Every single harvest is dependent on the rain. Enough food for families depends on the rains. Farmers faithfully till the soil, plant the seed and wait upon the Lord for the rain. Globally, any harvest is intimately linked to rain. In Israel there are only two seasons. Dry and hot then wet and raining. From April to September there is virtually zero rain in Israel, and then the Lord pours out the first pounding rain which covers the entire nation. The rain prepares the soil for the coming harvest by making it soft for the farmers to plow. This drenching rain is called the “former rain”. Sporadic rains occur during the rest of the months until Passover when the late “latter rain” falls. God’s purpose of the latter rain is always to cause seeds to germinate. Moses spoke of three types of harvest. 1) grain 2) wine 3) oil. Deuteronomy 11:13-14 “And if you will carefully obey all of His commandments that I am going to give you today, and if you will love the Lord your God with all your hearts and souls and will worship Him, then He will continue to send both the early (former) and late (latter) rains that will produce wonderful crops of grain, grapes for your wine, and olive oil.” The early, former rain fell on the day of Pentecost and on the early church.
The rain in Scripture refers to the Holy Spirit and there have been celebrated brief visitations of the Holy Spirit since 1904. Derek Prince believed that a latter rain began to fall in January 1900. This early rain impacted the entire church across the globe. Today we have documented visitations of the Holy Spirit spreading from Azusa street in 1904 to almost every nation. (View Derek’s teaching about the TWO HARVESTS in comment section) Derek stated that God’s outpouring of this centuries latter rain is not the fulfillment as there is much more to come. Derek emphasizes the importance that the church recognize the purpose of dispatching the Holy Spirit. It is not solely for our benefit, but it is for the final harvest coming. The harvest represents the gathering of souls. The Holy Spirit is never dispensed to make anyone superior, especially blessed or super spiritual. The Holy Spirit teaches, guides, comforts and prompts us to “go and make disciples” He also gives us understanding and helps us to discern all things. God’s main purpose for the rain is the harvest of souls. Jeremiah 5:23-24 TLB “But My people have rebellious hearts; they have turned against Me and gone off into idolatry. Though I am the one who gives them rain each year in spring and fall and sends the harvest times, yet they have no respect or fear for Me.” The KJV reads “Neither say they in their heart, let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in His season: He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” The big mistake Israel made was to fail to recognize that they were entirely dependent on God for the rain, and that the rain was given for the purpose of the harvest.
The same mistake is made in the church today. Our Father reserves the appointed weeks for the harvest. Appointed weeks, not months or years for the harvest. A farmer is very aware that all hands are required in the field at harvest time. Proverbs 10:5 KJV “He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.” The lazy Christian causes shame to who? To God for their giving all kinds of excuses why they cannot help bring in the harvest. Can you recognize any regular church going, hymn singing, tongue speaking people in the church who are unwilling to work in the fields? Imagine the shame they thrust upon God by their stiff necked disobedience. The proverb states that the Christian who chooses to sleep, or who declares it is not his calling or gifting to work during the harvest — that person may be able to quote scripture but they will be held accountable for their laziness. Many are deceived by thinking that they are eternally secure by their attendance in church. The book of Joel offers us three important lessons: Desolation, Restoration and Judgment. Joel 2:23-24 “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.” The first month refers to March when the latter rain falls when the threshing floor is full of wheat and the vats are full of wine and oil. Our God is faithful and He sent the latter rain at Pentecost and He warns us to keep our lamps full of oil for when He returns with His sickle. Joel 2:28 KJV “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.” God’s Word says that He will pour out His Spirit on ALL flesh which means the good, the bad, the sinner, the saved, the workers, and the lazy and we will ALL be held accountable for our obedience and disobedience. What is the common denominator of people who get snubbed eternally by God? The virgin, the guy who got one talent, and those who shirk their responsibility to do the will of God. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers.” Matthew 7:21
Then the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered them, “Because the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them. For whoever has,(understanding via the Holy Spirit) more will be given to him, and he will have more than enough. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. For this reason I speak to them in parables, because looking they do not see, and hearing they do not listen or understand. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You will listen and listen, yet never understand;and you will look and look, yet never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown callous; their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn back—and I would cure them. But your eyes are blessed because they do see, and your ears because they do hear! For I assure you: Many prophets and righteous people longed to see the things you see yet didn’t see them; to hear the things you hear yet didn’t hear them” Matthew 13:10-17 Because we have the Holy Spirit, we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Then Jesus immediately told the parable about seeds, soil and harvest. “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. The landowner’s slaves (God’s field hands) came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’ The Master answered “‘An enemy did this!’ The slaves asked him “‘So, do you want us to go and gather them up?’ The Master said “‘No, when you gather up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but store the wheat in my barn.’” Matthew 13:24-29 HCSB Jesus was telling a parable about the coming harvest. His field hands are not to pull up the weeds, just leave them to grow inside the church, in the neighborhood. In Revelation chapter 14 Jesus returns with His sickle to reap the wheat and then another reaper angel deals with the weeds. We are wise to connect the end time big picture and purpose of God. His outpouring of the water, the Holy Spirit on us is that we will be His working field hands. James 5:7-8 HCSB “Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near.” What is the correct goal for those who have received the Holy Spirit? For His will to be done, for His name to be honored as we work to gather souls for His kingdom coming. “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The Lord’s return is near and we are to be working out our salvation even though we do not know the hour, month or year. We are to keep our lamps full of oil as we shine the light of Truth. If the church of Jesus Christ were to run the race before them with the discipline of an athlete, it is perfectly possible that in one decade more souls come to Christ than the total souls ever reached for throughout history. Without a vision people perish! It is wise to visualize yourself running across the finish line into His glory to hear Him say “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”
In John 4:35 HCSB After Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, she got Who He was and without any training, she ran into town to tell everyone about the Saviour of the world. But when the disciples, students of Jesus, the friends who witnessed miracles said “Don’t you say, ‘There are still four more months, then comes the harvest’? Jesus replied “Listen to what I’m telling you: Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest.” The sad truth revealed further in Matthew 9:36-38 HCSB “When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Many may say but I am not a teacher, evangelist what can I do? In the parable of the talents Jesus talks about three kinds of people. A hard worker got 5 talents and doubled his worth. Another got 2 talents and invested effort to grow them by 100%. The third man buried his talent, as he chose not to invest his time in effort to increase what he had been given. When the Master returned he said to the third person “you wicked and lazy servant”. Understand that laziness is a sin that shames the Father. If we trust that God has deposited the Holy Spirit in us, we have talent. A person can choose to invest what they have into a thriving ministry, or start their own, but we should all be investing what the Father has given us for His purpose and that is to gather souls during the harvest. We were not saved to attend church, sing songs and go about our business. Like Jesus went about His Father’s business, we should be doing the same. Many Christians would be wise to simply exchange their MEDIA viewing time to Bible reading time. By spending more time in the presence of the Lord while ingesting His Word, we bring our Father great pleasure as He prepares us for the coming harvest. In Revelation John wrote what the Father told him to. In the letters to the churches we are asked to examine our hearts.1) Have I abandoned my first love for Jesus? 2) Am I willing to be faithful under persecution? 3) Am I holding onto idols, passions, or hobbies that distract me from God’s purpose in my salvation? 4) Do I tolerate the lies of today and spread them? 5) Do I pretend to be holy, or am I truly dead to God? 6) In my limited strength am I doing all that I can for God’s glory? 7) Am I lukewarm, not on fire for God, but just comfortable? As we draw near to the Day of the Lord everything is accelerating. “Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. It’s rider is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness.” Revelation 19:11 Harvest is a major theme of scripture that runs throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. This is a summary of a teaching by Derek Prince entitled “The Two Harvests” for the rest of the story click the link available in comments.