The Outpouring of the Former and Latter Rain Together
Zechariah 10:1 NKJV: 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.
Here, we are told to ask or pray for the outpouring of the latter rain in the time or season of the latter rain. The latter rain is symbolic of the outpouring of the glory and power of God in the end-time church in response to the ‘rain’ of the teaching of the Word of God concerning the perfection of the love of God in this end-time or 3rd.day.
Deuteronomy 32:1-2 NIV: Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2 Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.
1 Corinthians 2:4-54 NKJV: And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Luke 5:17 NKJV: Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
The preaching and teaching of God’s Word is always accompanied with the power of God. However, the measure of power that accompanies the Word depends on the degree of consecration of the vessel being used to deliver the Word:
2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:19-21 NKJV: Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
So, the more approved a minister of God is the more accurately he can rightly divide the Word and the greater the power of God that will be released through the Word he preaches and teaches.
Now, it is vital to understand the difference between the latter and the former rain.
In physical terms, the former rain was not as heavy as the latter rain: it was sent to soften the ground for the planting of seed.
The latter rain was heavier than the former rain: it was to ripen the fruit in the soil and so bring in the harvest.
Spiritually, the former rain is the teaching of the Word the church has had in the last 2000 years to soften men’s heart to plant the seed of God’s Word: getting us born-again, filled with the Holy Spirit, healed, delivered, materially and financially prospered to a degree. Also the corresponding power of God that has been manifested has been limited to sporadic manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit that bring occasional spectacular manifestations of the power of God.
The former rain has done and is still doing its work of planting the seed of God’s Word into the hearts of men. All the outpourings of the Holy Spirit since about 1900, when speaking in tongues was restored to the church in a spectacular manner, are simply restorations of the former rain of the day of Pentecost or what could be called the former or first part of the latter rain. We are yet to see latter part of the latter rain or what the scripture calls the former rain and the latter rain together:
Joel 2:23-24 NKJV: 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. 24 The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.
Observe that it is the combination of the former and latter rain that brings in the harvest: a harvest of the nations, revelation knowledge and the glory of God (Is. 60.1-5, 25.6-7)!
The majority of power of God that is being released in the former rain is used internally for planting God’s Word in our hearts, bringing revelation knowledge to develop great faith causing great spiritual growth. The miracles are usually circumstantial not very spectacular though very supernatural especially to the person receiving the miracle. That is why, in this present time when it is only the former part of the latter rain that has been poured out hitherto, you should only judge the quality of a minister’s ministry by the quality of the Word He preaches and the corresponding fruit in terms of the character it produces in the lives of the people that hear and obey his teachings and not by external spectacular works of power alone as Satan is counterfeiting this in the church at the moment:
Matthew 7:15-23 NKJV: 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!‘
Luke 6:43-45 NKJV: 43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
However, when the latter rain and former rain begin to be poured out together we will suddenly begin to see a manifestation of the glory of God on a consistent, spectacular basis as it was in the ministry of Jesus, through vessels of gold and silver fulfilling:
John 14:12 NKJV: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
Malachi 3:1-3 NKJV: “Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the LORD of hosts. 2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness.
In our article next week, we will see how to pray in this glory: the outpouring of former and latter rain together!