“…this is what was spoken of by the Prophet Joel, ‘In the last days I will pour out my Spirit on all people… I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ ” (Acts 2:16-17a, 19-21 NIV)
On the Feast of Pentecost, as Peter explained to the Jews what they were seeing and hearing, he offered an example of the near/far prophetic. Among the major rules for Bible interpretation is this: “Look for the near/far in prophecy.” (See Book Excerpts menu above, “Rules of Interpretation”).
Applying the rules, the only way the Apostle’s words, in Acts 2:16-21, are accurately understood necessitates viewing the Holy Spirit’s power on Jesus’ disciples as historical (near), yet prophetical as well. I argue the sign of tongues in Acts 2 is a shape, shadow or pattern of a future (far) last-days’ event. What Acts gives, particularly in Chapter 2, is a description of events as they unfolded, but also a preview of signs and wonders to come.
Charismatics and Pentecostals would argue that tongues-speaking reappeared more than a century ago, or since a famous meeting in 1903 on Los Angeles’ Azusa Street. I do not dispute the charismatic experiences of my fellow believers; I do contend, however, that any claim that what we have seen in recent times fulfills Joel’s prophecy lacks Biblical support.
For instance, with the tongues of the past, has there been blood, fire and billows of smoke? Some may say “Yes, they saw all that?” Okay, perhaps, but did witnesses see the sun turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord (Acts 2:20-21, cf. Joel 2:31)? Come let us reason together. The celestial signs associated with Christ’s return and the Day of the Lord have not been seen. We must conclude that the tongues we may have heard was something other than what the prophets, Joel and Peter, described.
The Acts 2 harvest of souls is a type of what we’ll see, but with a phenomenal twist.
Peter alerts God’s people who are living in the last days to prepare for another, greater in-gathering (Pentecost Redux) at the fall harvest. The Acts 2 harvest of souls is a type of what we’ll see, but with a phenomenal twist. In Acts, the Spirit fell like tongues of fire on the assembled Jewish disciples, but it was during the Spring harvest festival. Christ’s followers obediently waited in Jerusalem for the Father’s promise. When they received the Spirit (Acts 1:8), they uttered the languages of all nations (Acts 2:5), for we read every people group on earth was represented. Jewish witnesses to Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension were in that moment empowered and equipped to take the Gospel out from Jerusalem and all Judea to all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). Witnesses in the last days will be gathered from these nations (Matthew 24:14).
Speaking through the Prophet Joel, God said that in the last days his people will rejoice in the autumn rain. Abundant showers will produce full threshing floors (Joel 2:22-24). If we believe the Word, the next abundant in-gathering will be among all nations, but during the fall festival.
In Revelation 7:9, John’s eyes were opened to the harvest Joel spoke of and is about to happen.
In that one day, according to Acts 2:41, three-thousand Jews were completed. They believed the apostle’s Spirit-filled message about their Messiah, were baptized and, later, added to the number of Jewish disciples. In Revelation 7:9, John’s eyes were opened to the harvest Joel spoke of and is about to happen. Dressed in white and appearing like sun-ripened wheat, is an innumerable multitude. The multitude is made up of sons and daughters, old men and young men. They come from every nation, tribe, language and people, both men and women. What are they doing? It is the opposite of the first Pentecost. The nations (i.e. saved people living throughout the earth) are declaring the glories of God with one voice–and in one language! (Rev. 7:10, cf. Joel 2:25-27). It is evidence of Pentecost Redux.
In Part 2, we will provide a Scriptural-supported theory regarding what language is spoken around the Lamb’s throne. We will examine God’s purpose in a second Pentecost. We will see a bit of what it means to “Completed Christians”. Get ready!