The Outpouring of the Spirit
Just prior to His ascension to heaven, what did Jesus tell His disciples to await?
"And, 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.
With what did He say they would soon be baptized?
"Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." Acts 1:5.
NOTE: John the Baptist had foretold this baptism. He said, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." Matthew 3:11.
For what important work was this baptism to prepare them?
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Acts 1:8.
Following the outpouring of the Spirit, what preaching results followed?
"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said,... Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost... Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Acts 2:37-41. "And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people;...and believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women." Acts 5:12-14. "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith." Acts 6:7.
How did persecution affect the preaching of the gospel?
"And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles... Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word." Acts 8:1-4.
NOTE: "Persecution has only had a tendency to extend and establish the faith which it was designed to destroy. There is no lesson which men have been so slow to learn as that to oppose and persecute men is the very way to confirm them in their opinions, and to spread their doctrines." --Dr. Albert Barnes, on Acts 4:4.
What Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled at the time of the outpouring of the Spirit?
"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said,... These are not drunken, as ye suppose... 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 ." Acts 2:14-18. (See Joel 2:28-29.)
What expressions in Joel's prophecy indicate a double fulfillment of this outpouring?
"Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month." Joel 2:23. (See also Hosea 6:3.)
NOTE: In Palestine the early rains prepare the soil for the seed sowing, and the latter rains ripen the grain for the harvest. So the early outpouring of the Spirit prepared the world for the extensive sowing of the gospel seed, and the final outpouring will come to repen the golden grain for the harvest of the earth, which Christ says is "the end of the world." (Matthew 13:37-39, Revelation 14:14, 15.)
In the time of the latter rain, for what are we told to pray?
"Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to everyone grass in the field." Zechariah 10:1.
NOTE: Before the apostles received the baptism of the Spirit in the early rain on the day of Pentecost, they all "continued with one accord in prayer and supplication." (Acts 1:14.) During this time they confessed their faults, put away their differences, ceased their selfish ambitions and contentions for place and power, so that when the time for the outpouring came, "they were all with one accord in one place," ready for its reception. To be prepared for the final outpouring of the Spirit, all sin and selfish ambition must again be put away, and a like work of grace wrought upon the hearts of God's people.
How is the closing gospel work under the outpouring of the Spirit described by John the revelator?
"After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with His glory." Revelation 18:1.
What is the message of this angel?
"And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every unclean and hateful bird." Verse 2.
NOTE: The religious world will then be in much the same condition as was the Jewish nation after it had rejected Christ at His first advent. (See 2 Timothy 3:1-5.)
What did Peter on the day of Pentecost tell his hearers to do?
"And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation." Acts 2:40.
What similar call and appeal will be made under the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit?
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and and that ye
receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities." Revelation 18:4-5.
NOTE: A great work will be accomplished in a short time under the final outpouring of the Spirit. Many voices all over the earth will sound the warning cry. Signs and wonders will be wrought by the believers, and, as at Pentecost, thousands will be converted in a day.
Those who fail to heed this final gospel call, like the unbelieving Jews, will be doomed to destruction. The seven last plagues will overtake them, as war, famine, death, and destruction overtook the Jews, who, not believing in Christ, failed to heed His call to flee, and shut themselves up in Jerusalem to their doom. Those who heed the call and separate themselves from sin and from sinners will be saved.