We are waiting for revival to break loose in this town, this district and this country! This is what we are praying about, wishing and longing for. We want to see “the rain from heaven” fall upon the nation, so that many people get saved and The Kingdom of God is moving forth. Maybe we remember revivals from earlier times, and our highest wish in life is to see this happen again. At least, it should be our highest wish in life!
This verse from the Bible encourages us to be patient and persevering in our work as Christians. We are living in a time of harvest, and we see people coming to the Lord and getting saved. But anyway, the revival will not break loose in its full power without “the latter rain from heaven”.
What does the Bible mean with these terms: “The early and the latter rain”?
In Israel the rainy season started in the autumn, in October. Then this rainy season used to last until the beginning of Mars. But yet there was always a period in December/January, when it didn’t rain. It was a break in the rainy season, an interval which separated the rainy season in two. The first rain, in the autumn, was called “the early rain”. And the second rain, in the early spring, was called “the latter rain”.
1. THE FIRST CHURCHES – THE EARLY RAIN!
As a Biblical term, these words also speak about a “spiritual rain”. The rain is a symbol of revival and spiritual harvest. I want to show you, from the Bible and from the history, that we have already had the early rain! It was a period of almost 200 years after Jesus died and rose again. In this time it was a big rainy season from heaven! Churches were started in many places and multitudes of people came to know the truth and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Through the apostles, like Peter, Jakob, John, Andrew, Matthew, Philip, Thomas, Paul, Timothy, Silas, Barnabas, Titus etc. the gospel were spread into the whole civilization of that time. When we read in The Book of Acts, we see that these apostles went into many places and provinces, and started churches in the supernatural power of God.
The church in Jerusalem became extremely strong, because the apostles (disciples of Jesus) remained there most of the time. Let us look on some verses that describe how high the standard was in this church of the early rain.
What a standard! What a power! What an authority upon these apostles! The spiritual power and standard reached such a high level, that “…they were all healed”.
This is the spiritual level that we should be longing for! This is what we should desire when we pray for revival.
The church in Jerusalem was a large group of ordinary people! Even the apostles were ordinary people, but under a mighty anointing from heaven!
I want to tell you that the same anointing is available today, for the servants who want to give up their own lives to follow Jesus and preach the gospel! God is confirming His own word in the same way today, as He did 200 years ago!
2. THE MIDDLE AGES – THE DRY PERIOD
The early rain lasted for almost 200 years after The Day of Pentecost. During these years, the gospel had reached all the middle east, Syria, Persia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Spain and even more far. All the provinces of The Roman Empire received bold apostles who started churches under a heavy persecution.
But after this period, a dark cloud came upon the world, especially upon the nations of Europe. During The Middle Ages, the supernatural church got transformed into political and religious organizations without spiritual life and power! Instead of boldly serving Jesus and following Him, the people were forced to obey many strange doctrines, ceremonies and religious rituals.
3. AFTER THE REFORMATION – THE LATTER RAIN IS STARTING!
This dark period lasted for a long time. More than 1000 years it was almost totally dark spiritually in the whole world! But then came a period of awakening and preparation for the last revival. The reformation came to Europe in the middle of the 16th century. From this time we had revivals like:
The Lutheran Reformation in 1538 with Martin Luther
The Ana Baptists in Germany and the middle of Europe
The Methodist revival with the Wesley brothers
The Baptist revival
The Salvation Army with William Booth
The Pentecostal revival
During the last century, The Pentecostal Revival has had a mighty affection upon the world. From Azuza Street many ministers went out in the world with a great power and anointing. Now we see strong churches in all the continents of the world. I can mention nations that now really experience the blessings of the latter rain, like: China, South-Korea, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Ghana, Tanzania, Argentina, Brazil etc.
4. THE LATTER RAIN IS FOR OUR TIME!
Jesus said that The Gospel of the Kingdom should be preached to every tribe and nation before the end comes. Now we have missionaries in every part of the world, and it will not last long before every tribe, every language, and every nation have heard The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is another scripture that is very interesting according to the last revival.
(Joel 2,28-29) (Joel 3, 1-2 i den norske bibelen)
The apostle Peter spoke these verses on The Day of Pentecost, and many Christians believe that The Day of Pentecost was the final fulfillment of this prophecy. But I want to show you that even though The First Church experienced this, and Peter spoke about it on The Day of Pentecost, it belongs to the Church of the very last days! IT BELONGS TO US TODAY!
Now I guess you will ask: “How can you say so?” Well let me tell you something. If you read in chapter 2 in the book of Joel, you will read about the people of Israel getting their land back. Read verse 25-27 in chapter 2. God says: “My people shall never be put to shame”. This is speaking about the time after Holocaust. It is speaking about the time after 14. May 1948, when the nation of Israel was reborn!
it shall come to pass that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh…”
After what? After what happened 14. May 1948, when Israel got their land back!
So THE LATTER RAIN IS FOR THIS TIME!!
5. PRAY, AND GET PREPARED FOR THE LATTER RAIN!
We must ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain! It means that we have to PRAY so that God can release the rain from heaven. The reason why nations in Africa, Asia and South America have received the latter rain, is that the Christians have been praying patiently for a long time. We must also pray, and seek God on behalf of the people. And then the latter rain will come upon us, so we can see the greatest revival in history.
(2. Chronicles 7,14)