“That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.” (Deut. 11:14).
“Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” (Jer. 5:24).
“Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month….And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 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: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” (Joel 2:23,27-32).
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” (James 5:7 ).
The Latter Rain, which played an important part in the sustenance of God’s people in Canaan, by the prophets became likened to a supernatural spiritual event. As God gave the big rains at the end of the agricultural year, so He would finish the history of sin on earth with an abundant outpour of His Spirit. Following the rains came the harvest; likewise, God would inundate His special world with a knowledge of Himself and fill us full of His Spirit, and then would come the harvest. “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” (Rev. 14:15)
And here we are, down at the end of human history. Signs abound all around us. For the past 160 years, the message of Christ coming has been sounded. As we continue down the corridor of time, we see the state of humanity becoming restless. The message of God’s grace has not come through clearly, and many of His people have turned to the world for relief of an aching heart. Many have turned to some drug to help relieve a painful mind. Wars between nations and interpersonal battles within families, work places, even churches have become rife. Major changes in the once stable weather patterns become more and more apparent.
The Protestants have lost their fervor to maintain the truth. The Bible has been given a back seat to spiritual manifestations. But the manifestations are of another spirit than the Spirit of God. These manifestations work to undermine the truth found in the Scriptures, therefore they can’t be of the same Spirit that inspired the holy Writ. They are the fulfillment of the strong delusion God promised to send before His return, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thess. 2:8-12 ).
This has also been described in more prophetic language from Revelation. “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the Kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” (Rev. 16:12-16).
So we see a big showdown on the way. We see an outpouring of God’s Spirit on His children, and the outpouring of Satan’s power on those who have turned away from truth. As Paul put it, “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Tim. 4:3,4).
The intensity of the showdown will grow into a worldwide crescendo. How can we be ready? How can we watch and keep our robe of righteousness from being stolen away by Satan? “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” (Heb. 3:14). “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt. 24:13).
Thankfully, we are given some help on this most important matter. In the parable of the seed sower (Matt. 13:3-8,18-23), Christ shows four types of people, all of whom hear the very same message of truth. But three groups out of the four fall by the wayside, either soon after hearing the truth or over a long period of time. The first group, represented by the hardened path of the field, do not allow the seed to enter into the earth, and the birds come and immediately eat it up. Jesus said this was those who don’t want to hear the truth and reject what they hear and Satan immediately gains control of them. The second group, a stony part of the field, which receives the seed, which immediately sprouts, but the shallowness of earth causes the shallow roots to be burned the next day by the heat of the sun. This second group represents many who hear truth, even with gladness, but have a very shallow knowledge of their own weakness and faultiness. As soon as trouble comes their way because this world is at odds with the truth, the second group throws out the Bible and faith and God. The third ground receives the seed and makes it almost to the harvest, but does not have the weeds removed, and eventually the weeds take over and smother the crops that had given such a promising start. This represents a group that hears and begins to obey the gospel for their salvation. But they let the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches displace the vastly greater importance of the eternal world and the infinitely greater wealth of a character like Christ, a character with love and humility.
The fourth group is likened to good ground that is constantly cultivated and weeded, and keeps receiving of the bounty of heaven, rain, sunshine, and the nutrients from the earth. It brings forth abundantly and beautifully. The gospel work is richly multiplied in them because they allow truth to dig at their pride and weed out their defects, and they work to bring others to Jesus as they were brought.
Which group do I fall into? The warnings are all there; the pitfalls are spread out before me. There is still time for me to make the choices to avoid the things that will prevent me from eternal life with Jesus. Will the stress and cares of this world distract me and leave me unprepared for the Latter Rain when it comes? Will the desire for wealth and ease be my eternal undoing?
The growing cycle of the Middle East happens like this: first comes the early rains on the seeds that have already been sown. Then comes a long hot dry spell during which the germinated and sprouted crop come up due to the earth’s moisture and nutrients drawn up by roots searching more and more deeply into the plowed field. Finally, at the end of the season, the latter rains thunder down upon the harvest almost ready for the harvest. The great quantity of moisture and heat bring the plants’ burden of food quickly to full fruition, and shortly thereafter come the harvesters to joyfully reap.
From this we may gather that once the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit begins to fall, it will fall only on those who will be ready for Christ at His coming. All the other seeds that became unfruitful will not be around for the heavy rains before His second advent. If we are not moving forward in heaven’s direction, we will come up unprepared when the Holy Spirit begins His great work at the end of the gospel dispensation. We can also see that the closing events will be rapid ones.
See the surfers out on the sea. They watch intently for the wave that will give them the thrill of a lifetime. Is that the one? No. Maybe this one will be it. No, not that one, either. Ah, this could be it! Yes, here it comes! They are already prepared and facing their destination inland, and immediately hop up on their board and start rowing with all strength they’ve got. They must not miss this wave! They have only one opportunity and the sooner they begin rowing, the greater the chance of not missing the ride. Harder and harder they row to come up to speed with the quickly approaching wave. Yes, its not going to pass them by! Then they feel the familiar uplift, much bigger than they have ever felt before. Off their belly and onto their feet, quickly they stabilize for the run. Velocity increases as the wave carries them and whips them from its crest, as they slide down into the trough of the towering mass of water. All the powers of brain and body they enlist to stay on their board and in the wave, making full use of their faculties the whole way, every second. With amazing agility they avoid every source for wreckage, which would find them buried under the watery tonnage that is pushing them forward.
As we look out on the eschatological landscape, let us carefully spy for the finale of the Gospel Dispensation of the Spirit. Many have said, “Look! This is the last revival! This is the Latter Rain!” But sadly, they were wrong and time continued to march on. Many false alarms have led the world to look with skepticism on any end of this world. Why, with so many authoritative voices against such a catastrophic fantasy (as they call the end of the world), does the Christian keep looking? Because he has been promised a world “wherein dwelleth righteousness,” and that promise of a new Earth without sin keeps him hoping. So we keep watching for the final events and don’t want to miss out on anything.
And one day the last revival will come; the tide will begin to rise; the “big one” will be here and the last, rapid events will begin to take shape with increasing velocity. Only those who have been watching for it, and have the spiritual muscle to come up to speed, will not miss out. Only those, whose greatest desire to be part of that great movement when the gospel is preached to the whole world, will take part in it. Everyone who ended up distracted by the cares of this world and the futile chase after possessions or financial security, will wake up and find themselves unprepared to come up to speed. It will require a trust in God that they haven’t exercised and their atrophied faith will fail in all their efforts to join in. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord , and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.” (Amos 8:11-13) That will be a scary day of terror for the person who knew all this would happen, but didn’t get ready and now finds it taking place.
While we still have opportunity, let us everyone dig into the Bible to find that faith in Christ that overcomes sin. Let us stay pointed to our heavenly destination, and already involve ourselves in the work of the Latter Rain, even if gospel work seems to be slow going in this agnostic age; let it be the training we need for the greater work ahead. Let’s strive with all our might to find God and to enter into a relationship with Him, and thus avoid all the pitfalls of the first three types of ground in Christ’s parable and be ready for the greatest event this world has ever known, the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit and the great preaching of the gospel to all the world.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14).