JOEL: THE JUDGMENTS OF THE DAY OF THE LORD
IV: God's End-Time Spiritual Renewal Of Israel
A. "The Day of the Lord," a term used of the time when God administers judgment on sin and deliverance for His people can be applied to an event in Israel's past as well as to end-time events that are yet to occur.
B. In the concluding section of the book of Joel, God provided promises of a glorious future for His delivered remnant, and Joel 2:28-32 tells of God’s end-time spiritual renewal of Israel. We view it for our insight:
II. God's End-Time Spiritual Renewal Of Israel, Joel 2:28-32.
A. The Lord announced that after Israel’s future repentance and restoration that was predicted in the context back in Joel 2:12-17 (with Zechariah 12:10; 13:1; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Joel 2:28), He would pour out His Spirit on literally “all flesh,” meaning all people, the following context indicating these people will be all the inhabitants of Judah, Joel 2:28a. (Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1420)
B. Consequently, Judah’s sons and daughters would prophesy, its old men will dream dreams from the Lord, its young men will see prophetic visions and even Judah’s male and female servants in those days will be recipients of the Lord’s rich provision of the Spirit of God, Joel 2:28b-29.
C. God will display threatening miraculous signs in the heavens and on the earth in the form of blood, fire and columns of smoke in terms of human warfare, and the sun will darken and the moon will be turned to blood as terrifying signals of God’s judgment to unbelievers but of encouraging hope of deliverance for His people before the great and awesome day of the Lord (at Christ’s Second Coming to the earth), Joel 2:30; Ibid.
D. At that time of universal judgment, everyone who invokes the name of the Lord will be delivered from physical danger, these people being the Spirit-empowered people of God in Joel 2:28-29; Ibid.
E. At that time, Jerusalem will be a place of refuge for the survivors whom the Lord calls, those upon whom the Holy Spirit of God has been poured out back in Joel 2:28-29; Ibid., p. 1420-1421.
F. An interpretive problem arises upon considering how the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost cited Joel 2:28-32 to explain the arrival of the Holy Spirit with the speaking in tongues, for Peter there claimed, “(T)his is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel . . .” when many of the signs mentioned in this passage in Joel did not occur in Acts 2. We provide the answer to this interpretive problem (as follows):
1. Clearly, none the events predicted in Joel 2:28-32 have been fulfilled:
a. The Holy Spirit came only on believers in Christ at Pentecost according to Acts 2:1-13, not all the people of Judah like Joel 2:28-29 predicted.
b. The wonders of great war and changes in the sun and moon in Joel 2:30-31 did not occur in Acts 2, either.
c. Physical deliverance was not an issue in Acts 2 like it is in Joel 2:32.
2. Also, Peter did not claim that the events in Acts 2 actually fulfilled the Joel 2:28-32 prophecy, either, but he merely stated that “This is what was uttered through the prophet Joel,” Acts 2:16a ESV.
3. Accordingly, Peter was simply informing his Hebrew audience that what they were witnessing at Pentecost was not to be explained in terms of drunkenness as they had claimed (Acts 2:13), but this was the same kind of thing predicted in Joel 2:28-32 regarding the giving of the Holy Spirit on Israel’s believing remnant in the latter days before the Millennial Kingdom. (Ibid., Ryrie, ftn. to Acts 2:16-17)
4. Some Bible teachers assert that Peter was claiming the Acts 2 pouring out of the Spirit was “the first stage in the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy,” that Peter was implying that were Israel to have believed in Christ then, the rest of Joel’s end-time prophecy would then be fulfilled, Ibid., Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 1421. The basis for this claim is Peter’s call shortly later in Acts 3:19-21 to repent that God might send Christ back from heaven for the “times of refreshing” (v. 20), that is, for the Millennial Kingdom! However, by Acts 10:44-48, Peter came to understand more fully God’s program for Gentiles in the Church era, so a better explanation of Peter’s reference to the Kingdom in Acts 3:19-21 is that Peter then believed that Kingdom was imminent, only later to learn that there would be a Church era before it arrived, Ibid.
Lesson: Just before the Millennial Kingdom, God will pour out His Spirit in full measure on Israel’s saved Remnant when every believer will minister in prophetic utterances. What occurred at the Day of Pentecost to believing Christians in Acts 2 is a foretaste of that end-time fuller presentation of the Holy Spirit’s ministry.
Application: In hope of His fuller expression in the Kingdom, may we rely on the Holy Spirit now for blessing.