The Times of Harvest
The pattern of events in past and present harvests
A discussion for Bible students who recognise that we are living in the harvest of the Gospel age.
120 years have long passed since 1874. What does it mean? Already this harvest period has extended three times the length of the harvest at the end of the Jewish age which ended AD 70, parallel to 1914. At both harvests the Lord's people were given a foresight glimpse of the catastrophe that would terminate the work, yet the precise timing of that end was kept from them. This was a moment which was not for them to know, though signs were given for which they were to watch, to recognise, and act upon. "When ye see Jerusalem compassed by armies, then know that her desolation is nigh."
For many years we have watched the progression of events marking the running out of the Gentile Times, (see note at end) watched the fragmentation of empires, the dissolution of monarchies, watched Israel come into being as a nation, sovereign state in her own land. With benefit of hindsight we have perceived how much of world events thus far relate in some way to that nation. We have watched the steady going down of Mystery Babylon the Great. With the passage of time, patterns have emerged with interesting correspondences to apparently parallel periods in the history of God's people, with reassuring confirmation of faith. Yet that same passage of time has proved a test to some of the Lord's people resulting in change of opinion regarding certain features of truth regarding this remarkable and wonderful time in which we are living. Let us have a look at some of the problems that have arisen because of the lengthening of the present harvest period far beyond the expectation of brethren before 1914. It would be fair to say that before 1874 the general expectation of those looking for the Lord was that at His return He would in a moment of time snatch away His elect from this earth. The concept of an extended period in which a harvest work would take place upon this earth under the direction of the returned Lord was something quite new and became a central belief in the movement that would thereafter use the expression "Harvest Truth".
The apparent swift succession of events depicted in 1 Thessalonians 4, was now seen to be spread over a period of time. This is accommodated by good translation. Following the raising of the sleeping saints of verse 16, verse 17 continues, "Thereafter, they which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we be ever with the Lord."
There is no indication in the word epeita, 'afterward,' or 'thereafter,' as to how long an interval may intervene between the events it links. Gal 1:18 "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days." Gal 2:1 "Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also." 1 Cor 15:46 "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. (Here a matter of 4000 years is involved!) In 1 Thess. 4:17 we believe that the raising of the sleeping saints must be immediately followed by the change, member by member, of those who subsequently end their course in death, but the whole process taking a non-specified period of time, until all the elect are gathered with their Lord, now present in this earth's atmosphere.Now if one as near to the event as Brother Russell was not given to perceive just how long this whole process would take from the raising of the sleeping saints to that change of the last one alive and remaining into the parousia it would seem hardly likely that so long ago even the inspired Paul would be aware of this. Paul's object in these remarks was reassurance for the brethren at Thessolonica who had lost beloved believing friends and felt that somehow these would be missing out if they were not alive to greet the Lord at His parousia. They might be still waiting for resurrection day. Paul corrects this notion, but there would be little point in Paul stressing the details of the parousia even if he was made aware of them, beyond that needful for the brethren at that distance from the event. Paul's words allow the concept of our day even though they do not clearly state it, but we must look elsewhere to find support for the viewpoint we have adopted. It has been noted that each age, Jewish and Christian, and indeed, millennial age too, is wound up by a period of separation and judgement... a harvest. Even the world that was before the flood was given a message through Noah, preacher of righteousness, and it was their response to that message, that of complete indifference, that sealed their doom. Over 125 years on from the commencement of the harvest at the return of Christ, 1874, we may have some of the wisdom of retrospect. We can now look back over this considerable period and note the pattern of events, and the apparently slow progress towards the kingdom realisation anticipated by Bible students prior to 1914. It is also possible from our present vantage point to note any comparisons that may exist between these harvest days and those of similar harvest type periods of the past. Our present purpose is to review our recent history and also the present state in the light of those previous records, with a view to our encouragement, and to confirm that we have not believed in vain that WE ARE LIVING IN THE MOST STIRRING PERIOD THUS FAR OF THE WHOLE PLAN OF THE AGES. This is a subject far too great for full development in one short treatise, but we shall endeavour to cover the ground sufficiently to reveal enough features for our present purpose. The periods we would like to consider commence with the days of Noah. Days of NOAH. Gen 4:22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: This is but one of a selection of scriptures giving glimpses of the conditions of the world before the flood during the period of the preaching of Noah and the construction of the ark. Industrialisation and commerce had taken place, and with it, the entertainment industry was underway. Gen 4:20-21 "And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ." These were of the seed of Cain, and represented the downward course of the human race. Rapid advances in technology went hand-in-hand with the exploitation of man's lower sinful appetite. Some ancient relics appear to confirm the idea of a sophisticated pre-flood society. There was also a great increase in population. Gen 6:1-6 "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants (Nephilim) in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men (notorious warriors,) which were of old, men of renown." It is Peter who helps us to identify these "sons of God" as fallen angels rather than members of the line of Seth. 2 Pet 2:4 "God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, (Thayer.. to hold captive in Tartarus, the subterranean region, doleful and dark.) and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;" 1 Pet 3:19-20 ".. the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing.." It would seem that here was the time that would give birth to the various ancient legends of the gods, later to be embellished in the days of Nimrod. Certainly the Adversary was very active in the earth and greatly influencing the affairs of mankind, so that we read.. Gen. 6:5,6 "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." In the midst of this crooked and perverse world the Lord had His witness, Noah, who is described in 2 Pet 2:5 as "a preacher of righteousness," when God determined, "bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;" In Luke 17:26-27, we have the well-known words of Jesus, "And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all." In Matt 24:37"But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming (parousia, presence,)of the Son of man be." vse 39 adds "And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away." Here was a period of sorting out and separation.. a harvest work, for the Lord revealed His purpose to Noah. Heb 11:7 "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." Noah's preaching of righteousness fell on deaf ears. Gen 6:3 "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." This statement has interested some Bible students in recent years, and as the harvest became extended beyond the first 40 years, 1914, and then the next 40 years, 1954, it naturally was queried whether we had here an indication of a third 40 years, making 120 years in all since the Lord commenced the harvest work at His return in 1874. The 120th year commenced in the Autumn of 1994. This has added to our experience of recent history making Bible students only too well aware of the suddenness and unpredictability of important events. But the Lord's people had learned to be cautious about any date anticipating the end of the Church's course on this earth. It has never been to the advantage of the saints to know the day or hour of their change, and, earlier in the age the prospect of so long a wait for that blessed hope may well have proved discouraging. Nevertheless, it would appear that Noah received a precise warning, not only of the judgement impending, but also the date of its arrival. This was the first time prophecy of the Word, and to it was added, it seems, a sign. This sign, when it took place, would at once confirm the time prophecy. What was that sign? Methusulah. Enoch was a godly man, a preacher of righteousness and a prophet. Jude 1:14-15 "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgement upon all.." Enoch begat a son, and, it would appear, was prompted of the Lord in the choice of this child's name, for it was a remarkable name. Jones Dictionary of OT Proper Names gives the meaning.. "When he is dead it shall be sent. "to which Jones adds, "i.e. the deluge of waters." The name is made up of Meth, (part of the verb muth, to die.), and of the root shalahh, (to send,) More than once the Lord directs the naming of children to illustrate His purpose, e.g. Isaiah. Gen 5:27 "And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died." This simple record completely verifies the Hebrew chronology of Genesis, at the same time that it disproves that of the Septuagint. (Indeed, one of the Septuagint versions if calculated would show Methusulah living beyond the flood.) The death of Methusulah was to be the sign. How many realised this is not known. If any did know, we would imagine the great interest that would be shown in this aged man's health in later years. But, it may be asked, why a sign in addition to a definite time prophecy? To which the history of the Lord's dealings replies that it often has pleased Him to give at least two witnesses to confirm to His servants what He is about. The comparisons between the days of Noah and the days of the parousia of the Lord are striking to us today more than any previous age could have imagined. Man's technological advances have been enormous yet sadly have served to feed the lower appetite of fallen man. In an age of entertainment, immense industries and increase of human knowledge and skills, there is much evidence of that which is devilish in the direction of these advances, so that the heart of man is only evil continually. It would be depressing to speak even of the atrocities perpetrated this day, and of the state of extreme misery at this hour brought about by human depravity of mind. As evil increased before the flood it became apparent that there was no way out of that terrible state of affairs other than a complete cleansing of the earth. This very same situation applies today. However well-meaning the leaders of men, the holding back of the immense evils that imperil human society is far beyond their capability. We are this moment on the verge of the worst catastrophe in human history, as weapons of almost immeasurable destructive power fall into the hands of irresponsible and wicked men with wild imaginations of world conquest, while the further power of terrorism can dislocate society. There are indeed notorious 'warriors' in this earth controlled by demonic power, and capable of enormous harm to their fellow-men. The inevitability of man's downward course at a time of such great enlightenment is itself a paradox linking our day with that of Noah. We too have seen the running out of time prophecy and the confirmation of sign. The world that was before 1914 is no longer, and the DEATH of that past order of so many centuries came so timely to mark the running out of the Gentile Times. In considering the matter of the 120 years we are aware of the suggestion that possibly the Lord spoke of thus reducing the average age for man, and not the period from that time to the flood. It nevertheless seems to us unlikely that the Lord was proposing this as an additional solution to the problem of human sinfulness. In our day no one lives to such an age and it is well known even in youth what man can devise in terms of evil. The Lord was announcing here a more drastic solution in the removal of the race by the judgment determined. Only such a cleansing could afford hope for a braver new world, though here we see the emphasis made on the typical significance of that cleansing. The flood now impending to truly cleanse this earth is that of the Holy Spirit to be poured out from on high, better described in the language of consuming fire. We feel we should mention here two interesting periods of 120 years at this end of the age. It will be remembered that Noah was 600 years old when the flood came. This brings to mind the fact that 6000 years from man's fall ran out in 1874. This also brought to an end 120 years from the date 1754, a date well-marked in some Bible Students' minds as the beginning of the outpouring of the seven vials of wrath, commencing with the grievous sore of deepening and undermining doubt on all religious concepts. At that time Voltaire, by his writings, was deluging France with infidelity. The so-called 'age of reason' there set in to pave the way for the French revolution, while at the same time provoking a preaching of righteousness in defence of the authority of God's Word. This application draws attention to the 120 years from the work of Voltaire, the out-pouring of the first vial, to the coming of Him Whose presence in this earth's atmosphere spells doom for this present evil world. His coming is described in Revelation 11:14,15, as the ultimate woe for this condemned system. A further 120 year link exists between 1793/4, the beginning of the 'reign of terror', at the time of the French revolution, and ending with the running out of the Gentile Times in 1914. This 120 years also marked a period of preaching of righteousness, especially the 19th century, with its interesting developments of truth-understanding leading up to the 'feast' of the last 40 years of that period, 1874 to 1914. Close on the heels of the running out of the 1260 Papal years, at the beginning of the 19th century the Bible Societies emerged, to carry the gospel to the corners of earth. The work of Gesenius and others brought deeper perception of Scripture language, dispensational understanding became clarified, and intense interest in the matter of the Lord's return prepared the way for what was to come when the prophetic "knocks" were to be heard and the Lord came in to sup with His people. So 120 years has twice formed most interesting links in connection with our day. In the first 120 year application ending 1874, the flood of truth to stem from the coming of Christ was to spell doom for Satan's power of darkness and error. In the typical language of Elijah's triumph, the prophets of Baal were to be slain by the sword of truth and its Spirit. In the second 120 year application ending 1914, the flood of turmoil commencing 1914 was to rise and will ultimately engulf and sweep away the whole present order, or disorder, of Satan. Our Master says to us "Watch!." The days of Noah were days of human attainment and advancement, but not along the ways of truth and righteousness. The harvest of that age saw very few responding to the message of salvation, eight souls only being caught up in the ark, eight, the number of a new life, corresponding to the promise in the church of a better age yet to come beyond the present trouble. From the time of the flood four centuries pass to the next glimpse of harvest judgement referred to by Jesus, the DAYS OF LOT in Sodom. There are various lessons which may be drawn from that situation. Perhaps they can be compressed into few words by saying that Lot well represented those who have a love of righteousness, and are continually disturbed by all that is sordid around them because of their essential involvement in this world. 2 Peter 2:6-9 speaks of the Lord ..turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes and "condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished:" In Luke 17:28-37, Jesus, having spoken of the days of Noah, continues... "Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." Noah was in the midst of a crooked and perverse world, so was Lot, and so are we. Perhaps there is something to learn about Lot's choice of the cities of the plain for his livelihood. That is where the money is, in the thick of the world's commerce and industry. That is also where we find every form of worldly living and sin. Even in Lot's day, the city was synonymous with sin. The lessons are there, brethren, and we heed them well, but the fact remains that that is where the Lord's people are to be found, in the world though not of it, gaining their essential experience for the future work of social uplift for a groaning creation. However, that particular world of Lot's day, we feel, particularly speaks of the system of Babylon today. It is something that the Lord urgently warns His people must get out of without delay, and this is the special additional message of the days of Lot. Where to go? Not to another of the same on a smaller scale! That again was Lot's mistake. He saw a little town called Zoan, and said, this will surely do, for it is little. The logic was that the smaller the city the less the evil therein. It was not long before he was on the run again out of Zoan. The Lord's people in this harvest time have reason to remember well that lesson. What was once the Truth movement, a refuge from that great and evil system, became another Zoan, a little Babylon, and , like Elijah, they had once more to flee. It is well to note that if we equate the call of Lot out of Sodom with the call, "come out of her my people", then the flight of Lot would correspond to early in the harvest period, and the "same day" consuming of Sodom would refer to the gradual consuming work of Christ from the commencement of His advent of the working of Satan, the Antichrist. The days of MOSES. We pass on just over four centuries more to the time of Moses. This was the second advent of Moses, his return in the Lord's due time to deliver his people, and the Lord gave him signs, works that he would do, that would reveal to his people that they were indeed living in the days of the presence of their God-appointed deliverer. It may seem strange, at first, that his people needed such signs, but we today live in a parallel period and appreciate the value of the signs that His people may recognise, by many infallible proofs, the presence of their glorious Lord. The signs were THREEFOLD, and Exod 4:1-9 shows that these signs were for his own people. "And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. (They would say, where is the sign of His presence?) And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land." Likewise are there THREE SIGNIFICANT SIGNS in evidence today to confirm our faith that we are living in the harvest of the age, the time of the Lord's Parousia. We mention them briefly, they are already well-known and cherished by the watchers today. Sign 1. The breaking of Satan's power. Satan's masterpiece of the age, is the apostasy, the great and evil system of Christendom, Mystery Babylon the great. This system met its most notable blow with the fall of Papal temporal power in 1870, a blow from which it has never regained its ancient power. If we compare the days of literal Babylon's fall we will notice a remarkable coincidence of situation just prior to the entry of Babylon by Cyrus, type of Christ at His second advent. This was the beginning of the consummation of the Man of Sin described in II Th 2:8 "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:" This was the beginning of the consummation of Dan 7:26 "But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end." The going down of Babylon is an infallible sign that a greater than Moses, is here. The serpent has been overcome at the hands of a 'Greater than Moses', Who is able to straighten out all those crooked ways of this evil misrepresentation of God's kingdom on earth. The destruction of this beast is progressive as indicated in Daniel 7:26 " But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end." and in 2 Thes. 2:8 "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:" (epiphania of His parousia). Sign 2. Restoration of Israel.
The natural seed of Israel are yet to fulfil the divine purpose of their being set apart from all other nations. The Lord is yet to use them as instruments of His grace, His hand, but such an honour requires deep humility and holiness. Israel are yet to be cleansed from their sins and restored to that place of favour with their God. The first part restoration we are witnessing today, because their Redeemer has come from Zion. Romans 11:26-27 "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." Concerning the second sign of Moses, the hand that became leprous and then was restored, we read in Ps 74:11 Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? pluck it out of thy bosom. Ps 80:14-15 "Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself." Ps 80:17-19 "Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.(elsewhere the word is translated courageous, steadfastly minded.) So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved." Ezek 25:14 "And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD." Edom, or the old Adam, [the words are similar for Adam and Edom,] represents that in the human make-up which is ever resistant to the ways of God. Before the full blessings of Isaiah 35 must come the downfall of that Edom in man's nature of Isaiah 34, and Israel will be as the Lord's hand in this earth to help achieve that wonderful transformation, once the Lord has made them strong for Himself...to be His instruments. It is the Edom within that Israel is yet to recognise as his great enemy rather than the seed of the Edom without, the Arab peoples. This will indeed be a wonderful experience for Israel, resulting in the fulfilment of that change of name from "Jacob," (usurper, deceiver, and one reliant on his own strength,) to that of "Israel," ('God rules,') and thus and thus alone will they rule with God. The signs of even the first stages of Israel's restoration are signs infallible of the presence of Michael their prince. As Balaam was moved to prophecy at the time Israel's first entry of their land was due, Num 23:21 "He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.
Sign three. Truth's outpouring.
When Moses poured the water upon the ground it turned to blood, symbol of death. One deluge of truth in these our days upon the ground of Egypt, the ground of Satan's lies, has spelled death to those errors by which he has deceived for so many long centuries. The fires of hell hissed and spluttered, and died before the flood of truth. The long "immortal" souls of men [so claimed] were laid at last to sleep in death, the prisoners of hope. We know the cause for this blessed feast, and by Whose voice we each were called to sup with Him and taste the goodness of the Lord in truths so many centuries hid. The people of the Lord, these signs were each for them alone as unmistakable evidences that this is the day for which the church so long have prayed. Furthermore, each sign has been doubly confirmed, for we remember how the wise men of Pharoah reacted to each sign. Each one in turn they sought to contradict, and all significance they scorned. By duplication they sought to demonstrate each sign invalid. So today, each sign in turn has met this keen attention of the Evil One. Israel, we are told, has no future part to play in God's great kingdom purpose. The Anti-Christ is yet to come, a man who will appear when Israel's Temple is rebuilt, and then, and not before, will come the Lord to break his devilish power. Thirdly, all authority divine has been now stripped from this most holy Word of God. Far from the Source of Truth it represents so many legends, so many fables cunningly devised of poor mistaken minds of men. So say that "wisdom" not of God that would deny His power. Yet even in these counter-claims of Pharoah's wise men at this hour the people of the Lord see a parallel to those of Moses' day, and thank Him for such infallible assurance of the Present Truth. A thousand years now pass, the age of typical shadowy kingdom development, an evening- morning, for the first half of that age must pass before the full and brighter glimpse of kingdom blessings would be seen in the days of David and Solomon.
The days of David and Solomon.
Only for one moment will we pause to note again a parallel in time to this our day. I King 1:39-41 "And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon. And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them. And Adonijah and all the guests that were with him heard it as they had made an end of eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, Wherefore is this noise of the city being in an uproar? This was a remarkable period. David's days, depictive of the days of the Christ on earth, were nearly over. Solomon was now already set upon the throne, depictive of the Christ beyond the veil. Yet must Solomon wait before he takes the fullness of that power to reign. How closely does this parallel our day, this period of transition, saints already raised in glory realm above await the saints below to end their course. Then, the Christ complete, what blessings of that reign will flow. So who does Adinojah represent? He was the usurper to the throne who thought he could by craft make subjects of the race. How alarmed was Satan when he heard the trumpet of Our Lord's descent to claim His own and set them at His side, for there was Satan's end completely sealed. Since that hour the chain more closely binds and bites his pride and arrogance. While every saint who passes through that veil adds one more link, another loop of chain, until at last the strong man will collapse, all power to hurt restrained.. though long his influence remain in minds distorted by His evil power. For so it was in later years long after vile Mannaseh's end, that the evil of his reign remained within his people's hearts. Even after the good reign of Josiah, we read in II Ki 23:26 "Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal." Even after Satan is removed from the scene will his works follow him and we believe it will require the full power of truth and light and the holy energy of the Spirit of God together with the ministry of saints, when Spirit and the Bride say "Come," to cleanse from every heart and oust from every mind of men those many devils that beset mankind. The man of Gadara portrayed that evil power, "my name is legion, for we are many." Those many evil powers, that no chain of law could restrain, were cast out with the unclean swine and all that doth offend Our Saviour's love of right and hate of wrong.
The days of Jeremiah.
Another harvest came to end those 1000 years of kingdom there in type. God's servant Jeremiah speaks forth the truth, his ministry extending 40 years. Then came the end, the overthrow of sovereign state of Israel, and judgment falls upon the House of God. Harvest language then was used and pointed past that hour to this our day. We only need to read the text to realise its fitness to the harvest judgment of our time. Jer 8:8-20 "How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them? Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them. Why do we sit still? assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the LORD our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD. We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble! The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein. For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD. When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me. Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. We find these words particularly interesting not only for their immediate sense at the time but for the parallel situation during the harvest time in which we live today.
Days of Babylon's fall.
Again this further harvest was foreshadowed in a harvest time for Babylon predicted in Jer 51:33 "For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come." This first would relate to the winding up of literal Babylon especially from 538 BC with the coming of Cyrus, the one described by the Lord in Isaiah 45:1, as His Messiah or Anointed One, but the whole of that period too was to bear a parallel to the days in which we live, the harvest time of judgment upon Mystery Babylon of this age. Babylon ( as we have seen in "Arise and Build",' See Patterns for the last days';) did not fall and disappear at the moment of the entry of the army of Cyrus. It took a long period of decline of well over a century before its final desolation was complete. How closely this corresponds with the harvest work of today. We have touched the remarkable portrayal of present harvest years so parallelled in the years subsequent to the coming of Cyrus. There we find much to confirm our faith, for they were faced as we with long and weary years to test and try a trust that would outlive the expectations of the earlier days. Their very lives were threatened, as also in our days, both of the seeds, the Jews, the saints, in turn were made to flee from Satan's grasp. Yet in that very fire was proved the gold He seeks, the willingness to stand and to be counted for His Name, and for their relationship to Him. Thus will He make Israel strong for Himself, and thus make strong His saints. The days of Esther when that wicked Haman tried to wipe the name of Jew from off the earth compares, in time from Cyrus, to the same number of years from 1874, when Hitler would succeed where Haman failed but for the shortening of his day. These very days would also test the saints, when Satan tried so hard to rob them of their spiritual life in Christ, and substitute a hope deformed by human mind. ...So many lessons in those years described that we have learned upon our harvest course. The messages of those days are ours, Haggai, and Zechariah, encouraging the work of building for the Lord, a sanctuary worthy of His Name,..a "day of small things" blessed by work so great. And Malachi, last message of that harvest time, when heaven's truths are denied by many of that harvest class, but it is the Lord Who has the last word. Each message speaks so clearly for this hour at end of days, and we do well to heed.
Harvest of Jewish age.
Then half a millennium passes yet again, and Jesus, from Jordan, commenced a Jewish harvest time once more.. He preached a message that would do a work of separation between those whose hearts were right towards their God and those who, notwithstanding every claim of holiness of life, would prove unworthy, and like chaff, be fit for nothing, but the fire of AD 70, which destroyed God's House once more, the nation too. That harvest work, as ours, was spread through years of varying trial. As result, those worthy, hungering for truth, were blessed with strengthened faith that could withstand the disappointment of their earlier hopes. The many who resisted harvest truth included Paul himself, until he was overwhelmed by glory that outshone the sun and spread along his path. How we love to think some of our dear friends too, will come one day to realise the truth, and hail their King.
"There standeth One among you Who ye know not."Was recognition of Messiah the test? Is it today? The "presence of the Lord," does this decide the one He takes, the one He leaves behind? Time would reveal not only this but more the Lord required both then and now, to make us meet for that inheritance of saints in light, and hence the need for siftings of each harvest time. For judgment of the House of God has now begun, as when the Master entered and looked round upon all the Temple then contained, so does He now survey the fruitage of His work within. The furnishment befitting God's Own Sanctuary, provided through the Word, for only He can beautify this House of God by His Own Holy presence in our hearts. It is the delight in the knowing of this presence that will decide, a gathering unto Him of eager hearts, a Bride made ready, aching for her Lord.
John 4:35-36."Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal:
that both he that soweth and he that reapethmay rejoice together."
Song 4:16"Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits."
To recommended site for Scriptural basis of thepresent invisible advent of Christ