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The Latter Rain and Intercession, Part 2

Eugene Prewitt

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For relevant file attachments, please see Part I of this talk.

Presenter

Eugene Prewitt

Director, The Institute of East Asia Training (IEAT)

Sponsor

Conference

Recorded

  • August 19, 2006
    3:45 PM
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Our Father in Heaven, we’re bowing our heads as a symbol of the fact that we are dependent on You. I ask for Your own sake that You would teach us the meaning of Your Holy Bible, that You would weaken the influence of anything I say that is faulty, that You would strengthen the power of anything I share that truly represents this Book. I ask for these gifts in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

I’d like you to turn with me in your Bibles to Proverbs, chapter 5. Proverbs, chapter 5, has one of the most interesting passages in all of Scripture. It describes the thoughts of someone while they are burning in the lake of fire, and I would think we could gain some benefit by seeing those thoughts before we might have an opportunity to think them. Proverbs 5, and looking particularly at verse 11, it says, “And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, and say, ‘How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the,’” church, “‘congregation and assembly.’”

 

I don’t know who it would be, but someone’s thoughts are going to be very much up and down these lines. I suppose they’ll be the thoughts of many people. Are they going to realize that they’re responsible for where they are? Are they going to realize that God worked hard to win them? And what evidence does this person give? What ways did he understand God was working to save him? God was doing it through instruction, through His teachers, through the church, and through all these things, yet, he wasn’t paying attention. He wasn’t changing his life, and we don’t want to be thinking those thoughts.

 

The Bible describes some other thoughts in Jeremiah, chapter 5. Turn with me there to Jeremiah, chapter 5, two fives about thoughts. Jeremiah 5 describes some thoughts that God would like us to be thinking. In fact, He faults us for the fact that these thoughts are not part of our repertoire of thoughts? We’re not thinking them. Jeremiah, chapter 5, and looking at verse 23, “But this people has a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, ‘Let us now fear the Lord our God.’”

 

Is there something God would like us to be saying in our heart? What should you be saying to yourself? “This is a time to fear God.” “This is a time to tremble at His Word.” “This is an appropriate time to relate to Him with that awe and respect that He is worthy of.” Do we live in a special time for this? “Fear God for the…”? “…hour of His judgment is come”? This is a special time when our thoughts ought to be on this topic. It’s a time to be fearing God.

 

It says, “Let us now fear the Lord our God, that gives rain, both the former and the latter, in his season.” Should we be thinking about the early and the latter rain? Do we live in the time of the latter rain? And do the early and latter rain come, both, in the last generation? We’ve looked in Joel 2. We didn’t read verse 23, but if we had, we would have seen it.

 

There are things that ought to be occupying our mind. “He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” Should we be thinking about the fact that we’re at the end of the world? And more than that, we ought to be thinking about the fact that we’re in the time of harvest. If anything, this is the time to quickly get whatever seed is going out, out because we’re in the time of the harvest. We should be feeling privileged to be living in the generation that’s going to see the harvest. The harvest is the end of the world.

 

If I could summarize what we’ve looked at in Jeremiah 5 so far: When God speaks about His people and faults them in this passage, He faults them for things that they are not thinking. They’re not thinking about the fact that it’s time to fear God, that it’s the time of the latter rain. They’re not thinking about the fact that God has reserved for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.

 

Now these are precious things, the end of the world and the early and latter rain. Notice the next verse, “Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.” What have our iniquities turned away? The early and the latter rain and the appointed weeks of the harvest. Is there any implication about why we haven’t dealt with our iniquities? We weren’t giving sufficient attention to the fact that we were in the time when we should be fearing God, in other words, a God-given message that would do the work that we need done in us, but we haven’t been giving it sufficient attention. I feel like preaching on that more, but I need to finish this first.

 

Verse 26, “For among my people are found wicked men.” The call out of Babylon in Revelation 18 talks about a cage of unclean and hateful birds. And somewhere in your life you’re going to meet someone who is going to show you a quote in Testimonies to Ministers where Ellen White uses a phrase from Revelation 18 right there about the unclean and hateful birds and applies it to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. How many of you have already met someone that did that? Or noticed it yourself in Testimonies to Ministers? I think it will happen to you in the future, I think.

 

So, when it does, I’d like you not to be overwhelmed. I’d like to explain something to you and then show it to you, and that is that Babylon is not the only organization that has unclean and hateful birds and wicked men. The same organization to whom God has reserved, this organization He calls His people, that’s what it said in the beginning of verse 26, “For among My people.” The same organization to whom God says, “They’re My people that have wicked men,” it says, “They lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit.” Is this metaphor used also of God’s church as well as of Babylon? It is. So I’m not surprised that Ellen White’s going to use it to refer to both organizations myself.

 

We’re talking in this section about the latter rain. We’ve talked about intercession some. And the first thought I’ve shown you in Jeremiah 5 is that the early and latter rain are withholding for a couple of reasons. One is a lack of attention to thoughts we ought to be thinking, and the other is because of the sins and the iniquities that we haven’t put away. And then maybe as a causative factor there, it’s because we have false teachers. And God doesn’t really let you off the hook for believing false teachers, but He does admit in this passage that they do have something to do with what’s going on. In fact, maybe I should…My mind is branching to a lot of different things that relate to what I’ve been saying, and I don’t know which way to go first, but let me just go to Romans 16 and show you this thought.

 

Romans 16, we’re talking right now about these wicked teachers that are found “among My people” in Jeremiah 5, about how to relate to them, for example. Romans 16 and verse 17, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them.” I think I spoke about this passage when I spoke to Advent HOPE a few months ago because I remember thinking, “I’m saying this in a dangerous place to say it.” I remember thinking that.

 

The Bible commands you to mark teachers that cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine that God is teaching His people, and what does it say to do regarding those kind of people?

 

[Audience: Avoid.]

 

Now, I don’t know how you can get around a command that simple.

 

Verse 18, “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly,” that is, their desires, “and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” So that’s one thought.

 

Another thought I want to talk to you is about when ideas affect you. Like the idea that we live in the time of the latter rain is one that maybe you can learn it in five minutes and know it for five years, but it mostly affects you during the five minutes you’re learning it. And though you might get it right on a quiz, it’s not affecting you day to day unless you are thinking about it.

 

Let me show you more of what I mean. One of those passages that I gave in that list of need-to-be-faithful-to-make-it passages was 1 Corinthians 15. Let’s look there for a minute. First Corinthians 15, and we’re looking at verse 1. First Corinthians, chapter 15, and looking at verse 1, it says, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you” (Had he told them the gospel before? And now he’s doing it again?) “which also you have received” (Did they receive it the first time? Well, maybe they gave it up.) “and wherein you stand.” So, he preached it. Did they receive it? Yes. Are they still standing in it? And he’s telling it to them again?

 

Verse 2, “By which [gospel] also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless,” or otherwise, “you have believed in vain.” Truth does not affect you when you know it. It affects you when you think about it. There are some truths that are sort of mechanical. They’re like putting the bicycle together. Once you’ve put it together, it’s together. When you know the dead are asleep, you know it. But the truths about things like the fact that we’re in the end of time and that we’re living in the judgment and that Jesus suffered to die and pay for our sins, and a number of other akin truths to these things, these truths don’t affect us just because we know they’re factual. They soften our hearts and subdue our spirits when we’re thinking about them. If we’re not thinking about them, they aren’t doing anything for us.

 

Let me show this to you in another way. Look in the book of Jude. In the book of Jude, we’re looking at verse 5. It says, “I will therefore put you in remembrance,” Jude, verse 5, just before the book of Revelation, “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though you once knew this.” When I read that, it almost sounds like they forgot, but don’t think that they forgot in terms of, “They wouldn’t get it right on a quiz.” They forgot in terms that they weren’t thinking about it.

 

You know, I can tell you that’s true by just noticing what it was they weren’t thinking about. Notice what it says, “How that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” You know, you don’t forget the fact that the same people that were saved out of Egypt were the ones that were destroyed in the wilderness. You’ve known that since you…, if you grew up in the Adventist Church or in church, you’ve known that since Sabbath school or Sunday school.

 

But maybe you never thought about it the way Jude says it, that the same people God saved in point A were the same human bodies that He destroyed in point B. That’s a profound thought. That’s the point Jude’s making, is that you knew it factually, but when you’re thinking about it is when it’s going to start affecting you. It’s going to remove some of that false security that you might have accumulated, to realize that the very same people that were saved, and were they really saved by God’s power? Really, really. But then they were really destroyed by His judgments. And just thinking about that has an impact on you, and not thinking about it has no impact on you.

 

Or if I could then say this whole thought together, the things I’ve been sharing this morning and this afternoon are sort of like biblical facts. I think they’re very important, but knowing them doesn’t do much for you. Thinking about them has the potential to totally change the way you live your life because that’s the way the Word of God is when you think about it.

 

Turn with me in your Bibles to Hosea, I think chapter 5, Hosea, chapter 5. When you’re reading the minor prophets, maybe it’s just something to help you when you’re reading, when you see the word “Ephraim,” read it like “the 10 tribes.” Just as Judah was the biggest of Judah and Benjamin, so that people became known as Jews, so Ephraim was the greatest of the 10 tribes, and many times the tribes were known collectively as Ephraim. That will just help you to not be so confounded when you’re reading.

 

Hosea 5 and verse 13, “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.” That’s an illustration of something God is going to explain that’s relevant to your life. Verse 14, “For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.”

 

Does God cause problems in people’s lives? Especially when people are wandering?

 

Verse 15, “I will go and return to my place.” You know, sometimes it looks like after our life is messed up that God just disappears. We can’t perceive Him around anywhere. We could find more information about this in Proverbs 1 for those of you who want to know more information about it. What is God waiting for? “Till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me quickly.” At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

 

In fact, God faults in the minor prophets. At one point you’ll find it there in your reading. He faults His people, and this is the way He does it. He says, “I gave you this disaster, and still you didn’t come to Me. And I gave you that disaster, and still you didn’t come to Me. And I gave you that disaster, and still you didn’t come to Me. And I gave you that disaster, and still you didn’t come to Me, and because of that, prepare to meet your God.”

 

What is God doing when it appears like He’s disappeared in your life? He’s expecting that in the midst of your terrible problems you’re going to come to Him quickly. And He’s waiting for you to acknowledge your offense. That’s confession.

 

Chapter 6, verse 1, we’re talking about the early and the latter rain, “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.” These are the words of someone who is acknowledging their offense and coming God’s direction. (I’m skipping verse 2 only because I don’t understand it) Verse 3, “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared like the morning.”

 

If I could give you a timeline, it looks like this: We have a terrible experience in our life; it looks like God isn’t even there, but then in our problems we turn to Him quickly. We realize that He is torn. We acknowledge our offense. We believe He’s going to heal us, and He does. But then there’s something more to do. We must follow on.

 

You might remember in John 8 that it says the Jews there, that said they believed in Him; Jesus spoke to them, and He said, “If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed,” or truly. What’s the condition of being His disciple truly? It’s following on to know the Lord.

 

“Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning,” that is, it gets brighter and brighter. It’s kind of interesting, some of the illustrations in nature, what they teach. The morning is prettiest when it first starts, but warmest and brightest when it gets really going. Baby trees are the same way. When a baby tree begins to grow, it’s the brightest and most lively green. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen baby pine trees. When they get bigger, they don’t look so alive; they’re dark and kind of a more drear hue. But if you step on the little one it’s dead; but if you kick the big one, you hurt your foot.

 

I’m saying that Christian life is like that, too. When a person is first converted, they look the most lively; they look the most energetic, but they aren’t the strongest. And it’s a big mistake at that point to put a lot of weight and responsibility on them. God doesn’t even do that. He tells us as a church not to do it. It trips them up. They need to grow, and when they grow, they might not look so energetic and lively, but they’re stronger. That’s what I’m telling you.

 

The last half of verse 3, “And he shall come,” that is, the Lord shall come, “unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” If I could turn these 5 verses into a cause and effect relationship that culminates in receiving the early and latter rain, it would look like this. On our part, it begins with acknowledging our offense, of believing that He will heal us, of returning to Him. We call that repentance.

 

And that’s not all. What do we need to do next? We follow on to know the Lord, and we begin to learn the way He is by an experience, a growing experience like the morning. And as that goes, that culminates in Him coming to us as the early and latter rain.

 

Or, in another way, the early and latter rain is a special coming of Jesus in your experience. The Jehovah’s Witnesses talk about a spiritual coming of Jesus back in, was it, 1919? 1914? We also ought to be talking about a special coming of Jesus in a spiritual way. It’s not instead of His Second Coming, and we really need it. He can be in our heart right now, but does He want to come unto us in this way? When we talk about the latter rain being the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, that’s how Jesus dwells in our hearts. Isn’t this right? And by faith, and when He fills our heart with the Spirit, Jesus is filling our heart with Himself. And, no, I can’t change that into a bunch of very particular things and explain what I mean by it. I don’t think it’s even a good idea to try it.

 

I just mean we need to acknowledge our offense and return to the Lord, and we need to believe that He’s going to heal us and do it quickly when we’re having a problem in our life and follow on until we receive the blessing that God wants to give.

 

Turn with me in your Bibles to Zechariah, Zechariah, chapter 10. Zechariah 10 and verse 1, it says, “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.” It’s just a real simple idea, and I think I’m going to close with it.

 

What time is it now? Can anyone tell me, with a watch out there?

 

[Audience: It’s not 5 o’clock yet.]

 

What time is it precisely?

 

[Audience: It’s 4:51.]

 

It’s 51? So, like nine minutes. Okay, I’m just going to say this and then spend seven or eight minutes reviewing because I’m done with this thought.

 

What do we do to get the latter rain in Zechariah 10:1? We ask. It’s not really just…If I can illustrate. I don’t really like to quote the Testimonies up front. It’s not because it’s a bad idea, and if you do it while I’m listening, I’ll be glad you did. I like to learn from them. I just know that in any audience I have, there’s someone who doesn’t have any confidence in them, and I’d like to prove the things I say from the Bible. But, anyway, I’m about to risk quoting something anyway. But maybe I’ll give you some evidence for it in the Bible and go from there.

 

Jesus, when He was talking about prayer, let’s look at, Luke, chapter 11. Luke, chapter 11, and we can begin looking in verse 10, “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth,” Luke 11, verse 10, “and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Verse 11, Luke 11:11, “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

 

It really isn’t so that you need to say, “If it’s Your will,” when you ask for the Holy Spirit. And that’s even true when you pray for the latter rain. And so here comes a question that I might think, “Well, if I pray for the latter rain,” let’s say I’ve been doing it for years and years, and I have, “I pray for the latte rain, but it hasn’t come yet.” I really think that is true what I just told you, that it hasn’t come yet. I think I could prove that to you also. Does that mean my prayers haven’t been answered? Or, when it does come, say, a month from now, does it mean only my most recent prayer has been answered?

 

The fact of the matter is, that every prayer that’s ever been offered up in requesting the latter rain is going to be answered. And when the latter rain is poured out, it’s not poured out in a random volume, nor is it poured out in an infinite volume; it is poured out in a volume more than we can measure, but that’s not infinite. It’s poured out in proportion to the prayers that have gone up asking for the latter rain. You never waste a moment that you invest in praying for the pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit. Those prayers are going to be answered in power proportionate. And so, the verse said, “Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain.

 

The summary of what we’ve said in our first hour, or maybe it’s been an hour and 15 minutes, is that in this end of time, at least if I were you, I would be expecting, because of the type, I would be expecting repeated calls to leave the Adventist Church by people who perceive that God is calling them to start a new and holier group. I would suspect those people to be sincere. Also I suspect that they have failed a test, the test of love enduring unto the end. That because iniquity abounded, the love of many grew cold. That happened one or two ways. It can happen because you participate in iniquity, and then your love grows cold that way. Or it can happen because you observe the iniquity, and your affections are weaned from the wicked that way.

 

This is what happened to them, and it wasn’t a good enough excuse because there is plenty of information here that they ought to be praying for the people. It was modeled in the book of Daniel, for example; we never even looked at it. I would expect that if you will begin praying for the people, you will be part of a large group that will be doing that, that if you do it in conjunction and after you’ve had an experience of searching your heart and putting away sin, that you’ll be meeting the conditions of Joel, chapter 2, for a change in God’s relation to His people that culminates in the pouring out of the latter rain.

 

But if you do that, you’ll be meeting the conditions of a fulfilling Job 42, the fulfillment of that symbol, that Job, his life was turned around, his captivity was turned around when he prayed for his friends. And he had twice as much as he had before. I think if you’re doing that, when you’re praying for the people and loving them that way, and sad about their iniquity, you’ll also realize you also have a responsibility to be teaching them. Did Samuel know that? He did. Did Moses know that? He did. And they’re the models God gives.

 

I think you’ll understand that what keeps the latter rain back, there are a number of factors, but none of them are complicated or complex. One has to do with our own thinking process. What are some thoughts we should be thinking? Now’s the time to relate to God with due reverence. Now’s the time to be thinking about the early and latter rain. What a privilege that God has reserved for us the appointed weeks of harvest, and be careful because among God’s people are found wicked, deceitful men.

 

What should we do about the last thing? We should avoid them.

 

What should we do about the early and latter rain? Well, for one thing, we should be praying for it. For another thing, we should be following on to know the Lord, expecting He’s going to heal us and know that that’s what it means to be a disciple truly and experiencing that kind of growing experience in our Christian life.

 

Is God anxious to give the latter rain? Why, He’s so anxious, He’s only waiting until we receive the seal of God, which is the topic of our next study for those of you who stay. He’s only waiting for that. And when it comes, it’s going to come in power proportionate, not to a random thing, but to our prayers for it. And now’s a good time. Let’s kneel for a closing prayer.

 

Our Father in Heaven, on behalf of this group and all those who could say “Amen” in their heart or out loud, I ask that You would pour out Your Holy Spirit. We want the early rain now, and we want the latter rain as soon as we’re possibly ready for it. I ask again that You would take the truths that You’ve spoken here, that You would strengthen their power and bring people to think about them, that they could have an impact on the life and do whatever I’ve said that misrepresents the truth, I ask that You would weaken the influence of that very thing. We don’t deserve gifts like this from You, but I ask for them in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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