Daily Word

Spirit prophesied | Acts 2:16-21

16 but this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel:


‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says,
‘That I will pour out My Spirit on all [ p ]mankind;
And your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
And your young men will see visions,
And your old men will [ q ]have dreams;


And even on My male and female [ r ]servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days,
And they will prophesy.


And I will [ s ]display wonders in the sky above
And signs on the earth below,
Blood, fire, and [ t ]vapor of smoke.


The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.


And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

Acts 2:16-21 (NASB) 中文

Holy Spirit comes

The Holy Spirit has come as Jesus promised. Speaking in other languages is the manifestation of His coming. It’s convincing proof of His as well. Peter has risen up to preach and explain, by the power of the Spirit, what is happening. Note: One of the reasons I chose the NASB here is that they capitalize OT quotes. This is particularly important here since Peter adds his own (inspired) text in verse 18, “And they will prophesy”, as we’ll explain below.

Spirit prophesied

Peter has corrected the lie that this was the work of wine; it’s the work of the Spirit – as Jesus had promised. More than that, it was prophesied long ago. He quotes from Joel 2:28-32 using the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the OT. The main question here is, “Why did he use this quote?” Keeping in mind that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we change the question to , “Why did God lead Peter to this passage to use in his Spirit-inspired preaching?” Another way to ask is, “Was the prophecy of Joel fulfilled here at Pentecost?”

Three views

Without getting into the details, there are essentially three views on this. 1) Pentecost is a complete fulfillment of the Joel prophecy. But as I compare the lists, the only thing in common is the Spirit doing a miraculous work. 2) It is a partial fulfillment. The first few verses related to vision, dreams and prophecy align with this speaking in tongues part. The final verses are reserved for the End Times. 3) This is not a fulfillment at all.

This view is best expressed in this quote from The New Scofield Reference Bible, “Peter did not state that Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. The details of Joel 2:30-32 (cp. Acts 2:19-20) were not realized at that time. Peter quoted Joel’s prediction as an illustration of what was taking place in his day, and as a guarantee that God would yet completely fulfill all that Joel had prophesied. The time of that fulfillment is stated here (‘afterward,’ cp. Hos. 3:5), i.e. in the latter days when Israel turns to the LORD.” (planobiblechapel.org)

At a minimum

It seems all will agree that, “By repeating, “And they will prophesy” (v. 18), which is not in Joel’s text, Peter stressed prophecy as a most important similarity between what Joel predicted and what his hearers were witnessing. God was revealing something new through the apostles. Peter proceeded to explain what that was.” (planobiblechapel.org) And Peter’s powerful, Spirit-directed, preaching continues in the next passage.


  • As you read Joel’s prophecy, what is your response? Do you dismiss it as uninteresting? Do you ignore it with the thought, “It’s a long way away?” Or do you take it seriously as something God will do and wonder when He will fulfill it? Do you prepare and even look forward to it? Please don’t dismiss or ignore it. Jesus Himself in Matthew 24:29 referred to these same events as Joel prophesied.
  • Finally, consider these events. Look forward to the day when “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.” God will glorify Himself in such amazing ways. Philippians 2:10-11 tells us the day will come when, “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Holy Spirit stained glass. Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

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