ARGUMENTS FROM JOEL 2:28-29 & ACTS 2:17-18
Joel 2:28-29 - "It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. And even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days."
Acts 2:17-18 - "'And it shall be in the last days,' God says, 'That I will pour forth of My Spirit upon 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 upon My bondslaves, both man and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy.'"
a. Summary of the arguments
According to the Apostle Peter, Acts 2:17-18 is the fulfillment of Joel 2:28-29, which says that women as well as men will prophesy (i.e., preach). Women did, in fact, prophesy at Pentecost, and Scripture indicates that they will continue to do so throughout the church age.
b. Representative quotes
1) "God ad promised in the last days to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, and that the daughters, as well as the sons of mankind, should prophesy. And Peter says most emphatically, respecting the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, 'This is that which is spoken of by the prophet Joel,' etc. (Acts 2:16-18). Words more explicit, and an application of prophecy more direct than this, does not occur within the range of the New Testament" (Booth, Female Ministry, p. 10).
2) "It seems truly astonishing hat Bible students, with the second chapter of the Acts before them, should not see that an imperative decree has gone forth from God, the execution of which women cannot escape; whether they like or not, they 'shall' prophesy throughout the whole course f this dispensation; and they have been doing so, though they and their blessed labours are not much noticed" (Booth, Female Ministry, p. 8).
c. Main points and responses
1) In Acts 2:17-18 Peter quotes from Joel to explain the phenomena that occurred o the Day of Pentecost, and declares that the Day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy (cf. Joel 2:28-29).
b. Some aspects of Joel's extended prophecy were not fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost (e.g., verse 30, which speaks of blood, fire, pillars of smoke, the sun turning dark, and the moon turning to blood). Therefore, we believe that Pentecost was only a partial fulfillment of Joel's prophecy, which will be completed after Israel's future repentance and restoration in connection with the Second Coming of Christ (Zech. 12:10; 13:1).
a. Pentecost was a prefillment of Joel's prophecy rather than its fulfillment. The Holy Spirit was poured out upon some of the "sons and daughters" of Israel at that time, but a time is coming when He will be poured out upon all of Israel.
2) Joel says that women as well as men would prophesy, and women as well as men did prophesy.
We agree that according to Joel's prophecy women as well as men were to prophesy, and that some women did, in fact, prophesy in the early church (that's clear from 1 Corinthians 11:4-5, which we'll examine later).
3) The phrase "last days" (Acts 2:17) doesn't refer to Pentecost only but to the entire present age. Therefore women as well as men will prophesy throughout the church age.
a) We disagree that women will prophesy throughout the church age (see our response to "4)" below.
b) We agree that "last days" isn't limited to Pentecost, and that it could refer to the entire church age. However, we do not think that is the case in this context. We agree with those who teach that Joel's prophecy refers to a time "immediately preceding the return of Christ, when all the particulars (e.g., v. 20 and Rev. 6:12) of the prophecy will come to pass. Peter reminded his hearers that, knowing Joel's prophecy, they should have recognized what they were seeing as a work of the Spirit, not a result of drunkenness" (Dr. Charles Ryrie, Ryrie Study Bible, pp. 1646-47).
c) Pentecost was a foretaste of what is to come--a partial fulfillment of Joel's prophecy, which will be completed "after Israel's future repentance and restoration (Zech. 12:10; 13:1) in connection with the second advent of Christ. . . . The Holy Spirit will then be poured out on all classes in Israel who belong to the believing remnant (Joel 2:32)" (Ryrie Study Bible, p. 1355).
4) To prophesy is to preach.
A "prophet" need not be a foreteller of future events, but is "a person gifted for the exposition of divine truth" (Harper's Greek Lexicon).
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