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Chinese11/7/2006English
經文:約珥書第二18節至三章21節
鑰節:「……我要將我的靈澆灌凡有血氣的……」(2:28)
提要

        約珥書的前半,講到呼召悔改和人民的回應;後半,則講到上帝對人悔改的反應(2:18~3;21)。因著上帝的美善和憐憫,祂用奇蹟使蝗蟲死去,停止這場災難。因為大量的蝗蟲死掉,造成臭氣上升,腥味騰空(2:20)。不過,這也提醒人民,記得上帝的救恩和全能。上帝能立即重建那些被蝗蟲摧毀的,並將沛雨豐收賜福給人們,以此顯示上帝在他們中間(2:27)。這些都只將發生在願悔改的人中間,上帝的聖靈要傾注在他們那裡,這也是最後的祝福。

        約珥預言上帝的靈要澆灌「凡有血氣的」(人類),不分性別、年齡或社會地位。使徒彼得說這段預言在五旬節那天應驗了,甚至不分國籍。凡相信的,無論是猶太人或外邦人都被聖靈充滿(徒2:16~21;10:45~46)。然而,約珥預言的進一步應驗,要等到主耶穌基督的國完全得勝。

        「在天上地下要顯出奇事」(2:30),要發生在基督千禧年國開始前。「有血、有火、有煙柱」代表血腥戰爭、毀滅及火燒城。日頭要失去其光輝,月亮要變成血紅。這都將是「耶和華大而可畏日子」來到的前兆。然而,上帝還是預備了救恩,「凡求告耶和華民的就必得救」(2:32)。約珥在此看出一條拯救的信心之路,不靠宗教的行為或遵守律法。約珥所說「耶和華的名」是上帝自己的名,是從未被猶太人叫過的名字。所以約珥不太可能鼓勵人去呼叫這個名字,(人們甚至不知道怎樣確實發那個音)。這樣的事,應發生在末後的日子,在耶穌完成救贖之功升天後,聖靈澆灌下來,人們才知道那奇妙的名字是指「耶穌」(羅10:12~13;徒4:12)。約珥稱那些蒙拯救的是「剩下的人……耶和華所召」(2:32),而新約則說他們是上帝的選民(羅9:27;11:5)--耶穌基督教會的一部份。

        最後一章,我們看到萬民受審。事發於「約沙法谷」(3:2、12),一個未知之地。名字的意思是「耶和華行審判之谷」。約珥的預言,是關乎他所知那些逼迫上帝百姓之國要受的審判。上帝用他們對待上帝百姓的方法報應他們。不過,他也預言到「許多許多」無知的國家(3:14)必定要受審判。在這個審判的時刻,主要保證祂百姓的安全與存活。那時生命的水要自上帝寶座流出(結47:1;啟22:1),上帝要永遠與人同,在新的時代要永遠有平安、繁榮、得勝和聖潔(3:18~21)。

禱告

        父上帝啊!每當我們花時間親近您時,求您向我們顯明您的旨意,也求您增強我們的信心。奉主耶穌基督的名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Joel 2:18 — 3:21
Key Verse:"... I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh... "(Joel 2:28)
Overview

        In the first half of the book of Joel we read of Joel's call to repentance and of the people's response. In this last half of the book, we read of God's words and His response to the people's repentance (2:18-3:21). In His goodness and mercy, God would stop the destruction of the locust (the northern army) by miraculously causing them to die. With millions of locusts dead, there would be a stench in the air (2:20), but it would serve to remind the people of the salvation and omnipotence of their God. Then the Lord would immediately restore all that the locusts had destroyed and bless them with plentiful rains and bountiful harvests. These blessings would show the people that the Lord is in their midst (2:27). It will be only then, among the repentant people, that there will be an outpouring of God's Holy Spirit (2:28-29). This is the ultimate blessing.

        Joel prophesied that the Spirit of God would be poured out on "all flesh" (mankind), without distinction of sex, age, or social status. The Apostle Peter explained that the fulfillment of this prophecy began on the Day of Pentecost, and it also included no distinction of nationality. Believing Gentiles, as well as believing Jews, were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:16-21; 10:45-46). The final fulfillment of Joel's prophecy, however, is still to be realized in the future with the complete victory of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

        The Millenial Kingdom of the Messiah will be preceeded by "wonders in the heavens and in the earth" (2:30). "Blood and fire and pillars of smoke" signify bloody wars, destruction, and burning cities. The sun will lose its light and the moon will in some way become a red colour. These extraordinary happenings will be portents (prophetic warnings) that will mark the nearness of "the great and terrible day of the Lord". But the Lord God has a plan of salvation, for "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (2:32). Here Joel sees a saving faith that does not come from religious practices or obedience to the law. "The name" Joel refers to is the personal name of God that is so revered that it is never even pronounced by the Jews. In this light, it might seem strange for Joel to urge people to call on that name (no one really even knew how to pronounce it). These events, however, are to occur in the last days, after the outpouring of the Spirit that followed the redemptive work and ascension of the Lord Jesus. By this time everyone whom the Lord calls will know that wonderful name — the name is "Jesus" (Rom. 10:12-13; Acts 4:12). Joel calls all those who will be saved (delivered from death) "the remnant whom the Lord calls". The New Testament sees them as the elect of God (Rom. 9:27; 11:5) — a part of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

        In the final chapter of Joel, we see the judgment of the nations. It is to take place in "the valley of Jehoshaphat" (3:2,12), an unknown geographical location. This valley, however, may simply be symbolic, for its name means, "the valley where the Lord judges". Joel prophesies concerning the judgment of the nations known to him which persecuted God's people. The way they have treated God's people is the way God will treat them (3:4, 7). He also prophesies of the certainty of judgment upon other nations ("multitudes") unknown to him (3:14). This time of judgment is to be feared by all those who have not called upon the name of Jesus in faith. But for those who have called upon Him, there is nothing to fear; they will find strength and shelter in the Lord. Because of this time of divine judgment and vindication, the Lord will ensure the safety and survival of His people. In contrast to the desolation of the sinful, wicked world, Joel picturesquely describes the wonderful eternal future for the people of the Lord. At that time, waters of life will flow from the throne of God (E/ek. 47:1; Rev. 22:1), and since His presence will forever be there, it will be an eternal era of peace, prosperity, victory, satisfaction, and holiness (3:18-21).

Prayer

        Father God, as we spend time in Your presence, show us Your will and strengthen our faith.


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