Those who make it victoriously through the time of trouble and are ready for Christ’s second coming are those who grow to full spiritual maturity under the early rain and latter rain of the Holy Spirit. The early rain of the Spirit began to fall on the day of Pentecost and has been available to every Christian since that day. When we seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we are actually seeking the early rain experience of the Spirit.
It is vital for us to daily experience the early rain baptism of the Holy Spirit in order to spiritually grow to the point where we will benefit from the latter rain of the Spirit, which prepares Christians for the final crisis and Christ’s return. However, many don’t realize this fact and feel they must wait for the latter rain of the Spirit in order finally to have the victory over their besetting sins and spiritual immaturity. Such a view will end in disaster for the one who holds to it. Ellen White warns us:
“I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful, and were looking to the time of ‘refreshing’ and the ‘latter rain’ to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord, and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God” (Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, p. 112).
We must have victory over all temptation and sin in our life if we are to benefit from the latter rain and the outpouring of the Spirit. If we believe we do not have to take seriously the sin problem in our lives, we are deceived by Satan. Ellen White confirms this with these words:
“I saw that none could share the ‘refreshing’ unless they obtained the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action” (Ibid., p. 113).
Peter confirmed this when he said, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
The early or former rain of the Spirit, which is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, brings us to the spiritual maturity required in order to benefit from the latter rain.
“The latter rain, ripening earth’s harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of man. But unless the former rain has fallen, there will be no life; the green blade will not spring up. Unless the early showers have done their work, the latter rain can bring no seed to perfection” (The Faith I Live By, p. 333).
Full spiritual growth under the early rain baptism of the Spirit is necessary for us even to be able to recognize the latter rain of the Spirit when it falls.
“Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it” (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 507).
This is why the Lord is calling His children to daily receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit now and come out of their Laodicean condition. We are fast approaching the time of the full outpouring of the latter rain of the Spirit. God is giving us a merciful call or warning to prepare for this final worldwide Holy Spirit event. Only those who heed His call will receive the latter rain and be ready for Christ’s coming. At that time they will be like Jesus: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
Those who do not experience the early and latter rain will be like those on the day of Pentecost who did not receive the initial outpouring of the early rain. They will not understand what is happening and will mock those who are experiencing the fullness of God’s power under these two great outpourings of the Holy Spirit.
Personal reflection and discussion:
1. When did the early rain of the Spirit begin?
2. What must happen under the early rain baptism of the Holy Spirit in order to benefit from the latter rain?
3. If we are waiting for the latter rain of the Spirit to give us the victory over temptation and sin, what will be our fate?
4. What does the early rain baptism of the Spirit and latter rain of the Spirit prepare the Christian for?
• Call your prayer partner and discuss this devotional with him/her.
• Pray with your prayer partner:
1. Pray for God to baptize you with His Holy Spirit.
2. Pray for God to revive you and His church.
3. Pray for God to lead you to grow in spiritual maturity under the early rain of the Spirit in order to benefit from the latter rain.
4. Pray for the individuals on your prayer list.
Excerpt From: Dennis Smith. “40 Days.”