“It shall come about after this
That I shall pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
“Even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days. – Joel 2:28-29
All classes of people from around the world will feel the impact of this spiritual rejuvenation. In a dramatic way, it would give notice of the gospel mandate to reach “the ends of the earth.” The worship of God by all families of the nations, so long foretold, would then be a reality and God’s name would be great among the Gentiles, “[a]from the rising of the sun, even to its setting“.
What happened at the first Pentecost may be seen as the early display of the refreshing rain from heaven, while the closing epic is the latter rain. Water or rain, it should be remembered, is often symbolic of the Holy Spirit.
How it will all end is not clear. Possibly the revival will close and there will be “the abandonment of the faith by professed Christians” before the Lord returns. Some Bible students believe that the worst tribulation will come after the Church is caught up.
Through the purging revival, God’s people will be brought to the true beauty of holiness. Our Lord expects to present His bride unto Himself “in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy [set apart for God] and blameless.” The trials of the last days will serve as fires to refine the gold of Christian character. Out of them the bride of Christ, “permitted to dress in fine linen, dazzling white and clean,” will emerge ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb. To this end, the latter rain of the Spirit is intended to bring the precious harvest of the church to maturity in preparation for the Lord’s return.
Suffering may be necessary to convince us that we do not live by bread alone. When received as an expression of God’s trust, our suffering can be a means of helping us comprehend more of the love of Christ, who “suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you may follow in His footsteps.” Without hardship, probably few of us would learn much about the deeper life of grace.
Significantly, Jesus said that the fulfillment of His preaching mission would precede His return.
This good news of the kingdom [the gospel] will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end [of the age] will come. Matthew 24:14
Doubtless the passion to get out the message while there is yet time will increase with the revival, even as the witnesses multiply. That the gospel will eventually penetrate “every nation and from all the tribes and peoples and languages” is clear from the description of the innumerable multitude of the white-robed saints gathered around the throne of God in heaven. The Great Commission will finally be fulfilled.