Problems? Email Us!
The "Latter Rain" Scripture - James 5:7-8
James 5:7-8 (KJV): Be patient therefore, brethern, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rains.



In this day and age, the phrase "Latter Rain" conjures up a wide variety of responses. Some respond with hopeful enthusiasm over a coming restoration of the "5-fold" ministry, great moves of the Spirit, revival, and a world-wide end-time Harvest. Others respond with passionate warnings of deceptions and heresies of great peril to the unwary Christian.That such a seemingly insignificant phrase taken from the King James Version of James 5:7-8 would arouse such opposing passions seems puzzling at first.Yet considering the Latter Rain movement and its controversies of the 1940’s, one should not be too astonished. Indeed, the movement is still so polarizing, that discussions with both Latter Rain detractors and supporters can be rather hostile, making productive dialogue almost impossible.

The purpose of this study though is not to go over old ground. Others have made a thorough dissection of the historical problems with the Latter Rain movement, and some have done it very well[1] . Rather, my purpose is to take a fresh approach of examining this scripture absent of the unfortunate flotsam attached to it. By doing so, we can avoid the carnal strife and pride (James 1:19-25; James 3:13-4:10) that so often accompanies dividing movements and charismatic personalities of the past, and instead give fresh attention and thorough consideration to the scripture itself. Certainly, by keeping our hearts innocent and our minds sharp (1 Cor. 14:20), we can reasonably guard ourselves from the tragedies of previous falsehoods.Our reliance upon our Lord Jesus and His Spirit’s wisdom and guidance is our greatest security.

The Latter Rain Scripture - The Instruction

The following is the "latter rain" Scripture, held in high regard by some and discounted by others. I will repeat the King James Version here again, due to the phrase "latter rain" therein, then in the New International Version, which will be the version I will use from then on in this paper:

James 5:7-8 (KJV): "Be patient therefore, brethern, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rains."

James 5:7-8 (NAS): "Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near."

In any study, laying a thorough foundation prevents unnecessary and hapless error later on. Therefore, even if it seems obvious, it is vitally important to establish the main instruction of this scripture before we look at anything else. If we do not get that instruction right, any other knowledge we glean is rendered useless.

Let us look at what is oft repeated in this scripture:

"Be patient (makrothumeo- long suffering, not losing heart) then, brothers (adelphos- or, "brothers and sisters" or "fellow Christians" for the Greek word may imply that) until the Lord's coming (parousia). See how the farmer (husbandman – georgos – a husbandman, tiller of the soil, a vine dresser) waits for the land to yield its valuable (precious –timios – as of great price, precious; held in honour, esteemed, especially dear) crop … and how patient he is ….You too, be patient and stand firm…."

This scripture mentions the (second) coming of the Lord Jesus but it mentions it in a purposeful context, and that is the context of patience. Any farmer waits until the valuable crop is ready, and this is what the Lord does, and so must we do also. The Lord is patient and so must we be.

The Festivals, the Rains, the Harvests, And The Crops

It is well known that James The Just, who begins his general epistle by addressing it to "the twelve tribes scattered among the nations," was a Jew and ministered in Jerusalem[2]. He spoke in terms that all Israelites would be familiar with, and is referring to an agricultural scenario that was well known to them. Those of us who reside in other parts of the world in other cultures, however, cannot expect to automatically get as much out of this analogy as James' audience would. Therefore we must take a little extra effort to fully appreciate what he has said.  A study of Israel's agricultural crops, weather patterns, and agriculturally based festivals will serve us well then when it comes to James 5:7-8, so that we can establish what the apostle James really had to say.

Now that we have established James main instruction, which is to be as patient as a farmer would be, we can move on to the other parts of the analogy that James uses in his instruction. Since a "valuable crop" is mentioned along with the Lord's coming, one can not help but think of a harvest of souls. Did James, the brother of Jesus, have the following words of Jesus in mind?:

Matt. 13:24-29: "Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared."The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'" 'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' "'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"

Perhaps he did, but in order to establish that we must consider many relevant facts.

According to the Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary[3] there are three different Hebrew words used to speak of rains of different seasons. It is uncontested that the Hebrews used one word (moreh) for the "early" or "autumn" rains, and another word (melqosh) for "latter" or "spring" rains. So, James is indeed talking about these rains, and they are mentioned as a matter of importance.There are Israeli celebrations that are associated with both types of rains, so we will first briefly explore these celebrations as to their agricultural significance. We will also take note of a few other festivals since they may relate to other ‘coincidental’ timings of New Testament events.

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year (Lev. 23:23-25), and falls in September in the Gregorian calendar. Repentence, prayers for a fruitful year, the blowing of the shofar, and preparation for the Divine judgment are the major themes for this holiday.Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, follows very shortly afterwards. After these two “High Holy Days” begin festivals that are tied to natural and historical events.The first is Sukkot, (Lev. 23:39-43), which is also described as the "Feast of Tabernacles," “The Feast of Booths,” or “Feast of Ingathering” (Chag Ha-Asif) This feast marks the first rains in October (Gregorian calendar). These rains are the moreh, or "early" (autumn) rains, already mentioned.See the description below taken from The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website:

"Sukkot is one of the three festivals that were celebrated (until 70 CE) with mass pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem and are therefore known as the "pilgrimage festivals." On Sukkot, Jews commemorate the Exodus from Egypt (c.13th century BCE) and give thanks for a bountiful harvest. At some kibbutzim, Sukkot is celebrated as Chag Ha'asif (the harvest festival), with the themes of the gathering of the second grain crop and the autumn fruit, the start of the agricultural year, and the first rains." From "Jewish Festivals in Israel" posted on the Israel Ministry Of Foreign Affairs website (

Because Sukkot is also called the harvest festival by some, one might assume that the gathering of wheat is then. It is not. Remember, it is "the start of the agricultural year…", and not the end of the agricultural year. To understand how it is that this festival is related to a harvest, we must delve deeper into the crops expected then during Sukkot, and the crops expected later after this agricultural start.

Just prior to Chag Ha'Asif, or Sukkot, it was "the time for grapes to be gathered and made into raisins or wine; or olives to be picked and pressed into oil; and fruits to either ripen, or be eaten or stored,"[4] This clearly gives us a clue as to what the "autumn fruits" they were celebrating during this festival (Gregorian calendar--October or Autumn). Indeed, Sukkot is more specifically known as "The fruit harvest."

So during our typical Gregorian Autumn time, the Israeli's celebrated the culmination of the season of certain fruits and olives, and they looked forward to the beginning of another agricultural season, thanks to the early rains. In fact, on the last day of Sukkot, called Shemini Atzeret, special sacrifices were given for the benefit of Israel and a special prayer for rainfall. Clearly this rainful was needed for the new agricultural year.

Sukkot is one of the three Pilgrimage(shalosh regalim) holidays. By Pilgrimage holidays, we mean those holidays in which the Jews were expected to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for these observances and celebrations (Deut. 16:16). Of these, Chag Ha'Asif (Sukkot), has been already mentioned. Chag Ha'Matzot (Passover- Passah or Pesach) is celebrated in our April and is the second of these Pilgrimage holidays. It coincides with the barley harvest. Chag Ha'Katzir, or the wheat harvest (Shavuot), is the last one. It is celebrated in the early summer.

As for the timing of these celebrations or observances, the dates for all three are described ONLY by the agricultural time of year in which they are celebrated, i.e. the solar calendar.In other words, they are not consistently celebrated on a certain date, such December 25th as our Christmas would be or Jan. 1st as our New Year's Day would be. Instead, they are tied to the agricultural crops and seasons. Because of this, they are integrated in diverse ways into family life or community customs and practices. Even today, "Jewish festivals are the "landmarks" by which Israelis mark the passing of the year…"[5]

Below are some condensed facts regarding the festivals mentioned thus far:


Rosh Hashanah (Lev. 23:23-25) or theJewish New Year; Yom Kipper or the Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:26-32)/ both in September.

Sukkot or Chag Ha'Asif, also known as the "Feast of Tabernacle," "The Feast of Booths," or "Feast of Ingathering," the harvest festival, the fruit harvest (Lev. 23:34)/celebrated in October/ a seven day rejoicing over the harvesting of certain fruits (like grapes) and olives, and prayer for the early rains to begin the new agricultural season (Lev. 23: 39-43)/ the first of the Pilgrimage holidays.

Passah or Chag Ha'Matzot (Passover)/ celebrated in our April/ coincides with the beginning of the barley harvest but the Passover is an 8 day observance commemorating the freedom and exodus of the Israelites (Jewish slaves) from Egypt (Ex. 12:15-20) / unleavened bread is used/ the second of the Pilgrimage holidays.
Shavuot or Chag Ha'Katzir or "the Day of the First Fruits" (Pentecost)/celebrated at about mid-May, 49 days after the beginning of the barley harvest (Deut. 16:9-10 Lev. 23:15-17), which places it at the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest/ day of offering the firstfruits of the wheat harvest and the new fruits are offered to the priests in the Temple (Exo. 34:22) as a token of thanksgiving to the Lord/ leavened bread is used/the third and last of the Pilgrimage holidays

These festivals provide proof of what time of year certain crops, especially wheat, were expected in Israel, unless of course there was a misfortunate drought that year. If explored thoughtfully by the reader, they will open the reader's eyes as to the significance of these “early and latter” rains, especially in regards to prayer.

To understand these three festivals a little more, I will quote from a source on this below:

"…Parshat Emor details a special agricultural related mitzvah for each of the shalosh r'galim: Chag ha'Matzot: The Korban Ha'Omer- from the first BARLEY harvest. Shavuot: The Korban Shtei Ha'lechem, from the first WHEAT harvest. Succot: Taking the 'Arba Minim', the four species - [the lulav, etrog, hadas and arava]..."

These mitzvot relate directly to the agricultural season in Eretz Yisrael in which these holidays fall. In the spring, barley is the first grain crop to become ripe. During the next seven weeks, the wheat crop ripens and is harvested. As this is the only time of the year when wheat grows in Eretz Yisrael, these seven weeks are indeed a critical time, for the grain which is consumed during the entire year is harvested during this short time period. The 'arba minim' which are brought to the Mikdash on Succot, also relate to the agricultural importance of the fruit harvest ("pri eytz hadar v'kapot tmarim") at this time of the year, and the need for water in the forthcoming rainy season ("arvei nachal")."

From: THE DUAL NATURE OF THE CHAGIM by Menachem Leibtag ( This shiur is provided courtesy of the Virtual Beit Midrash (, the premier source of online courses on Torah and Judaism -14 different courses on all levels, for all backgrounds.
You may have noticed a lot of agricultural information regarding barley and wheat is in the quote above. The agricultural festivals focus on thanksgiving for the harvests, and specific offerings to God are to be made during each festival. Of specific interest to us is the agriculturally related festival that coincides with the wheat crop, which matures as a result of the latter (spring) rains. As already mentioned, it is known as Chag Ha'Katzir or Shavuot. This festival is also called Yom Habikkurim, and is always celebrated exactly seven weeks (49 days) after Passover. Seven weeks after the Passover usually ends up being about mid-May on the Gregorian calandar.However, because this festival is counted off from the beginning of the wheat harvest and instructions seem vague in the Biblical text, the actual start of Shavout is under dispute to this day. ( See:Which Day is Pentecost? is fascinating, considering how the wheat harvest is used symbolically in the book of Revelation, and how Jesus promised that although we will be able to discern the times, we will not know the exact timing of His return.
Wheat and Grapes


Shavuot, or Pentecost, "marks the peak of the new grain harvest and the ripening of the first fruits, including the seven species mentioned in the Bible (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates)." (quoted from the Israel Ministry Of Foreign Affairs website).These crops are not only prominently mentioned in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, too.

We must remember that during the Israeli agricultural year, the Sukkot festival during the autumn serves to celebrate the end of the farmer's "ingathering" of certain fruit crops for that time of year. That was the last of the fruit that was expected for that year, but also the beginning of the agricultural year for new crops of fruit, as well as grains such as wheat and barley.The Sukkot festival was an occasion to make prayers for rainfall for the upcoming agricultural year.The Shavuot festival just after the spring, however, coincides with the end of the agricultural year, when the wheat harvest was ripe enough to begin harvesting.The Shavout festival also celebrates the ripening of the certain first fruits which mark the beginning of the fruit pickings. These fruits include grapes.

As for wheat, we all know that wheat is mentioned frequently in the Gospels. These references would include Matt. 3:11-12, Matt. 13:25-30, Luke 22:31, and John 12:24, among others. Here is a quote from Jesus regarding wheat in Mark 4:26-29:

He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."

Another applicable scripture to our subject is a portion of the vision of the Apostle John in the book of Revelation (Rev. 14:14-20). Notice the theme of a final harvest, with both wheat and grapes used symbolically:

"I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one "like a son of man" with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, "Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because its grapes are ripe."The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia." (Rev. 14:14-20)

As we have just seen, wheat comes into maturation in the Israeli agricultural year at the same time as grapes begin. It seems no coincidence then that James uses the same basic "setting" for his inference to the end-times as Jesus and John the Baptist's did (Matt. 3:11-12). Later, the Apostle John's vision also used this agricultural analogy. Interestingly enough, agricultural settings written by both James and John coincide with the same time of year for Israel's wheat harvest, after the "latter rains" of the Spring.

So far, the application is clear: Agricultural facts proven by Israeli customs and practices, as well as the Biblical text, support the "latter rain" scripture of James 5:7-8 as one which is synonymous with a harvest of wheat in Israel in the natural, and the first harvest of grapes, both of which are used prominently as symbols in "end-time harvest" of the souls of men in the Biblical text.

Land of Plenty

By briefly discussing the seasonal festivals of Israel and by considering the many references to a crop of wheat (souls) made by Jesus in the Gospels, we have firmly established which particular (valuable) crop James referred to in James 5:7-8. Certainly it was a crop of wheat the farmer longed for at the close of the agricultural season -- a crop that could only be harvested after the "latter" (spring) rains.(Grapes are mentioned in the negative in Rev. 14:14-20, but the apostle James did not have that vision)

However, it is of interest to delve deeper.We cannot write a very good play without the proper setting and props any more than we can use this scripture to paint the "picture" of the end times that James is trying to convey. Therefore we must consider both what water meant to the ancient farmer of Israel, as well as the quality of the land he worked with. It might even be useful to discover where in the Israel our farmer might find it best to plant his crop of wheat.

Rainfall patterns throughout Israel are quite uneven, with some parts getting lots of rain while other parts get little to none.It is the desert areas of Israel that greatly influences these patterns of rainfall. The Negev desert within Israel is a mostly arid zone which becomes drier as one travels further south. This area is subject to flash floods produced by the winter rains. Arava is Israel's savannah region, which begins south of the Dead Sea and continues to the Gulf of Eilat, Israel's outlet to the Red Sea. The average annual rainfall there is less than one inch and summer temperatures can soar to 104 degrees F. In contrast, the hills of Galilee enjoy ample rainfall that keeps this region in greenery year-round, while Jezreel Valley is the country's richest agricultural area. The northern portion of the Jordan valley is also extremely fertile. [6] Israel does have wetlands to the far north and inland, but these swampy areas around Hula valley have never been that useful for the agriculture we speak of here, even after the modern state of Israel made attempts to make them so.[7] This quickly covers the various land and rainfall considerations in Israel.

Various fruits are grown in some regions of Israel, but for our purposes we are pinpointing the regions that are used for wheat. Coincidentally enough, wheat and barley are best grown either just south ("negeb"), of Jerusalem or just north ("tsaphon") of Jerusalem in or near Jezreel Valley.[8] As you might recall in the previous paragraph, Jezreel Valley, which lies between the hills of Galilee and the hills Samaria, is the richest agricultural area of Israel. Of interest too, is the fact that throughout history there has been "so much bloodshed in these plains that both Jezreel and Megiddo became synonyms for violence and bloodshed, and could even become symbols for the judgement of God (Hos 1:4-5).The Mountain of Megiddo, in Hebrew har megiddo anglicized into Armageddon, became the ultimate symbol for warfare and conflict."[9] We all know how an ‘Armageddon’ battle scene is described in end time visions such as in Ezekiel, Chapter 39, Revelation chapter 19. Here again is further proof of just how much our tiny scripture in James can be cross-referenced to the ‘end’ of the end-times in analogy and symbolism to the great and terrible Day of he Lord (1 Thes. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10)

Yet as for times prior to this battle to end all battles (Rev. 20:7-9), there is yet another interesting fact. That is, in our modern times, in spite of its small size, the land of Israel boasts one of the "largest and most accessible collections of wild wheat, barley, oat, and legumes in the world.” Indeed, American farmers have benefited greatly from a partnership with Israel. Our agricultural scientists have exported some genetic stocks of wheat from Israel to be grown here in America. Since produce from America's "bread basket" has not only fed America, but has also been exported or donated to many other regions of the world, this means that by proxy, much of the world has benefited from Israeli agriculture. This is because the unique qualities of Israeli wheat were found no where else, genetically speaking.[10]

How interesting it is that the wheat of Israel, transported to many parts of the world, has eventually been used to feed much of the world! Is this a hidden symbolic unfolding of the Word of God and the Bread of Life originating from Israel in the Person of Jesus, and the witness of the Spirit of God extending beyond Jerusalem to the "ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8)? It very well may be! Yet this happy circumstance was not always the case, due in large part to the difficulty in finding and applying water to the crops in ancient times.
Water is not in abundance for Israel. It has always been a scarcity throughout the Middle East and of dominant concern for Israel's agricultural success in ancient times as well as today. In ancient times, a few centuries before Moses' time, there was an ancient civilization in the Negev desert who utilized a highly advanced irrigation system, now known as "run off agriculture". They were so successful that the evidence left demonstrates that they farmed over a half million acres of land. Their secrets were subsequently lost, however, well before Biblical times. This left ancient Israeli farmers with no such sophisticated irrigation system.[11]
As a result, early Jewish farmers were very dependent on rainfall for their crops:
"Until the beginning of the 20th century, agriculture in the Land was almost entirely rainfed, and therefore was limited to the northern part of the country and the coastal area. In some northern localities, where spring-water was available, fields were irrigated. The water was conveyed by gravitation from the source to the fields in open dirt canals. Each farmer was supposed to get his share of water for several hours once every few days or weeks. However, due to heavy loss of water along the transportation route - resulting from fast percolation into the ground - the water was distributed unevenly, and farmers furthest from the source were left with little water. Along the coast, underground water was raised from shallow wells …Such wells were dug manually and the output was low." From: FOCUS on Israel: Development of Limited Water Resources: Historical and Technological Aspects October 2000 (
Therefore, particular regions that had dependable rainfall, such as the lands just north and south of Jerusalem as discussed before, were the only lands that could produce the crops. That is, if the rains came as needed, when they were needed. It is no wonder that prayers and thanksgivings were said for rain and harvest during the Sukkot festival in autumn, and thanksgivings were made at the Shavuot festival in early summer.


The Pattern of Rain Throughout the Year

The advanced agricultural methods of modern Israel make the acquisition and distribution of water for agriculture much more dependable and efficient than they were in ancient times. Today we can only imagine the hardships of the ancient farmers of Israel who, without the more sophisticated irrigation systems and wells of modern times, had to depend almost entirely on rainfall for the survival and maturation of their crops.

Wheat production areas were not that far from Jerusalem as we have already stated, and this is the very city in which the Apostle James, the brother of Jesus, resided[12].Let us look then at the specific rainfall patterns in or near Jerusalem. Rainfall averages in Jerusalem begin with a rather scant amount of rain in the month of October -- the beginning of the agricultural year -- at only about .9 inches. The rainfall average then jumps to 2.7 inches in November, and then increases to an average of 4 to 5 inches for the next four months (winter). Rainfall drops to 1.2 inches in April, and then to a scant .1 inches in May, followed by an average of 0 inches through June all the way to October again, when the rains start up again.[13]

These are the specific averages for Jerusalem, but the whole of Israel follows the same approximate rise and fall pattern regardless of the total amount of rain each region might get annually (as mentioned before, the total amounts of rain depends upon each region's proximity to the desert). For all practical agricultural purposes then, it never rains in the summer in Israel. This dry season extends from April to November. As for the short rainy season, this begins in October and ends in early May. Rainfall peaks in quantity in the winter months, which are from December through February.[14]


Different Names for Different Rains

Now that we know that the quantity of rain changes rather noticeably with each season change, it is easy to understand how these rains are given three different denotations in the Hebrew language. Those names are Yoreh (for the Fall rains),Geshem (for the Winter rains), and Melqosh (for the Spring rains). This is how the Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary describes it (This can be found on-line at
"Rain. There are three Hebrew words used to denote the rains of different seasons, (1.) Yoreh (Hos. 6:3), or moreh (Joel 2:23), denoting the former or the early rain. (2.) Melqosh, the "latter rain" (Prov. 16:15). (3.) Geshem, the winter rain, "the rains." The heavy winter rain is mentioned in Gen. 7:12; Ezra 10:9; Cant. 2:11. The "early" or "former" rains commence in autumn in the latter part of October or beginning of November (Deut. 11:14; Joel 2:23; comp. Jer. 3:3), and continue to fall heavily for two months. Then the heavy "winter rains" fall from the middle of December to March. There is no prolonged fair weather in Palestine between October and March. The "latter" or spring rains fall in March and April, and serve to swell the grain then coming to maturity (Deut. 11:14; Hos. 6:3). After this there is ordinarily no rain, the sky being bright and cloudless till October or November. Rain is referred to symbolically in Deut. 32:2; Ps. 72:6; Isa. 44:3, 4; Hos. 10:12."
Most of the climatological and agricultural facts above I have already given, except that I have done so in a more extensive manner.

I have never known a modern Bible teacher to mention the heavy Geshem or the winter rains when they are discussing James 5:7-8 and the "end times". This may be due to the fact that James does not mention them in this short scripture. However, there are many Old Testament considerations when it comes to the Geshem rains, and there are many New Testament scriptures too that when taken together, will help us to better understand just how the Lord God used physical rain to symbolize different types of spiritual rain.

Showers Upon All


Joel 2:23-29: "Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. 'I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten-- the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm -- my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. '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."

Here, God is stating that He plans to bring physical rains ("abundant showers”) and then "afterwards", a spiritual one. Although prophesying, dreams and visions were not unheard of for the Jews, but they were also not all that common. Now they would be. God’s prophet Joel is clearly using these rain showers as an analogy to God's promise of pouring out (like the rain) his Spirit, "on all people" (Joel 2:28).

Just like a physical rain will produce an overabundant physical crop, we can presume that a spiritual rain will result in a very large spiritual ‘crop’ too, yet Joel does not expound upon this.   In the New Testament though, the prophet Joel's words were repeated by the apostle Peter as an explanation for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit they were all witnessing on the Day of Pentecost:

Acts 2:15-17: "These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: "'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."

Thus we know that James, the brother of Jesus, used his agricultural references in his James 5:7-8 analogy in a way that his audience should have understood. We are not only speaking of common Israeli cultural knowledge at the time, but of common Christian knowledge too. We can propose this because it is safe to assume that James the brother of Jesus was familiar with the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), understood Old Testament prophecy in the same way as Peter did, and knew the teachings of Jesus when it came to using wheat as a symbol. He is so confident that his audience also knows these things, that he doesn’t bother to spell it out in his letter to his fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Rain Upon the Righteous



God uses "rain" symbolically as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during his New Covenant. This blessing of the Holy Spirit falling down upon all of His people regardless of age, gender, social status, or race, was fulfilled time and again in the book of Acts. However, there are a couple of pre-conditions that are alluded to by the prophet Isaiah:
Isaiah 44:3-4: "For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams."


For one thing, the ground will be thirsty prior to an outpouring. For another, we must note something of great spiritual significance that is often overlooked. That is, God makes this promise of His Spirit to "Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen" (44:2), yet not to the rebellious "Jacob" (Isa. 43:25-28).

Indeed, The Lord God states this last principle more than once in the Old Testament. Through the prophet Jeremiah he says that He has withheld rain, even the spring rains specifically, from the land of Israel due to the hypocritical spiritual prostitutes that he is angry with (Jeremiah 3:1-5).In other words, He will “rain” upon the righteous and not upon the wicked. Through the prophet Hosea, who also prophesied against Israel's spiritual harlotry, God urges His people to "break up your unplowed ground" by sowing righteousness and seeking Him, until He "comes and showers righteousness on you." (Hosea 10:11-13).

So that is four prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and finally Joel, that the Lord God uses rain in similar analogies. And through them, He has made it very clear that He has every intention of blessing his “all” his righteous ones with abundant fallings of His Spirit, while the unrighteous He will withhold this blessing from.

Notice that in all of these incidences, it is the hypocrites, the spiritually ungrateful and lazy, the spiritual prostitutes, and others who know his Word yet are rebellious, that God withholds His “rain” from. It is not the unbelievers! Notice also that The High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (days of purification) come just before Sukkot, which marks the first rains of the agricultural season! Is it any wonder then that in Acts 2:38 the apostle Peter preaches repentance and baptism so that sins can be forgiven, before one can expect the gift of the Holy Spirit? Peter was inspired by the Holy Spirit to say these things, and was not a knowledgeable ‘scholar’ of the Torah like the Pharisees were.Yet he stays within the principal set: a spiritual revival or an infilling of the Spirit without repentance comes to naught.

In part, because of this general pattern of expectation (purification and holiness before blessing), the early Jewish believers were astonished that the Spirit would fall upon unbeliever Gentiles while Peter was still preaching the Gospel to them. The typical ‘formula’ had been suspended in favor of grace (Acts 10:44-48). In contrast, in Acts 8, the Spirit had not yet fallen upon believers even though repentence and baptism had already been observed.Again the typical one, two, three expectation was not forthcoming.

Do these examples mean that the righteousness of a believer does not matter that much when it comes to the blessed anointing of the Holy Spirit? Of course not. Even in the Acts 10: 44- 48 incident, Simon the magician, who desired the Spirit in a twisted misappropriation of what “gift” meant, was rebuked and commanded to get right before God before he should expect anything from God at all. It is simply foolish and arrogant to expect a rebellious believer to be able to receive the “showers” of God’s Spirit while also in rebellion to His Spirit. As for faith, anyone who rebels against God can scarcely say he believes in Him all that much, since He has discounted God’s good concern for him. Since he does not really believe God cares about him nor does he understand God as Source, he follows after flesh and the stuff of idols and pride.

The Early Rains or The Latter Rains?

In our age, the Lord promised a new thing of pouring out his Spirit on "all flesh" through His prophet Joel. Through His other prophets, He made it clear that this blessing will come to those whom He considers to be righteous, and it will be of His Spirit.These spiritual 'rains' were a new thing because they would be on "all flesh" instead of just a handful of holy prophets.Even sons and daughters and old men will be inspired and will prophesy, and this clearly began with the Day of Pentecost as described in the books of Acts.

Was the Day of Pentecost the beginning, or “early rains” of the Christian age? Most teachers teach it as such. They believe that this Pentecost Day was the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and was the “early rains” James referred to in James 5: 7-8.  Soon after that (certainly by 300 A.D.), the Church entered many centuries of a 'dry' period. Now, they say, we must wait for the “latter rains” to mature the “crop” of “wheat” for the end of the Age. This makes a whole lot of sense at first.  However, it is erroneous. Their analogy falls apart if one were to apply the typical rain pattern of Israel to this time-line.  If the 'early' or Autumn rains began on the Day of Pentecost and life for the Church became 'dry' not too long after, and if Church history were to follow Israel's typical seasonal patterns, then the season that follows Autumn, or Winter should be very dry. But it is not. In fact, although the “Gesham” or winter rains in Israel seem less spectacular because they are somewhat taken for granted, they are actually more consistent then the 'early' (Autumn) rains and the 'latter' (Spring) rains!

The problem is, we cannot insist upon a literal interpretation of the seasonal rainfall analogy to fit into some sort of dispensationalistic theory of when the “church” began. It just won’t work, because the agricultural and climatic facts do not line up. True, a greater pouring out of the Spirit upon a greater number of people occurred on the Christian Day of Pentecost and afterwards, with the gift of tongues becoming a prominent feature. But it is not the only time the Spirit “blessed” a believer or even group of believers! We must completely discount both the Old Testament and the short time that Jesus was on Earth in order to superimpose this kind of time line on the James 5: 7-8 scripture.

Usually, to compensate for the problem of the Old Testament not being considered, the entire Old Testament is seen as a “dry” time, much like a dry summer in Israel, and Jesus is simply not mentioned at all as part of any ‘rainfall’.  Hold on a minute though. Just how much of God's supernatural power was interacting with the Israeli people during the time of Moses? A whole lot. Why, if you recall, God Himself visited Moses or resided with the camps of the Jews quite often, in a Cloud of Glory no less (Exo. 13:21 and many other scriptures).   And what about prior to Moses? Or prior to Abraham? Surely there is long history of the Earth that could be considered bone dry, just like a summer in Israel.

Also, in our efforts to find holes in a dispensationalist theory of spiritual rains ( which seeks to fit the beginning of the 'rains' only with the beginning of the Spirit-baptized Church), we must take note of the timing of this day of this great ‘baptism’ of the Holy Spirit. It was during Shavuot  (Pentecost - celebration of the wheat harvest and first fruits), which is the beginning of the wheat harvest.  This was Spring time, the time of maturation of wheat, after the “latter” (Spring) rains.  It is not the Sukkot, at the beginning of the Autumn rains.  If God wants to make a point with timing, could not He have caused the prophesied great outpouring of Joel to begin with Sukkot, and not Shavuot? Well of course He could have. But He didn't.

What Biblical evidence is there to support James' mention of the 'former' or 'early' rains as meaning the Day of Pentecost? Absolutely none.  A time-line analogy fits much better with the 'early' rains beginning way back with Moses and Abraham, and the 'latter' rains beginning at the Day of Pentecost, concidentally during the celebration for the latter rains. "How can I say that?", you might say.  Wasn't it terribly 'dry' for most of the Old Testament? Wasn't that why God promised the great outpouring in Joel 2: 28 in the first place?  And finally, what does that have to do with the 'end' of the  'end times' anyhow?

Furthermore, you might say, If we were to push the the 'early' rains (Autumn) back way further into history to coincide with the time of Moses, the Gesham (Winter) rains are unaccounted for.

Or are they?

Let us look at some fascinating scriptures in the Old Testament, and cross-reference them to the New:

Exodus 16:4: "Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain (matar) down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions."

This scripture uses the general word for rain (matar), meaning rain at any time of year.This scripture above is a foreshadowing of Jesus' words much later on, during his temptation from the devil:

Matthew 4:3-4: "The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

We remember where Jesus was tempted, do we not? In the desert. Satan is essentially promising Jesus some type of 'manna' out there in the desert, just as the Lord God promised it to His people through Moses, while they were also in the desert.

Now let us look at another scripture that uses the general word for rain.

Duet. 31:30-32:1-2: "And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel: Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain (matar) and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants."

What can we learn from this scripture? First of all, God says the teachings from Moses were falling like rain upon the Jews who heard his words. Again we are reminded of Jesus' words in Matthew 4:3-4, above, because He says that man depends upon, “every word that comes from the mouth of God…” Moses was speaking from God.

Interestingly enough, these showers come upon "new grass" upon "tender plants". What season does that remind us of? Well it is certainly not the end of the agricultural season, or the middle. These plants are not mature at all, but instead are just seedlings. This is the Fall season, when the Autumn (Yoreh) rains, have begun.

Is this coincidence? I think not.

Now let us look at a passage that also describes spiritual rain from God, yet a more specific word for rain (Geshem).

Isa. 55:10-11: "As the rain (geshem) and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word (dabar - speech/counsel/commandment) that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Wait a minute though, we need to look at this passage in it's context:

Isa. 55:1-9: "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor." Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.

What does the beginning of this passage, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters…" remind you of? Doesn't it remind you of the time when Jesus stood up at the feast, and announced that anyone who was thirsty should come to Him, and they shall have "living water" flow from within them (and by this He meant the Spirit-- John 7:37-38)?

These Old Testament scriptures indicate that God's Word (teachings, commandments and counsel, even prophetic counsel or timely 'Word' from His mouth) sustain believers like rain falling to the earth! Though clearly established in scripture, this characterization of spiritual ‘rain’ is something I have never heard taught before. It is absent from typical teachings about the outpourings of the Spirit. Why? Because for one thing, when we think of the Day of Pentecost, it is easy to notice the more dramatic events rather than the less dramatic. We think of a rushing mighty wind and tongues of fire, miraculous healings or other signs, and a large number of people being converted, but we don’t always think of Peter’s first sermon any more than we think of the community of believers afterwards. Yet all of these were part of, or at least a result of, that particular ‘falling’ of spiritual rain.

We don’t think of the ministry of Jesus, either, when we think of spiritual “rain.” Yet, a look at Psalm 72 may change our minds. This psalm is one of David's prophetic psalm, prophesying the arrival of Jesus to the world (See also Isaiah 11:10 and Romans 15:12 for reference to the "Root of Jesse"). It eloquently speaks of the coming of a righteous Messianic King, who is like "rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth."

Therefore, the case for 'rain' used as a prophetic analogy to denote a certain falling down of the Holy Spirit from the Father by the prophet Joel in Joel 2:23-29, and its fulfillment in Acts 2:15-17 is clearly made. Nevertheless I see no indication that when James mentioned the “former” (autumn) rains in his epistle, he most definitely meant the Christian Day of Pentecost. Instead, I believe that it is quite obvious that the teachings, instructions and other works of the prophets of the Old Covenant laid the groundwork for the prophesied Joel outpouring, just as much as it did for the coming of Christ. God's Words through Moses were like the Autumn (Yoreh) rains on the tender shoots of grass. Then throughout His prophets later, God promised other rains--rains that eventually came and still come today.  Certainly they came with the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon believers at the Day of Pentecost, and to "all those who are far away..." (Acts 2:38).  Another way might be the foundational Christian truths (Hebrews 6:1-8).

It is an agricultural fact that the critical “latter” rains, or Spring rains, are absolutely necessary for the maturation of the grain on a stalk of wheat. Because of this and other scriptures of promise such as Acts 3:17-21, many Christians believe that “times of refreshings” will include signs and wonders and miracles and will increase in the end of the end times.  They believe this coming miraculous increase is a necessity in order to bring about maturation of the "crop" .

Because of both James' obvious reference to a waiting upon Christ's return, and John's vision in Revelation, they have a point. In fact, if Christians were to toss aside the dispensationalist time-line in favor of pushing back the 'early' (Autumn) and Gesham (Winter) rains back further into the Old Testament, then they may safely say the very 'end' rains might be very strong indeed. How can that be? Well, just look at the 'former' rains in this scenario: Moses. How powerful is that? Now look at the description of the "two witnesses" in Rev. 11: 3-6.  How powerful is that? Powerful indeed.

However, there is a very important caution that any Christian who hopes for manifestations of God's power must consider. If they do not they are in peril of some serious disillusionment later on! That caution is: Miracles from God do not guarantee a healthy spirituality at all.  After all, Moses, the Deliver, rescued God's people from Pharoah and slavery, and wrought signs and wonders and miracles through God to do so, yet these miracles did not secure the faithfulness of the Israelites in the wilderness at all.

Even a farmer knows that rain is by no means the only component to a successful crop.  Similarly, there are other key components when it comes to growth and maturation other than the blessings and power of God. This is acknowledged in Scripture in many different ways. Jesus Himself prominently mentioned both seed and soil in His parables for growth, and tribulation or suffering brings about spiritual maturity too (2 Pet. 1:3-9; Rom. 8:17).

Spirit of the Living God, Fall Down On Me

The apostle James and the early Christians thought that the Holy Spirit, in a matter of speaking,  could 'rain' upon them.  This is broadly accepted by respectable scholar of early Church history and documents:
"Many texts in the New Testament and in early Christian literature indicate that the Spirit of God was regarded as the common, permanent possession of all Christians. At the same time, many other texts indicate that the Spirit of God was also regarded as God's power bestowed on individuals for special occasions. Although these two ways of conceptualizing the presence of the Spirit (the first type being labeled "dynamistic" and the second "animistic") appear contradictory, they were never so regarded by early Christians…There is little reason to deny that both conceptions of the presence of the Spirit---as general endowment of all Christians and as an exceptional manifestation of divine power in certain situations--are very old, and neither one can claim precedence over the other."[15]
Unfortunately, many Christians have invented various doctrines that in effect nullify certain blessings of the Spirit. Some emphasize fallings of power as proof positive that an individual or group has the Holy Spirit as an indwelling, dynamic gift and Guide. They ignore the fact that anyone who believes and repents has access to the "living water" (John 4:13-14;7:37-39 and Acts 2:38), and that walking in the Spirit is not the same as a ‘baptism’ of the Spirit. Others claim that it is inappropriate to ask or pray for "fallings" of the Holy Spirit at all, even though Jesus Himself encouraged us to have faith and expectation in this regard (Luke 11:13), and even though the apostles themselves asked for the Holy Spirit both before and after the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-2; Acts 4:13-31). Some are suspicious of “laying on of hands”. It is mentioned prominently enough in Scripture (Heb. 6:2; Acts 8:17; 1 Tim. 4:14), yet it is treated as if it is the devil’s work. Finally, others teach a Sola Scriptura emphasis, as though the workings of the Spirit were only in effect long enough to produce the Biblical Canon and now are unneeded and therefore, null and void.

Issues regarding the Holy Spirit can not be fully addressed here in this text, but I bring them up to acknowledge an obvious fact: a fundamental acceptance of the various workings of the Spirit in order to be acceptance of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a powerful creative force. Upon the reforming of the Earth, the Spirit of God hovered over the watery deep (Gen. 1:2). The Spirit then came down as 'rain' from God primarily as teachings, commandments, and timely instructions or "words" through his Prophets of old. Then the Presence and ministry of Jesus blessed us, freely giving water to all who were thirsty. We were not orphaned upon His leaving though. This 'rain' as promised by the prophet still comes from the Father (Luke 11:13; John 14:15-17), and this "living water" comes as a gift to "as many as the Lord God will call" (Acts 2:39).

Storms and Clouds


'Rain' is an analogy for the Spirit that comes down from our Heavenly Father above as a blessing, and it is our task to desire these refreshings, pray for them, wait upon them, and thank God for them. Our dependence upon God is total: We cannot conjure up spiritual blessings ourselves. Certainly then, in no way should we deny any blessings from God or de-emphasize them to the point of practical extinction in our lives.

The Lord God, however, does not always just send “rain” from a safe distance. Sometimes He has been known to lead in a cloud of glory, make proclamations from that cloud, or even visit people with a much more “up close and personal” Presence (Exodus 13: 17-22; 19:16-19; and chapter 40; I Kings 8:10-11; Matt. 17:5). This manifestation of the Lord’s glory is significant enough that even our Lord Jesus promised His return in a cloud (Luke 21: 26-27; Acts 1:9-11).

Jesus preached that we should be alert to the times and to His coming (Luke 21:29-36). He in fact rebuked the Pharisees for having enough intelligence to discern the physical weather while somehow not being able to read the spiritual weather:

Luke 12:54-56: "He said to the crowd: "When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, 'It's going to rain,' and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, 'It's going to be hot,' and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time?"

In this passage, Jesus said that they could tell it was going to rain once they saw a cloud. Was that an over-simplification designed to make a point, or was short-term weather forecasting in Israel really all that easy? Well, it seems that it really is all that easy. The Middle East is "among the most cloud-free places on Earth."[16]From that, we can deduce that when someone in Israel sees a cloud coming in, more often than not it means rain. This is substantiated by the Biblical account of Elijah in 1 Kings 18:41-45:

1 Kings 18:41-45: "And Elijah said to Ahab, "Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain." So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. "Go and look toward the sea," he told his servant. And he went up and looked. "There is nothing there," he said. Seven times Elijah said, "Go back." The seventh time the servant reported, "A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from the sea." So Elijah said, "Go and tell Ahab, 'Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'" Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel."

Upon occasion for several years now, I have had dreams from God about rain and storms. They began before God gave me new direction from His Spirit, before I knew anyone else was beginning to have similar dreams, and before I knew that others were convinced of another coming revival. Since these dreams carried a broader context than just my own personal spiritual life (i.e. other Christians or groups of people were included in the dream), I wondered if large amounts of water could symbolize anything other than the obvious “living water” of the Holy Spirit. Whenever I forgot to wonder about what God might be saying to me, in fact, God would give me yet another dream. These dreams are in part the reason for this present study.

Because I ended up familiarizing myself with natural weather patterns in Israel, and because some of my dreams were definitely about storms, I had a question as to the relationship between the clouds, rains, and storms in Israel. I wondered if there were any significant differences in the seasons. Most especially I wondered if the more significant storms come with the Spring rains as it does here in my part of the world. This may seem like an easy question to find the answer to, but it was not.

Ground observers (eye witness accounts and descriptions from people who reside in an area) and ground data collection devices are very often used for tracking storms, but the tropics of the world produce the largest numbers of storms, and therefore they get the most interest for storm study. In other words, arid Israel is just not that much of a storm producer, comparatively speaking to the rest of the world, and therefore gets little attention. Therefore my efforts to glean information from the more official sources was mostly nonproductive. Even reviewing scientific data about worldwide lightning strikes revealed little as far as a particular seasons in Israel.

Eventually I was blessed with detailed descriptions of storms in Israel from an Israeli "storm-chaser" webpage. As I have just stated, responsible eye-witness accounts and reports are considered valuable meteorological information for meteorologists and climatologists. Therefore, I will present this quote from David Shohami's Isreal Storm Chasing Webpage at, as my best source regarding Israel's storm patterns:

"Of the storms through Israel's 'rainy' seasons (autumn, winter, and spring), the winter thunderstorms are both the most frequent and least severe. The very active cold fronts of winter carry strong winds, thunderstorms and rain, hail, and an occasional weak tornado. The tornadoes are very short-lived and when the rain falls, they come in moderate to heavy showers that last one to three days and sometimes longer. Comparatively, the less frequent thunderstorms in autumn and spring are also the more severe. These are defined by a usually inactive Red Sea trough, which originates in tropical Africa. When the trough becomes active, they bring in hot but humid air from the Red Sea. The clouds associated with these trough events are usually Alto-Cumulonimbus, with severe hail and winds. These clouds are rare, but when they do form, it is a spectacular site.Autumn and spring seasons are the shortest seasons of all, and the light rains of the summer are rare without any storms".

Now we know that with any “early” or “latter” rains, storms are less frequent yet much more severe. Yet these rains are the most desirable, the most rejoiced over, and the most prayed for in both Israeli agriculture and religious observance. The texts of the Bible alone make this quite clear. This has application to our personal “seasons” with our Lord, revival or times of ‘refreshing’, and any end-time concerns or studies we may want to consider. We simply do not get blessing without upheaval, growth without tribulation and suffering, or a powerful revival without judgment as the Lord Himself sees fit or deems necessary. Man must make room for a holy God. Anyone who teaches less or who skips over the sanctification (repentence) concerns required has misled his hearers.

Don’t Just Talk The Talk: Walk The Walk

The epistle of James emphasizes right attitude and actions. We are to live out our Christian life as evidenced by works, especially by charitable works, because of our faith and humility. James The Just exhorted his readers to persevere through trials and temptation, knowing that such testing will produce our maturity and we will be rewarded for it in the end. As for prayer, he taught that we had a right to expect answers and intimacy with God only if we approached Him with faith and hopeful expectation, with a right motive, a clean heart, and a clean life apart from worldliness.[17] James also gave quite a few specific instructions on how to treat each other in Christ.
These were the things emphasized by the apostle throughout his whole epistle and are the "setting" or backdrop of the James 5:7-8 scripture. Now let us look at the "latter rain" verses again:
James 5:7-8: "Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near."
Notice here that the apostle James says, "be patient and stand firm". Other versions such as the NRSV and the NET Bibles, translate that portion as "strengthen your hearts" (Greek: sterizo humon kardia) instead of "stand firm". This is the more accurate translation. Soon after this statement, James is exhorting more specifically about patience to his brothers and sisters in Christ:
James 5:10-11: "Brothers [and sisters], an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."
So we find that on the whole, the apostle James counsels all to live out our Christian life in a way that is acceptable to God, and then to wait and endure patiently while God completes His work. And what is His work here in this text? It is sending enough rains at the proper time to mature His crop before the return of Christ.


Endurance and Mature Prayer

From what I understand of Israel's climate, agriculture, and Biblical history of occasional droughts, early farming communities waited for the autumn rains because their arrival probably signified a year of no drought. Negligible rains at the start of an agricultural season would probably spell trouble. This is why they prayed for God's mercy for the coming agricultural year. The winter rains continue the growth of the crop of course, but it is a cold (bitter) time of the year, and apparently a rather wet time of the year too if you lived in the more fertile land areas. Later, the winter rains taper off and then the spring rains are most crucial. This is because now you have a crop that is almost ready to be harvested.

It would be a little hard to have a valuable crop grow all year long and then not have anything to show for it. It would be similar to having many acres of corn stalks that, in the end, did not get enough moisture to actually produce harvestable corn of the stalk. This practical fact --the timing of them as connected to the maturation of the harvest--is what made these rains so crucial to life in ancient Israel. It is no wonder, then, that Solomon used the spring rain in specific for this proverb:

Proverbs 16:15: "When a king's face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring."

The latter (spring) rains then, are important most of all because of their timing. The "wheat" or Bride, does need her final rains to bring the grain to the stalk just as she needs the oil for the midnight hour (Matt. 25:1-12) She must have good soil (heart) too (Matt. 13:8). I believe this is indeed why James spoke of both faith and works, humility, right living, perseverance and all those things we are to do before the coming of our Lord. If we do these things and have patience, we will do well and the "latter rains" will mean something when they come.We will also come through the less frequent yet more spectacular Spring storms, too.

In closing, let me take note that as an integral part of agricultural festivals in Israel, 'believers' were to celebrate God’s blessings, cleanse themselves, and pray for the rains of the coming agricultural year. Over and over again, James emphasizes righteousness, perseverance, patience, and hopeful expectation (faith) in his entire epistle. As far as prayer, our wait is upon the Lord and not for 'super-apostles' or 'prophets' who will usher in the spiritual 'rains' any quicker then God intends. There is no advise to give men total loyalty, and there is no indication that we can force God’s hand to bless rebellious or proud religious folks with his spiritual ‘rain’. We may conjure up something else from the hand of the devil, or we may convince ourselves that we have ‘arrived’ at some religious excitement or spiritual level, but we are fooling ourselves if we have left God behind. We must get our hearts and lives right before Him, and then wait in hopeful expectation for the "latter rains" that God will faithfully send.

Finally, let us end our study in a poetic tribute to the coming of our Lord Jesus, the Christ:

Song of Solomon 2:10-14: "My lover spoke and said to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains (geshem) are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me." My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely."

Pray, endure, watch the sky for 'clouds', and wait upon His refreshing ‘rains’ and finally, His coming.

Copyright © 2004 Harvest NETwork Ministries/Teri Lee Earl


[1] Here is the best, most compassionate, and even-handed teaching I have seen on the various aberrations of the Latter Rain as it disintegrated into various heresies, as well as related doctrines like "Manifested Sons," and "Dominion".It is extensively footnoted and I find it instructive for yesterday as well as today.
from Albert James Dager's 1986 Media Spotlight
[2]St. James the Just
[3] Hyper Dictionary [The Exploding Dictionary]
[4] Sukkot, The Festival of Booths, by Amy J. Kramer
[5]From: Jewish Festivals in Israel
[6] Simple maps and descriptions at the website: LAND AND PEOPLE: Geography and Climate at:
[8]Jezreel - Walking in Their Sandals - location profile
and Maps showing Jerusalem and Jezreel/Megiddo valley:
© Copyright 2001 Columbia International University
[9]The Valley of Jezreel/The Plain of Esdraelon
by Dennis Bratcher, Copyright © 2001, Dennis Bratcher, Christian Resource Institute
[10]Source: Nature Conservation in Israel
[11] Arid Lands, by Jake Page and The Editors of Time-Life Books, copyright 1984, Time-Life Books Inc., Alexandra, Virginia.pp. 139 under the subtitle: Restoring Ancient Desert Farms
[12] "St. James the Just (62 AD)" from an on-line excerpt reproduced from The Orthodox Study Bible, Copyright © 1993 by St. Athanasius Orthodox Academy, Nelson ISBN 0-8407-8391-4
[13]For an easy to read table of temperature and precipitation averages, check: Yahoo! Weather - Jerusalem Records and Averages:
Verified by: and
[14]Israel Science and Technology Homepage (Quote: "the rainy season extends from October to early May, and rainfall peaks in December through February.")
[15] pp. 200-201, Prophecy in Early Christianity And the Ancient Mediterranean World, By David E. Aune, Copyright 1983 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
[16] "The Dry Middle East" by Stanley Q. Kidder, G. Garrett Campbell, David L. Randel, and Thomas H. Vonder Haar, Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University Quote was from this Webpublished page at:
[17] See: James 1:2-4,12,16, 18, 22, 27; 2:12, 14, 24, 26; 3:13; 4:2-4; 5:16-18
To HarvestNET Articles page To HarvestNET Endtimes  page
JavaScript Menu, DHTML Menu Powered By Milonic