The Promised Latter Rain
We read in Joel 2:28-29, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” We are living in that dispensation of the Holy Ghost. Nothing should be left undone in our preaching, teaching, and living, so we prove to this old world that this is so.
When I hear the wonderful testimonies in our church services, it takes me back to the time when I was living in the city of Los Angeles, California. I had been brought up in a home of unbelief; I never knew what it was to hear my mother pray and I never laid my hand on a Bible until I was a grown woman. Yet God, in a marvelous way, spoke to me one night when I was dancing in a ballroom and said, “Daughter, give Me thine heart.” Oh, how I praise God that I heeded the call! He marvelously took the unbelief out of my heart and gave me a heart to believe.
After God saved me, I yearned to tell a lost world of the great things He had done for me. I would find my way into the slums, behind prison bars, and into homes for the outcasts to tell the story of Jesus. But there was such a lack of power. There seemed to be such feebleness in every word spoken. My heart cried out for the Living Water! How I thank God that the day came when I heard He was pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh, and that my soul, too, could be filled. I had seen souls born again under my ministry before I had this marvelous experience, but oh, it was so few compared to what I have seen since God Almighty poured out His Spirit on my life!
My heart overflows with gratitude to God as I hear men and women praising God. Some were in the depths of sin, and others were moral lepers. I looked upon their faces before God saved them, and then saw them redeemed—transformed by power divine! Oh, I worship God that He ever sent the Latter Rain Gospel! I thank Him, too, that we had hearts to receive it. It is in the earth today, yet how many people are turning a deaf ear.
Purged hearts are prepared hearts
The power of God is not bought with money, as Simon of old tried to do (see Acts 8:18), but it falls on hearts that have been purged and made pure by God. In Matthew 3:11-12, John the Baptist said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
The Gospel is the same today as it was in the days when John the Baptist spoke those words. Jesus, the Word of God, is still God’s fan that “will throughly purge his floor.” The fan of God causes souls to repent, to turn to God, and forsake their sin. He will cause them to make restitution—to pay back the money stolen and give back the wife or husband they have stolen, even though the divorce courts have legalized it. The same fan is working today.
The Lamb of God has power not only to forgive sins, but power to take away inbred sin, the Adamic nature.
The Word of God is washing; it is purifying by the power of God. The Lamb of God has power not only to forgive sins, but power to take away inbred sin, the Adamic nature. Jesus is the Word that can purge and purify and make a soul ready for the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Jesus said in John 14:15-18, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Also in Acts 1:4-5 and 8, “And, being assembled together with them, he [Jesus] commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. . . . 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.”
Jesus was speaking to His disciples, whom He had saved and sanctified wholly. In John 17:17 Jesus said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” No soul is eligible for the baptism of the Holy Ghost unless he has first been sanctified wholly.
The disciples also had settled all doubts and fears in their hearts. After Jesus’ death, a great consternation had come over them. Some had hoped that He would set up His Kingdom while He was yet on earth, and they were mystified to a great extent concerning what Christ was going to do. In their sorrow at seeing Him on the Cross, they had become more mystified and seemed to forget that He had said He would rise again on the third day. Jesus upbraided them for their hardness of heart in not believing the report that He had risen from the dead, but in appearing unto them, He removed every doubt and fear from their hearts. It was in this condition that they went into the Upper Room and began to pray for the promised power to come down upon their lives.
Evidence of a real experience
You may say, “I see so much sham and make believe.” Yes, there is plenty of it in the world; nevertheless, the Word of God stands true. Where you see souls who are baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire—the real experience—you will see souls in whom the fan has cleansed away the sin and purged out the old Adamic nature. They have made restitution, have gotten their spiritual houses set in order, have been cleansed and sanctified, and they are ready to tarry for the mighty outpouring of the Spirit. We see it day after day at our altars of prayer. How we praise God for it!
Let us read Acts 2:1-2, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” This event happened in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost, just fifty days after the day of Christ’s resurrection. While the disciples prayed, God sent the promised power and filled all the place where they were sitting, and they began to praise and magnify the God of Israel. “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:3-4). This shows us that there is a witness to the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It does not matter whether you believe in tongues or not; according to the Word of God, there is a witness, and that witness is speaking in another language.
The baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire was given not only to launch the Church in the beginning, but God has also given the baptism right down through the ages to this present time.
We read, “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (Acts 2:5-8). God was making something real to those people: the evidence of this mighty baptism. When God sent Peter to the house of Cornelius eight years later, and the Holy Ghost fell upon those Gentiles, they began to speak in other tongues and glorify God. Twenty-three years after the day of Pentecost, God poured out His Spirit on those at Ephesus, and they spoke in other tongues and glorified God. These instances made manifest to the world that the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire was given not only to launch the Church in the beginning, but God has also given the baptism right down through the ages to this present time.
Hungry hearts will be filled
We know the Church went into darkness and lost her power through the Dark Ages—not only the power of the Holy Ghost, but even believing faith. Yet in a certain time, God restored it. A monk named Martin Luther, crawling up and down stairs on his knees, heard from Heaven because his heart was hungry and honest before God. God spoke out of Heaven and said, “The just shall live by faith.” Martin Luther rose from his penance and began to believe God. The Reformation broke out and God saved many souls.
Later, God restored the teaching of sanctification through John Wesley’s preaching. After that, God sent back the faith of divine healing to a great extent. Then, in 1906, God saw fit to pour out the baptism of the Holy Ghost upon this old earth. And oh, how we thank God we have lived to see that day! God watered the thirsty ground, the barren hearts, and brought into souls a living faith that would press in for the mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire!
We have a wonderful example of a hungry heart in Elisha—how that man of God longed for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit! Something in his heart just cleaved to that prophet. The account is told in 2 Kings chapter 2 how one day Elijah said to Elisha, “Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Bethel,” but Elisha said, “As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.” When Elijah moved on, Elisha moved on, too.
Then Elijah said to him, “Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho.” Again Elisha said, “As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.” The sons of the prophets came to Elisha and said, “Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day?” He said, “Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.” He knew what was going to take place, but he was not going to let that man of God out of his sight until he had received the desire of his heart.
Elijah said, “Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan.” Elisha responded, “As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee,” and he followed on. When they got down to the Jordan River, Elijah took off his mantle, struck old Jordan, and the waters divided. So they went across, and Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee.” Elisha said, “I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.”
There is a lesson in that for us—we can gain a blessing from God through our diligence.
Oh, that hunger in his heart! The longing after God! Elisha was cleaving to the old prophet that he might get that double portion of his spirit. Elijah turned to him and said, “If thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.” There is a lesson in that for us—we can gain a blessing from God through our diligence.
They had not gone but a little way until they saw the horses of fire and the chariot of fire, and a whirlwind swept down and took Elijah into Heaven. Elisha cried, “. . . the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.” He rent his clothes, picked up the mantle of Elijah, and God was with him. He had seen Elijah go, and he had received the mantle. God had given him the desire of his heart. Then he turned to his life’s work. He went down to the brink of Jordan, and smote it and said, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” The waters rolled back and he went through.
Oh, that we today would have that hunger—that longing that will cause us to go on to Bethel, on to Jericho, and on to Jordan. A burning desire that will not stop, but will watch until the mantle falls. If we will watch, it will fall and God will make us witnesses for Him.
Be a witness for Christ
Who are the most effective witnesses for Christ? The ones who have received the experience in their hearts. They know they have been saved and passed from spiritual death unto life. They know that they have received the sanctifying portion and the old carnal nature has been destroyed; they are walking on the highway of holiness. Not only that, but they have tarried until God has poured out the Holy Ghost upon their lives. Then they are truly ready to pray for others. Then they are ready to bear witness for Christ.
Last night in the dead of the night, God seemed to be so near on this campground. And out of the depths of my soul I said, “Oh God, I want to be a faithful witness for the Lord!” I wonder today how many really want to be a witness for God?