WHY THE LATTER RAIN?
By W. G. Guy
James 5:7 – 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.
What is the latter rain and what does it have to do with the future coming of Christ? In Joel 2:23-24 we see that the former and the latter rains are required events for producing a harvest of crops. The former rain at the time of planting is to allow the seed to grow, and the latter rain, just prior to harvest time is for the crops to mature or ripen for harvesting.
Obviously the reference to the latter rain in James 5:7 speaks figuratively of the spiritual harvest of the church, the in gathering unto Him, as referred to in Revelation 14:15 – 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.
Thus the former rain represents the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which occurred at Pentecost which watered the seed, the Word of God that was already sown in the hearts of the disciples. This was the beginning, or the planting of the church.
What was it that happened as a result of the former rain when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Lord’s people? Supernatural things began to occur in and among the believers: tongues, prophecies, healings, signs and wonders and powerful convicting preaching of the Gospel revealing the kingdom of God bringing repentance and changed lives. All of which drew people to Christ to be saved – adding to the church daily.
These supernatural events were what Jesus promised would occur when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon believers as recorded in Acts 1:8 – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. This was the former rain and believers were endowed with power called “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit” as listed in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.
It must have been a very exciting time to live back then to see the Glory of God move upon the believers in such a way, and to be part of what the Lord was doing in bringing forth His church.
Now, two thousand years later, what do we observe of what is called, “Church”? Nothing at all like at the beginning when the former rain fell! The church of today is not representative of Jesus Christ or the kingdom of God. Jesus is returning for a church that is prepared to meet Him, because it will be patterned after Him; looks like Him, and acts like Him.
1 John 3:2 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (Please read in your Bible through to verse 10 to get a more complete explanation.)
Jesus us coming for a church without spot or wrinkle, (Ephesians 5:27): without sin, selfishness, pride, doctrines of man and demons or ungodly traditions and practices. Obviously the church of today is not ready for Christ to return, even though many in it are eager for Him to come.
So what is needed to get the church back to where it should be, back to the way it was at the beginning? This requires “The Latter Rain”, the end-time outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit to purge the church of all the garbage it has developed and reform it back to the image of Christ.
Romans 13:11-14 – And that knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
So what can we expect, and what will happen in the Latter Rain? The very same thing that was in the former rain – the power of God to be His witnesses in all the earth – the continuation and fulfillment of Acts 1:8!
This time the rain is not to develop the seedlings of the church; this time it is for the maturing of the fruit to prepare for the harvest. This latter day rain will ripen the fruit so it is clearly identified as separate from the tares.
Matthew 13:38-43 – The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one. The enemy that sowed them is the devil (by his doctrines of demons), the harvest is the end of the world (age); and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of Man shall send his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. The shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
It is important to understand that the passage of time for us is not the same as the passage of time for God:
2 Peter 3:8 – But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
God has great patience as implied in James 5:7, and to us, His time is considerably extended compared to ours.
The latter rain actually began to fall upon the church decades ago. It began in order to moisten and soften the ground, (church). If it came immediately as a down-pour it would wash away the fertile soil and destroy the crop. After the beginning gentile rain, then comes the abundance of rain – an abundance of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit such as has not yet been experienced by the church.
There will be a special characteristic of this outpouring as the latter rain intensifies. This will bring about a change in the appearance of the church. Whereas the beginning of the latter rain brought the return of the power of God known as the “Gifts of the Spirit”, the abundance of rain that is coming will bring with it the “Fruit of the Spirit” to the church. The Fruit of the Spirit is the character and nature of God, that which was fully manifested in Jesus Christ in His ministry.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The restoration of the Fruit of the Spirit will make the true believer look, act, and be like Jesus. His church will then reflect His glory! The harvest will then be ripe and ready for His return. This means a lot will change in the church and among believers. Then the church will resemble what it was like when it began with a true manifestation of the Sons of God.
Romans 8:18-19 – For I reckon that the sufferings if the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waitheth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
As is typical of the church of man in the past, there are those in the church that will reject, even deny, this supernatural outpouring of the latter rain. They will not change or conform; thus they will fulfill the parable Jesus gave about the ten virgins, recorded in Matthew 25:1-13. Five were wise and five were foolish; all ten were anticipating the coming of the bridegroom, (representative of Christ). But only five were allowed to go with him when he came. The five foolish ones did not get to go – why? Because their “light” went out! They were lacking the oil that produces the light. The oil is representative of the Holy Spirit! They didn’t have what they needed! This illustrates those in the church who do not accept the latter rain but prefer their stoic traditions and religious ceremonies and fail to move on in the move of God.
Those who reject the latter rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit will not embrace the beneficial change needed to conform to the image of Christ that prepares them for His return at the harvest.
Romans 8:28-29 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Galatians 4:19 – My little children, of whom I travail in birth again unit Christ be formed in you,
Please do not reject the coming outpouring, it is the final step in preparing the church for His return. Also, please don’t be so caught up with the cares of this life that you fail to recognize what God is doing.
Luke 21:34-36 – And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare it shall come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Remember, Christ is coming for a GLORIOUS CHURCH, it isn’t glorious at present, but He will make it so IF WE RECEIVE HIS LATTER RAIN BY HIS HOLY SPIRIT!