"'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Acts 2:17
It is obvious to those who know scripture that the Holy Spirit is a prophetic promise. What we may not know is that this prophecy concerning the promised Holy Spirit is revealed six times in the same manner. The prophecy is stated as a promise of what God was going to do when the new covenant was firmly established.
That covenant was firmly established when Jesus Christ was crucified as the atonement sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. He died once for all canceling the penalty of sin for all who accept him as Lord. When his work to atone for the sins of the world was finished, Jesus was summoned to the throne of God.
For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." ' Acts 2:34-35 Hebrews 1:13
Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God, where he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit Acts 2:33. On the day of Pentecost crowds were drawn to the upper room because God was boldly revealing the entrance of the Holy Spirit into the history of mankind. The bible tells us that Jesus returned to the upper room with great pomp to pour out the promise of the Holy Spirit that he received from the father.
In Peter’s sermon following the outpouring of the Spirit Peter explained the prophecy concerning the Holy Spirit had been fulfilled. In this sermon Peter confirms the prophecy of Joel by quoting it.
In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. Acts 2:17-18
The prophecy quoted by Peter explains the fulfillment whereas four other prophecies announce the promise that was to be fulfilled. Simply put, a promise is a declaration of what a person will or will not do. Because of the implication surrounding an established doctrine it is important to know which person of the divine made the promise to pour out his spirit. Let’s consider another prophecy connected to this promise that was to be fulfilled in the future when the new covenant was established. The new covenant which made atonement for all men and Jesus became the administrator and high Priest of God.
And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:27
Both prophecies are stated in the same manner saying I will put my Spirit or I will pour out my Spirit. The word “I” is a pronoun points specifically to the person who made the promise. The word “my” is a personal pronoun that points to the same person who has possession of the “Spirit”. Jesus speaking to his disciples said,
"This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." Luke 24:44-49
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. Acts 1:4
Waiting for the gift that the father promised also spoke of the event where God endowed the disciples with power Acts 1:8. In the same way this promise also referred us to the day of Pentecost when Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit in the upper room as tongues of fire empowering the disciples with the gift of the Holy Spirit. The disciples would be witnesses of our Lord throughout the known world. Let’s also understand that when Jesus said to wait in Jerusalem for the gift the father promise he also revealed the person who made the promise declaring that “I will pour out my Spirit.”
In the sermon that followed Peter reveals God’s plan in greater detail with these words.
Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. Acts 2:31-33
After Jesus had finished his work of atonement he was exalted to the right hand of God. At that time he carried the promise of God back to the upper room baptizing the disciples with the Holy Spirit and with fire just as John the Baptist had prophesied. Ezekiel prophesied what God would do once the new covenant was established.
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:25-28
By the same token in a revelation to Paul, Paul confirmed Ezekiel 36:25-28 in part in the following manner.
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
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