THE HARVEST IS NOT ENDED
SOME of us were quite strongly convinced that the Harvest would be ended by now, but our expectations must not be allowed to weigh anything as against the facts. The fact is that the Harvest Work is going grandly on; it is not ended by any means. As far as our present judgment goes, it would appear that there is a considerable Harvest Work yet to be done. This is not discouraging, but encouraging to us. We are glad to know of the grace of God reaching other heads and hearts and blessing them as ours have been blessed. We are glad to know that others are daily coming into blessed relationship with the Lord under the Covenant of Sacrifice, and are giving evidence of having been begotten of the Holy Spirit. We are glad to note their zeal, and rejoice with them that they, as well as we, can share in this glorious opportunity of making our calling and election sure by the character development which we are daily learning to appreciate as the prime essential of the "more than conquerors." All those must be copies of God's dear Son, our Lord Jesus. We would have been glad to have entered upon our work beyond the veil; but we are better pleased to continue our labors on this side the veil, because such is the Lord's will for us.
At first we were inclined to surmise that the Harvest proper had closed in October, 1914, and that the work since going on was a gleaning work; but the facts seem not to bear this out. The progress of the work and the numbers who are being brought to a knowledge of the Truth and separated to the Lord are far too great to be styled a gleaning. Evidently it is a part of the regular Harvest. Besides, we are being more and more impressed with the closing features of the Elijah and the Elisha type. More and more we are impressed that Elijah's smiting of the river Jordan, the waters thereof being thus divided, pictures a mighty work yet to be accomplished, and apparently in the very near future. What will be the antitype of the folding up of Elijah's mantle, symbolizing his power? and how long it may require to thus concentrate the forces for the smiting? we do not know. We must wait, watch, and do our parts. Then how long it will require to accomplish the smiting of the waters is also an uncertainty; and how quickly the people will be divided by the Truth is also an uncertainty.
But admitting that even so great a work could be accomplished under the Lord's blessing and direction in a very short time, we could still not expect the results in less than about three years. We are not fixing the time, however, for we know of no time features applicable before [R5950 : page 264] us--even as Elijah and Elisha were not sent to any definite place after reaching Jordan. We are merely giving our surmise--that a great work is before us, and that we cannot see how it could be accomplished in much less than three years.
It will be after the smiting of Jordan--after the division of the people by the Message of the Truth and the mantle of Elijah's power--that the separation of the Church into two classes will take place. Thereafter, the Elijah class, the Little Flock Class, will be clearly manifested, separate and distinct from the Great Company Class. The division, be it remembered, will be caused by the fiery chariot--some very severe, trying ordeal, which the Elect Class will promptly accept and enter into; the Elisha Class holding back from the persecution, but not drawing back to sin or to a repudiation of the Lord. It will be but a little later on that the whirlwind (probably anarchy) will bring about the "change" of the Elijah Class.
GENTILE TIMES EVIDENTLY ENDED
It still seems clear to us that the prophetic period known as the Times of the Gentiles ended chronologically in October, 1914. The fact that the Great Day of Wrath upon the nations began there marks a good fulfilment of our expectations. The Gentile nations were guaranteed a certain amount of possession and control for a certain period of time. That time having expired, dispossession proceedings are now in process. The winds of strife, winds of war, are let loose with great damage to the whole world, weakening the kingdoms of Europe in respect to their best blood and their financial strength.
How long the war may yet last, who could say? All the belligerent nations are proud and self-confident. The humbling, which the Bible mentions, has not yet been accomplished. It is possible that the war may continue for quite a while yet, before the nations shall have been weakened and humbled sufficiently to desire peace. Then will come other troubles. Revolutions will threaten; the governments will associate themselves still more firmly with the nominal church systems, both seeking protection and strength. Next we may expect the great collapse of Spiritual Babylon, leading on to the great revolution-earthquake of Revelation, "So mighty an earthquake as was not since men were upon the earth." (Revelation 16:18.) This in turn, will lead on, according to our understanding of the Bible, to the terrible anarchy, in which all present institutions will succumb before the fire of human passion, prejudice, etc. Then, at the auspicious moment, the Gentile dominions having passed away, Messiah's Kingdom will manifest itself for the blessing of the whole world, and will prove to be "the desire of all peoples."--Haggai 2:7.
We see no reason for doubting, therefore, that the Times of the Gentiles ended in October, 1914; and that a few more years will witness their utter collapse and the full establishment of God's Kingdom in the hands of Messiah. But by that time, the Elijah Class will have passed beyond the Veil; for "when He [Jesus] shall appear in His glory, we [the Church] also will appear with Him."
OUR MISTAKE RESPECTING THE HARVEST
Our readers will remember that the basis of our expectations respecting the Harvest time was the parallelism between the closing of the Jewish Age and the closing of this Gospel Age. We found the beginning of the Harvest time clearly marked by the 1335 Days of prophecy, and by the fulfilment amongst God's people of the declaration: "Oh, the blessedness of him that waiteth and cometh to the end of the 1335 days!" (Daniel 12:12.) Surely great blessedness, great enlightenment of the eyes of understanding, great appreciation of our God and His glorious purposes came to the Lord's people at that time in full agreement with that prophecy! Ever since then a new song has been in the mouths of the Lord's people, as they have learned of His goodness through the Divine Plan of the Ages. We see no reason to question the date, October, 1874, as the beginning of the Harvest time and the parallel to the time when Jesus began His ministry in the Harvest time of the Jewish Age.
Our mistake was along the very line that we pointed out. Time and again, we reminded our readers that the parallelism between the Jewish Age and the Gospel Age could not include anything belonging to the New Dispensation. The parallels affected merely the nominal Jewish House there and the nominal Christian House here. Both were rejected because of failure to be in the right condition of heart for the truths that were due to them--both rejected for destruction. The Jewish System was a Church-State affair, paralleled here by the great Church-State systems of Europe, whose destruction began in 1914.
Let us remember, however, that the three and a half years of Jesus' ministry were more a time of preparation of the Apostles to be the instruments for the harvesting and a sharpening preparation of the Sickle of Truth for the later work, which began at Pentecost. There was no "garner" into which to gather the wheat prior to Pentecost.
JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN PARALLELS
JEWISH-NOMINAL CHURCH CHRISTIAN-NOMINAL CHURCH
A.D. 29-33 A.D. 1874-1878
"They knew not the time of their visitation."
A.D. 33-36 A.D. 1878-1881
The Most Holy Anointed, Divine favor prolonged
for three and a half years to complete the
70 weeks of favor promised to Israel, their rejection
A.D. 36-73 A.D. 1881-1918
Because of the overspreading of abominations, He
shall make it desolate, even until the consummation
of utter destruction--until all that God has predetermined
shall be accomplished.--Daniel 9:24-27.
We should not have looked for parallelisms between the starting of the Gospel Church and its experiences, and the starting in the Harvest time of the Heavenly Church and its experiences. These are no part to the parallel. The parallel belongs to the nominal Jewish System, which went to destruction, and to the nominal Gospel Church, which is now going to destruction.
We imagined that the Harvest work of gathering the Church would be accomplished before the end of the Gentile Times; but nothing in the Bible so said. Our thought was purely an inference, and now we see that it was an unjustified one. This Harvest work belongs to the New Dispensation and cannot be identified with the Old. Anyway, the harvesting of the Jewish Age, gathering "Israelites indeed" into the Gospel Church, did not close with [R5951 : page 264] A.D. 70, but progressed in various parts of the world thereafter. Quite a good many Jews, doubtless, profiting by their terrible experience, were all the better prepared to be gathered into the Gospel Garner after the destruction of their national polity. Similarly, we may expect that quite a good many will yet be gathered to the Heavenly Garner, and we know of no time-limit here.
Incidentally we remark that some historians put the [R5951 : page 265] end of the Jewish Time of Trouble as April A. D. 73, which would correspond to April 1918.
Are we regretful that the Harvest work continues? Nay, verily; we rejoice and have the pleasure each day of showing forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His most marvelous light; and we delight in seeing how others are being benefited and made to rejoice. Are we regretful of the experiences we have had in coming to this present point? Do we feel like repining that the Lord did not force upon us more careful attention to the parallelism? Nay, verily; the Lord's leadings have been good. Perhaps, indeed, we got benefit from the thought that the Harvest work would soon be ended. Perhaps it led us to deeper consecration and greater activity in the service of the Lord, in ourselves and for others. We therefore have nothing to regret.
"Who led us first, will lead us still,
Calmly we sink into His will."
THE BURNING OF THE TARES
In the parable of the "the Wheat and the Tares," the Master puts very prominently the gathering of the tares and the binding of them in bundles for burning. We assumed that this burning would not take place until all the wheat had been gathered into the Heavenly Garner; but apparently this was an incorrect thought. The garnering of the wheat continues; but apparently the consuming of the tares will correspond very closely with the division of Jordan. The tares are a class of (often) noble people who have risen up out of the world infused with hopes and aims of a benevolent character, but misled into thinking that they are the Church. From the tare viewpoint, the wheat are an abnormal growth, a peculiar people, few in number, and not held in high esteem. The smiting of the waters will reveal the truth in respect to what is the real Church of Christ, and what are imitations; and the honest-minded Tare Class will be undeceived, and cease to longer pretend that they are the Church of Christ-- thus they will be burned or cease to be as tares, continuing however as noble-minded worldly people and will have a share in the general blessings of the "sweet by and by" under the Kingdom, for which we still pray.
Our present attitude, dear brethren, should be one of great gratitude toward God, increasing appreciation of the beautiful Truth which He has granted us the privilege of seeing and being identified with, and increasing zeal in helping to bring that Truth to the knowledge of others. In the meantime, our eyes of understanding should discern clearly the Battle of the Great Day of God Almighty now in progress; and our faith, guiding our eyes of understanding through the Word, should enable us to see the glorious outcome--Messiah's Kingdom. Furthermore, we can be fully content not to know how long the Harvest Work will last--content that the great Captain, who by Divine appointment has the entire matter in charge, is too wise to err, and has promised us that all of our experiences shall work together for our good if we love Him and are of "the called ones according to His purpose," seeking to make our calling and election sure.