From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 10- Tabernacles – The Feast of Ingathering, continued
Let us refer to Joel’s prophecy concerning the former and the latter rain. This refers to the seed rain and the harvest rain. God promised that His people should have both in due season as they walked in His ways: “The first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil” (Deut. 11:14). This is what James was referring to, and it is that which Joel prophesied about:
“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. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil” (Joel 2:23, 24).
Of course, this passage did have a partial fulfillment at Pentecost, inasmuch as Peter declared: “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…” and we have already pointed out that Pentecost is a harvest of Firstfruits. The fullness of the harvest, however, is the Feast of Ingathering in the seventh month, when the wine and the oil were gathered in. You see, Israel observed two different calendars: they had the Sacred Year which began with the Passover in April, commemorating their departure from the land of Egypt, and their beginning as a redeemed nation. But they also had what has been termed a Civil Year, or an Agricultural Year, which began in October. This, then, was the first month of the Civil Year, but at the same time it was the seventh month of the Sacred Year–the month of the Feast of Tabernacles.
What Joel prophesied then, was this: “Be glad then, ye children, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately…” Dispensationally this was Pentecost, when God first poured out His Spirit in copious showers of the former rain. Peter therefore could testify: “This is that…” But it was only part of what Joel had prophesied, for he continued: “And he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain, in the first month.” The period from October to April was the rainy season. Then followed the long summer months when no rains were to be expected. The October and early November rains were called the former or the seed rains–the rains which prepared the ground for the seed; then the rainy season ended with the latter rains of April, or the harvest rains–that which caused the grain to ripen; preparatory for the harvest.
Joel’s prophecy, therefore, speaks of Pentecost–but it goes on to embrace the fullness of Pentecost, even the Feast of Tabernacles. God did give the former rain moderately–in the Pentecostal Age extending from the early Church until now. But here is something very unusual. Right here in the “first month” of the Agricultural Year (the seventh month of the Sacred year) God has promised to do something most unusual; for He would give, not only the former rain which belongs to that month, but He would give the former rain and the latter rain combined!
Can we not see from this what God has promised His people in this great hour? Not only the fullness of a great and glorious harvest, as in Pentecost. And not only the wonderful harvest of Tabernacles, the Feast of Ingathering. But all the glory and power of the early Church combined with all the glory and power which rightfully belongs to the triumphant Church of the last days! All her former glory combined with all her latter glory! Truly we cannot begin to imagine the great and tremendous things which God hath prepared for them that love Him! “And he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain, in the first month,”–Or, “in the beginning of the season.” It is the promise, not only of the early and latter rain in the hour of the Feast of Tabernacles (the “first month” of the Civil Year, but the seventh of the Sacred Year)–but it is also a promise of the great day of harvest. “And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil” (Joel 2:24). The normal procedure is: the early and the latter rain, then the harvest which culminates at Pentecost, then the long summer months of dry weather, and then the final ingathering at the year’s end. And that indeed is the way it has happened dispensationally in the Church: the former rain at Pentecost, but only moderately— producing only a moderate harvest, and followed by a great period of drought for century upon century. Now the Lord will do a quick work in the earth. This is the focal hour of Church history. Now we shall have not only the great and mighty harvest of the seventh month, the Feast of Ingathering, but the former and the latter rain combined! A veritable deluge of rain from the gates of Heaven! No wonder the prophet prophesied, “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former…” GHW
It is a great thing that is ahead of us. Indeed, the fulfillment of days approaches. But unfortunately, many cannot see “from this what God has promised His people in this great hour. Not only the fullness of a great and glorious harvest, as in Pentecost. And not only the wonderful harvest of Tabernacles, the Feast of Ingathering. But all the glory and power of the early Church combined with all the glory and power which rightfully belongs to the triumphant Church of the last days! If you are having trouble seeing it, do not worry. The Holy Spirit will reveal this truth to you as you call upon Him for insight and confirmation.