Latter Rain Expectations

As probation’s hour closes, Satan will level his sharpest thrusts against those who follow the guidelines laid down by the pen of inspiration. He will carry the contest to every soul. As in the Armageddon of Revelation 16, devils will go forth to deceive the very elect. With demonic cunning, they will inspire the susceptible to make void God’s law and nullify the testimonies of His Spirit—the means ordained of God to expose his deceptions, countermand his policies, and blunt his power.

At this time, as never before, the Church will need its unifying influence, its divine guidance, and its staying power. It dares not yield its faith. Some, alas, through willful ignorance and sinful neglect, have made their doubts regarding the inspiration of Mrs. White an excuse for leaving the Church. By making personal interests more important than the testimonies of God’s Spirit, some dishonor Jesus and quench His Spirit. But the faithful know Satan’s devices. They accept and act on this alert: “He [Satan] seeks by all the means in his power to shake the confidence of God’s people in the voice of warning and reproof through which God designs to purify the church and prosper His cause.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 211.

As God’s prophetic clock ticks off the last seconds of probationary time, thousands, feeling the impact of His now-or-never appeals, will fearlessly step out and, heedless of consequences, align themselves with God’s commandment-keeping people. Hearing their witness, sensing their courage, and feeling their love and true concern for their salvation, they cast caution aside and obey the promptings of the Spirit within the conscience.

“As the end approaches, the testimonies of God’s servants will become more decided and more powerful, flashing the light of truth upon the systems of error and oppression that have so long held the supremacy.” An Appeal to Our Ministers and Conference Committees, 18. We cannot now tone down the distinctive truths. The third angel proclaims no tame, insipid, or spiritless message. The world today and tomorrow needs messengers with flaming torches and flaming tongues who will set ablaze the whole creation.

The gifts of the Spirit, as well as the fruit of the Spirit, will confirm the truth. “A compelling power moved the honest. … Mighty miracles were wrought, the sick were healed, and signs and wonders followed the believers.” Early Writings, 278. The gift of tongues which enables those of different languages to understand the message will reappear: “Then, as at the Pentecostal season, the people will hear the truth spoken to them, every man in his own tongue.” The Review and Herald, July 20, 1886. In a special sense, Jesus offers His followers today more than discipleship. He would make them apostles! “All that the apostles did, every church member today is to do.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 33.

Ours is a reaping message. The apostles, as seed sowers, went everywhere with the gospel’s glad tidings. So God’s harvest-hour witnesses, empowered by the Spirit, will gather fruit for Jesus out of all lands. Staggering as it may seem, every heart susceptible to the Spirit’s appeal around the world will respond. “Every truly honest soul will come to the light of truth.” The Great Controversy, 522.

According to God’s messenger to the remnant, some who had stood as leaders and guardians of the people will betray sacred trust. They will take the position that we need not look for miracles and the manifestation of divine power seen in former times. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 211.) Under the latter rain “Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers.” The Great Controversy, 612.

But alas, some who were once in the church who felt no special burden for their own spirituality and little for others, together with the many who have heard the message and did not respond, will not share the latter-rain refreshing. Their probation actually closes before the latter rain falls. “The time of God’s destructive judgments is the time of mercy for those who have had no opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; His hand is still stretched out to save, while the door is closed to those who would not enter.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 97. Solemn thought!

Have you, dear reader, noticed a spiritual progression leading to the Christian maturity that all must experience in order to receive the latter rain? Are you becoming more and more sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit? God would have you “realize every moment that you must have the presence of the Holy Spirit” (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 310), that “unless you receive the Holy Spirit, you cannot have the love of God in the soul” (The Review and Herald, September 27, 1892), and that “no one is prepared to educate and strengthen the church unless he has received the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Ibid., March 29, 1892). Is your preparation adequate?

God wants us to understand that every church and individual will receive the Spirit when prepared: “The Holy Spirit is waiting for channels through whom to work. … Satan will not always triumph. The Spirit of God will be poured out upon the church just as soon as the vessels are prepared to receive it.” That I May Know Him, 330.

Why haven’t we received the fullness promised? Ellen White observes, “Happy will be the one of whom it can then be said, ‘The Spirit never stirred this man’s soul in vain. … Each step upward on the ladder of progress prepared him to climb still higher.’ …

“This experience every one who is saved must have. … He who has not sufficient faith in Christ to believe that He can keep him from sinning, has not the faith that will give him an entrance into the kingdom of God.” The Review and Herald, March 10, 1904.

Too many have had an outer-court relation to God, but God wants us to come into the holy of holies and know Him intimately. He offers us an inner-circle relationship so special and inconceivably glorious that even the born-again can only stand in awe and marvel. “It is essential that he [the believer] hold as vital a relation with God as does the Son to the Father.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 943.

Baptized anew in Christ’s love and surrounded with the divine influence of His grace, God’s last-day messengers will herald the distinctive truths that gather out the honest-hearted. “During the loud cry … light will be communicated to every city and town. … The light of present truth will be flashing everywhere.” Evangelism, 694. In addition, present truth will penetrate strongholds of apostasy and heathenism: “In heathen Africa, in the Catholic lands of Europe and of South America, in China, in India, in the islands of the sea, and in all the dark corners of the earth, God has in reserve a firmament of chosen ones that will yet shine forth amidst the darkness.” Prophets and Kings, 188, 189.

During the latter rain, organizational machinery will at times give place to let Spirit-filled men speak with telling power. (See The General Conference Bulletin, February 15, 1895.) The Holy Spirit will then give us arguments to meet all opposition. (See The Review and Herald, January 28, 1902.) As at Pentecost converts will flock to the church from all directions, and the Holy Spirit will reconvert backsliders. (See The Acts of the Apostles, 48.)

Ellen White looked forward to the time when fallen man, “renewed, restored, raised to a holy rivalry with the angels” (The Signs of the Times, August 7, 1901), would speak the word with power. She said, “Nothing was too great to be expected from the coming of the divine Spirit.” Ibid. The cause would not suffer from lack of funds, for when the poor have done what they could, the Lord would bring in men of means. (See Gospel Workers (1892), 298.) Not just a few but “many a rich man” (Testimonies, vol. 6, 258) and “some who are numbered among merchants and princes will take their position to obey the truth.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1060.

God will not restrict His Spirit. He will infuse every dedicated soul with power. He will pour out His Spirit upon every person who yields to His promptings. He will use our boys and girls as He did in the 1844 movement: “The Spirit of God will come upon the children, and they will do a work … which the older workers cannot do.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 203. Indeed “God can use every person just in proportion as He can put His Spirit into the soul-temple.” Ibid., vol. 7, 144.

Concerning the fruitage of the latter rain, we read, “By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. …

“The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God. The arguments have been presented. … The publications … have exerted their influence. … Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. … A large number take their stand upon the Lord’s side.” The Great Controversy, 612.

And God will especially remember the Jew. “In the closing proclamation of the gospel, when special work is to be done for classes of people hitherto neglected, God expects His messengers to take particular interest in the Jewish people.” “Many will accept Christ as the Messiah.” “An explanation of Jehovah’s eternal purpose … will be to many … as the dawn of a new creation.”

“Among the Jews are some who, like Saul of Tarsus, are mighty in the Scriptures, and these will proclaim with wonderful power the immutability of the law of God.” The Acts of the Apostles, 380, 381. Furthermore, “converted Jews are to have an important part to act in the great preparations to be made in the future to receive Christ, our Prince. A nation shall be born in a day. How? By men whom God has appointed being converted to the truth. There will be seen ‘first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear’ (Mark 4:28). The predictions of prophecy will be fulfilled.” Evangelism, 579.

Prominent men, men of intellect and influence, will step out to join the movement. “The greatest men of the earth are not beyond the power of a wonder-working God. If those who are workers together with Him will be men of opportunity, doing their duty bravely and faithfully, God will convert men who occupy responsible places, men of intellect and influence.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 82. God’s Spirit working mightily among all classes, will draw from “among the leading men of the nation” some who “will stand with the people of God through the time of trouble.” The Great Controversy, 610, 611. And some authors and lawmakers will come out boldly for God’s law. (See The Review and Herald, December 24, 1889.)

Luke, the New Testament historian, tells us that as a result of Stephen’s witness “a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). And in The Great Controversy, 464, we read that many, ministers and people, will gladly accept the message of the hour. The message will not lose its momentum. Rather, as God’s people share their faith, the Holy Spirit will constantly replenish their power until God’s glory covers the earth. (See My Life Today, 63.) Moreover, memorials for the third angel’s message will spring up in every city and village. (See Testimonies, vol. 9, 28, 29.) Thus Christ will be glorified in the time of the latter rain. (See The Review and Herald, November 29, 1892.)

In writing about the love of God, Ellen White goes beyond eloquence. She tells us that the true preparation for the Pentecostal anointing of the Spirit came with the knowledge of their Saviour’s matchless love. (See The Review and Herald, July 21, 1903.) Can we know the glory that shines in Christ’s face? She views it as the glory of self-sacrificing love. (See The Desire of Ages, 20.) She tells us moreover that “Christ’s love is deep and earnest, flowing like an irrepressible stream.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1140. “It is the greatest and most fatal deception to suppose that a man can have faith unto life eternal, without possessing Christlike love for his brethren. … There is no such thing as a loveless Christian.” Ibid., 1141. In speaking of God’s great love, she explains, “So strong is His love that it controls all His powers, and employs the vast resources of heaven in doing His people good.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 519.

As a people we have exercised too little concern for the lost. We place too low an estimate upon the souls around us and those in other lands, but God’s Spirit can rectify this. “God’s message to each of us is, ‘My son, give Me thine heart’ (Proverbs 23:26). … Then open the heart to the Divine Spirit and you will appreciate the value of the human soul.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 41. Love not felt by us will avail nothing. “Unless we can feel brotherly love for those around us, the Holy Spirit cannot work upon our hearts and minds.” Ibid., 27, 28.

God’s Spirit becomes our spirit, and by the Spirit, divine love, transplanted into our hearts, flourishes. “You are to be imbued with such love for Christ that you will yield to Him your whole affections. … Imbued with the love of Christ, you are to be constrained to perform acts of unselfish service. … In such a life there is continual fruit bearing.” Counsels on Health, 633. Imbued by the Spirit with the kind of love Jesus revealed throughout His entire life and in His death constitutes the grand purpose of the plan of salvation. “The Lord is glorified when the great end of His law is attained. It is the work of the Holy Spirit from age to age to impart love to human hearts, for love is the living principle of brotherhood.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 139.

What grand climax does God have in store to give the world in His final message? “Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, ‘Behold your God.’ The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 415, 416. “The indwelling of the Spirit will be shown by the outflowing of heavenly love.” Ibid., 419.

For those who turn away from God’s last love appeal, hope becomes nonexistent. Earth’s two harvests call for reapers: (1) Christ with the sickle gathers the grain for the heavenly garner, and (2) the fifth angel of Revelation 14, who also has a sickle, gathers the vine of the earth for the great winepress of God’s wrath. Earth’s inhabitants divide themselves into the two classes: those filled with the Holy Spirit and those filled with an unholy spirit. No problem of identity exists, for the loyal bear the seal of the living God, while the rebellious bear the mark of the beast.

The investigative judgment has considered the case of each individual who has ever professed Christ—the names are listed in the heavenly docket called the Lamb’s book of life. While the universe has watched, God has reviewed each case one by one. He has retained the faithful; the unfaithful He has blotted out. Rewards now will go to the righteous, and punishments to the wicked. A hushed universe awaits the verdict. The awful fiat goes forth, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11). Court now adjourns for good. Destinies are fixed forever. No higher court exists. Every part of God’s last message to the world has reflected the infinite love of Jesus. “The contemplation of the love of God manifested in His Son will stir the heart and arouse the powers of the soul as nothing else can.” The Desire of Ages, 478. When the soul ceases to listen to the whispers of Christ’s love, the Spirit can do nothing more.

“He that loveth not knoweth not God,” but “every one that loveth … knoweth God.” The heart, in contemplation of Christ’s love as revealed on the cross and nourished by the “spirit … of love” (1 John 4:8, 7; 2 Timothy 1:7), will rejoice in righteousness throughout eternity. Let us tell the world about it now!

Scripture from the King James Version.

[All Emphasis supplied.]

Preparing for the Latter Rain, ©1973, 192–199.

(As shared by daughter, Charlotte Osgood Rollenhagen: her father, De Witt S. Osgood, was a pastor, evangelist, church builder, administrator, writer. “He committed his whole life completely to the Lord.”)