Monday, May 19, 2014

A Second Pentecost?

IS THERE THE HOPE
OF AN END-TIME REPEAT OF PENTECOST?!


By Dr. Orrel Steinkamp,
The
Plumbline
Newsletter, Vol. 19, No. 3, May/June 2014*



“Could the world experience a second Pentecost?
That’s the hope of a global movement called Empowered 21,
with organizers setting their sights on Jerusalem,
where the first Pentecost took place.”

Charisma magazine, 4/1/14

The leaders of international Pentecostalism are moving toward a repeat of the first Pentecost. This worldwide “convergence,” as they call it, is called Empowered 21 (E21),[1] as you can see in the CBN News report HERE.

There already have been worldwide regional meetings to prepare for a Pentecost repeat in Jerusalem on Pentecost Sunday 2014. They expect tens of thousand of the worldwide Pentecostal faithful to attend. Even as the first Pentecost included many Jewish faithful of the Jewish diaspora in the Roman Empire gathered in Jerusalem on the feast day of Pentecost, now international Pentecostalism will converge in Jerusalem.

My Plumbline newsletter readers will take note that the international steering committee includes two current Latter-Rain celebrities, namely “prophetess/apostlette” Cindy Jacobs and “apostle” Bill Johnson, who’re both closely aligned with the New Apostolic Reformation. General secretary George Wood of the AOG is a co-chair.

Charisma magazine’s recent headline for their 4-1-14 piece on E21 was Spirit-Empowered Believers Praying for Second Pentecostal Outpouring. The Charisma article continued:

“It’s amazing to see how many wonderful leaders God has raised up to partner with this goal of seeing every individual touched by a real encounter with the Holy Spirit by the year 2033. It’s stunning,” Bill Johnson, from Bethel Church, said.Oral Roberts University President Billy Wilson, director of E21, spoke at a recent event for global movement.

“Tonight we stand on history and we come to worship the King of Jerusalem who is our Lord Jesus,” Wilson said.

“Our big, big vision is bigger than all of us. It comes out of Habakkuk 2:14 that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.”
In this issue of Plumbline, I will try and give a “cliff notes for dummies” version of  the essentials of  a Second Latter Rain Pentecost. That is because the current Latter-Rain leaders have so purposefully muddied the waters that only those who are dedicated history buffs can discern the historical essentials behind the current teaching on a Second Pentecost eschatology. ACTUALLY, only insiders know the Latter Rain playbook, and they cover it up and pawn if off as a new revelation with a new name. No! the Latter Rain has been around since the early days of 20th century.[2]

Actually, the hope of a “Second Pentecost “ at the end of this age was the stated intention of the first Pentecostal leaders when the Pentecostal movement was birthed at Azusa Street in California in the first years of the 20th century. However, after about ten years, around 1910, these Pentecostals scrapped this hope of a second Pentecost at the end of age and returned to the then current end time teaching of a premillennial return of Christ. They apparently were satisfied with the teaching of a post conversion Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues.

The Latter Rain Evangel, Stone Church (Chicago, Illinois) (1908-1939)

History
The Latter Rain Evangel (LRE)[3] was published monthly by the Stone Church, the significant early Pentecostal congregation in Chicago founded by William Hamner Piper.[4] The Stone Church hosted the second General Council of the Assemblies of God in November 1914 as well as the 1919 General Council.

The LRE is an important source for early Pentecostal theological articles, news, missionary letters, and revival reports. The periodical reprinted many early Pentecostal leaders’ sermons delivered at the Stone Church. Anna C. Reiff was the longtime editor of the magazine.[5] It ceased publication with the June 1939 issue, merging with The Gospel Call published by the Russian and Eastern European Mission.[6]

In the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s the new Pentecostal movement progressed but without the original “Second Pentecost” teaching of the movement’s first founders. This continued and was status quo until the early ‘50s when the original hope of a Second Pentecost—just prior to the return of Christ—was re-announced to the Pentecostal world. In the late ‘40s, a new Pentecostal movement appeared and re-issued the original claim of an end time Second Pentecost. In that revival, that began in Canada, it was proclaimed to the Pentecostal Movement that the bedrock teaching of Azusa Street (which had been buried and deferred) was now being re-announced to the Pentecostal world. This return to the original teaching of the first Pentecostals became known  as the “New Order of Latter Rain.” The early mission at Azusa had been named the “New Order of the Latter Rain” as well the apostolic mission. Lets explain this term “the Latter Rain.”

The Latter-Rain
Latter Rain was an allegorical/symbolic and a new template for the church age derived from the early and latter rains of the growing season in Palestine. These early rains were for planting barley and then, after a long period of no rain, the latter rains came and filled out the barley and prepared it for the end of season harvest. This simple reference to the seasonal rains of Palestine was lifted from its Old Testament context during the last years of the 1800s and pressed into service as an allegory and paradigm for the history of the church age. This of course is an illegitimate way to handle scripture. But it was used nevertheless. The early Palestinian rains were symbolized by the first Pentecost and the latter rains were seen as a Second Pentecost just prior to the end time harvest of souls and the return of Christ. However, this original Latter Rain “Second Pentecost” teaching was put on hold for a number of years. It was left for the “New Order of the LatterRain” (NOLR) in Canada 50 years later to reclaim this historical paradigm of the church age which effectually repudiated the premillennial teaching of the previous years.

The Latter Rain movement of the mid-century added a number of new teachings to the Latter Rain of the Azusa Street:
  1. A restored order of apostles and prophets who were to govern the last days church with ongoing extra-biblical revelations.
  2. This Latter Rain last generation church was tasked to give birth to a new-breed of mature believers who will conquer all demons and every enemy of God. This new breed will also finally defeat death itself. These “Manifest Sons of God” will also take dominion over the whole earth, judge all sinners and establish the “New Jerusalem” upon the earth.
  3. These Latter Rain believers will receive a “spiritual second coming” of Jesus who will be incarnated into their “many-membered” body of believers. This spiritual return of Jesus will be birthed by the body of Christ. The current Latter-Rain faithful will be impregnated with Jesus and this endtime church will give birth to a spiritual return of Jesus to his many-membered body. This is crassly (and erroneously) based on the “birth of a manchild” of Revelation. The church will become an end time “Mary” to birth the spiritual return of Jesus. This will make it unnecessarily for Jesus to return bodily from heaven. There is a difference of opinion, and some Latter Rain teachers believe Jesus will return from heaven at the end of all these things.
George Warnock, a Latter Rain worker while still in Canada during the mid-century Latter Rain “revival,” wrote a systematic New Order of the Latter Rain theology. His book is called The Feast of Tabernacles.[7] This is actually another symbolic allegorical presentation. Warnock summarized this theology as Passover, Pentecost and a (now to be fulfilled) Feast of Tabernacles to typify the whole church age. Beginning with the Feast of Passover, representing the death of Jesus, the Feast of Pentecost typified the birth of the church, and the future Feast of Tabernacles points to the so-called Latter Rain “Second Pentecost” at the close of the church age.

This concept fits nicely with the early and later rains and harvest, etc. This teaching of the fulfilled Feast of Tabernacles is simply an overlaid allegory and symbolism. The Latter Rain cult believes the endtimes Feast of Tabernacles will culminate with a mature (perfected) body that will be in-filled with a spiritual incarnation of Jesus into their corporate body. This is a Gnostic belief in a spiritual return of Jesus into his body. In this spiritual return of Jesus the perfected body will become one with Christ and become one substance with Christ. Christ incarnated into this body is the whole body of Christ. They teach the heresy that these elite, perfected and matured “Sons of God” then corporately become God every bit as much as Christ is God.

But once again, in the 1950s, many Pentecostal believers rebelled at this obvious false teaching. The Assemblies of God met and repudiated the NOLR in the ‘50s. Also, about this time, William Branham, who initiated this Latter-Rain by his impartation with his laying on hands, died suddenly in a car accident.  Books could be written of the many weird and bizarre teachings, and obvious clairvoyant ministry, of William Branham. (You’ll find a number of these teachings by this false prophet listed HERE.) This event caused the Latter Rain teaching to apparently fail in the mid ‘50s. It in effect went underground.

Another Return of the Latter Rain
But a few ministers who had been a part of this Latter Rain at mid-century survived and entered unnoticed into the Charismatic Renewal some years later. Bill Hamon and Ern Baxter brought Latter Rain teachings secretly and in piecemeal fashion into the theological fog the Charismatic Renewal engendered. Earl Paulk also brought Latter-Rain teaching back further.

In more recent times the teachers included the Kansas City Prophets of Paul Cain (a disciple of William Branham, and now sidelined because of homosexual problems) and the recently-deceased Bob Jones (who was disciplined for sexual matters in his prophetic “ministry”). The Toronto Blessing (hysterical laughing), Mike Bickle’s IHOP movement, and C. Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation—all are a return of the Latter Rain doctrines. These movements are busy restoring more Latter-Rain cult ideas. But they deny all any connection to the New Order of the Latter-Rain of the mid-century. Nevertheless. they teach Latter-Rain ideas again with new labels.

They essentially have re-branded the Latter-Rain. The spiritual return of Jesus is now called “The Presence” or the “Glory,” etc.

They speak openly of the fulfilling the “Feast of Tabernacles.” They teach a church that will conquer the Anti-Christ. The maturing and perfection teaching of the Latter-Rain is called now called “100% obedience.“ by Mike Bickle. In his Song of Solomon allegory, Christ the Bridegroom is now romancing the bride, etc.

There is so much more that can be said but it is too complicated for this basic introduction. But I have only tried give a bird’s eye view and simplified summary of the new eschatology of the Latter-Rain since Azusa, though the Latter Rain of the mid-century, and to the present. Latter Rain teaching is alive and well but it is disguised and cleverly renamed. Apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation (a la “apostle” C, Peter Wagner) receive new revelations that symbolize the Old Testament much like the early and latter rains of the Palestine growing season. Latter-Rain teachers deceptively represent the current expression of a spiritual return of Jesus and simply call it “The Presence.” There is a flood of new prophetic revelations which tends to overlay and cover the basic Latter Rain endtime “Second Pentecost” teaching.

The current E21 movement, described at the beginning of this article, is of a worldwide Pentecostal ecumenism, built around another Pentecost in Jerusalem. It flows right into a drift of all Pentecostals back to Latter Rain eschatology. In fact there is wide ferment among traditional AOG people for a release from Dispensational eschatology. Even former General Superintendent of the AOG Trask told a pastors group (off the record) that the AOG missed it the first time in Canada and we should not miss it this time around.

Oh! It would never be called the Latter Rain. But Prophetess Cindy Jacobs and Bill Johnson are Latter Rain pure and simple, but operating with a re-branded version of a “Second Pentecost.” Bill Johnson’s book When Heaven Invades Earth is Latter-Rain in essence.[8] But who today knows what the Latter-Rain is or was? This includes most Pentecostal pastors. But there are those who use the Latter Rain playbook, and like NFL coaches on the sidelines, hide the playbook from prying eyes.

If you want a more detailed account please go read an earlier article I wrote in 2000 called A Second Pentecost?

Endnotes
1. http://www.jerusalem2015.com/about.php, accessed 5/19/14.
2. Christian apologist Bob DeWaay tells us that, “At the very beginning of the 20th century a man named David Wesley Myland used the term “Latter Rain” to describe the Pentecostal revival that was going on.”: http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue103.htm, accessed 5/19/14. It’s also important to note here that much of the charismatic movement also adheres to much of the Latter Rain mythology as well: http://www.gotquestions.org/latter-rain-movement.html, accessed 5/19/14.
3. https://pentecostalarchives.org/collections/latterRainEvangel/index.cfm?, accessed 5/19/14.
4. http://ifphc.org/Uploads/Heritage/2013_08.pdf, accessed 5/19/14.
5. https://pentecostalarchives.org/collections/latterRainEvangel/index.cfm?, accessed 5/19/14.
6. http://flps.newberry.org/article/5423967_4_1180, accessed 5/19/14.
7. This book can be read online here: http://www.georgewarnock.com/feast-main.html, accessed 5/19/14.
8. The aforementioned Bob DeWaay has done an excellent critique of Johnson’s book in An Invasion of Error: A Review of Bill Johnson—When Heaven Invades Earth.


*Re-edited and reprinted with permission of author. This version is republished and slightly modified for blog posting with the permission of Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries, where the revised original is posted HERE. The Apprising version includes Empower 21 footage that can be viewed.

For further reading see Ed Tarkowski’s article series on the Toronto laughing revival:
Part I: From South Africa To St. Louis To Toronto To Your Church
Part II: The Impregnation Of The Church: The Man-Child Of Joy
Part III: The Abrahamic Covenant And Joyous Feast Of Tabernacles
Part IV: Laughing: Deeper Realities 

Part V: The Consummation: Where Are We Headed? 
Part VI: The End Of The Birth Pangs

See the recent Herescope 6-part series “The Passion of the Presence & the Purpose of the Passion,” 

Read Part 1
Read Part 2
Read Part 3
Read Part 4
Read Part 5
Read Part 6