The idea of ‘latter rain’ (or ‘late rain’) comes from Joel’s Old Testament prophecy – and God’s response to the challenge, “Where is their God?” (Joel 2:17) He declared: “Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends abundant showers, both autumn (early) and spring (later) rains, as before.” (Joel 2:23) These early and later rains were vital for a good harvest – for food and life. Then, the Lord added: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29)
On the day of Pentecost – 10 days after Jesus ascended from the Mount of Olives (which were 10 days of prayer) – the Holy Spirit rushed in over Jerusalem, filling the house and all present. (Acts 2:1-4) The apostle Peter declared that this was a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy – “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” (Acts 2:17-21) Peter went on to say, “God has raised … Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” (Acts 2:32-33) Many have seen the Pentecost filling of the Holy Spirit as like the EARLY RAIN – establishing the witness of the church, the body of Jesus.
Today, before the great harvest for eternity (Rev 14:14-20 cf. Matt 13:24-30, 36-43) – when Jesus shall return – we can expect an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as never before. This could be described as the LATE RAIN of the Holy Spirit – when the earth will shine with God’s glory. (See Rev 18:1 cf. Rev 14:6, Ezek 43:1-5) This has parallel experiences of early rain and later rain in the experiences of individuals.