Early Rain vs. Latter Rain
Unless one finds the origin of a subject, one will invariably arrive at illogical conclusions. Such is the nature of the theme we are about to illustrate. In fact, it would be difficult to find another topic so nearly wrenched out of shape. We find reference to this topic at James 5:7: “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Master. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.”
Here the early and latter rain represent firstly the rain of seed time at planting and secondly the rain of ripening before the harvest: the first fell in Judaea about the beginning of our November after the seed was sown; the second toward the end of our April as the ears began filling out in preparation for the full harvest, as their crops developed during the winter and early spring. It is obvious that this passage typifies the beginning of the ekklesia period and extends until the time of Yahshua’s Second Advent, with a long dry season between the two rains. Most good farmers are aware that a moderate dry spell after the seed has been planted can be beneficial, causing the plants to develop a vigorous root system so that when the rains finally come the crop will produce an abundant yield.
This may be a strange way to look back on the history of the ekklesia, but this is what James and the prophets before him were alluding to. The reader needs to differentiate between the early and latter rain, as each are different in their respective nature. In other words, we are not instructed to reenact the events at the Day of Pentecost as a pattern of our worship. While there were miraculous phenomena at Pentecost, as recorded in Acts (such as speaking in tongues), it was only an earnest (down payment) of the Spirit. At the Day of Pentecost there were gathered many good-fig-Judahites from many lands speaking diverse languages, and a miracle was provided in both the speaking and the hearing for that event to be a success. The present-day Pentecostal and charismatic movements have made a mockery of the original happenings recorded at Acts 2. Nor do the present-day Pentecostals and charismatics allude to Old Testament passages in order to explain why a Pentecost in the first place. Pentecost in the Old Testament was a feast day mandated for Israelites only, whereas today’s Pentecostals and charismatics invite every unclean race to gather with them.
While Pentecost was a very important event in our Israelite history, it only served as a beginning. We Israelites, as a people, had been divorced and completely separated from Yahweh with no hope. Yahweh had married the twelve tribes of Israel, but Israel proved to be unfaithful to her husband, whereupon He could only divorce them. By law the only way He could remarry them back to Himself was that one or the other spouse had to die. That is the very purpose Yahweh came in the flesh, as Yahshua to die so he could purchase them back as their Kinsman Redeemer. But that purchasing back could not take place until His death officially took place. Pentecost was the beginning of that process, but as yet there was not a messenger to take “the good news” to the formerly divorced twelve tribes. To accomplish this objective, Paul was chosen to take the Gospel to the lost Israel nations (mistakenly translated by the Latin term “Gentiles”). And by the way, Paul was one of the twelve apostles, as at 2 Corinthians 11:5: “For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.” 2 Corinthians 12:11: “I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.” Thus, if Paul was not behind the very chiefest apostles, he became one of the twelve.
In addition to this, Yahshua Christ personally chose each and every one of His twelve apostles, as Matt. 10:1 makes quite clear, and can also be found at Luke 6:12-16. For anyone who takes these two passages seriously – that every apostle was chosen personally by Christ – it would have ruled out Matthias, which I have believed all along. Rev. 21:14 rules out there being 13, so either Matthias or Paul must be disqualified, and it surely can’t be Paul. Paul was “Lamb” chosen and Matthias was not.
Not only did Yahshua Christ personally choose his twelve apostles, but it was to them (and not to today’s Pentecostals and charismatics) that He gave “power against unclean spirits to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease”, Matt. 10:1. It is true that elsewhere in the New Testament, others are called “apostles”, as at 1 Corinthians 12:28, but they are called “apostles of the church”, a nondescript term with a general meaning. It is one thing to be an apostle of Yahshua Christ personally sent by Him, but quite another to be an apostle of the church sent by a body of believers. Scripture lacks any record of miracles having been done by any apostles of the church.
Paul let it be known to the Galatians what kind of an apostle he was: “Not sent from men, nor through the agency of man, but through Yahshua Christ, even Yahweh the Father, who raised Him from the dead” Gal 1:1. The original twelve (with Paul replacing Judas rather than Matthias) had a nontransferable commission to reveal doctrine and found the ekklesia. When the pastoral epistles set forth the principals for a lasting leadership, mention is made of elders and deacons rather than apostles. The Pentecostals and charismatics want the role of apostle, which is a position no longer to be given. Only pride could motivate such a desire.
The Pentecostals and charismatics make fools of themselves in their attempt to relive Acts 2 all over again, mistakenly believing that the latter rain is but more of the same. Rather, the latter rain is as different from the early rain as harvest is from sowing, or as sowing is from harvest. The Pentecostals and charismatics, by trying to resurrect Pentecost, are like gardeners in Ohio or Michigan trying to plant tomatoes in their garden in September, or a farmer trying to harvest wheat before the kernels are fully developed. Solomon said that there was a time and season for everything, and the time and season for Pentecost is in the past, while now we must wait patiently for the latter rain. I believe that we are experiencing it today in the Israel Identity Message, though there remain some kinks to be untangled, which I will address later.
Not only has the Day of Pentecost come and gone, but the time for prophecy is in the past. Many Pentecostals and charismatics consider themselves prophets on par with the Old Testament prophets. This reveals an appalling ignorance of 1 Cor. 14:3: “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” This amounts to forth-telling rather than foretelling. The gifts mentioned at 1 Cor. 12:7-10 were primarily for the apostolic era.
John wrote the book of Revelation, and that ended the work of the prophets. Therefore, anyone who claims he is a prophet today is a downright liar (Heb. 1:1-2). We have in our Bibles all the prophecy we are ever going to get. But that doesn’t annul the Spirit-given gift of understanding the prophecy already given. Speaking in general, we as a people don’t understand the prophecies we already have, let alone following some uninspired wannabe prophet that can only lead us astray. And the Pentecostal and charismatic movements are full of them! Therefore, all that the Pentecostal and charismatic movements can offer are false words of knowledge and prophecies that fail! They’re phony from the get-go, and they’re attempting to plant at harvest time.
Before we leave the subject of the original twelve apostles, we must ascertain why they were unique. And if you don’t understand the term “unique”, it means being the only one of its kind. So if anyone is likening one’s self with the original twelve, he is deceiving himself and blowing his own importance thoroughly out of proportion. Each apostle’s call was unique; their office was unique; their ministry was unique; and the miracles they performed were unique. Unquestionably, the apostles were a special breed, and they had no successors. The age of the apostles and what they accomplished is forever in the past, and the only thing which is left to us today is to build on the foundation they laid for us. But the Pentecostals and charismatics want to rebuild the apostle’s foundation to their own specifications. Not only was the office of the apostles unique, but they were given absolute authority. The apostles’ authority was even greater than that of the other prophets before them, whose utterances have been proven over and over for their accuracy and authenticity, such as Daniel.
When the apostles spoke, there was no quarrel in reply, except on occasion between them, and no outsiders were given voice, as their final decision on a matter stood. Not some “infallible” pope’s, and there are a lot of romish catholics who are charismatics and somehow remain catholic. The apostles were proved, and they were recognized by their followers, as the revelatory agents of Yahweh. Jude well said at verse 17: “But you, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Master Yahshua Christ.” You will notice here that Jude didn’t direct us to take heed of the phony words of the then future Pentecostals or charismatics. Jude’s admonition at verse 17 is still effective today, and we have no excuse as we now have the printed page in spite of the romish church.
To demonstrate that the phenomena of speaking tongues at Pentecost was unique to the early apostolic age, I will quote from the “Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of John”, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Philip Schaff ed., vol. 7, where Augustine states his understanding:
“In the earliest times, ‘the Holy Ghost fell upon them that believed: and they spake with tongues,’ which they had not learned, ‘as the Spirit gave them utterance.’ These were signs adapted to the time. For there behooved to be that betokening of the Holy Spirit in all tongues, to shew that the Gospel of God was to run through all tongues over the whole earth. That thing was done for a betokening, and it passed away. In the laying on of hands now, that persons may receive the Holy Ghost, do we look that they should speak with tongues? Or when we laid the hand on these infants, did each one of you look to see whether they would speak with tongues, and, when he saw that they did not speak with tongues, was any of you so wrong-minded as to say, These have not received the Holy Ghost; for, had they received, they would speak with tongues as was the case in those times? If then the witness of the presence of the Holy Ghost be not now given through these miracles, by what is it given, by what does one get to know that he has received the Holy Ghost? Let him question his own heart. If he love his brother the Spirit of God dwelleth in him.”
Augustine further wrote at “Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel According to St. John”, Ibid., 195:
“How then, brethren, because he that is baptized in Christ, and believes on Him, does not speak now in the tongues of all nations, are we not to believe that he has received the Holy Ghost? God forbid that our heart should be tempted by this faithlessness. Certain we are that every man receives: but only as much as the vessel of faith that he shall bring to the fountain can contain, so much does He fill of it. Since, therefore, the Holy Ghost is even now received by men, some one may say, Why is it that no man speaks in the tongues of all nations? Because the Church itself now speaks in the tongues of all nations. Before, the Church was in one nation, where it spoke in the tongues of all. By speaking then in the tongues of all, it signified what was to come to pass; that by growing among the nations, it would speak in the tongues of all.”
Therefore, when one reads the 12th chapter of 1 Corinthians, one should consider to whom, why, when, where, and under what circumstances it was written. It should be obvious that the instruction of 1 Cor. 12 was written for people shortly after the Day of Pentecost, and that these experiences were fresh in their minds.
We need now to go to Joel 2:23, where Joel prophesied in part of the Day of Pentecost: “23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in Yahweh your singular-Elohim: 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. 24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of Yahweh your singular-Elohim, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am Yahweh your singular-Elohim, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 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.”
As I stated before, the early rain at Pentecost was only an earnest (partial payment) of all of these things, and Peter was not incorrect for citing Joel, but the greater part of Joel’s prophecy has not yet come to pass, and that is where most Bible students miss the point. Notice how Joel states, “... he hath given you the former rain moderately ...” It says here: “... the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil ...” Yes, we have this situation, but our enemy controls all the markets, with the farmer getting little more than a token for his labor and investment, while the bad-fig-jew takes all the profit. And now that the supermarkets have put the mom and pop stores out of business, the b-f-j’s control the price at both ends. Not only that, by having complete control of the food business, they raise the prices for the Whites and then give food stamps to the beasts of the field. This is not only happening in the area of food, but also medicine, energy, education and housing. As yet we haven’t realized “... I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.” Once the jew-locust, jew-cankerworm, jew-caterpillar, jew-palmerworm is no longer with us we will be able to experience the latter rain. This will amount to 2,700 years worth of restoration.
But the greatest restoration will be: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all [Israelite] flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” This blessing is already being realized in the Israel Identity movement to some degree and will continue as we are sprinkled with clean water. We are told at Ezekiel 36:25:
“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.”
Though we realized a limited purification with the Reformation, it is only through the Israel Identity movement that we can observe any great progress in this type of cleansing. Therefore, I am convinced that the Israel Identity movement is the very essence of the prophesied latter rain. The people coming into the movement are all muddied up with the errant doctrines of nominal churchianity, and when subjected to Yahweh’s sprinkling, the moist dirt starts to roll down, forming streaks of clean mixed with streaks of mud.
As a result, there are mud-streaks of universalism, mud-streaks of one-seedline, mud-streaks of no-Satan dogma, mud-streaks of outright disapproval of Yahshua’s name to mention a few. And, in addition, mud-streaks of pride. It should be quite apparent that Peter’s referral to Joel was only to the early rain and not the latter rain. That the early rain was only an earnest is stated at 2 Cor. 5:5: “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” Therefore, the recent charismatic movement and the Pentecostals of the last 150 years have little comprehension of either the former or latter rain foretold by Joel. When we finally experience the latter rain in its fullness it will dwarf the early rain in comparison, and be received only by Israelites. Others need not apply.
The Pentecostals and charismatics make the claim that Peter believed as they do, and if living today, he would be one of them. They will usually start with their perverted concept of the baptism of the Spirit. They will demand that one experience various phenomena, such as speaking in tongues, feelings of euphoria, visions, and emotional outbreaks of various kinds, and those who have not experienced such accompanying phenomenon are not considered Spirit-filled, but rather immature, carnal, disobedient or otherwise incomplete Christians.
Most Pentecostals and charismatics will demand their experiences to take precedence over the Bible, and if the Bible doesn’t support their experiences, the Bible be damned. If one examines magazines, books and television programs sponsored by these movements, one will find they emphasize “visions”, “dreams”, “words of knowledge”, “private messages from God” and other personal experiences, often obliterating Scripture entirely out-of-context in the process.
But is this the kind of demeanor that Peter promoted? We find the answer at 2 Peter 1:19-21: “19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Notice here the words “sure word”, which are 180 degrees opposite of experience theology. A belief system based on experience theology would be better left to mysticism, which essentially it is. “Experience theology” is akin to the “if it feels good, do it” philosophy similar to the sex orgies under every green tree spoken of in the Old Testament and which is so prevalent among many of today’s Pentecostals and charismatics.