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"The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray
ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth
laborers into His harvest."—Matt. 9:37,38 .
FOR LONG YEARS many of us thought of the Bible references to the Harvest, our text included, as applicable to every time. We had not then learned that in order to be understood the Bible must be studied Dispensationally. Now we perceive that the time of our Lord's first advent was the Harvest of the Jewish Age; and that as a Harvest this text applied to that nation only. For more than sixteen hundred years the Law Covenant had been in operation between God and Israel. Under it they had been disciplined and schooled, instructed through the Law and by the Prophets.
Jesus came, not only to be the Redeemer of mankind in general, but also to offer Himself as King to the Jews, and to make them His joint-heirs in His Kingdom. Had there been a sufficient number of Jews in heart-readiness to receive the Gospel Message, according to Divine agreement, the entire Bride class would have been elected, or chosen, from that one nation and not a Gentile would have been invited to participate in the honors of these spirit-begotten ones, called in the Scriptures, the spiritual "Seed of Abraham." (Gal. 3:29.) Nevertheless, the Lord knew that Israel would not be ready to receive Him, and He provided for their rejection and the opening of the door to membership in the Bride class to worthy Gentiles.
At the close of the Jewish Age, at the time, therefore, that people should have and did have their greatest degree of ripeness and preparation, our Lord presented Himself and began to do the reaping work. He sent forth His disciples as His representatives, two and two; and later, He sent "seventy also." When these returned, our Lord declared to them, "I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor; other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors."—John 4:38.
The Great Teacher tells us distinctly that while His work was that of reaping, He blended with it a sowing. Seeing that the Jews were not ready for the Kingdom, seeing that eighteen centuries would be required for the calling and developing of the saintly, spiritual ones, the Father started the work of seed-sowing for the New Dispensation. Then, according to our Lord's parable, He left the work in the hands of His servants and went "into a far country"—even Heaven itself. Since then He has been supervising His work and been represented through the faithful members of His Church, His Bride. He and the Apostles sowed the "good seed" of the Kingdom, meanwhile gathering the ripe wheat of the Jewish nation into the Kingdom Class, through the begetting of the Holy Spirit. By and by the harvesting of the Jewish Age ended completely, when all the wheat of the nation were gathered into the Gospel Church of spirit-begotten ones, and then came the "burning of the chaff"—the great time of trouble with which the Jewish Age ended, in A.D. 70.
Since then the work of seed-sowing, evangelism, etc., amongst the Gentiles has gone on, not without difficulty, however. As our Lord's parable shows, Satan, the Adversary, came "while men slept"—in the night, the "Dark Ages"—and over-sowed the wheat field with tare seed. As a result, the field looked very prosperous, although, in reality, the "tares" had a choking and disastrous effect on the "wheat." Nevertheless, the Lord would not allow the separating of wheat from tares until the full end of the Age, the Harvest. The Bible intimates that the tares were so numerous and so intertwined with the wheat in their various interests that to have plucked them all up would have brought the disastrous "time of trouble" too soon. Hence, the decree that both should grow together until the Harvest. "The Harvest is the end of the Age."—Matt. 13:39.
Our studies together have led the majority of us to conclude that we are now living in the Harvest time—in the end of this Age. Oh, how glad we shall be if this is true! How glad we are to believe it true! And, we think, on good evidence. If it is true, as we believe, that the forty years "harvest" of this Age began in 1874, the implication is that the trials of the Church are nearly at an end; that the faithful will soon be gathered to the heavenly garner. By the glorious "change" He will cause them to "shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father," for the scattering of the world's dark night and the ushering in of the New Day. Messiah's Day is to bring glorious opportunities for earthly blessings to Israel, and to all the families of the earth through Israel. If our hopes be true, then they mean a blessing, not for the Church alone, but for the entire groaning creation, which, if willing and obedient under Messiah's reign, will be released from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty appropriate to the children of God.—Rom. 8:21.
As Bible students we have already seen that the Jewish nation as a people were prototypes of spiritual Israel in many particulars—that the period from the death of Jacob to the fall of Jerusalem, in A.D. 70, is the exact parallel to the period of the Gospel Church from the death of Jesus to 1915, A.D.
Surely it is not by accident that these two Ages correspond, nor by accident that Israel as a people typified spiritual Israel! Neither will it be by accident if the events of 1915 correspond to the events of A.D. 70. In other words, as the Harvest of the Jewish Age ended with a time of trouble, so our Lord's words assure us that this [R5019 : page 146] Gospel Age and its harvest will end with "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21.) That a crisis is nearing everybody admits. That socialists and anarchists are threatening the very fabric of society, nobody will deny. The Bible alone explains the situation and shows us that the work of the present Age is about completed; that the elect members of the Bride of Christ have nearly all been found and made ready. The blessings for the world will be along material lines and will be ushered in by the "time of trouble," which will eventuate in anarchy, according to the Scriptures—a general leveling of the human family as the initial step of the reign of the glorious Messiah, whom men will shortly see and recognize with the eyes of their understanding.