In the Last Days...
The use of Joel’s prophecy by Peter on the Day of Pentecost links the arrival of the Spirit to the start of History's final era. With the Spirit’s outpouring, the “Last Days” began in earnest. The Gift of the Spirit is the “Promise of Father,” and an integral part of the New Covenant prophesied in the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Its arrival pointed to a fundamental change of eras - The time of fulfillment had commenced - (Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:17-21).
The presence and activity of the Spirit in the Body of Christ is essential for the entire period between the ascension and return of Jesus. It is the necessary element for empowering his Church to proclaim his Kingdom and the Good News of salvation to the “ends of the Darth.”
|[Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash]
The Gift of the Spirit identifies individual men and women as disciples of Jesus and demonstrates their acceptance as members of his covenant community. The “wonders and signs” performed by the Spirit in the Book of Acts were in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy - (e.g., Acts 2:43, 4:16, 4:30, 5:12, 10:44-48).
Following his enthronement, his disciples received the Spirit and began to proclaim the Good News, “beginning in Jerusalem,” then in Judea, Samaria, and finally, to the “uttermost parts of the Earth.” Jesus commanded his followers to wait until “I send the promise of my Father upon you,” thus equipping them to be his “witnesses” - (Luke 1:1-4, 24:45-49, Acts 1:1-11, 2:1-4).
When the Spirit fell on the 120 disciples in Jerusalem, it produced a sound like a “rushing mighty wind,” and what looked like “tongues of fire that sat on each” of them. Hearing the commotion, Jewish pilgrims gathered near the Temple were confounded. Peter declared to them, “THIS is THAT spoken through the Prophet Joel.” The emphatic pronoun for “this” is used in the Greek clause of the passage. This was the very thing predicted by Joel that would signal the arrival of the “Last Days” - (Acts 2:14-21).
God raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at His “right hand” where he “received the promise of the Holy Spirit.” Peter concluded his sermon by summoning his audience to “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you will receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” That Gift was the promise of God “for you, your children, and FOR ALL THAT ARE AFAR OFF.”
The last phrase reiterates the clause from the final command of Jesus for his disciples to be his “witnesses… AS FAR AS THE UTTERMOST PART OF THE EARTH.” The reference to “those who are afar off” has in view not only geographic distance but also the passage of time from the start of the “Last Days” until the “Day of the Lord.”
On the Day of Pentecost, about three thousand men were added to the Assembly. The Book of Acts then documents the spread of the Gospel from Jerusalem to the city of Rome, and the activity of the Spirit during the entire process as attested by “wonders and signs,” just as Joel prophesied.
The presence of the Spirit among believers evidenced by “signs and wonders” was incontrovertible proof that the final era of History was underway. With his death, resurrection, and enthronement, along with the outpouring of the Spirit, the “Last Days” had begun and have been underway ever since.
- The Life-Giving Spirit - (Jesus declared, The Spirit makes alive. The flesh profits nothing. The words which I have spoken to you, they are spirit, and they are life)
- The Age of the Spirit - ( With the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, the Age of the Spirit commenced)
- He Baptizes in Spirit - (Jesus is the Coming One who baptizes his people in Spirit and Fire)