The Fullness of Prophecy
“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’” (v. 17).- Acts 2:14-39
When the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost, Peter stood up to explain the events. He cited a prophecy in Joel 2:28–32, in which Joel said that some day the Lord would pour out His Spirit on all humanity and all the people would become prophets.
To understand this, we need to understand the Spirit’s working in the old covenant. In the full theological sense, everyone who was saved under the old covenant was regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and so they had the Spirit in that sense. Only certain people, however, were anointed by the Holy Spirit to be prophets. This was because they had special access to God. Under the old covenant most people did not have the kind of special access like that which came when Jesus entered heaven and brought us with Him (though every old covenant believer had a general access to God through prayer).
Moses was the preeminent prophet of the old covenant. In Numbers 11 we read that Moses became tired of bearing the burden of all the people alone. In order to provide relief, God took the Spirit, whom He had given to Moses, and gave Him to seventy other men who would assist Moses. When they gathered around Moses, the Spirit came on them and they all prophesied. Two of the seventy, however, were not with Moses; yet when the Spirit fell, these men began prophesying in the camp. Joshua complained about this, but Moses rebuked him, saying, “Would that all God’s people were prophets.”
Joel predicted that Moses’ wish would come true. A greater Moses would ascend into heaven and be granted immediate access to God’s throne. In union with Him, all people would be given that access, and all saved people would become prophets. The Spirit given to the greater Moses would be shared with all His people. Peter said on the Day of Pentecost that a prophesied historical event had come to pass. From that day forward, all believers, in this sense have been prophets.
Protestant and Reformed Christians object to Pentecostalism for exactly this reason. Most Pentacostals say that only certain people have received the Spirit, and thus they greatly narrow and restrict the work of the Spirit in the new covenant age. Scripture teaches that all true believers have had the Holy Spirit come upon them.
The impoverished life led by so many believers results from not walking in the power of the Spirit. Understand the importance of our union with Christ and of the Spirit’s work since Pentecost. Do not neglect, grieve, or quench His sanctifying, transforming work in your life.
Passages for Further Study
1 Peter 2:9