Today I have the pleasure of reviewing The Latter Rain, by James Conis.
From the product description at Amazon.com:
The Latter Rain explores the symbols and types of the Book of Isaiah, creating a framework that can then be applied to other books of the Bible, helping the reader perceive meaning that was once obscured in symbolism. One such symbolic type is that of rain. While this type is not exclusive to Isaiah, it is used by Isaiah to symbolize the communication from God to man. In Deuteronomy, the Lord himself explains this concept:
1 GIVE ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:
3 Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.
The term, Latter Rain, therefore means a period of time in the last days when the Lord will again pour out his spirit upon his children on the earth, thus leading them to truth and understanding.
This book clarifies these and other concepts pertaining to the last days. Through a methodical analysis of various books contained in the Bible, the reader is able to view the attributes and characteristics of God's communications to his prophets and disciples in ancient times, and to use these observations to predict what one should expect to occur in the period of the Latter Rain.
Castle Mountain Press is proud to introduce the book The Latter Rain. Although many books have been written about the prophecies of Isaiah, this book not only correctly identifies the symbols and types found in Isaiah, but uses this new information to make sense of the rest of the Bible. The reader of The Latter Rain, whether familiar with the scriptures or not, comes away from the experience with a completely new perspective on what the ancient prophets are saying about our day and age.
Here are my impressions about The Latter Rain:
From the Amazon description and the back cover copy, I expected this to be somewhat of an academic approach to the book of Isaiah. Upon reading the preface, I realized that this was not going to be the case. That was somewhat disappointing, as I really enjoy reading such books.
No matter. After reading the preface, it became clear that this book is Mr. Conis' own interpretation of the Bible. That's fine. We're all entitled to our opinions and interpretations of scripture. I was curious as to how well Mr. Conis would handle the task.
As it turns out, pretty well. I particularly liked his analysis of the stories of Joseph and Moses and how he tied them back to the New Testament. This alone is reason to read the book.
There were a few areas in which I think the book could have been improved. One thing that jumped out at me from the moment I opened the book is the word density on the page. The font is fairly small and compact, with small margins. My impression was that the publisher was trying to fit as much information as possible onto a page in order to get the page count down. This made it more difficult for me to read.
The book could also have been a bit more concise. There were times, particularly in the beginning, where it felt like there was a lot of repetition. I understand and appreciate the need to be thorough. Maybe I'm just a fast study and get it quicker than most. Once I grasped what Mr. Conis was saying, I was ready to move on. Often, I would be ready to go to a new topic before he was, so I found myself skipping over the scripture verses in order to get to the next point more quickly. Once I made it past the chapter on Ezekiel, however, things were moving on in a pace much more to my liking.
Overall, this book raises some interesting questions. It made me think, which is something I look for in non-fiction. Mr. Conis' positions are well thought out and easy to follow. I found myself pausing from time to time and thinking, "Hmm. That's an interpretation I've never heard before. It makes a lot of sense." Or, "Hmm. I think he's stretching just a little here. I don't think that interpretation is quite accurate. Still, if I just toss it out, the rest of it works pretty well."
To sum it up, there are some gems in The Latter Rain. You may have to do some skimming at times or set aside some of what you unearth, but when all is said and done, you'll have a nice, little stash. While not the most compelling book I've ever read, it is a worthwhile read, as it does a fairly good job of being the type of book it aspires to be.
You may purchase The Latter Rain through Amazon.