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Journal: Westminster Theological Journal Volume: WTJ 50:1 (Spring 1988) Article: The Spirit of Restoration Author: Willem

A. Vangemeren

The Spirit of Restoration*

Willem A. VanGemeren
Seventy-five years ago the Faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary published a significant symposium under 91 the title Biblical and Theological Studies .1 Among the chapters was one written by Geerhardus Vos, The Eschatological Aspect of the Pauline Conception of the Spirit.2 Vos concern was with the correlation of the work of the Spirit and of Christ with the doctrines of salvation and the future. He outlines briefly the OT contribution to this subject3 before his most significant study on the Pauline doctrine of the Spirit. Vos suggestive outline of the contribution of the OT to the doctrine of the Spirit still begs for further investigation.4 In spite of the influx of books on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the correlation of the Spirit with eschatology lacks sufficient development. It is my hope that the OT witness to the Spirit may further the correlation of pneumatology, Christology, creation, soteriology, and eschatology. To this end we shall focus on one
* Dedicated to the students who joined me in an exegetical study of the kingdom of God in the Prophets, Fall 1986.
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OT text (Joel 2:2832) as a springboard to the larger discussion on the place of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the gift of God the Father and God the Son to the people of God. He is the Reconciler and Restorer, as he regenerates, indwells, and leads the children of God. He is the Guarantor of the restoration of heaven and earth as he applies the promises and the blessings of God in Christ, and as he creates and sustains hope. The very mission of the Spirit of God is eschatological. He is the agent of restoration, as he prepares a new humanity, applies the eschatological blessings, draws the people of God into an ever-closer relationship, extends the boundaries of the kingdom, and keeps hope alive in the hearts of Gods children living in the world of alienation. This approach does not reduce the soteriological significance of the Spirits work, but puts soteriology in the broader context of eschatology.5 The correlation of the Spirit and eschatology gives further ground to the correlation of creation, redemption, and eschatology: The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealedcreation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Rom 8:19, 21). We shall employ the principles of progressive hermeneutic6 in a brief study of Joel 2:2832 as a groundwork toward a rediscovery of the eschatological work of the Spirit.
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I. The Context of Joel 2:28-32 7

The prophecy of Joel is occasioned by a terrible locust plague. This plague is an event in time and representative of Gods judgment on all flesh (the Day of the Lord). The prophet employs this episode in the life of Gods people to call forth a renewed expression of loyalty and to proclaim the good news of Gods commitment to bless his people. On the one hand, the canonical message evokes a response of devotion to the Lord, of prayer and fasting (Joel 1:1320; 2:1217). On the other hand, the canonical message affirms the Lords commitment to establish his dwelling among men and to bless his people richly with the fullness of his redemption: victory, glory, the covenant fellowship, his Spirit, and the establishment of his kingdom on this earth. At the heart of the Book of Joel is an exhilarating presentation of the Lord8 as the source of hope, who by his promise-word (2:1827) and by his Spirit (2:2832) upholds his people even in the darkest hour.

who by his promise-word (2:1827) and by his Spirit (2:2832) upholds his people even in the darkest hour. Chap. 2:1827 is made up of three strophes, which reveal a magnificent internal structure by repetition of vocabulary and motifs.9 Each section overlaps with the next, but each successive section further develops what is already inherent in the previous unit. Each strophe by itself and in its contribution to the whole enlarges upon the climactic self-revelation of Yahweh as the covenant God who is also present with his people (v 27).10 The restoration motif from curse to blessing, from divine absence to presence, from sorrow to joy, and
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from disgrace to glory unite the sections and lead to the only possible conclusion: Yahweh keeps covenant (v 27)!11

II. Joel 2:28-32 (MT 3:1-5)

Verses 2832 contain different motifs. The blessing of the Spirit amplifies and may be seen as a further development of v 27. But the difficulty lies in its relationship to the preceding verses. Prinsloo admits the continuity of these verses with regard to the context of blessing,12 but also anticipates the context of judgment on the unbelieving.13 Allen divides the oracles (2:183:21) into two oracles: (i) material and spiritual promises (2:1832) and (ii) the judgment on the nations (3:121). The material promises (2:1827) pertain to the immediate future and the spiritual (2:2832) to a subsequent stage.14 Yet, he is representative of all who interpret the outpouring of the Spirit as a new event in redemptive history, The pericope starts with a stereotyped introductory formula [and afterward][which] focuses attention on events that would only come to pass after the preceding 2:1827.15 The relationship of these two sections (2:1927 and 2832) hinges on how we understand the words and afterward. The phrase ahare ken (afterward) may signify temporal sequence (cf 2 Chr 20:35; Jer 16:16; 34:11). In this case the era of blessing (vv 1827) will precede the era of the Spirit. Calvin, thus, sets off the blessings of 2:1827 as external proofs by which the people were encouraged to think beyond the material toward hope for the new era of the Spirit.16 The new era differs from the old, as the Spirit is more excellent than the material, earthly blessings. Allen writes similarly,
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The bestowal of material blessings, which carries with it proof of Yahwehs gracious presence in Israel, is but the first stage. Further, deeper gifts of Gods grace were in store, to be dispensed at a subsequent stage.17 Wolff extends Gods blessing on Israel even in her present state of rejection of Jesus as the Messiah of God and he understands 2:2832 in light of Acts 2 relative to Pentecost. The former has a bearing on Gods way with Israel , whereas the latter bears on Gods way in Christ .18 However, there is another possibility. The formula (and afterward) may be used as a transition.19 As a transition ahare ken may function as a temporal conjunctive, when, or even, and: After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat (2 Chr 20:1; cf. Judg 16:4; 1 Sam 24:6; 2 Sam 2:1; 8:1; 2 Kgs 6:24; 2 Chr 24:4). In this case, after this could well be rendered by when: When the Moabites and Ammonites In the prophets this usage is rare, but so is the phrase ahare ken. In Isa 1:26 two related events are connected by the prepositional phrase: I will restore your judges as in the days of old. Afterward you will be called The City of Righteousness, The Faithful City. Here, sequence is secondary. Of primary importance is the correlation of restoration and the new character of the people of God: The Lord shall restore his people and they shall be righteous.

In Jer 21:7 the judgment of God on king Zedekiah is introduced by the phrase after that (ahare ken) but according to the context it forms a part of Gods judgment on Jerusalem. It apparently functions as a connective formula stressing the totality of judgment: I myself will fightI will strike down.
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After thatI will hand over Zedekiah The phrase after that could well be rendered as a connective and (so NEB). Another, though related, interpretation proffers a use similar to the phrase after those days (ahare hayyam im hahem , NIV after that time) in Jer 31:33. We may ask, after what time? To suggest that it follows sequentially the promise of covenant renewal in Jer 31:31 would lead to the preposterous suggestion that Jeremiah predicted two covenants. Clearly, vv 31 and 33 refer to the same covenant and form a parallel expression: The time is comingwhen I make a new covenant with the house of Israel[Jer 31:31] This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time[Jer 31:33, emphasis ours] Verse 33 is a chiastic restatement of v 31, in that both verses contain a temporal clause, a reference to the covenant, and a reference to the parties of the covenant (I and the house of Israel). The phrase after that time (v 33) is functionally equivalent to the time is coming. In conclusion, afterward or after that time functions as a temporal phrase introducing the new work of God after an era of judgment. Its temporal or sequential significance has been replaced by a theological function of serving as an introduction or a transition to an act of God. So also Jer 49:6, Yet, afterward [ahare ken], I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites (Jer 49:6). The phrase ahare ken in prophetic speech may denote the era of Gods acts associated with the day of the Lord after the exile or any period of judgment. The Lord inaugurates a new era of covenant favor only after the time of exile. In Joel 2:28 afterward may be understood sequentially or as an explication of v 27. First, the temporal or sequential meaning has an inherent weakness. Though this interpretation is most commonly held, it does not pay attention to the inner connection of the blessings associated with the new era of Gods favor (vv 18 27), the progressive fulfillment of these blessings (never again in vv 19b, 26, 27), and the connection of vv 27 and 28. The prophetic word of fullness of blessing
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and complete victory over the enemies was not fully experienced before Jesus coming. Instead, his oracle relates to the whole progression of Gods kingdom from the postexilic era to the coming of our Lord in glory.20 The prophet Joel anticipates a grand era of the fullness of the benefits of Gods presence and the absolute absence of the experiences of alienation. Alienation may take many forms. The immediate context suggests natural disasters (locusts) and the resulting famine (1:11), but his message also extends to any cause of anguish, frustration, and anxiety: the nations (3:2, 17), war, violence, and wickedness (3:13, 19). This conclusion is borne out by a comparison of 2:1827 with 3:1721, revealing, through symmetry and chiastic arrangement, that the Lords concern is with all objects of resistance to his kingdom, whether natural or political: a (2:1826) blessings of food and drink, removal of shame b (2:27) covenantal assurance: removal of shame b (3:17) covenantal assurance: removal of foreigners a (3:1821) blessings of food and drink, curse on foreign nations In conclusion, the era of blessing (2:1827) and the era of the Spirit (2:2832) overlap. The words of

blessing and the promise of the Spirit are corollary witnesses to the telos of redemptive history: Gods presence with his people in protection and in blessing the new community of the Spirit.21 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. [v 27; cf. 3:17] Second, afterward is a parallel expression of in those days, that is, the days of blessing (vv 1827). Verses 2832 are complementary and explanatory of vv 1827, as both sections explicate the new era of covenant renewal. The covenant relationship interconnects Yahwehs Lordship over his people
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(v 27), his presence in blessing and protection (vv 1826), and their joyful praise of their great king (vv 21, 23, 26). How will the people be sure that there will be no more cause for grief and fear (vv 19, 21, 22, 26, 27)? The Lord himself has given his promise word to this end (vv 18, 19a). But did Gods people truly experience the finality and fullness of his blessings after the exile?22 It appears that the covenant blessings (2:1827; cf. 3:1721) are so grand and glorious that they cannot be fulfilled until the New Heaven and Earth. However, the promise of eschatological fulfillment, that is of the new age, encourages Gods people throughout the history of redemption with the tokens of Gods goodness. Fulfillment extends to Gods people throughout the progression of redemptive history. In his sovereign administration of grace and promise,23 the Lord gives his people evidences of his covenantal care by fulfilling the promises in measure. The fulfillments are real, but they will not experience the full satisfaction until the glorious establishment of his kingdom on earth (cf. Isa 65:1725; Rev 21:14; 22:15).24 To this end, he attends his promise-word with the outpouring of his Spirit as the guarantee of the fulfillment of his promises: the restoration of heaven and earth. Because we cannot assume that the blessings of 2:1827 were fulfilled before Pentecost, we present an alternative interpretation. The phrase after that explicates vv 1827 and especially v 27. The goal of Gods new acts of blessing and protection is that his people may know him, experience his presence, and never again suffer from anxiety which is characteristic of this world in alienation (v 27). But the question may be raised, how can this be so in the light of the fickle
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nature of people? In response, vv 28 and 32 develop in inclusionary fashion the progression and victorious outcome of the new era: When [as transition] I will pour out my Spirit on all people then25 everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved. The usage of ahare ken (afterward) is here identical with in those days (v 29), namely the day of Gods favor on his people, as is spoken of in vv 1819a: Then the LORD will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people. The LORD will reply to them.26 Thus, the presence of the Spirit is Gods guarantee of the fulfillment of his promise-word (the blessings), his close communion with his people, and of the goal of redemptive history: the presence of God among the new community. On the other hand, vv 2931 anticipate Gods judgment on the nations. How can Gods people be sure that they need not suffer shame any more, as promised repeatedly: never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations (v 19b); never again will my people be shamed (vv 26b and 27b)? The Lord alone can and will remove all causes of anxiety. Because of the pervasiveness of sin and evil in this world, the Lords judgment must extend to everything. The comprehensiveness of judgment (the Day of the Lord)27

pervades the message of Joel: the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine (2:10); on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke, the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood (2:31); The sun and the moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The earth and sky will tremble (3:15).
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Joel begins his message of relief from the locusts as the immediate cause of Israels troubles; but he envisions the removal of all causes of alienation, anguish, and frustration. This world in alienation must undergo restoration by the purification of the Day of the Lord.28 This judgment is correlative to the progression of blessing, but it will have its final fulfillment with the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ (cf. Mark 13:2425; Luke 21:25; Acts 2:20; 2 Pet 3:1012; Rev 6:12; 9:2; 19:1116).

III. The Era of the Spirit

In the promise of the Spirit the Lord gives hope to the godly who live in a world filled with tension between curse and blessing. The Spirit is the guarantee of the promise-word, as he applies Gods promises and assures the people of God that the blessed presence of God is the goal of redemptive history. The people of God need not be afraid,29 because they find deliverance (2:32) in the Lord, who is a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people Israel (3:16). Thus, the Word, the Spirit, the comfort of Gods people by the Spirit, and the hope in the restoration of heaven and earth (the New Jerusalem) belong together as related motifs.

1. The Community of the Spirit

The work of the Holy Spirit lies in the bringing together, sustaining, and quickening of the new humanity. The Lord promises to give his presence and his blessings (2:1927) to all people. What is the identity of all people (kol basar, lit. all flesh, v 28)? They are, in the first place, Israel (his people, 2:18). The outpouring of the Spirit is to guarantee the people of God that the Lord is their covenant-God and that the enjoyment of the blessing is theirs, even during times of distress.
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Joel points all of Gods people to the Lord, by whom the promises were given and by whom they will be fulfilled. There is no other! However, the promise of the Spirit is limited to a particular group in Israel. On the one hand, the Spirit will not discriminate between age, sex, or social standing. The Lords Spirit will rest on the members of the covenant community (Israelmy people, 2:27), regardless of age (old menyoung men), social standing (servants, both men and women), or sexual differentiation (sons and daughtersmen and women). They constitute the new community of the Spirit, who will be brought through the Day of the Lord as the heirs of promises of God. On the other hand, the application of the promise of the Spirit is not mechanical. Not all people will be saved and find deliverance in the city of God, Mount Zion. Only those who call on the name of the Lord make up all people. The proper reading of v 28 (MT 3:1) is in the light of v 32 (MT 3:5), as these two verses are bound together by an inclusionary motif: wehaya [not translated] kol basar [all flesh, NIV all people] wehaya [not translated] kol aser [everyone who] Secondly, as the history of redemption unfolded, it became even clearer that the promise of the Spirit was not only for the Jews. Peter first applied the prophecy of Joel to the Jews, as he said, The promise [of the Spirit] is for you and your children and for all who are far offfor all whom the Lord our God will call (Acts

2:39).30 In the progression of the era of the Spirit, the Spirit extended the boundaries to the Gentiles. Initially, he shocked the early church, when Cornelius, a Gentile, received the Spirit of God (Acts 10:4447). So great was their consternation that Peter was called upon to give an account. He concludes with this note, So if God gave them
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the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I should oppose God! (Acts 11:17).31 Thus, all people refers to all the people of God , regardless of sex, age, social standing, or race! The apostle Paul applies Joel 2:32 to Gentiles as well as Jews, thus extending the original perimeters of the promise, For there is no difference between Jew and Gentilethe same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him (Rom 10:12). However, the inclusion of the Gentiles need not be inter-preted to the exclusion of the Jews.32 That is the point of Pauls argument in Romans 911, and especially as he develops the application of Joel 2:32 in Rom 10:1411:32. As I have argued elsewhere, the fidelity of God and the promise-word of God sustain us with hope that a great number of Israel will be saved. They will join together with Gentile Christians in the worship of the Father and his Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. How this will come about is hidden in the wisdom of God (Rom 11:3336). Thus, the newness of the age of the Spirit lies in the all-inclusive formation of the new humanity, as Paul explains: You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abrahams seed, and heirs according to promisethat we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out Abba, Father.since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. [Gal 3:26, 28, 29; 4:57] In conclusion, the new humanity receives the covenant fellowship, the inheritance, and the privilege of adoption in the Spirit (cf Rom 9:45). This new humanity, composed of both Jews and Gentiles, is the community of the Spirit. The Spirit
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brings the two parties of the covenant fellowship together: the Lord and his people. The Spiritual people of God have a oneness in the Spirit, as the Spirit of God makes no distinction as to social standing, sex, age, or race. The new community consists of all who have received the Spirit of hope, regardless of their present adversities, as Wolff explains, allwho await the future from Yahweh will, at the time of the world catastrophe, find refuge in the community of God on Mount Zion.33

2. The Spirit as the Guarantor of Blessing

Throughout redemptive history the Lord blesses his people with a foretaste of his goodness in an experience of his presence, in the consecration of his people, and in his being the only source of mans happiness, prosperity, and peace. Israels experience before and after the exile does not take away from the reality of his blessings. Nor are his blessings to be minimized as merely material. It is clear from 2:27 a n d 3:17 that the blessings evidence Gods presence and that his rule over nature and the nations powerfully witnesses to his being the great King, the Divine Warrior. The history of redemption records again and again that the LORD has done great things (2:21, cf. v 20). The blessings of God are continuous throughout the history of redemption. He has blessed his people Israel in the fourfold promise of the Abrahamic covenant (descendants, Gods presence in blessing and protection, the land, and a blessing to the nations, Gen 12:2, 3). These blessings were incorporated into the Mosaic covenant and are again and again renewed through his servants the prophets. Likewise, Joel speaks of

Gods protection and blessings as evidence of his presence. The enemy will be completely removed (2:19 20), the earth will be renewed with abundant rains and by producing luxuriant crops, and the causes of anxiety, so characteristic of this world of alienation, will be removed. The people of God respond to the evidences of his love with theocentric living, with joy, and with gratitude that he is their God:
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I will repay you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. [2:2527] This is the language of promise. Its significance lies in the hope given by the Lord, as he gives assurance that in time and forevermore he will secure the blessedness of his people. This means that the blessings are material and spiritual, realized and eschatological. There is then no other way to avail ourselves of Gods blessings than in the Spirit. He is the eschatological Bringer of salvation.34 But the blessings of God are only for those who recognize the Lordship and messianic rule of his Son. The Spirit is the Spirit of Christ! This movement from the Spirit, to the Son, and to the Father involves each person of the Trinity and acknowledges the present blessings and the inheritance to be the gift of the Father to the Son, as applied by the Spirit. The Spirit of God applies and guarantees all of Gods gifts to the heart and life of the believer, to wit forgiveness, life everlasting, contentment, the fruits of the Spirit, as well as creaturely benefits.35 He is the Spirit of regeneration, sanctification, and of sonship. Christ is the focus of the promises and the Spirit of Christ applies the promises of God in Christ, as Beecher wrote many years ago, But the apostolic world-view that has been traversed in this chapter is certainly Christocentric. It is Christ to whom the promise points forward. It is on account of its containing Christ that the promise is cited with so much reiteration, and not for anything it contains apart from Christ. The promise passages connect themselves with everything that is essential in Christian doctrine. They outline the nature and the person of Christ. The theology of the Holy Spirit is in them, he being the divine Agent in carrying
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out the promise. They are a study in the doctrine of the divine decree, that decree having Christ as its determinative point.36 The blessing of the Lord continues to rest upon his people until the fuller revelation of his glory in the New Jerusalem, where they will experience blessing upon blessing and glory upon glory. Then you will know that I, the LORD, your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her. [3:17; cf 2:27]

3. The Spirit as the Reconciler

The Spirit of God is poured out only on those who call on the name of the Lord, but those who call on his name are no other than the ones whom the LORD calls (v 32). The mutual calling is not to be limited to redemption in the narrow sense. Within this context of covenant renewal and promises of restoration, the

Lord draws near to those who seek him and those who seek him draw near to him. This phraseology is a variant of seek the LORD while he may be found, call on him while he is near (Isa 55:6). The Holy Spirit evokes a response of loyalty. Israel had broken the covenant, time and time again, leading to the curses as sanctions of the covenant. The Holy Spirit guarantees the certainty of the covenant blessings by preparing the hearts of a people to show full loyalty to the Lord. They call on his name. Wolff interprets the work of the Spirit as the establishment of new, vigorous life through Gods unreserved giving of himself to those who, in themselves, are rootless and feeble, especially in the approaching times of judgment.37 This text is similar to Jer 31:3334, according to which the covenant children enjoy the closeness of relationship with the Lord, having the prophetic certainty of the coming acts of
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God on behalf of his people.38 It also resembles, in idiom and form, the prophecy of Ezek 39:2529: Iwill have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name [cf. Joel 2:18]. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God. I will no longer hide my face from them [blessing will follow curse], for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel. The Spirit is the ground for both blessing and covenant communion.39 Through the operation of the Spirit of God, the people of God have the assurance that the covenant presence of God, their consecration, and full enjoyment of Gods blessings are theirs to be enjoyed throughout the progression of redemption history until the final and climactic fulfillment in the age to come.40 The Holy Spirit is Gods gift to his people in order to work in them a heart of loyalty, to deepen their fellowship with the Lord, to be refreshed with the present application of the covenant blessings, and to intensify the yearning for the fullness of covenant life. The Spirit of God applies the promise-word of God to the heart of the believer, bringing assurance and raising the horizons of the age to come.41 This is what we mean when we speak of the work of the Spirit as eschatological. He renews the hearts of man in regeneration, sanctification, and by giving an eschatological dimension to the man of faith.

4. The Spirit as the Agent of Restoration

The Spirit of God is the Guarantor of restoration! To be sure, he is intimately involved in the application of Gods redemption in regeneration and sanctification. But more than
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that!42 Soteriology with its eschatological dimension requires a correlation of the Holy Spirit and eschatology. He regenerates so as to restore humanity to the new creation. He prepares the people of God for their citizenship in the New Jerusalem and sustains them with the hope of the glorious future.43 Of this new age Wolff comments, in the coming age they shall be incorporated fully into the community of the free, by being deigned worthy of the highest distinction along with all the rest.44 The outpouring of the Spirit, accordingly, is the beginning of the progression of the Day of the Lord. The progression of redemption history includes the people of God, but also creation (cf. Rom 8:1922). The correlation of creation, redemption, and the Spirit is the message of Joel. Those who have received the Spirit of God need not fear nature, because the Spirit assures them that all areas are under the control of Gods Messiah. Further, the relation of the Spirit and the Word brings the power of God to bear on this world. Since the incarnation we cannot but reflect on the Spirit in relationship to the mission and work of our Lord. But we must also relate the Spirit to Jesus rule over creation. This is an area that needs further thought, as Torrance wrote, that change has to be interpreted Christologically in relation to Christ the First-born and Head of all Creation, i.e. it has to be interpreted eschatologically in terms of the new creation

we have still to interpret the presence of the Spirit to creation and nature as involving a measure of distance between it and God, in which he withholds the fulness of His, presence until the appointed hour of judgement and recreation.45 Reformed theology has never fully faced or worked out the relation between the Holy Spirit and nature. I agree wholeheartedly with Torrances observation that It was to a certain
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extent the failure of Reformed theology to think out the doctrine of Christ and the doctrine of the Spirit in relation to creation and therefore to nature.46 In response to this dilemma, Torrance posits the communion of the Spirit as an experience of the presence of the Spirit in this world and as an invitation to the eschaton. The Church does not possess the mystery in and for itself It shares in it, but the whole of creation shares in it, so that the boundaries of the Church must ever be open toward all men outside and toward the full consummation of the purposes of God for all things. Thus the range of the Communion of the Spirit cannot be limited and bound to the Church, but through the universal range of the Spirit the Church is catholicised or universalised and made to reach out to the fullness of Him who fills all in all.47 The Holy Spirit breaks through this tension, as he involves all who walk in him in the progression toward victorious triumph and consummation.48 But the prophets remind us that concern with salvation and promise to the exclusion of creation leads to myopia, a restriction of Gods freedom, and hence of the Spirit of God.49 The danger of restricting the Holy Spirit to space and time is most real.50 Christianity faces the dilemma of church and the world and time and eternity by the very nature of her spiritual calling in a physical world. Hendrikus Berkhof portrays the Spirits work as an ever-widening operation in space and time: the work of the Spirit is to be characterized as an event that participates and intervenes in history in an entirely new way. Participation means that the Spirit, from the exclusive center which is Christ, constantly draws new circles in time and space. The Spirittouches us, transforms us, and enlists us for service in his ongoing work, a work which in this present world will not be completed, so that whatever he accomplishes here points beyond itself and must always, and anew exceed its own boundaries.51
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This tension will be finally resolved by judgment. The omens of Joel 2:3031 point to the certainty of Gods judgment (2:1011; 3:116). But, regardless of what happens on this earth, the people of God find security in their God (2:32, MT 3:5; cf. 1 Thess 1:10). They are the survivors (v 32). The survivors call on the name of the Lord (an expression of loyalty, cf. 2:1217). They are not only the ones who return from the diaspora, but instead they consist of all who are loyal and responsive to Yahweh. In conclusion, the principle of tota Scriptura (OT and NT) sustains the correlation of the Spirit in the totality of restoration. The NT reveals an interdependence between Christ, the Holy Spirit, the new community, and the eschaton.52 This correlation grows out of the OT prophetic message which projects a new age externalized by the Messiah of God and internalized by the Spirit of God.53 It fosters the tension between this age and the age to come, the material and the spiritual, Israel and the church, the powers of this world and the rule of Gods Messiah, and the Spirit of restoration and the powers of destruction. In spite of these points of tension, the OT prophets,54 like Joel, predict the Spirits involvement in the restoration. God sovereignly establishes his kingdom on earth by the Messiah and by his Spirit. The Spirit of God is the agent of judgment and blessing. Blessing for those who call on the name of Jesus and judgment on those who deny him (John 16:811). The NT teaching on the Spirit is fully consistent with that of the OT, as summarized by Eichrodt, Hence the spirit is also the sign of the everlasting covenant which Yahweh has made with Israel; and as the

Hence the spirit is also the sign of the everlasting covenant which Yahweh has made with Israel; and as the spirit of judgment and destruction it prepares the redeemed in Israel for the visible dwelling of God among them.55
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The Holy Spirit is Guarantor and Reconciler. On the one hand, he guarantees and applies the words of blessing to all of Gods children. He brings them comfort, counsels, gives life and peace (John 14:1519, 26 27), and assures the adoption to sonship (Rom 8:1417, 23). However, it is a serious mistake to limit the work of the Holy Spirit to the individual, to Christian ministry, or to the church. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is coextensive with the building of the kingdom of God and with progress of restoration. He points beyond the renewal of life, beyond ministry, and beyond ethics to the eschaton. The Holy Spirit pushes us not to be content with the present experience of the Christian life, because the fulfillment of the promises is not ours as yet. The apostle Paul explains that in the Spirit we wait with eager anticipation for our adoption as sons, for the redemption of our bodies (Rom 8:24). This means that Christian living is nothing but persistence in faith, hope, and love by the operation of the, Spirit. Compare Rom 8:2425, For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is not hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. with Gal 5:56, But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. These promises are ours in the Spirit. He is the firstfruits of our inheritance (Rom 8:23) and the seal (Eph 1:13) of our redemption. Ridderbos observes, The Holy Spirit as pledge and firstfruits: Both designations firmly establish the correlation between the present and the future.56 In a similar vein, Richard B. Gaffin argues that the work of the Holy Spirit has an eschatological dimension. The eschatology of the Spirit is related to the centrality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ as an eschatological event in the history
WTJ 50:1 (Spring 1988) p. 101

of redemption.57 The Holy Spirit guarantees the eschaton, as he sustains, prepares, and renews the church.58 The present operation of the Holy Spirit comes to clear expression in the Gospel of John. Holwerda concludes that the Spirit continues the work of Christ as the replacement for Jesus on earthof teaching and revealing, of witnessing and convictingin complete unity with the exalted Jesus.59 His work consists of presenting the exalted Christ through the apostolic witness and of applying the present benefits of the exalted Christ.60 The interval between Christs coming and parousia is the object of Johns concern, as Holwerda writes, This interval is eschatologically a continuation of the present kingdom manifested in the earthly ministry of Jesus. The Spirit is not the final manifestation of Christ, but he is the eschatological continuum in which the work of Christ, initiated in his ministry and awaiting its termination at his return, is wrought out.61 Thus, John gives us in his Gospel an eschatological emphasis,62 while at the same time giving hope for what Holwerda calls the interim between Easter and the Parousia.63 The
WTJ 50:1 (Spring 1988) p. 102

Spirit is Jesus guarantee to his church64 by which he reminds his sheep of the victory that has been won and the anticipation of the victory that still must come.65

Reformed Theological Seminary Jackson, Mississippi 39209


Biblical and Theological Studies (New York: Scribner, 1912).


Ibid., 209-59. Reprinted in Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos (ed. Richard B. Gaffin, Jr.; Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1980) 91125.

Vos, Redemptive History , 95-99.


For a preliminary study and general bibliography on the Spirit in the OT, see H. Cazelles, Prolgomnes une tude dans la Bible, in Von Kanaan bis Kerala. Festschrift fr Prof. Dr. J. P. M. van der Ploeg O.P. zur Vollendung des siebstigsten Lebensjahres am 4. Juli 1979 (ed. W. C. Delsman et al.; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Veriag, 1982) 7590.

Neill Q. Hamilton has made a significant contribution to the NT understanding of the work of the Spirit in The Holy Spirit and Eschatology in Paul (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1957). On the basis of Rom 8:9b; 1 Cor 12:3; 2 Cor 3:17; Gal 4:6; and Phil 1:19 he concludes that there exists an intimate connection between Christ, the Spirit, the believers, and eschatology, The nature of this identity became clear when we noted that the context presents the Spirit as the agent which mediates the benefits of the new covenant which are available in Christ (p. 83).

See Willem A. VanGemeren, Israel as the Hermeneutical Crux in the Interpretation of prophecy, WTJ45 (1983) 13244; 46 (1984) 25497; idem, The Progress of Redemption: The Story of Salvation from Creation to the New Creation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988); idem, Perspectives on Continuity, in Continuity and Discontinuity: Perspectives on the Relationship between the Old and New Testaments in Honor of S. Lewis Johnson, Jr. (ed. John S. Feinberg; Westchester: Crossway, 1988), forthcoming.

Throughout this article I shall follow the versification of the EB. The MT separates 2:2832 into a separate chapter (3:15), thus Joel 4 in the MT is chap. 3 in the EB.

This perspective is clear in Willem S. Prinsloos study (The Theology of the Book of Joel [Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1985] 9): Exegesis must guide us to a meaningful synthesis of what the text of Joel has to say about Yahweh.

Ibid., 62-79.

Verse 27 is the climactic affirmation of Yahwehs covenant presence and is not to be considered as a redactional addition, as Prinsloo assumes: This verse recapitulates the entire passage and the purpose of the redactional addition was to demonstrate that Yahwehs wondrous deeds were all aimed at one goal: that Israel and all the world should acknowledge that he alone is God (ibid., 75).

The form of this conclusion is uncertain. Prinsloo (ibid., 79) treats it as a confession, The entire pericope culminates in the credal formula. Thus catastrophe culminates in confession.


3:15 are closely connected with the preceding pericope but also announce a new era of salvation for Israel (ibid., 126, cf. p. 80).

Salvation is amplified, Yahweh is described further as the one who will completely transform the crisis of his people (ibid., 126).

Leslie C. Allen, The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah (NICOT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976) 43, 97.

Prinsloo, Theology, 80.


John Calvin, Joel 2:28 ad loc.


Allen, Joel , 97, 98; cf. Wolff (Joel and Amos [Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977] 65), it presupposes that the preceding assurance oracles of plea-response pertaining to the earlier times have already been fulfilled, confirming the expectation of the much greater future response (2:27).

Wolff, Joel , 70.


BDB (p.30) lists several examples: Judg 16:4; 1 Sam 24:6; 2 Sam 2:1; 8:1; 2 Kgs 6:24; 2 Chr 20:1; 24:4.

Hamilton (Eschatology , 23-24) demonstrates the inner connection between the Spirit of God and the presence of the kingdom in Pauline eschatology, The role of the Spirit in Pauls teaching is similar to that of the kingdom in the Synoptics.

Brevard S. Childs (Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979] 391) rejects the strict separation of past and future as inconsistent with prophetic usage.

Though the date is not so important to the canonical discussion (see Childs, Introduction, 393; Allen, Joel , 19-25), I favor a postexilic date for Joel (as did Calvin according to Allen, Joel , 19)

John Murray, The Covenant of Grace: A Biblical-Theological Study (London: Tyndale, 1953).

Wolff (Joel , 86) concludes, But as far as the completely new world is concernedthe world that corresponds to the inviolable sanctuary of Jerusalem of 3:1617 and the fullness of life which proceeds from the Temple fountain (3:18)the New Testament people of God together with the Old Testament people of God are waiting for a future event which will exceed the bounds of the old expectation (cf. Rev 22:15).

Verse 28 begins with the same verbal phrase, linking these verses together: wehaya (lit. and it will be). These verses form an inclusion around the phenomena of the Day of the Lord (vv 2931).

This conclusion is further supported by the LXX, in the last days instead of afterward, also cited by Luke: In the last daysI will pour out my Spirit (Acts 2:17).

P. Verhoef, Die Dag van die Here (Exegetica 11/3; Den Haag: Van Keuien, 1956).

Cf. Allen (Joel , 36, 37), This is the terrifying theological interpretation placed upon the plague: it is Yahwehs intervention to destroy a sinful people, his final judgment on his enemies.

Cf. Allen (ibid., 100), The message ofYahwehs intervention in the world can hold no terrors for Joels hearers.

Beverly Roberts Gaventa rightly disagrees with Conzelmann in concluding from the LXX use in Acts 2:14 (en tais eschatais hem eras, in the last days) that the Spirit is an eschatological event and that the promise of the parousia is guaranteed by the presence of the Spirit (The Eschatology of Luke-Acts Revisited, Encounter 43 [1982] 2742).

For a survey of interpretation on the Spirit in the theology of Acts, see M. M. B. Turner, The Significance of receiving the Spirit in Luke-Acts: A Survey of Modern Scholarship, TrinJ 2 (1981) 13158.

I appreciate Wolffs caution (Joel, 70), the text of Joel may be able to help modern Israel to recognize liberation from horrible calamities as a basis for the hope that God wants to be near to ithe wants to make into a reality the prophetic promise of a new life in unreserved communion with him through the gift of his spirit. Christianity, however, is asked whether it will bring shame or honor to the name of Jesus as it listens to Joel.

Wolff, Joel , 69.


Herman N. Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975) 199.

Nils Alstrup Dahl (Promises and Fulfillment, in Studies in Paul [Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1977] 133) relates justification, the Spirit, and sharing in the blessings of Abraham.

Willis Judson Beecher, The Prophets and the Promise (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1963, reprint of 1905 ed.) 193.

Wolff, Joel, 66.


Ibid., 67.

Hamilton (Eschatology , 15, 83) speaks of his being the mediator of the eschatological blessings.

Peter links together in his preaching the resurrection of Christ, his glorification, Lordship, the presence of

Christ in the Spirit, the times of refreshing, the restoration, and the judgment as interrelated motifs (Acts 2:2230; 3:1926).

Walter Eichrodt writes, under his guidance the word becomes the means by which God acts in living power, preparing his congregation to be his instrument (Theology of the Old Testament [2 vols.; Philadelphia: Westminster, 19671 2. 65).

Hamilton (Eschatology , 85) is equally critical of what he calls the truncated view, according to which Christology, soteriology, and pneumatology are isolated from eschatology: it does not take into account the eschatological aspect of the Spirits activity.

Morris Inch (The Saga of the Spirit [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985] 194) speaks of the Holy Spirit as a glimmer of light within to signal the approaching dawn.

Wolff, Joel , 67.


T. F. Torrance, The School of Faith (London: James Clarke & Co., Ltd., 1959) cii.

Ibid., ciii.

Ibid., cxxiv.

Ibid., cxxv.

Thomas M. Raitt, A Theology of Exile: judgment/Deliverance in Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977) 21522.

Jacques Ellul, The Subversion of Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986).


Hendrikus Berkhof, The Christian Faith: An Introduction to the Study of the Faith (rev. ed; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986) 333.

Hendrikus Berkhof (The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit [Richmond: John Knox, 19641) discusses the eschatological context of the Holy Spirit under four propositions: (1) Christ, the Spirit, and the consummation belong together; (2) the consummation begins in the work of the Spirit; (3) the Holy Spirit creates a longing for the consummation; and (4) the Holy Spirit is the content of the consummation.

Isa 11:2; 28:5; 42:1; 61:1. See Raitt, A Theology of Exile, , 175-84.

Isa 32:1517; 44:3; Ezek 36:27; 37:1439:29; 39:21; Zech 4:6; 12:10(?).

Eichrodt, Theology 2. 62.


Ridderbos, Paul, 1 14, See also Barnabas Lindars, The Sound of the Trumpet: Paul and Eschatology, BJRL 67 (1985) 76682.

Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., The Centrality of the Resurrection: A Study in Pauls Soteriology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978) 90. Cf. Richard C. Oudersluys, Eschatology and the Holy Spirit, Reformed Review 19/2 (1965) 312. E. Earle Ellis (Eschatology in Luke [Philadelphia: Fortress, 19721 14) calls the resurrection/exaltation motif the vertical dimension, that is, the Lord in heaven gives his people a taste of heaven on earth in the progress of salvation history.

See Rudolf Schnackenburg, Die lukanische Eschatologie im Lichte von Aussagen der Apostelgeschichte, Glaube und Eschatologie. Festschrift fr Werner Georg Kmmel zum 80. Geburtstag (eds. E. Grasser & Otto Merk; Tbingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1985) 24965.

David Earl Holwerda, The Holy Spirit and Eschatology in the Gospel of John: A Critique of Rudolf Bultmanns Present Eschatology (Kampen: Kok, 1959) 65.

Ibid., 66.

Ibid., 85, including a quotation from Barretts The Gospel according to St. John (London: S.P.C.K., 1956) 74. Michael Green, I Believe in the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975). Leopold Sabourin, The Eschatology of Luke, BTB 12 (1982) 7376.

Cf. C. K. Barrett, The Place of Eschatology in the Fourth Gospel, ET 59 (1947/48) 3025; idem, The Holy Spirit and the Gospel Tradition (London: S.C.P.K., 1947).

Holwerda, Eschatology , 133.


The church is always to be dependent on the Spirit; cf G. W. H. Lampe (God as Spirit: The Bampton Lectures, 1976 [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977], If creation and salvation are one continuous process.... we cannot suppose that the sphere of the Spirits creative action is a community redeemed out of this world. The Church cannot be an Ark of salvation; it must be related to the Spirits creative purpose for the world itself.

Holwerda, Eschatology , 133. current : : uid:1147 (drupal)