God’s Covenant and Peter

MEMORY SELECTION: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” —Acts 2:17

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:14-17; 3:18-26

THIS week’s memory selection is a portion of the Apostle Peter’s sermon in connection with the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The whole discourse is recorded in Acts 2: 14-36.

Peter began his sermon by quoting a passage from the Prophet Joel. “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For 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; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”—Acts 2:14-18

The inspired Apostle Peter applied this entire passage to the very time in which he was speaking—“in the last days,” that is, in the Gospel Age. The prophecy spoken by Joel and repeated by Peter was then beginning to come to pass! In this Gospel Age God would “pour out his Spirit upon all flesh,” Gentiles as well as Jews. (Acts 10:45; 11:18; 13:46) “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” (Acts 19:6; 21:11) “And I will show wonders in heaven above.” (Acts 2:43; 4:30; 5:12; 8:13; 14:27) “The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood:” that is, the Gospel and the Law rendered ineffectual. And all these things would occur “before that great and notable day of the Lord,” with which the Gospel Age is brought to a close.

When Peter quoted this passage of scripture in his sermon only a few had received the Holy Spirit. Throughout the Gospel Age, “in those days,” the servants and the handmaids are to be blessed with the spirit of understanding of God’s will. This is necessarily a part of the invitation to be a member of the bride of Christ. The Holy Spirit has enabled these consecrated men and women to seek the ways of the Lord and to dedicate their lives to his service all down through the Gospel Age.

Since the days of Moses, Pentecost was a feast day and a very special occasion among the Jews. The feast commemorated the giving of the Law Covenant to the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. It was a time when the faithful and devout Jews gathered at the Temple to sing praises of thanksgiving to God for the gift of the Law. Appropriately therefore, God used this occasion to send the Holy Spirit to the faithful watchers in the Early Church. And, although the roots of the old Law Covenant extended back to the time of Moses, yet Pentecost was a turning point that marked a new event in the affairs of the Lord’s people.

The apostle’s sermon established two things: the gift of the Holy Spirit and its wider application in the overall plan of God, the reality of the resurrected Christ. The Holy Spirit provided a new dimension in the experiences of the followers of Jesus. The Master’s disciples had been bewildered by the fast-moving events that surrounded them, but with the gift of the Holy Spirit, Peter and the others began to understand the deeper meaning in what had taken place.

Furthermore, God’s gift of the Holy Spirit during the present age was for the explicit purpose of calling out from the world a people who would, in due time, share in dispensing those blessings to the people. After the present call to sacrifice has been completed God’s mercy shall be extended to all the families of the earth. We read in Isaiah 25:8,9: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord bath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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