The Outpouring of the Spirit
Joel 2:28, 29
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…

We have the authority of St. Peter for applying this prediction to the Messianic dispensation. Joel's mind was lifted up by the happy prospect in the immediate future for his countrymen, and, as was so often the case, his prophetic gaze pierced the dense mists of futurity, and he beheld "the wonder that should be."

I. THE PERIOD OF THE GIFT. It is not intended to teach that the bestowal of the Holy Spirit was deferred, and reserved for the Messianic age. Yet no believer in the New Testament can doubt that the Day of Pentecost witnessed an unprecedented outpouring of Divine energy and grace, in itself the herald and the promise of a constant perennial effusion of blessing upon all the Church of the ascended Redeemer.

II. THE NATURE OF THE GIFT. It was an invisible, impalpable grace; its operation took place in spiritual natures. The Spirit of God bestowed those special gifts of inspiration, of faith, of healings, of tongues, which were peculiar to the first age of the Church. The same Spirit conferred the gifts of teaching and administration, which have tended to the edification and increase of the body of Christ. But the choicest and richest of spiritual gifts have ever been those of character and principle, of disposition and habit, which have made the Church the true representative upon earth of its ascended Lord. Of these gifts the chief is love.

III. THE ABUNDANCE OF THE GIFT. The promise is not of scanty drops, but of copious showers. The great Giver delights to give generously, royally, gloriously.

IV. THE RECIPIENTS OF THE GIFTS. The most marvellous part of this magnificent prophecy is the language in which is described the comprehensiveness of the Church of the Lord Jesus.

1. Among these recipients of spiritual grace are men and women. "Your sons and your daughters." In Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female.

2. Old and young are alike included among the seers of visions and the dreamers of dreams; for upon every enlightened soul shall stream the light which is not of this world, and which reveals eternal realities.

3. Upon bond and upon free the graces of the Spirit are shed without distinction. Servants and handmaids are participators in the Spirit; for all are free in Christ Jesus.

4. To make this universality explicit, it is expressly said that the outpouring, shall be upon "all flesh," i.e. upon all humanity. Beyond a prospect like this, the vision of inspired prophets could not extend; the grace of the infinite Giver could not be vaster and more comprehensive. - T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

WEB: "It will happen afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions.

The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit Essential to a Revival of Religion
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