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The Latter Rain; Bringing To Completion The Body Of Christ

   Throughout different passages, the Bible refers to the early and latter rains (also referred to as the autumn and spring rains). These two critical seasons of rain were essential for maturing Israel’s crops. Whether or not they would come in their appointed season, though, would be dependent upon their obedience. On the contrary, disobedience would result in the rain being withheld.

   The early rain, or the autumn shower, is the rain which falls in Palestine from late October until early December. The latter rain, or the spring rain, are the March and April rains which bring the crops to maturity. Both outpourings from heaven are necessary in order to make the crops healthy, ready for harvest. I see in these rains a picture of faith being brought to completion in the Body of Christ on earth.

   Like the crops of Israel, the final ingathering of the harvest of souls is dependent upon the final outpouring. The final outpouring is dependent upon the obedience of God’s faithful servants who hear and do what the Spirit is saying in these last days. Because the end of this age draws near, we can be confident in prayer that it is time for God to send rain from heaven.

   The Lord warned Israel before going into the Promised land, “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.” (Deuteronomy 11:13-15~ NKJ) This was a conditional promise from God. In order for the life-giving rains to fall, Israel would have to obediently serve God with all their heart and soul. Spiritually speaking, the same conditions apply today.

   It’s important to notice that without these rains they could not “eat and be filled.” The Hebrew for filled is defined as “to be satisfied, to be fulfilled.” As we walk in obedience to the Lord, He fills the void within us, satisfying our inner hunger for fulfillment in life. When we choose to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, partaking of the Bread of Life, satisfaction is truly guaranteed. He is the only One that can fill the emptiness within mankind.

   This passage in Deuteronomy is also another picture in type of what Paul refers to in the New Testament as "the fullness.” By definition, it speaks of the Body of Christ being made full (i.e. our “completion” in Him), so that nothing will be wanting, or lacking.

   The dwelling of God in the Spirit is about to be completed. The final portion of the temple of His Body will be built up through those who answer the final call to consecrate themselves in preparation to be filled with the Spirit. You cannot fill those who have not first been emptied of self. These vessels of honor in which Christ has been glorified will be used in the final preparation of God's people. As Paul said, this will happen “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12-13~ NIV)

   Like the crops of Israel, our maturity in Christ is dependent upon the receiving of the latter rain. This final outpouring is a promise of God that guarantees our completion in Christ. If we do not know that there is more, we will not seek after it. The appointed season of the Lord has come.

 

No Rain From Heaven

 

   Israel was also warned to beware lest their hearts were deceived and they turned away to serve other gods. If they did, the Lord’s anger would be kindled against them and He would shut up the heavens so that there would be no rain. This would cause the ground to not bear its fruit and they would quickly perish from the good land which the Lord had given them (Deuteronomy 11:16-17).

   The spiritual dryness in our nation is a manifestation of the hard hearts in the church. If we were living as we should, the Lord’s living waters would be flowing through us, bringing His life and blessings to our society. Instead, there is a spiritual drought in the land that still proclaims to be “One nation under God.”

   We hear many words from the pulpits across America that are void of the life of God. This is why we continue to sink deeper and deeper into depravity. There is no shortage of Christian entertainment these days which is an obvious sign that we have lost the unction of the Holy Spirit. When God is present, you don’t have to advertise like the world to draw people in. Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up [“to elevate, to exalt”] from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:32~ NKJ) When Jesus is exalted, instead of man and his kingdom, they will come.

   As the Lord declared through Amos, the prophet, “‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘When I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD. And people will stagger from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.’” (Amos 8:11-12) This is the present state of America. The good news is it will soon change when the Lord raises up His chosen shepherds who will feed His sheep the living and active word of God.

   It is almost the appointed season of the Lord for the latter (last day) rains to fall. The fallow soil of the heart must be made ready to receive the final rains that will soon come. Like the ten virgins, some will prepare themselves, while others will continue to sleep in apathy. Those who hear what the Spirit is saying to the church, and then do what He says, will be filled with the “best wine” that has been saved for the last (days), thereby manifesting His glory on earth (John 2:1-11).

   Many Christians have been taught doctrinally that all you will ever receive of the Lord’s rain from heaven in your life comes when you first turn to Christ. Not accepting what the Bible reveals regarding the necessity of the latter rain in their own life, they never grow up in their salvation (1 Peter 2:2). As with the natural, they will not bear mature fruit. If they remain in this incomplete condition, they will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

 

Cutting Down The Fruitless Christian

 

   Jesus told this parable to His disciples; “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” (Luke 13:6-9~ NIV)

   This passage is a strong warning from Jesus regarding His followers that have been “planted” in Him and then resist the process of pruning by the Holy Spirit in their lives. The Lord is patient as He waits to see the fruit of the Holy Spirit reproduced in us, but we need to understand that He does have a line we dare not cross.

   In Isaiah, chapter 5, the Lord rebukes His people for their lack of internal fruit production. “‘What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones? So now let me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground. And I will lay it waste; it will not be pruned or hoed, but briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.’” (Isaiah 5:4-6)

   This is not a random illustration limited to just the Old Testament. As explained by Jesus in His parable, Israel’s rebuke is a warning to a Christian that continues in willful rebellion against the Lord’s will in their life. The writer of Hebrews confirms this, saying, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” (Hebrews 10:26-27~ NIV)

   This is a New Testament truth regarding the consequences of covenant breaking that most Christians in America have never been taught. Through deceptive lies (i.e. doctrines of demons), the devil has removed the boundary of the fear of the Lord, causing many to fall away in these last days from Christ with an apostate heart. Praise God for the light of truth that exposes the lies of darkness.

   Based on the church in America this should be an obvious insight. The wall of our protective hedge against our enemies is almost nonexistent. The spiritual drought in our land should be another clue. Unfortunately, the church has not made the connection between our sin and the condition of our nation. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we continue to shift the blame on everyone but ourselves. We are about to be called out by the Lord to give an account for our actions against Him.

   James 1:19-22 says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (NIV) Getting rid of “all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent” occurs within us as we work together with the Holy Spirit, repenting when necessary, rather than resisting His refining fire in our lives. Left within us with no desire to be rid of it, it will choke off all spiritual growth in Christ.

   The seed planted within us can/is able to save us, if we do not fight the Master Gardener’s work in our hearts. As any gardener will tell you, just because you put something in the ground does not mean it will automatically sprout and bear the desired produce. There are a lot of variables that will determine the destiny of the seed in the place where it has been planted. So it is with the Lord’s righteous seed in His people. Unrighteousness restrains the progress of growth in the seed (Romans 1:18). If left unchecked, without repentance, weeds of wickedness can overcome God’s garden, even destroying a good plant.

   This is the last call to prepare the way of the Lord. We must quickly remove anything that may be hindering the Holy Spirit’s work within us. There will not be another opportunity. It is the time of the end when Jesus will eat His “last supper” with His disciples. Unfortunately, the spirit of betrayal remains among some of His followers. Some who now sit feasting at the Lord’s table will refuse His final offer of cleansing. In the end, they too, like Judas, will leave the delivering presence of the Lord and enter into the darkness of night where there will be great weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

A Complete Faith

 

   James declared, “You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete [“to make perfect”] by what he did.” (James 2:20-22~ NIV) An incomplete faith is one that received only the early rains. Because of rebellion after receiving Christ, the latter rains of the Spirit were never allowed to be poured out into this person, bringing their faith to completion. The Greek for “complete” is teleioo. It’s defined as “to make perfect, to complete, to carry through completely, to finish, to bring to an end, to add what is yet wanting in order to render a thing full.” Again, this is what the Bible refers to as the fullness (Romans 11:12, 25).

   When Israel turned away from God to idolatry He said, “‘If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers-- would you now return to me?’ declares the LORD. ‘Look up to the barren heights and see. Is there any place where you have not been ravished? By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains [latter rains] have fallen. Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame.’" (Jeremiah 3:1-3~ NIV)

   This is why the church in America is presently in a state of deadness. We have become a defiled bride through spiritual prostitution (i.e. idolatry). The wickedness that is so prevalent in the church is not being confronted by the man-pleasers who rule by their own authority. They do not love enough to confront as commanded by Jesus. It’s hard to build a mega-church, if this is your desire, when you make people uncomfortable with a message of the need to repent. Ear ticklers are now everywhere, resulting in even further destruction to the Body of Christ (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

   Through Jeremiah the Lord declared, “‘Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: Should you not fear me?’ declares the LORD. ‘Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn [early rains] and spring rains [latter rains] in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’ Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good. Among my people are wicked men…’” (Jeremiah 5:21-26~ NIV)

   The wicked among God’s people now sit comfortably in the pews with no one to confront them. They do not tremble in the presence of God because He is not there. The majority of the modern-day leaders within the church have no fear of God. If they did, they wouldn’t be so flippant in the pulpits with their words. While seeking the praises of men, rather than heaven, they boldly declare “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace! (Jeremiah 6:14) Thankfully, this is about to change.

 

The Final Outpouring

 

   Hosea reveals the promise of the latter rain revival at the end of the age, in its appointed season. He says, “Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. 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." (Hosea 6:1-3~ NKJ)

   According to the Bible, with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day (2 Peter 3:9). It has been approximately two thousand years since Christ was crucified. That would be comparable, then, to two days. Hosea’s prophecy is that after two days He will revive us. From this we can be assured that the promised healing of the Body of Christ that has been torn, through the sending of the latter rains, is about to occur. Without it we would die in His holy presence at His return. Once again, we can be sure that it’s time for the final revival to occur. This will be followed by our being raised up, as Christ was, in order to live before Him.

   Zechariah 10:1 says, “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.” (NKJ) I see in this that once we have recognized by the Spirit that it is the appointed season of the Lord for the latter rain to fall, we must then cry out for Him to send it. This is the revival prayer that needs to be prayed in this moment!

   The conditions of the Lord for the latter rains are now being clearly revealed so that we will work together with the Spirit and do what He says in order to birth it into existence. This is our time to be doers of the word, thereby causing the reviving rains from God to fall on earth. The perfecting of the saints, and the ushering in of the end of the age, has come.

   The final rain from heaven will probably begin with just a few. With Elijah, it started as a cloud as small as a man’s hand before building to a deluge (1 Kings 18:41-46). He had told Ahab that it would not rain except by his word (1 Kings 17:1), and it didn’t for three years. Even when Elijah said it would rain, he still had to pray intensely to bring it down. James exhorts us, saying that “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” (James 5:17-18)

   Recognizing by the knowledge received from the Holy Spirit that it is time for the appointed season of the latter rain of God on earth, we too will still be required to pray in order to bring it into existence. As with Elijah, it will probably start small, with just a handful of people. Through persistent prayer, though, the floodgates will open for our vindication (Joel 2:23), and the greatest measure of the Spirit ever poured out will flow, just as the Lord has revealed. Praise the name of the Lord!



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