How to Receive the Latter Rain

By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

Scripture reading: 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.

Since this [the Holy Spirit] is the means by which we are to receive power, {AA 50.2}

The Spirit is the One by which we can receive an understanding of the reality of Jesus in our life.

…why do we not hunger and thirst for the gift of the Spirit? Why do we not talk of it, pray for it, and preach concerning it? The Lord is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who serve Him than parents are to give good gifts to their children. For the daily baptism of the Spirit every worker should offer his petition to God. {AA 50.2}

As we enlarge our appreciation of the Holy Spirit, it becomes very clear that this is something very precious that we need to have. We should spend lots of time in reaching out for this wonderful gift. This is now the promise of the Holy Spirit:

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].

In the experience of the Israelites, they knew what he was talking about because they were dependent upon the rain to sow their seed, to cause it to sprout, and to grow. Then it would be of no avail if there would not be the latter rain. But this was symbolic, as we see it in verses 28 and 29 in the promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon God’s people.

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.

He will pour out His Spirit as He pours the rain upon the thirsty land. That is the promise. The promise is given also in Zechariah.

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.

Showers of rain to every grass in the field. There is the promise that if we ask for the Lord, if we think and pray in reference to our need for the fresh dew, the fresh rain, the Lord will give it.

Hosea 6:1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. 3 Then shall we know, [if] we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter [and] former rain unto the earth.

In these scriptures we have a clear concept of what God is trying to say. He will come upon us, He, God. Let us ask for Him to come upon us as the latter and the former rain. He will come upon us to shed His saving grace upon us. These are the promises. In order to imbed the true appreciation of what He is meaning, we let the Scriptures continue to show us what He is meaning. He will come upon us as the rain. After the gospel has done its work, after He has smitten us, as Jesus was hanging on the cross He was smitten, and on the third day He was resurrected again, and this is the experience of God’s people. They will go through sufferings of guilt and condemnation and smiting and then through faith in Jesus, they will rise together with Him. The aspect of the Lord coming upon us as the former and the latter rain is expressed:

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, 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.

Here is the meaning of the rain. 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. Every one grass is going to receive the showers. He is obviously talking about the people. What is man? Man is as grass, and the glory of man as the flower of the grass (1 Peter 1:24). Indeed as the rain falls the grass receives and grows and the flower comes up, but if the rain stops falling, then all the glory of the grass and all the glory of the flower wither away. For the glory of God to be manifest the rain has to fall upon every grass, upon every human being.

The doctrine in its meaning and saving grace places our mind in the right direction.

God designs that the plan of redemption shall come to His people as the latter rain: {1MR 195.3}

What’s that? The plan of redemption shall come to His people as the latter rain. The doctrine of the plan of redemption is what He designs in reference to the latter rain. Everything that we are studying in the atonement of Jesus with us is directly related to the plan of redemption. What Jesus has done on the cross in the gospel, the Holy Spirit is to make it plain and savingly effective. That is God’s design, that the plan of redemption shall come to His people.

…for they are fast losing their connection with God. They are trusting in man, and glorifying man, and their strength is proportionate to the strength of their dependence. {1MR 195.3}

If we understand the meaning of relying on man, it is when man is not relying on the Holy Spirit and when we rely on that man to teach us. But when we are receiving the word from the Holy Spirit then our strength will be proportionate to that. If we rely on human philosophies, our strength will be accordingly. But if we rely on the philosophies that come from heaven, again our strength will be according to that. This is what it means for the latter rain and the Holy Spirit to be falling upon us. It is the reception of the plan of redemption. When we hear the gospel being preached and that is not being preached by the power of the Holy Spirit, then all the preaching is in vain.

Doctrine must be inspired by the Holy Spirit, for without that all preaching is in vain.

“When He [the Spirit of truth] is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The preaching of the word will be of no avail without the continual presence and aid of the Holy Spirit. {DA 671.4}

To me this is a great comfort because many times I have preached in the past and people have walked away from it and you wonder why. Well, the preaching of the word will be of no avail without the continual presence and aid of the Holy Spirit.

This is the only effectual teacher of divine truth. Only when the truth is accompanied to the heart by the Spirit will it quicken the conscience or transform the life. {DA 671.4}

The rain must fall. The heart must be touched by the Holy Spirit. Unless the heart is receiving the Spirit, all the preaching is of no avail. Not only can the word be presented according to the letter of the word and not give the power, but it can also not be received properly.

One might be able to present the letter of the word of God, he might be familiar with all its commands and promises; but unless the Holy Spirit sets home the truth, no souls will fall on the Rock and be broken. {DA 671.4}

Hosea 6:1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up,

If it’s not the work of the Holy Spirit to bring the truth home, then nobody will break. Nobody will be torn. But when it’s under the power of the Holy Spirit, people break, people are torn, people feel the impact and are broken upon the Rock.

…unless the Holy Spirit sets home the truth, no souls will fall on the Rock and be broken. No amount of education, no advantages, however great, can make one a channel of light without the co-operation of the Spirit of God. The sowing of the gospel seed will not be a success unless the seed is quickened into life by the dew of heaven. Before one book of the New Testament was written, before one gospel sermon had been preached after Christ’s ascension, the Holy Spirit came upon the praying apostles. Then the testimony of their enemies was, “Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine.” Acts 5:28. {DA 671.4}

The experience of the early Christian church was dependent upon the Holy Spirit that would take of Jesus and make it realistic to them. It was not until after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the former rain that the power of the gospel was projected.

Christ has promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to His church, and the promise belongs to us as much as to the first disciples. But like every other promise, it is given on conditions. There are many who believe and profess to claim the Lord’s promise; they talk about Christ and about the Holy Spirit, yet receive no benefit. {DA 672.1}

Why?

They do not surrender the soul to be guided and controlled by the divine agencies. We cannot use the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is to use us. Through the Spirit God works in His people “to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. But many will not submit to this. They want to manage themselves. This is why they do not receive the heavenly gift. {DA 672.1}

This is our danger. If I want the Holy Spirit to be poured upon me, the every grass, what must my mind be prepared to do?

The understanding, the will, the affections, must be yielded to the control of the word of God. Then through the work of the Holy Spirit the precepts of the word will become the principles of the life. {MH 514.1}

Many people want to manage themselves. They want to hear the word of God, and in their own mind they want to assess it and put it into harmony with their own motivations. I’ll manage myself, thank you. There are many Christians who manage themselves. If they are strong personalities, they can do some pretty powerful work, but it’s not of the Holy Spirit. This is why they do not receive the heavenly gift.

Only to those who wait humbly upon God, who watch for His guidance and grace, is the Spirit given. {DA 672.1}

These are very, very important words to us. What must I do to receive the Holy Spirit that is pouring around upon us? You know the quote that is often used:

It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it. {TM 507.1}

Why? Because we want to manage ourselves, and we miss out on it. Only to those who are waiting humbly upon God is the Spirit given, those who are watching for His guidance.

The power of God awaits their demand and reception. This promised blessing, claimed by faith, brings all other blessings in its train. It is given according to the riches of the grace of Christ, and He is ready to supply every soul according to the capacity to receive. {DA 672.1}

What is the capacity? My understanding, my will, and my affections. Where are they? Are they with my own little world? Or are they with the world of heaven?

I want us to appreciate this concept that it depends upon me as an individual grass whether I am going to receive the rain that is falling upon me. There are certain grasses that actually have repellent on them and as it rains it just runs off. That is exactly the problem in the time of the latter rain, it can be falling.

I can receive the Spirit by a correct approach to Him. This is the attitude of the believer who is going to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit:

Psalm 119:144 The righteousness of thy testimonies [is] everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live. 145 I cried with [my] whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes. 146 I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.

Give me understanding. Can you see the attitude? Can you see what is required for us to receive the Holy Spirit? It is when we cry with a humble attitude, not to manage myself. I don’t know how to manage myself, Lord. Give me understanding.

Psalm 119:147 I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word. 148 Mine eyes prevent the [night] watches, that I might meditate in thy word. 149 Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.

What is the attitude that is expressed in these scriptures? “I don’t understand, Lord. You are giving me the descriptions of your word, I can study doctrine, but I don’t understand!” Is this many people’s experience? They read but don’t understand. Remember the story of Philip when he came to the eunuch? The eunuch was reading the Scriptures, and Philip was moved by the Holy Spirit to come up to him and he said to him, do you understand what you are reading? The eunuch said, how can I understand unless somebody shows me? He had an attitude of dependence. He could have turned around and said, yeah I know what is written here, it’s plain as day to me. But he was willing to receive help. That is the problem that many people have.

Jesus is the One that we want to look at right now to appreciate what it actually means to totally rely on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, to understand totally what is meant in those scriptures. Jesus said it so powerfully. Here is the attitude to receive the revelations of the Holy Spirit in the former and latter rain, it is Christ’s example.

We want to open our hearts to what Jesus depended upon so that He could move by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to the disciples, I will pray to the Father that He will send you another Comforter, and then He said, He is with you and shall be in you (John 14:16,17). Why was the Holy Spirit with them? Because the Holy Spirit was in Jesus. Therefore, as Jesus was there with the Holy Spirit in Him, the Holy Spirit was with the disciples, but Jesus said, He shall be in you. Here is why Jesus could say, He is with you because I am here with you.

John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

What is Jesus saying? The Son of God can’t manage Himself. What’s the problem with most people? They can’t receive the Holy Spirit because they want to manage themselves. He says, I can’t manage Myself. Of Mine own self I can do nothing.

John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Jesus Christ in His human life here on earth placed Himself in the position that every other human is in. He can’t do anything right. He can’t depend upon Himself to correctly understand. He has to listen, He has to be guided, He has to be helped, with an attitude of total dependence upon the One who is to help Him. Jesus expressed it so well. How was it that Jesus was guided? How was it that Jesus was able to say, As I hear, I judge? and my judgment is just, why? Because I don’t rely upon My own judgment. I rely upon that which has been shown Me. That is why My judgment is just.

Here is a prophecy of Jesus.

Isaiah 50:4 The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to [him that is] weary:

How was He going to do this? How was He going to speak in season to people who are weary?

Isaiah 50:4 …he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. 5 The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.

Who is speaking?

Isaiah 50:6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

The one talking here is Jesus. Do you notice that morning by morning He was dependent upon God, the Holy Spirit, to guide Him in everything He was to say and do? That’s why He said, My judgment is just because as I hear I judge. He wakeneth Me morning by morning. This is the attitude that we must have to receive to outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the former and latter rain. Can you see why the disciples were sent by Jesus to the upper room and why He said, go and wait there? What were they to do? They were to prepare their hearts so that they were totally dependent because they’d really messed up. They had missed the whole concept of what Jesus was telling before, and now they humbled themselves, to such a point that when they were fully humble, the Holy Spirit came upon them. It was the humility of Christ as a human being that gave us the answer as to how we can receive the outpouring of the latter rain. But only as we open our ears to be instructed, not to prove what I want to believe.

Isaiah 50:5 The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.

How many people read the Bible and discover that it cuts across their path? It cuts across their philosophy. How do they respond to God? Inside of themselves they are rebellious to what God is revealing to them. Therefore they cannot receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But Jesus showed His humility in what is written, Of Mine own self I can do nothing, I wait to be instructed. This is the mentality of Jesus. He is our example. The revelation of Jesus in the gospel the manifestation of the true redemption story, is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain.

We need to take courage and take heart to realise that if I have not received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit 100% as it is meant to be so that we can actually go forth in the power of the Spirit to do the great kind of work as it is demonstrated in the word of God, if we are called upon to arise and shine for our light is come, if we are going to be those people that are going to shine, we need to understand how to get there.

This is how it is done; by following Christ’s example and having that total dependence in every respect. Not saying, I know that already! I have been very guilty of that when it comes to people trying to tell me something. When they tell me something which they’ve told me in the past, I always had that streak of pride, oh, I already know that, what are you telling me that for? This is human nature.

If I know something already, what do the Scriptures say? We do not yet know as we ought to know. So we have to be told the same story again and again until what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us finally sinks in. I don’t know whether you have had to battle with this, but I have had to battle with this. Do we have to go over the same story again? We’ve been through this before. Well yes, we do. And not until we do again and again with an attitude of not being rebellious in my mind thinking, ah, boring thing! That really grates on my spirit when I hear people saying, oh, I hear the word of God and it’s boring. I hear this. People say that. There is no room for boredom if we are hungering and thirsting for the revelation of the Holy Spirit in His word. There is something in that word that I need to understand and I’m not getting it! So Lord help me, I don’t want to be proud of my own knowledge. I want your knowledge, please.

Let us take heart by reading this testimony:

We fail many times {4T 529.1}

Why?

…because we do not realize that Christ is with us by His Spirit as truly as when, in the days of His humiliation, He moved visibly upon the earth. {4T 529.1}

We fail many times because we don’t have that.

The lapse of time has wrought no change in His parting promise to His apostles as He was taken up from them into heaven: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” He has ordained that there should be a succession of men who derive authority from the first teachers of the faith for the continual preaching of Christ and Him crucified. {4T 529.1}

A succession of what? Of men. He has ordained that there should be a succession of men who derive authority from the first teachers of the faith for the continual preaching of Christ and Him crucified. Those who have been moved by the Holy Spirit in the past became the messengers of the Lord, they became the arm of the Lord because they communicated the truth from heaven and He has ordained that there should be a succession of these people right through to the end.

The Great Teacher has delegated power to His servants, who “have this treasure in earthen vessels.” Christ will superintend the work of His ambassadors if they wait for His instruction and guidance. {4T 529.1}

What is the key word? Wait for His instruction and guidance.

Ministers who are truly Christ’s representatives will be men of prayer. With an earnestness and faith that will not be denied, they will plead with God that they may be strengthened and fortified for duty and for trial, and that their lips may be sanctified by a touch of the living coal from off the altar, to speak the words of God to the people. “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” {4T 529.2}

Can you see how the Spirit of prophecy has turned that to the people who are to follow in Christ’s stead? This is the powerful reality that is offered to us in the latter rain, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and we realise that it will be falling on hearts all around us without being appreciated or received. Why? Because the following of Christ’s example was not exercised.

If you and I want to receive the outpouring of the latter rain, the scriptures and especially Psalm 119, are showing us the way. There are many other psalms like that where the soul is crying for absolute revelation from God knowing that he can do nothing of Himself. If we are in such a position knowing the shortfall of our human frailty knowing the sinful flesh that we are, depending implicitly upon the revelation that comes from the Lord Himself, from the Holy Spirit, then the Holy Spirit will flood in. Then it will happen.

 

Posted on October 13, 2014, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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