Harvest time is a time when all the hard work a farmer does is brought to fruition. It' a time when all the sowing, tilling, watering, ploughing, dealing with pest all comes to an end and the fruit of ones labor can be gathered together. harvest time is one that is important both in the Old testament as well as New Testament Prophecy.
I cover this issue today because I think it meet that we understand one of the key why's of the delay in our Lord's coming. People are in such a hurry but God is not. God's plan is not man's plan. God has a purpose for his delaying Christ's coming. If Christ had returned in the first century, then there would have been far, FAR fewer saints in heaven.
If Christ had come in the first century then you and I would never have been, nor would we have the opportunity to become sons of God. If Christ had come in the first century - most of the prophecies in the OT would have been false for many, many things had to happen before Christ could come, though the early saints probably did not look at these things believing that Christ's return is right around the corner. Think of Revelation 11:9. The whole world shall see the dead bodies of God's two witnesses. How could that have happened in the first century? Today it is possible with the advent of TV, the internet, cellphones and tablets and now 'wearables'. Daniel told us that travel and knowledge would increase. Both increased exponentially beginning in the early 20th century. Such things could not be said about the world even in the mid 1800's. Men still sailed in ships powered by wind, and got from point A to point B by horseback.
God wants a bountiful harvest. He wants lots of souls in heaven and has part of the reason for his delay is to get that bountiful harvest.
But God's harvest demands that the fruit be ready to be harvested and in the proper amount before the sickle is laid to the crop. The crop was just being laid into the ground back in the first century. But through the ages Christianity has grown so that today, millions call themselves Christian. This result is from a very small sect - 'cult' as the Romans saw Christians - that had a small band of seemingly ragtag men and women who heard the words of the savior and literally changed the world.
God has a harvest. It's a spiritual harvest but a harvest nonetheless. This is a harvest that has those souls who are to be saved and those who are to be dammed. Like a farmer, he has to wait for all the crops to grow and the Lord, as we all know, he has a specific number of martyrs who will give up their lives for their faith (Rev 6:11).
The idea of the harvest is one firmly rooted in the Bible and one that we should on some level familiarize ourselves with. Christ talked about a harvest and even gave parables about it.Another parable put he forth unto them, saying,
The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Here the Lord is describing one of the problems with farming. That being weeds. Even in this giant human farm known as earth and the parcels of land that the Lord has dedicated to himself (the Church), there will be weeds. But the Lord's solution was to make sure that as many as possible would get in and decided to let the weeds grow with the wheat. He would separate them one from another at harvest time (the end of the age). So the Lord had a farming strategy. The basic one was to save as many souls as possible (get the biggest harvest) and take a few risks with weeds to ensure that everyone has a chance at Salvation.There is a major harvest in the last days.
And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
When the Harvest of the earth is ready, the Lord will thrust in his sharp sickle and reap the harvest of the world.
What is this harvest? There appears to be two of them.
First It is the final result of the seeds that have been planted since the days of Pentecost. The harvest of those who have come to know Christ and remained faithful to him. The Son of man sits on a cloud and when the time is right, he reaps the harvest of the world.
Second it is the harvest of wrath – those who follow after and persist in the works of darkness – they belong to a second harvest, the harvest of wrath. We have all heard the expression the grapes of wrath, well this is where it comes from. Note that the second reaper this angel has the power over fire. Fire burns. What happens to the tares at the end of the a age?
So again, we have two harvests here and each are important in that I think they demonstrate the culmination of God's two track plan for the unique problem that man presented him with. Two track plan with one end in mind – get as many saved souls in heaven (fruit in the barn) as his righteousness and his sovereign plan allow.
Some commentators only see the harvest of judgment here and the fact that two separate angels who ave different powers does not signify. I think it does as the Son of Man on a cloud with a crown is very much an image of Christ for the first group does signify.
What the harvest of God represents in my view is first and very important part of the culmination of God's plan for both classes of people, the saved and the lost.
But one thing that most of us often forget, yours truly included, is how the Biblical prophecies tend to line up perfectly with the feasts of the Old Testament. One dear reader of mine a couple of months ago reminded me of this fact in one of her personal letters.
Many have found that if you look at the New Testament and the first coming of Christ, we see the spring feasts symbolized. If we look at the fall feasts (harvest time) we see the second coming of Christ.
The Passover/Unleavened Bread
This was fulfilled on the cross and the last supper
The feast of the First Fruits
This was fulfilled when Christ rose from the dead (1 Cor 15:23). But this feast also seem to bridge the gap between advents as we find that the firstfruits of the harvest are found just before the trumpets sound in Revelation
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
The feast of weeks was fulfilled at Pentecost as this was the first harvest of believers. It was on that day that 3000 came to Christ and the Lord began to add numbers to them. (Acts 2:41ff)
Yet it is the fall feasts are the ones that line up with the second advent of Christ. We will deal with the Feast of Trumpets first.
This begins in Revelation Chapter eight verse six forward.
And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.This feast (of Trumpets) is again found in this prophetic episode. This feast is also known as the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah). Rosh Hashanah precedes the day of Atonement (payment for sins) by 10 days. This process is part of redemptive symbolism and each succeeding day is to be started by the sound of a trumpet. You can read a little more about it here.
Here is a graphical representation of the seven feasts of Israel.
Source: End Time Pilgrim
He that has an ear, let him hear -
So this idea of a harvest has a clear connection to both the Jewish Law as well as to the techniques of basic farming when someone wants to grow a crop. God's wants to grow a crop of righteous souls who love and honor him in spirit and in truth. Those who are not afraid, who have courage and faith and will go the distance with Jesus, even if it costs them their lives – and for many who are living today our faith will indeed cost us our lives.
This harvest of souls is of great importance to us in our times for I think the fruit is almost ripe to be harvested.
We must prepare our hearts and souls for the trials that the world shall undergo before the Lord redeems us. But I note some other things here in Revelation chapter 14. It's a busy chapter because several things happen
The firstfriuts are redeemed
A great angel with the eternal gospel preaches to the whole world
Men are warned in the most sever fashion not to take the mark of the beast.
A word of encouragement is given to those who die in the Lord (after Babylon's fall and the institution of the Mark)
The Trumpet judgment begin to sound and the earth is harvested
God's wrath is manifest in the great winepress.
In this we see the divine order of judgment on the ear and we get a good sense as to where we believers in these times shall stand. We have our orders and must do as our Lord bids. This is the only way to get into the kingdom of heaven and be fruitful in a way that pleases God.