The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit: The Living Waters
The Early and Latter Rain
The rains are two elements of God's prophetic promises of blessing and providence to the Jews first (Deuteronomy 11:13-14), (Romans 1:16). When we look back to God’s promises of blessing, especially those concerning the rains, we see something that is very significant. That is that His promises are conditional upon obedience. For He has said: You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord. ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit (Leviticus 26:2-4). 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 (Deuteronomy 11:13-14).
The life of the Jews depended on the bountiful harvests that the rains made possible (Joel 2:23), the rain moisture from heaven providing nourishment for plant and animal life. Israel is a land dependent upon the yearly rains to ensure an abundant harvest and an ample food supply for the coming year. Thus, the presence or absence of rain became a symbol of God's continued blessing or displeasure with the land and its inhabitants.
According to the bible, in the Holy land of Israel, the rain only has two seasons—each in six month intervals. The early or former rain would begin in Spring. And the latter rain would begin in Abib, the first month of the Israeli calendar, which falls in the fall of the Roman calendar. The early rain was associated with the beginning of the growing season. It would soften the sun-baked ground so that it could be plowed. It would also cause the newly planted seeds to germinate and thus cause the crop to begin to grow. The latter rains were the heavy rains (Zechariah 10:1). They would ripen the wheat and barley crops and prepare them for harvest.
In God’s plan of salvation, the spiritual cycle of the earth system, which includes His Feasts, have a significant meaning, which was a hidden mystery that He, Himself, first revealed to His servants Peter and Paul, apostles of the native church (Ephesians 1:9), (Colossians 1:26). For this reason, it is understood that in God's sight, the early rain portrays the water rain of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as prophesied by Joel the prophet (Joel 2:28-32). The bible explains the fulfillment of that prophecy, which the apostle Peter referred to in his first sermon, making reference of the Old Testament prophecy: But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy (Acts 2:14-18), (Joel 2:28-29), (Isaiah 44:3).
It came to pass as it was written in the law of the Lord, that in the day of Pentecost the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit was to be witnessed, coming upon the believer upon conversion filling him with power as recorded in (Acts 2:1-47); (Leviticus 23:15-22). Pentecost fell on the 50th day after the Passover. The Feast of the First Fruits, which fell on Sunday, the week after the Passover, was a feast of thanksgiving for the spring crops. The feast offers thanksgiving to God for the summer harvest (Leviticus 23:15-16). The Feast of Harvest, was a figure or shadow of the spiritual harvest of human souls in whom the yeast of sin is now atoned by the blood of Jesus Christ, Who de-activates sin in the believer just as the leaven was neutralized in an oven baked loaf on this day (Leviticus 23:15-22).
The day of the Feast of Pentecost is the same as the Festival of Harvest, for on this day three thousand (3, 000) souls came to Christ (Acts 2:41), and shortly after over five thousand (5,000) became believers too (Acts 4:4). The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:47). (Acts 2:1-4). Pentecost commemorates the early harvest of the first fruits of human souls as the first fruits of the Holy Spirit, who are the true believers (Romans 8:23; 16:5) won to God by His Son the Firstborn (I Corinthians 15:20,23); (James 1:18). The Holy-Ghost rains always fall to produce an ingathering of souls. The Spirit of the Lord as the "Living Waters" to give new life to spiritually-dead world.
The Holy Spirit rains always fall to produce an ingathering of souls. God poured out His Spirit in the former rain at Pentecost, to prepare the ground. This outpouring softened the ground for the gospel seed to be sown. Spirit-filled sowers were sent out from the Upper Room that day into all the world - to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth to make disciples of Jesus Christ. On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out for the sowing of the gospel seed.
It is written. On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the great day, while in the temple, Jesus stood up and proclaimed that the Holy Spirit is the fountain that springs to eternal life by the following words: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:37-39). Jesus spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit and encouraged them with the words, "The Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, 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" (John 14:26)…. when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you (John16:5-15).
The Acts is a part of the book of the truth of the Lord particularly in receiving His promise of spiritual power, just as Jesus promise tells us where it comes from, how it is obtained, and how it is used. The same Holy Spirit of ancient times that was upon the prophets of the Lord, such as Elijah, was to be sent by Jesus to be with His followers until the end of times (Matthew 28:20). The evidence was as stated by the prophesy of John the Baptist in (Matthew 3:11) regarding the coming ministry of the Lord Jesus and the ministry of the Holy Spirit: Indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire (Matthew 3:11). If we compare two passages of Scripture we soon realize why fire is symbolic of the Holy Spirit."He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire" (Matthew 3:11) and "There appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:3-4). In the spiritual context, fire refines and purifies and can change vessels from one form to another.
In the same way that the mighty manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ has been witnessed since the foundation of the Christian church, and that empowered by the Holy Spirit the saints took the Gospel message westwards towards lost Israel and out to the heathen gentiles in places abroad. The same Pentecostal outflow continues to this present day. The church has now seen more than 2,022 years of sowing and growing - and it's harvest time again!
The Latter Rain is the prophetic promise given to us by God in the "End of Times Age;" there will be both the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and apostasy. The latter rain is without doubt, God's harvest of souls, the gathering together of His people to be in God's Kingdom on earth: “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves (Zechariah 12:10-14). This prophecy is spoken directly to the church of Jesus Christ. God will pour the Spirit of grace and supplication on the House of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the last days. This prophecy speaks of the house of David - and that means the church. For Christ is the seed of David's house. And that house is comprised of all believers in Christ, both Jewish and Gentiles around the world. This prophecy will be fulfilled until the End of Times.
The bible explains the truth about two anointed ones that will serve the Lord during end-times. Also in the book of prophet Joel, we read: 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. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil (Joel 2:23-24). God has promised both the former rain and the latter rain to us. In order to understand the prophetic implication of these spiritual downpours, let's remember that the farmer is god, the threshing floor is the church and the wheat are souls saved, as in the parables of the sower; the wine and oil represent the joy and healing of the Holy Spirit, as they always do in scripture.
In the sight of God, as in the spiritual cycles of the earth system, the early and latter rains portrayed the living waters, two/2 outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of the Lord as the "Living Waters" to give new life to spiritually-dead world. The Old Testament prophet, Ezekiel, was given a vision from God. By the power of God, he saw a valley of dry bones, representing the spiritual deadness of Israel and the world. The vision foretold the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, His preaching of the gospel, and the resurrection from death for all those who believe in Him. God asked to Ezekiel: "Son of man, can these bones live? In other words, He was asking, "can those spiritual dead bones live? So Ezekiel answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to him, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of theLord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live (Ezekiel 37:1-14).
Israel and the world were spiritually death as nations. To this day they are hopelessly divided without the Lord. But in His plan, God told Ezekiel that He would rise up the spiritual death on the one hand. On the other, He will rise up the death during the first coming of Christ, which He did (Mark 5:35-43), even through His disciples (Acts 9:36-42), and will do it again (Ezekiel 37:1-14), and again (Revelations 20:5-6).
It is harvest time! Israel and the world will be given spiritual life. A massive outpouring of the Holy Spirit of the Lord will fall during this generation like the former and latter rain as stated in (Hosea 6:1-3), which reads as follows: 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. It is after two days that the Lord will revive us with the "Living Waters". An spiritual revival! not forgetting that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (2 Peter 3:8). It is after two days - after 2,000 years that the Lord is bringing the spiritual revival!
The disciples of the Lord were in the Upper room when the Holy Spirit fell upon the believers in Jesus Christ and bestowed them with gifts as He wills. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers (Acts 1:1-14). Do you believe this? Then Paul asked: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (Galatians 3:2).
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God (Acts 10:44-46). The believers in Jesus Christ will receive the Holy Spirit when the ministers of God lays hands on them just as He did it in the primitive Christian church: Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:4-6). And a third way is that as it is necessary to pray and lay hands on some others, so that they can receive an outward impartation of the Holy Ghost, it will be witnessed as well: Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17).
God's plan to fulfill prophecies during this generation has more than one purpose. First, His promises to Israel for His own name sake: “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign LORD. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, people of Israel! (Ezekiel 36:22-32) NKJV. Second, the Spirit of the Lord as the "Living Waters" is to give new life to spiritually-dead world, which is central to the outpourings of the Holy Spirit to gather souls to expand His kingdom. Third, to fulfill His word: All flesh shall see the salvation of God of God, which has been preached throughout centuries (Luke 3:1-6). Fourth, for the glory of God (Romans 9:23-26), etc. NKJV
Do not miss out the fulfillment of this powerful healing prophecy of the Lord.