FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
December 27, 2013
Are We Preparing for the Latter Rain?– Part X
THE SYMBOLIC MEANING OF RAIN
“I have also spoken by the prophets. . . . and used similitudes (symbols, N.K.J.V.), by the ministry of the prophets.” Hosea 12: 10, K.J.V.
LeRoy E. Froom helps us understand why Omniscience through the prophets of Old Testament, and Christ, in the New often taught and revealed ever-increasing truth through similitudes, symbols, and types, particularly the prophecies (and parables):
“Wondrous are the ways of God, and matchless His provisions for the children of His love. By precept and promise, by fact and figure, He patiently discloses the plans and provisions of His grace—the Infinite meeting the limitations of our finite understanding. With unerring wisdom He uses symbols and types to make plain to the spiritually-minded the deep things that are but inscrutable mysteries to the natural mind. And the more important the truth or provision is for us, the greater the variety of approaches employed to clarify our understanding, to appeal to our minds, and to challenge our consciences.
“Similitudes afford comparisons that make the realities represented vivid and living to mankind. Indeed, the Bible is largely a book of varying metaphors, similes, parables, allegories, and emblems. Unfigurative words are often lame vehicles of truth; but with words clothed in the robes of symbol—these figures of human speech and earthly imagery—truth is made gripping and real. Even thus are the majestic operations of the Holy Spirit strikingly portrayed under the luminous symbols of fire, water, oil, and wind, each with its special emphasis and unique lessons.” – “The Coming of the Comforter, Revised ed., Part IV formerly published as “Rivers of Living Waters,” Review & Herald Pub. Asso. , Washington , D.C. 1949, pp. 207-8.
Jesus Christ, the Savior of man, is represented in the Bible in many ways such as, The Branch; Bread of life; Bridegroom; Bright and Morning Star; Carpenter; Chief Cornerstone;, Dayspring; Diadem; Door; Horn of Salvation; Light of the world; Lily of the Valley; Lion of the tribe of Judah; Rock of our Salvation; Rod of the stem of Jesse; Root of David; Rose of Sharon; Scepter out of Israel; Unspeakable Gift; The Way, etc.
While the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ Vicegerent’s is invisible, whom He, “the fullness of the Godhead bodily” sent as His Successor in the name, i.e., by the authority and power of the Father—His works, Jesus explained to Nicodemus, during their midnight one-soul-audience interview in the Garden of Gethsemane on the process of true spiritual rebirth, are clearly manifested, including the fruitage of His infilling (Gal. 5: 22, 23), as the movings of the invisible wind, do. See John 3: 1-21. English poetess Christina Rosseti (1830-1894) wrote the famous poem Who Has Seen the Wind? Its second stanza says: “Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I; but when the trees bow their heads, the wind is passing by.”
Here we focus on the works of the Holy Spirit as symbolized by the rain. Both the early and latter rains, the former fulfilled atPentecost—poured out upon the prepared 120 disciples in the upper room, fifty (penta) days after Christ’s ascension, having the appearance of cloven tongues of fire (Acts chapter 2), were referred to by the Old Testament prophets, prophesying of amazing things He would accomplish through and for men’s salvation. Note the following (from the New King James Version):
“For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground: I will pour out My Spirit upon your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.” Isaiah 44: 3.
“Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone.” Zecharaiah 10: 1.
“I will make them and the places all around about My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season[appointed time]; there shall be showers of blessing.” Ezekiel 34: 26.
“Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you—the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” Joel 2: 23.
“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also on my menservants and May maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” Joel 2: 28, 29.
“Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord ; . . . and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” Hosea 6: 3, K.J.V.
The Old Testament promises and prophecies of the Early Rain met their partial fulfillment on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. These are to meet their complete fulfillment in the period of the time of the latter rain, which is now, to prepare candidates to receive the Latter Rain. – “In immediate connection with the scenes of the great day of God, the Lord by the prophet Joel, has promised a special manifestation of His Holy Spirit. Joel 2: 28. This prophecy received a partial fulfillment in the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost; but it will reach its full accomplishment in the manifestation of divine grace which will attend the closing work of the gospel.” – 1911 Great Controversy Introduction, p. ix.
“In the East the former rain falls at the sowing time. It is necessary in order that the seed may germinate. Under the influence of the fertilizing showers, the tender shoot springs up. The latter rain falling near the close of the season, ripens the grain and prepares it for the sickle [harvest]. The Lord employs these operations of nature to represent the work of the Holy Spirit. As the dew and the rain are given first to cause the seed to germinate and to ripen the harvest, so the Holy Spirit is given to carry forward from one stage to another, the processes of spiritual growth.”- E. G. White, Testimonies to Ministers, p. 506.
In his comprehensive seminar outlines (1969), The Early and the Latter Rain, Gordon Collier says: “Two different expressions are used in speaking of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, namely, the Early Rain and the Latter Rain.” Drawing from a veritable battalion of Bible verses and specific passages from the inspired pen, Collier says:
“The Early Rain is spoken of in three different ways: (1) the early rain (2) the former rain (3) the first rain. The Latter Rain is spoken of in four different ways: (1) the latter rain (2) the last rain (3) the refreshing (4) the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
“God uses these two rains with their two definite, distinct time periods, and their two definite, distinct, purposes, and their two, definite, distinct results, which every Jew was familiar, to illustrate the two-fold work of the Holy Spirit in preparing the earth for the last great final harvest—the spiritual harvest of souls.”- pp. 17, 18.
The Holy Spirit, through Apostle Paul, identifies who the New Testament Jew or Israelite is—the Christian! His circumcision or seal is not the physical (male) circumcision of flesh or by “the letter of the law,” which was part of the typical rites instituted by God Himself, first with Abraham (Gen. 17: 10-14), performed on the eighth day when the male child was also named (Luke 1: 59). Such “law of circumcision” was abolished together with all the others “added because of transgression, till the Seed [Christ] should come.” Gal 3: 19. The provisional, temporary, and ceremonial law prescribing the various typical systems of sacrifices, earthly priesthood, and feasts ended when type met antitype, shadow met substance in Christ at Calvary. Gal. 5: 1-4; Eph. 2: 11, 15. The Decalogue, changeless and eternal were never “added because of transgressions” but was the Law, in fact, written by God Himself, which Adam and Eve transgressed in Eden, rendering the original sinless pair and their posterity transgressors or sinners. Rom. 3: 23; 5: 12-21. The ceremonial law was added to teach man the Gospel in types and symbols until Christ.
Every born-again, spiritually circumcised Christian is one who has experienced the circumcision of the heart, the transformation by the renewing of the mind and the create-in-me-a-new-heart experience under the new covenant (Rom. 2: 28, 29; Heb. 10-13; 10: 16-20; Eze. 11: 19, 20; Ps. 51:10). If we are one of them, we should make it a top priority in our New Year’s Resolution to familiarize ourselves even more through study and prayer for the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment the spiritual applications of the former and latter rain—if we desire to be candidates to receive the coming Latter Rain!
As Collier says: “Our experience in Christ will be affected by the understanding of these two phases of the mission of the Holy Spirit. Our growth in grace [2 Pet. 3:18]
will correspond with our knowledge of this matter. The church, as well as each individual Christian, is to receive both the Early and Latter Rain.”
Study Revelation 13! We must now be experiencing the Early Rain sanctifying experience, overcoming our besetting sins by the Holy Spirit’s power both before and after the soon-coming legislative enactment of the mark of the beast, and the Latter Rain following its enactment, in order to be empowered to give the final loud cry in the last movement described as “the fourth angel” joining the third angel at the right time, even as the midnight cry joined the 1st angel’s message the right time in the summer of 1844. Study it for “the time is at hand”! (Continued next week)