4. The Latter Rain

Dove

By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

What is the latter rain and what has it to do with the third angel’s message? These are the two questions that we want to have answered, what the latter rain is, and how it is linked with the third angel’s message. We want to recall one of our studies regarding the angels and their messages. This was the very first study of the first angel’s message, and we read Zechariah 4. There we saw how much the angels have to do with the Holy Spirit:

Zechariah 4:1 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, 2 And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all [of] gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which [are] upon the top thereof: 3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right [side] of the bowl, and the other upon the left [side] thereof. 4 So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What [are] these, my lord? 5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This [is] the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

This vision of the olive trees and the candlestick was a vision to describe the method of God’s work upon human beings, namely, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit. The angel continues to explain:

Zechariah 4:11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What [are] these two olive trees upon the right [side] of the candlestick and upon the left [side] thereof? 12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What [be these] two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden [oil] out of themselves? 13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these [be]? And I said, No, my lord. 14 Then said he, These [are] the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

Immediately our minds go to the ark of the covenant, the Shekinah glory, the throne of God, and the two angels on each side of it. The oil, which runs through the pipes to the candlesticks so that the lights can glow, is actually something that is channelled from the two angels that are right beside the throne of God. In the study of the Bible we know that oil has to do with the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that is flowing from God, through the angels on each side of the throne, and into the candlesticks. The Holy Spirit is signified by another symbol:

Joel 2:23 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].

What is he talking about?

Joel 2:28 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: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 32 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

This is a description of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the terminology of the former and the latter rain. It takes place in the period of time when there will be wonders in the heavens and in the earth – blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and terrible day of the Lord come.

In our study of Matthew 24 we saw those signs: the darkening of the sun and the turning of the moon into blood, the falling of the stars, and also the warfare of blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. This has all been taking place ever since those heralds of the morning, from before 1798 up to the time of 1844. This is the time immediately after which the three angels were to proclaim their messages.

Those signs pointed to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the angels – those two angels that were to pour the oil through themselves into the candlesticks. In our previous studies we touched on the fact that the candlesticks were the church, and that the Holy Spirit would flow from the angels to the church to illuminate the world, as a candlestick does.

Notice that in a time of such events as are portrayed in Joel, the angels were giving their messages and they will therefore be linked to the latter rain. That is how the latter rain is linked with the three angels’ messages. It is the Holy Spirit that flows from the angels to the people on the earth, who then convey the Holy Spirit because they have the oil in their vessels and they illuminate the world by the lamps that are alive and alight. This is all a part of that scenario. So we can then clearly see that the third angel and the other angels have everything to do with the former and the latter rain. Moreover, the third angel has very much to do with the latter rain.

At no point in our experience can we dispense with the assistance of that which enables us to make the first start. The blessings received under the former rain are needful to us to the end. Yet these alone will not suffice. While we cherish the blessing of the early rain, we must not, on the other hand, lose sight of the fact that without the latter rain, to fill out the ears and ripen the grain, the harvest will not be ready for the sickle, and the labor of the sower will have been in vain. Divine grace is needed at the beginning, divine grace at every step of advance, and divine grace alone can complete the work. {TM 507.2}

“Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain.” Do not rest satisfied that in the ordinary course of the season, rain will fall. Ask for it. The growth and perfection of the seed rests not with the husbandman. God alone can ripen the harvest. But man’s co-operation is required. {TM 508.1}

Let us, with contrite hearts, pray most earnestly that now, in the time of the latter rain, the showers of grace may fall upon us. At every meeting we attend our prayers should ascend, that at this very time God will impart warmth and moisture to our souls. As we seek God for the Holy Spirit, it will work in us meekness, humbleness of mind, a conscious dependence upon God for the perfecting latter rain. If we pray for the blessing in faith, we shall receive it as God has promised. {TM 508.2}

The continued communication of the Holy Spirit to the church is represented by the prophet Zechariah under another figure, which contains a wonderful lesson of encouragement for us. The prophet says: [Zechariah 4:1-14 quoted.] {TM 509.1}

We can see from this statement of the Spirit of prophecy that the very concept of the angels and the oil flowing from them to the candlesticks has to do with the latter rain, and with the time of three angels’ messages, and especially the third angel.

We must not wait for the latter rain. It is coming upon all who will recognize and appropriate the dew and showers of grace that fall upon us. When we gather up the fragments of light, when we appreciate the sure mercies of God, who loves to have us trust Him, then every promise will be fulfilled. [Isaiah 61:11 quoted.] The whole earth is to be filled with the glory of God (Letter 151, 1897). {7BC 984.5}

I have no specific time of which to speak when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will take place–when the mighty angel will come down from heaven, and unite with the third angel in closing up the work for this world; my message is that our only safety is in being ready for the heavenly refreshing, having our lamps trimmed and burning (RH March 29, 1892). {7BC 984.7}

The time of the latter rain is the same as that of the loud cry of the third angel, which, as we will see in our next study, comes as a direct consequence of the latter rain. The loud cry of the third angel is as a result of the latter rain.

We again identify that the timing of the latter rain has to do directly with the third angel’s message. It is here speaking about the people who are moved by the power of the third angel’s message:

The honest who had been prevented from hearing the truth now eagerly laid hold upon it. All fear of their relatives was gone, and the truth alone was exalted to them. They had been hungering and thirsting for truth; it was dearer and more precious than life. I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered, “It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel.” {EW 271.2}

Here is the purpose of our study – under the third angel’s message is the latter rain, because it is directly connected with the third angel. The angels receive the oil, the Holy Spirit, pour it into those who are to receive the message on earth, and they in turn let it shine with their lamps burning bright. This is directly in reference to the messages.

Joel 2:23 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].

The Latter Rain is in Connection with the Third Angel.

We want to understand in actual facts and in connection with the third angel, what is the latter rain. We have seen that it is connected with the third angel, the oil of the Holy Spirit that comes from the angels. “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.” What does this mean? In the marginal reading it says, “A teacher of righteousness according to righteousness.” That takes us to Deuteronomy 32, because there is a teaching that goes forth under the work of this angel. We are now entering into the detail of what the latter rain is in its connection with the third angel. Here is the rain:

Deuteronomy 32:1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain,

What is the rain? My doctrine. Someone is teaching. The word doctrine means teaching.

Deuteronomy 32:2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: 3 Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. 4 [He is] the Rock, his work [is] perfect: for all his ways [are] judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right [is] he.

We see here vividly that the latter and the former rain is the teacher of righteousness according to righteousness, whose doctrine shall drop like the rain. At the time when all those signs are happening:

Zechariah 10:1 Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; [so] the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. 

As the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass, that is the doctrine. Ask for the doctrine. Ask ye of the Lord the doctrine in the time of the latter rain, so that the Lord will give showers of rain to every one grass in the field. This is beautiful. It actually emphasizes that this not just as a corporate body, but every grass is to absorb the rain, the doctrine, the teaching. The teacher and the doctrine. Jesus directly refers to the Holy Spirit as just that. He presents the Holy Spirit exactly in the way that those other Bible texts are collating the rain with the teacher and the doctrine.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

What is the Holy Spirit going to do? He will teach you all things. Here is the Teacher. He will teach the doctrine according to righteousness. This is further enlarged in John 16. The latter rain, the doctrine, the teaching, has to do with the Holy Spirit.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

A teacher of righteousness according to righteousness. He will reprove the world, every one grass in the field. He will reprove, or, as it says in the margin, convince, convict. He will convict:

John 16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

Jesus was righteous so He has to send them someone who is going to help them understand righteousness.

John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak:

Can you see the frame of mind of heaven? He Himself will not speak of Himself. He will hear, and pass it on to us.

John 16:11 … and he will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show [it] unto you.

There is the principle of the latter rain. This is the teacher of righteousness who has been sent to the apostles, and that was the former rain to the earth. Ever since that time the Holy Spirit has been leading the people, taking of Jesus and showing it unto them. He is not just with us, but in us, applying the doctrine within our own heart. That is why He is a teacher of righteousness according to righteousness – He is not just teaching you on the surface, but deep inside.

How can He be a teacher of righteousness according to righteousness?

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

The Holy Spirit is going to work in a manner that is something that is not natural to us – it never enters the heart of man. The Holy Spirit who searches the deep things of God, will come, and this is how the Teacher works within:

1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?

The things that you know within yourself; you find it very difficult to have others know what you know within yourself. And it’s impossible. You can’t pick up exactly what the other person is trying to say. The apostle makes a point of this, and he says:

1 Corinthians 2:11 … even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

The Holy Ghost teacheth. Where does He teach? Inside. That is the oil which runs inside the angels and is poured inside of us. The Holy Spirit runs from one instrument to the other. It needs to be inside because:

1 Corinthians 2:14 … the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

It doesn’t enter the heart of man naturally. We can’t even think the way that God is thinking. My thoughts are not your thoughts, He says (Isa. 55:8). But the Holy Spirit comes if we will let Him into us, and He will teach us the deep things of God inside of us. That is the manner in which the Holy Spirit works. Therefore those who receive the latter rain are actually experiencing the pouring out of the Holy Spirit from the third angel into their hearts in the time of third angel, and that time has been going on ever since 1848, when this angel came in.

Now is the time when we are to ask for it. That is what Sister White wrote way back there, in 1897 (Testimonies to Ministers, p.508). “Now,” in their time, right through to our time, now. As the three angels’ messages are being proclaimed, it is the time of the latter rain, because the three angels are doing their work, not only to bind up in bundles in the time of the harvest, but so that the Holy Spirit will pour upon the grass so that it can come to the harvest. It’s all part and parcel of the same exercise. While the latter rain is being poured out the harvest ripens, and as soon as it is fully ripe, it is harvested. That’s all part of the work since the beginning of the three angels’ messages. The time of the harvest is just before and during the latter rain.

The latter rain, or the swelling of the third angel’s message, is here contained. The people who receive the outpouring of this message, of this teaching of the third angel, are then prepared to stand in the heat of the summer sun at the very close of probation. They gain the victory over the world, over the flesh, and over the devil – over the mark of the beast.

Said the angel, “Look ye!” My attention was then turned to the company I had seen, who were mightily shaken. I was shown those whom I had before seen weeping and praying in agony of spirit. The company of guardian angels around them had been doubled, and they were clothed with an armor from their head to their feet. They moved in exact order, like a company of soldiers. Their countenances expressed the severe conflict which they had endured, the agonizing struggle they had passed through. Yet their features, marked with severe internal anguish, now shone with the light and glory of heaven. They had obtained the victory, and it called forth from them the deepest gratitude and holy, sacred joy. {EW 270.4}

I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth with great power. {EW 271.2}

Here are they who have gained the victory over the beast, the image of the beast and the mark of the beast. That is the picture here. Under the third angel they obtain the victory and this calls forth from them the deepest gratitude. They are clothed with an armor and they speak forth the truth with great power.

I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered, “It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel.” {EW 271.2}

The third angel’s message, along with the first and second angel’s messages, are the people who are proclaiming that message. Under the third angel the outpouring of the latter rain causes them to speak the message, because the Holy Spirit, as it is poured from the angels of heaven into their hearts, causes them to be able to understand the doctrine, because He is the Teacher of righteousness according to righteousness. As they receive the doctrine from within, they cannot help but proclaim that doctrine. The oil, the Holy Spirit, comes with a clear message to all around.

The third angel’s message is swelling into a loud cry, and you must not feel at liberty to neglect the present duty, and still entertain the idea that at some future time you will be the recipients of great blessing, when without any effort on your part a wonderful revival will take place. . . . Today you are to have your vessel purified, that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, {Ev 701.4}

My doctrine shall drop … as the dew.” We need to be prepared, and absorb the message. As we absorb it, as we prepare our vessels so that we can understand it, we must be purified to understand the message. Many people hear it and they don’t understand, because their vessels are not prepared for it.

Today you are to have your vessel purified, that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement. {Ev 701.4}

You know what it’s like, you can hear a message and if your life and your mind are not purely able to concentrate because all these other materials are going around in your brain, you can’t get the deep things of the kingdom of heaven deep inside of you. That’s all that is involved here. In this time of the latter rain, we are called upon to receive the message, not merely as an external doctrine, but as a doctrine that we absorb. Our souls must be purified that we may be able to receive that dew, that doctrine. It will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement.

It is our work today to yield our souls to Christ, that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord–fitted for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. . . . {Ev 701.4}

This all makes so much sense now. Every time we look at this, we must bear in mind that this is not just a whoosh of a spiritual sensation, it has to do with being fitted to receive the Teacher of righteousness according to righteousness.

Instead of living in expectation of some special season of excitement, we are wisely to improve present opportunities, doing that which must be done in order that souls may be saved. Instead of exhausting the powers of our mind in speculations in regard to the times and seasons which the Lord has placed in His own power, and withheld from men, we are to yield ourselves to the control of the Holy Spirit, to do present duties, to give the bread of life, unadulterated with human opinions, to souls who are perishing for the truth.–Review and Herald, March 22, 1892. {Ev 702.1}

This is very weighty material. It is a living reality. People can study into all sorts of Biblical material, but it is a waste of time. We are to yield ourselves to the control of the Holy Spirit, to do present duties. We are to embrace the truths that the Lord wants us to put into practice, rather than just to speculate where we are in the time when God has said that there shall be time no longer.

The graduation from the apprenticeship in the first angel’s message is to take place in the third angel’s message. By the time the third angel’s message has come to its full impact, we have become graduates in the first angel’s apprenticeship message, this whole process of changing of life, the everlasting gospel. It is under the message of sanctification and justification that we are overcoming every defilement for the final touch of the doctrine of perfection under the third angel, through the Holy Spirit. These people who have gained the victory are then sealed.

As these are sealed under the work of the latter rain, there are yet others under the third angel’s message that also need to be brought into this and be sealed. That is where the loud cry comes to them. The people who receive the three angels’ messages and become ministers of that message must themselves have graduated through the apprenticeship exercise. Then a grand final call is given by them in the loud cry.

That will be our next study, to actually explore those who receive the latter rain and who give the loud cry in a very clear message to those that are still not yet in that scene.

Amen.

Next study… The Loud Cry –  https://sabbathsermons.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/5-the-loud-cry/

Posted on August 30, 2009, in 3rd Angels Message, The Close of Probation, The Latter Rain and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hi
    Where are these messages based from. What is the name of the organization or preacher where these messages are from? This is serious stuff. Thank you.

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