Later Rain

Later Rain

Zechariah 10: 1 - 4
1   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, to every one grass in the field. {bright...: or, lightnings}
2   For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd. {idols: Heb. teraphims} {were...: or, answered that, etc}
3   Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle. {punished: Heb. visited upon}
4   Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together.

1.      This prophet was colleague with the prophet Haggai, and a worker together with him in forwarding the building of the second temple (Ezra 5:1)
2.      Two months after Haggai had begun to prophesy, Zechariah was also sent of the Lord to help him in the labour, and to confirm the same doctrine.
3.      But he continued longer, soared higher in visions and revelations, wrote more, and prophesied more particularly concerning Christ, than Haggai had done
4.      First therefore, he puts them in remembrance for what reason God had so severely punished their fathers
5.      Yet comforts them if they will truly repent, with their deliverance
6.      But because they remained still in their wickedness, and lack of desire to set forth God's glory, and were not yet made better by their long banishment, he rebukes them most sharply
7.      Yet for the comfort of the repentant, he ever mixes the promise of grace.

Water-Supply in Egypt and Palestine

1.      In Egypt there is little or no rainfall
2.      The water for vegetation being supplied in great abundance by the river Nile
3.      In Syria and Palestine there are no large rivers, and the people have to depend entirely on the fall of rain for water for themselves, their animals and their fields.
4.      Springs and fountains are found in most of the valleys, but the flow of the springs depends directly on the fall of rain or snow in the mountains.
5.      The children of Israel when in Egypt were promised by Yahweh a land which “drinketh water of the rain of heaven” (Deu_11:11).

Deuteronomy 11:
11  But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:
12  A land which the LORD thy God careth for the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.
13  And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
14  That 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.


Importance of Rain in Season

1.      The cultivation of the land in Palestine is practically dry farming in most of the districts, but even then some water is necessary, so that there may be moisture in the soil.
2.      In the summer months there is no rain, so that the rains of the spring and fall seasons are absolutely essential for starting and maturing the crops.
3.      The lack of this rain in the proper time has often been the cause of complete failure of the harvest.
4.      A small difference in the amount of these seasonal rains makes a large difference in the possibility of growing various crops without irrigation.
5.      The promise of prosperity is given in the assurance of “rain in due season” (Lev_26:4).

Leviticus 26:
3  If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
4  Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

6.      The withholding of rain according to the prophecy of Elijah caused the mountain streams to dry up and certain famine ensued.

The Rain

There are three Hebrew words used to denote the rains of different seasons,

(1.) Yoreh (Hos_6:3), or moreh (Joe_2:23), denoting the former or the early rain.
(2.) Melqosh, the “latter rain” (Pro_16:15).
(3.) Geshem, the winter rain, “the rains.”

There is no prolonged fair weather in Palestine between March to October.
There is ordinarily no rain, the sky being bright and cloudless till October or November.

The “former rains” are the showers of October and the first part of November.
It continue to fall heavily for two months.
They soften the parched ground so that the winter grain may be sown before the heavy continuous rains set in.

Then the heavy “winter rains” fall from the middle of December to March.
The main bulk of the rain falls in the months of December, January and February.
Although in these months the rains are frequent and heavy, a dark, foggy day is seldom seen.

The “latter” or spring rains fall in March and April, and serve to swell the grain then coming to maturity and stay the drought of summer.
The “latter rains” of April are the most highly appreciated

The rain storms always come from the sea with a west or southwest wind.
The east wind is a hot wind and the “north wind driveth away rain” (Pro_25:23)
“Fair weather cometh out of the north” (Job_37:22).

The Text

Zechariah 10:1 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, to every one grass in the field. {bright...: or, lightnings}

1.      Ask you of the Lord rain.
2.      Call to prayer to Jehovah, as contrasted with the idol-worship which had brought judgments on the princes and people.
3.      Do not pray to the clouds, nor to the stars, for rain, but to the Lord
4.      He shows them the folly of making their addresses to idols

Zechariah 10: 2 For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd. {idols: Heb. teraphims} {were...: or, answered that, etc}

5.      The idols have spoken vanity; the teraphim, which they courted and consulted in their distress, were so far from being able to command rain for them that they could not so much as tell them when they should have rain.
6.      They pretended to promise them rain at such a time, but it did not come.
7.      The diviners, who were the prophets of those idols, have seen a lie (their visions were all a cheat and a sham)
8.      They have told false dreams, such as the event did not answer, which proved that they were not from God.
9.      Thus they comforted in vain those that consulted the lying oracles
10.  Yet this was not the worst of it; they not only got nothing by the false gods, but they lost the favour of the true God
11.  Therefore they went their way into captivity as a flock driven into the fold
12.  Those that wandered after strange gods were made to wander, into strange nations.

Rain in the due seasons:

1.      To impregnate the seed when sown
2.      To fill the ear near the time of harvest-was so essential to the fertility of the land, and the well-being of the people

Ask ye … the Lord shall make bright clouds:

1.      A promise of speedy answer to prayer.
2.      Rain here represents all needful blessings.

·      They who in a believing and obedient spirit look to God for help, always receive it
·      But shame and disappointment must be the lot of such as forsake him, and trust for salvation to the work of their own hands.

Blessings promised in answer to prayer:

(1)   rulers of themselves
(2)   conquest of their enemies
(3)   Restoration and establishment of both Israel and Judah in their own land in lasting peace and piety.

An abundance of "corn"  and “wine” is promised by the Lord (Zec 9:17)

Zechariah 9:17   For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.

1.      The latter rain in its due time, namely, in spring
2.      The latter rain ripened the grain, as the former rain in October tended to fructify the seed. Including all temporal blessings; these again being types of spiritual ones.
3.      Though God has begun to bless us, we are not to relax our prayers.
4.      The former rain of conversion may have been given, but we must also ask for the latter rain of ripened sanctification.
5.      Though at Pentecost there was a former rain on the Jewish Church, a latter rain is still to be looked for, when the full harvest of the nation's conversion shall be gathered in to God.
6.      When the Church is full of prayer, God pours out a full blessing.

The scope of this chapter is much the same with that of the foregoing chapter:
To encourage the Jews that had returned with hopes that though they had been under divine rebukes for their negligence in rebuilding the temple, and were now surrounded with enemies and dangers, yet God would do them good, and make them prosperous at home and victorious abroad. Now,

1.      They are here directed to eye the great God in all events that concerned them, and, both in the evils they suffered and in the comforts they desired, to acknowledge his hand
2.      They are encouraged to expect strength and success from him in all their struggles with the enemies of their church and state
3.      The prophet directs them to apply to God by prayer for rain in the season thereof.
4.      He had promised, in the close of the foregoing chapter, that there should be great plenty of corn and wine
5.      For several years, by reason of unseasonable weather, there had been great scarcity of both
6.      But the earth will not yield its fruits unless the heavens water it, and therefore they must look up to God for the dew of heaven

The former rain fell at the seed time, in autumn
The latter fell in the spring, between March and May, which brought the corn to an ear and filled it.
If either of these rains failed, it was very bad with that land; for from the end of May to September they never had any rain at all.
They are directed to ask for it in the time when it used to come.
Sometimes God denied rain in the usual time as a token of his displeasure, they must pray for it then as a token of his favour, and they shall not pray in vain.
He will give them showers of rain in great abundance

He shows them the hand of God in all the events that concerned them
When every thing went cross it was God that walked contrary to them (Zec 10:3):

The captivity in Babylon was a token of God's anger against them
When things began to change for the better it was God that gave them the happy turn.
It is God that makes us what we are, and it is with us as he appoints.

Professor Jacob Abraham

No comments:

Post a Comment