The Outpouring of the Spirit

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The Day of YHWH would come for Judah if they would not repent. God promised a future restoration, and an even greater promise in the latter days: He would pour out His Spirit on all His people. And so it would come to be when Jesus died, rose from the dead, ascended, and was made Lord of all.

The Outpouring of the Spirit

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of YHWH cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as the dawn spread upon the mountains; a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after them, even to the years of many generations.

A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and none hath escaped them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so do they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of the mountains do they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. At their presence the peoples are in anguish; all faces are waxed pale. They run like mighty men; they climb the wall like men of war; and they march every one on his ways, and they break not their ranks. Neither doth one thrust another; they march every one in his path; and they burst through the weapons, and break not off their course. They leap upon the city; they run upon the wall; they climb up into the houses; they enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth quaketh before them; the heavens tremble; the sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. And YHWH uttereth his voice before his army; for his camp is very great; for he is strong that executeth his word; for the day of YHWH is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

Yet even now, saith YHWH, turn ye unto me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto YHWH your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth whether he will not turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, even a meal-offering and a drink-offering unto YHWH your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly; gather the people, sanctify the assembly, assemble the old men, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts; let the bridegroom go forth from his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of YHWH, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O YHWH, and give not thy heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the peoples, “Where is their God?”

Then was YHWH jealous for his land, and had pity on his people. And YHWH answered and said unto his people, Behold, I will send you grain, and new wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations; but I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive it into a land barren and desolate, its forepart into the eastern sea, and its hinder part into the western sea; and its stench shall come up, and its ill savor shall come up, because it hath done great things. Fear not, O land, be glad and rejoice; for YHWH hath done great things. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field; for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth its fruit, the fig-tree and the vine do yield their strength. Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in YHWH your God; for he giveth you the former rain in just measure, and he causeth to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the canker-worm, and the caterpillar, and the palmer-worm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and shall praise the name of YHWH your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you; and my people shall never be put to shame. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am YHWH your God, and there is none else; and my people shall never be put to shame.

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 show 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 YHWH cometh. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of YHWH shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as YHWH hath said, and among the remnant those whom YHWH doth call (Joel 2:1-32).

The Outpouring of the Spirit
Prophetic Restoration

 
 
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The Voice 4.50: December 14, 2014

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The Voice

Joel

A great plague threatened Israel. Would the people of God repent? What would happen on the great day of YHWH? We learn about such things from the prophet Joel.

Joel is the twenty-ninth book in most English Bibles; in the Hebrew Bible it is part of the Nevi’im, the Prophets; in the Greek Septuagint Joel is the fourth of the Duodecim (Latinized; Dodeka in Greek), “the Twelve.” Joel’s name means Yahweh is God. The book does not specify when Joel prophesied; concern about the land indicates he spoke either during the later period of the divided kingdoms (ca. 800-600 BCE) or after the return from exile (ca. 530-400 BCE). Joel warns and comforts Israel regarding the judgments in the “day” of YHWH, with danger in the near term and hope for the long term.

Joel’s warnings are found in Joel 1:1-2:17. Joel summons the elders and people of Israel to hear of what YHWH is planning, a thing not seen in the past, and remarkable for the future: a series of locusts will have devoured the produce of the land (Joel 1:1-4). Drunkards should lament the devastation wrought by this nation which entered the land: offerings cease, the priests, the farmers, and the ground mourn, and gladness is gone in the face of famine (Joel 1:5-12). Joel then calls all people to consecrate a fast, to lament and repent, for the day of YHWH and the devastation it brings is near, causing famine and devastation in the land (Joel 1:13-20). The trumpet should be blown, for the danger of the day of YHWH is at hand; it is described as thick darkness, fearful, devouring like fire, as paradise before them but a desert behind them; they look like horses and a powerful army, powerfully advancing ahead, fully set on devastation; before them all are afraid and melt away, and they enter everywhere (Joel 2:1-9). On account of this the earth quakes, the heavens tremble and are darkened, for YHWH speaks to His army; the day of YHWH is great and awesome, and who can endure it (Joel 2:10-11)? Yet it need not be this way: YHWH gives His people an opportunity to repent, returning to Him with fasting, weeping, and mourning, rending their hearts; the summons is made for all people to consecrate a fast and weep, lament, and mourn (Joel 2:12-17).

In Joel 2:18 YHWH becomes jealous for His land and has pity on His people. He sends food and prosperity, and they will no longer be a reproach among the nations; the northerner will be removed from them and driven away; the land will be given reason to rejoice in its produce and the people for their overflowing prosperity; they will praise YHWH and His people will not be put to shame (Joel 2:19-27).

Joel then looks forward to an upcoming day of YHWH in Joel 2:28-3:3. In those days YHWH will pour out His Spirit on all flesh, even male and female servants (Joel 2:27-28). Wonders and signs will be seen in the heavens and on earth; those who call on the name of YHWH will be saved, and a remnant will remain in Zion (Joel 2:29-32). At that time YHWH will gather the nations in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (“YHWH judged”): there He will render judgment on them since they have scattered His people, mistreated them, and divided His land (Joel 3:1-3).

Joel continues his oracles against the nations in Joel 3:4-21. Tyre, Sidon, and Philistia come under condemnation for selling Judean captives to the Greeks as slaves; God will bring them back into their land and bring recompense by selling the Phoenicians to the Sabeans (Joel 3:4-8). A summons is made for war, turning plowshares into swords and pruning hooks into speaks, preparing war against the nations; YHWH will render judgment at the Valley of Jehoshaphat; YHWH is powerful but remains a refuge and stronghold for His people (Joel 3:9-16). The Israelites will know YHWH is their God when they dwell in Zion without strangers passing through, full of produce and prosperity (Joel 3:17-18). Egypt and Edom, for their violence against Judah, will become as a wilderness while Judah will be inhabited; YHWH will avenge the blood of those in Judah (Joel 3:19-21).

The book of Joel leaves us with a few questions: is the marauding army really of locusts or is it a reference to Assyria and/or Babylon? Did YHWH relent before the disaster or did He restore what was lost? The power in Joel’s message, however, is beyond doubt; Peter makes it known that the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost is a fulfillment of what Joel had spoken (Acts 2:14-31); the locust army is seen again in John’s vision in Revelation 9:1-12. Joel vividly speaks of YHWH’s judgment as the day of YHWH; His judgments lead to pestilence and destruction for those who have turned away from Him, and yet brings prosperity and hope for those who find refuge in Him. Let us repent of our wickedness, turn to God in Christ, and obtain the hope of prosperity in the resurrection for those who serve the LORD God!

Ethan R. Longhenry