Israel and the Outpouring of the Spirit

by | Jun 9, 2011 | Blogs, Prophetic Insight

Editor’s note:
Pentecost is Sunday, June 12.
In this article, the late Art Katz,
a Jewish believer whose prophetic and teaching ministries were
internationally recognized, tells why some of the biblical promises about
Pentecost have not yet been fulfilled for Israel.

art_katz_pew1“And it shall be in the last days,”
God says, “that I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind [alt.
‘flesh’]; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and
your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream
dreams; even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those
days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy.  

 And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth
below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.  The sun will be
turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and
glorious day of the Lord shall come.  And it shall be that
everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts
2:17-21).

Peter is quoting from the prophet Joel, who spoke of an outpouring
of the Spirit in the last days immediately prior to the day of the
Lord—the coming of the Lord as Judge.  Cataclysmic signs in
the heavens were to mark this event.  Biblically-minded Jews of
that generation anticipated an apocalyptic conclusion to the age;
that when they saw one of the signs of the Spirit being poured out on
the Jewish believers present there that day, they assumed that the
other signs would soon follow, and that indeed the apocalyptic end of
the age was imminent.  Peter’s message to his listeners was
clear: If they wanted to be saved from the judgments coming upon the
world, then they needed to be “saved from this perverse
generation!” (Acts 2:40).

The context of Joel’s prophecy suggests that the “all flesh”
spoken of is “all Jewish flesh.”  On the day of
Pentecost, the Spirit was poured out on some

 Jewish flesh,
but it was only a down-payment of something that was reserved in full
for the empowering of a restored Israel in the last days.

History has shown that the prophecy alluded to in Joel was not
completely fulfilled on the day of Pentecost because the other signs
did not take place.  In other words, we have not yet seen the
outpouring of the Spirit on all Jewish flesh. 
Gentile believers have been guilty of interpreting Joel’s
prophecies as being fulfilled in themselves rather than upon all
Jewish flesh in the last days.  This is just not compatible with
the scriptural facts.  Gentile believers need to know that the
Spirit was given them as a down-payment and a foretaste of the
fulfillment that would come in the last days upon Jewish flesh.

I sympathize with untold numbers of evangelicals worldwide, who
have been turned off by the self-important mentality and spirit that
has been expressed by the charismatic movement.  Instead of the
appropriate humility of a people who have been privileged to receive
a down-payment, charismatics have tended to look down upon those who
do not have what they consider to be the evidence of the outpouring
of the Spirit.  They have not recognized the context for the
gifts of the Spirit in the future destiny of Israel as a nation in
the purposes of God.

The Spirit as a Pledge

“To
the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the
praise of His glory.  In Him, you also, after listening to the
message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also
believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who
is given as a pledge
of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own
possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:12-14).

It is quite
clear that Paul understands the outpouring of the Spirit, not as a
thing in itself, but as a pledge of a fullness that would come later
as an inheritance in the redemptive and final workings of God for
Israel.  Nevertheless, the pledge we have received is
significant, for the Spirit is very God Himself, but the full
outpouring has its final and ultimate fulfillment with the nation
Israel.  Gentile believers presently have a foretaste of what is
yet to come with the coming of the King and the establishment of His
kingdom. 

The Lord is not coming to provide escape for the church through a
convenient rapture before His judgments fall.  Those who remain
at His coming will meet him in the air, but the Greek word parousia
used here is best understood as a rising to meet and accompany a
dignitary as he comes to his place of honor, and there to rule and
reign with him.  If Jerusalem is going to have the honor of
being the location of the seat of divine rule, and Israel
participating with Him in extending that rule to the nations, they
will need the outpouring of Spirit in full measure.

 Though Gentiles have received the Spirit in part, it is a
most precious part, and not to be denigrated or ignored.  
The gift of the Spirit is the fulfillment of Israel’s covenant
promise.  A true understanding of that ought to humble us. 

The outpouring of the Spirit brings with it the sense of the
future, and a church without a future is a depleted entity.  A
church that does not anticipate the consummation of the age has lost
its identity as the church.  Therefore, when we do not have that
future because we do not have the Spirit, we stagnate at the level of
conventional and predictable church life, nothing more than a
succession of Sunday services.  The evidence of that can be most
pointedly seen in our children who are bored with church life, and we
often have to drag them by the scruff of the neck to our functions. 
They would not be sitting in our congregations waiting for the thing
to end, nor would they be drawn off and attracted to other
questionable amusements, if we were living in the context of an end. 
The general character of our meetings is a terrible indictment
against us because we have not raised up for our own children a
standard and quality of life that compels their attention
and their participation.  We have not persuaded our
children that what we are about is earnest and authentic. 
Though they may not articulate it, we are to them no more than some
kind of adult Sunday culture. 

Like Paul, our gospel needs to be one that is according to the
revelation of the mystery that was hidden in other ages; that had an
apocalyptic framework of understanding.  The context was of an
Israel that would stumble, of a Son of Man who would be rejected and
crucified by His own nation, and then a calling out of a gentile
people, a “foolish” nation, to move Israel to jealousy. 
Paul preached his gospel in that context, and it is a context that
should compel and direct our attention to the issue of death and
resurrection, which then restores the gospel as “Christ-centered.” 
It restores Jesus to the true center as King, because it recaptures
the theocratic context, and this is what is implied in the “gospel
of the kingdom.”

Unless the Spirit of God and the gifts of God are understood and
seen in the context of the apostolic framework of God’s intention
as a besieged community in the midst of a sea of hostility and
worldly hatred, then we make the Spirit of God and His gifts
serve a lesser purpose.  They accommodate us
rather than God, and one wonders if God is in that business,
providing that accommodation.  How often have we let a dubious
power come in its place without the discernment to distinguish the
difference?  A measure of excitement, enjoyment, and healing can
all be provided by the powers of this world to bring us into deeper
and deeper deception. 

The outpouring of the Spirit needs to be restored to the context
of God’s intention, centering in the restoration of a people who
have not even the faintest notion of their eternal destiny, or a
desire for it, and want only to be as other nations. 
Nevertheless, God’s word toward them will be fulfilled; His gifts
and callings are irrevocable, or God voids Himself as God.

Article used with permission Art Katz Ministries.

About the Author: Art
Katz (1929-2007) was a prophetic teacher. As a young Marxist and
vehement atheist he had a radical encounter with Jesus that transformed
his life. For more about his ministry and writings, visit artkatzministries.org.

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