The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
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The outpouring of the Holy Spirit which was to attend the
preaching of the gospel by the followers of Christ was announced
by the prophet in these words: "And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons
and your daughters shall prophesy, and your old men shall dream
dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants
and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My
Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth,
blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned
[p. 22] into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the
terrible day of the Lord come." Joel 2:28-31.
Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, quoted this prophecy in
explanation of the wonderful scene which then occurred. Cloven
tongues like as of fire sat upon each of the disciples; they were
filled with the Holy Spirit, and spake with other tongues. And
when the mockers charged that they were filled with new wine,
Peter answered, "These are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it
is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken
by the prophet Joel." Then he quotes the prophecy substantially
as found in Joel (quoted above), only he puts the words "in the
last days," in the place of "afterward," making it read, "And it
shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of
My Spirit," etc.
It is evident that it was that part of the prophecy only which
relates to the outpouring of the Spirit, that began to be fulfilled
on that day; for there were no old men there dreaming dreams,
nor young men and maidens seeing visions and prophesying;
and no wonders of blood and fire and pillars of smoke then
appeared; and the sun was not darkened and the moon was not
turned to blood at that time; and yet what was there witnessed
was in fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel. It is equally evident
that this part of the prophecy concerning the outpouring of the
Spirit was not exhausted in that one manifestation; for the
prophecy covers all days from that time on to the coming of
the great day of the Lord.
But the Day of Pentecost was in fulfillment of other prophecies
besides that of Joel. It fulfilled the words of Christ Himself as
well. In his last discourse to His disciples before His crucifixion,
He said to them: "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you
another Comforter, . . . even the Spirit of truth." John 14:16, 17.
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father
will send in My name, He shall teach you all things." verse 26.
"Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide
[p. 23] you into all truth." Chapter 16:13. And after Christ had risen
from the dead, He said to the disciples, "Behold, I send the promise
of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem,
until ye be endued with power from on high." Luke 24:49.
On the Day of Pentecost the disciples were thus endued with
power from on high. But this promise of Christ's was not, any
more than the prophecy of Joel, confined to that occasion. for
He gave them the same promise in another form by assuring them
that he would be with them always, even to the end of the world.
Matthew 28:20. Mark tells us in what sense and what manner
the Lord was to be with them. He says, "And they went forth,
and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming
the word with signs following." Mark 16:20. And Peter,
on the Day of Pentecost, testified concerning the perpetuity of
this operation of the Spirit which they had witnessed. When the
convicted Jews said unto the apostles, "What shall we do?" Peter
answered, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name
of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the
gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your
children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our
God shall call." Acts 2:37-39. This certainly provides for the
operation of the Holy Spirit in the church, even in its special
manifestations, to all coming time, as long as mercy shall invite
men to accept the pardoning love of Christ.
Twenty-eight years later in his letter to the Corinthians,
Paul set before that church a formal argument on the question.
He says (1 Corinthians 12:1), "Now concerning spiritual gifts,
brethren, I would not have you ignorant"—so important did he
deem it that this subject should be understood in the Christian
church. After stating that though the Spirit is one it has diversities
of operation, and explaining what those diversities are, he introduces
the figure of the human body, with its various members, to
show how the church is constituted with its different offices and
gifts. And as the body has its various members, each having its
[p. 24] particular office to fill, and all working together in unity of
purpose to constitute one harmonious whole, so the Spirit was to
operate through various channels in the church to constitute a
perfect religious body. Paul then continues in these words: "and
God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily
prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing,
helps, governments, diversities of tongues."
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