By Abraham Israel
What does it mean by latter rain?
Rain in Palestine [i.e. present day nation of Israel and its surroundings] falls abundantly during the wet season, or from November to April, but during the dry season, April to November; it rarely rains. The first rain after the drought of summer is called the “former,” because it precedes the seed-time and prepares the earth for cultivation. The “latter” rain falls in April, just before harvest, and perfects the fruits of the earth (Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23).
God has a set time for blessing mankind with rain. He has set due season to pour it out because our God is a God of order (Luke 1:8; Heb 5:10; 2 Chronicles 8:14; Acts 13:22; 1 Cor 14:33). In the Bible God Himself has promised, “14 …I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.” (Deut 11:14). Here in the preceding verse we see that God has a set time and season for His pouring out His rain [i.e. the greater measure of His Spirit]. He sends his rain so that we may gather our harvest in its time. As a result of rain we can expect three things in the natural, (1) grain, (2) new wine and (3) oil. In the same way because of the outpouring of the latter rain in our generation we can expect three things to happen in the spiritual realm,
(1) We will receive our grain (revelation of the word) – “the seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). The word of God will be quickened and made effective through the power of the Spirit and thus all manmade traditions will be broken (Mark 7:13). As we see even in the Pentecostal former rain outpouring, “…the word of God grew and multiplied.” (Acts 12:24) and again years later the result of Paul’s apostolic ministry was the same as the Bible says, “…the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.” (Acts19:20). The result of the latter rain outpouring in our generation will also have the same effect during which the word of God will grow mightily and prevail. During the latter rain outpouring the power of the word of the Lord will be manifested through the Church as God says in Isaiah 55:10-11, “ 10 “ For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” ” What a promise to hold on during the time of the latter rain outpouring of this end time generation!
(2) We will receive our new wine – new ways of the manifestation and filling of the Spirit over the whole congregation (Eph 5:17-21; Acts 2:11-13; 10:44-48). This wine will make the saints to be glad and joyful during the whole season of harvest (Ps 104:15; 4:7). This new wine will burst out of our innermost being (Job 32:19). Receiving the new wine of the Spirit is just one indication that we are starting to reap the harvest that has been set forth by God (Prov 3:10). We should carry this new wine in to the house of God and not forsake it (Neh 10:39; 13:5, 12). The “new wine is found in cluster” (Is 65:8). What does it mean? It means that only a united force of God’s people can carry this mighty joy and gladness of the latter rain outpouring and sustain in it. It also means that the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ when manifested through us as a cluster will help us receive the new wine in greater measure. When we are filled with wine our whole body will be under its influence strongly and it will control our very body moments, words and thinking, in the same way when we too are under the influence of the Holy Spirit we will be controlled by Him fully even to our very body moments, words, thinking and behavior. So only the people mistook the apostles bold and unrestrained behavior through the Holy Spirit to be as though it was a drunken behavior (Acts 2:13). The prophet Jeremiah himself who experienced such things even during Old Testament times spoke about such Spirit-drunkenness by saying “My heart within me is broken ….; All my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the LORD, and because of His holy words.” (Jeremiah 23:9). Boldness will always be an after effect of those who are drunk with wine. During the Pentecostal former rain outpouring in the first century, many experienced such great boldness as a result of Spirit drunkenness, even those who watched them confessed this peculiar characteristics of the apostolic company (Acts 2:13; 4:13,29-31; 6:10). This great boldness and Spirit drunkenness will again be manifested in a greater measure during this latter rain outpouring in our generation. This boldness will make the end time Apostolic Church to boldly declare the word of God with signs, wonders and miracles accompanying the message. Only this peculiar attribute of the end time Apostolic Church will make “the gospel of the kingdom” to be preached in the entire world as a witness to all nations because during this time lawlessness will abound (Matt 24:12, 14). Then will the end come [i.e. Seven year period of Antichrist and his one world government (Dan 9:27)].
(3) We will receive our oil - oil is the anointing to minister through the ability of God. Receiving our quota of oil will make us invincible against the works of the devil. This anointing also will have an effect of gladness rubbing our body, soul and spirit through it (Heb 1:9; Luke 4:18-19; Acts 10:38). This oil will literally make the faces of people who will receive it in great measure to shine like a face of an angel. During the Pentecostal former rain outpouring of the 1st century, this oil made the face of Stephen to shine forth like the face of an angel (Acts 6:15). Even Moses’ face shone in the Old Testament because this glory anointing-oil got rubbed over him as he literally lived in the presence of God (Exodus 34:29-35). Apostle Paul challenged the 1st century Apostolic Church asking this question to the make them ponder the infinite superiority of the present dispensation of the Holy Spirit’s personal ministry, “7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?” (2 Cor 3:7-8). Surely the latter rain outpouring will manifest with a very strong glory anointing-oil to make the face of those who will minister through the Spirit to literally shine in our end time generation (Ps 104:15). This glory anointing-oil over a person will also bring a strong bond of unity to come upon the whole congregation of people (Ps 133:1-3). So only the end time Apostolic Church will succeed in being a witness to the entire world because of this unique glory anointing-oil working through the ministers and the congregation bringing a strong bond of unity which will make the world know that these people are true disciples of Jesus Christ (John 17:20-22; Matt 24:12-14).
Let us see what happened further, “1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one [i.e. the Holy Spirit] sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4).
We see here in the above verse, when the Holy Spirit fills either an inanimate structure like a upper room or a physical body, always there will be a evidence of manifestation through the supernatural origin of sound from heaven [i.e. “…as of a rushing mighty wind…” or “…speaking with other tongues…”, etc..]. This is the first time after all men have forever fallen short of the glory of God because of First Adam’s transgression, the Last Adam [i.e. Jesus Christ] restored the breach that man made because of his lack of submission and disobedience to his Creator God (Rom 3:23; 5:12,19). Jesus regained the rights to receive the Spirit as a perfect Man and a Mediator between God and men (1 Tim 2:5). Because of His love toward every one of us, He started to pour out His Spirit on all flesh from the point of Pentecost onwards (Matt 3:11; Acts 1:4-5,8; 2:1-4).
The “former rain,” first falls after the drought of summer [i.e. the dry season, April to November during which it rarely rains] to precede the seed-time and prepare the earth for cultivation. After four hundred years of dark ages where there was hardly any manifestation of His Spirit through the prophets before John the Baptist and Jesus came, the former rain on the day of Pentecost was the first rain that started to precede before the apostolic seed sowing time and harvest. So also the latter rain will precede the end-time apostolic seed sowing and harvest at the end of the age.
The people who understood the apostolic upper room disciple’s language of tongues were all amazed and those who did not understand their supernatural language were mockingly perplexed. Apostle Peter stood out to explain this phenomenon because the Spirit must have brought in to remembrance the prophecies that Jesus must have taught from the Old Testament Book of Joel during his ministry time before His ascension (John 14:26; Acts 1:3). Here see what the Apostle Peter said to these people, “14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘ And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Shall be saved.’ ”” (Acts 2:14-21).
So according to this prophecy, the last days out pouring which started with the day of Pentecost, will be over only at the exact time Jesus will appear at “…the great and awesome day of the Lord…” to judge the nations and rule the earth with a rod of iron (Ps 2:9; Rev 2:27; 12:5; 19:15). Jesus exactly pointed that “29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matt 24:29-30). Comparing the verses in Acts 2:20 and Matt 24:29 we see that this outpouring of the Holy Spirit will continue during the tribulation of the end time even up to the second coming (Zech 12:10). This is the reason this prophecy’s promise of outpouring of God’s Spirit comes with an open invitation of “…whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved….”. What does this really mean to us in this generation? It means just as thousands of souls were added to the church in a single day, and many more thousands in the successive days, months and years during the ‘former rain’ season of Pentecost, so will be during the ‘latter rain’ season of end time. But in greater intensity like never before seen or heard (Acts 2:41,47; 4:4). According to the natural meaning of ‘latter rain’, it will be the best outpouring of the whole seasons of the entire set time [i.e. year] so that it will perfect the fruit of the earth for the harvest. Just as in the natural, “latter” rain falls in April [i.e. In the wet season rain will fall abundantly- from November to April], just before harvest, and perfects the fruits of the earth, so also in the spiritual realm the latter rain outpouring will fall over all the field of the world and perfect the Church for rapture and then the second coming (Matthew 13:38-39). The believer's are the one who are considered spiritually as having the first-fruits of the Spirit [i.e. in various level and order], hence they will be harvested at the time of rapture [i.e. Christ the firstfruits] and then the second coming [i.e. those who are Christ's] (Rom 8:23; 1 Cor 15:20,23). These will be the results of such latter rain outpouring as described in the Bible, when “ 26…He [i.e. Jesus Christ] will (might) sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph 5:26-27) so that “…we all [i.e. the Church] (will) come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” (Eph 4:13). This is the Church that will be raptured when Christ will come for salvation apart from sin (Heb 9:28; 1 Thess 4:16-17). This is also the Church that will declare the gospel with apostolic authority followed by signs, wonders and miracles (Mark 16:15-18, 20; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:5, 41). Jesus prophetically described the activity of this apostolic Church by saying, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the entire world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:14). The main theme of this end time apostolic Church will be the “gospel of the kingdom”. This message of the kingdom will be the core emphasis of the glorious church. This proclamation of the “gospel of the kingdom” will be done by the glorious church during the summer harvest time which has been in sight, as the nation of Israel symbolically represented by a fig tree have started to come in to existence and become strong (Matt 24:32-35). Now that the nation of Israel has already become strong, I believe that we are in the verge of the mighty outpouring of the latter rain. But the secret to bringing this latter rain in to existence is in our hands because God has exhorted this Church of the end time to “Ask the LORD for rain in the time of the latter rain. The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone.” (Zech 10:1). If only we will ask and persistently keep on asking the Lord to send the latter rain by standing on His promise, surely we will begin to see the mighty manifestations of the latter rain in our generation! Praise the Lord!
It is true that God is the one who starts and supplies the latter rain as the Bible says in Jer 5:24, “They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear the LORD our God, Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” At the same time He expects us to cooperate with Him to bring the latter rain of promise. The Bible says "...with God all things are possible" (Matt 19:26). This preceding verse shows that a man in partnership with God is a majority in this world because he can do all things with God in His infinite possibility zone. In other words it means, God will never do anything on earth unless a man participates in the divine endeavour to fullfill His eternal purposes (Ezekiel 22:30-31). Prayer is partnering with God and giving permission to the Lord to fullfill His purpose and promises, so that mankind as a whole can receive the goodness and favour of God, instead of judgment and wrath of God which we all legally deserve (Matt 6:10). Fear of the Lord will play an important role in ushering the latter rain outpouring as we have seen in Jer 5:24 above. The Church should pray for the mantle of the fear of the Lord to rest upon it in order to receive in the fullness of the latter rain outpouring (Isaiah 11:2). “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate (Prov8:13)”. The Church should start to delight in the fear of the Lord and should not judge one another by the sight of our natural eyes and decide by the hearing of the natural ears, but with righteousness [i.e. Lord our righteousness (Jer 23:6)] we should judge the poor [i.e. poor in spirit (Matt 5:3)] and decide with equity for the meek of the earth (Isaiah 11:3). O Church arise with zeal for the fear of the Lord! Thunder it from all the pulpits of the world and live in the mantle of the fear of the Lord! This is what is needed more than anything in our generation to reach the world through the King’s favor of the latter rain.
After the rapture takes place the winter season will creep in as Jesus has prophesied saying, “18 And pray that your flight may not be in winter. 19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.” (Mark 13:18-19). Will the outpouring stop during tribulation? By no means, check out this promise that God has given to the Church, “23 Be glad then, you children of Zion [i.e. the Church (Heb 12:22-24)], and rejoice in the LORD your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you— The former rain, and the latter rain in the first month” (Joel 2:23). Here we should notice that God has told in the preceding verse that “He has [already] given you the former rain faithfully…”. If we ask the question when? It is right at the time of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21). Next the promise continues saying “…He will cause the rain to come…” If we ask the question when? The answer continues “…The former rain, and the latter rain in the first month”. The first month will be the seasonal starting point of the rain that will continue till the harvest gets fully over at the end of the summer season. The harvest will always come to fruition in the summer season (Gen 8:22; Prov 6:8; 10:5; 26:1; Is 16:9; Jer 8:20). So only Jesus prophesied and exhorted that when we notice the nation of Israel get restored and revived along with other nations around it, we should remember that the latter rain will already be starting to increase and move toward its zenith for the end time fruition harvest of the summer season (Matt 24:32-35; Luke 21:29-33) [Note: God has described the nation of Israel as the land of fig trees (Deut 8:8). Israel is symbolically represented in the scripture as a fig tree (Hosea 9:10; Jer 24:3, 5, 8; Joel 1:6, 12; 1 Kings 4:25). Other nations such as Babylon [i.e. present day Iraq] and other nations around Israel has been metaphorically shown and symbolically been called by God as tree in various places (Dan 4; Judges 9:7-21; 1 Kings 4:33)]. In the Bible Job says, “They [i.e. people who wanted to meet Job] waited for me as for the rain, and they opened their mouth wide as for the spring [i.e. latter] rain.” (Job 29:23). The above verse shows that we need to wait with expectation in prayer and supplication to receive the spring time latter rain. When it comes and is poured forth, we need to open our mouth and God will fill it as he has promised in Psa 81:10, “…Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.” As the Bible says the latter rain will start with spring time [i.e. rebirth, revival and restoration of the strength of the nation of Israel] (Matt 24:32).
At the end time outpouring, both the former and the latter rain will together come as a package [i.e. one after the other]. As the latter rain [i.e. spring rain] pours out in full force and gets over with the summer harvest, so will be the latter rain outpouring of God’s Spirit (Matt 24:32). It will come out in full force till the end of harvest before rapture [which is the end of summer season and starting of autumn season] takes place, after the rapture takes place the former rain [i.e. autumn rain] will start and continue till the time of tribulation [which is the winter season] gets over before Jesus comes back the second time to this planet earth. According to the seasons of life, summer and winter will come together all the time. So also will be at the time of outpouring of God’s Spirit during the summer and winter season of the end time (Gen 8:22). This shows that the outpouring will continue in a lesser intensity than before rapture, during the tribulation time of the end.
Thus these whole times of manifestation of the Spirit and the outpouring which God has planned for humanity started on the day of Pentecost and will only end at the Second Coming of Jesus to this earth when He will defeat Anti-christ and his evil armies exactly in the final war of Armageddon (Rev 16:16; 14:19; 19:15, 19-21; Joel 3:2). The Lord calls this final war with the description of a harvest day in Joel 3:12-14, “12 “ Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat [i.e. the place where the battle of Armageddon will take place]; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. 13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow— for their wickedness is great.” 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.” The preceding verse in Joel 3:14 says that “the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision”. In other words it says that the day of rapture and the day of the second coming is based on the valley of decision, which is the former and the latter rain through the season of summer and winter in which billions of souls will take a firm decision either to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Messiah or reject Him forever to be doomed with Anti-christ and Satan.
God the Father who is the real vinedresser is waiting for the fruit to appear in the earth through the latter rain outpouring (John 15:1-2, 8). How do we know for sure? Because the Apostle James said, “7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.” (James 5:7). In the above verse, we see a set time that God has set in for both the ‘early rain of Pentecost’ and the ‘latter rain before the end [i.e. starts much before the peace accord that Anti-christ will make with the nation of Israel and will end before the rapture]’. God the Father Himself symbolically as a spiritual farmer of the world is waiting to pour out the latter rain so that the fruit of the Spirit can be seen in full fruition harvest at the time of the end, before the coming of Jesus to rapture the Church. This time of the latter rain outpouring will be a time of great favor for the whole church as the Bible says, “In the light of the king’s face is life, and his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.” (Prov 16:15). The Church will not have to strive to bring in the harvest that God has set before us in this generation, but through God’s favor of His latter rain, souls in billions will be harvested through the power of the Spirit of God (Rom 15:18-20). Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!