Pentecost and the Book of Joel

To describe what happened at Pentecost (Acts 2), Peter explains the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a fulfillment of Joel’s end-time prophesy. * “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dreams, your young men will see visions.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.  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 (Joel 2: 28-29, NIV).

The term “pouring out of the Holy Spirit” is synonymous with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  For example, in Acts 10: 45 “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is “poured out even on the Gentiles.  For they [the Jews who had come with Peter to Caesarea] heard them [the Gentiles] speaking in tongues and praising God” (NIV).

The manifestations of the Holy Spirit in Joel 2 include prophesy, dreams, and visions.  The  “pouring out” of the Holy Spirit is available to all of God’s people: men and women, young and old, servants, Jews and Gentiles.  Notice the verse doesn’t say “all people” but “all of God’s people,” regardless of age, gender, race, or economic status.  A relationship with God through His Son, the Messiah, is the prerequisite for receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

After quoting Joel, Peter launches into a rousing sermon that begins with the death and Resurrection of the Messiah and ends with a call to repentance.  Peter said to his mostly Jewish audience, who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Shavuot (Pentecost), “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2: 38, NASB).

At first glance, it would appear that water baptism is a prerequisite for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but in Acts 10: 44-48 the Gentiles receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit first and are baptized in water afterwards.


*Note: Tongues are equivalent to prophesy when combined with interpretation.  (See I Corinthians 14: 5).











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