Scripture On Which The Movement Is Based
By Mary Tarkowski

The Latter Rain movement teaches that God's outpouring of His Spirit at Pentecost was the "former rain" mentioned in Joel 2:23. According to this teaching, the "latter rain" is still to come in the last days. Built on this doctrine are numerous other teachings, particularly those promising the restoration of apostles and prophets, new revelations by these men, the literal perfection of the endtimes saints and their manifestation as Sons of God, and the restoration of the world as God's Kingdom on earth, ruled by Christ's corporate body, in preparation for Jesus' second coming.

Considering the extraordinary nature of these teachings, and the fact that they so contradict classic, historical Christian doctrine, we should look into the Scriptures on which the Latter Rain doctrine is supposedly based.

God's promise of former and latter rains is first given in Deuteronomy 11, as Israel is preparing to enter the promised land.:

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 the 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.

Seven hundred years later, despite Israel's continued unfaithfulness and arrogance, the people assumed that after two or three days of repentance, God would restore His blessing to them as surely as He had sent the former and latter rains:

1 Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
2 After two days he will revive us; in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
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" (Hosea 6).

Again, this reference to rains is anything but a promise from God to twice pour out His Spirit in the former and latter days.

A third scripture reference, from the book of Joel, is one most often quoted by Latter Rain teachers. In Acts 2, Peter declared that Pentecost was the fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32 ("And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people . . .") But confusing the latter DAYS with the latter RAIN, teachers of the Latter Rain movement take verses 23 and 24 out of their own context and apply them to the promise in verses 28 through 32. A straight reading of these verses, however, indicates nothing more than their literal meaning. Because of Israel's repentance, God will again bless them with regular rainfall, resulting in abundant crops:

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.
24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

The last reference to latter rain is found in the New Testament. Writing to Christians suffering at the hands of the world, James encourages them to have patience in the face of such adversity:

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; establish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

Rather than promising a second outpouring of the Holy Spirit resulting in immortal Manifest Sons of God conquering and ruling the world before Christ's return, James points to the PATIENCE of the husbandman, or farmer. Jesus described such a farmer in Mark's gospel:

26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come (Mark 4).

According to Jesus, the Kingdom of God will not be set up by men, but by God himself when the time of the harvest, or judgment, has come. In the meantime, the Kingdom is established in men's hearts as they believe the gospel and patiently allow the Holy Spirit to produce fruit within.

In the only spiritual sense allowed by these verses, the former and latter rain, as well as the ground itself, are those circumstances which God uses to bring forth fruit in our lives. He sent Israel the literal rain in due season in order to provide for His children in their land, and now He sends the figurative rain to provide us with spiritual growth. In other words, the Latter Rain movement has no scriptural basis even for its foundational teaching. It stands to reason, then, that all the other doctrines built on its non-existent base are actually hanging in mid-air.

Mary Tarkowski


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