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Monday, November 24, 2014

The True Latter Rain and the Counterfeit

Here are some questions that perplex many Christian people around the world: what is "the latter rain" of the Holy Spirit? Is that blessing falling today, like showers of rain on thirsty crops? What is the purpose of this blessing that the Bible says God will "pour out" on His people worldwide (Zech. 10:1)? Is it possible that Satan can counterfeit the blessing and send his substitute for the real thing? If so, how can we distinguish between God's true latter rain and the counterfeit?
There are some simple, clear facts that will at least begin to clear up our perplexity:
(1) The story of the "former rain" (see Joel 2:23) will help explain what is the "latter rain." It was at Pentecost that God's true people (those who believed in Christ) received the outpouring of God's true Holy Spirit. Now, after two millennia, we expect the gift of the Holy Spirit to be given again as the complement of the "former" blessing.
(2) The "former rain" was the light of truth that was given as a gift--it was the perception of the truth that God's professed people had rejected, murdered, and crucified the Lord of glory. That blessing was not a loud noise so much as it was bright light: Peter proclaimed that those people present there had crucified the Messiah, the Son of God. "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart" (Acts 2:36, 37).
(3) The latter rain will therefore be a gift of the Holy Spirit that will bring the true and ultimate conviction of sin that only He can bring to human hearts: the guilt of the crucifixion of Christ is OUR sin. But that is a truth that we don't comprehend clearly, as yet. According to Zechariah 12:10-13:1, when God's people do grasp that reality, there will come the greatest repentance of the ages. It will become the "final" experience of reconciliation with Christ, something known as "the final atonement."
(4) This will make possible a movement, a second "Pentecost," a message to be proclaimed worldwide that will "lighten the earth with glory," and prepare a people for Christ's return.

--Robert J. Wieland

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