Water, in the Bible, is often used to describe the Holy Spirit. Jesus said,
John 7:37-39: If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
There were two seasons of the year in which the rain fell abundantly. In the latter part of October and early November (the Hebrew month of Heshwan) came the former or early rains.
“In the East the former rain falls at the sowing-time. It is necessary in order that the seed may germinate. Under the influence of the fertilizing showers, the tender shoot springs up. The latter rain, falling near the close of the season, ripens the grain, and prepares it for the sickle. The Lord employs these operations of nature to represent the work of the Holy Spirit. As the dew and the rain are given first to cause the seed to germinate, and then to ripen the harvest, so the Holy Spirit is given to carry forward, from one stage to another, the process of spiritual growth. The ripening of the grain represents the completion of the work of God’s grace in the soul. By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character. We are to be wholly transformed into the likeness of Christ.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 506.
The second downpour came in the spring in the latter part of March and the first part of April (the Hebrew month of Nisan). The October-November rains were called the early rain, and the March-April rains were called the latter rain.
So rejoice, O sons of Zion,
And be glad in the Lord your God;
For He has given you the early rain for your vindication.
And He has poured down for you the rain,
The early and latter rain as before.
24 The threshing floors will be full of grain,
And the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil.
The two periodic seasons of rain in the land of Canaan symbolized the two great visitations of the Holy Spirit—one at the beginning of the gospel dispensation, and the other at its close. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the former rain. This was given at Jerusalem and the beginning of the fulfillment of the Prophecy in Joel 2.
In Acts 2, Peter and the other Disciples emerged from the upper room, having experienced a very dramatic and supernatural impartation of the Holy Spirit, complete with a violent rushing wind, visible tongues of fire resting over their heads, and the ability to speak in foreign or Heavenly languages. It appears from the Bible that the Disciples received the Holy Spirit in a VERY dramatic and supernatural way, more so than all other recipients of the Holy Spirit, possibly because they were being tasked with the responsibility of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. This would be a very difficult and dangerous responsibility that would result in all but one of them being martyr’d for their dedication to spreading the Gospel.
Acts 2: 1: When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Jesus’ Disciple Peter understood that the day of Pentecost was the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel 2! After emerging from the upper room FILLED with the Holy Spirit, Peter spoke to the crowd, who was accusing the disciples of being drunk at 9 in the morning, saying….
Acts 2: 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
Joel 2: 28:“It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
29 “Even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
PENTECOST 32AD, the pouring out of the FORMER RAIN (EARLY RAIN) was the “opening act” of the “last days” (Hebrews 1:2), that WILL ultimately culminate in the Day of the Lord and Jesus’ 2nd coming. God was beginning to pour out HIS SPIRIT on ALL FLESH!
Acts 1: 8: but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
In the book of Acts, three different groups received the Holy Spirit in a similar (not exactly the same) manner. All of them received spiritual GIFTS, but the Bible does not record them as having received the Holy Spirit in the same dramatic fashion as did the Disciples.
In Acts 2, Peter and the disciples emerged from the upper room in Jerusalem immediately encountering a large group of Jews who witnessed them speaking in tongues. The Jews accused them of being drunk on “new wine”. Peter then preached the risen Jesus to them. The Bible records 3000 Jewish people who repented and were baptized with the Holy Spirit the first day of Pentecost. The Bible simply says that this large group of Jews received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:37-47)
In Acts 8, Phillip had gone up to Samaria to preach Jesus to the Samaritans (the mixed Jew/Gentile). Many Samaritans were baptized in water, a baptism of Repentance; however, they had not received the Holy Spirit. Peter and John followed Phillip to Samaria and prayed for the Samaritans, laying hands on them, and then they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8: 14-17).
In Acts 10, we see the first group of Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit! Peter was shocked with this experience because he had not understood that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on Gentiles. However, God clearly showed Peter a vision where he was not to call unclean what God calls clean. As instructed by YHWH, Peter went to a Roman Centurian’s house by the name of Cornelius. This Roman Centurian was a God-fearing man, who had been giving alms to Jewish people, and had been praying to YHWH continually. Peter preached Jesus to this man and his family, and after doing this, the Holy Spirit came upon the entire family in a visible manner. The Bible states that Cornelius and his family began to speak in tongues, exalting YHWH. Peter responded by stating that this Gentile family should receive a water baptism of repentance because they had already received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Cornelius and his family were immediately given the supernatural SPIRITUAL GIFT of speaking in tongues. (Acts 10:44-47)
Jesus’ instruction on Miracles
During Jesus’ ministry on earth, The 4 Gospels provide an accurate account of Jesus performing more than 37 MAJOR MIRACLES ranging from raising people from the dead, healing the sick, the lame, the blind, casting out demons, calming the seas, and so on. Jesus always gave glory to the Father for all of His teaching and His Miracles. The Father literally dwelt within Jesus during His Ministry on earth.
John 14: 10 The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.
Then Jesus stated something pretty incredible. He told His Disciples that because He was going away (would die on the cross and go to Heaven to be with the Father), they would do even GREATER works (Miracles) than the ones that HE had done! WHAT??? You see, before the Holy Spirit could dwell permanently within fallen mankind, our sins had to be forgiven. The Holy Spirit DID DWELL within Jesus because Jesus was born without “Original Sin” and He lived a sinless life. He was God in the “likeness” of human flesh. However, in order for Holy Spirit to dwell within us, our sins had to be forgiven and that didn’t happen UNTIL Jesus shed His Blood on the Cross for you and for me.
John 14: 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and GREATER works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.
John 14: 23:Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
How is this possible? Jesus told His Disciples that AFTER He “went away” those who BELIEVE in Him would do GREATER miracles than He had done! They would have this ability to do these MIRACLES because JESUS and THE FATHER would be literally DWELLING within them via the Holy Spirit (Rivers of LIVING WATER).
Because no person has ever done greater MIRACLES than Jesus (including the 12 Disciples), most people think this verse (John 14:12) means “of a larger quantity”. They think this because Jesus’ ministry was limited to a smaller geographical area, whereas the Christian ministry is Global. Although this may be one level of interpretation of this verse, the word for “greater” (meizōn) that is used here is used ONLY one other time in the Bible to mean “of a larger quantity”. The more “typical” use of the word meizōn (greater) (Strongs G3187) means “greater, larger, elder, stronger”. Although hard to imagine ,it seems VERY possible that Jesus was telling His Disciples that BELIEVERS would do more IMPRESSIVE miracles than even He had done because HE and HIS FATHER would be dwelling within them! To be clear, Jesus was teaching His Disciples that ALL MIRACLES would be done by the Father (YHWH) and the Son (JESUS) THROUGH the believer via the POWER of the Holy Spirit! The believer would NOT be doing any miracles on his or her own. A branch that is disconnected from the vine will just whither up and die. It’s the vine that gives LIFE to the branch. But still, what are we to make of this? No one on earth has EVER done greater miracles than Jesus, not even the Disciples. Was Jesus speaking of END-TIME MIRACLES? Is this a prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled?
Jesus then makes another cryptic statement that also appears to have an “End Time” fulfillment…
John 14:30: I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;
Was Jesus only referring to Judas Iscariot, who was about to allow satan to enter him and betray the son of God? Could there also be another end-time meaning to this verse? The devil did enter Judas Iscariot (one of Jesus’ disciples) who BETRAYED the son of God to DEATH on a cross; however, we also know that at the end of days there will be another BETRAYER who will be indwelt by satan, coming in the form of a man. This betrayer will PRETEND to be the Messiah! He will betray the Jewish people and will be evil to the core. This man is called the son of Perdition in 2nd Thessalonians. We know him as the antichrist.
Joel 2 (End-Times) – LATTER RAINS
Joel 2 states that the outpouring of the Holy spirit that began at Pentecost will culminate with the end-time celestial signs of the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. These celestial signs in Joel include the moon turning to blood, the sun darkening, blood, fire, and vapors of smoke”. In the book of John, Jesus seems to be referring to the LATTER RAINS when He teaches His Disciples that Believers will do GREATER miracles than He has done, then He warns them that “the ruler of the world” (satan) is coming. During Jesus’ First Advent, Judas Iscariot betrayed HIM to death on a cross. The antichrist will pretend to be the Christ (the Messiah) and betray the Jewish people before the 2nd coming of Jesus the Christ!
The Day of the Lord
Joel 2: 30 “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,
Blood, fire and columns of smoke.
31 “The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood
Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
32 “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Will be delivered;
For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
There will be those who escape,
As the Lord has said,
Even among the survivors whom the Lord call
The Latter Rains prepare the Harvest for the time of the sickle. Is it possible that the most incredible time of Miracles, signs,and wonders promised to His Disciples by Jesus Himself in John 14 (yet to be fulfilled) will manifest soon, to close out the end of the Age, and bring as many people into the Harvest as possible? Were the “early rains” indicative of the Pentecost outpouring in approximately 33AD to spread the Gospel and start the Church, while the “latter rains” describe the final outpouring, the overflowing of Jesus’ Holy Spirit over all the earth, including over His own people, the Jews, and to awaken the sleeping Church prior to His 2nd coming? Although Jesus has been pouring out His Holy Spirit over all flesh for 2000 years, the Bible tells us that the Jews have been partially blinded until the fullness of the gentiles have come in (Romans 11:25). Jesus is NOT finished with them yet!
Haggai 2:9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”
Joel 2:23: Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.