Excerpt from The Last End – A Book of Remembrance:
“And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will give the rain of your land in its season, the former rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.” (Deut. 11:13-14, RSV)
Here is what the JFB Commentary wrote concerning “the former rain and the latter rain”:
the first rain and the latter rain — The early rain commenced in autumn, that is, chiefly during the months of September and October, while the latter rain fell in the spring of the year, that is, during the months of March and April. It is true that occasional showers fell all the winter; but, at the autumnal and vernal seasons, they were more frequent, copious, and important; for the early rain was necessary, after a hot and protracted summer, to prepare the soil for receiving the seed; and the latter rain, which shortly preceded the harvest, was of the greatest use in invigorating the languishing powers of vegetation (Jer. 5:24; Joel 2:23; Amos 4:7; Jas. 5:7).
We can also read about the “the former rain and the latter rain” in Joel 2:23: “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately (a teacher of righteousness), and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.”
In The Prophet Joel booklet, Mr. Flurry expounded this verse regarding “the former rain” and “the latter rain”. He also explained that the phrase, “the former rain
moderately” should be correctly read as “a teacher of righteousness.”
And we know that “the former rain” is referring to God’s Spirit which flowed through the “end-time Elijah” (Mr. Herbert Armstrong) with all the revelations that God gave to him and poured out during the Philadelphia era, while “the latter rain” refers to God’s Spirit which flowed through “a teacher of righteousness” (Mr. Gerald Flurry) with all the revelations which God showered to His people during the Laodicean era. (Read The Prophet Joel: Christ’s Bride and the Day of the Lord booklet for more information, under “A Teacher of Righteousness”)
But look very carefully at Joel 2:23: “(A)nd he (God) will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” Notice that there are THREE (3) RAINS mentioned here, namely:
- THE RAIN
- THE FORMER RAIN
- THE LATTER RAIN
If “the former rain” refers to God’s revelations through Mr. Armstrong, and “the latter rain” refers to God’s revelations through Mr. Flurry, then there has to be “the rain” or another set of revelations from God as specifically written in Joel 2:23.
God will cause to come down for you those three rains! God calls each of those 3 rains “a teacher of righteousness” in the respective times when He pours them in to His people. But in actual fact, that “teacher of righteousness” is actually Christ coming in the flesh through those 3 rains in progressive time sequence!
“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.” (Zech. 10:1)
Notice carefully that this “rain” is already being poured out by God even “in the time of the latter rain.”
This is what Mr. Flurry wrote in his booklet, Zechariah, The Sign of Christ’s Imminent Return:
“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” (Zechariah 10:1).
Again we are reminded of the rain, or water—a type of God’s Spirit. If we are going to prosper spiritually, we must use God’s Spirit. We must continually look to God for spiritual power to conquer Satan, this world and our own human nature. Otherwise we become prisoners in a waterless pit. We descend into human reasoning.” (pp. 69-70)
Let us consider the thought “rain in the time of the latter rain”: Rain as Mr. Flurry said, is a type of God’s Spirit. Since there is already a latter rain, one might ask, why ask for further rain? God’s answer is – “so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” To better understand this, let’s go to Jude booklet, Jude says these spiritual terrorists are “feeding themselves” when they should be feeding God’s people. And they are committing all these heinous acts “without fear.” They don’t fear breaking God’s law. They don’t fear God! ‘[C]louds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots’ (Jude 12). The clouds block out the sun—the light and righteousness of God—and they give no rain. Clarke’s Commentary says, ‘The doctrine of God is compared to the rain, Deuteronomy 32:2, and clouds are the instruments by which the rain is distilled upon the earth. In arid or parched countries the very appearance of a cloud is delightful, because it is a token of refreshing showers; but when sudden winds arise, and disperse these clouds, the hope of the husbandman and shepherd is cut off.
These false teachers are represented as clouds; they have the form and office of the teachers of righteousness, and from such appearances pure doctrine may be naturally expected: but these are clouds without water—they distill no refreshing showers because they have none; they are carried away and about by their passions, as those light fleecy clouds are carried by the winds.’” (pp. 28- 29)
Jude says that the spiritual terrorists are feeding themselves. And they are also likened to clouds with no water, no rain. So we can understand now, why Zechariah urged us to ask for rain in the time of the latter rain, because there are no refreshing showers of rain, although we can see clouds in our midst yet “they are without water, carried about of winds.”
Now, compare that with the “bright clouds” in verse 1 (in Strong’s it means, a flash of lightning:–bright cloud, lightning) which indicates new revelations (lightning, as Mr. Flurry said, is a symbol for new revelations). “So the Lord shall make bright clouds” – it is God who shall make it, it is God’s new revelation! All we have to do is ask for it. And this “bright clouds” is followed by showers of rain unlike those “clouds without water.”
But why did God make “bright clouds”? The answer is in the next verse: “For the idols have spoken vanity…” (v. 2)
In Strong’s Concordance, the word “vanity” is from the original Hebrew word ‘aven, which also mean: wickedness, affliction, evil, false, idol, iniquity, mischief, unrighteous, vanity. This is the same Hebrew word that was used in Jeremiah 4:15 for the word “affliction”: (“For a voice declareth from Dan, and publisheth affliction from mount Ephraim”). If we substitute the word “wickedness” to “vanity”, we shall have – “For the idols have spoken wickedness” (Zech. 10:2) while, in Jeremiah 4:15; “For a voice declareth from Dan, and publishes wickedness from mount Ephraim.”
While according to Lange’s Commentary, the word “idol” (teraphim) refers to a household god, but can also imply to IMPOSTORS:
“Teraphim, a kind of household gods …The prevalence of impostors, of the kinds here mentioned, just before the overthrow of Judah, is abundantly established”
According to the dictionary, an impostor is one that assumes false identity or title for the purpose of deception.
In Revelation 3:9 we can read who those impostors are: “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie.”
1 John 2:18 in the Revised Standard Version (RSV) reads, ‘Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour.’ Last hour is the correct translation of the Greek in that verse, rather than last time, as it reads in the King James Version…
This is a shocking revelation. The spirit of antichrist is rampant in this world. For years, we thought this was the essential understanding about antichrists. But now God has revealed, through John’s epistles, that the primary warning about antichrists is within God’s own Church!” (p. 1-2, 4, The Last Hour booklet)
The “prevalence of impostors” or the prevailing spirit of antichrist is inside God’s own Church! Looking carefully, it looks like that the “VOICE” being referred to in Jeremiah 4:15 does COME FROM the same “idols” that have spoken wickedness in Zechariah 10:2. These “impostors” or more appropriately called “antichrists” speak through which a voice comes out from their mouth, and they proclaim deceit and wickedness.
“(A)nd the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd”(v. 2)
This is the same prophecy as in Jeremiah 4:9: “And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the LORD, that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder.” (Read also Jeremiah 8:19)
Again, as the JFB Commentary wrote regarding Jeremiah 4:9; “The wisdom of the most leading men will be utterly at a loss to devise means of relief”
Those impostors, diviners (or false prophets), and antichrists shall comfort themselves when they finally realized that they have fallen into God’s STRONG DELUSION (Jer. 4:10). But it would be too late for them. They have already kindled God’s great wrath upon themselves.
“For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the LORD is not turned back from us.” (Jer. 4:8)
“Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the Lord of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle” (verse 3). Two groups are talked about in this verse. First are the shepherds who are actually hard-headed goats—speaking of the Laodicean ministry in God’s own Church. Second are the spiritual Jews whom God has made a goodly horse in battle, or a majestic warhorse. We really are in a war, and God has empowered His covenant people by His Holy Spirit to be a majestic warhorse.” (p. 70, Zechariah booklet)
Do we now understand why we need to ask God “rain in the time of the latter rain”? – We need to, because there are false teachers (clouds without water) inside God’s own Church –and “these spiritual terrorists are “feeding themselves” when they should be feeding God’s people.” When we ask God for that rain, He shall give us new understanding (bright clouds – flash of lightning), and His Spirit (showers of rain) to prepare us and make us a “goodly horse in the battle” ahead. Why? There shall come a time when the impostors (idols) shall speak deceit and wickedness “because there was no shepherd.”
The prophet Jeremiah prophesied of this coming spiritual drought. We can read it in Jeremiah 14:1 – “The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.” (Dearth according to Strong’s means drought). Clarke’s Commentary has this to say regarding this verse:
“The word – that came – concerning the dearth – This discourse is supposed to have been delivered, after the fourth year of Jehoiakim. Concerning the dearth. We have no historic record of any dearth that may fall in with the time of this prophecy, and perhaps it does not refer to any particular dearth: but this was a calamity to which Judea was very liable.”
Furthermore, Lange’s Commentary wrote:
Most commentators following the example of Jeremiah understand this of a future drought, which they believe to be intimated in 2 Kings 25:3. The connection is, however, opposed to deferring the drought to the future, as well as that the historical accounts contain no data for the determination of any real time.
Most commentators “understand this of a future drought” and that “the historical accounts contain no data for the determination of any real time.” Why was there “no historic record of any dearth” that has happened anciently? Even Mr. Flurry has no mention of this chapter in Jeremiah 14 in his book, Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision in the Bible. One might ask, WHY? This is very critical since “this was a calamity to which Judea was very liable.” Is it because this prophecy is reserved for the last end of indignation wherein a future drought, i.e., spiritual in nature will take place when the “nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall”? (Isa. 22:25).
And this is the same prophecy as written in Amos 8:11; “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.” (Dearth according to the dictionary means famine). And what is real cause of the problem? Why should there be a spiritual drought?
“Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.”(Jer. 14:14)
Notice that this is very much connected to Zechariah 10:1-2, where we are exhorted to “ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain”; “For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.”
Has the prophecy that the prophets and the priests saw just a lie, a false vision and divination and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart? (v. 14)
“(Y)ea, both the prophet and the priest go about into a land that they know not” (v. 18). The lie and the false vision revolve around “A LAND THAT THEY KNOW NOT.” Could this land be referring to Ireland? Clarke’s Commentary wrote concerning verse 18:
that the going about of the prophets and priests of the land, is to be understood thus: – “They went trafficking about with their false doctrines and lying predictions, as peddlers do with their wares, seeking their own gain.”
That’s why the idols are speaking VANITY – they are seeking their OWN gain (Read also Isa 56:11) and they went to “A LAND THAT THEY KNOW NOT”- not even Mr. Armstrong nor God would acknowledge that land!
Are those ministers that gave counsel to That Prophet to do a work in Ireland speaks VANITY and seeking their OWN gain? (Their counsel according to the prophet Jeremiah is actually, a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart). This is very much the same prophecy as in Habakkuk 2:4-10 that describes “a proud man” that wants to “increase that which is not his!” This is also speaking of the last end son of perdition with his many antichrist impostors! This is all one vision of the last end of the indignation in Daniel 8 – when the transgressors are come to the full! (v. 23)
“O the hope of Israel, the saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night?” (v. 8)
Who is the hope of spiritual Israel (the Laodiceans)? Is it not God through spiritual Judah (the Philadelphians)? The prophet Jeremiah then asks, “why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land?” Why should the Church be a stranger in the land? Did God’s Church have a prior work in Ireland that has been done when Mr. Armstrong was alive?
“…(A)nd as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night?” In Strong’s, the word “turneth aside” come from the word, natah:
“H5186. natah; a prim. root; to stretch or spread out; by implication to bend away (includ. mor. deflection); used in a great variety of application (as follows):– + afternoon, extend, outstretched, pervert, prolong, put away, spread out, stretch out.”
Verse 8 could be better rendered this way: “O the hope of the Laodiceans, the one who brings the message of salvation from the Great Tribulation, why do you want to travel and be a stranger in the land (of Ireland), like a traveler who wants to extend, prolong, and stretch the afternoon before the night (the Great Tribulation) comes? (This sounds like the Matthew 24:48 “evil servant” who “shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming”). The decision to have an archeological dig in Ireland is a like another way of saying, “My lord delayeth his coming!”
“Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save? yet thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not.”(v. 9) These people comfort themselves by saying “we are called by thy name” – “we are God’s Church” and that “God will not leave us”, but God does not appear to be saving them from the calamity. Instead, God was the one who sent the strong delusion! (Jer. 4:10) From Clarke’s Commentary we can read about verse 9:
“Yet thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us – Thy ark, temple, and sacred rites, are all here; and thou thyself, who art everywhere present, art here also: but alas! thou dost not reveal thyself as the Father of mercies, who forgivest iniquity, transgression, and sin.”
“Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? hath thy soul lothed Zion? why hast thou smitten us, and there is no healing for us? we looked for peace, and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!”(Jer. 14:19) This is a very sobering prophecy that concerns God’s own people, even the PCG (spiritual Judah), during the spiritual drought that God shall bring about to be fulfilled. To the prophet Jeremiah, he thought that God has utterly rejected God’s own people. Yet, God does these things to extract His faithful very elect from the sanctuary that was profaned by the “idols” – the false prophets and priests in God’s house.
God shall bring His very elect to the place of safety once the strong delusion is through, yet those Edomite Laodiceans that were inside the PCG (and even those that were outside) shall suffer His great wrath in “the last end of the indignation.” To which purpose the prophet Habakkuk prayed “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” (Hab. 3:2)
But there will come a time when God shall instead “remember their iniquity” and not “remember mercy” anymore: “Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.”(Jer. 14:10) God “remember their iniquity” because the people “loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet” – they are going to a strange land they know not, even Ireland!
“not refrained … feet — They did not obey God’s command; ‘withhold thy foot’ (Jer. 2:25), namely, from following after idols.” – JFB Commentary
Because of the strong delusion, God’s own people are following the “idols” – the “impostors” in God’s own Church – as they speak vanity (Zech 10:2); and these antichrists declare to go to Ireland and they also want to proclaim wickedness in Britain! (Jer. 4:15)
When that time comes, we are no longer encouraged to even pray for these idols and impostors: “Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good.” (v.11)
In the end, there is still good news in here, for God’s own people shall repent: “We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee. Do not abhor us, for thy name’s sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory:” (v. 20-21)
According to the JFB Commentary, the word “throne of thy glory” refers to Jerusalem (see also Jer. 3:17). Thus, when spiritual Judah finally sees where she has been led astray by listening to “a voice” that declares in Ireland – and finally recognized “the voice” which declares that the Eternal has chosen Jerusalem, she then appeals to God by urging Him “that Zion’s destruction would disgrace the throne of the Lord Himself, in so far as Zion in part is the throne of the Lord, and in part conceals Him in its midst” (Lange’s Commentary)
“…(R)emember, break not thy covenant with us.” (v. 21) – God will not break His covenant again as what happened when the staff Beauty was broken. For He only purposed to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel – to separate the Philadelphians from the Laodiceans inside God’s house. (This is to be discussed in the next chapter) The prophet Jeremiah prophesied of a terrible spiritual drought (Jer. 14:1), yet God shall make bright clouds and give us showers of rain:
FLASH OF LIGHTNING
“Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds” (Zech. 10:1) Again, the word “bright clouds” come from the Hebrew word:
“chaziyz”; to glare; a flash of lightning:–bright cloud, lightning.
So “bright clouds” could also mean “a flash of lightning”. While there is a similar word found in Matthew 24:27: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (The word “lightning” here comes from original Greek word “astrape”; from G797 (to flash as lightning); lightning; by analogy glare:–lightning, bright shining. This is the same definition found in Zechariah 10:1 regarding “bright clouds”)
So, the “flash of lightning” comes out of the EAST and shines even unto the WEST. If this “lightning” in Matthew 24:27 does refer to the same thought in Zechariah 10:1, then the “bright clouds” or the “flash of lightning” will be coming from the EAST as stated in Matthew 24:27.
If the “bright clouds” or “flash of lightning” would be coming from the “east”, could it be the reason why God’s people shall say? – “Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things” (v. 22).
According to Lange’s Commentary regarding Zechariah 10:1: “Lightnings are mentioned as precursor of rain.” “…(A)nd give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” In Isaiah 40:6-7, we can read what those “grass” symbolize: “The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.” (See also 1 Pet. 1:24)
“Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately (a teacher of righteousness), and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.”(Joel 2:23)
“The rain shall come down,” here specially opposed to the drought….(So far as this special act may be generalized, it may rather be said that it begets and keeps alive the consciousness that the Giver of all good is AGAIN in the midst of His people) – Lange’s Commentary.
God will cause to come down for God’s Church THE RAIN in the midst of the coming spiritual drought.