The former and the latter rain – moreh

Be glad, people of Zion! rejoice in Adonai your God! For he is giving you the right amount of rain in the fall, he makes the rain come down for you, the fall and spring rains — this is what he does first. (Joe 2:23)

The rain in the fall, or as it is called in KJV “the former rain”, in Hebrew is called moreh. This word means archer, teacher, teaching, or early rain (Strongs H4175).

Joel keeps on talking about what will happen the Lord turns back and has pitty on his people (Joel 2:18). He will pour out His Spirit on all flesh, as happened on Pentecost, where Peter linked the experience in the upper room to this verse by saying “this is that”.

So we have no problem interpreting the outpouring of the Spirit as an early rain in the spiritual realm, where, using Jam 5:7, we can expect a latter or spring rain before Jesus comes back:

So, brothers, be patient until the Lord returns. See how the farmer waits for the precious “fruit of the earth” — he is patient over it until it receives the fall and spring rains. (Jas 5:7)

But why is the author using the word moreh?

Could it be that the early rain wants to teach us about the latter rain? Can we go back and look at the – talking in the spiritual now – time of the early church and deduct what the last times will look like?

Could it be that as the bow of an archer finds its target, we can be assured that the latter rain will come?

Could it be that part of the latter rain will be teachings (and words of faith) that do not return void?

Rain can be used as a metaphor for growth (Gen 2:4-6), blessings (Lev 26:4) (and the lack of it as cursing (Deu 28:24)), the Spirit (see above), and the Word (Deu 32:2, Isa 55:10).

I am looking forward to the time of the latter rain. Just let us make sure that we will experience rain then too:

Ask Adonai for rain in the time of the latter rain. (Zec 10:1a)

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By Ralph Rickenbach

Accompanyist | Pastor in Exile | Iconoclast — I am a Gallup certified CliftonStrengths coach and a Spiral Dynamics practitioner.