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Latter-rain angel sheds light on Holy Spirit mystery
The latter-rain angel lightens the entire earth with his glory – “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.” (Rev. 18:1). When one recognizes that this is a description of an event like what happened on the Day of Pentecost to Jesus’s disciples, except more extensive, it sheds light on the mystery concerning who or what the Holy Spirit is. Let us see what we know about the latter rain and then see if it can help us clear away some of the confusion that exists concerning what happened at Pentecost. But first, let us establish that Pentecost, the early or former rain, was only a moderate version of what is to come in the latter rain.
Jesus told His disciples that He was about to return to heaven, but He would come back – “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3). He further told them that while He was away, He would not leave them comfortless. He would ask His Father to send them another Comforter.
The Comforter and the former rain
Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18). But His disciples did not understand what He meant and one of them asked: “Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” (John 14:22). He then explained: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26). It became clear to them that He was going to send someone else to minister to them on His behalf until He returns.
Jesus told His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until the promise He made concerning that which He would send them from the Father was fulfilled – “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49). The promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, with Peter declaring to the multitude that the outpouring of God’s spirit on that occasion was also a fulfilment of a prophecy that was made by Joel – “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:16, 17).
Using the imagery of the early rains that germinated the seeds and gave the wheat crop a good start and the latter rains that came towards the end of the season to ripen the grains, Joel had made it clear that there would have been an early or former rain of the Holy Spirit outpouring that would be only moderate, and there would also be a latter rain that would cause the harvest floors to be full – “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 fats shall overflow with wine and oil.” (Joel 2:23, 24); “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: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” (Joel 2:28, 29).
The time-line given by Joel for this outpouring of God’s spirit and some of the signs in the heavens that would be associated with it, points clearly to an end-time occurrence – “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” (Joel 2:30, 31).
The outpouring of God’s spirit at Pentecost was therefore only a partial fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy since there was no record of the sun turning into darkness nor the moon turning into blood, neither was it the great and terrible day of the Lord. It was the “former rain” that was given only “moderately”, as Joel said. Indeed, the initial outpouring was only on those who were gathered in the upper room, about a hundred and twenty persons (Acts 1:15), with a few others receiving it by the laying of hands on them by the disciples. This moderate outpouring was brought about by the Comforter whom Christ sent from His Father.
Another angel and the latter rain
The latter rain is a massive outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days – “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.” (Rev. 18:1). The event happens at a time when it is said that Babylon had “become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit” (Rev. 18:2). At that time the sins of Babylon, a system of false worship, would “have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” (Rev. 18:5). It is in this context that “another angel” that has “great power” comes from heaven and lightens “the earth with his glory”.
To get a sense of the glory that can attend angels, we can consider that it is mentioned alongside the glory of God Himself and Christ at the second coming of Christ – “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26). Three powers of heaven are here brought to view, God, Christ and the holy angels.
The final outpouring will be more comprehensive and will take place in the last days, accompanied by signs in the sun, the moon, the heavens and the earth. According to Revelation 18, the earth will be “lightened with his glory” (Rev. 18:1). This is the glory of “another angel” who comes to earth with “great power” (Rev. 18:1).
The fact that the latter rain will be brought to earth by an angel and will be more extensive than the outpouring of the former rain at Pentecost, sheds some light on the mystery of who the Comforter, the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost, might be.
Only an agent or messenger can be sent. The word in scripture for a Divine agent or messenger is “angel”, translated from the Hebrew “malak” in the Old Testament and the Greek “aggelos” in the New Testament. The term “angel” does not even tell the status or nature of the agent or messenger, since even Christ is referred to as “angel” – the “angel of the Lord” (Ex. 3:2) and “archangel” – chief of angels (1 Thess. 4:16). No other Agent or Messenger of God is identified in scripture as being divine or having a “God-nature” except Jesus Christ.
The agent or messenger that brought the outpouring of God’s spirit at Pentecost, called the Comforter or Spirit of Truth, and the Holy Ghost was not Christ Himself, but someone sent by Christ. Similarly, the angel of Revelation 18 who will bring an even more extensive outpouring of God’s spirit in the last days is not Christ Himself or another God-being, but someone from heaven who will be sent to earth to empower the followers of Christ before Jesus Christ comes the second time.
It is important to know that the Comforter, like the Angel of Revelation 18, is an agent from heaven who is sent to empower Jesus’s disciples and not another God-being, as many people today are worshipping the Holy Spirit, whereas we have been warned against “worshipping of angels” (Col. 2:18). The last-days message to the world is a call to worship the true God who made heaven and earth (Rev. 14:6, 7). At such a time there is a call to come out of Babylon or false worship that is described as “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit” (Rev. 18:2) – a clear reference to false worship that has a strong spirit emphasis. We would do well to heed the words of the angel who admonished John the Revelator when John was about to worship the angel. The angel said: “See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant . . . . . . worship God” (Rev. 22:9).
Deception and worship of other gods
Jesus warned that deception will be almost overpowering in the last days – “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matt. 24:24). We should be aware that the underlying objective behind Satan’s deceptions is to cause people to worship him. Lucifer was a glorious angel who rebelled against God and became Satan because he wanted to be like the Most High – “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isa. 14:12-15).
Being angels, though fallen, Satan and the other angels with him have not lost their power to work miracles. These will be the tools for carrying out their deceptions in the last days. But God had warned, from the days of ancient Israel that we should not follow those who would lead us to worship other gods even though they might do signs and wonders successfully – “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut. 13:1-3).
Call to worship the true God
The first and great commandment is to love God with all our hearts (Matt. 22:37, 38). The sign that we love God is our willingness to obey Him – “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). Today, many people are earnestly seeking for power to work miracles and are calling on the Holy Spirit, praying to and worshipping the Spirit. But Jesus and the holy angels tell us to worship God. Apart from God Himself, we are commanded to worship Christ, the Son of God, and no one else –
“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” (John 5:22, 23); – honouring the Son as we honour the Father would include worship.
“And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” (Heb. 1:6) – angels are commanded to worship Christ and so should we.
“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Rev. 21:22) – a temple is a place of worship; God and Christ are the temple – no one else.
We should ask ourselves: “If we worship and call upon someone else apart from God and Christ, and we get miraculous responses, who is it that is responding? Is it God, Christ and the angels of God on the one hand or is it someone else such as Satan and fallen angels on the other hand?” Jesus told us how to pray. He told us to say: “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9). He further told His disciples to pray to the Father in His name – “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23, 24).
Let us beware of the modern allurement of calling upon the Spirit. This will be a feature of Babylon, false worship, in the last days. We are called upon to worship God and Christ; no one else. This is what the angels do in heaven and that is what we should do – “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:13).
Someone queries, “Jesus told us to baptize people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; doesn’t that clearly indicate that Father, Son and Holy Ghost are co-equal and that all three should be worshipped as God?” The answer is no. We should do as Jesus said and not go beyond His instructions. Jesus commanded: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matt. 28:19, 20). We should therefore baptize people in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This does not make Father, Son and Holy Spirit co-equals or make them jointly the one God of Scripture.
This command is very similar to Paul’s charge to Timothy. He said: “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things” (1 Tim. 5:21). As with Jesus’s statement that He will come in His own glory, the Father’s glory and the glory of the angels, Paul has identified the three powers of heaven: God, Christ and the angels. This gives no warrant to worship the angels or to see them as co-equals with God. Let us, by God’s grace, do what God says and not add to nor diminish from His word.
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).
For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/
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