The Forerunner of God's Latter Rain

by John G. Lake
August, 1908

A General Letter to the Christian Public Pentecost in South Africa

Beloved in Jesus everywhere! In order that the Christian public may be aware of what God is doing in our midst, we have decided to issue this newsletter to inform our friends everywhere of the marvelous way in which God is working, not alone in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Krugersdorp, and other centers, but in many places throughout the entire land, where the Holy Ghost is being poured out upon the people.

On May fourteenth, a party of Holy Ghost-baptized missionaries arrived from America in Johannesburg and at once commenced to conduct meetings in this city, the principal place of meeting being the old Presbyterian Church at the corner of Bree and Von Wieligh Streets. Right from the commencement of these services, the power of God has been greatly manifested in the salvation of sinners of all classes, many of whom have been sanctified and baptized with the Holy Ghost and have spoken in various kinds of tongues as on the day of Pentecost. (See 1 Corinthians 12 and Acts 2.) Also, there have been many cases of miraculous healing of all manner of diseases. Preachers and laymen, young men and young women, old men and old women have alike received from God the baptism of the Holy Ghost and are speaking in tongues and praising God with a new joy and power formerly unknown to them. The universal testimony of those receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost has been, and is, that God has worked with them, and is working with them, in the salvation and sanctification and healing of others in a degree never before known in their lives. The testimony of one Dutch Christian worker illustrates this point. He says:

I have been a preacher of the gospel for years. Up to the time that I commenced to attend these meetings, I had never been able to lay my hand definitely upon anyone that I was really sure had been converted and saved under my ministry, but since I have found Jesus as my Sanctifier, and since I have received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and since God has commenced to speak through me in tongues, I have entered into such a nearness with God that now my ministry is all changed. At almost every meeting, persons are either saved, sanctified, or baptized with the Holy Ghost.

This work of God that is being made manifest in our midst is only that which is being manifested at the present time throughout the whole world. In every land, this same outpouring of the Spirit of God upon all flesh is occurring. We believe it to be the scriptural “latter rain” as promised by the Lord. (See Joel 2:23–29 and Acts 2:17–21.)

This outpouring of the Spirit of God is manifesting God’s preparation of the world for the soon appearing of Jesus Christ in His second coming. (See James 5:7–8.)

Almost universally, the first words of the first message that the Lord gives to the newly baptized soul, either in tongues or their native language, is, “Repent. Jesus is coming. The time is at hand. Get ready!”

This outpouring of the Spirit is not confined to any group or church or sect. In Johannesburg, we see persons of every denomination and of every religious creed alike seeking God for a real and definite work of grace in their souls, receiving from Him the baptism of the Holy Ghost, for “The same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost” (John 1:33; see also Acts 10:44–48).

We find that, in the lives of these baptized children of God, the signs of a real gospel ministry follow, as promised by Jesus in Mark 16:14–20.

We are only telling of things that our eyes have witnessed and our ears heard. The most wonderful messages for the Lord, by the Holy Ghost, have been given through many in our midst. It is not uncommon at any public service for the Holy Ghost to use individuals for messages in tongues, the interpretation invariably following, as occurred in the early church of the first century. (See 1 Corinthians 14.)

It is the intent and purpose of this committee, which is composed of only earnest Christian workers and is entirely nondenominational in its character, to publish a paper (both in Dutch and English) so that the people of South Africa and the world may have the opportunity of knowing for themselves these wonderful workings of God in these latter days; that they, as well as we, may join in prayer to God that a mighty outpouring of His Spirit upon this land may come and that the tide of sin and iniquity which has so swept and cursed this land shall be turned back and a reign of righteousness be manifestly established and that all people and all nations shall get down low at the feet of Christ our King, that God may bless and prepare each and all for the appearing of our Lord. (See John 14:1–3.)

The operations of the Spirit of God are easily identified. (See John 14:12–17, 26 and John 16:7–14.)

These Apostolic Faith missionaries who are now in our midst—Brother and Sister Thomas Hezmalhalch, Brother and Sister John G. Lake, Brother Jacob O. Lehman, and Sister Ida P. Sackett—are humble men and women who unquestionably have been sent of God to South Africa at this time with this message. They represent no organization, and their ministry is to the people. There is no board behind them. As in all Holy Ghost work throughout the earth, they trust God and God alone for their support. No charges of any kind are made for religious services, prayers for the sick, or otherwise. No salaries are received, each individual relying solely on God for his or her maintenance, as the apostles did in the early days. (See Luke 9:1–6.)

Marvelous testimonies of miraculous healing are invariably heard at the meetings. These meetings are simply evangelical services where the Spirit of God controls—God in many cases using boys and girls as well as older persons to deliver messages and pray with the sick.

Amongst those who have been baptized with the Holy Ghost are Dutch and English, Jews and Gentiles, black and white, and at a recent meeting a Chinese missionary from Canton, who is ministering amongst the Chinese here, received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues. That the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ is at hand we who have watched the progress of this work verily believe. In all these messages spoken by the Holy Ghost, no times or dates are given, but in every message comes the universal warning: “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44).

Our purpose in writing this letter is that the people may know what God is doing. We contract no debts of any character, but obey the command of the Lord: “Owe no man any thing” (Romans 13:8). Consequently, when funds are needed, we ask God in prayer to send such funds as are necessary. And we ask every Christian man and woman to join us in prayer to the end that God will provide the means with which to publish a paper in both Dutch and English, which will be known as “God’s Latter Rain,” in order that the testimonies of those who have been saved, sanctified, and baptized with the Holy Ghost—and others who have been miraculously healed by the Lord, and so forth—may be published, that all may know and become partakers in these latter-day blessings.

This is God’s evangelization movement. It is not controlled by man or the government of man, and it is no organization of man’s promoting. It is the Spirit of God being poured out upon the people. Instances are known where the Spirit of God has fallen upon families in South Africa, where no preacher or teacher has been—God alone, in answer to prayer, baptizing these children of God with the Holy Ghost, filling and thrilling their souls with the joys and powers of the world to come. (See Hebrews 6:1–6.)

The hymn printed below was given to Brother Thomas Hezmalhalch by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Is Coming
Words by T. Hezmalhalch
Music by F. A. Graves
© 1907 by Thos. Hezmalhalch

Verse 1:
Jesus is coming! Yes, coming for me!
Jesus is coming! His glory I’ll see.
The clouds are His chariots; the angels His guard.
Jesus is coming! How plain are His words.

Coming again, coming again,
Jesus is coming, is coming to reign.
The clouds are His chariots,
The angels His guard.
Jesus is coming,
How precious His Word.

Verse 2:
Jesus is coming! O glory divine!
Jesus is coming! The Lord who is mine;
Yes, coming in triumph with shout and with song;
Jesus is coming! The time is not long.

Verse 3:
Jesus is coming! He’s not far away!
Jesus is coming! We’ll care not to stay;
The clouds as our chariots; the angels our guard;
Jesus is coming! This truth is His Word.

Verse 4:
Jesus is coming! The just shall arise!
Jesus, whose coming we’ll greet in the skies;
The world will not see us. With Jesus we’ve gone,
Singing forever the glad chorus song.

Verse 5:
Jesus is coming! Yes, all then shall know!
Jesus, whose coming has conquered our foe;
In victory we’ll meet Him; in triumph we’ll rise!
Jesus has come! We will shout in the skies.

Verse 6:
Jesus is coming! O saints, do rejoice!
Jesus is coming! So lift up your voice;
The clouds are His chariots; the angels His guard.
Sing of His coming and tell of His Word.

Verse 7:
Jesus is coming! Let anthems arise!
Jesus is coming! Our God’s loving prize;
The world’s great Redeemer, the Savior of men,
Jesus has conquered! He’s coming to reign.