And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Joel 2:28-32)
Joel’s Prophecy extends down through time, and portrays the future of Judah and Israel as a series of locust like invasions of the Holy Land and of the Jewish people. The Babylonians, Greeks, Seleucids, Romans and even further into the two thousand years of scattering and Exile, (Arabs, Turks, Russians, Germans, in wave after wave of Gentile swarming, stripping, gnawing and the devouring of God’s chosen people, save the Remnant God would always preserve.
There would always also be the promise of Repentance and restoration that Joel also prophesied. God can turn back Locusts, but would His chosen and favored people open their hearts to Him? Would they turn to Him, rending their hearts in humble repentance and faith?
When that repentance occurs, God promises to “restore” all that the various Locusts had taken from them. Repentance is the precondition of restoration and re-instatement, this is what all of the Prophets insist,
Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.(Jeremiah 3:12-16)
The LORD, through the prophet Hosea also calls upon the children of Israel to repent in order to be restored,
I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early…Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.(Hosea 5:15-6:3)
But Joel sees further into the future, a more distant mountain peak, in which God shows Him what He would do when a tiny remnant of Israel would truly humble themselves and repent of their sins, rending their hearts and seeking God with all of their heart, in the manner Joel had prescribed by the Spirit.
It was revealed to Joel that it would come to pass “In the Last Days”.
The Prophecy began to be fulfilled when the (Jewish) disciples of Jesus waited upon the LORD in prayer and supplication, in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem and in the temple itself.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)
The Restoration of Israel (and of the whole world), would be undertaken by an outpouring of the Spirit of God. God would no longer just limit the Spirit to Priests, Kings and Prophets, He would “pour out of his Spirit upon all humanity”. No longer would the Law of God be engraved in external stone tablets, instead they would be written on the hearts of His people, giving them an inward affinity to the Will of God and creating a new, supernatural , Holy people for His glory.
The Apostle Peter , on the day of Pentecost was asked, “What meaneth this?”, when the Spirit was poured out from on high, and when the little remnant of Israel was empowered to worship God in a new way.
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.( Acts 2:14-21)
Joel didn’t realize all of the implications of this vision, but what He was seeing was the ‘book-ends’ of an entirely new dispensation, ie , the Church age. A new day was coming, the Messianic age was dawning, all of God’s people would be indwelt and even anointed by the Holy Spirit. Peter could see it right away, for He had been taught by Jesus to expect it, and that in the outpouring of the Spirit, “This was That , spoken of by the prophet Joel…”.
How is it called the “Last Days”? In this sense, all that preceded it; the Patriarchs, the Law, Prophets and the Theocracy, were preparatory. The Messiah (Jesus) had come, and in a sense, His advent marked the commencement of the “Last Days”.
As we stated earlier, Joel saw two “book-ends” in the vision of chapter 2:27-32, He saw the outpouring of the Spirit upon “all flesh” and He saw the cosmic, apocalyptic signs in the heaven and earth.
The events recounted in Acts Two occurred two thousand years ago.The Prophets tell us,”…a day is with the LORD as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as a day”. In the scheme of the “Prophetic week” from Adam to today, Jesus only came two days ago. Moses was four days ago. The week is almost over, we are on the edge of the Sabbath, this earth is soon to come into it’s rest!
The outpouring of the Spirit upon the church was the commencement of the Messianic age. The spectacular signs in the heavens, are yet to come “…Blood and Fire and Pillars of smoke…” they mark the Eschatological signs of the End.
Thus there is a two thousand year gap in the vision of Joel 2:27-32, which comprises the entire Age of the church.