What is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? from Compelling Truth
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is talked about in at least two ways in Scripture. One refers to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit to indwell people, as prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost after Jesus’ ascension. The other is to refer to the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would come and rest on people for a season or for a special purpose, but these were specific circumstances and the Spirit was not readily accessible to all (e.g. 1 Samuel 10:10; Judges 3:10; 6:34; 13:25; 14:6). The Old Testament prophet Joel prophesied that there would be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. . . And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:28–29, 32). And so did the prophet Isaiah: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants” (Isaiah 44:3). The prophesies of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit portrayed a vision of a Holy Spirit outpouring that would be available for all people. This was made possible through Jesus’ death and resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
The fulfillment of these Old Testament prophecies happened in the New Testament on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2: “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1–4). Later in the chapter, the apostle Peter spoke to the multitude and described this event as the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (Acts 2:16–21). There were outpourings of the Holy Spirit throughout the book of Acts on various people groups—the Jewish believers in Acts 2, Samaritan believers in Acts 8, and a group of Gentile believers in Acts 10—all of which go to show that there is no discrimination in Christ. He came to save all people (Galatians 3:28).