Acts 2:14-21 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’
The last verses we looked at yesterday said that there were generally two reactions to what was happening since the Holy Spirit decended into the Upper Room – some were amazed and yet greatly perplexed, others simply mocked.
The Holy Spirit has come and people are not sure what this is all about or what is really happening. So, Peter is about to stand up as one of the leaders and give his first sermon. The Holy Spirit has already done some major work in him while Jesus was with them between His resurrection and His ascension. But, it is also obvious that Peter is walking in a greater understanding of the scriptures then ever before.
When the Holy Spirit comes, Jesus said, He will lead you into all truth. Peter is seeing truth supernaturally, by revelation – as he connects the Upper Room experience with the prophet Joel. Great revelation. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would bring revelation – He did for Peter. And, Jesus said, the Holy Spirit will convict the world (not believers) of sin, righteousness and judgment. That is about to happen.
Peter stands – a little nervous as this is his first sermon – THE first sermon of the Christian Church. The Holy Spirit has done His work. Peter links the current situation, noise and activity to what Joel stated would happen in the last days…
Joel 2:28-32 “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. “The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.
Peter states (as John Wimber made famous) “This is that”. This that you see and hear is that which Joel the prophet spoke of many hundreds of years ago. Peter has had a revelation through the work of the Holy Spirit about Holy Scripture and presents that revelation. Apostles teach from revelation and release life. Peter does just this.
Peter addresses them formally – and responds to those who mocked. “They are not drunk as you think,” he states, “it is only nine o’clock in the morning.” He then goes on to explain what has taken place and is currently happening right before the crowd that is gathering -connecting current happenings to past prophetic words that they would be more than familiar with being “devout Jews” as we saw yesterday.
As we will see in the next few days – it was a smashing success – it smashed the strongholds of Satan and freed 3,000 people from bondage and brought them into the light (Colossians 1:13). Three thousand became “new creatures in Christ” that very first day of the Church as a result of the first Christian sermon ever spoken.
Let’s look at what Peter quoted and the quote itself in the original from Joel for they are not the same when examined closely.
The Last Days is a Bible way of saying this present era – the Church age in which we live and which is now over 2,000 years long. It is the time between Jesus’ first coming as a babe in Bethlehem and His second coming as King of Kings and Lord of lords.
Joel (and Peter) tell us that the Spirit will be poured out on all flesh – not just Old Testament high priests, prophets and kings. Now there is “a priesthood of all believers” (1 Peter 2:9). The result of the Holy Spirit being poured out on all believers (who ask for the Baptism) is that they will prophesy, have dreams and visions and see supernatural things. Let break that down a bit…
Prophecy is (a basic definition) knowing the heart of God the Father towards someone else – hearing the voice of God for that person – and then speaking what you hear or sense to that person. It is not, as many branches of the Christian Church tell us, ‘inspired preaching’.
You cannot take your experience – or lack of an experience – and then rewrite the meaning of words from the Holy Bible to fit your experience. You first find out what the Bible word means (in context) and then adjust your experience. The Bible is the absolute – not the experience. This is one of my major concerns with Lakeland, Florida and what people are calling a “revival”.
There are a number of ways that God speaks and reveals His plans and purposes for people – dreams and visions being two of them. These are available to all who are Baptized in the Holy Spirit. These are not a new gift to the Church as both believers and non-believers in the Old Testament received dreams and visions (Pharaoh in Genesis 41:1-8 and the prophets in Numbers 12:6)
The natural wonders in the sky, the signs on the earth and the sun turned to darkness have not happened yet. This prophecy from Joel and repeated by Peter is divided into two time frames. The first half of the prophetic word took place on the birthday of the Church and continues to operate. The second half will take place during the tribulation and onwards (the Book of Revelation). For example (and there are many references – I only list one for each):
“Blood” is from Revelation 6:8
“Fire” is from Revelation 8:5, 7-8
“Smoke” is from Revelation 9:2-3
“Moon turned red” – Revelation 6:12
So, we live in the time zone between the fulfillment of the first half of Joel’s prophetic word and the start (and fulfillment) of the second half of Joel’s inspired prophetic word. And, they are exciting times in which to live.
From the beginning of the Church God always backed His Word up with miracles, signs and wonders. Paul was able to say that he fully preached God’s message – with words and with the power of the Spirit (Romans 15:18-19). We need, in the Church today, to have a revelation of what that means for us. We need to see the release of miracles, signs and wonders – the power of God – in the Church today.
Peter states that in the latter part of the era we are in – during the Tribulation – those who repent and call on the Name of the Lord in the midst of all these natural disasters and signs in the heavens – they will be saved. Of course, those who repent today after hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ need only cry out and they too will be saved or born again.
Romans 10:10-13 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”
Take the time to compare Joel’s prophetic word and Peter’s quote of Joel’s original prophetic word. If you have a computer Bible program pull up the Joel and Acts references side-by-side and compare the two – the original and the quote.
In doing so you will see that the Holy Spirit added, through Peter, another reference to prophecy. This was to be the key for the Church. God wanted and wants the Church to be prophetic. We have, over the last 1700 years made it pastoral. This means we counsel people (I thought the Holy Spirit is the Counsellor) and, in some ways, babysit people throughout their Christian lives.
Instead, we should see the prophetic set people free from bondage and curses and the like empowering them and releasing them to do the will of God and to seek and save the lost right after their salvation experience. As long as we pastor the Church we will not win the world. We need to go back to the original plan and allow the Church to be prophetic – instantly obeying the Word of the Lord and the leading of the Spirit as we reach out with the Gospel to the world.
God is, I believe, beginning to transform the Church so that it will actually become an organism and no longer an organization – so that it can be a living, breathing prophetic body of Spirit-filled sent-ones.