Editorial: The Ministry of the Holy Spirit Before the Final Harvest
Manna 83: Spring

Philip Shee—Singapore

 

Every year in Israel, the heavy winter rains contribute to the healthy growth of crops. As the land transitions into spring, the crops depend on the spring, or latter, rain to ensure they ripen to full maturity and provide a good harvest. Biblically, the pattern of rainfall in Israel is closely associated with the people’s faithfulness towards God, as reflected in the following passage:

 

“And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain.… Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, lest the LORD’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain.” (Deut 11:13–17a)

 

 

In the spiritual context, the advent of spring signals the need for the church to grow into maturity, to be prepared for the harvest, the second coming of the Lord.

 

Be glad then, you children of Zion,
And rejoice in the LORD your God;
For He has given you the former rain faithfully,
And He will cause the rain to come down for you—
The former rain,
And the latter rain in the first month.(Joel 2:28)

 

The Lord fulfilled His promise to pour down His Spirit upon all flesh on the Day of Pentecost (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:1–4, 16–18), establishing the apostolic church. The church initially prospered, but started to decline towards the end of the first century when heresies, pagan practices, and immorality crept into the church (Acts 2:38–47; Gal 1:6–9; Rev 2–3). Such unfaithfulness eventually resulted in the Holy Spirit being withheld, just as the latter rain was withheld by God in response to Israel’s unfaithfulness (Jer 3:3).

 

As the seasons of God’s plan for humankind continue to unfold, springtime marks the milestone before the final harvest. At this juncture, the Holy Spirit will be poured down again, like the latter rain which God gives in due season. This downpour of the Holy Spirit is to restore the church once again, particularly with the Spirit of truth guiding the church into all truth (Jn 14:16–17,  26; 16: 13). In addition, springtime serves to remind us to rely on the Holy Spirit in the pursuit of spiritual maturity.

As we witness history unfolding, it is critical for us to consider where humankind is in the wider scheme of God’s plans, and also discern the signs of the times (Mt 16:2–3). As we draw ever closer to the time of harvest, we need to seriously reflect. Have we, and the church at large, grown to maturity in Christ? Are we ready for the harvest?

 

 

 

Date
Jul. 13, 2017
Author
Philip Shee
Publisher
True Jesus Church
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