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Joel 2:28-32 1
28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 32 And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

clip_image118Background 2

The Book of Joel, a prophetic book of the Old Testament of the Bible, derives its name from the prophet Joel. Nothing other than his name is known about the prophet. The date of composition was probably between 400 and 350 BC, although some scholars place it much earlier (9th – 7th century BC). Joel was probably a resident in Judah, as his commission was to that people. He makes frequent mention of Judah and Jerusalem (1:14; 2:1, 15, 32; 3:1, 12, 17, 20, 21). He probably flourished in the reign of Uzziah (about B.C. 800), and was contemporary with Amos and Isaiah. The contents of this book are, (1.) A prophecy of a great public calamity then impending over the land, consisting of a want of water and an extraordinary plague of locusts (1:1-2:11). (2.) The prophet then calls on his countrymen to repent and to turn to God, assuring them of his readiness to forgive (2:12-17), and foretelling the restoration of the land to its accustomed fruitfulness (18-26). (3.) Then follows a Messianic prophecy, quoted by Peter (Acts 2:39). (4.) Finally, the prophet foretells portents and judgments as destined to fall on the enemies of God (ch. 3, but in the Hebrew text 4).

Biblical Truths 3

The promise began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, and it was continued in the converting grace and miraculous gifts conferred on both Jews and Gentiles. The judgments of God upon a sinful world, only go before the judgment of the world in the last day. Calling on God supposes knowledge of him, faith in him, desire toward him, dependence on him, and, as evidence of the sincerity of all this, conscientious obedience to him. Those only shall be delivered in the great day, who are now effectually called from sin to God, from self to Christ, from things below to things above.

Items for Discussion

  • What do you imagine the “last days” of this earth will be like?
  • What parts of our society will imagine a period of judgment and what parts will not?
  • While judgment of any kind is frightening, what hope are we offered by Joel?
  • Look at the last verse (32) – why is this perspective uniquely Christian?

 

John 16:5-15
5 “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. 7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

Background

John was writing his eye-witness account of Jesus some thirty years later than the other three accounts, possibly around 95 AD. There had been time for growth, reflection and observation. Many thousands of Christians had by then lost their lives for their faith in the Lord Jesus, both in Rome and in Jerusalem. John himself had been in prison and was now in exile, the last of Jesus’ twelve apostles to remain alive. John too, had much time to think about what he had witnessed and observe how others misunderstood Christ’s ministry.

John’s account is therefore characteristically different, spending more time on details of conversations, looking in depth at a few selected encounters of people with the Lord Jesus. John uses these episodes as ‘signs’: to show Jesus’ power as the Son of God and to point people to the truth and reality of His claims, rather than seeking to put forward a theological argument.

Biblical Truths 4

Please check Barnes Notes for a complete review of the Scripture verses. For this study, please look at the following:

Verse 7. It is expedient for you, The reason why it was expedient for them that he should go away, he states to be, that in this way only would the Comforter be granted to them. Still, it may be asked why the presence of the Holy Spirit was more valuable to them than that of the Savior himself? To this it may be answered,

  1. That by his departure, his death, and ascension–by having these great facts before their eyes–they would be led by the Holy Spirit to see more fully the design of his coming than they would by his presence. While he was with them, notwithstanding the plainest teaching, their minds were filled with prejudice and error. They still adhered to the expectation of a temporal kingdom, and were unwilling to believe that he was to die. When he should have actually left them they could no longer doubt on this subject, and would be prepared to understand why he came. And this was done. See the Acts of the Apostles everywhere. It is often needful that God should visit us with severe affliction before our pride will be humbled and we are willing to understand the plainest truths.
  2. While on the earth the Lord Jesus could be bodily present but in one place at one time. Yet, in order to secure the great design of saving men, it was needful that there should be some agent who could be in all places, who could attend all ministers, and who could, at the same time, apply the work of Christ to men in all parts of the earth.
  3. It was an evident arrangement in the great plan of redemption that each of the persons of the Trinity should perform a part. As it was not the work of the Spirit to make an atonement, so it was not the work of the Savior to apply it. And until the Lord Jesus had performed this great work, the way was not open for the Holy Spirit to descend to perform his part of the great plan yet, when the Savior had completed his portion of the work and had left the earth, the Spirit would carry forward the same plan and apply it to men.
  4. It was to be expected that far more signal success would attend the preaching of the gospel when the atonement was actually made than before. It was the office of the Spirit to carry forward the work only when the Savior had died and ascended; and this was actually the case. See Acts chapter 2. Hence it was expedient that the Lord Jesus should go away, that the Spirit might descend and apply the work to sinners. The departure of the Lord Jesus was to the apostles a source of deep affliction, but had they seen the whole case they would not have been thus afflicted. So God often takes away from us one blessing that he may bestow a greater. All afflictions, if received in a proper manner, is of this description; and could the afflicted people of God always see the whole case as God sees it, they would think and feel, as he does, that it was best for them to be thus afflicted.

Items for Discussion

Verse 7 seems to answer the question, why do we have a Holy Spirit? Review this and answer the following:

  • What does Jesus mean by it is “Expedient for us?”
  • What would it be like to call the world to Christianity without the Holy Spirit?
  • Why do you think Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as Counselor?
  • How does the Spirit reveal to us what we need to know and when we need to know it?
  • Can you think of examples?

Discussion Challenge

  • How should the church celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit?
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