5. Earth’s Harvest Time

By John Thiel, Facing Last Day Perils Conference, Study 5, mp3

The theme is “Facing Last Day Perils”. What does facing mean? To face up to it, to face the last day perils. The perils are of a nature that you don’t want to face up to. They are of a nature that you want to escape.

You don’t want to see it. You don’t want to experience it. But we are to face them, and in facing them we will be tossed about. The truth, although it becomes beleaguered by the terrible attacks that are upon it, will continue through and we need to attach ourselves to that. We might become battered by the storm, by the floods and by the logs that are knocking us around, but if we hold on to the truth that will carry us through the storm, we will come out safely on the other side.

What then are the perils? We want to have the Bible unfolding to us these perils. The word unfold is indeed what the perils are all about, an unfolding. We are now looking at the earth’s harvest time, and a harvest time has to do with something that has unfolded and developed until it is to be harvested.

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

When does the reaping take place? At harvest time. What we are studying in regards to harvest is what has been sown and what will be reaped.
The context of the following text is war, but that war comes as a consequence of sowing.

Joel 3:13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness [is] great. 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD [is] near in the valley of decision.

The day of the Lord is not a time of sweet peace. It is a time of tumult, of horrible disasters. The day of the Lord in its connection here is the day of harvest. For the harvest is ripe; come, get you down; for the press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great. The wickedness is now going to be harvested. How does that happen? Multitudes in the valley of decision in the day of the Lord. This is the harvest.

We are now looking at the harvest time in its connection to the sowing time. Here Jesus is speaking of this harvest and he explains it:

Matthew 13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one]; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 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; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear: When Jesus says that, He is trying to make a point. This is serious business. The harvest time is extremely serious business. It has to do with souls. It has to do with human beings. According to what He is saying, the harvest is the end of the world which commenced in 1798 and was impacted in 1844 with the cleansing of the sanctuary, the judgment commencing, and from that time onwards the experience of the harvesting is afoot.

There are two kinds of people in the harvest. That which has been sown by Jesus – Jesus is the sower. He has sown wheat – then there is another sower the enemy, who sows the seeds which produce tares. It is the response to the sowing which produces the harvest and which produces the experience at the end. How do we respond to the sowing? The sowing is the word of God that is to be placed into the heart by the message of Jesus and the Holy Spirit acting. The response to those seeds is what is going to produce the harvest.

Jesus makes it very clear again. As Jesus came to sow the seeds of wheat, what response to the sowing does He describe?

Mark 4:14 The sower soweth the word.

That’s the seed, the word.

Mark 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

The sower goes and sows wheat, and there is some of the wheat that falls on the wayside, on the hard traveled path. Sister White tells us that our hearts can be so hardened by all the trampling over it that the seed falls and the response of the heart is, yeah, okay, it falls down there and Satan comes along and quickly distracts us so that the word of God is picked away, and we forget about it.

Mark 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

It’s a wonderful experience! praise the Lord! We receive it with gladness.

Mark 4:17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

The sowing is going to produce a harvest according to the way it is received. Then comes another one of how it is received:

Mark 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

That’s another consequence of the way the seed has been received.

Mark 4:20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive [it], and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

If you look at a field of wheat, you see different patches of this particular nature. When I traveled through the bread bowl of Western Australia, there were huge farmlands growing wheat. I saw near the side where the soil is very shallow, that the wheat comes up but it’s very, very scrawny; but as it goes deeper into the soil it’s nice, tall and lush-looking. Then there are patches of weed where you can’t see the wheat anymore because the weeds are there. The sowing is Jesus sowing the beautiful word. He sends His messengers out to sow so that the truth can produce. It will produce and it will grow, but it’s how it is received that makes the difference.

When the harvest comes, either that which Christ has sown will be reaped, or what Satan has sown will be reaped. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

When did the harvest commence? The harvest commenced in the time of the end, which 1844 was part of. But when was the first angel doing its work? 1833. Then came the second angel in the 1840s, and then came the third angel. What was the work of the third angel? Notice the serious expression which is here expressed:

I then saw the third angel. Said my accompanying angel, “Fearful is his work. Awful is his mission. {EW 118.1}

What is he doing?

He is the angel that is to select the wheat from the tares, and seal, or bind, the wheat for the heavenly garner. These things should engross the whole mind, the whole attention.” {EW 118.1}

It is so easily read, but how is it engaged in? This is a story of souls. Fearful is his work. What is he doing? He is taking souls in the harvest time. As you look at souls around you, you go through awful experiences, including your own. This is our time.

We are beholding the reaping and the bundling. It started back there. What is happening now? This is why it is valuable to study the history of the Seventh-day Adventist people, because you will see the angel working and there are some horrible discoveries that you make, it’s seriously troubling. Awful is his mission. This should engross our whole mind, our whole attention. Do you like that? It’s not a comfortable experience, but we need to let that engross our mind, in this moment of reaping, because there are some passages that say that in the last days it’s going to be fast, sowing and reaping will be very close to one another. We are in the experiences that are very troubling. It’s to do with facing these terrible times. It is a battle between those who have sown to the flesh and those who have sown to the Spirit.

A day of heart-rending anguish is before us. {1T 269.2}

She wrote that in Testimonies Volume 1 which was in the 1850s. The storm was coming at that time and everything ever since that time has been the unfolding of the storm, or the unfolding of the harvest, the consequence of what has been sown. A heart-rending anguish was forecasted back there. How has it been in our experience? When has the heart-rending anguish commenced? It was at the turn of the century from 1888 onwards. In 1888 was the beginning of a heart-rending reaction within the ranks of Adventism and it has come down through the ages to this point in time. In 1888, a seed was sown that was beginning to be harvested in the Adventist circles.
Here she is writing in regards to what was happening between Elder Jones and Elder Smith, how that Elder Jones wrote an article and Elder Smith wrote another article and they clashed. Elder Smith placed into the publication both sides of the story.

This, I was shown, should not be done. That there will be alienation and disunion, I do not doubt, for this is the very work Satan is determined shall be, but which cannot be if the professed believers will heed the words of Jesus Christ. {1888 1000.1}

This seems to be a seed after the same order of the Minneapolis meeting that is dropped into the soil already prepared for it which will produce a harvest of its kind. {1888 1000.2}

As you go on from that point onwards and you have circulated amongst the many different circles of Adventists of today, the seed that was sown in Minneapolis has borne fruit and the seed which was sown by Jones and Uriah Smith in their conflict between each other has continued to bear fruit today. We are living in the time of the harvest. She says that the seed which was sown in Minneapolis was dropped into a soil already prepared for it. Is this the sowing of Jesus or the sowing of the enemy?

In the church and in the world, things have been sown, and they will bear fruit in the harvest which we are living in. This is what was happening in result of 1888:

Galatians 5:15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

What is the harvest? People consuming each other in war, in social and church circles. What are we not to sow? Anything that we don’t want to reap in the harvest.

But we must look unto Jesus. {1888 1000.2}

I thank God for her emphasis on that. She says that the seed that was sown in 1888 and the seed that continued between Jones and Smith is going to bear its fruit, but we must look unto Jesus.

The harvest is ours, to reap that which we have sown. {RC 300.4}

What is the harvest which we will reap?

If you sow distrust, envy, jealousy, self-love, bitterness of thought and feelings, this harvest you will be sure to reap. This will be a sowing of dragon’s teeth to reap the same. {RC 300.4}

What do dragon’s teeth do? They bite, they devour each other. What is the sowing of dragon’s teeth? Distrust, envy, jealousy, self-love, bitterness of thought and feelings. May the Holy Spirit interpret these words to us.
Two classes of people are sown by the sowers. Jesus sows the wheat, the enemy sows the tares.

Those who are truly connected with God will not be at variance with one another. The spirit of harmony, peace, and love, His Spirit ruling in their hearts, will create harmony, love, and unity. {RC 300.2}

That’s the first class, those who don’t permit the interference of Satan to take root. He interferes when he picks up the truth and picks it away by having the people forget what was presented; or by having the seed grow with a shallow root and when the heat and persecution come it withers; or when the weeds come up that stifle and choke. Those who are truly connected with God will not participate in the sowing of these negatives. They will sow only harmony, peace and love, His Spirit ruling in their hearts, will create harmony, love, and unity.

The opposite of this works in the children of Satan; there is with them a continual contradiction. Strife and envy and jealousy are the ruling elements. The characteristic of the Christian is the meekness of Christ. Benevolence, kindness, mercy, and love originate from Infinite Wisdom, while the opposite is the unholy fruit of a heart that is not in harmony with Jesus Christ. {RC 300.2}

We need to understand what the storm is like, what we have to face up to in the storm. In the wicked world for those who have decidedly rejected the pure word of God, what is the sowing?

We cannot know how much we owe to Christ for the peace and protection which we enjoy. It is the restraining power of God that prevents mankind from passing fully under the control of Satan. {GC 36.1}

While we still have this peace, God is working to prevent this from happening.

The disobedient and unthankful have great reason for gratitude for God’s mercy and long-suffering in holding in check the cruel, malignant power of the evil one. But when men pass the limits of divine forbearance, that restraint is removed. God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; {GC 36.1}

Is God the one who is going to go and thresh the wheat with arbitrary punishment? This is not God’s way. We need to understand that.

…but He leaves the rejectors of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown. Every ray of light rejected, every warning despised or unheeded, every passion indulged, every transgression of the law of God, is a seed sown which yields its unfailing harvest. The Spirit of God, persistently resisted, is at last withdrawn from the sinner, and then there is left no power to control the evil passions of the soul, and no protection from the malice and enmity of Satan. {GC 36.1}

We have sown dragon’s teeth and we reap the same. That’s human reality.

The destruction of Jerusalem is a fearful and solemn warning to all who are trifling with the offers of divine grace and resisting the pleadings of divine mercy. Never was there given a more decisive testimony to God’s hatred of sin and to the certain punishment that will fall upon the guilty. {GC 36.1}

If you study the history of Jerusalem in their resistance to what God was doing with them trying to help them, you see that they finally just continued to push on.

The Saviour’s prophecy concerning the visitation of judgments upon Jerusalem is to have another fulfillment, of which that terrible desolation was but a faint shadow. In the fate of the chosen city we may behold the doom of a world that has rejected God’s mercy and trampled upon His law. Dark are the records of human misery that earth has witnessed during its long centuries of crime. The heart sickens, and the mind grows faint in contemplation. Terrible have been the results of rejecting the authority of Heaven. But a scene yet darker is presented in the revelations of the future. The records of the past,–the long procession of tumults, conflicts, and revolutions, the “battle of the warrior . . . with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood” (Isaiah 9:5),–what are these, in contrast with the terrors of that day when the restraining Spirit of God shall be wholly withdrawn from the wicked, no longer to hold in check the outburst of human passion and satanic wrath! The world will then behold, as never before, the results of Satan’s rule. {GC 36.2}

This is the harvest of the wicked. It is a wonderful revelation of God’s character. God’s character is not one of arbitrary trashing. He simply says, this is what you have sown, I’m standing back, you meet the consequences of your own sowing. They have sown all this warfare. As you look back at the history of all these different nations of the past that are now just nations of their own, what are they doing? They are doing exactly the same that they have sown back there. Therefore it comes to the point now when they’re all going to destroy each other.

As trials thicken around us, both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks. Some who are now ready to take up weapons of warfare will in times of real peril make it manifest that they have not built upon the solid rock; {6T 400.3}

Weapons of warfare in regards to people fighting each other. She is not talking about taking up weapons of warfare in war. If we pick up the dragon’s teeth, if we pick up the activity of fighting each other, then this we will reap.

Some who are now ready to take up weapons of warfare will in times of real peril make it manifest that they have not built upon the solid rock; they will yield to temptation. Those who have had great light and precious privileges, but have not improved them, will, under one pretext or another, go out from us. Not having received the love of the truth, they will be taken in the delusions of the enemy; they will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, and will depart from the faith. But, on the other hand, when the storm of persecution really breaks upon us, the true sheep will hear the true Shepherd’s voice. Self-denying efforts will be put forth to save the lost, and many who have strayed from the fold will come back to follow the great Shepherd. The people of God will draw together and present to the enemy a united front. In view of the common peril, strife for supremacy will cease; there will be no disputing as to who shall be accounted greatest. No one of the true believers will say: “I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas.” The testimony of one and all will be: “I cleave unto Christ; I rejoice in Him as my personal Saviour.” Thus will the truth be brought into practical life. {6T 400.3}

The truth is to be brought into practical life. What is the practicality of it? The perfect love which we can see in this statement, cleaving to Jesus, rejoicing together in the truth unitedly.

Thus will the truth be brought into practical life, and thus will be answered the prayer of Christ, uttered just before His humiliation and death: “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” {6T 401.1}

Do you see how that unity takes place? As the storm thickens harder, it is like the disciples who were fighting each other, but who then were trying to protect themselves and then they were in unity and Jesus came into their midst.

The love of Christ, the love of our brethren, will testify to the world that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him. Then will the message of the third angel swell to a loud cry, and the whole earth will be lightened with the glory of the Lord. {6T 401.1}

What is the loud cry? It is when the church has the love of Christ and the love of our brethren. The greatest peril is to lose that love. This description has been playing out in front of us ever since the First World War. From 1888 to the First and Second World War, the description of this awful work of the third angel in the harvest time, of souls taking position, has been taking place.

Micah 7:1 Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: [there is] no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit. 2 The good [man] is perished out of the earth: and [there is] none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. 3 That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge [asketh] for a reward; and the great [man], he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up. 4 The best of them [is] as a brier: the most upright [is sharper] than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen [and] thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity. 5 Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. 6 For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies [are] the men of his own house.

There is the summary of everything we have been reading. It’s talking about the harvest, the summer fruits. The harvest has been harvested. As it also says in Jeremiah 8:20, the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and here it is, I’m left on my own, I can’t find the harvest anymore.

If this picture with all its ramifications touches us, if we pay attention to it and we can see, oh dear, I’ve sown something there that wasn’t quite so good and I’m experiencing some consequences, in my own sowing I am now reaping something. Is it too late now seeing we are living in the reaping time? Some people may say, you’re saying I’m a tare! Well do I have to be a tare? Do I have to be somebody that has to be identified with the very things that we have read? Do I have to succumb to that? What shall we do in this time of harvesting when it looks like it’s all over?

The following is addressed to a brother who has sown tares in his life:

You will have to make a clean track behind you by thorough confession. You need a thorough conversion–a transformation of self by the renewing of your mind. Your self-esteem must be overcome. You must learn to esteem others better than yourself. Your exalted opinion of your own acquirements must be given up, and you must obtain a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. {2T 301.1}

You have possessed a spirit which has led you from the path of rectitude, and now you are troubled. Doubts, and fears, and despair seize you. There is but one way out, and that is by the way of confession. Your only hope is in falling on the Rock and being broken to pieces; if you do not, it will surely fall upon you and grind you to powder. You can now right your wrongs; you can now redeem the past. By a life of goodness and true humility you can yet walk with acceptance before God in your family. May the Lord help you, in view of the judgment, to work as for your life. Dear brother, I feel deeply interested for you. You have been walking in darkness for some time. You have not arrived at your present state of darkness all at once. You have been leaving the light gradually. You first became exalted, and then, as you felt sufficient in your own strength, the Lord removed His strength from you. {2T 301.2}

I thank God for the Spirit of prophecy that in the midst of everything that we see, there are still rays of light that keep on shining to capture us to recover ourselves. Before it is all too late.

May God help us so that we can stand in this time of reaping because there is such a thing as in the desert when the rain falls and the seeds have been lying dormant, to have the seeds growing and sprouting again very, very quickly. This is still possible for us today. If we will practice the spirit of thorough confession, it is remarkable what God can do. This is for us to do individually and personally. No one else can do it for us.

Isaiah 63:1 Who [is] this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this [that is] glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2 Wherefore [art thou] red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?

This takes place in the harvest and it is a description of Jesus in Revelation 19 on horseback in His garment drenched in blood.

Isaiah 63:3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people [there was] none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. 4 For the day of vengeance [is] in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.

In this time of harvest, the day of vengeance is in His heart and the year of His redeemed.

Isaiah 63:5 And I looked, and [there was] none to help; and I wondered that [there was] none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. 6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.

I am awestruck with the way that God speaks. He brings together in one stroke of a pen the picture of His sacrifice of love and the harvest of those who would not absorb His beautiful love. But for those that do, He says that this is the year of His redeemed versus those who would not help.

It is now for us to respond in these last days of earth’s history where we are reaping the things that we have sown, dissension and self.

Satan will invent every possible device that he may attract the attention of the people from the issue that is just before us. He will seek to make confusion among us, causing the expression of various different opinions so that the people of God shall not be found in their proper position, {15MR 81.2}

What is their proper position?

…confessing their sins and afflicting their souls, that they may have a living experience in the things of God. {15MR 81.2}

Satan wants them to become confused, and that’s what we need to understand, so that we can understand where we stand, and so we can be in the right place together.

May the Lord help us to be those whom He declares the redeemed. It’s our choice. We’ve been given the beautiful lineup of what we must do.

You will have to make a clean track behind you by thorough confession. You need a thorough conversion–a transformation of self by the renewing of your mind. … Your only hope is in falling on the Rock and being broken to pieces; if you do not, it will surely fall upon you and grind you to powder. {2T 301.1-2}

God grant us a response that will bring a happy harvest.


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Posted on 27/03/2014, in Facing Last Day Perils (Conference), The Harvest. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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