In the previous note we stated that the former and latter rain was prophetic typology used to signify outpourings of the Holy Spirit upon the Church in the New Testament dispensation. Lest someone should think that this is an incorrect recent interpretation let's look at how this was applied in the New Testament Scripures through apostolic doctrine.
James lived after Pentecost in the latter part of the first century when there were signs of declension in the church. James prophesied concerning days which "shall come" (v1) and of the "last days" (v3). He went on to speak of that part of last days proceeding "the coming of the Lord" (v7). In this one simple verse as well as this chapter he not only sets forth typology but sound doctrine. He shows that "the former and latter rain" are connected to four things, 1) last days, 2) the Church age, 3) spiritual harvest, 4) and the Person of Christ in His enthroned ministry and His return for His Church.
1) Last days. This is still the period spoken of by Joel, Peter and others as being a time when the Lord would send revivals. We are still in that era which began at Pentecost. The "former and latter day rain" is particularly connected to the "last days." It is a part of last days. Revival has been prophesied for last days. After Pentecost Peter certainly believed that "times of refreshing" would continue to be granted "from the presence of the Lord;" until Christ would return (Acts 3:19-21). We should believe it, look for it, expect it and pray for it.
Last days is a time when many prophesies will be fulfilled and come to pass. Sadly revival as the work of Christ is forgotten in this context while all other end day events are talked of. James inserts just one of these as an indication of the days in which this latter rain revival will come in fullness. He speaks of a terrible international ecomonic crisis that will deeply impact the rich of the earth. These rich men will have "heaped treasure together for the last days" (v3). These treasures are noted in particular to be gold and silver. There is an hour of judgement coming upon these rich men who have caused misery and heardache in their gathering of wealth. Zechariah chapter 5 also speaks of such a judgement near the end.
2) Church Age. The former and latter rain is connected to the Church not just OT Israel. Revival is a Church word. This rain is for God's people. The "former rain" was first granted to 120 praying disciples in an upper room in Jerusalem. All of the early outpourings recorded in Acts were primarily for those who believed on Christ. When God's people are tired, weary, partched, thirsty, discouraged and even disparing there is a rain which God will send which will revive them (Ps.68:9; Isa.32:15). While there is a Church on earth the promise and hope of revival is held out to that Church for its encouragement. The Lord will yet grant latter rain rain outpourings to His Church. He has not forsaken her. This rain is a part of the Lord's wonderful provisions for His Church. Please never think of the Church apart from this provision of rain. The Church was birthed in rain. Why should we think it starnge to expect it to finish its course amidst a mighty deluge?
3) Spiritual Harvest. We see that this former and latter rain brings in the "precious fruit of the earth." Without the rain there is a spiruitual harvest which shall not be reaped. The result of the former and latter rain being granted to the Church is for the purpose of producing a spiritual harvest. Every time the rain came in the Book of Acts many souls were saved and added to the church. From the first mention of the "first and last" rain in the Bible it is granted with the purpose of enabling God's people to gather in the harvest (Deut.11:14; Jer.5:24; Zech.10:1). In this last mention of the former and latter rain in the Bible it is in reference to the fruit of the earth - this is not natural fruit but spiritual fruit. It is a last great ingathering of men and woman into the kingdom in salvation before the end.
4) Christ. These seasonal outpourings of the Holy Spirit are vitaliy connected to the person of Christ. The first rain that fell at Pentecost was the result of Christ being exalted to the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:32-33). In that position He poured out the Spirit as the former rain. The sending of the former and latter rain is a part of His enthroned ministry. For as long as He is at the Father's right hand there will be outpourings of the Spirit (Rev.5:6). Every revival is a part of Christ's continuing ministry. He will yet again pour out the Spirit upon the Church before He comes.
This former and latter rain is connected to His return. This latter rain must come in fullness before He comes for the harvest. When James says "Be patient brethren"
concerning the return of Christ he gives the reason. Christ has "long patience" because He is waiting for the fullness of the harvest to come in. He will return for a completed Bride - a full harvest. At the end of the seasonal rains and showers which have brought it in fully He shall then come for it. And so he exhorts "Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh" (v8). We should not only see apostasy, darkness and declension as signs that Christ is about to come. If you really believe Christ is about to come then you should expect a reviving of your spiritual life and to see souls saved.
"Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain;" (Zech.10:1). Friends it is time to ask, pray, plead and interceed for this latter rain. It is the time of latter rain. It is the end of the age, the end of harvest time. Jesus is about to come. We must discern that it is the time of rain or for rain and so in obedience to God's Word "ask." If we do not recieve rain now a whole generation will go to Hell