The Latter Rain Movement – What is it?
The Latter Rain Movement is a movement within the larger charismatic movement that teaches God is pouring out His "latter rain" in our time as He did at the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) to prepare the world for Christ's return.
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The beginning of the modern Latter Rain Movement began with the publication of the book Latter Rain Songs in 1907 by David Wesley Myland. His influential book The Latter Rain Covenant later followed. The popularity of the Latter Rain Movement increased during a series of revival meetings in1948 in Saskatchewan, Canada. Though popular in some areas, the Assemblies of God denomination denounced this movement in 1949 as did other denominations.
The teaching is based on Joel 2:23 that states, "Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before." This "rain" is interpreted as the pouring down of the Holy Spirit similar to Pentecost (Acts 2).
Included in this perspective of the "latter rain" are the ideas of all people in a group speaking in tongues, baptism of the Spirit as a special event after salvation, the power to cast out demons, the restoration of apostles and prophets, and divine healing. Variations of this type of movement continue today during some charismatic revivals when claims are made regarding certain leaders or powers.
However, such teachings are beyond the principles of the Bible. First, Joel 2:23 does not speak regarding supernatural gifts being poured out in the last days. Second, the Latter Rain Movement emphasized "overcomers" or "members of Joel's army" who would exhibit special powers such as divine healing and prophecy in the last days. While God does heal, and prophecy is a large part of biblical teachings, the emphasis on charismatic leaders who would have special "last days" abilities has led to many problems within the movement.
Instead, the Bible teaches the Lord will return at "any moment" and that we are to encourage one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Instead of expecting a "latter rain," we are called to faithfully live as God's servants, offering our lives as a holy sacrifice pleasing to God until His return (Romans 12:1-2).
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