It is time for the second rain

Marko Joensuu         No comments

In the last few decades the Latter Rain teaching has got a bad name in many churches due to many of its extreme interpretations. But most heresies are based on twisting a biblical truth rather than on an outright lie.

The Latter Rain, also known as the New Order or New Order of the Latter Rain, was a post–World War II movement within Pentecostalism. It was contemporary with the evangelical revival led by Billy Graham as well as the healing revival led by Oral Roberts, Jack Coe and William Branham.

The Latter Rain emphasized a victorious eschatological outlook. It saw the Church as overcoming and victorious, and growing to full stature.

A major feature of the expected latter rain would be the manifestation of the sons of God, in line with Romans 8:19:

"For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God."

Many called this Joel's Army, and Joel's Army has often been connected to the dominion theology and teaching about restoration of the fivefold ministry in Ephesians 4:11.

The restoration of the fivefold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors would usher in a victorious church of "overcomers" endowed with supernatural power to wage spiritual warfare and perform miracles. This would in turn quicken the second coming of Christ.

Various branches debated the nature and extent of this manifestation. These Manifest Sons of God, ones who have come into the full stature of Jesus Christ, would receive the Spirit without measure. They would be as Jesus was when he was on earth and would receive a number of divine gifts, including the ability to change their physical location, to speak any language through the Holy Spirit, and would be able to perform divine healings and other miracles. They would complete the work of God, restoring man's rightful position as was originally mandated in Genesis. 

The baptistery of Duomo in Florence

Extreme versions of this interpretation referred to Jesus as a "pattern" Son and applied "ye are gods" (Psalms 82:6) to this coming company of believers.

No power without weakness

It is obvious that some forms of the Latter Day theology are unbiblical. It seems to me that the supernatural experiences of many in the movement caused them to disregard significant sections of the Bible.

Many built theology around peak spiritual experiences, wrongly seeing these moments as some new, attainable standard. But the apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10,

"And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

The Bible clearly teaches that the supernatural anointing God gives to us will never remove our fragility and weakness but in fact, it is made perfect through it. 

I have had many moments in my life when I have felt the power of God so strongly that I have understood the temptation to hope that this could be some sort of continual state of existence. But they have always been followed by moments of human weakness.

Paul referred to 'super-apostles' in his writing, and it seems to me that many of these super-apostles preached about the supernatural power without the accompanying weakness.

One thing that is disturbing about much of the present-day apostolic and prophetic movement is how it disregards Paul's experience of weakness nearly completely. Are we deluded enough to think that we will somehow be better and more victorious than Jesus and the apostle Paul?

They suffered a lot, and according to Paul, one of the signs of a true apostle is that he or she will suffer a lot.

The second rain is here!

But why resurrect a contested doctrine of the second rain in the first place? To me, the reasons why we have ever talked about the second rain have always been prophetic and historical.

While ago I began to study what the Bible says about the second rain simply because the Holy Spirit began to speak to me about it.

"The second rain is here!" He said.

And as I studied the Bible I grasped that the theme of the second rain connects with the theme of the coming spring the Holy Spirit has spoken to me about for years.

Put simply, the second rain will usher in the spring and the harvest.

Latter rain in the Bible

But let's look at what the Bible say about the latter rain. Not much, to be honest, but what it says is rather significant.

Deuteronomy 11:13-15 says,

"And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then 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. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled."

It seems clear that the second rain is connected to the theme of full harvest. In Israel most of the rain usually fell from December to February. The first rain of the rainy season—the “early rain”—usually came mid-October through early November. This rain softened the ground and facilitated the germination of seeds and the growth of crops. The latter rain came, before the harvest, from early March to April. This rain contributed to maturation of the crop.

The first rain facilitated the growth of crops but the second rain contributed to their maturation. Without the second rain, the harvest would never be full.

I believe that the most important aspect of the latter rain will be national awakenings that will bring multitudes on unbelievers to God.

Proverbs 16:15 says,

"In the light of the king’s face is life, and his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain."

Interpreted prophetically, the latter rain would mean the favour of Christ the King on His Church.

Jeremiah 3:3-4 says,

“Lift up your eyes to the desolate heights and see: Where have you not lain with men? By the road you have sat for them like an Arabian in the wilderness; and you have polluted the land with your harlotries and your wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain.  You have had a harlot’s forehead; you refuse to be ashamed. Will you not from this time cry to Me, ‘My Father, You are the guide of my youth?'"

Again, interpreted prophetically, the Church that hasn't followed the guidance of the Father unable to receive the harvest brought by the latter rain. It seems to me that unless the ability of the Church to hear the voice of God is restored, the harvest will never be brought in.

It doesn't take a prophet to see how accurately Jeremiah describes the state of the Western and European Church today

Jeremiah 5:23-25 says,

"But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; they have revolted and departed. 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.' Your iniquities have turned these things away, and your sins have withheld good from you."

Again, read prophetically, it seems repentance and reawakening the fear of the Lord in our hearts will remove the withholding of the latter rain.

Hosea 6:3-4 says,

"Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth."

Interpreted prophetically, this is an amazing promise! God Himself will come to us like the latter rain!

Joel 2:22-24 says,

"Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; for the open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their strength. Be glad then, you children of Zion, 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. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil."

Little later, Joel 2:28-29 adds:

“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days."

I believe that many of these dreams and visions are about the harvest of souls that God plans to gather to heaven, His storehouse.

Zechariah 10:1 says,

"Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain."

Lest you think that I, along the Latter Rain movement are the only ones who have interpreted these verses prophetically, let us read James 5:7-8.

"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. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand."

At worst, even if you don't believe in the Latter Rain prophecies, waiting for the latter rain is a godly prayer!

Paul says in Ephesians 5:27, 

"… 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."

Too many theologians today miss the aspect of prophetic expectation from the writings in the Bible. It should be apparent to all that the Church today isn't without blemish; hence we have the full right to pray for God to make it as such. And that's what waiting for the latter rain is all about.

Over the centuries, individual saints and small groups have always lived in the power of the Holy Spirit, but the latter rain will touch all who let it touch them. It will be only those who actively seek cover from it that will miss it!

Reformation history

If there is one thing that speaks for the latter rain more than anything else is the historical evidence for God reforming the Church.

Starting from St Francis of Assisi who was instrumental in reintroducing radical discipleship back to the Church in the early 13th century, the Church has seen waves of reformation that have, one by one, brought at least the doctrine of the Church closer to the New Testament teaching. And it is the 20th century that reintroduced the presence and work of the Holy Spirit to the global Church. But that reformation is far from complete.

I believe that the second rain will usher in the last reformation of the Church along the lines of 1 Corinthians 14:1 and heal one of the major fault lines in the modern Church.

"Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy."

The Pentecostal reformation was only partially successful, as it never connected spiritual gifts with love. Today's social justice Church is also weak, as it has not connected practical love with the power of the Holy Spirit.

I believe that the latter rain is nearly here, and that Europe especially will see new power of the Holy Spirit working wonders and miracles. But this move of God will be more relational than ever before, and its essence will be God's love.

Let it rain, I pray!

Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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