Answers To Questions About the Former and Latter Rain

by sighandcry on September 28, 2013


The last lesson from the current Adult Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly summarized the quarter’s lesson by highlighting the promised revival and the completion of the final gospel call under the power of the Holy Spirit. However, while emphasizing the need for unity and the power of the Holy Spirit there was no mention of a new message that will be entrusted to those who will actually proclaim the Loud Cry under the latter rain power. Thus, answers to some important questions along these lines have been addressed in the Shepherd’s Rod Answerer Book series. Below are excerpts from Answerer Book, No. 1, pp. 81 – 92.


Question No. 9:

“Early Writings,” p. 15, speaks about God’s announcing the day and the hour of Jesus’ coming, and pouring upon the saints the Holy Ghost. Does not all this take place at the time of the seven last plagues, just before the second Advent? If so, then does it not show that the “latter rain” is to be poured out upon God’s people after the close of probation?


True, we do understand from the pas-sage in question that toward the close of the seventh plague, God will announce the day and the hour of Christ’s coming, and that He will then pour out His Spirit upon His saints. We do not, however, understand this outpouring to be either the “latter” or the “former rain” of truth, or yet the power prophesied of in Joel 2:23, 28, but rather the final manifestation of God’s Spirit, not to reveal to us any more of Gospel Truth, nor to enable us to proclaim it more fully, but simply to baptize us with a fitness to behold Jesus face to face, “as He is.”


Question No. 10:

Sister White wrote in 1892 that the Loud Cry of the Third Angel’s Message had already begun; please explain why others claim that it is yet future. And what makes it “loud”?


There must be a marked difference between the voice of the message before the Loud Cry, and the voice of the message in the Loud Cry; otherwise it would not be called “loud.”

The message swells to a Loud Cry by virtue of an “addition” which gives it “power and force.”—Early Writings, p. 277. The only conclusion admissible, therefore, is that since the church has never accepted an additional message, and since there has never come one (other than that in The Shepherd’s Rod publications) that would give “power and force” to the old message, the Loud Cry could not have begun at any time previous to this.

Moreover, the “abominations” in the church have not only kept back the Loud Cry but have also even silenced the fainter cry which precedes it. Indeed, “the angel of the church of the Laodiceans,” being unfit even to finish the proclamation of the message in its fainter cry, must be altogether unfit to proclaim it in the Loud Cry. Obviously, if he does not now quickly repent and accept the additional message which is to begin the Loud Cry, then not only will he not help proclaim it but he will even be “spued out.”

“. . . only those who have withstood temptation in the strength of the Mighty One,” warns the Spirit of Prophecy, “will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming it [the Third Angel’s Message] when it shall have swelled into the loud cry.”—The Review and Herald, Nov. 19, 1908.

So while the fainter cry is proclaimed by those who have, as well as by those who have not, overcome temptation, the Loud Cry is to be proclaimed only by those who have.

Though the Loud Cry was to have begun by 1892, it was muffled when the church rejected the message of Righteousness by Faith in 1888. Thus, the scroll which contained the “additional” message that was to give “power and force” to the Third Angel’s Message, for the time then being ceased unrolling. And consequently, instead of becoming the light of the world, the church herself went into darkness. Seeing this, the Spirit of Truth made a fearful pronouncement of doom upon unrepentant Laodiceans, while giving joyous promise of future glory to all who will arise and walk in the light that proceeds from the throne.

“How will any of our brethren know when this light shall come to the people of God?” was the sweeping question then asked by Inspiration. And the inspired answer was: “As yet we have certainly not seen the light that answers to this description. God has light for His people, and all who accept it will see the sinfulness of remaining in a lukewarm condition.”—The Review and Herald, Oct. 7, 1890.

“In the manifestation of the power that lightens the earth with its glory, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to their expectations and ideal, they will oppose the work. Why, they say, should we not know the Spirit of God, when we have been in the work so many years?”—Bible Training School, 1907. (Reprinted in The Review and Herald, Nov. 7, 1918.) This statement plainly projects the Loud Cry into the future from 1918.

“The love of Christ, the love of our brethren, will testify to the world that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him. Then will the message of the third angel swell to a loud cry, and the whole earth will be lightened with the glory of the Lord.”—Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 401.


Question No. 11:

“The Shepherd’s Rod” says that the former rain is the Spirit of Prophecy, and that the latter rain is the closely related pre-Pentecostal message, or “teacher of righteousness,” which the church is now receiving, and that the Pentecostal “power” is still another thing. But “The Desire of Ages” says that the “former rain” was the “outpouring of the Spirit in apostolic days,” and the “latter rain,” the Pentecostal outpouring itself, is to occur in the last days. What is one to believe?


Both books are endeavoring to say what the Bible says, and in order to bring harmony we must restudy the subject directly form the Bible, specifically from Joel’s prophecy: “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: 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.” Joel 2:23.

No one should fail to see that Joel’s prophecy calls for double fulfilment. Although those who are promised the latter rain, are told that they have already been given the former rain, yet when the latter rain falls upon them, it brings the former rain with it, both coming upon them in the first month. The marginal rendering for the rain designates it a “teacher of righteousness.” Now, if the former rain repeats and comes down with the latter rain in the same month, then the fact stands out that the former rain in the apostles’ day is the one of which The Desire of Ages speaks, and that the former rain which falls in the month of the latter rain, is the one of which the Rod speaks.

In the natural realm, the former rain bursts and sprouts the seed and the latter rain brings the blade to full development. So in the spiritual realm, “the former rain” must denote a heaven-sent message to germinate the spiritual seed, and the “latter rain,” a subsequent message to ripen the grain for the spiritual harvest. In thus bringing the receiver to full maturity of righteousness, the former and the latter rains represent two teachers of righteousness. In the complete application, the two latter-day rains therefore are not only the outpouring of the first pre-Pentecostal truth, the teachings of Christ in His day, the type, but are also the initial outpouring of the last pre-Pentecostal truth, the advanced Truth in our day, the antitype. First there must be the revelation of Pentecostal truth before there can be given the Pentecostal power to proclaim it: “And it shall come to pass afterward [after the former and the latter rain],” says the All-knowing One, “that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh.” Joel 2:28.

Accordingly, these two manifestations of the Holy Spirit are seen to be inseparable. The first develops a people by teaching them in righteousness; the second fully matures them, and clothes them with power to proclaim the truth in righteousness. In consequence, there is given in the first phase of the work “a teacher of righteousness” who trains an army of under-teachers of righteousness for the carrying out of the second phase.

Since there was to be a revelation of truth in the apostles’, in Sister White’s, and in our day, The Desire of Ages is correct in saying that, at that time (when it was written), the former rain was the “rain” of truth in the apostles’ day. But as today the former rain is not only the truth of the apostles’ day but also that of Sister White’s day, the Rod is correct in saying that her writings are “the former rain” today, and that the latter rain, as Joel shows, is directly applicable to the last message—the message of today (Joel 2:23). Thus only (with the former rain being the writings of Sister White, and the “latter rain” being the Rod) can both former and latter fall at the same time, as required by Joel 2:23. And the Spirit’s power, being subsequent to the former and latter rain, is therefore yet future.


Question No. 12:

Being told to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, thousands upon thousands have earnestly done so, but to no avail. Why?


From time to time many zealous individual and group Christian Movements have launched impressive prayer-marathons in a determined, persevering effort to bring about the fulfilment of the promised out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, even the “latter rain.” Because, though, these periodic efforts have invariably ended in heart-breaking disappointment and frustration, thou-sands of souls have become confused and bewildered, given up their faith completely, and perhaps sunk into infidelity.

Yet no student of the Scriptures will deny that the Bible does definitely hold forth the promise of a singularly dynamic manifestation of the Holy Spirit, to bestow upon all believers a special outpouring of power such as the apostles received on the day of Pentecost,—yes, even greater. Then the answer to the question, Why do we not now receive It? inescapably is, Because the conditions for receiving it have not as yet been met. When they are met, this sure promise of God will be instantaneously fulfilled, even as it was with the apostles.

Therefore, whatever is now keeping the Christian from receiving this greatest of the gifts, the hindrance must lie with him and not with God.

There is a promise of the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth (John 16:7-13), and a promise of the “latter rain.” Joel 2:23, 28. This promised Comforter, the apostles received on the day of Pentecost, and It was to abide with them forever; that is, even with their successors. But as in the apostolic succession, men of the primitive apostolic caliber ceased, the Comforter gradually disappeared. And though He has at different times reappeared in the form of the Spirit of Truth, His Pentecostal power and presence have never since been reimparted. This manifestation of the Spirit in Power (Joel 2:28) should not, however, be confused with the manifestation of the Spirit in Truth (Joel 2:23).

The very title, “latter rain,” itself shows that this particular manifestation takes place in the “latter days”—our time. And through Zechariah the prophet, Inspiration in pointing out that there is a set time for the latter rain, urges: “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.” Zech. 10:1.

The related passage of Joel 2:23, marginal rendering, makes clear that “the latter rain,” the last message, is “a teacher of righteousness,” bringing to the recipient full knowledge of Truth, righteousness. Therefore while Christians are urgently re-quested to pray and agonize for the Spirit of Truth at all times, they are even more urgently instructed to pray for it now!

As in the natural state of things, the latter rain comes not only to make the wheat grow but also to bring it to its full maturity, so, by spiritual analogy, this Teacher of Righteousness must bring the saints to the full stature of men in Christ Jesus (Eph. 4:13)—fit them for the Kingdom.

But the second phase, that promised power (Joel 2:28) which comes “afterward,” after “the latter rain,” is that for which most Christians are praying without considering that there is a first phase (Joel 2:23)—the “teacher of righteousness,” a final outpouring of Present Truth—which must be obtained before the final outpouring of power can be realized.

It is evident that the part which comes “afterward,” the Pentecostal power, comes to enable the receiver to proclaim the latter truth; and this power will not come until the church as a body, “every one grass in the field” (Zech. 10:1), not a group here and a group there, has joyously assimilated for its spiritual growth all the rain that the Teacher of Righteousness, who has now come, has brought.

But the great question here confronting us is: When can “every grass” every church member, receive this glorious Truth and power? Shall saint and hypocrite share them alike? Inspiration answers:

“By fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many . . . and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations. . . . and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. . . . they shall bring all your brethren . . . to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.” Isa. 66:16, 19, 20.

So in the time between the “latter rain” of truth and the “outpouring” of the Spirit’s power, there will be sealed a consecrated number who will escape from among the “slain of the Lord.” In other words, at the first-fruit harvest, when all the sinners have been taken out of the church, and the righteous left by themselves as were the 120 disciples in the upper room, then and only then can the Lord finally pour out His Spirit’s power upon all, so that all (all the “escaped” ones) shall prophesy, dream dreams, and see visions.

“And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.” Isa. 4:3-6.

Only after this great purge in the church (described also in the ninth chapter of Ezekiel), will the remnant be equipped to carry their fully blazing, lighted torch of Truth to all the Gentile world. Out of Zion will then go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. The work will then be finished, “cut short in righteousness,” and the Lord will then appear in glory—seen by every eye (Rev. 1:7).” — Answerer Book, No. 1, pp. 81 – 92.


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