Sunday, 6th September 2015
Pastor Kathy Poon
We often heard in God’s Word about two rains, and they are two outpourings of the Holy Spirit. These two outpourings of the Spirit are referred to as the Autumn rain and the Spring rain.
“So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil.” (Deuteronomy 11:13-14)
The planting and harvest seasons in Israel were just the opposite of ours. The Autumn rains fell from October to the end of December, just before planting season. These rains softened the ground. And the Spring rains fell from March through April, just prior to harvest. Those rains ripened the harvest.
It is important to note that these two outpourings always had to do with the harvest: “…that you may gather in…” (verse 14). And, if you want to judge any move of the Holy Spirit – to discern if it is of God or of flesh – then use this : The Spirit’s work is always focused on the harvest of souls!
It doesn’t matter what kind of manifestations you see in any so-called revival. It is not a true movement of God unless it is focused on the harvest! The Holy-Ghost rains always fall to produce an ingathering of souls.
God poured out His Spirit in the former rain at Pentecost, to prepare the ground. This outpouring softened the ground for the gospel seed to be sown. Spirit-filled sowers were sent out from the Upper Room that day into all the world – to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
The church has now seen almost 2,000 years of sowing and growing – and it’s harvest time! All who have died in Christ up to now represent the first fruits, or the early harvest. But Zechariah prophesies a final harvest
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications” (Zechariah 12:9-10).
And that is the reason Jesus has not yet come. The Lord has been waiting patiently for His final, mighty harvest of the earth!
“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).
Zechariah 12:10 is the promised latter rain that must precede the final harvest. The Lord is waiting patiently until His last rain is outpoured – because it will produce the final harvest! In the early part of this century, a Pentecostal movement began in Canada called the “Latter Rain Movement.” It lasted perhaps forty or fifty years. Today, only a few “Latter Rain” churches remain.
Yet those who were involved in that movement were convinced they were experiencing the Spirit’s great, final outpouring. Many said, “This is it – we’re seeing Zechariah 12:10 come to pass!” But the movement dissipated. And other such movements have come and gone also. Why? It is because they were not focused on the harvest!
Many so-called Holy-Ghost movements vanished quickly because they were man-centered – focusing on gifts, blessings, self-improvement, happiness. Dancing, laughing, roaring, barking or any other manifestation attributed to the Holy Ghost is all flesh unless it produces a brokenheartedness for the lost and unsaved. If it is truly of the Spirit, it will result in a hunger and inclination to reach a lost and dying world!
Jesus tied the harvest to lost souls when He said, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38).
Any true outpouring of the Holy Spirit will focus on this prayer of Jesus. And the few revivals documented as genuine all were blessed with great harvests of souls. There is no true revival without great ingathering of lost souls! Moreover, all the graces and ministries of the Holy Ghost in our lives as believers have to do with the last harvest. When the Holy Spirit convicts us, comforts us, teaches us, sanctifies us, leads us and shows us things to come, it is all meant to prepare us to gather in the harvest – to make us able laborers in His vineyard!
Consider what happened as a result of Joel 2:28. At Pentecost, 3,000 people were saved in one day – and souls were added daily afterward! These believers then were thrust out into all the world to witness Christ to the lost.
“Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest” (Isaiah 32:15).
Isaiah is saying here, “When the Holy Ghost comes, He produces fruit for the harvest. Lost souls are won in abundance!” A Mighty, End-Time Outpouring Is Promised Upon the House of David!
“…And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications…” (Zechariah 12:10).
There Are Two Qualifications Prophesied About This Last Outpouring.
The Bible says the Holy Ghost will be poured out as “…the spirit of grace and of supplications…” (Zechariah 12:10). Whenever the Spirit falls, these two things are always evident: a spirit of grace and a spirit of supplication. The book of Titus tells us that grace is given to us as power over sin, to enable us to live sober, holy lives:
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).
There has been a marvelous measure of this grace in God’s people ever since Pentecost. The Holy Ghost has sent conviction of sin on all nations, teaching believers of every race and tongue how to forsake ungodliness and worldly lusts. The result has been a people who live soberly and righteously in this present world and who long for the coming of Jesus.
Yet, when the Spirit’s latter rain comes, we are going to witness an even greater grace. God is going to pour out on us a spirit of grace that will establish us in the truth of our justification. The Lord will have a secure people who never doubt their salvation!
This is a convicting spirit of grace that leads to repentance, producing godliness and righteousness in God’s house. Of course, God’s grace has been manifested to His church for 2,000 years. We have known the doctrine of justification by faith. We have been sustained by grace. And wherever true grace has been preached, it has always been accompanied by a call for repentance and holy living.
Yet I believe Zechariah 12:10 prophesies that in the very last hour, the Holy Ghost will fall mightily on God’s people with a spirit of grace that turns them completely from all worldliness. It will produce in them a cry for purity of heart!
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit will give us a pressure to do right. When the Holy Ghost comes down and exposes sin, Christians who have been lukewarm or in compromise become convicted. Those who don’t yield to the Spirit’s dealings ultimately become blind, unwilling to surrender. And, eventually, the pressure to live righteously drives them out the door. Beloved, the pressure to forsake sin and to do right is going to get hot and heavy in God’s last-day church!
God’s Spirit Will Also Pour Out a Spirit of Supplication! The word supplication is never used in the Bible except to denote a cry or prayer that is vocalized. In other words, it is not private or merely a meditation. Supplication has to do with the voice!
The Hebrew word for “supplication” signifies “an olive branch wrapped with wool, or some kind of cloth, waved by a supplicant seeking peace or surrender.” These were called “branches of supplication.” Simply put, they were flags of surrender. They signified a cry of total, unconditional surrender.
Supplication is not just calling on God to do what you want. It is not begging or pleading with Him to assist you in your plans. On the contrary, it is a total giving up of your will and your way!
For centuries Christians have called on God while full of self-will, begging and crying, “Oh God, send me here, send me there, give me this, give me that…” Ministers have prayed and pled, “Oh God, bless my ministry, bless my projects. Send money and workers for my program!”
But in the last days the Holy Ghost is going to fall with great power to produce a sense of spiritual bankruptcy. We will wake up to the fact that even with all our money, brains, programs, ministries and plans, we haven’t even touched this world. (The truth is, we have lost ground. The church has become weak and pitiful!)
There has to be a surrender! Our cries must be accompanied by a willingness to surrender our sin – to give up everything in our life that is unlike Jesus Christ.
Daniel’s prayer demonstrates what supplication is all about:
“Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies” (Daniel 9:17-18).
This is a cry of surrender – of absolute helplessness! Daniel was saying, “Oh God, we’ve sinned against You – and we can’t do anything about it! We’re helpless, hopeless. We’ve rejected You and hurt You. And now we appeal to Your mercy. We surrender. We give it all over to You. Hear our supplication!”
“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).
We have to ask the Lord for this spirit of supplication! Bright clouds in this verse means “lightning, thunderstorms.” God has promised to give us showers! He is telling us in Zechariah, “Ask, and I will give you this burden from heaven. But you must seek it from Me!”
Once His spirit of supplication showers down upon you, you will find yourself praying for holiness, godliness, purity. You will intercede for your lost loved ones and weep over this dying world. But you have to ask the Holy Spirit to do it in you – and trust Him to do it!
In summary, here are the qualifications and marks of the latter-rain outpouring of the Spirit. If any so-called movement of the Spirit doesn’t measure up to these, you can know it is of the flesh:
- A focus on the final harvest of souls.
- A spirit of grace leading to repentance and godliness.
- A spirit of supplication resulting in surrender and an urgency to pray in the Spirit.
- A yearning for Jesus, and a mourning, brokenness and weeping with godly sorrow for sin. Only after such dealings of the Spirit will come the true blessing of joy!