Latter Rain Theology and the Pre-Tribulation Rapture
Dr. Joseph Chambers
This theology in a broad sense embraces at least eight different concepts or ideas. There is a lot of variations from minister to minister or ministry to ministry. Tommy Ice has done an excellent job explaining the background; therefore, I will not try to repeat his material. Rather, let me show you how these ideas are impacting the present day church. Let's look at the different concepts that relate to "Latter Rain" theology.
1. This theology teaches that there is a distinct period of revival to occur at the end of the church age, which is above, greater, and more complete than any revival of the Second Testament church.
Bob Jones, a vineyard minister and one of the original "Kansas City Prophets" stated, "They will move into things of the supernatural that no one has ever moved in before. Every miracle, sign and wonder that has ever been in the Bible - they'll move in it consistently. They'll move in the power that Christ did. Every sign and wonder that's ever been will be many times in the last days. They themselves will be that generation that raised up to put death itself underneath their feet and to glorify Christ in every way... and the Church that is raising up in the government will be the head and the covering for them. So that that glorious church might be revealed in the last days because the Lord Jesus is worthy to be lifted up by a church that has reached the full maturity of the god-man!" (Visions & Revelations, Fall, 1988.)
Jewel Van der Merwe, an Assembly of God member, describes this "New Wave Theology", which is promoted by the Vineyard church as following,
"Vineyard Ministries are holding conferences overseas and throughout the U.S.A. Churches and denominations are being proselytized and preyed on with a 'gospel' they claim is ordained to bring forth:
(1) the greatest revival the Church has ever known;
(2) the greatest baptism of the Spirit the Church has ever experienced;
(3) the greatest Army (Joel's Army) distinguished by invincibility, immortality and divinity;
(4) the greatest purging (inquisition) in the history of the Church;
(5) the greatest ministry - the Prize of all Ages; and
(6) the greatest miracles, supernatural signs and wonders far exceeding that of the Apostles and Prophets of old." (Joel's Army, pp. 1-2.)
2. They believe that there must be a restoration of all prophetic and apostolic offices to accompany this end time revival.
Mike Bickle with the Kansas City Prophets and Vineyard Church stated the following, "There's Apostles, there's Imminent Apostles and there's MOST IMMINENT APOSTLES... There's various levels of Apostles and the Lord was showing that... out of this Movement there would be 35 apostles... that will be of the highest level of apostolic ministry... the whole government of this movement in its highest level in all places it goes ... the government rests on Apostles and Prophets... Though I believe there will be hundreds of apostles in this movement and every movement will have its apostles and prophets, I believe God, He's merging Apostles in a number of movements now and He's going to add prophets to the prophets that are already there and He's going to bring us to higher statures." (Visions & Revelations Kansas City Fellowship.)
Rick Joyner in great reputation among the Charismatics stated, "The dismantling of organizations and disbanding of some works will be a positive and exhilarating experience for the Lord's faithful servants. .. a great company of prophets, teachers, pastors, and apostles will be raised up with the spirit of Phineas . . ." (The Harvest Rick Joyner.)
A book written by Richard Kelly Hoskin, entitled Vigilantes Of Christendom describes these warriors. he says of them, "As the Kamikaze is to the Japanese, As the Shiite is to Islam, As the Zionist is to the Jew, So the Phineas priest is to Christendom."
3. They believe that Joel's Army, as described by the prophet Joel and John the Revelator, will be a Christian army taking dominion for Jesus Christ on the earth.
Paul Cain, one of the biggest names in Charismatic circles, described this army as following, "You know this message is 35 years old and I'm just preaching it again. Thank God I've found some- body to preach it to. I told you about the vision, what I've had. This recurring vision of standing at the crossroads of life and the angel of the Lord said, 'You are standing at the crossroads of life. What do you see?' And I saw a brilliantly lit billboard which reads JOEL'S ARMY NOW IN TRAINING... See, I've been wanting to share this so long and find somebody - how would you like to have something on the back burner for 35 years and nobody had any - boy this is, I mean this isn't leftovers. I mean this has been hot with me all these years, but everywhere I tried to preach it, they cooked my goose. Don't you boo me. This kind of fiery preaching is a lost art today except in a very mild degree." ("Joel's Army", cassette from Kansas City Prophets.)
Jack Deese, another Vineyard minister, gives a very clear description of this army, 11... this army is totally unique. This army, there's never been one like it and there never will be one like it in ages to come... It's so mighty that there's never been anything like it before. Not even Moses, not even David, not even Paul. What's going to happen now will transcend what Paul did, what David did... what Moses did, even though Moses parted the Red Sea... there'll be a numerous company... Revelation hints at this when it talks about the 144,000 that follow the Lamb wherever He goes and no one, no one can harm that 144,000. See, that's a multiple of 12. What's 12? Twelve is the number of the Apostles, 12 is Apostolic government. And when you take an important number in the Bible and you multiply it, it means you intensify it. So 12,000 times 12,000 + 144,000 [Wrong math]. That is the ultimate in Apostolic government. Revelation talks about that. Well, here Joel is talking about it now in different words, a powerful, a MIGHTY ARMY with many Paul's, many Moses, many David's." (Joel's Army Vineyard Ministries International,
4. Many within this movement believe that the church has the right of dominion over all institutions and powers of government, commerce, education, and judiciary. Pat Robinson has stated this on numerous occasions.
Gary North is one of the leaders preparing for this world takeover, "We are now witnessing the beginning of a true paradigm shift . . . the Christian community in the United States has at last begun to adopt the intellectual foundation of a new world view, and this is always the first step in the replacement of a dying civilization which is based on a dying world view... the rotten wood is ready for burning, and a new civilization is being prepared to replace it. (DOMINION AND COMMON GRACE: The Biblical Basis of Progress, Gary North.)
Rick Joyner expresses his concept of this New World Order that he believes the church is going to establish, "We are all members of one another and we must start acting like the church - as a body. I believe the same thing could be said today that was said before the Revolutionary War - because I tell you, we've come to a time of a spiritual revolution What Benjamin Franklin said, 'We've gotta join or die' is becoming increasingly applicable to the Church. Those that refuse to tear down the walls - if the leaders refuse to tear down the walls, I tell you the people are going to do It. They going to come down. And just as those of the former ORDER - who did not recognize that a NEW ORDER had come, they got swept away with the changes when they came. If we do not recognize the times in which we live - if we do not recognize the NEW ORDER has come upon the Church - that there is a NEW ORDER TODAY. There is a Revolution taking place in the Church today. I tell you, if we do not recognize that, if we do not become a part of that, we are going to be swept away by these changes when they come because they are coming - they are irresistible. The Kingdom of God is coming and I'll tell you, there is nothing that we can do to stand against it...
"I remember some of the most penetrating scenes that I saw in the news last year were the communist leaders who just weeks before were some of the most powerful men in this world, were on their knees begging the people to listen to them and the people were saying, 'Away with you, we will not listen to you because you were part of the OLD ORDER, we will never listen to you again.' A NEW ORDER has come. I tell you, you are going to see the same thing taking place in the Church. If you wait until it becomes politically expedient to jump on the bandwagon, I tell you, it will be too late. Today is our day of visitation. Now is the time to stand up for that which is coming. There are changes. The Lord is going to bring down every wall that separates His people." (Harvest Conference, Denver, CO, R. Joyner, November, 1990.)
5. They believe that the Rapture doctrine, especially in its pre-Tribulation form, was nothing but Escapism Theology. Some believe He will come only after they take dominion over the earth. Others believe that the full "manifestation of the Son's of God" on earth is actually the Biblical Rapture.
Rick Joyner was quick to announce the death of a "Rapture" doctrine. He stated, "The doctrine of the rapture was a great and effective ruse of the enemy to implant in the church a retreat mentality, but it will not succeed. Already this yoke has been cast off by the majority in the advancing church, and it will soon be cast off by all..." (The Harvest, Rick Joyner.)
Francis Frangipane appears to teach that the Rapture is the final perfection of the "Manifest Sons of God." "Most of true Christianity shares a doctrine commonly called the 'rapture' of the church (I Thessalonians 4:16). And while study and debate surround the timing of this event, Scripture assures us it will occur before Jesus Himself returns. However, before the rapture occurs, there will be a time of unusual grace in which the living church of Jesus Christ, like a bride, makes '...herself ready'. In this unparalleled season of preparation, those who are alive in Christ shall realize a level of holiness and blamelessness of the quality in which Jesus Himself walked.
"The result of this new level of holiness will be a new level of unity.
"During the rapture our bodies will be changed. But our character, that is, the essence of who we have become, will remain intact. There will be no regrets or wondering how 'those from that church' made it, for the living bride will be a church built together in love, meeting in separate buildings but serving the single Lord.
"It is highly significant that the Scriptural term for the rapture is called 'the gathering together'. What ultimately will be consummated in our gathering together physically to the Lord will be precipitated by a spiritual gathering together of His body on earth. Concerning the '...end of the age,' Jesus taught that the 'good fish' shall be gathered.. . into containers'
"The pastors of the last Christian church will be under-shepherds to the Lord Jesus; they will be anointed to gather together His remnant and under that anointing shall be 'fruitful and multiply.'
"Indeed, right now, in the context of humbling ourselves and submitting our hearts to His will, we are participating in being 'gathered together.' (Mr. Frangipane's new rapture.) And that process will progressively increase until the barriers between brethren are melted by the over- coming nature of Christ's love. Before Jesus returns, we will truly be' one flock with one Shep- herd.' We will be a holy and blameless sheepfold, meeting in different buildings, but baptized into one body." (Exposing The "Accuser Of The Brethren Francis Frangipane, pp. 13-16.)
6. Another aberrant teaching is the idea of "Manifest Sons of God." I just heard Kenneth Hagin tell a large church filled with his ministers and followers that this "New Wave" will perfect them until their body works perfectly.
Francis Frangipane teaches this idea in a very prolific manner. He stated, "In another sense, Mary, the mother of Jesus, also was 'a body [God] has prepared' (Hebrews 10:5). When Christ first entered our world as a child, it was Mary whom God chose to give Christ birth. Mary's life symbolized the qualities the church must possess to walk in the fullness of Christ... Like Mary, our humble state as the Lord's bond slaves is but a preparation for the coming forth of Christ in our lives. ...Indeed, our purity, our spiritual virginity as the body of Christ, is nothing less than God Himself preparing us, as He did Mary, to 'give birth' to the ministry of His Son. Even now, in the spiritual womb of the virgin church, the holy purpose of Christ is growing, awaiting maturity; ready to be born in power in the timing of God!
"Through intense prayer and the agonizing of the Holy Spirit, in groanings too deep for words, she embraces her appointed destiny - until the very voice of Christ Himself is heard again through her prayers: 'Lo, I have come to do Thy will, 0 God!' Birthed in His Spirit and in His power, fused together through love and suffering, this holy people becomes, as it were, a 'body [God] hast prepared.'
"Even now, hell trembles and the heavens watch in awe. For I say to you, once again the 'virgin is with child.'
"Before Jesus Himself returns, the last virgin child shall become pregnant with the promise of God. Out of her travail the body of Christ shall come forth, raised to the full stature of its Head, the Lord Jesus ... Yet in the midst of darkness, the visible powerful glory of the Lord Jesus shall rise upon the virgin church .. . Radiant shall they appear, for their hearts shall possess the beautiful Star of the Morning. In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, their light shall exult like the dew!" (Holiness Truth And The Presence Of God, Francis Frangipane, pp. 128-130)
7. One of the greatest sources of false teaching within the Latter Rain Movement is its acceptance of New Revelation on equality with Holy Scripture. The entire landscape of their theological ideas are filled with strange interpretations of Scripture dreams and visions.
Here is a quote out of Rick Joyner's book, There Were Two Trees In The Garden Mr. Joyner says, "Here is wisdom. 'Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.' (Revelation 13:18). The number 666 is not taken arbitrarily. Because man was created on the sixth day, the number six is often used symbolically in the Scriptures as the number of man. This number is further identification of the spirit of the beast, which is the spirit of fallen man. In verse 11, we see that this beast 'comes up out of the earth.' This beast is the result of the seed of Cain having been a 'tiller of the ground' or earthly-minded. The beast is the embodiment of religion that originates in the mind of man. It comes up out of the earth in contrast to Christ who comes down out of heaven." (There Were Two Trees In The Garden Rick Joyner, pp. 17-18.)
Here is a breathtaking departure into fantasy by a minister's wife, Bonnie Chavada. "I hear a voice say, 'This is the refreshing: IT WILL BE VERY VIOLENT.'
"As I watched, a series of scenes from the movie adaptation of the American classic by L. Frank Baum, the 'Wizard Of Oz,' passed before me. With each picture, a voice described things that will take place as this coming 'wind' moved over the land. I understood that it will not be sinners, false religions, or even political institutions, including the media, that will most vehemently question and oppose the coming 'wind.' It will be institutions of Christian tradition and influence, including those who claim the 'fullness of the Spirit
"I saw the girl Dorothy, in her humility, purity, and faith, as a type of the bride of Christ.
"There will be those who will call this wind "demonic" because of what it will make manifest. Demons will be stirred up, the flesh will be made obvious, things formerly hidden will be exposed and seen as they are in relation to My Spirit: BUT THIS WIND IS FROM ME!' I realized how human logic and tradition, not being subject to the Spirit, will misread the appearance of what is to come, and will deny that Jesus is driving this wind.
"'I have come not to bring peace, but a sword, 'and again, 'Anything spoken against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.'
"The Holy Spirit says, 'Do you know who I am in this picture?' Though this would certainly offend the religious, and surprised me, the Lord said, 'Jam "Tote" -just like Toto is Dorothy's constant comforter, friend, protector, and guide, Jam with you!'
"Witchcraft wants to control the Holy Spirit and put God in a box! Miss Gulch is a picture of the spirit of witchcraft working through the arm of the flesh and legalism to 'manage', define, and ultimately resist God through religious tradition and control.
"They are unified, not because they are alike, nor because any one of them is great in themselves, but because they have one common goal, to see the Great Oz.
"The spirit of religion will refuse My army and resist their entrance to and possession of the resources of their kingdom.
"I could feel intense power and heat as thunderings and fire came forth when Oz spoke."
Prophetic Perspective Vol. 5, Part V. Charlotte, NC. Vision described by Bonnie Chavada at the April '95 Cleveland, OH, MCMI's Healing The Nations Conference.)
8. The latest and most deceptive of the Latter Rain teachings is their confused doctrines concerning Jesus Christ and His death.
Look at Benny Hinn's teachings concerning Jesus and the nature of Satan. "Ladies and gentlemen, the serpent is a symbol of Satan. Jesus Christ knew the only way He would stop Satan is by becoming one in nature with him. 'What did you say? What blasphemy is this?' No, you hear this! He did not take my sin, He became my sin. Sin is the nature of hell. Sin is what made Satan. You remember, he wasn't Satan till sin was found in him. Lucifer was perfect till Ezekiel says, sin was found in thee. It was sin that made Satan. Jesus said, 'I'll be sin. I'll go to the lowest place. I'll go to the origin of it. I won't just take part of it.' I'll be the totality of it. When Jesus became sin, sir, he took it from A-Z and said no more. Think about this. He became flesh that flesh might become like Him. He became death so dying man can live. He became sin so sinners can be righteous in Him. He became one with the nature of Satan so all those who had the nature of Satan can partake of the nature of God." - Benny Hinn.
Now, let's look at Kenneth Hagin's teaching on this same subject. "He [Jesus] tasted spiritual death for every man. And His spirit and inner man went to hell in my place. Can't you see that? PHYSICAL DEATH WOULDN'T REMOVE YOUR SINS He's tasted death for every man. He's talking about tasting spiritual death." - Kenneth Hagin. (Christianity In Crisis Hank Hanegraaff, p. 60.)
Look at the same idea from Kenneth Copeland. He said, "The Spirit of God spoke to me and He said, 'Son, realize this. Now follow me in this and don't let your tradition trip you up.' He said, 'Think this way - a twice-born man whipped Satan in his own domain.' And I threw my Bible down ... like that. I said, 'What?' He said, 'A born-again man defeated Satan, the firstborn of many brethren defeated him.' He said, 'You are the very image, the very copy of that one.' I said, 'Goodness, gracious sakes alive!' And I began to see what had gone on In there, and I said, 'Well, now you don't mean, you couldn't dare mean, that I could have done the same thing?' He said, 'Oh yeah, if you'd had the knowledge of the Word of God that He did, you could've done the same thing, 'cause you're a reborn man too." (Kenneth Copeland, "Substitution and Identification" [Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1989], tape #00-0202, side 2.)
LATTER RAIN MUSIC
Most of the new music being sung in Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Evangelical churches is "Latter Rain" theology put to song. Look at the words to one of the most important songs of the Pensacola Phenomenon.
"FIRE IN HIS EYES" (COME RIDE WITH ME) He has fire in His eyes and a sword in His hands. He's riding a white horse across this land. He has fire in His eyes and a sword in His hands. And He's riding a white horse all across this land. He's calling out to you and me, will you ride with me?
We are saying, 'Lord we'll ride with you.'
We will stand up and fight.
We will ride, We will be dressed in white.
We're saying, 'Lord, we'll ride. Yes, Lord, I'll ride with you.'
He has a crown on His head.
He carries a scepter in His hand
And He's leading the army all across this land.
He's calling out to you and me, Will you ride with me?
That fire in His eyes is His love for His bride.
And He's longing that she will be with Him right by His side.
That fire in His eyes is His burning desire
that this Bride will be with Him right by His side.
And He's calling out to you right now, 'Will you ride with me?'
We say, 'Yes, Lord.'
We say, 'Yes, Lord, we'll ride with you.'
Say, 'Yes, Lord, Yes, Lord.'
Here are two more songs being widely sung:
THE RIVER IS HERE
Down the mountain the river flows
And it brings refreshing wherever it goes
Through the valleys and over the fields
The river is rushing and the river is here.
The river of God is teeming with life
And all who touch it can be revived
And those who linger on this river's shore
Will come back thirsting for more of the Lord.
Up to the mountain we love to go
To find the presence of the Lord
Along the banks of the river we run
We dance with laughter giving praise to the Son.
The river of God sets our feet a-dancing. The river of God fills our hearts with cheer. The river of God fills our mouths with laughter. And we rejoice for the river is here.
THE DRINKING SONG (To be sung to the tune of "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder")
Now I laugh like an idiot and bark like a dog,
If! don't sober up, I'll likely hop like a frog!
And I'll crow like a rooster 'til the break of day,
'Cause the Holy Ghost is moving, and I can't stay away!
Now I roar like a lioness who's on the prowl,
I laugh and I shake, maybe hoot like an owl!
Since God's holy river started bubbling up in me,
It spills outside, and it's setting me free!
So, I'll crunch and I'll dip and I'll dance round and round,
'Cause the pew was fine, but it's more fun on the ground!
So, I'll jump like a pogo stick, then fall on the floor,
'Cause the Holy Ghost is moving, and I just want MORE!
Now I'm just a party animal grazing at God's trough,
I'm a Jesus junkie, and I can't get enough!
I'm an alcoholic for that great New Wine,
'Cause the Holy Ghost is pouring, and I'm drinking all the time!
(Written by Kathryn Riss (Richard Riss's wife). He is historian for the Latter Rain Movement.
Let me share from my notes a few more quotes and then a few excerpts from videos.