I received the following question:

What do you believe that the term “afterward” is referring to in Joel 2:28 when the prophet said,
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:” (Joe 2:28).

What do you believe that this great event is to be after in the context? Is it after that Israel is satisfied and after they know that He is in their midst (verses 26 and 27) that He pours out His spirit upon all flesh, or is this after something else occurs?

The Hebrew word here is achar, which is related to the highly significant word acharith, which is often translated “last” in the term “last days.” However, I believe acharith has to do with the result, and the acharith days are the resultant days or the “sequel of the days,” if you will.

Achar means after, there is no doubt. However, it seems to me that the Lord uses “AFTER” as a designation for the kingdom of God in multiple places in the Word of God. It is rather as if I would say, “I am waiting for The After, when all God’s promises will come true.” Often, our versions translate the word as “afterwards” in these cases, as representing the idea better to our English-speaking minds. The word is just “after,” however. Psalm 73:24 is an example of this.

24. You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.

Isaiah 1:26 is another example.

26. I will restore your judges as at the first,
And your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.”

Hosea 3:5 is another passage that uses it this way.

5. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.

Here, “afterward” is connected with the acharith days at the end of the verse.

Having said this, it often happens that I make a statement that a word CAN mean a certain thing, and some respond by pointing out to me passages where it CANNOT mean that same thing. I am well aware that there are literally hundreds of passages where this word simply means “after.” There is just no doubt about this. I am suggesting that the context of certain verses points to the fact that God can speak of His great kingdom to come as “After.” This may be relatively rare, but it is a fitting title for the time that will come After all our suffering and sorrows have come to an end.

This is then what I believe is being referred to in Joel 2:28. He is referring to the greatest After, the coming kingdom. In the New Testament, this word is translated by eschatos (last) in Acts 2:17, and the word hemera for “days” is added. This makes this time to correspond with the acharith days of the Old Testament prophecies. Since the Septuagint reads meta tauta or “after this” rather than “last days,” it is clear that the Spirit has purposefully clarified His former words for us, revealing to us that by “after” in Joel 2:28, He had meant the great Last Days of prophecy.

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