May 1, 2005 – May 7, 2005
“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.” John 14:16, 17.
Suggested Reading: The Acts of the Apostles, 47–56.
In our last study, we looked very carefully into the preparation that the disciples of Jesus made to receive the early rain. This study will consider the importance of the early rain experience in the second advent movement and when it is to be completed.
1 What is the work of the Holy Spirit? John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7–15.
note: “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 and Gospel Workers, 506.
2 What is the relationship of the former rain to the latter rain? For temporal and spiritual applications, see Deuteronomy 11:14; Joel 2:23, 24; James 5:7, 8.
note: “The latter rain, ripening earth’s harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of man. But unless the former rain has fallen, there will be no life; the green blade will not spring up. Unless the early showers have done their work, the latter rain can bring no seed to perfection.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 506.
3 How many spots or stains (sins) can we have in our characters and still receive the Holy Spirit in the latter rain? Matthew 5:48; 11 Corinthians 7:1.
note: “Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.
“We are too easily satisfied with our attainments. We feel rich and increased with goods and know not that we are ‘wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.’ Now is the time to heed the admonition of the True Witness: ‘I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 5, 214, 215.
4 What will be the condition of those who do not receive and appreciate the early rain? For New Testament type see Acts 7:51–54; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Hebrews 10:26–31.
note: “We may be sure that when the Holy Spirit is poured out those who did not receive and appreciate the early rain will not see or understand the value of the latter rain. When we are truly consecrated to God, His love will abide in our hearts by faith, and we will cheerfully do our duty in accordance with the will of God.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 399.
5 What was the condition of the people in the first advent who did not make the required preparation to receive the Holy Spirit in the early rain? Acts 2:6–8, 12, 13.
comment: At the end of the ministry of Jesus, only about 120 disciples (Acts 1:15) were prepared to receive and appreciate the value of the Holy Spirit. The priests and rabbis and “His disciples” who turned back during the crisis in Galilee could not see or understand the value of the Holy Spirit in the early rain. They had not made the needed character preparation to receive it. Such will be the state of the church at the beginning of the latter rain, as we can see from the quotation following the next question.
6 How well are the people in the second advent movement prepared to receive the latter rain? Revelation 3:14–17.
note: “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. The work that God has begun in the human heart in giving His light and knowledge must be continually going forward. Every individual must realize his own necessity. The heart must be emptied of every defilement and cleansed for the indwelling of the Spirit.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 507.
7 What two things are required of those who will receive the Holy Spirit in the latter rain? For New Testament type, see 1 John 1:7; Philippians 3:12–14.
note: “But there must be no neglect of the grace represented by the former rain. Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 507.
8 What is needed along every step of the way in our preparation for the latter rain and that which alone can complete the work? For New Testament type, see Philippians 1:6; 11 Corinthians 8:9; Titus 2:11; 3:7; Hebrews 4:14–16; 11 Peter 3:18.
note: “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. Yet these alone will not suffice. While we cherish the blessing of the early rain, we must not, on the other hand, lose sight of the fact that without the latter rain, to fill out the ears and ripen the grain, the harvest will not be ready for the sickle, and the labor of the sower will have been in vain. Divine grace is needed at the beginning, divine grace at every step of advance, and divine grace alone can complete the work.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 507, 508.
9 What kind of an attitude is needed by the people of God in order for them to make progress in their character development? For New Testament teaching, see Matthew 26:41; Luke 21:36; 1 Peter 4:7.
note: “There is no place for us to rest in a careless attitude. We must never forget the warnings of Christ, ‘Watch unto prayer,’ ‘Watch, . . . and pray always.’ A connection with the divine agency every moment is essential to our progress. We may have had a measure of the Spirit of God, but by prayer and faith we are continually to seek more of the Spirit. It will never do to cease our efforts. If we do not progress, if we do not place ourselves in an attitude to receive both the former and the latter rain, we shall lose our souls, and the responsibility will lie at our own door.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 508.
10 Why did the disciples lose the blessing that might have been theirs through sharing His self-sacrifice? Luke 9:32; 22:40–46; Matthew 26:40–45; Mark 14:34, last part, 37, 41.
note: “Through being overcome with sleep, the disciples heard little of what passed between Christ and the heavenly messengers. Failing to watch and pray, they had not received that which God desired to give them,—a knowledge of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. They lost the blessing that might have been theirs through sharing His self-sacrifice. Slow of heart to believe were these disciples, little appreciative of the treasure with which Heaven sought to enrich them.” The Desire of Ages, 425.
“But they had not heeded the repeated warning, ‘Watch and pray.’ . . . They did not intend to forsake their Lord, but they seemed paralyzed by a stupor which they might have shaken off if they had continued pleading with God. They did not realize the necessity of watchfulness and earnest prayer in order to withstand temptation.” Ibid., 688.
11 What two conditions will those who exercise but little faith now experience during the time of trouble? For biblical type, see 11 Thessalonians 2:9–11; Job 15:20–25; Isaiah 13:6–9; Zephaniah 1:14, 15.
note: “Those who exercise but little faith now are in the greatest danger of falling under the power of satanic delusions and the decree to compel the conscience. And even if they endure the test, they will be plunged into deeper distress and anguish in the time of trouble, because they have never made it a habit to trust in God. The lessons of faith which they have neglected, they will be forced to learn under a terrible pressure of discouragement.” The Great Controversy, 622.
12 Who will succeed during the time of Jacob’s trouble? See biblical teachings in Hebrews 6:12; 10:35–37; James 1:12; 1 John 2:24, 25.
note: “The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger—a faith that will not faint though severely tried. The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time. . . . Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it. Wrestling with God—how few know what it is! How few have ever had their souls drawn out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch. When waves of despair which no language can express sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to the promises of God.” The Great Controversy, 621.
comment: It would be very helpful to memorize promises such as Isaiah 33:15, 16; Psalms 34:7; 27:5; 91:3–10, 14, 15; 121:5–7; Luke 18:7, 8. These passages, if stored in the mind, will help to give us strength to stand during the time of trouble.
13 What is to be repeated at the beginning of the latter rain? For biblical teaching, see Joel 2:28, 29; Revelation 18:1.
note: “It is with an earnest longing that I look forward to the time when the events of the day of Pentecost shall be repeated with even greater power than on that occasion. John says, ‘I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.’ ” Review and Herald, July 20, 1886.
comment: See also Acts 3:19. The “refreshing from the presence of the Lord” refers to the time of the latter rain. (Early Writings, 71, 86, 271, 279.)
14 What miracle will be repeated when the latter rain begins? See New Testament type in Acts 2:4–11.
note: “Then, as at the Pentecostal season, the people will hear the truth spoken to them, every man in his own tongue. God can breathe new life into every soul that sincerely desires to serve him, and can touch the lips with a live coal from off the altar.” Review and Herald, July 20, 1886.
comment: This reference explains that the latter rain has the same purpose as the early rain had for the disciples. It is to give us the power to give the final warning in the languages of the people. The latter rain is not to provide character preparation for the people of God. This work must all be completed before the Holy Spirit comes in the latter rain.
15 What will happen when this miracle occurs in the second advent movement? See New Testament types and prophecies regarding the last days in Mark 16:15–18; Acts 4:23–31; 5:12–16; Revelation 14:9–12; 18:1, 2, 4.
note: “Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. . . . Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.” The Great Controversy, 612.