Do you have trouble understanding what the Bible has to say about the end times and how the Church fits into it all? I do. There’s talk about a possible rapture in September 2017 because of a planetary alignment in Virgo, as there was in September 2015. I don’t follow that – it just adds to our confusion and then people get put off when it doesn’t happen, as happened with Harold Camping.
It’s much better to get our information from the Bible.
But can we work out where we’re at now from things that were written 2,000 years ago?
The Word of God can be quite enigmatic. Sometimes it seems like code. And Jesus put events that happened thousands of years apart in one paragraph! How are we supposed to understand?
When I worked as a programmer, and I had poorly documented “spaghetti code” to decipher, I’d plunge into the code by setting up a watch on the variables – things that were running through the code, to see if the logic was correct.
So I did the same thing with the Word. I put myself in the story as a character, and met with the Lord who was already there in his assigned role as “Lord of the Harvest.” Then I set a watch on the scene, dialogue and events as they unfolded.
I’ve come away with a good story and a satisfying understanding of end times events.
And I believe I get to talk to God while I am in the story. I call it “going into the Kingdom.”
So here’s the first chapter of my quest. From this, I am already beginning to piece things together. I will sum it all up in a further post. Enjoy.
The Lord of the Harvest, part 1
Smiling, she met the Lord in a grain field near his birthplace at Bet Lehem, the ‘House of Bread.’
Plucking a head of grain, the Lord put it into her hand.
“You will find fifty grains in that head of wheat” he informed her.
His eyes had an intent look as she studied the wheat grain.
He said “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” John 12:24
The wind rippled wheat bowed to him as if to thank him for his word.
They walked along in silence for a while.
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“We are going to my Father’s house in Jerusalem six miles to the south, to the temple that was built on Araunah’s threshing floor. David paid fifty shekels of silver for it.”
“Why fifty?” she asked.
“Fifty denotes a full price and a full purchase” he answered. (2 Sam. 24:24)
“What does Araunah mean?” she asked.
“Ark” he replied.
They arrived in Jerusalem to joyous crowds, who had gathered at the temple for a spring festival.
“What are they celebrating?” she asked.
As a pilgrim brought the First Fruits to the Temple she heard him declare the word the Lord had commanded; “I declare today to the Lord our God that I have come to the country which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us …” Deuteronomy 26:3-10
Observing the offering, she was sorely aware she was a stranger here, a Gentile without Jewish roots.
“Can you please tell me about the festivals, beginning with Passover?” she asked.
“You know the lamb’s blood was put on the lintel of the houses so the angel of death passed over my people in Egypt,” he reminded her. “My people celebrate for seven days in remembrance of this, without realising I am the Lamb of God. The Passover lamb is sacrificed at twilight. During this time, they eat Matzo, bread without leaven. The Greek word for unleavened bread is ‘azumos.’ The bread is striped and pierced, like my back.
Then there is a seven-week counting period after the three festivals of Passover, First-Fruits and Unleavened Bread.
Shavuot, the next festival means ‘weeks.’ It happens on the fiftieth day and marks the all-important wheat harvest. The distinguishing feature of Shavuot is the offering of two leavened loaves of bread made of fine flour.”
Putting the emphasis on leavened, he used the Greek word ‘artos’ for bread. It meant a raised loaf of leavened bread – normal, natural regular bread.
“Doesn’t leaven mean sin?” she asked.
“No, in this case, it means to permeate. The clue was in the three measures of meal – the amount used in baking the shewbread, ‘the Bread of Presence‘ for the Temple. (Exodus 35:13)
“The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” Matthew 13:33
“Ah, so it’s sure to rise!” she quipped.
“Yes, anyone who believes me will be saved and I will raise him up on the last day,” he replied.
He continued, “I AM the Bread of Life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” John 6:48
There were two leavened loaves for the two distinct groups celebrating the fiftieth day; The Jews celebrating Shavuot – the Feast of Weeks, and the Church observing Pentecost.
Taking the loaf for the Church, he broke it and offered her the bread.
“This is my body, given for you. Take, eat in remembrance of me” he said.
“The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” 1 Corinthians 10:17.
Taking the bread, she knelt, thanking him for his body.
“Can you please tell me about Pentecost?” she asked.
“The Church began on the fiftieth day,” he began; “After my suffering, I presented himself to my disciples and gave many convincing proofs that I was alive. I appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while I was eating with them, I gave them this command: “Do not leave but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:3-5.
“Fifty days after Passover, the Holy Spirit was poured out on 120 followers who waited in Jerusalem on the day of Shavuot when the first-fruits were being brought into to the Holy Temple. That day was called ‘Pentecost,’ meaning ‘fifty.‘ From this day, the spirit has been and is being poured out.”
“What does that look like?” she asked.
“Like the birth of a new person,” the Lord marveled. “I told Nicodemus, a teacher of the law that he had to be born again. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:5-7
Watching the wind move through the wheat, the Lord said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8
After the Holy Spirit was received by the 120 people, Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy. Acts 2:12-17
Leading her back to the wheat fields, the Lord said, “The spring harvest of first fruit has begun.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)
Reminding her of the first group of seventy, who had worked two by two, he said, “The harvest truly is great, but the are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Luke 10:2
“How long will the harvest go for?” she asked.
“It will continue until the end.”
Taking her to the fields of Sychar, he said “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” John 4:35.
Sychar wasn’t a Jewish village.
“Why did you go to Sychar, when you said you were sent for the lost sheep of Israel?” she asked, wondering at the Lord’s strange detour into Samaria.
Reminding her of what he told the woman of Sychar, he said “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” John 4:30-23
“Ah” she said, getting it. He was speaking of two harvests. First Fruits represented Himself and the Church he had begun on the fiftieth day. It was already underway. The Autumn harvest, representing the Jews, would begin at its conclusion when the Times of the Gentiles were fulfilled.
“What does Sychar mean?” she asked the Lord of the Harvest.
“End” he replied.