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New Order of the Latter Rain: Their History and Legacy

 

There is nothing new under the sun said Solomon, this goes as well for the new “prophets/apostles” movement that can be traced to late 1940’s revival called The “New Order of the Latter Rain”.  From the Latter Rain Movement brought birth to numerous teachings such as the Manifested Sons of God heresy.  This movement brought havoc and was renounced by the Assemblies of God in 1949.  Although it was removed and faded, it has resurfaced with a face lift and these same teachings have come back with a vengeance taking on a life of their own.

David W. Myland In 1907 seems to have coined the term “Latter Rain Movement” first, in a book of songs entitled “Latter Rain Songs.”  In 1910 Myland wrote his book “The Latter Rain Covenant” in which he tried to associate the rainfall in Israel, with the manifestations of the Holy Spirit that occurred at Azusa.  He also wrote of the concept of deeper truth in the Scripture and different levels of interpretation.

The Latter Rain revival first began in Canada at Sharon Orphanage and School, a young woman at the Bible school prophesied that a great revival was about to come Ernest Hawtin tells that the very next day, it did just that as the Holy Spirit fell with great power.  It was called “The Last Great Outpouring that was to consummate God’s Plans on this Earth.”

They had been prepped by previously read Franklin Hall’s book, “Atomic Power with God Through Fasting, and Prayer”, and began to practice his method of fasting.  Hall believed the Church was hindered in power and answered prayer, he claimed that even the prayers of pagans would be answered if they fasted.  His solution, by fasting for long periods, Christians can receive a powerful anointing that would be that they would never be sick and would lead certain “overcomers” to holiness by stages of spiritual transformation who would attain sinless perfection and immortality.  That an immortal substance from Christ would come upon their bodies, a golden substance visible to all, (gold flakes and teeth?) that would glorify them and people would see and feel the fire of the Holy Spirit.  He taught a BODY-FELT salvation – the fire of God, the glory, had to be applied to the body for thirty days and would purge out all sickness, tiredness and weakness of the flesh and bring them to immortalization.  These Perfected believers would experience power over the forces of gravity, they could teleport to wherever they wished.  And there were practical benefits to this spiritual state where their clothes would not wear out, they would have no body odour, so they would never need to wash.

Ernest Hawtin wrote: “The truth of fasting was one great contributing factor to the revival.  One year before this we had read Franklin Hall’s book, entitled ‘Atomic Power With God Through Fasting and Prayer.’  We immediately began to practise [sic] fasting.  Previously we had not understood the possibility of long fasts.  The revival would never have been possible without the restoration of this great truth through our good brother Hall.”  Richard Riss, (The Latter Rain Movement of 1948 and the Mid-twentieth Century Evangelical Awakening, p.89)

Franklin Hall, had a tremendous influence on the key players in the Latter Rain movement.  Hall’s book on fasting and prayer was a major influence in the ministries of Oral Roberts, A.A Allen, O.L. Jaggers, Gayle Jackson, David Nunn, Tommy Hicks, and W.V. Grant.  Clearly influenced from Halls baptism of fire, O.L. Jaggers established a whole church teaching around this as the true gospel.  With the Golden altar, the 24 elders and a three fold way to be born again, which if received will bring the promise of bodily immortality escaping death now. (see Hawaii UniversalChurch)

Richard Riss in his work “The Healing and Latter Rain Movement A survey of 20th-Century Revival movements in North America States.”  “Two of the earliest and most influential healing evangelists of the mid- twentieth century were William M. Branham and Oral Roberts.  Other Important figures included T. L. Osborn, Jack Coe, William Freeman, A. A. Allen, and David Nunn, Gordon Lindsay, who had helped to bring the ministry of William Branham into widespread recognition, used his talents to supply the movement with a degree of cohesiveness.  Many of these men are the key players in the Latter Rain movement of which Riss is sympathetic to.”

During the fall of 1947 Gordon Lindsay arranged for Branham to hold a series of meetings in Vancouver, B.C.. At that time Ern Baxter was added to Branham’s team.  The meetings in Vancouver were attended by a few pastors and teachers from North Battleford, Saskatchewan.  Several of the school’s teachers who went to a Branhams meeting had him lay hands on them for an impartation.  They returned to Battleford with the impartation which began the “Latter Rain” movement.  From there it exploded among the Pentecostals throughout North America and then throughout around the world.  Many other new healing ministries had risen to prominence out of this, taking it to various parts of the world, Branham’s continued to be one of the most widely known to the early 60’s.

An excerpt taken from their newsletter The Sharon Star recorded the Branham meeting: “All the great outpourings of the past have had their outstanding truths.  Luther’s truth was Justification by Faith.  Wesley’s was Sanctification.  The Baptists taught the premillenial coming of Christ.  The Missionary Alliance taught Divine Healing.  The Pentecostal outpouring has restored the Baptism of the Holy Ghost to its rightful place.  But the next great outpouring is going to be marked by all these other truths plus such a demonstration of the nine gifts of the Spirit as the world, not even the Apostolic world, has ever witnessed before.  This revival will be short and will be the last before the Rapture of the Church.”( Richard Riss, Latter Rain, Honeycomb Visual Productions, pg. 56-57)

This is exactly what Branham’s message was, as he was taught by his personal angel that he was the Elijah before the 2nd coming.  That he was the messenger of the last Church age Laodicea.  Branham becomes a key figure in the Latter Rain scenario that many in the Pentecostal Church are operating in even today.

Out of this new thing came the doctrine of Restoration.  Lost truths were supposedly being restored and God was revealing new revelations.  Signs & Wonders and moving in the Supernatural realm became the modus operandi.

A new emphasis began from the laying on of hands, “The movement was characterized by many healings and miraculous phenomena . . . There was an emphasis on spiritual gifts which, were to be received by the laying on of hands.”  (DICTIONARY OF PENTECOSTAL AND CHARISMATIC MOVEMENTS)

Ern Baxter, ministered with Branham several months every year from 1947 until 1953.  Whenever Em Baxter was given a card containing information on the individual’s medical history, testified “that he never saw Branham’s diagnosis miss once,” in every case he correctly diagnosed the disease without ever knowing what was on the card in his hand.  While this article is to focus on the historical and doctrinal teachings of the Latter Rain something needs to be mentioned.  Accuracy does not prove something is from God.  The very same people who teach these doctrines today actually claim a low percentage of accuracy in prophecy and words of knowledge than their mentor Branham.  That 60, 80, 90% is well accepted as they improve in their gifts with practice.  While accuracy is not the final test of truth (Deut.13 God tells us this), inaccuracy certainly is a sure way to prove it is not from God, this is what they have fulfilled more often.  God who is the author of prophecy and the word does not grade on a curve if one is 80% accurate they are 20% wrong.  No one would fly in a plane with these chances explained beforehand and we certainly shouldn’t be flying spiritually this way either.

Branham who was the main hub in the wheel did not attribute the supernatural works, miracles and words of knowledge he manifested to the Holy Spirit.  He attributed them to his angel.  Although once a Baptist he was influenced by Oneness Pentecostals which led him to deny the Trinity of God.  He taught that Eve had sex with Satan to birth Cain, believed in pyramids and UFO’s, and despite those who point to a flawless record he gave prophecies that were proven false.  When he died in a car crash, many Latter Rain ministers (some of those who are still around today) prayed for him to be raised from the dead.  His followers expected results in three days which never happened.

Is this Latter rain or acid rain? It has begun to fall all over again.  The Latter Rain movement started in the 1948 influenced almost all Pentecostal churches and groups in the 1950’s.  We can look back on this and see the revival was short but did not produce what they had hoped for.  But today there is a whole new army to bring about what went dormant.

WILLIAM BRANHAM’S INFLUENCE

Branham has left his mark despite his proven falsehood.  He is revered by the new apostles and is referred to as great by Rodney Browne.  “When the great healing Revival started in 1947 with great men of God”…… along with AA.Allen, Jack Coe, T.L. Osborn and Oral Roberts (“The Coming Revival,” p. 13, by R.H. Browne).  This becomes clear when Browne refers to drinking at Joel’s place, or this is the first drops of rain falling, he is preaching the Latter Rain heresy.  The holy ghost bartender is serving mickeys to those attending.

Paul Cain considers William Branham as the greatest prophet in the 20th century.  This was due not to Branham’s doctrines but to “his gifting in the word of knowledge.”  (Paul Cain, Armstrong in Michael Horton ed. Power Religion, 1992, p.67)

Marilyn Hickey promotes Branham saying “his influence continues today because of his teaching on prosperity and the power of the spoken Word.”  Which shows that she believes he is part of the word faith connection.

Earl Paulk, “I don’t have any doubt in my mind that Oral Roberts is a prophet to the Church to bring us back to the healings.  Many of them Branham and many others – …… I believe there are other apostles and prophets God is raising up.” (Earl Paulk, “Praise The Lord,” TBN, March 4, 1986.)

Oral Roberts visited the Branham team in Kansas City, March 1949.  His picture is next to Young Brown, Jack Moore, William Branham, Gordon Lindsay.  (in “All Things Are Possible” By David Edwin Harrell, Jr.)

Kenneth Hagin identifies Branham as a prophet as do many others, Copeland, Hinn, Browne, Hickey etc.

INTERPRETING THE SCRIPTURE

The Latter Rain doctrines roots are founded in the old heresy of Gnosticism, which teaches that an elite spiritual group possesses the “hidden knowledge” of the spiritual realm.  Today they place their personal spirit revelations, experiences, and new interpretations of Scripture above the plain reading of God’s Word the Church has known and practiced.

The Latter Rain changed how to interpret the Bible.  The hermeneutic principle is that typology and allegory were used to illustrate doctrine.  Instead they took it literally, they would then spiritualized or interpreted literal doctrine into allegories so it no longer meant what it said in its context.

At the First Coming of Jesus the religious leaders of His day rejected him and his claims because they were following extra-biblical teachings (the tradition of the fathers) and did not take the Scriptures of the virgin conception or God coming as man literally.  Today the same thing is happening all over but from a different slant.  There is a movement to turn from the literal interpretation of Scripture and allegorize it or make it symbolic.  Modern Gnostic revelators lead the way in belittling what Jesus commissioned as our lifeline to truth.  Doctrines especially for the last days are changed.  No more Rapture, or the revealing of Antichrist, the Tribulation and the pre-millennial coming of Jesus Christ.  Instead in its place we have only victory and our conquering the earth and ruling until Christ comes.  If you think about it if we can rule and reign who really needs Christ.

Instead of using the principle of hermeneutics for correct interpretation, they allegorize the Scriptures or by personal prophetic revelation as a Gnosis.  Spiritual insights come frequently and lead them into this move of God.  The new wave is Gnostic in their understanding of the person of Jesus Christ, in that they separate Jesus from ‘the Christ’ as a person.  They will not say this outright but it is laced throughout their teachings.  Kenneth Copeland seems to be clear voice on this revelation “Once you start re-translating the word Christ, as anointing you’ll realize how the message of the anointing permeates the entire New Testament.” (K Copeland, Voice of Victory: Vol. 23, No 4, April 1995)

Copeland goes far and wide to prove that the word Christ only means anointing.  So when you come to the word Christ in the Bible correctly retranslated to the anointing.  This means Jesus was a man who was “christed,” which is a early heresy in the church.

A letter in the archives of the Assembly of God written by George Hawtin, says this: “Soon we found that the familiar doctrines previously taught and the subjects studied had a strange sense of being removed from us, as though they had become past truth instead of present truth.”  (Discernment Newsletter)

“The Lord did not say when He went away He was going to leave us a book to lead us into all truth, but that He was going to give us His Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth.  We should be very thankful for the priceless book that He left to us, but He never meant for it to take His place in our life.  When it does, it is being misused … we can elevate the written word above Him and make an idol out of the Scriptures, allowing them to supplant our relationship to Him, and remove the Holy Spirit from the church … ( Rick Joyner, The Morning Star Journal, Vol. 3, No. 3.)

This is a subtle twist of what is meant.  Has God said?  We find that he has spoken.  The Holy Spirit leads us into the truth which Jesus said were the words he spoke.  Jesus is the word that became flesh, that all of God’s wisdom and reason is in Jesus.  Jesus said we are to continue in his word if we love him.  The word is the truth that the Spirit is to lead us into.  The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth since he is the author of the word.  So whatever the Spirit may say today is not going to be different than the word he originally wrote, but agree.  He will not contradict it nor add to it.  Under the inspiration of the Word he has said through the apostle Paul “do not go beyond what is written lest we become puffed up.”  He will not lead us beyond the word but make us wise in it.  This is not what is occurring from these man.  (all one has to do is read Joyner’s book “The Final Quest” and see he has new “prophetic revelations,” many of them which go beyond the word and contradict the written word)

Anyone who asserts on our fellowship is to be based on sound doctrine are labeled as legalists or of the old order.  The new order imposes unscriptural conditions by following them based on their dreams, visions and power displays.  Despite they are contrary to the revealed word already delivered, their teaching ‘authority as apostles and prophets are given equal authority with Scripture, which is not unlike the Roman Catholic Church’s Magisterium.

George Warnock came to live at Sharon Orphanage in 1949.  He had been a secretary to Ern Baxter (an associate of William Branham and later part of the “Fort Lauderdale Five” of Shepherding fame).  In 1951, Warnock wrote a book which in was the evolutionary model of the church as seen by the Latter Rain adherents entitled: “Feast of Tabernacles” a manual for Latter Rain Doctrines & Practices, in which he laid out a specific doctrine for the Latter Rain Movement.  He taught that the Church was about to usher in the completion of God’s feasts through perfection of the saints and their dominion over the earth.  Three great annual feasts of the Lord in Israel’s worship (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles) typify the whole Church Age, beginning with the death of Jesus on the cross, and consummating in “the manifestation of the Sons of God”-the “overcomers” who will become perfected and step into immortality in order to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. (George Warnock, The Feast of Tabernacles pp. 14-20, 1951)

In Warnock’s “The Feast of Tabernacles,” he makes the feasts a pattern for church progression through time.  Starting at Passover, which is Calvary, the church has been passing through the different feasts, over the years, to Pentecost.  Warnock writes that we, the church, still have got to go through the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Trumpets, and come into the Feast of Tabernacles, where “God will finally dwell within His people.”  Three feasts (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles) pre-figure and fulfill in type the whole Church Age, from the death of Jesus on the cross, and consummating in “the manifestation of the Sons of God” – the “overcomers” who will become immortal and establish the Kingdom of God on earth.

Biblically the feasts do show a fulfillment in the Messiah and a prophetic scenario.  There is truth to what he states, however its how he changes the meanings and application that is twisted.  Four of the feasts were fulfilled by Jesus in his first coming within the 50 days from the time of his death to Pentecost just as they were in the Old Testament.  Christ was our unleaven bread (sinless) our Passover lamb (his crucifixion).  The first fruits (in his resurrection) and our Pentecost (sending the Holy Spirit).  What is important is to understand he fulfilled it personally and will do the same for the last three feasts.  The first four feasts correspond to the early rain season all held in spring.  The last three all correspond to the Latter Rain in the fall season.  The difference is Jesus fulfills these as well.  The Feast of Trumpets(the rapture and resurrection), Day of Atonement(the salvation of the Jewish nation – Romans 11), and the Feast of Tabernacles which is his second coming, Christ (God) dwelling with man (not in man which he already is by the Holy Spirit by the new birth).  He fulfills these by bringing his kingdom rule to earth.  Warnock instead applied it to the Church.  There was no Church until the Holy Spirit was sent at Pentecost (although some believe it was after the resurrection when Jesus breathed on the apostles the Holy Spirit).  Either way the Church was not participants in all the feasts.

Trish Trillian points out in banner ministries (Looking beyond Toronto) what doctrines came from the Latter Rain:

•• Replacement theology: The Church is Israel.

•• Rejection of pre-millennial doctrines, of the classic understanding of the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Second Coming and the Millennium.

•• The wicked raptured, (i.e. taken in judgment) not the Church.

•• The dominion mandate – the Body is to “possess the land” and rule on earth BEFORE the return of Christ.

•• New revelation and Secret Doctrines that only the overcomers can understand,

•• “Without spot or wrinkle” – The Church must be purged before Christ can indwell it.  His indwelling will bring about the sinless perfection of the Church.

•• Restoration of the Apostles and Prophets – The vital need of discipling in the Body and submission to Elders (Shepherding) to bring about the perfecting of the saints.

•• Unity of all believers necessary and vital since Jesus cannot incarnate into an undivided Body.

•• Manifestation of the Sons of God which is the fullness and glorification of the Church on the day that “Christ is formed in his people”.  They are a mighty Army of the Lord (Joel’s Army).  This is various described as the Birth of the Manchild – i.e. those in the Body who are perfected by the work of the Apostles, Prophets and Teachers and brought (literally) to ‘the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

I think we can trace the Latter Rain and the anointed class in its embryonic form even before this 1947 outbreak.  If we go back to the teachings of C.T. Russell of the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult who believed that the body of Christ would be become the mighty God corporately, they would be sinless and share in Christ’s rule becoming part of is nature. C.T. Russell was a Mason.

“The Scriptures present that when we gave ourselves to the Lord and He gave us His Holy Spirit, we there passed through a transformation and became embryo spirit beings…’ (Watchtower, 10/15/1913, p. 309)

“The New Creature does not need any imputation of merit, for the New Creature is sinless … The New Creature needs no justification because it does not sin … Would the merit of Jesus be involved in the forgiving of the New Creature’s trespasses?  No!  Jesus has nothing to do with atoning for sin on the part of New Creatures… There is no atonement for New Creatures.” (1916 Convention Report, p. 213) Who needs atonement if you’re sinless.

“that they feel that we are guilty of blasphemy when we speak of being ‘new creatures’- not any longer human, but ‘partakers of the divine nature.’ …it is claiming that we are divine beings-hence all such are Gods.  Thus we have a family of God …. Now we appear like men, and all die naturally like men, but in the resurrection we will rise in our true character as Gods … Then the whole family- head and body are addressed as one, as they will be under Christ, their head, saying: Arise 0 God, judge (rule, bless) the earth: for thou shaft inherit all nations.  The Mighty God, and Everlasting Father of the nations is Christ whose members in particular we are.”  (Watchtower, 10 & 11/1881, p. 10, Reprints, p. 301)

“…… under him as our head constitute the whole body of Christ, the ‘Mighty God’ (El-powerful one) to rule and bless the nations- and the body with the head, shall share in the work of restoring the life lost in Adam, and therefore be members of that company which as a whole will be the Everlasting Father to the restored race.’  (Watchtower, 10 & 11 / 1881, p. 10, Reprints P. 298)

Out of these teachings came the anointed 144,000 mediators that the earthly class must have a right relationship to receive the benefits of the new covenant.

Now lets look at a few quotes from those promoting this transformation that is founded on the Latter Rain teachings:

“And the Church that is raising up the government will be the head and the covering for them . . . There is a ministry after the five-fold called the ministry of perfection – the Melchizedek Priesthood . . . your children will be moving into the ministries of Perfection . . .coming into that Divine Nature of Jesus Christ . . . they themselves will be that generation that’s raised up to put death itself underneath their feet . . . because the Lord Jesus is worthy to be lifted up by a church that has reached the full maturity of the GOD-MAN!” (Bob Jones, Kansas City Fellowship tape from 1988)

Paul Cain tells it like it is.  “I don’t know what the Second Coming means to you, there’s so many different returns of the Lord, or comings of the Lord, I don’t know, we have a cardinal doctrine like that, but let me tell you He’s coming to YOU.  He’s coming to his Church, He is coming to abide in you, to take up his abode in you.”

“I want you to know He’s coming to the church before He comes FOR the church.  He’s gonna perfect the Church so the church can be the Image, and be Him, and be His representation.” (Paul Cain: Nov 88, Tape: “My Father’s House”)

“Before Jesus Himself returns, the last virgin Church shall become pregnant with the promise of God.  Out of her travail, the Body of Christ shall come forth, raised to the full statute of its Head, the Lord Jesus.  Corporately manifested in holiness, power and love, the Bride of Christ shall arise.”  (Francis Frangipane, “In the Presence of God” New Wine Press 1994.  “The Virgin Shall Be With Child” pg. 153-157)

Christ is our Melchizedek priest no one else qualifies, there is only one God/man.  The Church is not the God man collectively, these men are writing their own bible, just as Charles Russell of the Jehovah’s Witnesses was.

OMEGA POINT

It needs to be said that this model is typical of modern spiritual futurists who believe that the collective human race is moving toward its next stage of man’s evolution (transitional leaps) birthing Godhood.  This is called the Omega Point by new agers and those in the latter Rain.  Bob Jones says of PAPA [God], “His Son was a ALPHA SON, your children are the OMEGA sons and daughters.”  (prophecy, Session 7, Vineyard Ministries, 1989) (quoted in Discernment Newsletter) Does this seem odd that a prophet would say the same as the New Agers, none of which is Scriptural.

Catholic Priest turned New Ager Pierre Teilhard de Chardin finished one of his landmark works, “The Phenomena of Man,” which explored his vision of the Omega Point and the evolution of consciousness a cosmic union with God.  “After what will soon be two thousand years, Christ must be born again, he must be reincarnated in a world that has become too different from that in which he lived.  (Christianity and Evolution p. 95)

While many may not use the same term ‘Omega’ they certainly have the same philosophy.  Matthew Fox, “There is a real sense in which the Cosmic Christ is not born yet. Even in Jesus the Cosmic Christ has yet to come to full birth, for those who say they believe in Jesus have scarcely brought forth the Cosmic Christ at all.”  (P.136) “Indeed, the birthing of the Cosmic Christ is the purpose of the incarnation … Divinity wants to birth the Cosmic Christ in each and every individual.” (THE COSMIC CHRIST, P.122)

“This Cosmic Christ will lead the way to a … deep worship; deep ecumenism and interaction among all religions of the planet.  (ibid.p.8) Here is the new wave of the Spirit, the River runs deeper than anyone can be imagined.  It will eventually converge into one big ocean that everyone can drown in.

Barbara Marx Hubbard, “Finally, you start the transition. . . During the transition, millions of members of the body AWAKEN TO THEIR POWER to be natural Christs, full humans in the model of the first person to manifest the next stage in the development of humanity. . .

Ms. Hubbard, states there will come a time when “the divisions of the religions would be over……We would each know that God is within us……If all who feel we are connected to each other, to nature and to God join in a planetary Pentecost, we shall be transformed in this lifetime.  I believe in the peaceful second Coming.”  ( Barbara Marx Hubbard and “The Armageddon Alternative,” p. 49, Brooks Alexander, Vol. 19:2/3, 1995)

To the New Age movement, “any individual or group who denies the divinity of man” … or is to be in opposition to “Christ in you”-the indwelling Christ ……is anti Christ.  We must question this movement and the men involved, since they appear to be saying the very same things only on different terms.

Sources used:

Banner ministries- Tricia Tillin Banner Ministries

Media Spotlight and “Vengeance is Ours” by Al Dager

Discernment Newsletter, Joel’s Army, the New Order of the Latter Rain by Jewel van Der Merwe

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