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Friday, December 12, 2014

The Holy Spirit's Ministry in the Last Days

How are we to receive the Holy Spirit? He of course is the same Person all through the ages, but His ministry in these last days has a different focus. We need to understand the difference.

The Holy Spirit manifested Himself at Pentecost 2000 years ago in the "early rain." But in the end of time He will manifest Himself in the "latter rain." "Rain" of course is rain, the same water whether it comes to sprout the planted seed, or whether it comes to ripen the grain for harvest--the mission is vastly different.

Another way to recognize the difference is to consider the second coming of Christ in contrast with His first. They are not the same; in one He comes to die on a cross for the sins of the world, in the other He comes as King of kings and Lord of lords.

The "early rain" was a gift that marked Christ's ministry in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary; His ministry in the "latter rain" is a gift that comes from Christ's work in the second apartment. When the High Priest enters the second, He closes the door to the first. Either His people "follow the Lamb wherever He goes" (Rev. 14:4) or they open themselves to deception by a counterfeit high priest in a counterfeit first apartment sanctuary (cf. Matt. 24:24).

The "early rain" prepared people to die and come up in the first resurrection. This blessed ministry continued until the end of the 2300 year prophecy of Daniel 8:14. Then came a profound change--the blowing of the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15-19). The great High Priest is determined to see the great controversy brought to its climactic end.

This disturbs lukewarm people who would be content for time (and sin) to go on indefinitely, content for Jesus to postpone His second coming for a generation or two more. To face the close of probation and live through the seven last plagues--isn't there an easier way to get to heaven? But the "latter rain" prepares people to go through that Time of Trouble and to stand before Jesus and meet Him personally when He returns (1 Thess. 4:16, 17). They must eventually elect to receive the latter rain, or renounce their faith they have long professed. The time to choose may be near.
--Robert J. Wieland

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