Volume 3 of God’s Prophetic Spirit expands upon this series’ discussion of Joel 2. Joel’s prophecy serves as a sure foundation upon which to build an understand of the Holy Spirit’s work in the church. A careful study of that text reveals just how prominent the prophetic powers of the Holy Spirit were in the church and why the Spirit’s abundant presence was needed. Further, Joel’s prophecy also provides a knowable endpoint in time for the Spirit’s prophetic blessings. These three essays bring together a multitude of critical points of teaching into a simple, understandable basis from which the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives can be seen.
Essay #6 – “The Extent of Prophecy in the Church”
How many prophets were there in the early church? Many people have the impression that the number of Christians that had access to the prophetic gifts of the Holy Spirit was relatively small. This causes them to interpret New Testament passages which seem to speak to saints universally in ways which exclude the prophetic blessings the Spirit provided. However as this essay shows, the prophetic empowerment from the Holy Spirit was a nearly universal gift to those first century Christians. When Joel prophesied that “all flesh” in God’s kingdom would participate in prophecy, dreams, and visions, God meant those words to be taken literally. This essay argues that one of the primary missions of the apostles was to ensure that every saint they encountered left that encounter with the Spirit’s prophetic blessings. Once one sees that truth, a much simpler interpretative model for the role of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament can be seen.
Essay #7 – “The Purpose of Prophecy and Miracles in the Church”
Essay #7 in this series discusses why the Spirit provided the early church with prophetic abilities. The “why” of the Spirit’s work in the early church must be understood to appreciate the Bible’s commentary on the “what” and “how” of His influence in the New Testament. This essay gives four reasons why the prophetic empowerment of the saints was needed at the beginning of the gospel: 1) To Reveal the New Testament; 2) To Confirm the Truthfulness of the Revelation; 3) To Equip the Early Church in its Service; 4) To Produce Unity Among the Saints. Each of those “why’s” could be accomplished only with the direct assistance of God. The infant church needed divine assistance to accomplish what it could not on its own. The Holy Spirit’s work was essential in helping the church grow to a point of maturity. His prophetic assistance was needed until the church was able to put away the childish ways and stand as a mature body of believers. It is critical to appreciate that the New Testament speaks about the Spirit’s work with this purpose in mind.
Essay #8 – “The End of Prophecy and Miracles”
This essays draws another conclusion about the Spirit’s promised work from Joel 2. Joel’s prophecy not only informs us that the Spirit’s work in the church would begin in the “last days,” it also tells us that this outpouring of the Spirit would happen before the “great and awesome day of the Lord” would come. This essay looks for the evidence in the New Testament for the identity of that “great and awesome day of the Lord” contained in Joel’s prophecy. If that day can be identified, then one can know when the outpouring of God’s Spirit promised by the Old Testament came to an end. The conclusion drawn in this essay is that the day spoken of by Joel is the day of the Lord’s judgment of Israel in A. D. 70. The Bible is not silent nor is it ambiguous about the end of the Spirit’s prophetic work.