IS THIS THAT?
I. In Joel 2:28-32 God promised to pour out His Spirit on all flesh.
And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. 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 coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the Lord has said, Among the remnant whom the Lord calls.
A. Note: “All flesh” does not mean “all” flesh. Why? Because “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds” (1 Cor. 15:39). God is certainly not talking about pouring His Spirit out on bulldogs, bass, birds, or baboons!
B. Neither is saying that He was going to pour out His Spirit on all “human” flesh. In fact, when Jesus promised to send the Spirit to the church He said: “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17). Therefore God was not saying that He was going to pour His Spirit out on all “human flesh” because Jesus clearly said the Spirit would not be given to those in the world (the lost).
C. What then did He mean by “all flesh?” According to the context in Joel 2:28-32, it would be “whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.” They would “all” be given the Holy Spirit. These are the ones “whom the Lord calls” (Joel 2:32). In other words, God was going to pour His Spirit on “whoever calls” on His name or on all of the saved.
D. Therefore the Spirit would be poured out on “all” Christians without regard to:
1. Race: “I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.”
2. Sex: “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.”
3. Age: “Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.”
4. Social Standing: “And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
II. Peter said that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church in Acts 2 was the beginning of the fulfillment of Joel’s prophesies.
But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’ (Acts 2:16-21).
A. Notice that Peter said “This is” what Joel had prophesied would happen. “This” Peter said is “That.” In other words, Peter said that the prophecy of Joel is being fulfilled…starting today! This is the beginning of that outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all believers (all flesh) just as God had promised and would last until the “coming of the great and awesome day of Lord” (His second coming; Heb. 9:28; Jude 1:6).
B. Peter said that those things God said would happen were beginning to come to pass in every detail.
1. The PLACE. There were in the right place. Joel said that deliverance would be in “Mount Zion” and “Jerusalem” which refers to church of which the Old Testament city of Jerusalem was a type (Joel 2:32; Heb. 12:22-24).
2. The PERIOD. It was the right period of time. It was in the “last days” referring to the Christian age. This is the time period when God was speaking to us through His Son and therefore the last dispensation of time on earth. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…” (Heb. 1:1-2). The “last days” began on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 11:15) and will continue until the day of the Lord (2 Pet. 3:7).
3. The PEOPLE. The right people were there. It was Jewish males and females, young and old, men servants and maid servants. The promise was extended to the Gentile believers on this very occasion with these words from Peter: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts. 2:38-39). The Gentiles were those referred to in the Bible as those “who once were far off” (Eph. 2:13). The promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit included all believing Gentiles because they were among those who would “call on the name of the Lord.”
4. The PROOF. The right proof was provided. The “sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind,” the “tongues as of fire” (Acts 2:2-4), and the other miraculous manifestations of the Spirit on that day verified that the Holy Spirit was beginning to be poured out on “all flesh” or “whoever calls on the name of the Lord” (Acts 2:21). The miraculous signs confirmed that what was happening was from God (Mk. 16:20).
5. The PROMISE. The right promise was beginning to be fulfilled and was extended to “all” who “call on the name of the Lord” (Acts 2:21). In Acts 2:38-39 Peter promised the “gift of the Holy Spirit” to all would “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” Observe carefully that the promise was made to “you (the Jews present that day) and to your children (any descendants the Jews may have) and to all (not some, or many, or most, but to ALL) who are afar off (Gentile believers) and “even as many as the Lord our God will call.” This sounds like “all flesh” to me! All of those who were baptized received the “remission of sins” and the “gift (filling) of the Holy Spirit.”
III. The coming of the Baptism (filling) of Holy Spirit on all of the believers on the Day of Pentecost was the beginning of the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy that God would pour out His Spirit on all flesh (all believers) and would continue until the coming of the “day of the Lord.”
A. It is important to understand that the “baptism of Holy Spirit” is simply being “filled with the Spirit.” Luke makes that perfectly clear in the following verses:
1. In Acts 1:5 Jesus promised His disciples, “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
2. A few days later in Acts 2:4, in fulfillment of the promise of Jesus, Luke records: And they were “all” filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave the utterance.
3. Therefore their being “filled” with the Holy Spirit was their being “baptized with/in” the Holy Spirit.”
B. The word “baptized” with/in the Spirit conveys the idea of “immersed in,” “river,” “outpouring,” “overflowing,” or “flood.”
C. Time and again God promised to “pour” His Spirit out on all believers. (Jn. 7:37-39; Titus 3:3-6).
Special Note: For one to seek to limit the promise of the “baptism” or “filling” of the Spirit on “all flesh” to only the twelve apostles on Pentecost (Acts 2) and the house of Cornelius (Acts 10) makes no sense to me. (Even though this is what I was taught, what I taught others, and what I believed myself for years.) But “all flesh” may mean “all” of some flesh (meaning all believers rather than animals or unbelievers) but it cannot mean just “some” of “all flesh” (meaning only some of the believers). God surely could have said He was going to pour out His Spirit on “some” or a “few” or “many” or even “most,” but instead He said He would pour out His Spirit on “all” flesh. “All” must refer to “all” of some group. Remember that in the context He pinpoints specifically who the “all flesh” would be and that is, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord.” Therefore “whoever calls” is included in “all flesh.” The words “all flesh” in Joel included Jewish daughters and maidservants” which certainly includes more that just the apostles since none of the apostles were women. When the Bible says that “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4) it surely means that all of the disciples who were present that day received the Spirit including the apostles, women, the Lord’s brothers, as well as others (Acts 1:13-2:1-4). In my judgment it simply cannot mean that only the apostles were “filled with the Spirit,” but all of the other believers were simply left out! If they did not receive the indwelling/filling of the Spirit then they did not belong to Christ (Rom. 8:9). Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).