From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 10- Tabernacles – The Feast of Ingathering, continued
THE CHURCH, THE GARDEN OF GOD
Jesus testified, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth (pruneth) it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (Jn. 15:1, 2). The Church, the Garden of God! Surely this truth alone is sufficient to establish the fact that the Church’s day must end in great fertility and unparalleled prosperity. If we constitute God’s Garden, then nothing shall prevent the great Husbandman from bringing His heritage to abundance and fruition. It is His responsibility to look after it, and to see that it brings forth a harvest for His glory. “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the Garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (Isa. 51:3).
God always brings light out of darkness, life out of death, joy out of sorrow, strength out of weakness, and fruition out of barrenness. We can rejoice, therefore, as we see the desolation of Zion, knowing that her “desert” shall become like the very Garden of the Lord. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing…” (Isa. 35:1, 2).
WINDS OF JUDGMENT AND BLESSING
“A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed… Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices there of may flow out” (Song 4:12, 16). Both winds are necessary for God’s Garden: the blighting cold wind of the north to test and try the saints; and the warm breezes from the south, to bring forth the fragrance of the Spirit. We can be thankful, then, that in all the strife and bitterness of the Church’s history, God’s sovereign purposes have been fulfilled. For God has reserved the time of the “south wind” until now. “For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth” (Song 2:11, 12).
THE LATTER RAIN
We are looking forward with anticipation for the coming of the promised “latter rain.” The saints of God are thirsting for these living streams from heaven. But how little do we realize that God is more anxious for the “latter rain” than we are! And why? Because He is the Gardener; and He is waiting for the Feast of Ingathering, when He might gather in the precious produce. “Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he (it) receive the early and latter rain” (Jas. 5:7). God is waiting for the hour when He shall bestow His latter rain, just as anxiously–and even more patiently–than we are. James says, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord,” for in a very real sense the coming of the latter rain is the coming of the Lord into the midst of His people. That is exactly what the prophet Hosea declared: “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth” (Hos. 6:3). The time is at hand when we may with all confidence expect the latter rain, for this is the last day, and God’s triumphant Church must be a glorious Church. However, it is not only the latter rain for which we are looking, but the latter and former rain! What does this mean? GHW
When former and latter things come together it usually signifies the fulfillment of the former and its expansion in the latter. We have an example of this In Matthew 9:14-17, where we read, “14Then the disciples of John came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16“But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. 17“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved” (NASB).