True Sayings Series
The Time of Harvest, Part 4
By C. Eldon McNabb
There are two ends of the world even as in Moses' day there were two ends of the Mercy Seat. As Paul said, "All these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Cor. 10:11. Yes, there are two periods of Barley Harvest, for there were two wave loaves of the firstfruits. The wave sheaf itself prophesied of the resurrection which occurred after our Lord arose. They were the firstfruits of the resurrection.
The high priest offered a sheaf of the firstfruits to God at that time every year. It was therefore necessary that Jesus raise from the dead a small number of saints to present to God in fulfillment of that prophecy. Heb. 10:l & John 5:25,26. As Paul said in Heb. 8:3, "It is of necessity that this man (Jesus) have somewhat also to offer."
With this information we can easily see when the Barley Harvest occurred in the days of the early apostles. Those saints arose from the dead immediately after Jesus was resurrected. So we must count seven years from about that time. I will show later how God interchanges the years and weeks, and how that, for the prophecy of the Harvest at this end of the world, He intends for us to use the precept of years.
In the light of Deut. 16:9, we can simply look to the day of Pentecost that same year; as he said, "From such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn." It was at that time that they began to reap their harvest. Because, on that day there were added unto the Church about three thousand souls, and shortly thereafter another five thousand.
How wonderfully we see the allegory of Solomon's temple, in 1 Kings 6:37,38, fulfilled in the building of the Church. It is written, "In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, and in the eleventh year was the house finished. So he was seven years in building it." Jesus did the work of laying the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20), then Peter did work of building the church on that foundation. (John 21:15-17; John 14:12; Matt. 24:45)
In the fourth year of Jesus' ministry, He had laid the foundation of Apostles and Prophets, and left Peter in His stead to perfect the Church. Seven years later, Peter had accomplished that mission, and the first wave loaf was ready. James confirmed this in James 1:1,18. To the Church which was scattered abroad he wrote, "we (are) a kind of firstfruits." That wave loaf is described in Rev. 7:4-8 as 144,000 Jewish saints who had the seal of the living God in their foreheads. There were 12,000 of them out of each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
You might have heard it taught that those 144,000 are to be saved later. I know that teaching is fairly commonly, but the truth is, they were the elect in the days of Peter, James and John. That is why the angel commanded John to "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter." Rev. 1:19. This is one of the things which had already happened.The Seven Years This seven-year harvest is prophesied of in Ruth and Joseph. In Ruth, it is shown by the seven weeks of Barley Harvest, but in the story of Joseph by the Seven Years of Plenty. He ties these two narratives together by the use of the word "Handfuls." In Ruth 2:16, He said, "Let fall also some handfuls of purpose for her." In the narrative of Joseph's Seven Years of Plenty He said, "The earth brought forth by handfuls."
In Ruth, God used the precept of two kinds of grain to prophesy of two harvests. However, in Gen. 41:47-49, He spoke only of one, but divides it into two in another way. He said, "In the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls, and He gathered up all the food of the seven years, … and Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number."
The terminology here, "as the sand of the sea," is readily understood if we relate it to the seed of Abraham. The fact that Joseph numbered some, and some he didn't, reveals that God will again make a difference between believers when He brings us into the time of Harvest. He will number some of them, and some He will not. Those which are numbered are "The Appointed Barley" of Isaiah's prophecy. They are God's elect.
We are even now moving into a new era: "The Harvest" which is the End of this present world order. It is time for the second wave loaf of "The firstfruits" to be made ready. This gathering together of the elect into the unity of the faith will fulfill Rev. 14:1-4. The prophecy there requires that 144,000 Gentiles be sealed and make up the second wave loaf. As he said in verse 4, "They are the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."
The 144,000 Jewish wave loaf was sealed as recorded in Rev. 7. Then He said, "After this I beheld, and, lo a great multitude, which no man could number." The same thing will happen in this Time of Harvest. Once "the elect" have been chosen, God will then gather the wheat into His barn.
"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." (James 5:7) He has waited long, but the Time of Harvest is near, even at the door.
Let us arise with great expectation and with the zeal of the Holy Ghost to prepare ourselves for this great work. May the grace of God be with you all, "until we all come in the unity of the faith."
Amen (Note: This sermon is from the True Sayings Series. These sermons are available in booklet form, in their entirety, upon request. Please refer to the contact information.)
(Note: This sermon is from the True Sayings Series. These sermons are available in booklet form, in their entirety, upon request. Please refer to the contact information.)