The prophets — from Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel down to the minor prophets — reveal that in the last days God’s Spirit will once again fall on a prepared people. This event is referred to as the “harvest rain.” It is promised to be greater even than the “former rain,” which was the Spirit’s mighty outpouring at Pentecost.
This prophecy of a “last rain” refers to Israel’s two annual rains. Their seasons were opposite to ours today, with the former (or first) rain coming in the fall, watering the newly planted crops. This typifies what happened at Pentecost, when the “first rain” fell in a great outpouring of God’s Spirit. That rain watered the seed of the Word, and it grew and spread to become the worldwide church we see today.
Israel’s “last rain” came in the spring, ripening the crops just before harvest. Zechariah refers to this last rain, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days (see Zechariah 10:1).
Moses said there simply could be no harvest without another rain. The Lord said to Israel through him, “If ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments . . . I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil” (Deuteronomy 11:13–14).
Finally, Joel 2:21-27 gives us a vibrant picture of what it looks like when this harvest rain comes, saying, in effect, “Wake up, church! Look around you. What you see happening has been prophesied. It is beginning to rain, and the Lord has made the clouds bright and full of water. The Spirit is preparing all things for the last great harvest.”