And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh…
I. THE PERIOD OF THE NEW DISPENSATION. — "In the last days," an expression which covers an indefinite length of time. It also marks a "new departure" in the world's affairs. Up to this all had been preparatory, and the privileges of God's people only partially apprehended. It is to end in "the notable day of the Lord" which will wind up one portion of Christ's administration.
II. THE UNIVERSALITY OF ITS PRIVILEGES. The Spirit is given to all mankind. This discloses the rationale of Christian missions. He is already where missionaries desire to be. This also discloses the grounds of confidence for those who seek the salvation of the young, for the Spirit is already graciously working before they can grasp the simplest truths of the gospel. The text proceeds to apply this principle particularly to men and women, old and young, and all classes of society are thus reached again, and the great privileges of the gospel placed within the reach of every class. This universality is a great rebuke to the vanity which sets up castes and distinctions.
III. THE SPIRTUAL EQUALITY WHICH MARKS IT. The gift of the spirit is bestowed —
1. On women as well as men. "Your sons and your daughters," etc. In heathenism woman has generally been oppressed. Under Judaism she had but partial privileges. Miriam, Deborah, etc., were exceptions which with other things seemed to indicate that woman was on her way to her true position. But under Christianity she attains equality with man (Galatians 3:28).
2. On the young as well as the old. Many forms of heathenism have neglected the aged, and ill-treated parents advanced in years; Christianity regards them with veneration. Equally distinctive of Christianity is the practical recognition of the .piety of childhood.
3. On servants as well as on masters. In Christianity there is no difference between bond and free.
IV. IT IS A PERIOD OF WAITING. It is to continue till "the notable day of the Lord." During this period the Church waits for the Lord's craning, and for the final subjection of all. The end waited for will be marked by prodigies. There were wonders when Christ first came, there will be greater when He comes the second time.
V. IT IS DISTINGUISHED BY A GLORIOUS EVANGEL. (verse 21). Here we have —
1. A recognition of man's great need.
2. An offer made on a condition which is natural. "Whosoever shall call." Sin causes misery, and misery a cry for help.
3. A sure promise of salvation.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: