The Former Rain

“Many have in a great measure failed to receive the former rain. They have not obtained all the benefits that God has thus provided for them. They expect that the lack will be supplied by the latter rain. When the richest abundance of grace shall be bestowed, they intend to open their hearts to receive it. They are making a terrible mistake. . . . At no point in our experience can we dispense with the assistance of that which enables us to make the first start. The blessings received under the former rain are needful to us to the end. . . . As we seek God for the Holy Spirit, it will work in us meekness, humbleness of mind, a conscious dependence upon God for the perfecting latter rain.”—TM 507, 509

What is the former rain? Hos. 6:3

“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.” {TM 506.1}

“The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the “former rain,” and glorious was the result. But the latter rain will be more abundant. What is the promise to those living in these days?—”Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee.” “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. – Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 21. {ChS 251.1}

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: (Joel 2:28-29)

“If this prophecy of Joel met a partial fulfillment in the days of the apostles, we are living in a time when it is to be even more evidently manifest to the people of God. He will so bestow His Spirit upon His people that they will become a light amid the moral darkness; and great light will be reflected in all parts of the world. O that our faith might be increased, that the Lord might work mightily with His people” (MS 49, 1908). {4BC 1175.2}

What unusual condition was manifested among Christian believers under the former rain at Pentecost? Acts 2:1,44,45

“Under the training of Christ the disciples had been led to feel their need of the Spirit. Under the Spirit’s teaching they received the final qualification, and went forth to their lifework. No longer were they ignorant and uncultured. No longer were they a collection of independent units or discordant, conflicting elements. No longer were their hopes set on worldly greatness. They were of “one accord,” “of one heart and of one soul.” Acts. 2:46; 4:32. Christ filled their thoughts; the advancement of His kingdom was their aim. In mind and character they had become like their Master, and men “took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13. {AA 45.2}

What preparation did the disciples make in readiness for the outpouring of the former rain? Luke 24:53

“In obedience to Christ’s command, they waited in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father—the outpouring of the Spirit. They did not wait in idleness. The record says that they were “continually in the temple, praising and blessing God”. . . .The disciples prayed with intense earnestness for a fitness to meet men and in their daily intercourse to speak words that would lead sinners to Christ. Putting away all differences, all desire for the supremacy, they came close together in Christian fellowship. They drew nearer and nearer to God. . . . They did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely. They were weighted with the burden of the salvation of souls. ...” {AG 192.5}

What conditions must we fulfill if we expect God to pour out the holy spirit upon us as He did on the disciples at Pentecost? Isa. 58:6-11

“Let all who claim to keep the commandments of God, look well to this matter, and see if there are not reasons why they do not have more of the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit. How many have lifted up their souls unto vanity! They think themselves exalted in the favor of God, but they neglect the needy, they turn a deaf ear to the calls of the oppressed, and speak sharp, cutting words to those who need altogether different treatment. Thus they offend God daily by their hardness of heart. These afflicted ones have claims upon the sympathies and the interest of their fellow men. They have a right to expect help, comfort, and Christlike love. But this is not what they receive. Every neglect of God’s suffering ones is written in the books of heaven as if shown to Christ himself. Let every member of the church closely examine his heart and investigate his course of action to see if these are in harmony with the spirit and work of Jesus; for if not, what can he say when he stands before the Judge of all the earth?. . . .” - {Review and Herald, April 24, 1913}

Apostasy quenches the holy spirit

“. . . .I saw that if the church had always retained her peculiar, holy character, the power of the Holy Spirit which was imparted to the disciples would still be with her. The sick would be healed, devils would be rebuked and cast out, and she would be mighty and a terror to her enemies.”{EW 227.1}

“But the early Christians began to look for defects in one another. Dwelling upon mistakes, giving place to unkind criticism, they lost sight of the Saviour and of the great love He had revealed for sinners. They became more strict in regard to outward ceremonies, more particular about the theory of the faith, more severe in their criticisms. In their zeal to condemn others they forgot their own errors. They forgot the lesson of brotherly love that Christ had taught. And, saddest of all, they were unconscious of their loss. They did not realize that happiness and joy were going out of their lives, and that soon they would walk in darkness, having shut the love of God out of their hearts. {8T 241.3

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