The former rain moderately - לצדקה המורה hammoreh litsedakah, "the former rain in righteousness," that is, in due time and in just proportion. This rain fell after autumn, the other in spring. See Hosea 6:3.
In the first month - בראשון barishon, "as aforetime." So Bp. Newcome. In the month Nisan. - Syriac.
Be glad then and rejoice in the Lord your God - All things had been restored for their sakes; they were to rejoice, not chiefly in these things, but in God; nor only in God, but in the Lord their God. “For He hath given you the former rain moderately.” The word rendered “moderately” should be rendered “unto righteosness;” the word often as it occurs never having any sense but that of “righteousness;” whether of God or man. The other word מורה môwreh rendered “the former rain,” confessedly has that meaning in the latter part of the verse, although “yoreh” יורה yôwreh is the distinctive term for “latter rain” Deuteronomy 11:14; Jeremiah 5:24. “Moreh” mostly signifies “a teacher” (2 Kings 17:28; Job 36:22; Proverbs 5:13; Isaiah 9:15; Isaiah 30:20, (twice); Habakkuk 2:18), which is connected with the other ordinary meanings of the root, “torah, law, etc.” The older translators then agreed in rendering, “of righteousness,” or, “unto righteousness”, in which case the question as to “moreh,” is only, whether it is to be taken literally of “a teacher,” or figuratively of spiritual blessings, as we say, “the dew of His grace.” Even a Jew paraphrases, “But ye, O children of Zion, above all other nations, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God. For in Him ye shall have perfect joy, in the time of your captivity. “For He will give you an instructor to righteosness;” and He is the king Messias, which shall teach them the way in which they shall walk, and the doings which they shall do.” The grounds for so rendering the word are:
(1) Such is almost its uniform meaning.
(2) The righteousness spoken of is most naturally understood of righteousness in man; it is a condition which is the result and object of God‘s gifts, not the Righteousness of God. But “He hath given you the early rain unto righteousness,” i. e., that ye may be righteous, is an unaccustomed expression.
(3) There is a great emphasis on the word, which is not used in the later part of the verse, where rain, (whether actual, or symbolic of spiritual blessings) is spoken of.
(4) The following words, “and He maketh the rain to descend for you,” according to the established Hebrew idiom relates to a separate action, later, in order of time or of thought, than the former. But if the former word “moreh” signified “early rain,” both would mean one and the same thing. We should not say, “He giveth you the former rain to righteousness, and then He maketh the rain, the former rain and the latter rain to descend;” nor doth the Hebrew.
It seems then most probable, that the prophet prefixes to all the other promises, that first all-containing promise of the Coming of Christ. Such is the custom of the prophets, to go on from past judgments and deliverances, to Him who is the center of all this cycle of God‘s dispensations, the Son manifest in the Flesh. He had been promised as a Teacher when that intermediate dispensation of Israel began, the prophet like unto Moses. His Coming old Jacob looked to, “I have longed for Thy salvation, O Lord.” Him, well known and longed for by the righteous of old, Joel speaks of as the subject of rejoicing, as Zechariah did afterward, “Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion; behold thy King cometh unto thee.” So Joel here, “Exult and joy in the Lord thy God, for He giveth,” or “will give thee, the Teacher unto righteousness,” i. e., the result and object of whose Coming is righteousness; or, as Daniel says, “to bring in everlasting righteousness;” and Isaiah, “By His knowledge,” i. e., by the knowledge of Him, “shall My righteous Servant justify many,” i. e., make many righteous. How His coming should issue in righteousness, is not here said. It is presupposed. But Joel speaks of His Coming, as a gift, “He shall give you;” as Isaiah says, “unto us a Son is given;” and that, as the Teacher, as Isaiah says, “I have given Him a witness to the peoples, a Prince and a Commander unto the people” Isaiah 55:4; and that, “for righteousness.”
“It is the custom of the holy prophets,” says Cyril, “on occasion of good things promised to a part or a few, to introduce what is more general or universal. And these are the things of Christ. To this then the discourse again proceeds. For when was ground given to the earth to rejoice? When did the Lord do mighty things, but when the Word, being God, became Man, that, flooding all below with the goods from above, He might be found to those who believe in Him, as a river of peace, a torrent of pleasure, as the former and latter rain, and the giver of all spiritual fruitfulness?”
The early rain and the latter rain - o“He multiplies words, expresssive of the richness of the fruits of the earth, that so we may understand how wondrous is the plenteousness of spiritual goods.” Being about to speak of the large gift of God the Holy Spirit as an “out-pouring,” he says here that “the largeness of the spiritual gifts thereafter should be as abundant as the riches temporal blessings” hitherto, when God disposed all things to bring about the fruitfulness which He had promised. “The early and latter rain,” coming respectively at the seed-time and the harvest, represent the beginning and the completion; and so, by the analogy of earthly and spiritual sowing, growth and ripeness, they represent preventing and perfecting grace; the inspiration of good purposes and the gift of final perseverance, which brings the just to glory consummated; “the principles of the doctrine of Christ” and “the going on unto perfection Hebrews 6:1.
In the first month - This would belong only to the latter rain, which falls about the first month, Nisan, or our April, “the former rain” falling about 6 months earlier, at their seed time. Or, since this meaning is uncertain, it may be, “at the first”, i. e., as soon as ever it is needed, or in contrast to the more extensive gifts afterward; or, “as at first” i. e., all shall, upon their penitence, be restored as at first. These lesser variations leave the sense of the whole the same, and all are supported by good authorities. It is still a reversal of the former sentence, that, whereas afore the rivers of water were dried up, now the rains should come, each in its season. “In the first month,” and “at the beginning,” express the same thought, the one with, the other without a figure.
For no one then needed to be told that the latter rain, if it fell, should fall “in the first month,” which was its appointed season for falling. If then the words had this meaning, there must have been this emphasis in it, that God would give them good gifts punctually, instantly, at man‘s first and earliest needs, at the first moment when it would be good for him to have them. ‹As at the beginning,‘ would express the same which he goes on to say, that God would bestow the same largeness of gifts as He did, before they forfeited His blessings by forsaking Him. So He says, “I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning”; and, “She shall sing there as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she come up out of the land of Egypt” Hosea 2:15; and, “then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old and as in the former years” Malachi 3:4.
Likeness does not necessarily imply equality as in the words, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet like unto me” Deuteronomy 18:15; and, “that they may be one, even as We are One” John 17:22. The good things of the Old Testament had a likeness to those of the New, else “the law” would not have been even the shadow of good things to come Hebrews 10:1; they had not equality, else they would have been the very things themselves.: “Christ is the whole delight of the soul, from When and through whom there cometh to those who love Him, all fullness of good and supply of heavenly gifts, represented in “the early and latter rain,” and “the full floor of wheat,” and “the fats overflowing with wine and oil.” It is true also as to the fullness of the mysteries. For the living water of Holy Baptism is given us as in rain; and as in grain, the Bread of Life, and as in wine the Blood.” Before, “the barns were broken down,” since there was nothing to store therein.
As other parts of the natural and spiritual husbandry correspond, and our Lord Himself compares His gracious trials of those who bear fruit, with the pruning of the vine John 15:2; it may be that the “vat” wherein the grape or the olive, through pressure, yield their rich juice, is a symbol of the “tribulations,” through which we “must enter the kingdom of God” Acts 14:22.: “The holy mind, placed as if in a winefat, is pressed, refined, drawn out pure. It is pressed by calamity; refined from iniquity, purified from vanity. Hence are elicited the groans of pure confession; hence, stream the tears of anxious compunction; hence flow the sighs of pleasurable devotion; hence melt the longings of sweetest love; hence are drawn the drops of purest contemplation. Wheat is the perfecting of righteousness; wine, the clearness of spiritual understanding; oil, the sweetness of a most pure conscience.”
The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel's message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory. A work of world-wide extent and unwonted power is here foretold. The advent movement of 1840-44 was a glorious manifestation of the power of God; the first angel's message was carried to every missionary station in the world, and in some countries there was the greatest religious interest which has been witnessed in any land since the Reformation of the sixteenth century; but these are to be exceeded by the mighty movement under the last warning of the third angel. GC 611.1
The work will be similar to that of the Day of Pentecost. As the “former rain” was given, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the gospel, to cause the upspringing of the precious seed, so the “latter rain” will be given at its close for the ripening of the harvest. “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” Hosea 6:3. “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.” Joel 2:23. “In the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.” “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 2:17, 21. GC 611.2
The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are “the times of refreshing” to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus.” Acts 3:19, 20. GC 611.3Read in context »
Those who have held the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end will be wide awake during the time that the third angel's message is proclaimed with great power (The Review and Herald, October 13, 1904). 7BC 984.1
(2 Timothy 2:14-16; see EGW on ch. 16:14-17.) Message Prepares for Translation—Amid the confusing cries, “Lo, here is Christ! Lo, there is Christ!” will be borne a special testimony, a special message of truth appropriate for this time, which message is to be received, believed, and acted upon. It is the truth, not fanciful ideas, that is efficacious. The eternal truth of the Word will stand forth free from all seductive errors and spiritualistic interpretations, free from all fancifully drawn, alluring pictures. Falsehoods will be urged upon the attention of God's people, but the truth is to stand clothed in its beautiful, pure garments. The Word, precious in its holy, uplifting influence, is not to be degraded to a level with common, ordinary matters. It is always to remain uncontaminated by the fallacies by which Satan seeks to deceive, if possible, the very elect. 7BC 984.2
The proclamation of the gospel is the only means in which God can employ human beings as His instrumentalities for the salvation of souls. As men, women, and children proclaim the gospel, the Lord will open the eyes of the blind to see His statutes, and will write upon the hearts of the truly penitent His law. The animating Spirit of God, working through human agencies, leads the believers to be of one mind, one soul, unitedly loving God and keeping His commandments—preparing here below for translation (The Review and Herald, October 13, 1904). 7BC 984.3Read in context »
I also saw that many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully. EW 71.1
I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of “refreshing” and the “latter rain” to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God. Those who refuse to be hewed by the prophets and fail to purify their souls in obeying the whole truth, and who are willing to believe that their condition is far better than it really is, will come up to the time of the falling of the plagues, and then see that they needed to be hewed and squared for the building. But there will be no time then to do it and no Mediator to plead their cause before the Father. Before this time the awfully solemn declaration has gone forth, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” I saw that none could share the “refreshing” unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should, therefore, be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence. EW 71.2Read in context »
“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.” “He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain.” In the East the former rain falls at the sowing time. It is necessary in order that the seed may germinate. Under the influence of the fertilizing showers, the tender shoot springs up. The latter rain, falling near the close of the season, ripens the grain and prepares it for the sickle. The Lord employs these operations of nature to represent the work of the Holy Spirit. As the dew and the rain are given first to cause the seed to germinate, and then to ripen the harvest, so the Holy Spirit is given to carry forward, from one stage to another, the process of spiritual growth. The ripening of the grain represents the completion of the work of God's grace in the soul. By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character. We are to be wholly transformed into the likeness of Christ. TM 506.1Read in context »