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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 72

The Harvest
 

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Let’s pray together:

Lord,

The study of Your prophetic Word doesn’t aim at simply satisfying our curiosity. Its main goal is to lead us to make wise decisions, like choosing the seal of God rather than the mark of the beast.

During the next two lessons about the Harvest and the Vintage, please help us to understand that the choices we make today will determine our eternal destiny.

In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.




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Revelation 14:15,18

And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud,

«Thrust in Your sickle, and reap: for the time is come for You to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.» (...)

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 your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.»

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The choices we make here on earth will determine our eternal destiny.

The book of Revelation illustrates this fact with the symbolism of the harvest and the vintage, which we will study in this lesson and the next one.




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Revelation 14:14-16

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and on the cloud One sat like to 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 Your sickle, and reap: for the time is come for You 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.

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The first eternal destiny is symbolized by a great harvest.




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Revelation 14:14

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and on the cloud One sat like to the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.

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Daniel 7:13

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, One like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven.

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The One who will carry out this great harvest is «like to the Son of Man», and sits «on the cloud», reminding us of the description in the book of Daniel.




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Revelation 1:7,13,18

Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him. (...)

One like to the Son of Man (...) [said,] «I am He that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for ever more.»

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Luke 21:27

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

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The apostle John also uses the expressions «One like to the Son of Man» and «comes with clouds» to describe Jesus.

In addition, Jesus Christ Himself uses the same words to describe His return.




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Revelation 14:14

On the cloud One sat like to the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.

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Hebrews 2:9

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor.

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Being King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus has on His head a golden crown, as a sign of «glory and honor» «for the suffering of death».




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Revelation 14:15

And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud,

«Thrust in Your sickle, and reap: for the time is come for You to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.»

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The vision of Jesus coming on the clouds indicates that the harvest will take place at the time of His return.

Likewise, the vision of an angel «coming out of the temple», and «crying with a loud voice», confirms that the moment when «the time is come for You to reap» really corresponds with Jesus’ return, as we will see in the following verses...




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Revelation 15:6; 16:1,17

The seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues. (...)

And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, «Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God on the earth.» (...)

And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, «It is done!»

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In fact, at the pouring out of the seven vials, the book of Revelation presents many angels and a loud voice coming from the temple.

Now, the pouring out of the seven vials ends with Jesus’ return, as we will see in future lessons.




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Revelation 14:16

And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth.

And the earth was reaped.

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We know that the great harvest will take place at Jesus’ return. Now, let’s try to discover which event this harvest symbolizes, and who is concerned by it.

To do so, we must study Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares.




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Matthew 13:24-26

Another parable put [Jesus] forth to them, saying,

«The kingdom of heaven is likened to 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.»

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In this parable Jesus describes a field which was sowed with good wheat seed.

Unfortunately, the enemy also came into this field, and sowed tares, which are harmful to the growth of wheat.




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Matthew 13:27-29

So the servants of the householder came and said to him, «Sir, did not you sow good seed in your field? From where then has it tares?»

He said to them, «An enemy has done this.»

The servants said to him, «Will you then that we go and gather them up?»

But he said, «No; lest while you gather up the tares, you root up also the wheat with them.»

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The well-meaning servants offered to pull up the tares.

But the owner of the field refused, planning instead a completely different solution...




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Matthew 13:30

Let both grow together until the harvest.

And in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers,

«Gather you together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.»

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So the master commanded that his servants wait until the harvest to separate the wheat from the tares.

At that time, the wheat would be gathered, and the tares burned.

Jesus, after telling this parable, gave its complete interpretation. His explanation is very useful in understanding the harvest of Revelation chapter 14.




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Matthew 13:37-39

He that sows the good seed is the Son of man.

The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom.

But the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil.

The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

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The symbolism of Jesus’ parable is plain.

First, Jesus confirmed that «the harvest is the end of the world», as we have seen a few moments ago.

Then, we learn that the wheat represents «the children of the kingdom», that is, those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord of their lives.




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Matthew 13:40-43

As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world.

The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

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The wheat gathered into the barn after the harvest symbolizes «the righteous shining forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.»




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Matthew 3:12

[John the Baptist said,]

«[The] fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner.

But He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.»

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However, before gathering the wheat in the barn, one must do the winnowing.

During this stage, the worker shakes the grain into a winnowing basket, that is, a basket with a wide and flat bottom, in order to separate the grain from the chaff, dust, and other impurities.

Jesus will do likewise with His wheat: we will study this in detail in a future lesson.




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Matthew 13:30,38,39

In the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, (...) «Gather the wheat into my barn.» (...)

The good seed are the children of the kingdom; (...) the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

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Matthew 24:31

[The Son of man] shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds.

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So, the parable of the wheat being gathered at harvest time is a wonderful illustration of the gathering of the righteous at Jesus’ return.




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Revelation 14:15

The time is come for You to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

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2 Corinthians 9:6

He which sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly.

And he which sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

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Before the coming of harvest time, we must make sure that the wheat grow to maturity.

First, the seed must be sown.

God asks us to sow with Him by proclaiming His message of salvation throughout the whole world, because «the field is the world» (Matthew 13:38).




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Luke 8:11,14,15

The seed is the word of God. (...)

And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

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A plant needs good ground without thorns in order to grow.

Likewise, the Word of God must find «an honest and good heart», receptive to its transforming seed.




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Malachi 4:2

But to you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise.

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Joel 2:23,24,29

[The Lord] will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.

And the floors shall be full of wheat. (...)

«On the servants and on the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.»

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In order that the precious seed of God’s Word may grow within us, we must let God:

- enlighten our hearts with the Sun of Righteousness, which is Jesus;

- and water our hearts with rain, which is the Holy Spirit.




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Philippians 1:9-11

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that you may approve things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

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Day after day, by deepening our understanding of the work of salvation accomplished by Jesus Christ, our Sun of Righteousness, we allow God’s seed to grow so that our «love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment» in our hearts.




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Colossians 1:9,10

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you might walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.

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With our love for God and our knowledge and understanding of His will growing more and more, we will spontaneously obey Him, «being fruitful in every good work».




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Our continuous growth in Jesus will keep us steadfast in the faith:

«You therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.» (2 Peter 3:17,18)

«(...) till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we from now on be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ.» (Ephesians 4:13-15)




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James 5:7,8

Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

Be you also patient; establish your hearts.

For the coming of the Lord draws near.

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Our lessons have often stressed the great importance of Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, in the life of the believer.

But, in order to come to maturity, the seed also needs the rain of the Holy Spirit.

We will study this essential subject in a future lesson.




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Mark 4:26-29

So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knows not how.

For the earth brings forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

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By making our hearts receptive to the seed, and by exposing it to the beneficial influence of the sun (Jesus) and the rain (the Holy Spirit), we allow God, the Source of life, to bring the plant to maturity.




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Philippians 1:6

(...) confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ.

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1 Peter 5:10

The God of all grace, who has called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.

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Let’s cling to God, and He will take care of everything else.

For Jesus said, «He that stays in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit.» (John 15:5).




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Matthew 9:36-38

But when [Jesus] saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

Then said He to His disciples, «The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.»

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As we walk along the path toward spiritual maturity, thanks to the work of God within us, we cannot possibly stay inactive!

Let’s remember that each one of us must fulfill an important task in the harvest of God.




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Galatians 6:8,9

He that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

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Ecclesiastes 11:4

He that observes the wind shall not sow; and he that regards the clouds shall not reap.

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God entrusts each one of us with the holy mission of spreading the gospel, like seed spread throughout the world, with a view to the great harvest.




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John 4:35,36

Say not you, «There are yet four months, and then comes harvest»?

Behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to life eternal: that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together.

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The task which awaits us is immense.

Besides, Jesus tells us that, in the harvest of God, we may sow and other people may see the fruit come to maturity.

And He gives us even more details about this...




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John 4:37,38

And herein is that saying true, «One sows, and another reaps.»

I sent you to reap that where on you bestowed no labor: other men labored, and you are entered into their labors.

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As we work in God’s harvest, Jesus urges us not to become discouraged.

After sowing the Word of God in the heart of someone, we may not see the fruit of our labors here on earth.

On the other hand, we may accompany toward their spiritual maturity some people whose hearts have previously been sown by other believers.




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Proverbs 20:4

The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

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Proverbs 10:5

He that gathers in summer is a wise son: but he that sleeps in harvest is a son that causes shame.

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Jeremiah 8:20

The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!

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Let’s not waste the precious time God grant us, for the great harvest is at hand.




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Joel 3:13,14

Put you in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.

Come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

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After the great harvest, which will gather all who have taken a stand for God, the great vintage will take place. This will be the subject of our next lesson.

We really must invest all our resources and energies, so that as many people as possible may be gathered at God’s great harvest.




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Let’s pray together:

Heavenly Father,

The great harvest of Revelation chapter 14 truly bears a message of hope, and You invite us to share this message, like seed spread throughout the whole world.

Please help us not to remain idle in Your field, so that Your harvest may be the greatest possible at the return of Your Son.

We pray for this, and thank You in advance, in the precious name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.


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