Sunday, 12 May 2024 04:54

Article of Faith: Living the present in the future (1) - Femi Aribisala

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Femi Aribisala Femi Aribisala

Solomon counsels believers in Christ: “Do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5). This is because the ways of God are counter-intuitive. To first understand many things about the kingdom of God, we first often misunderstand them.

For example, we are accustomed to viewing our lives from the past to the present to the future. However, the Bible suggests that time flows from the future into the present and then into the past. Therefore, the believer should be future-oriented, forgetting the past. (Philippians 3:13).

Joel’s Prophecy

“It shall come to pass afterwards that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants, I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29).

This is a prophecy about something that will happen in the future. However, the Word of God says everything in the future is already in the past:

“That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been in ancient times before us.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).

Jesus is the Word of God. (Revelation 19:13). He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.(Hebrews 13:8).

Did people dream in the past? Yes indeed! But young men dreamt in the Old Testament. Joseph was 17 when he had his dreams. But Nebuchadnezzar was 42 when he had his. There does not seem to be any consistent pattern there.

Did people see visions in the past? Yes indeed! God said in the Old Testament: “I have also spoken by the prophets, and have multiplied visions.” (Hosea 12:10).

“God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, ‘Jacob, Jacob!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ So He said, ‘I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.’” (Genesis 46:2-4).

But Israel was an old man of 130 years when he received these visions and went to Egypt. Ezekiel was in his 50s when he received his visions of God. In his case, Daniel was 85.

What about the prophecy of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Has it been fulfilled?

Jesus says the Holy Spirit was not yet given in the days of His flesh:

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-40).

But Peter declared this prophecy fulfilled when the disciples received the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost. Miraculously, they were speaking in foreign tongues and bystanders thought they were drunk:

“Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, ‘Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.’” (Acts 2:14-17).

Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled at the Pentecost and it was not. It was partially fulfilled but not fully fulfilled. The prophecy says God will pour His Spirit on all flesh but not everybody received the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost.

“For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” (1 Corinthians 13:9-10).

There were only about 120 people in the Upper Room at Pentecost. So, the Spirit was not poured upon ALL flesh. It was only poured on some flesh. At Pentecost, some received the Spirit before the appointed time. At the appointed time, all flesh will receive the Holy Spirit.

If, as Solomon says, every new thing has already happened in ancient times, we should ask: “Was the Holy Spirit poured upon people in the past before the Pentecost?”

Revelation Knowledge

God validated my regeneration when I received Christ by teaching me this song about David: “When the Spirit of the Lord is upon my soul I will dance like David danced.” I just woke on a Sunday morning singing this new song and when I got to church that morning, I found everybody singing the same song.

But was David born again?

According to what the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, revealed by teaching me this song, David was born again. The song shows the Holy Spirit was in me like He was in David. That means, like me, David was born again.

David could not have written the Messianic Psalms in the Bible if he was not born again. Jesus confirms that the Holy Spirit spoke through David:

“Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’” (Mark 12:35-36).

David could not have heard God the Father speaking to God the Son if he was not born again. When David repented of his adultery with Bathsheba, he pleaded with God: “Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:12).

This shows he had the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Himself confirms that some people received the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. He says to Nicodemus:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? (John 3:5-10), NKJV.

Jesus expected Nicodemus to know that some people were born again in the Old Testament. He was surprised that he did not know.

John the Baptist knew about the Holy Spirit:

John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon (Jesus). I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’” (John 1:32-33).

John knew about the Holy Spirit because he had the Holy Spirit. God told Zacharias about his son, John the Baptist:

“He will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15). CONTINUED.

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