Reading through the Bible together
Early rain comes in Palestine in autumn when they sow and plant. On the other hand, the latter rain comes there in spring time to make the crops ripe for harvest. The early rain represents the work of the Holy Spirit for sowing the gospel seed at Christ’s first coming. The latter rain comes at the close of the earth’s history before His second coming to reap the harvest. The Holy Spirit has two major functions: to mature the character of believers for harvest; and to enable the final worldwide preaching of the gospel to prepare a people for His coming. Zechariah says to ask the Lord for the latter rain in the season.
The latter rain which will equip the faithful for the true revival and reformation, however, this will be preceded by the false latter rain experience. It will be characterized by emotionalism, noise of stereo sounds, rhythm, and uncontrolled excitement. It will lack the quiet perception of truth and decision of mind for the Lord. There will be false doctrines, though popular, but incorrect. Many will be deceived unless they deeply understand and be rooted in the truth, and live it out daily.
Sheep have the tendency to easily go astray. Shepherd dogs will turn the wandering sheep back to the fold. This is the work of a leader.
Zechariah rebukes the leaders (vs. 2-3), because they misled the flock of God by their idol worship, untruthful teachings, and by false visions. Are you a leader? Are you in an administrative position of the church? Are you a pastor or teacher? Are you an elder in your local church or a deacon or deaconess? You need to be filled with the truth and not mislead the people, but to lead them to the water of life.
God has a big interest in His people. He longs for their restoration. He will bring them back as though He had not chastised them. Though He scattered them, they will remember Him, and He will gather the remnant because He redeemed them.
The cornerstone, the peg, and the battle bow are all symbols of the true Leader, the Messiah. He will tread down their enemies, smite the pride of Assyrians, and Egypt (vs. 11). This is the picture of His judgment at His second coming. And before that time, He will bring His remnant people from all over the world by calling for them to come home (vs. 8-9).
This call is the sound of the three angels’ messages preached as the last warning to the world. This will be done by the latter rain power. The remnant will be gathered to fill the empty spaces caused by the shaking. They will replace those who were shaken out. There will be so many coming in that there will hardly be room enough for them (vs. 10).
It is time to be strengthened in the Lord and to walk in the name of the Lord (vs. 12). We want to be part of the latter rain experience and as a Seventh-day Adventists not miss this event. He is coming. We need to understand that the main purpose of His coming is not so much to judge the wicked, but to gather His people and take them home.
“Dear Lord, Open our eyes to see the time when all Thy remnant people will come back to Thee by the preaching of the last message. Give us the genuine yearning for the spring rain, and for the latter rain to prepare us for Thy coming. Amen.”
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea