The Great Feasts of the Bible — The Harvest Feast

The feasts in the sacrificial system all symbolized important events in the plan of salvation. The first feast, Passover, was intended to reveal, in miniature, the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The second feast was called Pentecost, and was a type of Christ’s resurrection. It was a pledge that all who died in the faith of the atoning sacrifice would be resurrected to eternal life when Jesus comes the second time. The third feast, which is called the Feast of the Harvest, was to portray the glorious celebration that will soon take place when the wedding between Christ and His church is finally consummated.

“In the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees and the willow of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generation: Ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days.” Leviticus 23:39–43.

“The Feast of the Tabernacles was not only commemorative but typical. It not only pointed back to the wilderness sojourn, but, as the Feast of the Harvest, it celebrated the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, and pointed forward to the great day of final ingathering, when the Lord of the harvest shall send forth His reapers to gather the tares together in bundles for the fire, and to gather the wheat into His garner. At that time the wicked will all be destroyed. They will become ‘as though they had not been.’ Obadiah 16. And every voice in the whole universe will unite in joyful praise to God, says the revelator. ‘Every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory. and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.’ Revelation 5:13.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 541.

In order to comprehend how this feast will affect you and me, we must understand the preparations being made which began the moment the Christian church was born. Christ commanded, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:19, 20.

To obey this command a divine power was needed, by His church, so that it could shake the world. Remember that God never gives a command without providing the power. “The Pentecostal outpouring was heaven’s communication that the Redeemer’s inauguration was accomplished.” Acts of the Apostles, 39. Pentecost provided the church with power so that it could give the gospel to the whole world in one generation. “The commission that Christ gave to the disciples, they fulfilled. As these messengers of the cross went forth to proclaim the gospel, there was such a revelation of the glory of God as had never before been witnessed by mortal man. By the cooperation of the divine spirit, the apostles did a work that shook the world. To every nation was the gospel carried in a single generation.” Ibid., 593.

Imagine unlearned men becoming mighty in the truth as they were filled with the Holy Ghost. They were anointed with divine power and could speak fluently their mother tongue. But more, “They could now proclaim the truths of the gospel abroad, speaking with accuracy the languages of those for whom they were laboring. This miraculous gift was a strong evidence to the world that their commission bore the signet of heaven. From this time forth the language of the disciples was pure, simple, and accurate, whether they spoke in their native tongue or in a foreign language.” Ibid., 40.

This will happen again during the Loud Cry when Pentecost will be repeated with even greater power. “It is with earnest longing that I look forward to the time when the events of the day of Pentecost shall be repeated with even greater power than on that occasion. John says, ‘I saw another angel come from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.’ Then, as at the Pentecostal season, the people will hear the truths spoken to them, every man in his own tongue. God can breath new life into every soul that sincerely desires to serve Him, and can touch the lips with a live coal from off the altar, and cause them to become eloquent with His praise. Thousands of voices will be imbued with the power to speak forth the wonderful truths of God’s word. The stammering tongue will be unloosened, and the timid will be made strong to bear courageous testimony to the truth. May the Lord help His people to cleanse the soul temple from every defilement, and to maintain such a close connection with Him that they may be partakers of the Latter Rain when it shall be poured out.” The Review and Herald, July 20, 1886.

Those humble disciples at Pentecost became submerged in the depths of God’s love. They believed that their Saviour was alive and that He alone possessed the keys to hell and death. This gospel of the crucified and risen Saviour electrified their every action. Jehovah was their God, His honor their honor, and His trust their trust. God anointed such surrender with heavenly oil, which made it possible for them to preach the gospel with such power. “Priests and rulers trembled. Conviction and anguish seized the people. ‘They were pricked in their heart, and said . . . Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ . . . The traditions and superstitions inculcated by the priests were swept away from their minds, and the teachings of the Saviour were accepted.” The Acts of the Apostles, 43, 44.


History of the Church Prophesied


Divine prophecy portrayed step by step the outcome of this work, as outlined in the seven seals of Revelation 6. Here, the Christian church is described from Pentecost to the final harvest. “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” Revelation 6:2. A white horse reveals the purity of the gospel maintained by men who knew it by personal experience with Jesus. They could say: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life.” 1 John 1:1. For sixty-nine years, from A.D. 31 to 100 A.D., the Christian church went forth conquering and to conquer.

“And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” Revelation 6:4. Here we see the mystery of iniquity infiltrating the Christian church, while it was still in its infancy. Thus its purity, represented by white, slowly changes to red as the union of church and state comes into being.

“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” Revelation 6:5, 6.

Black portrays the depth of apostasy that took place during Papal control from 325 to 538 A.D. Paganism was merged with “Christianity:” “Confiding then in the power of Christianity to resist the infection of evil and to transmute the very instruments and appendages of demon worship to an evangelical use, the rulers of the church were prepared to adopt, to imitate or sanction the existing rites and customs of the populace as well as the philosophy of the educated class. We are told by Josephus and Constantine in order to recommend the new religion to the heathen transferred into it, the outward ornaments to which they had been accustomed, the use of temples and these dedicated to particular saints and ornamented on occasion with branches of trees, incense, lamps and candles, votive offerings on recovery from illness, holy water, asylums, holy days and seasons, use of calendars, possessions, blessings on the field, sacerdotal vestments, the touchier, the shaving of the head, the ring in marriage, turning to the east, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant are all of pagan origin and sanctified by their adoption into the church.” John Henry Newman, The Development of Christian Doctrine, 371–373.

“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” Revelation 6:8.

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, Holy and True, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” Revelation 6:9, 10. This is a description of the Dark Ages, from 538 to 1798 A.D.

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.” Revelation 6:12, 13.

In fulfillment of this prophecy, the great Lisbon earthquake took place on November 1, 1755. This was the mightiest earthquake ever recorded in history. Next there was a dark day on May 17, 1780. That very night the moon appeared as blood. Finally the falling of the stars took place on November 13, 1833.

The next event prophesied is the Second Coming of Christ. “And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains. And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:14–17.


Silence in Heaven


“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” Revelation 8:1. Since a day equals one year in prophetic time, and a day contains twenty-four hours, one hour would represent about fifteen days, and half an hour would be about seven days. This silence in heaven for about seven days, will be when Christ is coming in the clouds of heaven with all His angels to gather His saints. The Feast of the Harvest was also to last seven days. So, you can easily see from both the Old and the New Testament that the event of Christ’s Second Coming will require about seven days.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written that no man knew, but He himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:11–16.

In this harvest process, the angels will gather the remnant saints who are living and the resurrected saints who have been resurrected, making possible a glorious celebration of the final harvest feast. Seven days are set apart by God for this occasion. “Ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days.” Leviticus 23:39.

“The feast of the harvest celebrated the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, and pointed forward to the great day of final ingathering, when the Lord of the harvest shall send forth His reapers to gather the tares together in bundles for the fire, and to gather the wheat into His garner.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 541.

The whole universe will participate in this celebration. Do we plan to participate in this thrilling event? If so, there are some serious preparations that we must make now; for probation ends a short time before the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven. When this moment arrives, Christ will pronounce that, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I come quickly and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:11, 12.

What will be taking place on the earth at this time? “The righteous and the wicked will still be living upon the earth in their mortal state—men will be planting and building; eating and drinking, all unconscious that the final, irrevocable decision has been pronounced in the sanctuary above.” The Great Controversy, 491.

Seven days before the flood Noah and his family entered the ark. Then, God shut him in and shut the ungodly out. For seven days the people, not knowing that their doom was fixed, continued their careless, pleasure-loving lives and mocked the warnings of impending judgment. “So,” says the Savior, “shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.”

“Watch ye therefore: . . . lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping.” Mark 13:35, 36. “Perilous is the condition of those who, growing weary of their watch, turn to the attractions of the world. While the man of business is absorbed in the pursuit of gain, while the pleasure lover is seeking indulgence, while the daughter of fashion is arranging her adornments—it may be in that hour the Judge of all earth will pronounce the sentence: ‘Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.’ Daniel 5:27.” The Great Controversy, 491.


Protection from Deception


We thank God that He has not left us helpless, He has unmasked Satan’s final moves. “Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God’s people from the present truth and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth and was pure in heart was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty.

“Satan knew this, and he was at work in mighty power to keep the minds of as many people as he possibly could wavering and unsettled on the truth . . . I saw that Satan was working through agents in a number of ways. He was at work through ministers who have rejected the truth and are given over to strong delusions to believe a lie that they might be damned. While they were preaching or praying, some would fall prostrate and helpless, not by the power of the Holy Ghost, but by the power of Satan breathed upon these agents, and through them to the people. While preaching, praying, or conversing, some professed Adventists who have rejected present truth used mesmerism to gain adherents, and the people would rejoice in this influence, for they thought it was the Holy Ghost.” Early Writings, 43.

We see this happening in the churches of Babylon today, but how sad to learn that this false revival will take place in some of our Adventist churches also. “I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God’s people, just now in the sealing time. I saw some who are not standing stiffly for present truth. Their knees were trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not firmly planted on the truth, and the covering of the Almighty God could not be drawn over them while they were thus trembling.” Early Writings, 44.

In order to be protected during this time, we must be covered by God. We are told that this covering of the Almighty consists of two garments: the righteousness of justification, which is imputed and the righteousness of sanctification, which is imparted. If we are to participate in the wedding activities, each of us must put on this wedding garment.

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And He said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” Revelation 19:7–9.

God calls this experience the sealing process. Under the power of the latter rain, the daily struggle to overcome sin will finally be realized and our characters will become like Christ. We will be sealed and enrobed in Christ’s righteousness, making it possible for the angels to separate the wheat from the tares. Then the angels will gather the sealed saints to the wedding with their Saviour to be united with Christ for eternity. When this has happened, the greatest Harvest Celebration will be held throughout the universe.

Let your mind imagine what this tremendous occasion will be like. We will meet loved ones again, who have been separated from us by death for years, nevermore to part. Our guardian angels will tell us of the many times we have been saved from the power of destroying angels. Imagine sitting down with Bible characters such as Peter, Abraham, David, Moses and Noah, Adam and Eve, and listening to the thrilling stories of their salvation? Can you fathom beholding a city three hundred seventy-five miles square with streets of pure gold and little children spreading their wings to fly to the top of the transparent walls? Can you conceive what it will be like to have the eternal vigor of youth never again to experience sickness, pain or death? What a thrill it will be to eat of the tree of life, and to drink from the river of life.

Have you ever dreamed what it will be like to take the hand of Jesus? And to see and feel the marks of the crucifixion and to look into that face of love and be invited to sit with Him on His throne? You will never cease to praise His holy name. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. Let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17