THE FORMER AND LATTER RAIN ( The Plan of God through Jesus Christ)
Jesus is the Former and the Latter rain. His life and Sacrifice was always the Former rain, from the foundation of the World. A prime example of the former rain in the Old Testament, is the offering to God that Abel brought, that God approved. Abel worshiped in Spirit and in Truth, he had a relationship with the Lord, and therefore knew His plan and honored it. All of true Israel throughout the whole of the Bible were all either looking forward to or back on Christ’s first Coming and His Sacrifice. The believers in the OT, had faith in the Finished works of Christ. All the Feasts of the Lord were appointed and celebrated in honor of what Christ would do.
Jesus is also the Latter rain, as His Sacrifice tore the veil between the Lord and the believer, and Christ sends us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to complete the work, and to live inside the hearts and minds of His elect.
Without Jesus there would be no way to the Holy Spirit; and of course, the perfect example of this is Acts 2, the outpouring onto His first born again followers. The Church Age, or the Age of Grace has been the outpouring of both the former and the latter rains on this world.
The outpouring happens to each follower on a personal level. Baptism by water does not always lead to baptism by fire. Many are called and believe(water baptism), but few are chosen (baptism by the Holy Spirit) as this requires a death to the self. Without being born again, one is already dead to God, so it is important to die to self…better to be dead to self, than dead to God!
Jesus brought both the Living Water and the All Consuming Fire that appeared to the Israelites as Rock that poured forth water, and a Pillar of Fire that lighted their way. Now He is our Living Water that He pours forth from His Holy Spirit, and fills us with His Word, and Love and Light, if we but let Him.
This was all placed on my heart before I went to see if anyone else had come to that conclusion. Tons of information about all manner of concepts on this. Hundreds of websites about the “Latter Rain Movement”…and much that spoke about the mind of men, and not the mind of Christ.
But, after much searching I did find an awesome study that presents this concept in a very biblical way. Even though it is a bit long, it is very enlightening and well worth the half hour it takes to read. It is written by an author ( David A. DePra) that I am finding to be one that has seen the same Truth that I am being shown. I am only using excepts from this study, so go to the link if you want to read more.
Please note, that the latter rains in Israel were in the Spring…Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost and the former rains are in the Fall…Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, Last Great Day. Jesus fulfilled all these Feasts of the Lord, and in doing so became both the Former and the Latter Rain.
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The Former and Latter Rain
By David A. DePra
Today’s modern charismatic movement is generally claiming that their movement is the, “latter rain” – the promise of God to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. Many in that movement claim that what happened in the first century, more specifically in Acts 2, was the, “former rain.” But what is happening today, according to these folks, is the, “latter rain.” Bible verses are provided to try to substantiate that the worldwide charismatic movement is this great outpouring promised by God, called, “the latter rain.”
Was Acts 2, “the former rain?” Are we today in, “the latter rain?” The answer to both questions is NO. But to get there we need to discuss a few things.
Only ONE Movement
First of all, whether the charismatic movement seems to fit the promise of God for a, “latter rain,” is actually quite irrelevant. Indeed, even if we could find a movement that seemed to fit exactly what God has promised along ANY line, the fact that it did seem to fit the promises would not be the test. Why?
Because something is not of God because I think it fits prophetic fulfillment. Something is of God – of His Holy Spirit – if it carries the earmarks of God and His Spirit. For example, in John, chapter 14 through 16, we find at least EIGHT things – according to Jesus Christ – that the, “Comforter,” would do when He came. Well, He DID come in Acts 2. Thus, any outpouring of the Holy Spirit, any great revival attributed to the Holy Spirit, and certainly, any end-time, latter rain outpouring of the Spirit, would bear the characteristics of what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do when He came.
Can we see this? The Holy Spirit is going to do what Jesus said He would do. He is going to be doing that, not only in the church, but in individuals in whom HE DWELLS. That is why those verses, and many others in the NT, are THERE – God wants us to understand what He will be doing by His Spirit in the church age. Therefore, I repeat – any, “movement of God,” or great outpouring, is going to be characterized by the things Jesus said the Spirit would do.
This is not maybe, or perhaps. It is not MY theory. It is what the Word of God says. We are to TEST the spirits to see whether they are of God, and if we cannot use what Jesus said the Comforter would do when He came in John 14 through 16, what can we use?
Jesus clearly stated that the Holy Spirit, before His ascension, HAD NOT BEEN GIVEN. He also stated that until He ascended, the Spirit COULD NOT come. (John 16:7) So the outpouring of the Spirit in Acts 2 is the promise of the Father fulfilled – for the first and only time. It was something that never happened before, and changed everything. It actually BEGAN much.
What did Acts 2 begin? The following:
1—The INDWELLING of the Holy Spirit, which is CHRIST IN US. (John 14:7)
2—The new birth, which is the result of the indwelling of Christ in us.
3—The Body of Christ, the church – to be witnesses unto Christ.
4—The outworking of the New Covenant made possible by Christ’s redemptive work.
5—The last days. (Acts 2:16-17)
6—The gifts of the Spirit.
I could list a few other things. But those things began in Acts 2. None of them had existed before – except in shadow and type. They couldn’t have, because Christ needed to live, die, be raised, and ascend. Until He did, the Spirit could not be given, and thus, Christ could not dwell in us through the Spirit.
Now, having seen this, I want to get back to the point: What the Spirit was promised to do when He came. I’ll list them in the order given in John:
1—He will dwell IN YOU. (John 14:7)
2—Teach you all things about Christ. (Jn. 14:26)
3—Bring into your remembrance (i.e., apply to practical living) all things of Christ. (Jn. 14:26)
4—Testify or witness to Christ. (i.e., show what is of Him or not; reveal Him to us.) (Jn. 15:26)
5—Guide us into all Truth. (Jn. 16:13)
6—Show us things to come. (i.e., not simply prophetic events, but show us ETERNAL things.) (Jn. 16:13)
7—Glorify Jesus Christ. (i.e., make HIM known in Truth.) (Jn. 16:14)
8—Convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
We could add to this list the fruit of the Spirit, freedom in Christ, and certainly the possibility of miracles. We might add the fact that Jesus also said that anyone who was His disciple would pick up their cross daily. But when everything is said and done, this is what Jesus Christ Himself said the Spirit would do when He came. Therefore, and this is the whole point, any supposed MOVE of God – which is by His Spirit – will be doing these things.
We need to get one thing straight. Since Acts 2, God has never had ANY new movements. Ever. Not a one. There are NO new revelations, or brand new works of God. God has only ever had ONE movement – and it was that one that began in that upper room in Acts 2. Every other move of God after that was either a CONTINUATION of that move, a RESTORATION of that move, or a MANIFESTATION of that move. There was only ONE coming of the Comforter!!!
We really see this in the word, “revival.” People talk about a great, “end-time revival.” A REVIVAL, by definition, is a return to the place from which you have fallen. It is not something NEW that God is doing. It is God returning us to what He has ALWAYS BEEN DOING! Oh, if only we could see this.
THIS is THAT
Let’s read just one passage from Acts 2. After the Comforter came in Acts 2, there was a commotion, and a big crowd gathered. They wanted to know what was going on. They asked the apostles, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2:12) Peter stood up and gave them the answer.
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: (Acts 2:16-17)
Note the words, “But this is that….” Peter is saying to the crowds, “Do you want to know what has happened here today? THIS – what has happened – is THAT which was prophesied by Joel.” Then he quoted the OT prophecy from Joel.
So Peter is stating directly that the coming of the Comforter in Acts 2, the event that they were asking about, was the fulfillment of the prophecy from Joel. Nothing could be more clear.
But what I want us to see is that if that is so – if the coming of the Comforter in Acts 2 was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel — then we can be finished looking for a fulfillment. It isn’t going to BE fulfilled in our present, or in our future. No. It was fulfilled in Acts 2, and continues right on until today.
Have we recognized that THE LAST DAYS, according to the Bible, began that day, in Acts 2. Peter, quoting Joel, said so. You will notice that Peter had no problem saying that THE LAST DAYS were upon him. That’s right. Read Acts 2:17. The prophecy that Peter says is being fulfilled right at that moment was to be fulfilled in THE LAST DAYS. This should not be surprising. Hebrews 1:2 says, “In THESE last days.” The fact is, the LAST DAYS started when Jesus ascended as Lord of all.
In addition, we have hopefully seen that what God does accomplish through the continuation of this ONE coming of the Comforter is the revelation of Jesus Christ to His people. The coming of the Comforter is about Truth, holiness, repentance, and Jesus Christ.
In contrast, the coming of the Comforter is NOT primarily about signs, wonders, and miracles – as the focus. The Bible makes provision for those, but as things that TESTIFY to Jesus Christ and the Truth. How likely do you and I think that it is that God will work miracles through the ministry of someone who teaches grave heresy and error? He won’t. Thus, if you want to know whether the miracles are real, look at the teaching. If the Holy Spirit is in it, the teaching will be TRUTH, and glorify Christ – which is what Jesus said the Spirit will do.
The Former and Latter Rains
God gave Israel THREE harvest seasons each year, which corresponded directly to three Holy Day seasons. The barley harvest corresponded to Passover season, and occurred in late March/early April. This continued until the wheat harvest began on the day of Pentecost, about early June. That began the second season. The wheat harvest continued until the feast of trumpets, when the fruit harvest began. This was late September or early October. There were other harvests within those three, but those three harvest seasons, with the Holy Days that go with them, were a big part of Israel’s worship life. They were God-ordained.
It is vital to see these harvests and Holy Day symbolism for us to understand the former and latter rains. The former rain occurs AFTER all three harvests – usually late October. This is the opposite of what we might have expected. The reason it is called the former rain is because it occurs in anticipation of the NEXT harvest season. It is therefore PRIOR to it, and therefore the FORMER rain. The seeds are already being planted in the ground and the former rain enables them to begin to sprout and get ready to grow. The latter rain occurs about the same time as Passover season (March/April), and matures the crops that will now begin to be harvested during the three harvest seasons.
Now, here’s the point: The LATTER rain corresponds to the entire church age. The LATTER rain occurs during Passover season and nourishes the crops through Pentecost and through the fall harvest. Get that. The latter rain doesn’t happen at the end of the wheat harvest, which corresponds to the church age. No. It occurs at the beginning of it and applies to the entire wheat harvest, and even applies to the fruit harvest.
This is vital to see. Those claiming a latter rain movement for the end time church are wrong. They say that the former rain was Acts 2. And the latter rain is now. But no. The former rain was not Acts 2. The latter rain was Acts 2, and it is STILL RAINING. And it will continue to rain with the latter rain through the time Jesus comes.
Ok. But when did the former rain occur – spiritually? It was the Old Testament. The former rain was all of the seeds of Truth and redemption that God planted through His dealings with people before Christ. Just like the former rain literally occurs BEFORE anything actually begins to grow and be harvested, so it is spiritually. It is only when Jesus comes, and is ascended, that the latter rain is possible. Then the real harvest seasons can happen.
What the Bible Says
We don’t want to base conclusions merely upon a harvest season scheme, although that is certainly persuasive and part of what God has revealed to us so that we do get these things straight. All we need to do to prove the point is show from the Bible that the LATTER RAIN is the church age, rather than just an end-time outpouring. We have already seen that Peter quoted Joel’s promise of a great outpouring and applied it to THAT DAY – when the Spirit came and began the church age. But that same passage Peter quoted contains a reference to the former and latter rain – it occurs just before the section Peter quoted.
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 the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 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: (Joel 2:23-28)
This passage, as we have seen was clearly fulfilled, according to Peter, by Acts 2. This prophecy is one of REDEMPTION. In it, God promises the former rain and latter rain in the first month – which is a symbol of God doing a quick work, and one that comes to fruition quickly. Clearly, if you read the passage, there is NO WARRANT at all for doing anything with it outside of what Peter himself did with it, and certainly NO WARRANT for making it mean that Acts 2 was the former rain, and the end time revival the latter rain.
An end time revival would be wonderful. But it would mean, not signs and wonders, not emotionalism, not people jumping around like idiots, not self-appointed apostles and prophets, not a continual stream of unsubstantiated miracles, and not a tiresome focus on money. End time revival, if it were real, would begin with REPENTANCE among God’s people for their irreverence towards the things of God, and would bring back into focus the Person of Jesus Christ. End time revival would include a great influx of teaching about the reality of CHRIST IN US, and what God’s purpose is for each of us. An end time revival that was initiated by the Holy Spirit would bear the earmarks of everything Jesus said the Comforter would do when He came.
The fact is, unless a movement is doing what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do, it is not OF the Holy Spirit. What could be more plain? But what people do is completely bypass what the Bible says, and assume that all of the theatrics and supposed miracles prove that something is of God. The Bible tells us that this is a trap. And millions are falling for it right now.
True revival is nothing more than a return to what God has always been doing since Acts 2. It is a return to Jesus Christ as Lord, and a return to the purpose of God in making the church, and the individuals in it, a living epistle unto Him. We are to preach the gospel in Truth, without compromise. That is what God wants, and anything else is not revival, not a movement of God, and not a former rain, latter rain, or any rain.
The former rain was everything God did to reveal Himself before Christ. The latter rain was made possible by Jesus Christ, and began in Acts 2. It has been raining ever since. We don’t need ANOTHER latter rain, or outpouring. The church has done very little with the one that has been going on for two thousand years.
Sad but true…the church has failed to present the Kingdom of God as present through His believers! Most have replaced the power of the Spirit with religion from the mind of man.
By putting the Kingdom of God sometime in the future, along with the anti-Christ, and the gathering of His people, blinds one to who Christ is, and what really happened at the Cross.
By not truly seeing who Jesus really IS, and by not truly hearing His Holy Word we have missed so much and been hoodwinked out of the rest! It is so simple! Jesus is what everything in the Bible is about! If you wonder what something means just think Jesus, and how could Jesus be the answer! You will find He always is. All this by what He has already done…it is Finished!
There is nothing else He will be doing but coming in Judgment, to Judge ALL people. There is no more time to do anything but die to self, give your life wholly to Jesus, and be born again. That is ALL their is left for anyone to do! For when we do, we can rest in His finished works, and He will become so much a part of us, that we will follow Him wherever He goes, and His Will is done in our accepting His Grace and His Spirit.
Is it any wonder that I always say….
JESUS IS ALL AND EVERYTHING!!
Blessings to all!