17 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. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
Imagine gazing at a mountain from a valley. In the foreground, you see buildings, road signs, billboards, grass, and a highway. About midway, you see bushes, trees, and maybe smoke billowing from the chimney of a cabin. But in the distance, you see the purple mountain majesties we sing about in America the Beautiful.
So it is with prophecy. The prophet looks to the future, which means the revelation can cover a series of events strewn over a time. That results in short term fulfillment and other events yet to come. Thus was the case when the Apostle Peter quoted the prophet Joel’s prophecy. (Joel 2:28-32) As Joel had predicted, “the last days” had arrived. Put another way, this was the beginning of the end.
The present era of redemptive history began with the birth of Christ and will last until He returns. But Peter did not mean that God’s Spirit would be poured out on all mankind in this age. That part of the prophecy will be fulfilled when Christ returns and establishes His millennial reign. Only the redeemed will be admitted into the kingdom. Consequently, in that setting, all mankind will be beneficiaries of the outpouring of the Spirit. (Revelation 20:4-6)
We are about to enter the busiest holiday season of the year. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, the mad rush is underway. My family even has a few birthdays during that period to make it even more challenging. I get tired just thinking about all that preparation.
And so we watch the calendar, make our plans, and knock ourselves out for these annual events. But what are we doing to prepare for the biggest of all occasions, the return of Christ?
As a child, I worried that I wasn’t going to heaven. Many nights I lay awake wrestling with the issue of my salvation. I feared Jesus would come back before I had my life in order.
You might think it terrible for a child or anyone to be so troubled about their relationship to God. Later in life I learned that my problem resulted from the Holy Spirit making me aware of my sin and revealing my need for God’s saving grace through Christ.
My experience is not uncommon. In fact, the reaction was much the same when the church was born. We’re told that when Peter preached the first gospel message “…they were cut to the heart,” (Acts 2:37) and they were so moved by the Apostle’s words they asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
If you were to receive bad news from your doctor wouldn’t your question be similar to that of the first Christians? What shall I do? If your accountant told you that your business was about to fail, you would want to know what could be done to save it. Or if your mechanic announced the impending death of your auto engine, you would want to know if anything could be done.
We’re in the last days. The end is near. Jesus is coming back to claim those who are His. But His return will also spell disaster for those who have rejected Him. If you haven’t already done so, what will you do with this knowledge that the end is near?
Here’s Peter’s response to that question:
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38-39
So in these last days, the first step is to settle the sin issue with God and surrender to Jesus. Is God calling? If the Spirit is contending with your heart don’t put this decision off. Give your heart to Jesus right now.
If you are saved, then take a few moments to pray for your unsaved loved ones and friends. Pray they will surrender to Christ before the end of the last days.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Where to Find Rest for Your Soul
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.