Monday: The Early and Latter Rain

Both the Old and New Testament use the symbolism of water to represent the Holy Spirit.

Image © Rolf Jansson from

Image © Rolf Jansson from

The prophet Isaiah quotes the words of our Lord, “‘“I will pour water on him who is thirsty. . . . I will pour My Spirit on your descendants”’” (Isa. 44:3, NKJV). Isaiah uses a common Hebrew literary device called parallelism. The second phrase in the passage explains the first. The prophet Joel also discusses the symbolism of water. God promises to water Israel’s fields, then declares, “‘And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh’” (Joel 2:28, NKJV). Jesus uses the symbolism of water to represent the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39).

What are the two symbols that each of the following texts use regarding the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Joel 2:21-2428-32James 5:7-8. How are we to understand what they mean?

In Bible times, sowing and plowing took place from the middle of October, shortly after the falling of the early rains. These early rains brought the seed to germination and nurtured its early growth. The latter rain came in the late spring to bring the ripening fruit to harvest. The barley harvest and other grain harvests were spring events, followed by the fruit harvest in the summer and fall.

God uses the symbolism of the early and latter rain in two ways. The early rain of the Spirit fell upon the disciples at Pentecost in order to launch the Christian mission. The latter rain will be poured out on God’s church at the end of time in order to complete His mission on earth. The term the “early rain” also refers to the daily work of God’s Spirit convicting, instructing, guiding, and empowering each believer. The “latter rain” is a term used to describe a special endowment of God’s Holy Spirit on Christ’s church just before the coming of Jesus.

“Under the figure of the early and the latter rain, that falls in Eastern lands at seedtime and harvest, the Hebrew prophets foretold the bestowal of spiritual grace in extraordinary measure upon God’s church. The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early, or former, rain, and glorious was the result. . . .

“But near the close of earth’s harvest, a special bestowal of spiritual grace is promised to prepare the church for the coming of the Son of man. This outpouring of the Spirit is likened to the falling of the latter rain; and it is for this added power that Christians are to send their petitions to the Lord of the harvest ‘in the time of the latter rain.’”-Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles , pp. 54, 55.



Monday: The Early and Latter Rain — 13 Comments

  1. The prophet isaiah, joel and apostle john all usee the rain as a symbol of the holy spirit. come to think of the usefullnes of water a natural resources to animals, plants and man. it is very apparent that non can survive without water. water is more usefull to man as a farmer because plants and animals he feed upon and cant survivla without drinking water. the way is tough and the narrow with tribulations so for us christains to survival the strugle in living above sin, wining every day and proclaiming these everlasting gosple admist hard times, the presence of the holy spirit is highly neede and i pray that God will bestowl on the later rain as of when due for the completion of His work. amen

  2. [Moderator's note: Please use full name.]

    Today’s lesson is about the Latter Rain.
    Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles , pp. 54, 55.
    1. What is it?
    It is a special endowment of God’s Holy Spirit.
    2. For whom?
    It is for the Christ’s church.
    3. When?
    It is given just before the coming of Jesus.
    But there remain two more questions to be answered:
    4. Why is it given?
    a. Prepare the church for the coming of the son of man
    b. To accompany the efforts of the church in carrying out God’s work.

    In tomorrow’s lesson deals with the following question:
    5. “How can we prepare to receive this Divine gift?

  3. I think it is very important to be ready to receive the early and latter rains, for that is what we can do for ourselves. Without the early and latter rain the grains and fruits would never flourish and there would never be a harvest. Christians should never give up and keep praying for the outpouring of God's holy spirit power. "We need not worry about the latter rain. All we have to do is to keep the vessel clean and right side up and prepared for the reception of the heavenly rain, and keep praying, "Let the latter rain come into my vessel. Let the light of the glorious angel which unites with the third angel shine upon me; give me a part in the work; let me sound the proclamation; let me be a co-laborer with Jesus Christ". Thus seeking God, let me tell you, He is fitting you up all the time, giving you His grace".---The Upward Look, p. 283.

  4. As the farmer prepares for planting he gathers the chosen seeds, clean the land, plow the soil and refine the earth, and when rain comes sow the seed, cleans and nurtures his crop, so we christians have to cleanse our hearts and hands by confessing and forsaking of sins ,sow by daily reading and studying the word of God, and through prayer and fasting, with daily sharing our faith with neighbours and friends, we are preparing for the latter rain of God in our lives.

  5. i remember the parable of the sower in math 13.The 3nd seed shoot up but after sometimes couldn't make it because of the thorns.Jesus likenes our hearts with a shamba ,and the seed represents the powerful word of God.For the water to benefit the seed,for it to nourish the seed and get abudant harvest,a special work of preparing the shamba,to get rid of the thorns has to be done 1st.Am just attracted by the counsle of Christ in Luke 21:34

    • There are only two groups of people on earth ;one that stand for God and one that does not and each one of us is on either side whether we know it or not.
      There's no middle ground and God can not send a later rain on a Church that does not belong to Him. That doesn't mean God don't love other people other than those in His church.

    • My brother,God said husband love your wives,even as Christ aslo loved the churn,and gave himself for it;.Ephesians4:24-28, he didn't. Say churches people are the ones who are making many churches,God gave himself to one church,hope you will find that right church.There's one God and one church.

  6. I read several mentions of "cleansing our hearts" or cleaning up our lives in preparation for receiving the Holy Spirit. But it seems to me that that puts too much confidence in what we can do. (It sounds as though the Holy Spirit will come in response to our work of cleansing.) But we cannot possibly cleanse our own hearts. Only God can do that. Our part is to give our hearts to Him to make them over into new hearts. That is what He has promised to do. (Eze 36:26)

    I understand that in our personal lives, the work of cleansing is the "early rain" without which we can not have spiritual life, just as the early rain in Palestine caused the seed to sprout. In our personal lives, the latter rain is a special endowment of power that God gives when it is needed as we strive to fulfill the gospel commission.

    In the corporate body of Christ, the early rain was the beginning of the work in apostolic times. And in the corporate body of Christ, the latter rain is the pouring out of the Spirit in abundance. What that means in practical terms is that there will be a significant proportion of those professing the faith of Jesus who will yield themselves to be used by the Spirit, and, because the unfaithful will be shaken out, the believers will manifest the power of the Spirit as a body.

    As I see it, the Holy Spirit is already endowing individuals with special power throughout the church in this world. But it is not evident in the church as a body because only scattered individuals yield themselves to be used by the Spirit.

  7. When one is baptised,thats the first point to recieve the early rain,and note that it is impossible to recieve the later rain when you didn't recieve the early rain.Thats the early rain gives you strenght to embark on this heaven ward journey, and the later rain gives us strenght to complete this journey

  8. My brethren and sisters,let us plead for the Holy spirit. God stands back of every promise he has made. On Sunday we learnt about Christ's promises to us, CHRIST DECLARES " What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye have received them and ye shall have them" "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the father may be glorified in the son" Matt 7:7; Mark 11:24; John 14:13

  9. Everyone who accepts Christ longs for the priviledge of serving Him truthfully. A believer longs to recieve and experience more of this relationship and thus keeps the heart pure and cleansed, ready for the outpouring of the early/latter rain(s).


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