Christians all over the world are praying for revival. As long as I have been a Christian, several decades now, I have witnessed the passionate prayers for revival by believers in Churches across the world.
Have you ever considered what the word “revival” means? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word revive as: to return to consciousness or life : become active or flourishing again. The word “revive” is the synonym to the word “reanimate”, which means: to bring (someone or something) back to life or to come back to life.
The Cambridge dictionary adds some more insight into the meaning of the word “revive” as:
to come or bring something back to life, health, existence, or use: to revive someone’s hopes/confidence/fortunes, my plants revived as soon as I gave them some water, a hot shower and a cup of tea will revive you, traditional skills are being revived.
The stricter meaning of the word appears to be mostly referring to – the bringing back to life of someone. If that’s the case, then where does this word first and foremost apply from a Biblical perspective? Obviously, we know from the Old Testament that the Prophet Elijah revived the widow of Zarephath’s son. (1 Kings 17:17-24) The prophet Elisha raised the Shunammite woman’s son from the dead. (2 Kings 4:18–37) A man was raised from the dead out of Elisha’s grave. (2 Kings 13:20–21)
The widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:11–17) was the first person Jesus raised from the dead. Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter back from the dead. (Luke 8:40–56). The third person whom Jesus raised from the dead was His friend Lazarus of Bethany (John 11). The Bible mentions people were raised from the dead en masse after or rather at the time of the resurrection of Christ. (Matthew 27:50–53) This account does not elaborate much on the details, but the absence further information tend to raise more questions as to the exact number of people who would have come back to life, and what happened to them afterward. Note: These people were raised from the dead three days after Jesus’ death when the graves were opened. The earthquake at Jesus’ death opened these graves, but it was not until three days later that the people came forth from those graves.
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
Tabitha, whose Greek name was Dorcas, was a believer who lived in the coastal city of Joppa. Her return to life was administered by the apostle Peter. (Acts 9:36–43)
Eutychus was a young man who lived in Troas. He was raised from the dead by the apostle Paul. He was sat in a window when he fell asleep whilst the Apostle Paul was teaching throughout the night. (Acts 20:7–12)
Of course we must now refer to the very foundation of the Gospel and that is the resurrection of Christ. His death on the cross sealed the New Covenant of Peace. It is a Covenant of Peace because this covenant provides forgiveness for the sin of the whole world. If the debt for the sin of the world is forgiven then God does not impute or account sin against us. He can and will therefore not execute punishment upon humanity. There is therefore no wrath to be unleashed against anyone. The only ones who suffered wrath were the people and generation of Jews of the first century who were still living under the terms and conditions of the Sinaitic Covenant. This was a completely different covenant to the New Covenant of Peace and would evoke wrath at the breach and transgression of the commandments. Jesus came first to His own people the Jews (Hebrews, twelve tribes of Israel) to give them the strong exhortation to believe on Him (John 3:16, Romans 10:9 -10) so they could escape the desolation that was to come to Jerusalem and Judea during that generation. The Sinaitic Covenant was an agreement between Yahweh and the people of Israel. Both parties were obligated to keep the Covenant with its terms and conditions included in the Law of Moses. I say both parties which means Yahweh also obligated Himself keep the Covenant. His role and commitments were different to that of the people Israel. Yahweh’s commitment was partly to fulfil His oath to bless as described throughout the commandments. In His commandments there were many that were conditional that if obeyed by the people God would have to manifest blessings according to that specific commandment. God Himself swore the oath confirming the Sinaitic Covenant by giving His Torah to Moses. The Torah contained the blessings which God had to extend on adherence to the commandments to the Torah by the people of Israel.
Take something like prayer for example. Christians today often regard prayer as a form of expressing our love for God or asking for His intervention into situations and that’s great. But prayer also needs to be based on God’s Word for it to become loaded with God’s power. Remember when Jesus taught the disciples to pray He was teaching as a Rabbi opening up the scriptures of the Old Testament. Asking the Father for anything in prayer was understood from the backdrop of the Old Testament Covenants. This meaning of the word “ask” has largely lost it’s true power for modern day Christians. But for a Covenant member to ask anything from the other member of the that covenant there had to be basis for the request in the terms and conditions of that Covenant. Two Kings entered into a Covenant with each other agreeing that if one was attacked by an enemy, the other would come to his aid to help him fight his enemy. When the King being attacked would “ask” the other King to come help him against his enemy, that King could not say no. He was bound by oath and had to keep Covenant. When we ask the Father in Jesus name, consider that the word “ask” means; to place a demand on something that is due to you, according to the Covenant. So there you go. We are not to beg and plead, we must be established in the Word of God and learn where we stand now that we are in Christ in terms of His Covenant rights. There are many spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. And just so you know, there are no curses in Christ. Only blessings.
But as for the Torah it did also contain the curses which God was equally bound to execute when the commandments were broken by the people.
I encourage you to read the whole chapter of Deuteronomy where an extensive list is displayed describing the blessings God would extend to His people should they obey the Law. But the list of curses is even longer. These curses would be released at the disobedience and transgression of the Law. Consider that the people of Israel had to be faithful in their keeping of the Covenant, but so did God. We can read throughout 1st and 2nd Kings and 1st and 2nd Chronicles that many of the Kings and the people of both the northern and southern kingdom turned their backs to Yahweh going after the gods of the pagan nations again and again. We can read that God exacted judgment each time, and that exactly as per what was written in the Law. That’s because God is faithful and keeps Covenants perfectly. Eventually Deuteronomy was partly fulfilled when the Assyrians and the Babylonians came and almost annihilated the people of Israel and ultimately destroyed the first Temple of Solomon and the city. For seventy years the people of Israel were in exile during the Babylonian and Assyrian Captivity until they gradually began to experience revival when many began to seek the Lord. The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied that their exile would last seventy years. Daniel made intercession and prayed for the return of the people to the land of promise. Ezra obtained favor from King Cyrus of Babylon to go back and rebuild the Temple. Nehemiah obtained favor from King Artaxerxes to go back and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. But prophets of that time already began to speak of a time far of in their future, about 600 years from then when another judgment would ultimately end the glory of the Israel once and for all. That’s because after the revival of Ancient Judaism under Ezra and Nehemiah the people fell back into the habit of the worship of pagan god’s. The sacrificing to Molech and Baal where even their own children were presented as sacrifice was the primary transgression against the Law. The history of the people of Israel from the time of Moses up until the time of Christ is one of Commitment to Yahweh, then turning their backs to God and the Law, pursuing strange god’s, judgment and suffering, eventually repentance, then revival and a return to Yahweh with restoration and renewal of commitment to Yahweh and His Law.
By the time Christ comes on the scene there is a mighty move of God in the land of Israel. At first under the ministry of John the Baptist the masses of people from different part of the country came to see him to be baptised. This was a baptism of repentance. This was not the “Christian” baptism. Being baptized by John demonstrated a recognition of their personal and national sin, a desire to be restored in their relationship with Yahweh, and a commitment to follow God’s law in the anticipation of the Messiah’s arrival. You see they knew they were living in that time when the Messianic Age would arrive and replace the Age of the Sinaitic Covenant. The baptism of repentance was a kind of revival as it was a returning and renewing of their commitment to Yahweh.
Then Jesus comes on the scene and the many thousands who had heard John the Baptist preach about this man were basically ready to turn their focus on Yehoshua Hamashiach.
Jesus was a traveling Rabbi (Teacher of the Torah and the Prophets) and He had many people travelling with Him. At times He spoke to thousands of people all at once. On other occasions He spoke to small groups or in the beginning of His three and half years of Ministry He went into local synagogues. When He was in Jerusalem He would teach in the Temple at times. All over Galilee the north of Israel, and in all of Judea and Jerusalem they heard of Him and or witnessed Him speak and perform miracles. Many of the Jews came to believe in Him as their Messiah and the promised King who would sit on the throne of David to rule forever. They knew the prophecies, they knew the Torah, they were expecting the Messianic Age to arrive in their time. They knew a Messiah was promised to deliver them from that evil age. Many assumed that Messiah was just going to deliver them from Roman occupation. But many also did not believe and rejected Him. There was a cabal of conspirators who were deeply embedded within the Sanhedrin and the Priesthood from Jerusalem right down to every synagogue across the land. It looked like Jesus was to become so popular and powerful they knew they were going to loose their cushy lifestyle and feared they were going to loose control and power over the people.
But some of the more sinister figures within the leadership of the Jewish communities were of a persuasion much darker than imagination can barely touch upon. They became so crooked that they perverted their knowledge of spiritual truth and ended up worshiping Baal or rather satan whom they wanted as their rightful ruler over the earth. (bear in mind this is a simplified version of what their occult beliefs were with the dogma they held to) They falsely assumed that they would be able to maintain hold of their position of control in their role once their god baal would rise to power. To them Yahweh was the enemy and Jesus the threat that could spoil their plans. Thus they did everything they could to raise allegations against Him and betray Him, to have Him arrested and executed without a proper trial.
Because of His resurrection the initial threat of Jesus life and Ministry had multiplied and these Priests, Elders, Scribes and teachers of the Law who were now following a Luciferin ideology did everything within their power to suppress the truth of the resurrection of Christ. This suppression of truth is what caused the abomination that brought about the desolation of the Temple and the City of Jerusalem with the villages and towns of Judea to be utterly decimated by 70 A.D. This was also the final completion and fulfillment of the curses listed in Deuteronomy 28. And like that, in 70 A.D. God’s wrath was finished and the Law and Sinaitic Covenant were abolished forever.
So we can say that the Sinaitic Covenant was not a Covenant of Peace, it was a Vassal Covenant, which is a Covenant between a Master and their Servant. It was a Ministry of condemnation. But the New Covenant of Peace is one of forgiveness for the sin of the whole world. If our debt is forgiven there can be no condemnation. There can be no punishment. There can be no wrath. God will never be wrathful with us.
Yet I must implore you to realize that forgiveness was needed so God could perform the second powerful work in us. By the resurrection of Christ we could be made a new creation when we became born of God’s Spirit. Friends, once upon a time humanity was spiritually dead when we were in Adam. We were spiritually dead, because of the corruption of sin passed on to us via Adam. We were not separated from God in the sense that God completely rejected humanity. God still spoke to people. Throughout the whole of the Old Testament God dealt powerfully with people, specifically His chosen ones, the people of Israel. But then through the death and resurrection of Christ humanity became born again, born into newness of life made one with the resurrection life of Christ, a New Creation. Now there is the most powerful revival ever. We were brought back from spiritual death and corruption to eternal life in Christ. This is the revival of all revivals recorded in the annals of heaven for eternity.
Christ’s resurrection is unique in that all the people who were raised from the dead way before the time os Jesus had to eventually die again. It could have been different for Lazarus or the saints of Matthew 27. They were raised from the dead, but if they were still alive at the Parousia, the coming of Christ at the judgment on Jerusalem, they would have been caught in the rapture at the resurrection of the dead. Nevertheless, had it not been for the great day of the Lord and the resurrection of the dead approximately 67 A.D. they would have been subject to dying again eventually like everyone else. Some of the saints who were raised from the dead in Matthew 27 may not have lived as long as 67-70 A.D. They will have gone to Sheol (the realm of the dead) awaiting their resurrection at the coming of Christ. All those people who were ever raised from the dead before the resurrection day will have been subject to eventually die again. Jesus is the only ever man to be raised from the dead, who conquered death, to never to die again.
Now there seems to be something special going on with the saints from Matthew 27 who were raised from the dead. The Scriptural record indicates conclusively that these saints in Matthew chapter 27, after being raised from the dead, went into Jerusalem and appeared to people who could identify them. These saints raised from the dead were the additional proof that Jesus’ resurrection was not merely a sensationalist story telling, a figment of the imagination, or a coincidence. Their testimony proved that it was the work of God. It was not just one person being raised from the dead that the unbelieving Jews could try to discount; but they would have a hard time to discredit many demonstrable, irrefutable instances of people who were raised from the dead!
1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
It is important to take a careful look at the translations from the Hebrew original here. Remember that as is the case often even with Bible translations, the way interpretations or translations are rendered has very much to do with the theological beliefs of the persons doing the translating. Translations of the scriptures should really not be controlled by personal beliefs, but at times that personal paradigm becomes the lens through which the things that are being beheld are being understood. I have therefore added some screenshots of the interlinear study Bible to show you how English words are added by presumption or even embedded on the assumption their additions support their view of the correct translation. Words such as “to” and “and” become applied filler words but as you know there can be a massive difference in meaning when I use the word “to” or “unto” instead of “of”.
So then Daniel 12:2 says in the English King James Version: And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
There are some important issues to be pointed out here with regards to several words in this translation from the Hebrew original. The word “life” is at the beginning of the Hebrew sentence in the manuscript. This word carries the meaning of “reviving” or “revival” amongst the other possible meaning of “life”. But if we recognize that many who were asleep in the dust of the earth were being raised from the dead, then they were being revived to life.
The word “everlasting” is the Hebrew word “Olam” and means at best “age enduring”. It is referring to the period of an age. Not perpetual never ending continuum. Better yet, the word can be applied as saying “a period of time” or “the time of an age” for as long as that age would last. However long the period would last depends on what the word Olam is connected to. The word “Olam” has it’s counterpart in the New Testament which is the Greek word “Aion” or “Aionos” and again means “Age enduring”. If we then read about “eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:2), we must know two things; 1. The word judgment can also be translated as the word “crisis”. Therefore, in the case of the destruction of Jerusalem between 67-70 A.D. the city suffered a time or period of crisis. 2. Because this crisis was a final judgment of God, the perpetuity of the judgment does not mean that violent destruction would just continue forever, it meant that the ending of that violent destruction of Jerusalem was finished in September of 70 A.D., and that it’s finality is a conclusion that will stand forever. Never again will Yahweh initiate or endorse a revival of the Old Sinaitic Covenant with the Law of Moses and a third Temple with a Levitical Priesthood. If that were to ever happen as many Christians and Jews today tend to believe it will, it will by the arm of the flesh, but certainly not a work of God.
The part where verse 2 says “some to everlasting” is put together by supplanting the word “life” or “reviving” from the beginning of the Hebrew sentence (Check the interlinear Lexicon above) and placing it immediately after the word “everlasting” with the additional English word of “to” after “some”. Those words “some to” add meaning and context to the translation. But the word “to” is not found in the Hebrew sentence. This addition is added from the translators presupposition or paradigm that the ones who were awakened out of their sleep in the dust were the ones who were revived to everlasting life. Now what happened? The whole thing is a bit of a mess. What if the additional word were to be “unto” some, or “unto those”. Strongs concordance provides the translation for the word “some” as: these or those: – an- (the) other; one sort, so, some, such, them, these (same), they, this, those, thus, which, who (-m). Therefore, the word “those” can be a correct translation.
I take the view that the translation of verse 2 can easily be rendered as:
“And many are revived of those who sleep in the dust of the earth to be awakened for a period of time, unto the shame and a time of contempt of some”.
What if these many who were revived out of their sleep in the dust were in fact the saints from Matthew 27 and for that period since the resurrection of Christ until 67 A.D., the likely approximate time of the resurrection of the dead, and rapture of the believers, they became a powerful witness of the resurrection of Christ. For those almost forty years they became the witnesses of His resurrection and provided undisputable evidence in fact. This would be their testimony for those years until the Parousia. This would also be to the utter contempt of those who conspired Jesus betrayal and worked to suppress the truth of His resurrection. Those saints raised from the dead would be wise giving their testimony. They would shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they would reach many with the Gospel and their testimony and turn many to righteousness and they would shine as the stars for ever and ever. After that period of time these saints would be caught up in the rapture, together with all who were raised from dead to meet the Lord in Air and be with Him forever. (btw, add the word Olam or Aion to the concept of life in heaven it will mean: living in ever continued never ending state of bliss in the presence of God)
The idea that there were those among the Jews who actively sought to suppress the truth of the resurrection of Christ is well established in scripture. This is a bigger deal than we may have been led to believe. Such a big deal in fact that to this day Isaiah 53 (in fact reading is stopped at Isaiah 52:13 through chapter 53 and then recommenced in chapter 54) is not read at the reading of the Tanakh in modern synagogues across the world. The concept that Jesus Christ was a satanic deception, or anti-messiah is not uncommon among modern Jews today as well. How can that even be? Certainly not because a handful of Jews decided that the truth should not be accessible to the wider community.
It must have been because this small group of Jews were in fact people of notable caliber and status. The four Gospel, the book of Acts, and the epistles tell us that most of the opposition and offences raised against Christ and His followers came from the Elders, the teachers of the Law, the Pharisees, and Sadducee’s, and mostly from the High Priest in Jerusalem during those years. Will those who followed their footsteps into any of these roles continued to pursue this hard-line against Christ and his followers? It appears so. Despite obviously also some of the upright and honest Pharisees and Sadducee’s, and teachers of the Law, this mindset by an elite view continued throughout the generations to this day. They must have been in key strategic positions to be able to push for an anti-Christ narrative among their Jewish communities.
It is in a similar way, since the first century and throughout the last two millennia the Christian Church has been influenced by the few, but nevertheless people in key positions to strategically weaken believers by introducing doctrines that sound logical but are in conflict with the fundamental truths of the Gospel.
Some of these doctrines are:
. Hell and the Lake of Fire as eternal punishment for the lost. The lost being those who never accepted Christ as their personal Lord and saviour.
. Saved by Grace through Faith but salvation must be maintained by works or a believer could loose fellowship with the Lord. Therefore a disciplined lifestyle conform to the Christian group associated with is considered “holy living” and passes as a measure by which a believers maintains good standing with God.
. Stronger or special anointings for those who achieve a higher level holiness.
. Giving tithes to the local Church a believer associates with.
. Futurist Eschatology.
I could unpack each point on the above list but that’s not the point of this article. It’s also not and exhaustive list. But a quick glance at the list and we can surely agree that these are generally considered the cardinal accepted as the “normal” or even “essential” Christian doctrines in many Church groups across the world. The truth is they are diametrically in conflict with the finished work of Christ and therefore anti-Christ. These doctrines are coated with a flavor of Grace. A teaching and message on Grace truths so strong it powerfully attracts anyone seeking respite from the heavy burden of life. The message of Grace has become the bait, but then when the fish bite they will receive the poison that will keep the Christian weak and ignorant of the true power that is within them. Thus they are easily enticed when the next revivalist Preacher gets up of whom it is said that many miracles or special anointing is at work in their Ministry.
I’m not denying that God may be using these people in a significant way. But the way people and the masses of Christians tend to interpret this is that this man or woman has a special monopoly with God that no one else has. So they flock to their meeting anywhere in the world for the season they are popular. But nothing is further from the truth. God raises these people up as a “show and tell” lesson saying that this is what God can do with anyone who will trust Him.
Which brings me to the main point in this article. Revivals don’t happen because God sovereignly decides it’s time to manifest a movement of God in the earth somewhere. No, no, no, and again I say no. God is looking and searching with great keenness and desires to show Himself powerfully to those who earnestly seek Him.
I don’t mean that those who seek Him are people who fast and pray for prolonged periods of time. Or who can develop a high level of discipline that will have the appearance of a superior holy lifestyle. You can do all of those things even without an inch of faith and in that case they’re just dead works of the flesh, i.e. human ability and willpower. What I really mean is that someone who walks in the power of God is someone who established their heart and mind in the Word of God, the Gospel truth.
And this is a key point: it is someone who knows how to draw upon the Holy Spirit’s Ministry and the Power of God from within them.
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
Just quickly then, the anointing was an oil specially prepared with spices according to the instructions given in the Torah. A Hebrew King would go through a symbolic anointing (pouring on his head) of purified olive oil mixed with four spices or fragrances: pure myrrh, sweet cinnamon, kaneh bosm, and cassia. Yahweh said, “This will be My sacred anointing oil for the generations to come.” (Exodus 30:31)
The same oil was used for the Prophet and the High Priest. The oil itself symbolized the divine empowerment of God upon their life for the work unto which they were called. The anointing oil was also a symbolic reference for the Holy Spirit and the Power of God. So in the New Testament Jesus was anointed, not with oil, but with the Holy Spirit and the Power of God, which was the fulfilling of the symbolic reference of the anointing oil as the type.
33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
When Jesus ascended into heaven He poured out the Holy Spirit with the power of God upon all flesh (Jews and Non-Jews). It was those who had been taught the Gospel truth, who were in the upper room of a large house in Jerusalem, who were in a position to receive this infilling with the Holy Spirit and power. Now that we are the body of Christ and members of Christ Himself, now that we are ambassadors sent forth to represent His kingdom and as He is so are we in this world, we have what He has. Jesus is in heaven and still anointed with the Holy Spirit and power. Like the anointing oil that was poured on the High Priest Aaron and poured down his beard and his robe, so the Holy Spirit and power of God flows from Jesus into us. We are anointed with the same anointing that is on Jesus. This anointing fills us, that’s why it abides within our spirit. As we overflow with this anointing, our cup runs over, and the anointing is upon us as well as within us. This anointing (the Holy Spirit and Power) flows from us to others and touches their life’s. Thus the anointing can come from outside sources, like you could be an outside source to someone else, and for the anointing to fall upon that other person, then fill them as they yield their hearts and minds to Christ. Then from thereon they should learn to draw from the source directly within themselves. From where? Well, yes from Yahweh in Christ who sits on His throne in heaven. But we are in Christ, and He is in us. Se we learn to draw from within our spirit, filled with the Holy and Power. How? By faith. Believing what the scripture says about this and act accordingly.
Those first believers on the day of Pentecost received their first infilling, i.e. baptism with the Holy Spirit and power. They were now as Jesus was anointed by God, set apart and empowered from heaven to do the work unto which they were called. In Acts 4 we see that the believers experienced another infilling with the Holy Spirit and power, so powerful that an earthquake shook the grounds where they were. Note: there can be many, more than one infilling with the Holy Spirit and power. Were these two first experiences a sovereign act of God? Only in part. God had prepared those believers through the scriptures and the 3 ½ years of witnessing Jesus perform His ministry and listening to His teachings. But what is noticeable is that these believers were all in prayer when they received this infilling with the Holy Spirit and power. Were their prayers laced with references to the scriptures of the prophets, and some of the memories of what Jesus had told them what would happen?
I believe so. Those believers knew they could expect something powerful to happen because they had been told again, and again that it would. Thus by their obedience of faith to be ready, and looking towards this moment they became magnetic and attracted the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy and the foretelling’s of Jesus.
However, in our time we were not given a specific time or even a season when we could experience such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and power. Yet, the sermons of revival preachers telling us that we should pray for a move of God, and ask him to send the latter rain and the former rain are a regular seasonal occurrence. You can’t be involved with any Evangelical – Charismatic – Word of Faith – Grace Church and not at least once a year hear a message on revival. Then there will in most cases even be some manifestations. If the hunger for something to happen is great enough but the knowledge of how to draw upon the Holy Spirit and Power is lacking, the greater is the likelihood for behavior driven by desperate emotions to manifest something by the power of suggestion.
I remember the revival messages about the former and latter rain, which are initially references to literal rain to benefit the farmers crop and sometimes applied as an analogy to the coming of God with blessings, spiritual refreshment, or the manifest presence and outpouring of the Holy Spirit and power. We were told that we were living in “the last days” and that God is about to pour out His Holy Spirit in a much greater measure He has ever done before. This could be symbolically expressed as the former and the latter (latter referring to “the last days”) coming together and more people will turn to Christ than ever before throughout history.
Just for the record I believe we are living in a time where more people will turn to Christ than ever before in history. However, I do not believe it’s because we are living in “the last days” or because God waited until now to finally pour out His Holy Spirit in a greater measure then before.
The Bible usses the expressions “latter and former rain” which is also translated as “early and late rain,” “first rain and the latter rain” or “autumn and spring rains.”
The phrase can be found in Scripture multiple times. Deuteronomy 11:14; Jeremiah 5:24; Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23; Zechariah 10:1 and James 5:7.
Deuteronomy 11:13-15 is part of a promise that God gave to the nation of Israel that if they would love Him (Deuteronomy 11:1) and keep His commandments (Deuteronomy 11:8) then He would bless them. The blessing is described in the entire chapter and verses 13-15 is a promise of enough rain to grow their crops and feed their animals.
13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. 15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
In Israel the early rains came in the autumn (October-November) and the latter rain came in the spring (March-April).
In Jeremiah 5:24 God declares that He gives us rain. . . . Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season.
It is clear that the passage here is speaking of rain that is necessary for crops to grow.
3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
The Lords coming and manifest presence is like rain, which brings refreshment and joy, i.e. revival.
1 Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
The above verse was an encouragement to ask God for the latter rain for the crops. Notice that there were seasons of the year where rains were necessary. When that season of the year arrived the people farming the land were to request, and ask God in prayer for this rain. That type of prayer was the making of a demand of something that was due to them, according to the Covenant that was in place then. This was the Sinaitic Covenant where the terms and conditions promised rains in season if the people were obedient and upheld the covenant.
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
This was an encouragement to trust God and that their faith was to be exercised with patience as they were clearly looking towards the coming of the Lord in their lifetime, not 2000 years later. Since the resurrection of Christ, His ascension, and the day of Pentecost that first generation of believers were going to have to wait at least around 37 years for His promised Parousia. But the Gospel was being preached in all of Asia minor, and throughout the Roman empire. Many of the Gentiles (non Jews) were still to become believers and be part of the elect whom Jesus would come to collect and take home to heaven in the rapture. This process is described even by Jesus as the harvest, again a farmer’s analogy.
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Does Joel 2:23 Have A Spiritual Meaning?
23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
According to some, the “early rain” in Joel 2:23 refers to the first Pentecost and the “latter rain” refers to a future Pentecost when the Holy Spirit will be poured out in an unusual way. As a result, revival will occur and many will believe in God. But the passage does not say that. Let’s unpack that.
First of all this aplies initially to literal rain for the crop until harvest time. The spiritual application can be drawn but then a schoolboy error is made. When we interpret the symbolical meaning to “early rain” as a reference to Pentecost we can at best call it an assumption that this could be accurate. But to assume that the “latter rain” refers to some future move of God or a massive outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our day is really prescribing it to the law of randomness. Or should we perhaps assume that God will suddenly decide that it is time He intervenes and pours out His Spirit in a powerful way? Shall we just accept that this is God’s sovereign decision? Or perhaps we should all pray for an outpouring as the Prophet Zechariah instructed the Lord’s people. These types of presumptive interpretations are partly the reason why Christian’s have been praying for revival and have hardly seen any result or change over ten, twenty, thirty or even forty years. Where there is no scriptural precedence we should not be project our own presumptive spiritual ideas.
If the former and latter rains, though referring to literal rain for the crops of the land and be applied as an analogy or metaphor referring the spiritual meaning of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the power of God then lets stay in harmony with scripture. It is clear that the early and latter rain is used a an analogy referring to the fullness of the harvest, i.e. the Gentiles coming into the faith before the coming of the Lord in that first century. Therefore, we can be justified in using the same analogy to the Holy Spirit being poured out because water is often a symbolic reference to the Holy Spirit. And rain pouring out from heaven upon the earth therefore is not a far stretch for the symbolic reference to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
But I will tell you now that there is not ever going to be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit ever again. Why? Because the early rain refers to the mighty manifest presence of God during the Age of the Sinaitic Covenant when Yahweh delivered the people of Israel from Egypt and took them into the promised land and defeated their enemies. Clearly Hosea 6:3 also said, He shall come to us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. In each of these verses it appears as though the former and latter rain are thrown together and shall for a season be poured out at the same time. Joel who also foretells the day of Pentecost says “the former rain and the latter rain shall fall together in the first month”. Consequently, when the day of Pentecost came the Holy Spirit was poured out to bear witness of the New Covenant and the Gospel truth in the risen Christ. The Old Sinaitic Covenant and the New Covenant were active together for another almost forty years until that destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem and the power of the people was broken. And so we see the early and latter rain together for a period of almost forty years.
My dear friends, Yahweh the Father gave the promised Holy Spirit and power to His Christ, Yĕhôshúa who poured out this same Holy Spirit upon all flesh on that day of Pentecost. This was the latter rain, and it has been raining since that day. It is a powerful rain. It has never stopped raining. It is raining! Generally people don’t know the Lord have no idea about this reality, but you can’t blame them. Because, even Christian’s don’t know. They are begging and pleading with God for a move of God and and outpouring of His Spirit to send revival? Aaargh! It’s in all the praise songs even.
Now God answered those prayers more than 2000 years ago. The Holy Spirit is here. His power is available. Stand in this truth, stand in this light, place your demand on something that has already been granted as Christ’s Covenant right. Stop asking for revival, be revival. It’s easy. Get in the Word, yes pray in tongues, move away from things that were destructive to you, praise God for the victory in Christ, rejoice, stand in the Anointing of Christ that is constantly streaming down from the head onto the beard and the rest of His body and every member, which is you. Next time you preach draw upon this truth and let the mighty flow of His Holy Spirit and His power guide you. What if you were to just receive God’s answer to all the millions prayers going forth forever asking God to send the latter rain. Be that Christian standing up, not asking but by faith just standing in the truth. And when it’s your time to preach, stand in that rain, and watch how all others will get rained upon with the Holy Ghost and the Power of God.