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The Latter    Rain Revival

by Kim Harrington
 

 

    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

     "Where is the promise of His coming?" cries the scoffer of 2 Peter. "Be patient," says James, "the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." But it may be some time yet, he warns. You will need the patience of an Israeli farmer, waiting for both the early and latter rains before he can harvest the fruit of the earth

     God is the Israeli farmer of James 5:7, just as He is the farmer, or husbandman, of so many other parables in the Bible. He has done a stint as the sower gone forth to sow, and now He is waiting for the harvest. Don't worry, He will not turn His attention elsewhere until the full harvest is in. He will surely come back to His field.

     The key to understanding many of the mysteries of the end-times is the harvest. Jesus will not return until the harvest is completely in. He declared in Matthew 24:14 that the Gospel must be preached in all the world before the end can come. Peter tells us that the Lord, who is willing that none should perish, is only tarrying until more people be brought to salvation in Christ Jesus, (2 Peter 3:9,15). Jesus will not come again, the Heavenly Husbandman will not call for the reapers, until the crop is fully ripe and ready. He is not willing to miss even one ear of corn by beginning the harvest even a few days early.

     But James is telling us even more than this. He is prophesying of the great revival which is to come upon the earth in the last days. This, to me, is the most exciting aspect of end-time prophecy. Let others wail and whine about the antichrist, and the ominous growth of the occult, and even its entrance into the ranks of the believers. So what's new? The professing church has always been full of the doctrines of devils. Apostasy, Nicolaitanism, Jezebelism, Laodiceanism, have all been around since the First Century. The church, except for the remnant involved in the latest revival, has always been in the process of backsliding. I'm looking forward to the revival!

 

Joel's Prophecy

     James says it's going to be exciting. He reminds us of Joel's prophecy of the early and latter rain. You see, the rainy cycle of Israel is a prophetic type of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the harvest of souls associated with true revivals. In late October, the early rain comes. It is called "yoreh," or "the pourer." It gives the young seedlings their first spurt of growth to really start them on the way to maturity. The rainy season follows, a time of relatively steady, but not heavy rains. Finally, in late March or April, the latter rain comes. The Hebrews called it "malqoesh" or the "harvest rain." It was much heavier than the early rain, and compared to the rainy season, it was a veritable deluge. The crops grew by leaps and bounds during this time, and the harvest immediately followed.

     Prophetically speaking, the early rain corresponds to Pentecost and the First Century Church. The Apostle Peter stood up in Acts chapter two and declared that "this is that" which was spoken of in Joel chapter two, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh, the throwing wide of Heaven's gates, and the invitation for all to call upon the name of the Lord, be saved, and partake of the powers of the world to come.

     Now look a little closer at Joel chapter two. Verse twenty-three says, "Be glad then... 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." He has promised both the former rain and the latter rain to us. In order to understand the prophetic implication of these spiritual downpours, let's compare the history of the church since Pentecost with Israel's rainy cycle...

 

The Interpretation Explained

     Pentecost was the early rain, the "pourer," at the beginning of the last age of the world, the church age. The rainy season followed, the church grew and spread, revivals (showers) came now and again, but they were nothing like the original outpouring of Pentecost. At times, pests multiplied (the palmerworms, locusts, cankerworms, etc. mentioned in Joel chapter one) and the crop languished, dried up, and nearly perished. But in more recent times God has been restoring the years that the devourers have eaten (Joel 2:25), by gradually returning us to a more biblical understanding of the church and its role.

     What's next on the calendar? The latter rain, Hallelujah! What's it going to be like? Joel says it's going to make Pentecost and the Book of Acts look "moderate," or tame, by comparison! And compared to the revivals of church history... well, there just is no comparison between the light showers of the rainy season and the tremendous downpour of the harvest rain. The Wesleyan Revival, the Great Awakening, the ministry of Charles Finney, will seem as nothing compared to the scope and magnitude of the Latter Rain Revival. We have yet to see the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit the world has ever experienced.

     Joel goes on to say, "and the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil," (verse 24). Can there be any mistake as to the interpretation? The wheat is the church, souls saved, as in the parables of the sower; the wine and oil represent the joy and healing of the Holy Spirit, as they always do in scripture.

     Is it any wonder why I'm not upset about the devil's doings in the last days? I'm too excited about God's doings! Oh, I know that the enemy has unleashed his deceiving spirits as never before; I'm not blinding myself to the facts with some kind of silly positivism. Joel mentions the cankerworm and the palmerworm, too, but their effect will be greatly overshadowed by the powerful effects of the latter rain. And those sincere believers who were momentarily lured away by the enemy's counterfeits, may very well be drawn back into the fold by the Great Shepherd in that day when He puts forth His final, mighty effort to draw this erring world to Himself. The floors will be full of wheat, and the oil and wine shall flow freely in that day!

 

The Testimony of Other Biblical Writers

     Is this mentioned elsewhere in the Bible? Of course. It is a recurring theme in Isaiah. Read chapters forty-nine and sixty, especially. Just when things are looking their bleakest and when it seems the church has labored in vain... just when the darkness is deepest upon the face of the earth... then the Glory of the Lord will arise upon His remnant. The nations shall come by the droves to be saved, multitudes shall flock to the light of Jesus Christ. The saints of God will fear and tremble as they see the magnitude of it.  Even those long familiar with Him never expected anything like this--a fresh sense of awe shall grip their hearts..

    Daniel saw it, too. In the last days, when the very abomination of desolation is on the scene, he spoke of the people that know their God performing great exploits, (Dan. 11:32). The Latter Rain Revival is the major theme of Habakkuk. "Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously; for I will work a work in your days which you will not believe, though it be told you," "though it tarry, wait for it... for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea," (Hab 1:5, 2:3,14).

     Zechariah chapter four and Revelation chapter ten speak of the two anointed ones that turn the world upside-down in the end-times. They are two literal men, and perhaps symbolic men, too, representing the twofold composition of God's army in those days, Jew and Gentile. The theme and rallying cry of this people is, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts!"

     Then there is Matthew 24, which we've already referenced--the Lord's discourse to His disciples on the subject of the last days. False prophets will arise, He says, and persecutions will take place, iniquity will abound, and Christians will be hated of all nations, but, nevertheless, "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).

     This Gospel shall be preached! Every nation, every tongue, and every tribe will have opportunity to hear the Good News before the end comes, before Jesus returns to this earth. No longer will there be a vast multitude of some two or more billion who have not heard, as is the case today. They shall hear, and they shall respond as well, and that multitude shall soon be found standing before the throne of God, clothed in white robes as they lift up their voices in praise...

     After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

Revelation 7:9

     Brothers and sisters, I believe the latter rain has already begun. In the last decade we have seen a greater influx of new people into the Kingdom of God than ever before. The Holy Spirit has been poured out in places that once seemed totally impossible, from staid, old denominations that have resisted Him for centuries to darkest Africa, from tribal areas to the slums of the world's darkest cities. The harvest rain has started to fall. God is beginning to equip and send out a mighty army of laborers to go into the fields in this hour.

     Even as the many missionary doors of the world seem to be closing, the Lord is opening a few of His own--doors that no man can shut. A fire has been kindled, and is even now spreading across the fields of the world. Every nation will be shaken to its very roots, no matter how successfully it has resisted in times past. Godless governments will fuss and fume, instituting persecutions of various kinds, but they will be unable to stop this move of the Holy Spirit. You may as well try to stop the fury of a hurricane, as lift up your hand against the Latter Rain.

     Hallelujah! This is what the apostles and prophets and revivalists of the past have been looking forward to since the days of the Old Testament! And it's upon us today! Let's make sure we are completely involved in it, that we don't miss a thing. Let's get out there and get good and wet in the Latter Rain Revival!

 

(all Scripture quotations are from the King James version)

Copyright 1998 Kim Harrington, Masterbuilder Ministries

 

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