When the Spirit Comes

“Then I will make up to you for the years
That the swarming locust has eaten,
The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
“You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied
And praise the name of the LORD your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
Then My people will never be put to shame.
“Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel,
And that I am the LORD your God,
And there is no other;
And My people will never be put to shame.
“It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
“Even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
“I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,
Blood, fire and columns of smoke.
“The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood
Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
“And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Will be delivered;
For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
There will be those who escape,
As the LORD has said,
Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls. (Joel 2:25-32)

On the day of Pentecost, the celebration that followed fifty days after the Passover, Peter quoted from this prophesy of Joel to explain the arrival of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus. He told his audience that these words had been fulfilled on that wonderful morning.

The word translated “Lord” in most English translations of the Old Testament is God’s name, Yahweh. Following their captivity in Babylon, Jewish people had decided to stop saying God’s name so that they could make sure they would never violated the commandment against using God’s name “in vain.” Instead, whenever they saw God’s name, they would substitute the Hebrew word meaning “Lord.” They even followed that custom when they translated the Bible into other languages. So in the time of Peter, when he used the Greek translation of Joel’s prophesy, he used the Greek form of the word “Lord.”

In his sermon that morning, Peter took that verse, “that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” and applied it to Jesus. For the disciples, all Jewish, when they called Jesus Lord, they were not calling him master or boss. They were calling him “Yahweh”—the God of Israel who had spoken to the patriarchs and who had led the people out of Egypt.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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