Reading through the Bible together
The prophet Joel writes of the “Day of the Lord” that is to come upon His people and issues a call for repentance, revival, and reformation. After the terrible invasion of locusts and foreign armies, the text says, “Then the Lord will be zealous for the land, and pity His people” (2:18). Promises are given for deliverance, sustenance, a former rain and a latter rain (2:23), and restoration (2:25-27).
The prophecy has three applications: (1) to ancient Israel living in the time of the prophets (see Ezekiel 39:29); (2) to spiritual Israel (the church) at the time of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out on His people (Acts 2:16-21); and (3) to the Last Days of earth’s history (GC 611; AA 54-55).
The terminology here points to “the remnant whom the Lord calls” (2:32). Israel was called to be that remnant in the immediate context of the prophecy, but they failed to repent and experience the revival and reformation promised. The conditional prophecy was not fulfilled in their time. After Christ’s death and the early church the promise extended to spiritual Israel. During Pentecost thousands responded to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the testimony of Peter and the early apostles. This was the beginning of the early or former spiritual rain (AA 54).
Today, as we await the soon coming of Jesus, we are invited to experience the latter or final spiritual rain. This outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be more abundant than the former and cause sons and daughters to prophesy, “old men will dream dreams” and “young men will see visions.” Both manservants and maidservants will experience this power “in those days” (2:26-29). The prophecy for the end time is as conditional as the prophecy was to ancient Israel. “It shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (2:32). “All who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical and mental power” (DA, 287).
Are we ready to receive the Holy Spirit or are we satisfied and complacent in what we have? Have we committed our soul, body, and mind to God? What is it in my life or in your life that needs to be turned over to Him so that He can do with us those things that He has promised? Jesus is coming soon! The greatest gift He has promised is His Spirit. Is the Holy Spirit filling your life today?
Michael Hasel, Ph.D.
Professor of Biblical Studies
Director of the Institute of Archeology
Southern Adventist University