The Early and the Latter Rain
In James 5 v. 7, James mentions "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 the latter rain. Just what is God talking about with the term early and latter rain? God showed me that the early rain is the prophecy that He gives you initially about a particular harvest and the latter rain is the encouragement that He gives you before the harvest! The latter rain could include miracles, special blessings, strength that He gives you to "keep you going" until the harvest. The latter rain could include blessing sign posts along the way to let you know that the harvest is near! For example, suppose that God had prophesized to you that He was going to get you a house. The prophesy about you receiving the house is the early rain and the house being received is the harvest. Before you receive the house, suppose that you get a raise on the job or somebody in your family gets saved. These blessings are considered latter rain and will encourage you to not give up and that your harvest (the house) is so close! Letís look at some examples from the word: In Acts 23 v. 11, God told Paul that he must testify about him in Rome! This prophecy is the early rain and the fact that Paul will preach in Rome is the harvest. Paul got arrested and is placed on a ship heading for Rome (the devilís crowd paid his way!). In Acts 27, the word records that they were hit with a storm and were sinking! In v. 23, and 24, Paul said that an angel appeared to him and encouraged him that he had to get to Rome and to be not afraid! This was latter rain encouragement that his harvest was drawing near! In v. 28, the word records that they got within twenty fathoms of land and then fifteen. They were getting closer to land! These were also latter rain signs! Paul told the men that an angel appeared to him and encouraged him that if they stayed in the ship they would make it to land. This was a latter rain encouragement to them! In v. 44, the word records that they all made it safe to shore. In Chapter 28, the word records that they made it to Melita. There, the barbarians treated them so kindly and took care of them. People in the world could sometimes treat you better than saints! The wealth of the wicked is laid up for the just! This help by the barbarians was a latter rain encouragement to Paul. On the island, Paul shook off the snake that bit him because of latter rain encouragement. In Acts 28 v. 30 and 31, the word mentions that Paul got to Rome and taught in his own hired house with confidence and that no body could stop him! You see, this was his harvest and the barbaric people helped him to get there, as they were part of Godís latter rain encouragement. Be encouraged by Godís lamppost signs along the way or latter rain blessings. Your harvest draws nigh!
In Isaiah 35, God told His people to be strong, that the eyes of the blind would be open, the deaf ears would be unstopped, the parch ground would be a pool of water and that water would break out in the desert(v. 5-6) He said that these miracles would happen in the devilís territory(v. 7). He then said in v. 8 that a highway would be there to take them out of the devilís territory. You see, the blessings that God said would happen in v. 5-6 were latter rain signs that the harvest would be coming! The harvest would be that the Lord would make a way of escape for them from the devilís territory. Right after this was prophesized by God; the enemy attacked and surrounded Jerusalem. God told them to stay in Jerusalem and not to surrender and go to the enemy as slaves! In v. 36, the word records that God killed 285,000 of the enemy and the rest returned back to their own land! You see their harvest of escaping the enemy encampment came! Their "highway of escape" was built by God! Hold on and stand on His word! Donít let the enemy or circumstances get you to move off His word! Help is on the way! Your harvest of escape is right around the corner!
In I Samuel 14, as the enemy had surrounded his people, Jonathan went against the enemy all by himself! There were only two swords in the camp of the Israelites. His armor bearer decided to go with him. The enemy saw them coming. Jonathan told his armor bearer that if the enemy invites them to come up and talk then they were overconfident and that God would give them the victory (v.10). This is exactly what happened and this was a latter rain sign to Jonathan that the harvest of victory for his people was going to happen. They slew 20 men and because they stood on Godís word there was a" trembling" in the host of the enemy( v. 15) The enemy wound up killing each other as God created such fear in their hearts(v.16). You see, God encouraged Jonathan along the way to enable him to show up for his harvest of victory! All God needed was someone to stand on His word and not be moved by the fact that they only had two swords! God used the enemyís weapons against themselves! God can confound the plans of the enemies in your life to such a degree that they will fight and devour each other. Your days of oppression from them are over! Please claim this today!
In 1 Samuel 17, God used David to destroy Goliath and rescue His people! Before this battle God used Davidís hands to destroy a lion and a bear that came against his flock of sheep (v.34-36). These two instances were latter rain encouragements to David that his harvest of being king was going to happen. God had also sent Samuel as recorded in 1 Samuel 16, to Davidís house to anoint him as king. This also was a latter rain encouragement. These latter rain encouragements enabled David to run towards Goliath and win victory for his people. This single event propelled him to be king later on as the people never forgot about his victory over Goliath and the fact that he led them to complete victory over the whole Philistine army as a result!
There have been latter rain encouragement blessings that have been happening to you that maybe you havenít recognized as "sign posts" along the way that your harvest of what God promised to you is so very close. God is trying to stir you up through this message that He is bringing that harvest of what He promised to you! Just make your number one prayer to conform to the image of Jesus and watch for the harvests that God has for you!