FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
January 3, 2014
Are We Preparing for the Latter Rain?– Part XI
THE TIME AND NECESSITY OF THE EARLY RAIN
Luke, the physician-apostle and traveling companion of Apostle Paul, records the following: “Now when the day of Pentecost had fully come, they [the 120 disciples] were all in one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2: 1-4, N.K.J.V.
The first of earth’s last three final messages being “preached with a loud voice,” i.e., increasing in magnitude and intensity since it commenced in 1844, is “the everlasting gospel. . “to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people,” specifically announcing, “Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of His judgment has come and worship Him that made heaven, the earth, the sea and springs of water.” Revelation 14: 6, 7.
All the major national languages or “tongues” of the inhabited parts of the world were represented in the Day of Pentecost at Jerusalem.
“Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in their own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? ‘
And how is it that we hear, each in their own language in which we were born?’ ‘Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Lybia adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, Whatever could this mean? Others mocking said, ‘They are full of new wine.’ Acts 2: 9-13.
Yes! The Holy Spirit enabled the largely-uneducated 120 disciples to speak with great fluency major languages with which they had previously been unacquainted! Included among them was no less than Mary the mother of Jesus! See Acts 1: 14.This is the last mention of her in the New Testament canon. She, too, could not proclaim the truth of a risen Savior in tongues and in unwonted power except by the Holy Spirit!
Our friends who are literally “speaking in unknown tongues,” which they admit cannot be understood, thus certainly cannot enlighten anyone regarding the wonderful works of God, need to be kindly reminded of this. Apostle Paul dealt with this issue in more detail in 1 Corinthians 14: 1-40, where he says in verse 19: “Yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.”
Peter’s reply to the mockers. – “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, ‘Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. ‘For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. [about 9 AM, Jewish time]. ‘But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel. [Joel 2: 28-32]. ‘And it shall come to passin the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.” Verses 14-18. Prophesy means “speak or sing by inspiration; simple discourse;” “foretell events; divine; speak under inspiration.”
“And with many words he [Peter] testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ Then those whogladly received his word were baptized; and that same day about three thousand souls were added to them.” Acts 2: 40, 41.
“What was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost? The glad tidings of a risen Savior were carried to the uttermost parts of the inhabited world. As the disciples were proclaimed the message of redeeming grace, hearts yielded to the power of this message. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Backsliders were re-converted . . . . Some who had been the bitterest opponents of the gospel became its champions . . . . Every Christian saw in his brother a revelation of divine love and benevolence. One interest prevailed; one subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character, and to labor for the enlargement of His [spiritual] kingdom.”- E. G. White, Acts of the Apostles, p. 48.
HOW DID THE EARLY DISCIPLES PREPARE TO RECEIVE THE EARLY RAIN?
They “put away all differences, all desire for supremacy, and came close together in Christian fellowship.” “They did not wait in idleness. The record says they were ‘continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.’ “They humbled their hearts in true repentance and confessed their unbelief.” “They drew nearer and nearer to God.” “They were weighted with the burden of the salvation of souls.” “The disciples prayed with intense earnestness for a fitness to meet men, and in their daily intercourse to speak words that would lead sinners to Christ.” AA 35, 37.
WHAT WAS THE EFFECT OF THE EARLY RAIN ON THE SPIRITUALITY OF THE EARLY APOSTOLIC CHURCH?
Countless confuse the crucial difference between being religious and being spiritual. The Pharisees of Christ’s day and their counterparts today make a great show of their religion many rites and ceremonialism. They earn their salvation by self-manufactured merits and good works, not on the merits and example of Christ’s perfect self-denying, self-sacrificing life-example which reached its most glorious manifestation on earth in His all-powerful atoning life-sacrifice at Calvary. The true Christian—followers of Christ’s life and teachings are not merely religious outwardly; they are spiritually-minded. They do not walk [live] according to the desires of the flesh and a carnal mind but according to the Spirit, in harmony with God’s law. See Romans chapter 8.
“Under the Holy Spirit’s working even the weakest, by exercising faith in God, learned to improve their entrusted powers, and to become sanctified, refined, and ennobled. As in humility they submitted to the molding influence of the Holy Spirit, they received the fullness of the Godhead [!], and were fashioned in the likeness of the divine.” AA 49, 50.
See Acts 4: 1—13. This reception of the “fullness of the Godhead bodily” through the Holy Spirit’s outpouring was gloriously manifested in both the performance of signs and wonders and the fearless declaration of unvarnished truth. It also quickly resulted in the first bitter persecution of Christ’s disciples by their own nation. John and Peter were arraigned before the Sanhedrin. Demanded to explain “By what power or by what name have you done this? [the healing of the lame man by the temple gate]’ Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered…”Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.
‘This is the Stone [Rock] which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief Cornerstone [Ps. 118; 22]. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’ Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”
“Daily they prayed for fresh supplies of grace, that they might still reach higher and still higher towards [moral] perfection.” “Under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven.” “Those who at Pentecost were endued with power from on high, were not thereby freed from further temptation and trial . . . . They were compelled to strive with all their God-given powers to reach the measure of the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus [Eph. 4: 13].”- AA 38, 49. “The ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character, and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.” AA 48.
Greater Preparation Needed for the coming Latter Rain! “When the earth is lightened with the glory of God [see Revelation 18], we shall see a work similar to that which was wrought when the disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaimed the power of the risen Savior.” – Ibid, Review & Herald, Nov. 29, 1892.
“These scenes are to be repeated and with greater power. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was the former rain [and glorious was the result, 8T 21], but the latter rain will be more abundant.” – Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300.
Are we preparing to receive the fullness of the Godhead, to be fashioned in the likeness of the divine? Has this ever been our ambition, our goal? If never, we should make it the top priority in our New Year’s Resolution for 2014. The hour is late!