Joel 2:28 MEANING

Joel 2:28
(28) I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.--Holy Scripture is itself the interpreter of this most weighty promise. St. Peter's quotation and application of it in the Acts is its commentary. "Afterward "--LXX., after these things becomes in the apostle's mouth--"in the last days"--i.e., in the Christian dispensation, when, after the punishment of the Jews by the heathen, their king came--"my Spirit"--St. Peter renders "of my spirit," after the LXX., indicating the gifts and influences of the Holy Ghost--"upon all flesh"--i.e., without distinction of race or person--"they of the circumcision were astonished because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost." The outward manifestation of these gifts, as shown on the Day of Pentecost, in accordance with this prediction, was gradually withdrawn from the Church; the reality remains.

Verses 28-32. - These verses form a chapter (the third) by themselves in the Hebrew text, but in the LXX. and the Authorized Version they conclude ch. 2. In them the prophet passes on to spiritual blessings. Verses 28, 29. - And it shall come to pass afterward ('acharekhen). This intimates the time when the promised blessing is to be bestowed, and must be read in the light of New Testament exposition; for Peter, in quoting the words (Acts 2:17, etc.), varies the prophet's note of time by substituting an explanatory phrase, viz. ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις, "in the last days" - an expression which, as is acknowledged, refers to the days of the Messiah or the last days of the old dispensation. The apostle thus defines more closely the somewhat indefinite expression of the Hebrew. After this specification of the time, he proceeds to state the blessing to be bestowed. I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. The word shaphak, employed by the prophet to express the outpouring of the Spirit, implies the bestowal of the gift in great abundance, as Calvin clearly pointed out: "For shaphak," he says, "does not mean merely to give in drops, but to pour out in great abundance. But God did net pour out the Holy Spirit so abundantly or copiously under the Law, as he has since the manifestation of Christ." The Spirit was indeed communicated in Old Testament times, but that communication was restricted in two ways in quantity, and in the number of recipients; the former was comparatively scanty and the latter few, whereas the word here applied to its communication implies a rich supply, like a copious rainfall. After the specification of the time, and the mention of the blessing, with its implied plentifulness, comes its wide diffusion, or general distribution - "all flesh," or "all mankind," as the Hebrew expression denotes; and that without regard to age, or sex, or state. 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. Sons and daughters without distinction of sex; old men and young men without reference to age; servants and handmaids without regard to social position. Thus it is with the Spirit of God as with the Son of God, of whom the apostle says, "There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uucircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all." The blessing of salvation through the Son of God and by the Spirit of God is wide as the world in its offer, and free to all who accept it - without national distinction, for there is neither Jew nor Greek; without social distinction, for there is neither bond nor free; without sexual distinction, for there is neither male nor female; without ceremonial distinction, for there is neither circumcision nor uncircumcision; without intellectual or educational distinction, for the barbarian and even the Scythian, the lowest type of barbarian, are free to share the blessing. The regain before the "servants" and "handmaids," rendered in the citation by Peter, not as in the LXX. by a simple καὶ, but by καὶ γε, and in the Authorized Version "and also," is an emphatic addition to the previous enumeration, equivalent to "nay more" and implying something extraordinary and unexpected, that not only the weaker sex, but the meanest of both sexes, were to participate in the blessing. "Not a single case," says Keil, "occurs in the whole of the Old Testament of a slave receiving the gift of prophecy." The mode in which spiritual commmunication is

(1) according to some is that of visions to the young, whose fancy is more vigorous; that of dreams to the old, in the decadence of their mental powers; while to the sons and daughters the gift is prophesying. Others more correctly

(2) understand prophecy as the general term for speaking under the Spirit's influence or instructing by Divine inspiration; while the two forms of prophetic revelation are dreams when the mental "faculties are suspended by natural causes," and visions or trances when "suspended by supernatural causes," the communication in either case being supernatural. This prediction began to be fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost.

2:28-32 The promise began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, and it was continued in the converting grace and miraculous gifts conferred on both Jews and Gentiles. The judgments of God upon a sinful world, only go before the judgment of the world in the last day. Calling on God supposes knowledge of him, faith in him, desire toward him, dependence on him, and, as evidence of the sincerity of all this, conscientious obedience to him. Those only shall be delivered in the great day, who are now effectually called from sin to God, from self to Christ, from things below to things above.And it shall come to pass afterward,.... After the teacher of righteousness has been sent, and a plentiful rain of the Gospel has been let down in the land of Judea, in the ministry of John the Baptist, Christ and his apostles, and such a comfortable enjoyment of the blessings of grace in it, and the knowledge of God by it; and after the wonderful work of redemption wrought by Christ. R. Jeshua in Aben Ezra and Jarchi both say this prophecy refers to time to come; and Kimchi observes, that the phrase is the same with "in the last days"; and so the Apostle Peter quotes it, Acts 2:17; a phrase, as the above writer observes, which always signifies the days of the Messiah, to which he applies these words; and so do other Jewish writers, both ancient and modern (o); and there is no doubt with us Christians that they belong to the times of Christ and his apostles, since they are by an inspired writer said to be fulfilled in those times, Acts 2:16; here some begin a new chapter;

that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; not on such whose hearts are made tender as flesh, according to Ezekiel 36:26; as Jarchi; for the Spirit must be given first to make the heart such; nor only upon men in the land of Israel, a place fit to prophesy in, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi; but upon all men, as this phrase frequently signifies; see Isaiah 40:5; that is, all sorts of men, Jews and Gentiles, men of all nations; and such there were on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured down upon the apostles, and the grace of the Spirit was given to many of all nations; though that was only the beginning of the fulfilment of this prophecy, which quickly had a further accomplishment in the Gentile world; and denotes the abundance of the gifts of the Spirit, both extraordinary and ordinary, and of his grace, and the blessings of it, bestowed on them;

and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; as Agabus, Barnabas, Simeon, &c. and the four daughters of Philip the evangelist, Acts 11:28;

your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; as Ananias, Peter, Paul, John, and others, some in their elder, some in their younger years, Acts 9:10; though prophecy, dreams, and visions, being the usual ways of conveying knowledge, here signify that the knowledge of men in Gospel times should be equal to, yea, exceed, whatever was communicated to men in the highest degree in former times: John the Baptist was greater than any of the prophets, and yet the least in the kingdom of heaven was greater than he, Luke 7:28.

(o) Zohar in Numb. fol. 99. 2. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 15. fol. 219. 2. Debarim Rabba, sect. 6. fol. 242. 2. Abarbinel, Mashmia Jeshua, fol. 9. 3. R. Isaac, Chizzuk Emunah, par. 1. p. 51.

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