Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Which 'Who' Is A Part of All People?


Joel 2:28-32 - First Commentary

“These things happened to them as examples for us.
They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.”  
1 Corinthians 10:11 NLT

Which "Who" Is A Part of 

All People?

[STUDY NOTE: Sometimes what we see on the page needs the original language to understand. Other times we simply over look the words which are there to our peril.]

Who is included in the 'On whom will God pour out his Spirit'?


Original Languages:

We do not get much help from examining the original words in Hebrew and Greek. Both have a broad meaning. The Hebrew word translated 'people' in the NIV and other translations is translated 'flesh' in the Young's Literal Translation and the King James Version. Flesh is in fact the most literal meaning, but the word is used many different ways - people being one of them.The Greek word likewise is translated differently depending in the translation. However, it's literal meaning is the same as the Hebrew word - flesh or meat.   Perhaps the boardness of the meaning best informs the answer to the question 'who'.

New Testament Usage:

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up and said loudly - THIS IS THAT! - then quoted Joel 2:28-32. If he meant this is the one and only fulfillment of Joel 2, then the who is limited to the people present and described in Acts 2. Clearly this is too narrow a definition.

Note: A review of the people listed provides a figurative picture of people from all nations. It demonstrates that Joel 2:28 represents a much broader picture than just the Jews. However, the people present may have all been believers in the God of the Jews who have come, as converts, to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem. This at most would narrow the 'who' to all believers, a position that parallels Galatians 3:14.  

In Context In Joel: 

Clearly the pouring out of the Spirit will include the young and old, the males and females, even the servants of the Jewish people [some interpret this to mean regardless of class or status]. Again this fits broadly within in the meaning of all believers EXCEPT what do we do with the non-believers who are servants which was often the case. This is broader than most Christians are willing to accept.

Other Possible Biblical Examples:

The greater challenge when defining the 'who' of all people comes from God Himself. On whom has his Spirit been placed causing them to prophecy?  The answer includes some surprises. For example Balaam's ass. Okay. So that's a bit of a stretch. But instances like Pharaoh prophesying are not. And how about apostate people prophesying such as Saul on his way to kill David.  Then there is the priest of Midian, Moses' father-in-law though in fairness he had offered a sacrifice to Moses' god. Yes, these instances are fairly rare, especially after Israel becomes a nation, but they occur. They are examples left to us at the end of the ages as warnings.

Note: The point here is not to advocate for God indiscriminately pouring out his Spirit on all unbelievers, but rather to indicate that when he so chooses he does so. The warning to us is to not discount God's message because of the vessel he chooses to use.


The 'who' includes a broader range of people than we popularly believe:
  1. It includes more than just people who speak in tongues.
  2. It includes more than people who receive water baptism.
  3. It includes men and women.
  4. It includes the young and the old.
  5. It includes all believers.
  6. It includes whoever God chooses to us for his purposes in a given moment.
Am I advocating for a position that God pours out his Spirit indiscriminately on every human being. God forbid! 

The clear message of scripture is that God pours out his Spirit indiscriminately on all believers!

What we do with it - now that's another question.


1.  If God pours out his Spirit on all believers, what happens when a believer becomes apostate?

2.  What is the Spirit's primary function in all believers? gift giving or transformation?

3.  Has this prophecy been fulfilled in relationship to Israel? past or present?

Do not discount God's message because of the vessel he chooses to use.

The Who of Whoville from:


No comments:

Post a Comment

Privacy Policy