“Upon All Flesh” (Chapter 2:28-32)
Just before Jesus comes back Israel as a nation will be spiritually restored. The Apostle Paul said, “Israel has experienced a hardening in part, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; He will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25b-27) The result of this revival in Israel will spread to other nations and for a very brief period of time multitudes will be swept into the kingdom of God. This will be the last great spiritual harvest before the wrath of God falls.
Farmers know that when the crop is ready to be harvested they must work quickly to gather in the fruit otherwise the harvest will be lost. So it will be in this end time worldwide revival. It will be short but very productive. The tragedy is that it will be only a remnant. The vast majority of mankind will refuse God’s last great offer of Salvation and experience the wrath of God. Many will have built up their resistance to Israel and to Jewish people and will be offended that Jewish people should prosper under God’s favour. Also multitudes in the so-called Professing Christian Church, because of their Anti-Semitism and replacement theology, will also reject this revival among the Jewish people. Yet the Day of Pentecost will be repeated again!
This portion of Joel’s prophecy was partially fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. Indeed Peter the Apostle declared it was so when he preached his first sermon under the Spirit’s anointing. “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel” Peter said. Yet the Greek language of the text renders it to say, “This is like that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” On the Day of Pentecost there was no “blood and fire and billows of smoke.” Neither was “the sun turned to darkness and the moon to blood.” These were to be future events.
In this portion of the prophecy Joel was prophesying for two time frames. Firstly he prophesied for the Day of Pentecost when the “Former Rain” of the Spirit would fall upon Israel and overflow into the Gentile nations. Secondly Joel was also prophesying for the last days just before Jesus comes back when the “Latter Rain” of the Spirit would again fall upon Israel and overflow into the Gentile nations. Between these two events down through the history of the Church there have been many revivals that have come to individual nations but they have never been global in their extent. Most of the revivals have been in Europe, England and America at various times in history and even today counties like China, Indonesia, South America and North Korea are experiencing revival even though much of it is happening in the underground churches. The other great nations have been touched to a degree. However things are different today. Because of global communication the gospel is going into every nation of the world through the Internet, through Television, through radio and through the printed page. This in itself is a sign that Jesus return is not far away. Remember the Lord Jesus said Himself, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
Today this is happening just as Jesus said it would, however, the end is not yet because Israel must also be revived. When they are revived for them it will be “Life from the dead!” resulting in a great revival where “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” This event is still in the future as Israel are still experiencing, in part, “a hardness of heart” but that is soon to change as the times of the Gentiles draws to a close and Israel increasingly becomes the focus of world attention. God loves his creation and He loves people and He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Because of His great mercy He will give the whole world one last opportunity to repent and turn to him before He sends His wrath upon sin and rebellion. This He will do through the nation of Israel! Now let’s turn to the text itself…
(Vs. 28-29) “And afterward, I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
On the day of Pentecost the Church was launched into the life and dimension of the Spirit’s Power. One hundred and twenty believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and with power because the anointing that had been on Jesus now flowed down over them. Peter said this was so, “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exulted to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” (Acts 2:32-33)
On that day around 3,000 people were saved in Jerusalem however the gospel spread quickly through the Roman Empire and out into the regions beyond resulting in countless numbers being saved. In a very real sense the last days began on the Day of Pentecost but Peter’s declaration includes the very last days just before Jesus comes back. This is the context of Joel’s prophecy. It included the Day of Pentecost but also the very last days at the end of this present age. The context is quite clear.
Now the Lord is not selective where His Spirit’s power is concerned. Whenever he finds a man, a women or even a very young person, who truly repents and turns their life over to Him by faith, He anoints them with His Spirit. Indeed the promise of the Spirit’s power is for every believer in every age. Peter said this was so. “The promise (The promised Baptism with the Holy Spirit) is for you (The Jews to whom Peter was preaching) and your children (Their children) and for all who are afar off (The Gentiles) and for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Every believer in every age) (Acts 2:39) And so Joel continues…
“Your sons and daughters will prophesy;”
Prophecy was the most coveted gift in Israel. Moses wished that all of the Lord’s people were prophets (Numbers 11:29). In the New Testament the gift of Prophecy was something that Paul wanted every believer to have. (1 Corinthians14: 1) This particular manifestation of the Spirit was not limited to men but also to women as well. God never intended the gifts or manifestations of the Spirit’s power to cease. There never was a time in Church history when the gifts were not manifested. During the dark ages especially during the mediaeval period the manifestations of the Spirit were rarely seen and even avoided by the Protestants because of the superstitious practices of the Roman Catholic Church. However they never ceased to exist but were always practiced by Bible believing Christians in every age of the Church. Nowhere in the Bible or in history for that matter can it be proven that the gifts or manifestations of the Spirit ceased to operate by the end of the first Century.
In the last days and especially during the revival that is coming to Israel the gift of prophecy will be the foremost manifestation of the Spirit and both men and women will be under this anointing. And then we read…
“Your old men will dream dreams;”
When you consider the tragedy of Israel’s history many Jewish people, especially the elderly who have passed through the holocaust, have lost their capacity to see the Lord at work in Israel. Many stand at the Wailing Wall today crying out to God to hear their prayers for the peace of Jerusalem. Many Jewish people have lost sight altogether of their spiritual inheritance. Multitudes today in Israel are living just like the pagans and in many cases worse than the other nations. Many elderly Godly Jewish people are disillusioned by the events happening in Israel and many have lost hope. Others believe in Israel’s national and spiritual restoration but do not see it coming only through Jesus their true Messiah and the only one who can bring lasting peace to the nation.
However, when the Spirit of God is poured out upon Israel one last time many elderly Jewish citizens who have lost all hope will dream dreams of their restoration. They will see again God’s purposes for their land and for them as a people. Likewise in the Church many old saints who have longed for revival and for the Lord’s return will see in Israel’s revival the fulfilment of Bible prophecy and their desires fulfilled. Many, by faith, will see themselves soon to reign and to rule with Christ on the earth in their glorified bodies. And then we read…
“Your young men will see visions;”
When we read the accounts of the Church in the New Testament there were those who had visions such as Peter and Paul. However in the last days according to Joel believers everywhere and especially in Israel at that time will see visions. They will see what God is doing in Israel and know His mind and heart. God’s word will come alive in their spirits and they will behold wonderful things out of His Law. Many will see into the realm of the Spirit and declare to their Jewish brethren the things that have been, that are and that are to come. Many in the Church will see visions from the Lord as the Spirit of God leads them. They will see what God is really doing in Israel, in the Church and in the world at large. Primarily these visions will be in relation to Israel, as this time will be primarily concerned with God’s purposes for His covenant people. It needs to be said that the Word of God must always test all prophecies and all dreams and all manifestations. True prophecies and dreams will always be in line with the Word of God.
Joel now changes the time frame and prophesies that the Day of Pentecost will be repeated at the very end of this age. The events he now goes on to describe have not yet happened.
(Vs. 30-31) “I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”
These events are foretold elsewhere in the Bible and are always connected to God’s wrath at the end of this age (Isaiah 13:9-13) (Isaiah 24:21-23) (Matthew 24:29) (Luke 21:25-26) (Revelation 6:12-14). When these cosmic signs occur it will indicate that the end of all things is at hand. Society as a whole will have broken down! The kingdoms of this world will be coming to a fiery end. God’s Word is clear about this! There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring turmoil within the nations of the world. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
As the sun turns black like sackcloth and the whole moon is turned to blood there will be the biggest earthquake the world has ever known. Skyscrapers around the world will collapse. The kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty and every slave and every free man will hide in caves and among the rocks of the mountains calling on them to fall upon them and to hide them from the face of Him who sits upon His throne and from the wrath of the Lamb for their great day of wrath has come and who can stand! Isaiah the prophet described the wrath of the Lamb when he was in the Spirit and saw the Messiah coming as a mighty warrior wreaking vengeance on His enemies.
In the realm of the Spirit Isaiah asked the question, “Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this robed in splendour, striding forward in the greatness of His strength?” The Messiah answered him, “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” Isaiah asked another question to his Messiah; “Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? The Messiah answered Isaiah, “I have trodden the wine press alone: from the nations no one was with Me. I trampled them in My anger and trod them down in My wrath; their blood spattered My garments, and I stained all My clothing. For the day of vengeance was in My heart and the year of My redemption has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so My own arm worked Salvation for Me, and My own strength sustained Me. I trampled the nations in My anger; in My wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.” (Isaiah 63:1-6)
Indeed the Apostle John also depicted Jesus as a warrior making war on His enemies, with His robes dipped in blood, striking down His enemies with the Sword of His Word, ruling the nations with a rod of iron and treading the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. The whole context is the destruction of the armies of the nations that have come against Jerusalem. In the end the birds of the air eat the flesh of kings, generals and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great. No part of society will be exempt from the wrath of the Lamb in that day when He comes again to strike the earth with the rod of His mouth! This is the whole context of Revelation 19:11-23.
Also at that time the kingdom of the beast and its leader the Antichrist, the false prophet of the other kingdoms that have supported the beast’s empire will also be thrown alive into the lake of burning sulphur. This indeed will be the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord! In both the passages of scripture in Isaiah and Revelation the winepress of God’s wrath is mentioned making it the one and the same end time battle between Christ and Antichrist. But let’s read on…
(Vs. 32) “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said. Among the survivors whom the Lord calls.”
When Jesus comes back He will gather to Himself all of His elect to meet Him in the air at His coming. All those who have called on the name of the Lord to be saved! (Matthew 24:31) (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). At that time the remnant left in Israel will also be saved and delivered as a nation (Zechariah 12:10-14 13:1) (Romans 11:25-27). After this all the nations who have survived the great tribulation and the wrath of the Lamb will be forced to acknowledge the rule of the Messiah and to go up to Jerusalem year after year to worship the king, the Lord Almighty and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles and if they do not go up God Himself will bring upon those nations drought and plague (Zechariah 14:16-19). “The Lord dwells in Zion!”