Analogous to the former and the latter rain, that falls in Eastern lands at seedtime and harvest, the Hebrew prophets foretold the outpouring of the Spirit in extraordinary measure upon God’s church. The outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) was the former rain. God is to pour out the Spirit to His remnant church as the latter rain. It is to this outpouring of the Spirit that the church is to send her petitions to the Lord of the harvest “in the time of the latter rain,” in response, “the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain” (Zechariah 10:1). He promised, “He will cause to come down . . . the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain” (Joel 2:23). We must prepare for the latter rain to be ready for the harvest.
A call for Seventh-day Adventists to pray for the latter rain has been made. In the Adventist World, January 2011, at page 16, the General Conference leaders posed the question: “Will you join us in personally accepting this call to a deeper spiritual experience through prayer, Bible study, study of the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, and pleading with God for the latter rain?” The church must heed this call by preparing for the rain. But it is also important that we fully know and live by the conditions upon which the latter rain will be poured out.
This call comes at a time when the Church is at its greatest need of a true spiritual revival and reformation. God brings against the Church the heavy charge of spiritual feebleness, saying, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” (Revelation 3:15-18).
God calls for a spiritual revival and a spiritual reformation. Unless this takes place, those who are lukewarm will continue to grow more abhorrent to the Lord, until He will refuse to acknowledge them as His children.
A true spiritual revival and reformation must be reached before the latter rain is fully poured out. For many, the cares of this world and pace of life leave us with no time for God. There is often no thoughtful time given to studying the Word of God. In His mercy, God sends messengers to revive and reform us. But in rebellion, we arise against the messengers. We remain in a lukewarm state “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5). We mock God when we profess to be His children yet play spiritual whoredom. God has responded by withholding the latter rain. “Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed” (Jeremiah 3:3). In preparing for the latter rain, there is only one safe way, and that is, the way of obedience to a “Thus saith the Lord.”
Reformation should take place not only in individual lives but also in the corporate body of Christ. The church must be “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27), if the Church is to be an effective agent of calling the other flock out of Babylon into the fold. It calls for the faithful believer in the Church to “take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:16); “continue in the faith grounded and settled” (Colossians 1:23). Not until we are purified by Christ’s doctrine, will He pour out the Spirit. God could not display His power in behalf of ancient Israel until they were purified.
God will wait until His faithful remnants are purified before He will pour out the latter rain. Israel was cleansed before they could stand before their enemies. When the decree to honour Sunday as a day of worship goes forth, unless fitted by the latter rain outpouring, we will not stand before the enemy.
For Israel, in the case of Achan’s sin God said to Joshua: “Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you” (Joshua 7:12). Ministers who will not raise their voice against sin and wrong, but whose sympathies are ever found with those who defile the remnant Church with their sins, must now hearken to God if they should have part in the latter rain. Without the latter rain, we cannot stand against Sunday Law when it comes. Yet with sin in Israel, God was clear to Joshua: “Thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you” (Joshua 7:13). God calls on Pastors, Elders, and all leaders, to purge sin from the remnant Church in preparation for the latter rain.
In 1 Kings 18, it was after Elijah had removed the cause of Israel’s apostasy by slaying the idolatrous priests that he then interceded in behalf of Israel, with his face bowed between his knees, praying earnestly for God to send rain. In some of our churches we have patterned our worship after fallen churches. The Elijahs at the General Conference have called for revival and reformation as to remove the cause of Israel’s apostasy. It is for us now to respond by true repentance. But if we heed not the call, sin will rest with us as rebellious individuals.
The General Conference has called for revival and reformation. It is now for individuals to heed the call. Not all in the church will be revived, for there are tares and wheat. God will pour out the latter rain upon those that revive and reform in the church, the wheat, but the tares shall not discern or receive it.
Preparing for the latter rain require having victory over sin. For the church to be “holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27), individual members that have sincerely confessed their sins, should by God’s grace “go, and sin no more” (John 8:11), and “sin no more, lest a more worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14), such as living without shelter of the latter rain during the time of trouble.
What is that sin in you? “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings” (Galatians 5:19-21), or simply being lukewarm? Now is the time to pray to God to create us anew, to not only take away sin but also give us the Holy Ghost to keep us from sinning, so that we will be fitted for the final outpouring of the latter rain.
Christ died that we might be renewed, refined, elevated, ennobled, that God might see His image restored in the heart of man. But the Lord cannot take away our sin unless we shall cooperate with Him in the work. We must each inquire, am I cleansed from sin? Do I hate sin, and love righteousness? Am I prepared to make any and every sacrifice for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord?
Christ took upon Himself the infirmities of humanity, and lived a sinless life, that men might have no fear that because of the weakness of human nature they could not overcome sin. Because of what Christ did for us, it is “given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4).
Christ overcame sin. “The prince of this world cometh,” said Jesus, “and hath nothing in me” (John 14:30). Christ did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. In Christ, we overcome and need not retain one sinful propensity.
Christ bids you: “abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4). For “whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not” (1 John 3:6). When assailed by temptation, look not to circumstances or to the weakness of self, but to the power of the Word of God. All its strength is yours. Grasp His promises as leaves from the tree of life: “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). As you come to Him, believe that He accepts you, because He has promised. No one can ever perish while he abides in Christ by faith.
Now is the time to have your soul purified that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement. It is our work now to yield our souls to Christ that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and be fitted for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Unless we overcome sin, we cannot have the latter rain. We are told: “I saw that none could share the ‘refreshing’ unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should therefore be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord” (Early Writings, p. 71).
“Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost” (Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 5, p. 214). Note that the conditions for the sealing and for the latter rain are here the same.
Now is the time when we are to confess and forsake our sins that they may go beforehand to judgment and be blotted out. Now is the time to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). The Holy Spirit cannot be poured out into a filthy soul. The work of overcoming sin is now, if we must partake of the latter rain.
To pray for and receive the latter rain requires us to turn away from our sins. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). God will heal our spiritual land if we pray and turn from our wicked ways. If we forsake sin, the Lord will heal us by pouring out upon us the latter rain.
Without full power of the Holy Spirit, we are like lifeless dry bones. The prophet Ezekiel looking at the dry bones, wrote: “Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army” (Ezekiel 37:9). Christ seeks to revive us, and we must cooperate with Him to overcome sin and receive the latter rain in order to be “an exceeding great army.”
As Jesus was about to be taken in heaven, He breathed the same power, into the dry bones, as it were, of His disciples. “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22). This was before Pentecost. Before the latter rain, the Holy Ghost will effect a true spiritual revival and reformation in God’s saints.
This act of Christ in breathing upon His disciples the Holy Ghost, and in imparting His peace to them, was as a few drops before the plentiful shower to be given on the day of Pentecost. So is the parallel to the latter rain, which will be sprinkled before it is poured out, just as it was in regard to Pentecost. Events of Pentecost are to be repeated with even “greater power,” which is represented by the fourth angel that John saw: “I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory” (Revelation 18:1). By the latter rain, the warning message of the third angel will reach the whole earth. But unless we receive the drops now we will not receive this great power given through the latter rain.
As the breathing of Jesus to His disciples prepared them for Pentecost, we must first receive the refreshing through the doctrine in the Word of God. “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear” (Isaiah 28:9-12).
Asking Christ to breath on you, involves knowing your need of cleansing from sin and casting yourself fully on Christ. “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength” (Isaiah 40:29). “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The Lord says, “Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God” (Jeremiah 3:13), and “then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you” (Ezekiel 36:25). Before the latter rain, Christ must “sprinkle clean water upon you” so that you “shall be clean” and prepared for the latter rain.
Now is the time to ask Christ to breath upon us. We need the Holy Ghost to work His gifts in us. Christ breathed on His disciples (John 20:22), and then He said to them, “Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you” (Luke 24:49). They already had a measure of the Holy Spirit, they receive another measure, and they were yet to receive outpouring of the same. But not until after the ascension of Christ was the gift received in its fullness. Not until through faith and prayer the disciples had surrendered themselves fully for His working was the outpouring of the Spirit received at Pentecost.
Although “Unto every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Ephesians 4:7), the Spirit “dividing to every man severally as He will” (1 Corinthians 12:11), like the disciples, we need a great outpouring of the Spirit of God if we should complete the gospel ministry in these perilous times. But Christ must first breathe on us a measure of the Holy Ghost to enable us go through the disciples’ experience in preparation.
To receive the latter rain, we must first be sealed, and to be sealed, we must depart from iniquity. “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19). The Lord commands a halt on destruction until His people are sealed (Revelation 7:2, 3). “Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads – it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved – just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has begun already” (SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 1161).
To those that are to be sealed, sin must “become exceeding sinful” (Romans 7:13). Even others’ sin must grieve those that are to be sealed. “The Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof” (Ezekiel 9:4). We must no more be indifferent to sin.
To be sealed is to be settled in the testimony and the law of God; when we both know and love it, then the Lord will declare: “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples” (Isaiah 8:16), and “never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Psalms 55:22). For every doctrine we must appeal to “the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). For the law of God is the one unerring rule by which all doctrines are to be tested.
We must be settled in the truth so “that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). The law and testimony represent “the hope of the gospel” preached to us, in which we must be “grounded and settled, and be not moved away from” (Colossians 1:23). We must first be sealed in the sense of being settled in truth before the latter rain is poured out to enable us to take undiluted truth to perishing souls.
Preparing for the latter rain require keeping our vessels clean, which entails a total victory over every kind of sin. Says the apostle: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). The apostle’s call for repentance is the same gospel Jesus preached at the commencement of His ministry. “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). At the commencement of the Loud Cry, the final warning message to the world, in the great power of the angel of Revelation chapter eighteen, a true revival and reformation calls for repentance and forsaking all sin.
Only those who are living up to all the truth they have received through the former rain will receive the latter rain. We sin against God when for whatever reason we ignore the truth. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). If we continue regarding sin in our hearts while we pray for the latter rain, God will not hear our prayers. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18). If we should receive the latter rain, we must take heed to our ways. If the psalmist could not be heard if he regarded iniquity in his heart, our prayers also will not be heard while iniquity is regarded in our hearts.
Now is the time to cleanse the vessels that will receive the latter rain. “Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field” (Zechariah 10:1). When you realise that now is “the times of refreshing” when your sins are being “blotted out” (Acts 3:19), not at some future point when Sunday Law is passed, then you know that now is “the time of the latter rain” and that you must “ask ye of the LORD rain” (Zechariah 10:1). When the Sunday Law is passed, only those who have lived according to all the light we have, who have been sealed by the law and testimony that they cannot be moved by every wind of doctrine, will receive the latter rain when this is poured out abundantly to complete the Loud Cry.
Seventh-day Adventists cannot with impunity reject the warning which God in His mercy has sent them through the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy and therefore fail to develop a character that is worthy of the latter rain and hope to develop such a character amidst the panic and fear of enacted Sunday Law! At that time, “a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, [will] abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition” (The Great Controversy, p. 608).
As the former rain was given, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the gospel, to cause the up springing of the precious seed, so the latter rain will be given at its close for the ripening of the harvest. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). “That I will give you the rain of your 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” (Deuteronomy 11:14). Those who have lived up to the light they have will receive greater light, the latter rain, and proceed on to complete the Loud Cry for the final harvest.
The former rain was moderate, but the latter rain will be more abundant. “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” (Joel 2:23). “Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee” (Zechariah 9:12). “Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field” (Zechariah 10:1). It will be said of the saints that wait faithfully: “And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain” (Job 29:23).
Let us by God’s grace prepare the vessels to receive the latter rain. If your body vessel should be ready, it is not enough that you only “let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it” (Romans 7:12), but also you “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
To keep your vessel clean requires you to follow the truth even if you do so alone. “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2). “The greatest want of the world is the want of men, – men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall” (Education, p. 57). Indeed, “the Father seeketh such to worship Him” (John 4:23). Only clean vessels will receive the latter rain.
If we are to participate in completing the Loud Cry, we must spend more time in prayer to God, pleading for His Holy Spirit to enable us overcome all sin, and for His latter rain in this time of the latter rain. We must be wise, watchful and prayerful, lest we wake up too late only to exclaim, “the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20). Rather look to Christ and when He comes for you and hear Him say, “well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21). Let us look forward to replying to Him, “this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:9). Now is the time to separate from worldly pleasures, sin and all appearance of evil, and receive the latter rain.
It is God’s favour that we receive the latter rain. “In the light of the king’s countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain” (Proverbs 16:15). We must be patient as we wait. “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” (James 5:7). For if we have done all to know and love the truth, repented of all our sin, and prayed for the latter rain, “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 6:3). We must earnestly pray.
A deep sense of our need and a great desire for the things for which we ask must characterise our prayers, else they will not be heard. We are not to become weary and cease our petitions because the answer is not immediately received. “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). This violence refer to a holy earnestness, such as Jacob manifested when “he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him” (Hosea 12:4). Like Jacob, we must earnestly pray.
In praying for the latter rain, we need not try to work ourselves up into an intense feeling, but calmly, and persistently, we are to press our petitions at the throne of grace. Beware of spiritualism. Our work is to humble our souls before God, confessing our sins, and in faith drawing nigh unto God.
It is the desire of God to reveal Himself in His providence and in His grace. The object of our need of the latter rain in our prayers must be the glory of God, not the glorification of our own, lest we receive a counterfeit latter rain. Our petitions must be offered in perfect submission and full surrender. But if we regard iniquity in our hearts, if we cherish any darling sin, we may be assured that no blessing will be given in response to our latter rain prayers.
As Seventh-day Adventists, we are a peculiar people separate from the world in character – how we eat, socialize, dress, praise or worship, and pray – called by God to be His ambassadors for Him in the last work of salvation of men. Christ bids and warns us: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5). If we should receive the latter rain, we must first fully live by the former rain.
In terms of how we eat, we have no excuse. We ought to have long awakened to the dangers of flesh eating. The Spirit of Prophecy says: “God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design – that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth. Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavor to work steadily toward it” (Counsels on Health, p. 450; Last Day Events, p. 81-82).
To our members: “Those who indulge in meat eating, tea drinking, and gluttony are sowing seeds for a harvest of pain and death. The unhealthful food placed in the stomach strengthens the appetites that war against the soul, developing the lower propensities. A diet of flesh meat tends to develop animalism. A development of animalism lessens spirituality, rendering the mind incapable of understanding truth” (Counsels on Health, p. 575).
To our ministers: “Let not any of our ministers set an evil example in the eating of flesh meat. Let them and their families live up to the light of health reform. Let not our ministers animalize their own nature and the nature of their children. Children whose desires have not been restrained, are tempted not only to indulge in the common habits of intemperance, but to give loose rein to their lower passions, and to disregard purity and virtue. These are led on by Satan not only to corrupt their own bodies, but to whisper their evil communications to others” (Medical Ministry, p. 281).
To Adventists: “Greater reforms should be seen among the people who claim to be looking for the soon appearing of Christ. Health reform is to do among our people a work which it has not yet done. There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat eating who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering the physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God’s people, to walk no more with them” (Review & Herald, 27 May 1902; LD Events, p. 82).
In terms of how we socialize, the Spirit of Prophecy says: “I cannot find an instance in the life of Christ where He devoted time to play and amusement. He was the great Educator for the present and the future life. I have not been able to find one instance where He educated His disciples to engage in amusement of football or pugilistic games, to obtain physical exercise, or in theatrical performances; and yet Christ was our pattern in all things” (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 229).
In terms of how we dress, we must not dress like the world does. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Note that, “A person’s character is judged by his style of dress. A refined taste, a cultivated mind, will be revealed in the choice of simple and appropriate attire” (Education, p. 238). The most objectionable part of dressing like the world, for which the majority of those that profess to be Seventh-day Adventists are guilty, especially those in developed countries, is wearing of clothing that pertains to the opposite sex. Yet, ignoring God’s requirements (Deuteronomy 22:5; 1 Timothy 2:9; Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 457), souls expect to receive the latter rain whilst dressed in abominable manner.
In terms of how we praise, our praises are fast becoming abominations to the heavenly visitors in our churches. Church music is fast turning into worldly amusements. We are told: “Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted. God calls upon His people, who have the light before them in the Word and in the Testimonies, to read and consider, and to take heed. Clear and definite instruction has been given in order that all may understand” (Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 38).
As to musical instruments in worship services, the Lord specified three types of instruments to be used by the Levites in the Sanctuary: harp, lyre, and the cymbal (1 Chronicles 25:1, 6; 2 Chronicles 29:25). In this list there are no drums. The celebratory drum worship is not of God, and those engaged therein cannot expect the Holy Spirit to reside therein, let alone the worshippers receiving the true latter rain.
In terms of how we pray, we cannot, in irreverent manner pray for the latter rain and expect to receive it. Whilst Elijah did “cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees” (1 Kings 18:42) praying for the rain, in our churches today, we have the audacity to stand erect praying for the latter rain! We must reform with reverence in our worship.
To Adventists who will receive the latter rain, we must humbly obey the duty: “Both in public and in private worship it is our duty to bow on our knees before God when we offer our petitions to Him (Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 312). “Jesus, our example, ‘kneeled down, and prayed.’ Luke 22:41. Of His disciples it is recorded that they, too, ‘kneeled down, and prayed.’ Acts 9:40. Paul declared, ‘I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Ephesians 3:14. In confessing before God the sins of Israel, Ezra knelt. See Ezra 9:5. Daniel ‘kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God.’ Daniel 6:10” (Prophets and Kings, 48). Recall from whence thou art fallen!
God in His mercy sends messengers to revive and reform His people. For us, Seventh-day Adventists, the Spirit of Prophecy contains enough counsel that if heed would prepare the Church for the latter rain. But many pay only lip service to it. Many excuses are given for disregarding the truth contained therein. Those who call others to heed the Spirit of Prophecy are often ridiculed and suffer reproach from fellow church members.
“The Spirit of Prophecy offers counsel for almost every aspect of Christian life, and is as relevant today as when it was written decades ago. These are truly messages from heaven. Read the Spirit of Prophecy daily alongside your Bible. Believe it. Promote it. Use it. Teach it. Support it – and you will discover a new power in your spiritual life that helps you to rise and walk in newness of life” (GC President, Adventist World, November 2010, p. 10).
The Spirit of Prophecy is given to us to make the Bible plain so that we have no excuse. In his day, Peter warned that some misunderstand the letters of Paul. For in Paul’s letters, there are “some things hard to be understood” (2 Peter 3:16). The theme subjects of Paul, grace of Jesus, victory over sin, and righteousness by faith, could be more difficult to understand without the plainness in the Spirit of Prophecy. The Spirit of Prophecy is to the church as Philip was to the Ethiopian officer. In Acts 8:26-39 we find this analogy. If you say, ‘I will only read my Bible, no Ellen G White’s writings,’ Philip asks: “Understandest thou what thou readest?” (verse 30). If you humble yourself, you will say: “How can I, except some man should guide me?” (verse 31). We must accept the aid of the Spirit of Prophecy to fully know the Bible truth in preparing for the latter rain. Let us humbly heed the Spirit of Prophecy!
In preparation leading up to Pentecost, the message of repentance and sharp rebuke of sin was borne by John, who was the lesser light, leading to Jesus, the greater light. John said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Ellen G White writings are understood as a lesser light leading to a greater light. Those Jews who rejected the testimony of John were not benefited by the teachings of Jesus. Those who will get lost in the Seventh-day Adventist Church will first reject the lesser light and eventually give up the greater light, just as it was when the Jews rejected John and ended up crucifying Jesus (Acts 2:22, 23). Those Jews, who rejected the reproofs and warnings of John, were not prepared for the former rain on the day of Pentecost. Seventh-day Adventists who reject the Spirit of Prophecy will not be prepared for the latter rain. Let us heed the Spirit of Prophecy!
“Those Seventh-day Adventists who take their stand under Satan's banner will first give up their faith in the warnings and reproofs contained in the Testimonies of God’s Spirit” (Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 84). “The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God's remnant people in the true testimony” (Selected Messages, Vol. 1, p. 48).
“The enemy has made his masterly efforts to unsettle the faith of our own people in the Testimonies … This is just as Satan designed it should be, and those who have been preparing the way for the people to pay no heed to the warnings and reproofs of the Testimonies of the Spirit of God will see that a tide of errors of all kinds will spring into life” (Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 83).
Finally, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).