There is a rainy season in Israel. The rains begin in October and gradually become heavier throughout winter until they diminish around March/April. The first rain of the season is called the Yoreh, or early rain. This rain softens the soil and signals the time for farmers to plough their land. Rain continues to fall throughout the winter months. This rain is essential for the farmers to grow their precious crops. The last rains are in spring, and are called the Malkosh. These latter rains of the rainy season ripen the crops. The summer months are dry.
James 5:7 says “Be patient, therefore, beloved until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.” The early and latter rains symbolize spiritual blessings from above which help nourish and soften our hearts so that we may grow in Christ. Spiritual blessings include the gift of the Holy Spirit and the truth of scriptures. The early rains began when our Lord and the apostles went out to preach the gospel to the world. Theses truths were like blessed rain pouring down upon the dry land (parched without God’s truth). We are now in the days of the latter rains (a time of a great increase of knowledge respecting the Bible and Bible prophecies). God is waiting for the “the precious crop (the wheat)” or for the church to be complete.
The previous scriptures in chapter 5 talk about the corruption and sinfulness of the world. Specifically, James describes those that have lived selfishly and in luxury. He states that they have kept back wealth from others and that they have “condemned and murdered the righteous one.”
James is encouraging those following Christ to not live selfishly, but instead live for Christ. He does not want them to be impatient with the corruption of the world, but rather endure and wait patiently while Christ grows his church and the hearts of his followers mature in love and faith. Just as the farmer patiently waits for the rain to grow his crops, so must we patiently wait for Christ to grow his group of followers until the number is complete. In order for Christian hearts to mature, we need the Holy Spirit and truth of the scriptures to help us grow. These rains will water our hearts and minds so that we will grow and be fruitful in Christ. Remember, a better day is coming. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5