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Lowell Brueckner

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Latter Rain


Zechariah 10 has to do with the return of the Jews to the Promised Land. God has “hissed” for them and they have heard and responded (v.8). Millions have arrived and continue to arrive. How the world and the devil hate the Zionist Movement! Chapter 10 tells also of the people who have no true shepherd: “My anger is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders”. Jesus wept over the flock that was as sheep without a shepherd. They had governors, but no true shepherds…

This article challenges God’s people concerning their understanding of the Bible. Matthew refers to the abomination of desolation and says, “let the reader understand”. Do you understand these things? I have heard some remark, “Bible understanding is for the teachers and not for everyone.” I have also heard about those, who “know a lot about the Bible, but don’t live it”. Forget this kind of thinking! They are really only excuses to cover ignorance and we have no need to hear them… Truthfully we seldom hear Bible teaching. What we generally hear from the pulpit are ideas, related to a theme, and the one who is sharing finds verses to back those ideas.

The Latter Rain

An expository study of Zechariah

“Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.”   James 5:7

Chapter 10


Ask rain from the Lord at the time of the spring rain! (v.1) The spring rain. What is it? We must view such expressions in the context in which they are written. Not only do we see the verse in the context of the portion of scripture around it, but we must put the scriptural context into the context of time and place, in which it was written. We cannot see this verse in a Western European or American context, because it was written according to the climate of Israel. If we have true hunger and thirst for the Word, we will investigate these things, as Luke, the Gentile, looked into Jewish things, when he wrote his Gospel. When I read Isaiah and Ezekiel, I admire their knowledge of the geography and political situation of their day. The time of latter rain begins from March onward. The early rain had to come around October, in order for the farmers to plant and expect that the seeds would germinate. The latter rain brought the grain in the ear to fruition.

Certainly these natural laws symbolize something spiritual, and natural things were created to illustrate more important things. Natural blessings typify spiritual blessings. The words of Jesus also symbolize these things (for example, the parable of the wheat and tares). In James 5:7 (see text above) we have a verse that shows one of these natural/spiritual parallels and then a lesson on prayer in verses 17-18: “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.” In a spiritual sense, we can apply the early rain to Pentecost and the book of Acts that followed. It was the time to sow the seed in the whole known world. However, we still haven’t seen the spiritual latter rain that needs to come before the harvest.

The prophet first commands us to “ask!” It is a call to prayer. When prayer fills the church, God showers His blessings. When God thinks to do a special work in the earth, He sets His people to praying. Look to the account before Pentecost: “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer…” (Acts 1:14). The people were praying. Study the history of revivals and you will see that none occurred without people first experiencing a special season of prayer.

Ask that God pour out a “spirit of prayer”. When I was a boy, my father was director of Mokahum, a Bible school for Native Americans in the northern half of the State of Minnesota. The students decided to fast and pray every Monday. What began as a discipline, soon turned into passion. They sometimes prayed until the early hours of the morning and prayer took the place of their innocent little parties that they previously often held for diversion. Later on we learned that other groups, with whom the students had no contact, were experiencing in those days a time of intense intercession, as well. As a result, God’s Spirit moved over that territory. Special prayer was also ascending to heaven in the south of Minnesota at the Bethany Missionary Training School. God poured out His Spirit there and Bethany became known internationally for Christian publishing.

At a Christian camp called Elim in Romania, I came to know a young Christian from the city of Suceava. When I arrived, my roommate told me that we had another companion in our room, who was constantly in prayer with tears that God would send a revival. In time, I was able to be with him and a group of young people who met for a weekend every month in Vatra Dornei. After our evening meeting, they would carry on in prayer until one or two in the morning, also bathing their prayers in tears. At that time, some pastors and elders of different churches united in prayer in Suceava. It’s a wonder to see how God has answered prayer and how His purposes have developed in that territory; the young man mentioned earlier began a publishing company that offers excellence in Christian literature.

God uses means to stir His people, so that this Spirit might be loosed among them. What might God use? If you study the history of revivals, you will read of very clear demonstrations and manifestations of the power of the enemy occurring beforehand. In the school in Minnesota, for example, it was discovered that one of the students was possessed by demons. You will observe in the film on revivals in our times, Transformation II, it tells of a powerful witch doctor in Uganda, who opposed and hindered the work of God. Among the Eskimos in northeastern Canada, there were also demonic manifestations, suicides, awful drunkenness and child abuse. God took these situations and turned them into a means to awake His people and call them to prayer.

The Principle of the Cross

Take notice of the spiritual principle behind the circumstances, to which I have pointed. In 2 Corinthians 13:4 Paul takes us to the cross: “For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God.” This doctrine may be termed, “the principle of the cross”, which can also accurately describe the Christian life… It is the power that lies in human weakness that is the secret of true success!... and God knows how to bring us to a state of weakness. See how Paul refers to his own case in that same verse: “For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you.”  

Observe how, in practical form, God brought Paul to weakness one chapter before: “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me… to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Co.12:7-9).

The people of God, humbled and weakened before attacks of the enemy, resort to prayer. Finally they come to believe and accept what Jesus teaches: “Without Me you can do nothing.” I no longer recall, who it was that taught about being reduced to prayer. With two elements, prayer plus knowledge and understanding of the Word, God will send storm clouds, showers of rain and vegetation in the field to each man.  

Bible Study

At the time of the spring rain. There are many conditions related to prayer. One has to do with timing, that is, the season that brings rain. Daniel prayed after studying Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning 70 years of captivity and saw that the 70 years had been completed. We must pray at the right time; in other words, we must pray according to the will of God, revealed in His Word (1 Jn.5:14). This requires study and understanding of the Scriptures.

We profess to be believers, led by the Bible, but I think that the great problem that exists in the individual Christian today is an ignorance of the Scriptures and, because that is so, we hear a lot of excuses. I have heard that Bible understanding is not for everyone, only for Bible teachers. Then I listen to some talk of those who “know a lot about the Bible, but do not live it". Forget these things! They are excuses and it is not the message in particular that is needed in our circles.

We need to hear something that exposes our ignorance of the Bible. One of the reasons that our knowledge is stymied is because we listen to few Bible studies. What we normally hear taught are ideas. Pay attention to how the speaker begins: “I have been thinking a lot about…” and he relates a theme and finds verses to back his ideas. Then others repeat these ideas and also add their own. Besides this, sometimes there are errors in the original thoughts, as there are, of course, when they are repeated.

I’m sorry if I offend you, but I don’t know how we can possibly advance, if we cannot be honest about our situation. Not long ago, a friend, a good man, talked to me about the warning that Jesus gave to the one who is on the housetop in Matthew 24:17, that he “must not go down to get the things out that are in his house”. He related that portion to the command of Jesus to His disciples to proclaim what they had heard from the housetops. He thought that Jesus wants us to stay and preach the gospel from the housetops during persecution! I told him, “No! Jesus is speaking about fleeing in the tribulation time and He is saying it to those, who are in Judea, exclusively (v.16). Besides, this occurs at the ‘abomination of desolation’ (v.15). Don’t leave that poor man on the housetop!” Matthew interjects, referring to this ‘abomination’: “let the reader understand”. Do you understand these things? Our son, Dave, mentioned that when he lived in Spain, some long-term Christians didn’t have a grip on simple Bible stories that a child learns in Sunday School.

The best way to give a Bible study is by taking a portion, a chapter, or a whole book, and teach it verse by verse, without taking into account a certain situation, custom or program. Thereby, we teach simply what the Bible says, adjusting our situation to the Bible, rather than adjusting the Bible to our situation. We are in this way attempting to understand what the Author, the Holy Spirit, intended to teach us in the day that these words were written.

I recently listened to a doctor of theology, professor of the Old Testament in a Christian seminary. He is a Baptist and was preaching in a Baptist Church on the subject of tongues. Normally Baptists don’t speak in tongues, nor do they believe that it is a gift for our times. He spoke very strongly against Christians, who only know to repeat what they have heard in their denomination and do not investigate the Bible sincerely with an open heart. I don’t have an exact quote of a question and statement that he made, but it was close to the following: “Do you think that you are the only ones who know the truth and all others, who don’t agree with you, are wrong? ‘Yes,’ you say, ‘We are God’s favorites and if He has something to teach or give, surely He will work with us first.’ What arrogance!” He pretended to spit. I loved it.

A Visitation of the Lord of Hosts

Didn’t the Pharisees and the Sadducees show that same arrogance? The prophet declared in his day, "The teraphim (house gods) speak iniquity, and the diviners see lying visions and tell false dreams; They comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep, they are afflicted, because there is no shepherd” (v.2). God spoke this in anger and is not ashamed of it. We should not be slow to speak of the wrath of God. “My anger is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders” (v.3). All this human weakness, false authority and diabolical manifestations (of which I wrote previously), are things that might occur before a revival, moving the people to ask for rain in the time of the spring rain. They ask for the Lord to visit His flock.

Jesus wept for the sheep, because they had no shepherd. They had governors, but they didn’t have shepherds and Peter said to them, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Jesus will return to them as the Lord of Hosts and will strengthen the people, so that they can combat under His command. See the difference that takes place, when they have a true shepherd. When God pours out His Spirit, they will fight like a war horse. The Cornerstone takes His prominent place and everything is built upon that Stone. God’s tent stands firm, depending upon the Peg, and He receives the glory. He is the strength behind the weapons of war that empowers any bow, sling or rod that the people might hold in their hands. He calls every ministry into being under his orders (v.4).

Zechariah envisions the people as courageous in battle, foot soldiers who throw the enemy’s horsemen onto the dirt of the streets (v.5). It illustrates what is repeated again and again throughout the Bible. The one, who is weak, trusts in the Shepherd and receives supernatural strength to conquer the enemy. It is the principle of the cross, the message of the Old Testament, perfected in the New under the gospel, fortified by power from on high.

The promise of verse six is not only for Judah, but also for Joseph. Judah represents the southern kingdom and Joseph the northern. We speak of the “ten lost tribes of Israel”, because they disappeared after the Assyrian captivity. Verse seven speaks of Ephraim, the younger son of Joseph, who along with his brother, Manasseh, constituted the two principal tribes of the north. All birth documents and genealogies were lost, when the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, but the Lord has lost nothing. He says, “They will be as though I had not rejected them.” The reconciliation will be perfect and Israel will return to a relationship with their God without reservation. He knows perfectly the genealogy of each one. The prophecy speaks of the next generation, the sons of Ephraim, and on it goes, generation after generation right up until the end. God has not forgotten His people. The book of Revelations tells us of 12,000 sealed from each tribe of Israel.

The Best for Last

They will be raised up anew at the last day. God has beckoned to them and they have heard His whistle (v.8). Millions have come and continue coming. How the world and the devil hate the Zionist Movement! Read from verses 8 through 12 and rejoice, Christian, at the faithfulness of our God. He doesn’t bring them because they are just and good, but because He cannot deny Himself. He is faithful! The Jew may be as pagan as the emperor Cyrus, but the sovereign God called him His shepherd in Isaiah 44:28 and in 45:1, His anointed. It is time for the church to recognize Who reigns in the heavens! The modern Jew may be evil, atheist, blind, orthodox, or totally secular, but he has heard the whistle and he is gathering with his brethren. “They will be as numerous as they were before.”

Yes, God reserves the best for last; that is another biblical principle: “The first shall be last and the last first.” Ask for the latter rain. By the way, you don’t have to wait for this promise to be fulfilled… it is happening before our eyes! Should we not know it? They are coming from far countries (v.9). I was chatting with a Jew at a London airport. He was moving from Morocco to Canada. I observed the desire in his look and the passion in his voice, as he told me of his dream… to live with his wife and children in Israel. I praise the God of Israel that I had the privilege to see in one person what He is doing in many others.

In the book of Romans, Paul gives us a general idea of the plan. He knew the details that we are studying in the prophecies of Zechariah. The Old Testament was the only Bible that Paul and Jesus had. The Gentile disciples of the First Century had to study the Old Testament. Have you ever asked yourself for whom those 39 books were written? It wasn’t for Abraham… he only could read of the creation and the flood; it wasn’t for David… he had never read from Isaiah and Jeremiah; it wasn’t for Isaiah… he didn’t read of the Babylonian captivity; it wasn’t for Ezequiel… he didn’t see the people return from captivity. God has reserved all the treasures of the Old Testament for this period of grace (Heb.11:40). We are privileged to have in our possession the entire revelation of God, and we have it so easily at our disposal. We can read openly from it to our children in our homes every day. We don’t have to be afraid that we will be discovered and taken away to prison or death. Let’s take advantage of this freedom!


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