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The first harvest

The first harvest Written by Bill Bradford

The first harvest

Today many will gather together to worship on the Day of Pentecost or the Day of the Firstfruits. I plan to celebrate this momentous occasion with my family and the brethren of the Brisbane congregation.

Firstfruits (or Pentecost, as it is named in the New Testament) is a Feast of one day, but signifying a very important part of God’s plan. It is the second of three feasts, to be kept in their seasons. The seasons of the year corresponds with the harvests in Israel. The first harvest began during the Feast of Unleavened Bread and continued until Pentecost. Pentecost or Firstfruits completed the first harvest, then, in the end of the (harvest) year, there was the Feast of Ingathering (Tabernacles, and the Holy Days of the seventh month) which was the season they gathered in all the fruits of their labors from the field.

Exodus 23:14-16

Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year .... You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread .... and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.

The children of Israel were unaware of the greater meaning of these feasts of the Lord. To them the meaning was the representation of the harvests, and it would remind them of the blessings God would bestow on them in the harvest. This was their life -- to rely on God for these blessings, and to love Him and worship Him because He was the Lord their God in all things ... their progeny, their sustenance, their health, and protection from their enemies.

Jesus spoke of a different kind of harvest. “Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors" (John 4:35-38).

This is the harvest of people who will enter His Kingdom as the children of God. The same principles apply to this kind of harvest. Someone has to sow, someone has to labor in the field; someone has to reap.

The first harvest is a smaller harvest than the one to follow. It is a harvest from the fields and in the storehouses before the greater harvest of Ingathering that comes later. These seasons give a structure to how God is offering His salvation to mankind -- in their seasons. Pentecost gives us the opportunity to explore why He is offering salvation in this way. It is an amazing plan and a mystery that few know about.

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  • About the Author

    Bill Bradford

    Bill Bradford

    Bill Bradford is a contributor to United Church of God publications in addition to being the pastor for several United Church of God congregations in Queensland, Australia.

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