In many places in the Bible, God’s prophets use the symbol “rain” to mean “revelation” as received by living prophets (see Isa. 55:10-11; Deu. 32:1-2; and Amos 8:11-12). In fact, in several places we are told to wait patiently for both the “former” and the “latter rain” (Joel 2:21-24, Hosea 6:3). Using the symbols and types found in the Book of Isaiah, a hidden message in the Bible is uncovered: There was a “Former Rain” period followed by a Great Spiritual Drought, and in the last days, the Lord will send “The Latter Rain” by again calling prophets to receive his revelations and teachings.
During the former rain period prophets were available on the earth and the rain of revelation was falling from Heaven to bless the children of God. However, it is prophesied in the Bible that due to wickedness and transgression on the part of Israel, the rain of revelation will cease, and mankind will enter a horrific period when the prophets are removed, and guidance and correction from prophets is no longer available. Finally, in mercy, the Lord indicates through his Bible prophets that in the latter days, he will again send the rain of revelation to his children by restoring his Church and Kingdom, and by calling new prophets to lead his people in righteousness.
The period of time from Adam, the earth’s first prophet, to Jesus and the ancient Apostles would be known as the period of the Former Rain. After the ancient Apostles were martyred, mankind entered the dark ages of the Great Spiritual Drought (Amos 8:11-12). Through the symbolic message of Isaiah and other ancient prophets, we learn that a Latter Rain is predicted, which will stave off the Spiritual Drought and bless the earth once more with prophets to guide and clarify doctrine.
Joseph Smith’s first vision in the sacred grove in Palmyra, New York, not only led to the restoration of the priesthood and the Church of Jesus Christ, but it also ushered in the great period of the Latter Rain. Hence, the sacred rain of revelation is again falling to water the earth with inspiration and guidance from above through his servants the prophets.