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13: God’s Mission Completed – Teaching Plan — 4 Comments

  1. The key thought for the lesson plan is that the latter rain, "enables His people to complete His mission on earth" but in the last paragraph of Monday's lesson there is a quote from Ellen White that says that it is, "to prepare the church for the coming of the Son of man." The two ideas are similar but really quite different. Michael's Key thought encapsulates the theme for the week's lesson - that of completing the commission Jesus gave his church to be witnesses to all nations and the finial touches in the process of sanctifying the church. Certainly that is something that we should be doing.

    The Ellen White quotation is about preparing the church for what is coming especially the seven last plagues. It is a time of refinement, of preparation for an experience that the church is nowhere close to being ready for. It is something that is hinted at in the parable of the ten virgins where all ten start out with oil but only the five wise virgins have extra oil. That extra oil comes as a result of the latter rain.

    For the church the problem comes in two areas: First is the fact that we have the Laodicean condition of not knowing our real spiritual condition. The second is not knowing just how severe the temptations will be during the plagues and that we think it is going to be far easier than it will actually be.

    So to me the latter rain involves the two main purposes, that of sending the spirit of Elijah as a witness and that of preparing for the finial events psychologically, spiritually and maybe even physically (for an explanation of the last purpose see The Great Controversy, p 622).

    • For those who have greater light (who are “rich and increased with goods”), that possession makes them responsible for its use, both in obedience to the truth and in sharing it others. If we who know the truth don't live by the truth, we need not the latter rain but the former rain to bring conversion.

      But once we are converted, we will want more power to enable us to share more effectively the blessings of God with those around us. That power is the "latter rain" work of the Holy Spirit. We need that power now, not only in the future.

      And the more we are involved in both seeking and sharing God's will, the more we will be prepared to separate from this sinful world. Our hearts will be longing more and more intensely to see heaven and, above all, our Savior, not just by faith but face to face.

  2. The questions that Michael asks under 4b are interesting! As I understand it during the time of the outpouring there will be a lot of movement in and out of the church. Like it was during the former rain I think there will be those outside the church that will experience visions and dreams - and maybe a whole lot more.

    We have as a precedent the experience of Cornelius, a centurion in the Roman army. He apparently was an honest, God fearing man but also not in the church. Acts 10:1-6 records the vision he had that directed him to seek Peter in Joppa (see also Acts 10:22, 34-35, 44). The rest of the story is of acceptance and baptism of not only Cornelius but also all those that were with him.

    I think it is a grave mistake to limit what God will or will not do in order to save that which was lost. I also think that we must remember what Jesus said, "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd" (Jn. 10:16 NKJV). On top of that we are told that there will be people in Heaven that have never heard the name of Jesus but because they have followed the little light they had God will save them. In other words our church is not an exclusive club - it encompasses the entire world of those who are safe to save.

    • It is true that God is aiming to save all He can, whether they know it or not. And Romans 2:14-16 lets us know that some will be saved without knowledge of the Word of God.
      But as “the truth will set you free”, the greater our knowledge of the Bible, the more power we may have for evangelism. See Romans 10:13-15. The more intimately we know Him who is the Truth, the more clearly we can present Him to others.


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