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Holy Spirit Water

Joel has a stunning announcement to make. It started manifestation on the day of Pentecost. It continues today. There are no restrictions on who God will pour out His Holy Spirit.

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, and your young men shall see visions.  Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.

ESV (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Joel 2:28–29

The oracle speaks of a new era of perfect relationship between God and his people. This relationship comes through the power of the Holy Spirit filling our lives. Jeremiah had described this era in terms of the law written on their hearts and Ezekiel in terms of the gift of new hearts, to convey the notion of a people perfectly obedient to God’s will. The language of prophetic inspiration is used to the same end: the Spirit is here a medium of prophecy.

The promise takes up Moses’ wish in Nu. 11:29, ‘that all Yahweh’s people were prophets, and that Yahweh would put his Spirit on them!’ Earlier in the ministry of Joel the whole nation had been out of step with Yahweh. Only one person, the prophet Joel, had seen the situation through God’s eyes; with God’s voice he had spoken of both judgment and hope. Now a whole nation of Joels is envisaged. Every sector of its society, young and old, male and female, slave and free, would share a prophet’s understanding of God. All will be immersed in the power of the Holy Spirit.

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All people, literally ‘all flesh’, here means ‘every one’, as the explanation in terms of members of the community shows. The message Joel brought to his contemporaries is that, as Calvin said, ‘the whole people would prophesy, or that the gift of prophecy would be common and prevail everywhere’

We see this fulfilled in earnest (Ac 2:17) on Pentecost; among the Jews and the subsequent election of a people among the Gentiles; hereafter more fully at the restoration of Israel and the consequent conversion of the whole world. As the Jews have been the seedmen of the elect Church gathered out of Jews and Gentiles, the first Gospel preachers being Jews from Jerusalem, so they shall be the harvest men of the coming world-wide Church, to be set up at Messiah’s appearing.

That the promise is not restricted to the first Pentecost appears from Peter’s own words: “The promise is (not only) unto you and to your children, (but also) to all that are afar off (both in space and in time), even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Ac 2:39). So here “upon all flesh.”

I will pour out—under the new covenant: not merely, let fall drops, as under the Old Testament

my spirit—the Spirit “proceeding from the Father and the Son,” and at the same time one with the Father and the Son

sons … daughters … old … young—not merely on a privileged few as the prophets of the Old Testament, but men of all ages and ranks. As to “daughters,” that is, women, prophesying.

dreams … visions—(Ac 9:10; 16:9). The “dreams” are attributed to the “old men,” as more in accordance with their years; “visions” to the “young men,” as adapted to their livelier minds. The three modes whereby God revealed His will under the Old Testament (Nu 12:6), “prophecy, dreams, and visions,” are here made the symbol of the full manifestation of Himself to all His people, not only in miraculous gifts to some, but by His indwelling Spirit to all in the New Testament.

In Acts 16:9; 18:9, the term used is “vision,” though in the night, not a dream. No other dream is mentioned in the New Testament save those given to Joseph in the very beginning of the New Testament, before the full Gospel had come, and to the wife of Pilate, a Gentile.

“Prophesying” in the New Testament is applied to all speaking under the revelation of the Holy Spirit, and not merely to foretelling events. All true Christians are “priests” and “ministers” of our God, and have the Spirit. Besides this a special gift of prophecy and miracle-working is to be given at or before Messiah’s coming again.

And also—“And even.” The very slaves by becoming the Master’s servants are His freemen. Therefore, in Ac 2:18 it is quoted, “My servants” and “My handmaidens”; as it is only by becoming the Master’s servants they are spiritually free, and partake of the same spirit as the other members of the Church.

And so, the work of the Holy Spirit continues today. That is some very good news!


Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 667.

Leslie C. Allen, “Joel,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 789.