The Bible speaks of a mighty “last days” outpouring of the Holy Spirit. You might be thinking, “Pastor Jim, I’ve heard that said over and over, but I’m not seeing it happening in our time. Where is that in the Bible?” Well, let’s take a look at the following Scriptures.
Acts 1:5, 8 “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.... (8) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
•• In the first century A.D., just before He ascended back to heaven (vss. 9-11), Jesus promised His followers the mighty baptism with the Holy Spirit. They would receive heaven-sent power to be effective witnesses to Jesus.
•• This promised power from on high came to them on the Day of Pentecost, as shown in the following Scripture:
Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. (2) Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. (3) They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (4) All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
•• Just as Jesus had promised, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, and the rest of the record of the Book of Acts shows them ministering in great power with amazing effectiveness. The Gospel was preached with much anointing, the sick were healed, demons were cast out, even the dead were raised, and multitudes came to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
•• By now you may be saying, “That was great for them. But how do we figure into the great “last days” move of God?” The following Scripture gives us the answer.
Acts 2:16-18[Referring to that great outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost, the apostle Peter told the amazed crowd] “...this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: (17) ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. (18) Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.’ ”
•• So the Scriptures tell us that the prophesied “last days”began in the first century, on that first, great, New Testament Day of Pentecost. And since they are the “last” days, those days necessarily continue to the present. We are included in the “last days”, in which the Holy Spirit has been poured out, and we in the 21st century will see supernatural visions and dreams, will prophesy, will minister healing, and much more as the Holy Spirit enables us.
•• The Spirit was “poured out” on that specific Day of Pentecost, yes, but not just on that single day. No, but rather God had promised the Holy Spirit outpouring in the “last days [plural]... in those days [plural]” (17-18). The baptism with the Holy Spirit, as well as the accompanying gifts of the Holy Spirit, are for the entirety of the “last days”, including those in which we live.
• In fact, on that first New Testament Pentecost, the apostle Peter clearly said that the baptism with the Spirit and the resulting power which they had received was “for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). That Pentecostal power to be Christ’s bold witnesses is for you today!
•• Israel gathered a double portion of manna on the sixth day, which was the last workday of their week (Exodus 16:5, 22). The prophet Elisha asked for a double portion of the spiritual anointing that was upon his predecessor, the prophet Elijah — 2 Kings 2:9“Let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.”
• I encourage each of you to pray to the Lord for a double portion of Holy Spirit anointing and power, so that you may minister effectively for the Lord in these “last days”.
•• Who can receive this outpouring of the Spirit in “the last days”? The answer is found in Acts 2:16-18, quoted above.
• “all people” (17) — no one is left out.
• “your sons and daughters” (17) — the youth are included.
• “young men ... old men” (17) — the whole spectrum of age groups
• “my servants, both men and women” (18) — the Holy Spirit baptism and its power are for both genders.
• You are included in one or more of these categories! Young or old, man or woman, boy or girl, every servant of the Lord.
•• To summarize, what happens? You are baptized with — you are filled with — the Holy Spirit of God (Acts 1:5; 2:4). You enter into a new, supernatural realm, which is initially evidenced by your being enabled to speak in new tongues as a result of that Holy Spirit baptism. Is that all? No!
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
•• You receive heaven-sent power. Peter and John were aware of this divine power in them when they healed the lame beggar, declaring to him, “...Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6, KJV).
•• That power is related to effective christian witness. Greek words related to witnesses (Acts 1:8) include the meaning of evidence. Ours is witness with powerful evidence.
• The faith-building impact of powerful, Holy Ghost preaching and ministry, can bring astounding results. For example, Spirit-filled Peter raised lame Aeneas and, as a result, “All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw [the healed man] and turned to the Lord” (Acts 9:35). Peter’s Spirit-anointed ministry led two whole towns to faith in Jesus Christ.
• You have the same Holy Spirit, the same anointing, the same Lord, the same Gospel. Allow faith to grow in your heart to see the same dynamic responses as you reach out to others on behalf of the Lord Jesus.
As we conclude our discussion of the Church’s “last days” and the great move of the Holy Spirit prophesied for these times, remember (Acts 2:39)...
“The promise is for you...”
For a more detailed look at the biblical chronology of “the last days”, I highly recommend God’s Redemptive Week by bible teacher Elton McMillan. His Scriptural insights on this topic may revolutionize the way you look at the “days” of the Bible.