Its Beginning and Its End.
"The harvest is the end of the world; 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; but gather the wheat into my barn." — Matt. 13:
There was a harvest to the Jewish age, to which we have already referred; and that harvest began and ended with them, during Christ's personal presence; and hence, continued during the three and a-half years of his ministry. The harvest of this gospel age, which is also the end of this age, measures three and a-half years as we will show. As the harvest at the first advent did not begin until Christ came, that is, began his work, for he did not come in this sense until after John's baptism, (see Acts 13:24), so this harvest begins with Christ's personal presence.
"And I looked, and beheld 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, saying, with a loud voice: Thrust in thy sickle, and reap; for the time is come for thee to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe," (Rev. 14: 14, 15). It is true this is symbolic language, and so is the parable in Matt. 13:, but there we have the explanation that it means gathering the fruit of the gospel age. Then follows another angel, who gathers the "clusters of the vine of the earth," "and cast them into the great winepress of the wrath of God."
It will be observed there is order here, as in all of God's works. First, one like the Son of man "reaps the earth." "This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son and believeth on him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day," (John 6: 40). It is the dead in Christ, that he gathers, while angels are to gather the tares, "Although an angel can not waken one sleeping saint, or bring him from the tomb; a legion of angels cannot keep him there."
The order of the harvest can be gathered from Christ's teaching in Matt. 13:, and this, "the Revelation of Jesus Christ." Here we find the harvest begins with Christ's own personal work. "The dead in Christ shall rise first." And before "we who are alive and remain" are taken, the "vine of the earth" is gathered, to be cast into the winepress of his wrath. "I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn." Then, after the separation of the tares and wheat is complete, the "wheat" is gathered — "caught up together with" the dead in Christ, who have been raised before, "to meet the Lord in the air."
The above being the order of events, it will be seen that the harvest could not have begun, until Christ left the Holy Place; which, as has been shown in a former chapter, was due on the tenth day of the seventh month, occurring in October, 1874. This fact, that the end of the aion, age, was due to begin in the autumn of 1874, was reached before the "time of the harvest" was seen. In the chapter on the equality of the two covenants, it has been shown that the time from the death of Jacob, to the death of Christ, was 1845 years; and that the two covenants, or dispensations, were to be of equal measure, and therefore, from the death of Christ to the end of the gospel dispensation, must measure 1845 years. And from the crucifixion in the year A. D. 33, to the spring of 1878, will be 1845 years. But the point I
wish to show is, the parallels between the harvests of the two dispensations. And, let it be remembered, these arguments on the prophetic periods, which determine these various dates, were reached before the fact was seen that the harvest held any place in the arrangement of these time arguments.
As the first dispensation measured 1845 years. and ended with a harvest of three and a-half years, the duration of Christ's ministry; it follows that from where that dispensation under the twelve tribes began, to where the harvest began, was 1841 years and six months; to which we add the three and a-half years of that harvest to complete the 1845 years. Now is it not a strange coincidence that precisely the same measurements should occur here? That is, from the spring of A. D. 33, where the dispensation of the gospel to all nations began, to the autumn of A. D. 1874, the exact point where this harvest should begin is also 1841 years and six months?
This bare coincidence alone, possibly might have been a matter of accident, but when all the other parallels named in the subject, of the "Two Covenants," are remembered, and also the abundant evidence there is, that they were to be of "equal measure, and of equal size;" to find a continuation of such wonderfully exact measurements, is mathematical demonstration that seems almost irresistible. As from the spring of A. D. 33, to the autumn of 1874, is 1841 years and a-half, so from the autumn of 1874, to the spring of 1878, where the 1845 full years of the gospel dispensation end, is three and a-half years, leaving the harvest of equal length with the one of the Jewish dispensation.
Again: Thirty years before that harvest began, Christ was born. Prior to that event, there had been a general expectation, and as you remember, old Simeon had the witness that he should not see death until he had seen the Lord's anointed. And there was in Israel a decided advent movement, culminating in the birth of Christ, and the wise men of the east coming to worship, &c. Thirty years before this harvest began, there had been an advent movement. It began perhaps with Wolf, who preached through Europe and Asia, but was mainly in this country, and culminated in the tenth day of the seventh month of 1844, just 30 years prior to the autumn of 1874.
Again: About six months prior to that harvest, there was a message to make manifest to Israel, the coming of Messiah, (John 1: 31). Six months before this harvest began, the jubilee arguments came out, to make manifest to "the Israel," the com-
ing of Messiah the second time. How is it, that every feature of the one has its exact parallel in the other, unless they are, indeed, to be "of equal measure, and of equal size"? It will be remembered that the Jews stumbled at the manner of the coming of their Messiah. They were expecting manifestations of quite a different character, something open, grand and glorious on the plane of the flesh, and they had abundance of Scripture to support their ideas. Even Gabriel's declaration to Mary, had they have known it, would naturally sustained their conception of the character of his advent. "Thou shall call his name JESUS, He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end," (Luke 1: 31-33).
This was just the Messiah they were looking for. But how could they see any of this picture fulfilled in "Jesus of Nazareth," the man of sorrows. "He shall be great;" and yet his teaching to his disciples, both by precept and example is, "He that would be great [in the kingdom] let him be the servant of all." Their Messiah was to come out of Bethlehem, and yet the Lord had the infant Saviour carried to Nazareth, "that he might be called a Nazarene." And you may follow the whole history of the Nazarene, and you will scarcely find a single feature of his life in which the Jew could recognize his Messiah. The fact of his having miraculous power, was no proof of itself. Miracles were common in that dispensation. Prophets, before Christ, had healed the sick and raised the dead. Hence, they stumbled, and you can hardly wonder at it. Indeed, God spoke "in dark sayings and parables, lest they should see;" and there is to be a parallel here. This second house is to stumble, and for the same reason, viz : because of the manner of his coming. You may smile at this, and say, He is coming in the clouds of heaven, and every eye shall see him, and think you know all about it. So could the Jew smile, and say, He shall be great, and shall sit upon the throne of his father David. Nevertheless, they stumbled, and so will this generation. But you are a good church member, and honor the name of Christ, and have no fear of being rejected. Neither had the Jew any fear of being rejected. He feared God and honored the law. But they were rejected as a body, and so will be the church of the present day.
There were certain prophecies being fulfilled at, and during their harvest. The mere man, Christ Jesus, being present, did not
prove him to be their Messiah. But there was an immence array of Scripture fulfilled just at that time. They failed of seeing it. There is an immence array of Scripture being fulfilled just now; but the church as a body, do, and will fail of seeing it; and they are just as much in the dark in relation to the events of this harvest, as were the Jews at the end of their .age. But if the church, as a body, are to come short and fail of being saved, what has the gospel dispensation amounted to? If the Jewish nation as a body, failed, what did the Jewish dispensation amount to? I will answer both questions: They were each a necessary part of the plan for developing first, the typical, and then the real "seed of the woman" that "is to bruise the serpant's head." "Many are called, but few are chosen." Do you want to share in the kingdom? Then there are responsibilities for you, which John Wesley, or any of the early reformers, did not have; and hence, for you to live as earnest a christian life as did John Wesley, is not enough. Did not the generation of Jews, on whom the end came —the generation who saw, or might have seen, the fulfilment of the Scriptures centering in the first advent — have responsibilities their fathers did not have? and were they not judged accordingly?
It is not the world, but the church, who are guilty for being in darkness in relation to the fulfilment of the great amount of Scripture centering in this harvest.
You are right in expecting Christ to come in the clouds, openly and visibly, so that every eye shall see him. But you are not right in rejecting all that is to precede those open manifestations. You are right in claiming that He comes in all his glory, and with all his holy angels; but you are wrong in denying that he comes as a thief. You are right in claiming that men will call for rocks and mountains to hide them from him that sitteth upon the throne. You are wrong in denying that in the days of the Son of man, during his parousia, his presence, it will be as it was in the days of Noah; that men are to continue at their ordinary business, buying, selling, marrying &c., during the "days of the Son of man," just as they did during the days of Noah.
The Christian church is teaching a great deal of truth, and so did the scribes and Pharisees, who sat in Moses' seat. But when, in the fullness of time, a change of dispensation was taking place, they were not prepared to advance with the advancing light of God's word; hence, their fall. The fact of Christ being there in person, was no evidence to them. They were judged because Scripture was being fulfilled, and they knew it not.
So the church is guilty to-day, because the Scriptures are being fulfilled, and they know it not. And, like the Jews, upon whom God poured out his wrath to the uttermost; so upon the christian world, the seven last plagues, in which is filled up the wrath of God, are soon to be poured out.
Have you not noticed in the great majority of denunciations by our Lord, and also by the apostles, that they are aimed at professed Christians. Those rejected by him, claim to have done many wonderful works in his name. The world has no such claim to make. And with the apostle, those who were heady, high-minded, scoffers, &c., were those having the form of Godliness. And it is the Laodicean church, the last of the seven that have filled the prophetic page from the apostolic days to the present time, who are complained of as being "blind and naked," and who are to be spued out of his mouth, (Rev. 3: 14-22).
There are other parallels between the ending of this age and the one at the first advent, that seem almost wonderful. From the beginning of their harvest, to their final and complete destruction, was forty years. That is, from A. D. 30, to A. D. 70. But as Christ began to preach when he was thirty, in the autumn of A. D, 29, it. was really forty years and six months, to the destruction of Jerusalem, in A. D. 70. From the beginning of this harvest, at the end of A. D. 1874, to the end of the times of the Gentiles, and therefore, to the end of this time of trouble coming on the christian nations, is forty years —or, really, as the harvest began in the autumn of 1874, forty years and six months. And what is yet more wonderful, the first six months of that harvest was almost a blank. The time for Christ to really begin, was at the spring passover. Hence, at Cana, of Galilee, he says: "Mine hour has not yet come, (John 2: 4). And next to nothing was known of this harvest until the spring of 1875, and the first six months wore passed.
Again: At the first harvest, five days have a place. That is, Christ rode into Jerusalem five days before his death. Compare John 12: l and verse 12. And it was at that time their fate was sealed and their house left desolate. There is a period of five days made prominent here also. That is, as that harvest ended five days short, so to speak; this one begins five days early. From the death of Christ, on the fifteenth day of the first month, the next day after the passover, (Matt. 17: 1), to the tenth day of the seventh month in 1874, lacks five days of being full time — that is, from the fifteenth day of the first month, to the fif-
teenth of the seventh month, would be six full months. But as the high priest leave the holy place on the tenth day of the 7th month, He starts from heaven; five days before the fifteenth; as when going to Jerusalem.
These parallels between the two dispensations, beginning with the twelve tribes, and the twelve apostles, and ending with all the little details of the harvest, have in them a weight of evidence that is unanswerable; and the fact that this age is to end with a harvest, is the word of Christ. And that the "wheat," or "children of the kingdom," are to continue at their ordinary avocations through the time of the harvest; and that when taken, they are found in the mill, field, &c., is also a clear statement of our Lord. And that the angels will have been here gathering "the tares in bundles," before the wheat is gathered, is his own statement.
[Gathering the tares in bundles, is separating the two classes. Not literal binding as grain is bound; And this separation is now being consumated. Wherever this present light comes, all who accept it are driven out from organized bodies; and its opposers are left to themselves. "Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at His word; your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, let the Lord be glorified; but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed," (Isa, 66: 5).]
The above needs no comment. When he appears, there must be those two classes.
It does not appear to me very fanatical to suppose that the work of the harvest is an unseen work, and that those conscious of its presence, become so, by light eminating from the Scriptures. And this is in harmony with the spirit of all that is said of the day of the Lord coming as a thief on one class, while another class are in the light. "How else can the days of the Son of man be, as the days of Noah? How else can the presence of the Son of man be as the days of Noah? "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the parousia of the Son of man be," (Matt. 24: 37). Why will men be so tenaciously blind, because it is taught that he comes in the clouds and all will see him, as to deny every other feature of the advent. Can he not gather his saints, unbeknown in the world, and then come in all his glory, just as well as "Behold, thy king cometh, meek and lowly," could be fulfilled after the harvest of that age? But our consolation is, "we have this seal; the Lord knoweth them that are his;" and that before the harvest ends, every child of his, will be in the light. "Ye brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should come upon you as a thief."