When Joel gave his message, a plague of locusts had devastated Judah. God’s word through His prophet Joel is a warning of further judgment, but also a call to repentance (2:12-17).
One of the aspects of this chapter is also the promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Was this outpouring just for the Day of Pentecost in the book of Acts?
Joel 2:23-32 speaks of the blessings of the Lord—the rains as an expression of his grace—the blessings that He will pour on His people as a sign of His love for them. “Then after I have poured out my rains again, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people” (2:28). In the New Testament, Peter quotes the prophet Joel in Acts 2:14-21 as a reply to those who do not understand what had just happened regarding the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (speaking in tongues and prophesying).
In many churches around the globe, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit still continues in this day, demonstrating the continuation of this prophecy.
Note in Chapter 2, that at the beginning of verse 29, Joel uses the phrase, “In those days.” That phrase was used by Jesus when he spoke of the last days—the days of Tribulation in the end times (Mark 13:13-27; Luke 21:23). When Peter quotes this phrase in Acts, he begins this quote with, “In the last days.”
It is safe to say, then, that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts is only the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy. The fact that Jesus used this to specifically denote the era of the end times leads me to believe the world will see an increase in gifts of the Holy Spirit to combat the increase of evil in the world.
I believe we will see denominations that previously denounced spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and prophesying begin to accept these and maybe even begin to practice them. I have seen, as the generations have changed, an increase in the acceptance of these gifts (an acceptance toward believing these gifts, but not practicing these gifts). It would not surprise me to see some of these denominations begin to teach practicing these gifts in coming generations.