Questions From Readers
● What is the meaning of the prophecy: “As for your old men, dreams they will dream. As for your young men, visions they will see”?—D. A., U.S.A.
This prophecy from Joel 2:28 had a fulfillment in apostolic times beginning with Pentecost of 33 C.E., even as the apostle Peter showed on that occasion. (Acts 2:17) As the prophecy states that the old men will dream dreams and the young men will see visions, it means that both kinds of flesh, old flesh and young flesh, will be used by God as means for divine communications. The dreams of the old men would be inspired ones from God just as the visions of the young men were by divine inspiration. This does not mean that the old men might not also be inspired to see visions from God.
And so the record shows. Peter had a vision from God that prepared him for preaching to the Gentile Cornelius, even as it was about the same time that the Italian centurion Cornelius had a vision from God to send for Peter. (Acts 10:3-17) The disciple Ananias had a vision that told him to go to the persecuting Saul of Tarsus and acquaint him with the good news about the Messiah, which he did. After Saul became the apostle Paul he repeatedly had inspired visions. And what inspired visions the apostle John had toward the end of his life!—Acts 9:10; 18:9; 2 Cor. 12:1; Rev. 1:1.
However, we are not to think of this prophecy as being limited to those apostolic times. Even as do many other prophecies, it has a secondary application in our day. This is clear from the reference to these things taking place before the “great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.”—Joel 2:31.
Since today we have the complete inspired Scriptures, God is not giving any more inspired visions or dreams. However, Jehovah’s people today are seeing the fulfillment of many of the inspired visions and dreams that God’s servants had in ancient times, and they are even having a share in their being fulfilled. They are having a share in the fulfillment of the prophecy, “your sons and your daughters will certainly prophesy.” (Joel 2:28) Not that these prophesy in the sense of foretelling events under inspiration, but rather in that they are making public proclamation of the inspired dreams and visions long ago recorded. They prophesy in the sense of being God’s spokesmen. That this is one of the meanings of ‘prophesy’ is apparent from the fact that Jehovah God appointed Aaron to be prophet to his brother Moses. Aaron did not foretell things to Moses, but he served as Moses’ spokesman or mouthpiece.—Ex. 7:1.