 28 & 29) It will be different next time.

[On the other hand, that Peter quoted Old Testament prophecy must have given great credence to God's Holy Word to that earthly crowd of witnesses. I think, on some level, it is what I have experienced in these weeks, reading Joel and looking at our world situation today. Not that prophecy has been completely fulfilled, but that God's Word is "living and active" (Heb. 4:12)--valid and sustaining!]

When God's Spirit does come in full, it will not come to all. It is important to take in the construction of verses 28 and 29 in the passage. 'Mankind' does not refer to all people. Reading the rest of the passage in context--"your sons and daughters," etc.--refers back to Israel. This will be made more clear as we look at verse 32 and as we study chapter 3 ("The Nations Will Be Judged") next week.

God speaks of the dramatic visual signs that will precede the Day of the Lord. My Bible study group was speaking of "theophanies"--physical manifestations of the presence of God-- in this week's session as we discussed the pillar of cloud and of fire that accompanied the Hebrews in their wilderness days. God will cause physical disturbances and anomalies that will only be attributed to His presence. His wrath will be made known.

But, not without another show of grace. (vs. 32)

"And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered...."
How marvelous that not only does Peter quote Joel in the New Testament, but Paul does also! Speaking of Israel in Romans (10:12 & 13), Paul says that the time has come--and will come for all people--when there will be "no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all...and whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." He continues to say that not all of Israel will be saved, however, and Joel's prophecy has said this as well.

"Even among the survivors whom the Lord calls...there will be those who escape."

God is not unfaithful to fulfill His own Word! From the beginning, He ordained a group of people who would be His children. He promised His everlasting and unconditional love. And He continues, out of grace and mercy, to reach those who would otherwise perish. Here in Joel, they are called "survivors." They are also referred to as the "remnant." Generally, 'remnant' means that which is left over or "what remains." But, God does not intend to take home with Him what remains on the earth at the Day of the Lord.

"...'Remnant' has a special significance in the prophecies of Isaiah, as denoting 'a holy seed,' or spiritual kernel, of the nation which should survive impending judgment and become the germ of the people of God, being blessed of God and made a blessing." (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

"Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea, only a remnant within them will return; a destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness."
--Isaiah 10:20-22 (emphasis mine)

The Good Shepherd will return to lead His sheep through the narrow gate. Those who follow Him, those who call on His name, will be delivered.

Last chapter of Joel begins.... 'Til next Wednesday!


* * *

Next week: Joel 3: 1-3

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).

1 comment:

Carmen said...

I love reading your posts! They're so refreshing. One thing I hadn't clued into is, when it is speaking of 'your sons and daughters,' that it was speaking of the nation of Israel's future sons and daughters. It's funny how those little things sometimes escape us. One thing this passage makes clear is the grace and mercy of God! Thanks Sue!