Monday, 8 November 2021
And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy. Acts 2:18
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Peter, still citing Joel, continues with the words, “And on My menservants and on My maidservants.” The Spirit will come upon the Lord’s people regardless of sex. Any who believe in Christ Jesus will receive the Promise. In the Hebrew of Joel that Peter is citing, it says, “And also upon the menservants and upon the maidservants.” Instead of “My,” it simply says, “the.”
In the Hebrew, the words of Joel are qualifying the previous verse of Joel. It had said, “I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.” And so, to say, “And also upon the menservants and upon the maidservants,” it would be understood that they were included in the term “all flesh.” The Lord was obviously speaking to the people of Israel, and so “My” would be understood.
However, Peter now makes a distinction by saying “My” – “My menservants and on My maidservants.” As some people there were speaking in tongues while others were not, it defines who “My” is referring to, meaning believers. Thus, anyone not having the Spirit poured out on them is not included in “My.” It is a subtle way of saying, “This is what God is now doing. We are what Joel prophesied of, and we are now the people of God.” To remedy this for those listening, Peter will later say –
“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. 39 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
For now, Peter continues citing Joel, saying, “I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” The idea of the pouring out of the Spirit is more than just coming upon a prophet for the purpose of witnessing to Israel, but of coming upon all people, as noted in the words “all flesh” of the previous verse (in both Joel and Acts). It is an all-inclusive pouring out upon any who belongs to the Lord. Further, these words now tell us that “those days” that Joel was referring to are now “these days.” The promised pouring out of the Spirit had arrived. With this gift, Peter next says, “And they shall prophesy.”
These words are not found in either the Hebrew or the Greek OT. However, Peter stating them now is probably an indication to the people that what he is saying, and what he will continue to say, is to be considered as prophetic utterances of the Lord. Thus, they are to heed Peter’s words just as if they were heeding the prophets of the past. To not do so would be to reject the word of the Lord.
And more, there are times where those who are believers are said to prophesy later in Acts, such as in Acts 11:28, 19:6, and 21:9. Thus, the Spirit is shown in Acts to come upon believers in fulfillment of Peter’s words now.
Another obvious point to be gleaned from Peter’s words is to be seen in what is stated now in Acts. First, who is speaking in Joel 2 when it says, “I will pour out My Spirit?” It is obviously the Lord God (Yehovah). However, Peter – who is quoting those verses from Joel – clearly shows that it is Jesus who is pouring out His Spirit –
“Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.” Acts 2:33
Therefore, Peter is clearly, precisely, and unambiguously stating that Jesus is the Lord God (Yehovah) of their Scriptures. This is an important point that will help establish doctrine later in this chapter, and it will explain why certain things occur as they do (here, toward Israel), but that are not later expected of new believers later in Acts.
Life application: It is necessary for us to remind ourselves that the verses being reviewed in Acts 2 are merely describing what occurred at that time. They do not prescribe anything, and they do not establish any ongoing precedent. In other words, just because something occurs here in Acts, it does not mean that it will occur again.
Fire came down on the sacrifices at the tabernacle and then later at the temple to show the Lord’s approval of those edifices. But that did not occur again. The one demonstration of approval was all that was needed to confirm that He was among His people and had accepted what was built.
Likewise, the Lord demonstrates in the book of Acts His approval of His followers, and of various conversions of people in an outward manner in order to demonstrate that He has accepted their faith. But this does not set a new precedent that will reoccur later. We should not expect to have a “Charismatic style” conversion when we receive Jesus. In fact, it is contrary to the prescriptive words of Paul elsewhere to expect that. Most importantly, we are to have faith in the Lord Jesus without any external display of His approval, and with that, He will be pleased.
Lord God, Your word says that if we believe the gospel, we will be saved. It also says that when we do, we are sealed with Your Spirit as a guarantee of our salvation. Help us to trust this and to not waffle in our minds as to whether this is true or not. When we have demonstrated faith, Your word says You are pleased with that, and we are saved. Thank You for the surety Your word provides. Amen.