As we are entering the Fall Festival season, the time of the “latter rain” as mentioned in the Scriptures. The former and latter rain clearly are an allegory for YHWH’s favor toward Israel.
Crack open your Scriptures and lexicons as we explore these passages together. In ancient Israel (and in Israel today) there were two growing seasons, one in the Fall and one in the Spring. This resulted in two clusters of Harvest Festivals, commonly called the “Fall Feasts” and the “Spring Feasts”. In Scripture these two growing seasons are called the former (YOREH Strong’s 3138) and latter (MILKOSH Strong’s 4456) rain (since the growing seasons are tied to the two rainy seasons). Thus we read in the Torah:
11 But the land, where you go over to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinks
water as the rain of heaven comes down.
12 A land which YHWH your Elohim cares for. The eyes of YHWH your Elohim are
always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.
13 And it shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently unto My commandments
which I command you this day, to love YHWH your Elohim, and to serve Him with all
your heart and with all your soul,
14 That I will give the rain of your land in its season--the former rain and the latter rain--
that you may gather in your grain, and your wine, and your oil.
(Deut. 11:11-14 HRV)
23 But this people has a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted, and gone.
24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear YHWH our Elohim, that gives the
former rain and the latter in due season; that keeps for us the appointed weeks of the
25 Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good
(Jer. 5:24 HRV)
Hosea clearly takes this terminology into a prophetic, symbolic way. The context here is the hiding of the Face of YHWH for two days, followed by a resurrection on the third day! The context has to do with the Ten Tribes becoming “Lost” (i.e. “not My people”) and then returning in the last days:
1 Come, and let us return unto YHWH: for He has torn, and He will heal us; He has
smitten, and He will bind us up.
2 After two days will He revive us; on the third day, He will raise us up, that we may
live in His presence.
3 And let us know--eagerly strive to know YHWH. His going forth is sure as the
morning, and He shall come unto us as the rain--as the latter rain that waters the earth.
(Hosea 6:1-3 HRV)
Thus we see a parallel between the former and latter rain, the two comings of Messiah and the two Houses of Israel.
Later Hosea urges the Lost Ten Tribes to repent and return and again uses the imagery of “rain”. But now we see that He will “rain” “righteousness” upon them:
12 Sow to yourselves according to righteousness; reap according to mercy. Break up
your fallow ground, for it is time to seek YHWH: till He come and cause righteousness to
rain upon you.
(Hosea 10:12 HRV)
The first Nazarene Nasi, Ya’akov HaTzadik (James the Just) saw in this passage an allegorical reference to the two comings of Messiah, the first coming to die and be resurrected on the third day.
Ya’akov ties this in with the martyrdom of the “righteous [one]” (the “Just” (same word in Hebrew), the Son of Elohim in Wisdom of Solomon:
 Let us oppress the poor righteous man, let us not spare the widow, nor reverence the ancient gray hairs of the aged.
 Let our strength be the law of justice: for that which is feeble is found to be nothing worth.
 Therefore let us lie in wait for the righteous; because he is not for our turn, and he is clean contrary to our doings: he upbraideth us with our offending the law, and objecteth to our infamy the transgressings of our education.
 He professeth to have the knowledge of Elohim: and he calleth himself the child of the Lord.
 He was made to reprove our thoughts.
 He is grievous unto us even to behold: for his life is not like other men's, his ways are of another fashion.
 We are esteemed of him as counterfeits: he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness: he pronounceth the end of the just to be blessed, and maketh his boast that Elohim is his Father.
 Let us see if his words be true: and let us prove what shall happen in the end of him.
 For if the just man be the Son of Elohim, he will help him, and deliver him from the hand of his enemies.
 Let us examine him with despitefulness and torture, that we may know his meekness, and prove his patience.
 Let us condemn him with a shameful death: for by his own saying he shall be respected.
(Wisdom 2:10-20 KJV)
Ya’akov brings Hosea 6:1-3; 10:12 and Wisdom 2:10-20 together writing:
6 You have condemned and killed the just, and he did not stand against you.
7 But, my brothers, be patient until the coming of YHWH: as the husbandman who
waits for the precious fruit of his ground, and is patient for them until he receives the
early and latter rain.
8 Thus also be patient and establish your hearts: for the coming of our Adon draws nigh.
(Ya’akov (James) 5:6-8 HRV)
But the language Hosea uses introduces us to the most amazing passage on this topic, Joel 2:23. The context here is the ultimate restoration of Israel in the last days, and here YHWH will send the “latter rain”:
22 Be not afraid, you beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for
the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.
23 Be glad then, you children of Tziyon, and rejoice in YHWH your Elohim: for He
gives you the former rain in just measure. And He causes to come down for you, the rain:
the former rain, and the latter rain, at the first.
(Joel 2:22-23 HRV)
The phrase “the former rain in just measure” could also be translated from the Hebrew “Teacher for Righteousness”! In other words the Hebrew could also be read:
23 Be glad then, you children of Tziyon, and rejoice in YHWH your Elohim: for He
gives you the Teacher for Righeousness. And He causes to come down for you, the rain:
the former rain, and the latter rain, at the first.
No doubt the ancient Essenes wrongly identified their founder with these passages, thus calling him simply “The Teacher of Righteousness”. Messiah was the true “Teacher for Righteousness” which was prophesied to come twice, like the former and latter rains.
Now lets look at a passage from Zechariah:
1 Ask you of YHWH rain, in the time of the latter rain; even of YHWH that makes
lightnings. And He will give them showers of rain; to every one, grass in the field.
(Zech. 10:1 HRV)
Here we are told that at the time of the Feasts we are to ask YHWH for the “rain”. We are to ask and look for the return of the Messiah at the time of the Feasts!
This brings up to Psalm 81, which speaks about the Feast of Trumpets (a latter rain feast)
2 (81:1) Sing aloud unto Elohim our strength; shout unto the Elohim of Ya’akov.
3 (81:2) Take up the melody, and sound the timbrel; the sweet harp with the psaltery.
4 (81:3) Blow the horn at the new moon; at the full moon for our feast-day.
5 (81:4) For it is a statute for Yisra’el; an ordinance of the Elohim of Ya’akov.
6 (81:5) He appointed it in Yosef for a testimony, when He went forth against the land of
Egypt. The speech of one that I knew not, did I hear:
(Ps. 81:2-6(1-5) HRV)
Notice that he appointed the Feast of Trumpets “in Yosef for a testimony. Now Psalms 80 and 81 go together with their common theme of Yosef (Ps. 80:2(1) and 81:6(5). We are to ask for the return of Messiah because this feast it is a “testimony of Yosef”
Yosef we are told is a vine (Ps. 80:8) which sent out her branches over the sea (Ps. 80:11). This is a reference back to Torah which says:
22 Yosef is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine by a fountain; its branches run over the wall.
23 The archers have dealt bitterly with him, and shot at him, and hated him,
24 But his bow abode firm. And the arms of his hands were made supple by the hands of
the Mighty One of Ya’akov; from there, from the Shepherd--the Stone of Yisra’el.
25 Even by the El of your father who shall help you, and by Shaddai, who shall bless
you with blessings of heaven above: blessings of the deep that couches beneath; blessings
of the breasts, and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father are mighty, beyond the blessings of my progenitors unto
the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be They shall be on the head of Yosef, and on the crown of the head of the prince, among his brothers.
(Gen. 49:22-26 HRV))
Now just a few verses above this we read:
9 Y’hudah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, you are gone up. He stooped down,
he couched as a lion, and as a lioness: who shall rouse him up?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Y’hudah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until Shiloh comes. And unto him, shall the obedience of the peoples be.
11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine, he washes his
garments in wine, and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
(Gen. 49:9-12 HRV)
Note the fact that the figure called Shiloh binds his foal upon a vine, clearly the vine is Yosef mentioned just a few verses later that grows over the wall (Gen. 49:22) or as we read in Psalm 80:8, 11, the “sea”.
Notice that we have the two primary tribes of the two Houses of Israel here, representing the two comings of Messiah.
Now the Zohar brings these passages together:
Binding his foal unto the vine. (Deut. 49:11)
The vine is the community of Israel, so called also in the verse:
“You did remove a vine from Egypt” (Ps. 80:9).
By “his foal” is meant the Messiah, …
Hence it is written of him that he will be
“poor and riding on an ass and on
a young ass’s colt” (Zech. 9:9)
“Colt” and “ass” are two crowns by virtue of which the
Gentiles have dominion….
he rides upon an ass and upon a colt, to overthrow
the strength of the Gentiles…
The Zohar draw this together with Zechariah 9:9 the prophecy fulfilled by Yeshua in Matthew as follows:
1 And when they came near to Yerushalayim, and had come to Beit Pagey, to the mount
of Olives, then sent Yeshua two talmidim,
2 And said to them: Go to the enclosure which is before you. And right away you will
find there an ass tied, and a foal by her side: loose and bring [them] to Me.
3 And if any man say anything to you, you will say that, My Master596 has need of them:
and immediately he will let them go.
4 And this was to establish what was spoken by the prophet, who said,
5 Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold your king comes to you: poor, and riding
upon an ass--even upon a foal, the offspring of an ass.597
6 And the talmidim went, and did as Yeshua commanded them:
7 And brought the ass, and the foal, and they put upon them their garments, and mounted
(Matt. 21:1-7 HRV)
The early “Church Father” Justin Martyr recounts this story with some added detail. Since Justin Martyr elsewhere recounts a story with added detail drawn from the Goodnews according to the Hebrews (but without citing that Gospel) (see notes to Mt. 3:16 for example) it has been proposed that the following citation may also have drawn details from the Goodnews according to the Hebrews:
The prophecy, “binding his foal to the vine, and washing his
robe in the blood of the grape” (Gen. 49:11), was a significant
symbol of the things that were to happen to Messiah, and what
he was to do. For the foal of an ass stood bound to a vine at
the entrance of a village, and he ordered his acquaintances to
bring it to him then; and when it was brought, he mounted and
sat upon it, and entered Jerusalem.
(Justin Martyr; Apol. 32)
While the canonical Gospels do not cite Gen. 49:11 in this story, it is interesting to note that the Zohar also ties Gen. 49:11 to Zech. 9:9 citing both as Messianic prophecies (Zohar 1:238 cited again below).
Zech. 9:9 is also cited as a Messianic prophecy in the Talmud:
R. Alexandri said: Rabbi Joshua opposed two verses:
Is is written: And behold, one like the son of man
came with the clouds of heaven. (Dan. 7:13)
Whilst it is written: [behold, your king comes to you...]
lowely, and riding upon an ass! (Zech. 9:9)
Here we also have represented the two comings of Messiah, as they parallel the Rabbinic Two Messiah Theory.
Who is this “Shiloh” that comes in parallel to the former rain?
This Gemara also asks “What is Messiah’s name?” Rabbi Shila offers the answer: “His name is Shiloh, for it is written, ‘until Shiloh comes.” (b.San. 98b)
This Gemara is citing Genesis 49:10:
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the staff from between his feet,
until Shiloh comes;
and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
The Targums (Onkelos, Pseudo-Jonathan and Yerushalmi) all have “until Messiah comes” in place of “until Shiloh comes”.
The word “Shiloh” has a gematria (numerical value) of 345 which is the same as the value of “HaShem” (“the name”) and El Shaddai. The phrase “Shiloh comes” has a gematria of 358 which is the same as the gematria for “Messiah and “Moses” (because the Messiah is “the prophet like Moses” (Deut. 18:18). This is because “the name” of Messiah is imbedded in the phrase “until Shiloh comes.”
The Zohar says of Gen. 49:10:
…”the scepter” referring to the Messiah of the House of Judah,
and “the staff” to the Messiah of the House of Joseph.
“Until Shiloh comes”, this is Moses, the gematria of Shiloh
and Moses being the same .
The word Shiloh, here, is spelt with both a yod and a he,
to allude to the holy supernal name, Yah,
by which the Shekinah shall rise…
Thus the Zohar teaches us that in Genesis 49:10 we have the two Messiahs (or the two comings of Messiah) represented as a “scepter” and a “staff” which are one “Shiloh” and that the one “Shiloh” has Yah within him.
Now if we look at the Hebrew of the phrase “…Shiloh comes and…” (in the Hebrew it is literally “…comes Shiloh and…”) the first letter from each word in the Hebrew spells “Yeshu” which is the Aramaic and Galilean pronunciation of “Yeshua” (later Rabbis lampooned this fact by making another acronym from YESHU meaning “may his name be blotted out forever”).
You may notice a parallel between the “scepter” and “staff” of the two Messiah’s and the “two sticks” of the two houses of Israel in Ezekiel 37.
There is a clear parallel between the two Houses of Israel and the two comings of Messiah (as reflected in the “Two Messiah Theory”). And this is why Psalm 80 tells us that the Feast of Trumpets is a testimony to Yosef and why we are told at this time to ask for the return of the Messiah, our promised Teacher for Righteousness.
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