What is the spiritual significance of the "early and latter rain" mentioned in

James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.( AKJV )


What does "early and latter rain" practically mean in the life of a beleiver?

What is the "precious fruit" refered to here related to the beleiver ?

Does this have any relation to "hope" and "promises" in

Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

If yes then what is the hope and what are the promises ?

1 Answer 1


In commenting on James 5:7, Ellicott reminds us:

The early and latter rain.—It is, perhaps, just as well to recollect there were only two seasons of rainfall in the Holy Land, and, if long delayed, famine was a certain result. … The “early rain” fell during the autumn sowing—in October, November, and December; “the latter” in March and April.

Some versions translate these "early" and "latter" rains as "autumn" and "spring" rains respectively, eg, NIV and BSB, etc.

As to the significance of this agrarian simile, there is much debate, especially among some of the extreme Christian groups which I will avoid here. The simplest, most obvious explanation is that provided by Barnes who comments:

Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth - The farmer waits patiently for the grain to grow. It requires time to mature the crop, and he does not become impatient. The idea seems to be, that we should wait for things to develop themselves in their proper season, and should not be impatient before that season arrives. In due time we may expect the harvest to be ripened. We cannot hasten it. We cannot control the rain, the sun, the season; and the farmer therefore patiently waits until in the regular course of events he has a harvest. So we cannot control and hasten the events which are in God's own keeping; and we should patiently wait for the developments of his will, and the arrangements of his providence, by which we may obtain what we desire.

This idea of patience is suggested in the verse of James 5:7, itself, "Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming." In fact, the NLT makes this more explicit: "Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen."

The "precious fruit" may well be an allusion to Gal 5:22, 23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." It might also include the mysterious workings of God sovereign providence in the affairs of men to finally resolve the problem of sin at His return, or "His coming" as James 5:7 says.

(I cannot see an immediate connection with Heb 6:11, except for the incidental use of the word "patient".)

  • 1
    I think also of the "harvest of righteousness" laced throughout Phillipians 1, James 3:18, and especially Hebrews 12:11 where the 'dry season' of difficulty must be endured in faith until that latter rain perfects the harvest. Feb 14, 2020 at 21:31
  • 1
    Good comment. Many thanks
    – Dottard
    Feb 15, 2020 at 3:23

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