The Holy Spirit has been in this world from the beginning of creation (Gen 1:1-2).
The Holy Spirit has been in this world from the beginning of creation (Gen 1:1-2). This is the first level of Holy Spirit influence. The Holy Spirit functions in the natural world as well as in the sphere of man. The Spirit does not stop natural or manmade destruction. However, He does determine the level of destruction and the carnage nature or man can cause. In short, the Spirit limits Satan’s power in this world; limiting his power over the natural world and over the human sphere. We see this in the story of Job.
This first level of Holy Spirit influence will not always hold back the degree of natural or manmade destruction. The book of Revelation tells us that someday the “winds” of destruction will be let go upon this earth (Rev 7:1-3). Even the book of Genesis foretold this withdrawing of the Spirit’s general influence in the world (Gen 6:3). In fact, even today this gradual withdrawing of the Holy Spirit’s influence is being seen in the events taking place around the world. This final withdrawing of the Spirit’s influence in the world will take place when the judgment ends (Rev 15:6-8). At that time the world enters the great tribulation described in Revelation chapter 13, the seven last plagues (Rev 16) fall upon the world (without “mixture – without mercy – Rev 14:10), every man and woman are either for or against God (Rev 22:11-12), then Jesus returns in glory.
The second level of Holy Spirit influence is the convicting and converting power of the Spirit that is available to every man, woman and child. It is this level of the Spirit’s power that brings the born again experience (John 3:1-8).
The third level of Holy Spirit influence is what the Bible calls the baptism of the Spirit or infilling of the Spirit. In the Old Testament times this level of Holy Spirit influence was only available to a few individuals who God chose for a specific work such as Moses, Elijah, Elisha, the Old Testament book authors, etc. This limited level of Holy Spirit influence continued until after Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the Father.
Joel foretold that the time would come when this third level of Holy Spirit influence would be available to “all flesh,” meaning being available to every believer and it would take place following the appearance of the “I AM” in Israel (Joel 2:27-29). Jesus also told His disciples of this happening when He said the time was coming when the Spirit would “dwell in them;” not just “with them” (John 14:16-18). The availability of the infilling, baptism of the Spirit for every believer in Jesus took place on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Peter in his sermon on that day pointed to this outpouring of the Spirit as fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (Acts 2:14-20). Every believer should daily ask God to fill them with His Spirit so they can daily experience this third level of Holy Spirit power in their life (Ephesians 5:18).
This third level of Holy Spirit influence called the baptism of the Spirit or infilling of the Spirit is also referred to as the “early rain” of the Spirit (Joel 2:23). However, in this verse in Joel he also refers to a “latter rain” of the Spirit (Joel 2:23). This latter rain of the Spirit is what I call the fourth levelof Holy Spirit influence. Also, by Joel using the term “early rain” to refer to the great outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost he informs us that we must personally experience the early rain, baptism of the Spirit to the fullest if we want to benefit from the latter rain of the Spirit.
This forth level of Holy Spirit influence or latter rain of the Spirit will become available at the very end of time to God’s people who have grown fully into Christ under the early rain power of the Spirit (Acts 3:19-20) as God’s last warning message to the world is given in the greatest power described in Revelation chapter fourteen. This chapter describes the latter rain empowered people who give the message (Rev 14:1-5, 12), God’s last warning message they give (Rev 14:6-11), and Christ glorious return (Rev 14:14-20). This fourth level of Holy Spirit power is necessary for God’s people to not only give God’s last warning message in the Spirit and power of Elijah; it is also necessary for God’s people to experience in order to victoriously make it through Satan’s final attacks just prior to and during the tribulation, and be ready for Christ second coming (1John 3:2-3).