We recently attended a camp meeting where Elder Ted Wilson, the President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, was the headline speaker on Friday eventing, Sabbath morning, and Sabbath evening. The central theme of his presentations was “United in Christ, Ignited by the Holy Spirit” to go forth and proclaim the gospel and finish the work so that we can go home to be with Jesus. Many times mention was made of our need for revival and reformation and that we need to pray for the latter rain to fall and the Holy Spirit to empower our lives to give the three angels messages to the world. With all of this lofty talk about our greatest need as a church some major things seemed to be missing.
- Where is this outpouring of the latter rain found in scripture and what are the conditions for receiving it?
- What would be the results of the outpouring of the power of the Holy Spirit on a church body which is far from united at the present time with almost every wind of doctrine blowing in the midst?
- What must God do to prepare His church to receive the latter rain so the His people can truly be united and ignited?
- Who will actually give the Loud Cry under the falling of the latter rain?
- What about the statement in the Spirit of Prophecy that says “we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.”?
We have addressed some of these issues in a previous post on this site, however it seems more imperative that ever that we direct our beloved brethren in Laodicea to what scripture says about the outpouring of the latter rain. Below is a sermon address that was first delivered to God’s remnant church in 1946 that addresses this very subject from Zechariah chapter ten with a clear understanding that is not being sounded from our pulpits today. And what else is to be expected when the highest leading official in the church organization is not addressing it himself nor feeding the flock with our much needed meat in due season. Come and see what God has prepared for us straight from the heavenly throne without delay as the very soul you save may be your own.
BRIGHT CLOUDS BRING GENTLE RAIN
This afternoon we are to study the tenth chapter of Zechariah. To find the time of the fulfilment of its prophecy and of the promises it contains, we need look no further than the first verse of the chapter.
Zech. 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.”
These figures of speech, you know, are not used by Inspiration promiscuously, the term “latter rain” must have its special and accurate significance. Inspiration chose to use the term “rain”, because rain makes things grow and brings abundant harvest. The term “latter” denotes the last rain before the harvest, the rain that completes maturity and that ripens the grain.
The latter rain of Truth, therefore, is the very last, the one that is to develop the people of God for the harvest, for the time in which God separates the wheat from the tares (Matt. 13:30), the wise virgins from the foolish ones (Matt. 25:1-12), the good fish from the bad (Matt. 13:47, 48), and the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:32, 33). In short, the harvest is the day of cleansing, the day of Judgment, the antitypical Day of Atonement, the day in which the sinners are cut off. This spiritual latter rain is, therefore, to do to the church just what the natural latter rain does to the field. Without this latter rain the saints could not develop for the heavenly garner, neither could the tares for the fire. By the “latter rain,” therefore, is illustrated the last shower of Truth. And, too, this last portion of Truth must come as freely to every member of the church who lives just prior to the harvest time as does the rain come to every grass in the field. Just as soon as this final touch of development is accomplished, the sickle is to be put to the precious golden grain. But let us remember that it is not left in the field to rot, it is put into the “barn,” (Kingdom) while the tares are burned, so says the Lord (Matt. 13:30). What is symbolized by the “latter rain? Is it miracle-working Truth, or is it miracle-working power?—The prophet Joel explains that the miracle-working power comes after both the “former and the latter rain.” Says he:
“And it shall come to pass afterward [after the for-mer and the latter rain—Joel 2:23], 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: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.” Joel 2:28, 29.
Plainly, then, the “latter rain” is miracle-working Truth that causes the saints to mature for the harvest of which the 144,000 are the first fruits (Rev. 14:4). Then, in order to quickly gather the second fruits, God pours His Spirit upon every first fruit saint, (upon “every one grass”) old or young, boy or girl—not upon one here and upon another there.
Obviously “bright clouds” represent agencies conveying Truth which they scatter everywhere in the Lord’s vineyard—over every church member—“every one grass,” wheat or tare.
Literally speaking, dark clouds suggest a very heavy and damaging rain that frightens the beholders. Conversely, bright clouds suggest a gentle rain, the kind that descends in such a way so that the ground can absorb all of it. It does not waste itself.
Spiritually speaking, dark clouds would, therefore, represent a source of dangerous reading matter and too voluminous for one to welcome or to comprehend. But bright clouds stand for a source of small, easily comprehended Truth-laden publications packed with “meat in due season,” Truth that comes in portions easy to take in, easy to assimilate all of It, and thus to develop the recipient of It for the “master’s” use and for His service.
Then, too, the spiritual “latter rain” must fall as freely and without cost to the recipients as does literal rain. Thus it is that never before has the world witnessed so much absolutely free literature scattered away as this literature is. Millions! So it is that these small comprehensive publications, the bright clouds, laden with present Truth, are now being scattered as leaves of autumn throughout Laodicea to every church member, “to every one grass” in the vineyard of the Lord. The final results? “More than one thousand,” attests Inspiration, “will soon be converted in one day, most of whom will trace their first convictions to the reading of our publications.”—“Review and Herald,” Nov. 10, 1885. Accordingly, along with the world’s dark clouds that now hover over those who are pessimistic about the promises of God, there are these bright clouds that hover over the faithful believing and trusting children of God.
And so, Brother, Sister, you need not listen to the voices that urge you to shut yourself in from this gentle rain, or to tuck in under someone’s umbrella. Come out and avail yourself of this much needed shower. It is sent to give you the development which you need, and to enable you to survive the great and dreadful day of the Lord, the Judgment for the Living. Delay no longer, get out in the open and let the precious rain fall upon you, let it soak in through and through lest the angels find you unfit for the “barn” and they cast you into the fire along with the tares. Inspiration makes it as clear as can be made that not a soul (not one blade of grass), can be fit for the Kingdom (“barn”) if it fails to absorb this rain of Truth.
How important then that you should avail yourselves of it. No, you cannot afford to stand dry under the umbrellas of Truth-haters. Get out from under their devilish umbrellas lest you lose out eternally, lest you hopelessly cry out, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jer. 8:20.
Verse 2—“For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.”
Here is conveyed the thought that this character-building and wisdom and light-importing “rain” that fits one for the society of Heaven, finds the waiting ones listening to idols speaking “vanity” and to diviners telling false dreams, in vain trying to comfort. Will you not heed Inspiration’s Voice and turn away from listening to idols?
Who could they be if not vain self-important Truth-hating ministers that are idolized by the laity, false preachers trying to comfort by preaching falsehood.
Revival and reformation therefore must do their work among both ministers and laity. Indeed the sheep are troubled because there is no real shepherd anywhere, they all have gone their own way!
Verse 3—“Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the Lord of hosts hath visited His flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as His goodly horse in the battle.”
This verse discloses that the Lord has visited His people with revealed Truth preparatory to separating the goats from the sheep whereupon He is to reward the sheep and punish the goats—the work of the Judgment for the Living. His visit makes His servants as goodly horses in His vineyard.
Verse 4—“Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together.”
The Lord Himself chooses from Judah the “corner” stone (founder), the “nail” (organizer), the “bow” (the Truth, or instrument by which to gain the victory over the Enemy), and every “oppressor” (ruler). With these He builds the house of Judah.
Verse 5—“And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the Lord is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded.”
The victory shall be so complete that even the demons who lead our enemies in the conflict, will themselves be confounded.
Verse 6—“And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the Lord their God, and will hear them.”
The statements, “I will strengthen,” instead of save, “the house of Judah,” and “I will save” instead of strengthen “the house of Joseph,” imply that the house of Judah is saved before the house of Joseph is, and to save the house of Joseph He strengthens the house of Judah. The second fruits need to be saved, whereas the first fruits need to be fitted for service. Both are gathered into one place, (the “barn,” the Kingdom). The Lord extends this favor to both of them because He has mercy upon them and will treat them as though they had never caused Him to cast them out.
Verse 7—“And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord.”
The fathers shall rejoice and the children shall see it. He shall thus “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers. . . .” Mal. 4:6.
Verse 8—“I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased.”
“They shall increase,” that is, the second fruits are to be added to the “firstfruits.” (Rev. 7:4, 9).
Verse 9—“And I will sow [multiply] them among the people: and they shall remember Me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and turn again [to their homeland].”
Verse 10—“I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them.”
The elect shall be gathered from everywhere, and shall spread as far as the land of Gilead and Lebanon. But even then, the place shall be too small for them.
Verses 11, 12—“And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away. And I will strengthen them in the Lord; and they shall walk up and down in His name, saith the Lord.”
That is to say, the gathering of the people is to be unobstructed. Every hindrance is to be removed. The reign of sin is to be brought to an end. The nations who have enslaved God’s people are to be humbled, and their scepters (thrones) are to be no more.
Be strong in the Lord, walk up and down happy and without fear, saith the Lord.
The work that God has begun in the human heart by Divine light and knowledge, must continually go forward. “. . . Every individual must realize his own necessity. The heart must be emptied of every defilement, and cleansed for the indwelling of the Spirit. It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now.
Then the human agent had only to ask for the blessing, and wait for the Lord to perfect the work concerning him. It is God who began the work, and He will finish His work, making man complete in Jesus Christ. But there must be no neglect of the grace represented by the former rain.
“Only those who are living up to the light they have, will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.”—Testimonies to Ministers,” p. 507.
Since this Truth is so vitally important do not let any enemy against revealed Truth confuse you. If he tries to convince you against this Truth, you take him to task—make him give a more Biblical interpretation of these scriptures. If he cannot give you something better or as good, then tell him to mind his own business and you will mind yours.” – Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 17, pp. 3-11.
In regard to this particular camp meeting the latter rain did fall upon the brethren in a simple unexpected way that will not be discerned nor received by most since it did not come from the well dressed men in leading positions. In a strange and sad irony, these very men will be most responsible from keeping the refreshing of the Holy Spirit from their flocks as depicted in the illustration above. May God have mercy upon us as a people to know what is the Truth and turn from the arm of flesh what will surely deceive us from our crown of eternal life, lest we study for ourselves.