7. Joel's Prediction that the Holy Spirit Would be Poured Out in the Last Days:  Joel 2:28-32 is quoted by the apostle Peter in his sermon on Pentecost in Acts 2:14-21:

"But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.  For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;  but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

‘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;
EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN,
I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT' (Acts 2:14-18).

According to the Prophet Joel, the Holy Spirit would be poured out in "the last days." This prophecy was being fulfilled in Acts 2 according to the Apostle Peter. His audience in Acts 2 are Jews from “every nation under Heaven."

Could all of these Old Testament passages that were fulfilled and pointed to by inspired writers in the New Testament be about the Last Days of the Old Covenant and not the Last Days of the World? It is worth your time and study to research the Scriptures.

All the Prophets we have mentioned above were writing to the Jews of coming judgment upon them for breaking the covenant of Deuteronomy 28-32. Last days events mentioned in the Old Testament  included the birth of the Messiah, the New Covenant coming, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and pending judgment on the Old Covenant system. Jesus clearly states that this judgment is coming upon the generation He came to in the First Century (Matthew 23:36Matthew 24:34Mark 13:30Luke 21:32).

So what does all this mean? The Old Testament references provide the context for the New Testament passages concerning the "last days." But that's something you'll rarely hear from the pulpit today, in a culture that is more fascinated with signs from world events than Scripture.

In real estate the golden rule is "location, location, location." In eschatology, it's "signs, signs, signs." How about we go back to "Scripture, Scripture, Scripture"?

I challenge our pastors and teachers in the church today to begin to address these passages on the Last Days from the Old Testament. They provide the context for the New Testament passages on the Last Days and will spark healthy discussion within our churches today.

Paul Lopez is a longtime student of the Word and a Bible teacher and small group leader at Murrieta Valley Church in Murrieta, Calif.

Publication date: April 19, 2012