EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 16)

Peter had begun the first anointed message of the Early Church. After assuring the assembly of clueless Jews outside that the 120 were high on the Holy Spirit, not wine, he declared prophetic fulfillment!

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INTRODUCTION   

Ch 1: LESSON 1   LESSON 2   LESSON 3   LESSON 4   LESSON 5   LESSON 6   LESSON 7

Ch 2: LESSON 8  LESSON 9  LESSON 10  LESSON 11  LESSON 12  LESSON 13  LESSON 14 

Ch 2: LESSON 15

LESSON 16:

Acts 2:16-21

16 “But this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; 18 EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.” [1]

This was not to be a one time occasion for a few but an all time occasion for everyone. The Upper Room experience would be universal from that time forward throughout the Church Age until the present, dependent only on following the prototypical example of the originals as they followed to the letter the teachings of the Lord Jesus.

THE PROPHET JOEL

There is no consensus regarding the time Joel lived. Various dates have been given. It was most likely before the Babylonian exile. A good case can be made for the early 600s BC. Whatever the case, the Lord anointed Peter to use the writings of this relatively obscure Hebrew prophet as the first Scriptural reference in the very first message ever delivered. One might notice that he chose the prophetic and not the priestly. Until John the Immerser there had been no prophet in Israel since the death of Malachi over four centuries earlier. In that non-prophet gap the priests had finally achieved their dream and had taken over. They substituted their own word and natural reasoning over the anointed message of the prophet. It caused a downward slide they never recovered from, even to the point of killing the greatest Prophet of all.

Joel said something far out would happen in the Last Days, meaning the final days of what was left of the Israelite nation. He spoke of not just a few prophets but many, and they would also include women. Is this not awesome? He also spoke of great celestial signs in the sky, fully observable, epochal, and dripping with spiritual portent:  

19 ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. 20 ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.’

Peter finished this portion with a flourish, telling the vast assembly before him that the Lord’s hand is not too short to save! His ear is not too dull to hear! He extends the promise of Joel to everyone both then and now:

21 ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’” [2]

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Please note that the use of all caps in the NASB denotes Old Testament passages occurring in the New Testament.

[2] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Posted on May 1, 2020, in Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. This is great stuff, RJ. Exciting, and historically supported over and over again. But you know, of course, that my eye and mind/heart were caught on the mention of women being prophets 🙂

    Many years ago, my pastor at the time had asked me to do a job that I shied away from, because I felt it was a position that a man should fill. In the course of the conversation, this wise pastor mentioned that he had observed the gift of prophecy in me. I was shocked. That was a pastoral gift, right?

    Then he explained that in the New Testament sense, prophecy was not necessarily foretelling, but forth-telling. He said it involved the ability to understand and teach, explain, the truths of God’s Word; and that it also included the deep desire, the NEED, to do so!

    And he had me. There is nothing I would rather do than to teach God’s Word. It is meat and drink to me. So thanks for pointing out the inclusion of women in the scripture. It is balm to my heart 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is awesome, isn’t it? I imagine that scene in the Upper Room where they were all together and had been all together for ten days. I see the men and the women, all holy, all expecting something great, all relating and interacting, like a large extended family—caring for one another, honoring one another. From the very beginning we can see a sea change, a great transformation, in accepted convention. Paul later explained it in his famous writings, as thus: There is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28). This certainly describes the gathering in the Upper Room. They lived it decades before he wrote it.

      It must be emphasized that this applied to the Lord’s new spiritual convention. Other societal conventions remained in part. The point was that the Lord created a new body, His body, the Body of Christ. Each person was a vital component cell with a viable and necessary function. It is why each had to be filled with His life-giving and energizing Spirit. In this context gender did not matter. A woman could prophesy just as a man could prophesy, or teach, or engage in any of the gifts of the Spirit.

      I remember when I took my spiritual gifts test years ago. I came up high in teaching and prophesying, but primarily teaching. These two seem to go together. Though distinct, they are closely related. It was an obvious blessing for your former pastor to relay this to you. It appears that most Christians don’t know what their purpose or function is. Most have no outlet in our heavily controlled churches. Again, I love the way the Lord created the Church in a house, a residential dwelling, in which the people there were not mere congregants but family.

      Thanks for another great comment, Linda. Blessings to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen! Holy Spirit power as the Word of God goes out. Good to know it’s still happening today.

    Like

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