ALL THINGS IN CHRIST
In all wisdom and prudence making known to us the mystery of His will according to His
good pleasure which He purposed in Him the plan for the fullness of the times
TO HEAD UP THE ALL THINGS IN THE CHRIST ,
the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth, in Him ….
(Ephesians 1:8b-10)
By – Stuart H. Pouliot
Article #62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
This article is an edited compilation of chapters 12 and 13 of the book The Ultimate Purpose of
God .
"Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me. "You shall observe the Feast of
Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at
the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear
before Me empty-handed. "Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits
of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of
the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field. (Exodus 23:14-16 NASB)
God established three feasts for ancient Israel to celebrate commemorating historical events in
their wilderness journey into the land of promise. Passover commemorated their departure
from Egypt after applying the blood of a slain lamb on their doorposts and lintels. Pentecost
commemorated God descending and appearing upon Mount Sinai in Arabia to give them the
Law. Tabernacles commemorated the day they were supposed to enter the Promised Land but
failed to do so. Today, apparent Jews celebrate these feasts as well as several other holidays.
However, it is important to realize that these feasts are far greater than annual celebrations, for
they represent God's plan for all mankind. Thus, we need to see them as prophetic historical
events that will unfold until all things come into God's grand creation jubilee when all debts are
cancelled and all are set free into the glory of the children (sons) of God. Through these feasts,
we understand God's plan for man on an individual level, for the Body of Christ on a corporate
level, and for the nations as a whole. This plan is the Harvest of the Kingdom!
In order to put these feasts in the proper perspective, it is best to start with Paul's first epistle
to the Corinthians in which he lays out a defense for the resurrection, not only of Christ but of
all mankind. In other words, we need to start at the cross (death) and the empty tomb
(resurrection) in order to understand the feasts and the harvests associated with them. The key
to our understanding is found in these words of Paul: In Adam all die, and in Christ all live, but
each in their own order. This is a truth that has been lost and that needs to be recovered in our
day. But before looking at what Paul teaches on this matter, there is an equally important truth
that precedes this one.
(14) For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all , therefore
all died ; (15) and He died for all , so that they who live might no longer live for themselves,
but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NASB)
1
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
Paul tells us that Christ died for all and in His death, we, meaning all mankind, also died. In
other words, when Christ died, He took the old man of Adam that is in all of us with Him into
the grave, legally speaking. If everyone of the old man died with Christ, how is anyone going to
come to life before God? If the old nature has been dealt with, how does anyone come to life?
On the surface, this appears to be a hopeless situation, for if all have been made to die in Christ,
then how will anyone come alive again, at least in the eyes of God? The answer is in Christ.
Years ago, I had a picture of myself in a grave looking up. How was I going to get out of this
grave? There was no way I could do it on my own. But then Jesus showed up. He alone rescued
me from the grave. This is the same picture for all mankind. It is not based on whether we
believe or not, for all mankind from Adam to the last one born of his race were taken into the
grave over 2,000 years ago, whether believer or not. As Paul wrote: For while we were still
helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). The helpless cannot help
themselves; the dead cannot get themselves up out of the grave, for the dead know nothing
whatsoever. There is only one way out of death, and it is through God's Son.
Paul went on to state that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who
died and rose again on their behalf. But on whose behalf did He rise again? Was it not for all
mankind? If all died, then He died for all, meaning He died on the behalf of all. However, it is
true that in this age, many do not live for Him; nevertheless, this does not change the truth of
His death for all. Besides, there are believers walking on earth today that do not live for Christ,
just as there are unbelievers. Consequently, faith does not enter into this equation of one death
for all and one death leads to the death of all.
Now, the question is, how does all mankind come into life? In some respects, Paul does not
make it clear in the above verses. He implies that some live, but what about the rest of the
dead? Do they not come alive, or are they stuck in the grave, physically (mortal body) or
spiritually (lacking the Holy Spirit)?
Further, if by His one death all were brought into death, then who among the dead has the
power to overcome death? How does anyone overcome the power of the grave? No one in
history has been able to do this on their own.
What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.
(Psalms 89:48 NASB)
Paul gives us the answer to this riddle or enigma in his defense of the resurrection, as recorded
in 1 Corinthians 15, which, perhaps, is one of the greatest chapters in the whole Bible, for here
Paul gives mankind the hope of resurrection into immortality. Let us consider his teaching.
Hope of Resurrection
(13) But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; (14) and if
Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. (15) Moreover
we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He
raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. (16) For if the dead are
2
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
not raised, not even Christ has been raised; (17) and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is
worthless; you are still in your sins. (18) Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have
perished. (19) If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
(1 Corinthians 15:13-19 NASB)
Paul makes the case that everything hinges on the resurrection of Christ from the dead. If He
was not raised, then mankind has no hope and believers in this age have a worthless faith. If
Jesus was not raised up, then we have no hope of resurrection and the believers that died, that
is, fell asleep in Christ are gone, for they will never rise up from the grave in new bodies.
Christ the First Fruits
(20) But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
(21) For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. (1
Corinthians 15:20-21 NASB)
But here is the good news; Christ is the first fruits of those who are asleep, that is, of the dead.
Keep in mind that Paul wrote this after the resurrection of Christ; therefore, according to this
great apostle, even those who died in faith are still asleep; they are still in the state of death,
asleep and waiting for the promise of resurrection. This is our hope!
Before proceeding, I want to offer a brief word about death. Christians are taught that people
either die and go to heaven or they die and go to hell in an afterlife. This is not the gospel.
Death is described as a sleep so that all of us, believer or not, upon death fall asleep. Moses,
Jesus, and Paul are all in agreement on this. It did not change after the cross as so many teach.
Consider what Moses had to say about death.
(3) You turn man back into dust And say, "Return, O children of men." (4) For a thousand
years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night. (5) You
have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; in the morning they are like grass which
sprouts anew. (6) In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; toward evening it fades and
withers away. (Psalms 90:3-6 NASB)
Upon death, man returns to the soil of the earth from which he came in the first place. He
might remain dead for a thousand years, but it will seem like it was just yesterday when man
awakens from his sleep in either the first or the second resurrection. Jesus told His disciples
that Lazarus was asleep and, when they did not understand, He declared he was dead (John
11:11, 14). Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that the dead in Christ sleep (1 Thessalonians 4:13-
16).
Now, returning to Paul. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul gives us an equation. Since by the man Adam
came death, so also by the man Christ comes the resurrection of the dead, which means all
mankind are destined to come out of the state of sleep. We know this is what he meant, for he
states it very clearly in verse 22.
3
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
When Christ was raised from among the dead, He became the first fruits of all the dead. Christ
was raised from all the dead and is now immortal, for death has no more power over Him.
Further, Christ is the firstborn from among the dead so that He might have the preeminence or
first place in all things (Colossians 1:18). Essentially, Christ is first in everything, including being
the first to be born again through resurrection from among all the dead that lie in the earth,
and, as such, Christ is in a class all by Himself. We could say that He is the first class in all things.
Then, Paul states the same verity that he wrote in Romans 5 that death came through one man
but life or resurrection of the dead comes through a Man as well. We should not overlook the
import of Paul's reference that the resurrection of the dead comes through Christ. There is a
difference between being resurrected from the dead and the resurrection of the dead. The
former means that some are raised up but many remain in the state of death, whereas the
latter means no one remains in the state of death. Resurrection of the dead speaks of all the
dead rising out of the state of death.
It is fascinating that many Christians in our day do not understand the difference between from
the dead and of the dead. They are not alone for the disciples did not understand it either.
(9) As they were coming down from the mountain, He gave them orders not to relate to
anyone what they had seen, until the Son of Man rose from the dead. (10) They seized upon
that statement, discussing with one another what rising from the dead meant. (Mark 9:9-10
NASB)
So, when Paul wrote by a man also came the resurrection of the dead , we can be sure that he
was not writing of the first resurrection but of the second or general resurrection in which the
rest of the dead come alive after 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4-6).
In Adam, All Die
For as in Adam all die… (1 Corinthians 15:22a)
Could Paul state it any clearer ? In Adam, all die or all are dying (CV). Take note of the word all .
Can anyone dispute that all born of Adam's race, whether one believes in Christ or not, will die
one day, unless one happens to be in the company of believers alive on earth when He comes
the second time? But, even in reference to the "alive and remain" ones, this verse applies, for
all are dying, which is the way the Concordant Literal NT translates it: In Adam, all are dying!
When we are born, we all enter into a process of dying that leads to physical death one day.
Paul makes no exceptions to this death sentence. Notice that Paul does not say all who are in
Adam or the lost in Adam. He simply states that in Adam, all are dying, just as through one man
death came to all men (Romans 5:12). The fact that all die a physical death places all in Adam in
respect to death.
4
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
In Christ, All Made Alive
… so also in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22b)
Next, Paul states that in Christ, shall all be vivified (CV) or made alive . Again, here is the word
all . Who are we to exclude from this all? Paul makes no distinction between a believer and an
unbeliever. Not one single person of Adam's race had any say in the "death sentence" of all;
that is, so-called free will never entered into it. Why do we think it is any different with the
"sentence of life" through Christ? There are no exclusions in this all . If all are in Adam, does it
not follow that all must be in Christ, eventually, as well? Of course, logic dictates that it follows.
This is God's "life sentence" for all!
This truth needs to be restored in the ecclesia of God; it is essential for understanding Paul's
hope of resurrection for all.
Each in Their Own Order [Troop, Rank]
In the next set of verses, Paul establishes that in reference to being resurrected from the state
of death, there are several classes of people and each class will be raised in its own respective
order. Christ stands alone in His own class as the first in all things, including resurrection from
the dead. However, just as He cannot be the Firstborn without other brethren to follow, so to
He cannot be the First Fruit without a full harvest of other crops or fruit to follow.
(23) But each in his own order [ tagma ; troop ] : Christ [ christos ; anointed ] the first fruits, after
that those who are Christ's at His coming, (24) then comes the end [ telos ; consummation ] ,
when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and
all authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:23-24 NASB)
Now, here is an important key to our understanding the revelation given to Paul―mankind will
be resurrected according to order or rank. Paul makes an important distinction that all will not
be made alive at the same time but each in their own order, class, or troop. It is about TIMING.
Paul brings the same concept into light in reference to Christ being the ransom for all , the
testimony given at the proper [appointed] time (1 Timothy 2:6).
In the Greek, the word for proper order is tagma , which refers to "something orderly in
arrangement (a troop), that is, (figuratively) a series or succession:- order."
In his defense of the resurrection, not only of Christ but of all mankind, Paul likens it to a
harvest of crops. Just as a farmer harvests different kinds of crops at different times of the
harvest season, so will God harvest mankind through resurrection . Consequently, troops or
classes of people are raised in order, the first being a first fruits that follow in the likeness of
Christ, which is similar to a barley harvest , or what could be called the cream of the crop,
followed by a more general harvest, which is similar to a wheat harvest , and concluding with
the final harvest of all that is left, which is similar to a grape harvest .
5
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
This same picture is given to us by John in his Patmos vision as recorded in Revelation 14. The
takeaway from this vision is that John saw the first fruits of God and the Lambkin as signified by
the 144,000, the conquerors. Then he saw a harvest of wheat, the rest of the church; and then
he saw a harvest or crushing of the grapes, the nations or the rest of mankind.
To reiterate, Christ is in a class or order all by Himself. He is the First Fruit and the Firstborn and,
as such, no one else is included with Him. His resurrection is unique in the sense that He is the
first Man to put off mortality and put on immortality. As Paul wrote to Timothy: He is the King
of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality (1 Timothy 6:15-16).
Three Troops
But each in his own order [ tagma ; troop ] : Christ the FIRST fruits, AFTER that those who are
Christ's at His coming, THEN COMES THE END …. [emphasis added]
In verses 23-24, Paul identifies three troops using the words first , after , and then the end . The
first fruits are the first troop; after them comes the second troop of those who belong to Christ
at His coming; and then between His coming and the end is a third troop of the ones who are
subjected to Christ. Actually, the end is punctuated by the rest of mankind being changed in to
immortality. Paul does not identify the third troop directly in this verse; this is seen in verses
25-27 in the subjection of all things, ta panta .
First Fruit Anointed
But each in his own order [ tagma ; troop ] : Christ [ christos ; anointed ] the first fruits….
At first glance, it might appear that Paul is simply repeating the fact that Christ is the first in the
order, but it is doubtful that this is the proper understanding because he first establishes
Christ's unique place and then takes up all being made alive. Follow Paul's logic to see that each
in his own order refers back to in Christ shall all be made alive . In other words, it refers to all
mankind that die, not to Christ Himself. Besides, Jesus is an individual, not a troop.
Then, who are Christ the first fruits ? Some see this as referring to those who were resurrected
immediately after Jesus rose from the dead. However, neither Scripture nor the historical
record offers proof that this group was raised to anything other than mortal life; thus, they died
again and did not enter immortal life at that time. After all, to repeat Paul's words, the King
alone possesses immortality , and Jesus Himself, as the Son of Man, tells us: "No one [man] has
ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man" (John 3:13).
The answer seems to be revealed in the phrase Christ the first fruits .
The word Christ can also be translated as the word anointed . Rewording the verse yields the
phrase "anointed first fruits." This point is made in the English Sublinear of the Concordant
Greek Text , for it calls the first group in Paul's list "firstfruit anointed."
6
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
Also, the Greek word for Christ comes from the Greek word christos . Generally, when christos is
not accompanied by the definite article the , it could simply mean "anointed" and apply to
anyone (e.g., priests, kings) and not specifically to Christ our Lord. It only follows that if Christ
Himself is a first fruit, there are other first fruits to follow. In harvesting crops, a farmer picks a
crop of several pieces of fruit and declares it to be his first fruits. In fact, each type of crop has
first fruits to come forth before the main harvest of the rest of the crop. So then, who is
included in the anointed first fruits?
One of the most common interpretations of the identity of this troop is that it comprises all
who have believed on Jesus. However, there is another interpretation that seems to be more in
line with Scripture.
Those who conquer through Christ and His love are the first fruits. They are the ones counted
worthy to attain to the oncoming eon to reign with Christ. They are sons of the resurrection
(Luke 20:34-36; Revelation 20:4-6). They are the first called according to the plan of God to be
conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).
Not all who believe in our age are conquerors. Many have secured immortal life, but not all
have secured eonian life to reign with Christ in His coming Kingdom. It is a matter of TIMING.
Consequently, the anointed first fruits , most likely, refers to those who attain to the out-
resurrection that Paul sought to attain (Philippians 3:11 WAET), the first or former resurrection
that John saw in his Patmos vision (Revelation 20:5-6), and the better resurrection that is
accounted to the ones who gained approval through their faith but did not receive what was
promised (Hebrews 11:39). Hebrews 11 lists the many that walked by faith and conquered in
their day.
Those considered worthy of the first , better, or out- resurrection are ones who will have
conquered while they lived in their bodies of death. How will they have conquered? They will
have conquered through grace, faith, and love.
Paul declared: We are more than conquering through Him Who loves us (Romans 8:37 CV).
How do we conquer? We do it through love―love for our God and Savior, love for one another,
and love for our enemies. If we love, we also forgive, including our enemies that do us much
harm, for this is what we are commanded to do (Matthew 5:44; 6:14). If we want to be in the
out-resurrection , we must love, obey, forgive, and endure, and this is done by laying down our
lives even unto death, if necessary.
They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they
did not love their lives in the face of death. (Revelation 12:11 HCSB)
These believers overwhelmingly conquer through the One Who loves us; they will be priests of
God and of Christ, and they will reign with Christ for 1,000 years. This is the anointed first fruits
troop of the Lord. Let us conquer while it is still day and before the midnight shout goes forth
that the Bridegroom has come!
7
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
After That, Christ's at His Coming
But each in his own order [ tagma ; troop ] : … after that those who are Christ's at His coming….
(1 Corinthians 15:23 NASB)
The next troop to be made alive through resurrection is identified by Paul as those who belong
to Christ when He comes [ parousia; presence ]. This raises the question of the timing of Christ's
coming.
Now, if the first fruits resurrection is the first resurrection , and this occurs at the end of our
present eon, then there must be a second resurrection that occurs 1,000 years later; a
resurrection of the just and the unjust when most of mankind must stand in the presence of the
Lord at His Great White Throne. This group includes believers (the just) that were not included
in the first resurrection or out-resurrection . The just will have believed in Jesus but did not
conquer through His life; thus, they were not anointed first fruits. They will be saved, yet so as
through fire (1 Corinthians 3:15), and they will enter into immortality. The unbelievers (the
unjust) will be cast in the lake of fire for a season of correction and restitution, but they too,
one day, will come out of the second death to enter the glory of God as all mankind, and even
creation, enters into the Grand Jubilee of all. Thus, the second group to be resurrected is the
rest of mankind that must appear in the presence of Christ.
Many acknowledge that there are two resurrections separated by about 1,000 years. However,
many also see the general resurrection for only the unbeliever or the wicked, based on Jesus'
words in the gospel of John.
(28) "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear
His voice, (29) and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life ,
those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment ." (John 5:28-29 NASB)
It is often assumed that this refers to the two resurrections, separated by the millennial reign.
But Jesus clearly referred to an hour, which in Scripture refers to a specific point in time; and at
that hour, all who are in the tombs, meaning they are dead, which is a state of
unconsciousness, will be awakened from their sleep. Those who have done the good deeds will
be resurrected to life and those who have done the evil deeds will be resurrected to judgment.
This is in keeping with what the Jews of Jesus' day believed. Jesus was not trying to correct
them but confirming what they already knew. The Jews believed that there was one general
resurrection in which both the righteous and the wicked will be resurrected at the same time
but with different outcomes. We see this in the conversation between Jesus and Martha when
Jesus said Lazarus would rise again. Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the
resurrection on the last day" (John 11:23-24). Paul, in defense of his evangel, also referred to
the general resurrection.
(14) "But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the
God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written
8
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
in the Prophets; (15) having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there
shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked ." (Acts 24:14-15 NASB)
To Paul, it was a resurrection, which means he referred to only one resurrection of the
righteous and the wicked. Both Daniel and John saw this resurrection.
(9) "I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His
vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze
with flames, its wheels were a burning fire. (10) A river of fire was flowing and coming out
from before Him; thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads
were standing before Him; the court sat, and the books were opened." (Daniel 7:9-10 NASB)
(11) Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth
and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. (12) And I saw the dead, the great
and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was
opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were
written in the books, according to their deeds. … (15) And if anyone's name was not found
written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-12, 15 NASB)
Thus, the first resurrection is only for those who have conquered; they will come to life and
reign with Christ, with the second death having no power over them (Revelation 2:11). But the
resurrection Daniel and John saw is unto judgment, judgment by the fiery law of God. Some of
those appearing before the Great White Throne, which was ablaze with flames and with a river
of fire flowing forth into a lake, were seen as destined for judgment through the second death.
For them, it is a resurrection of judgment. But there are obviously others standing before the
throne whose names are recorded in the Book of Life . For them, it is a resurrection of life,
immortal life for all who believe.
It is recognized that mainline thinking says that none of the righteous can or will appear before
the Great White Throne because all the righteous must rise in the first resurrection. But they
fail to see that believers are not promised eonian life in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.
Entering the coming Kingdom and reigning with Christ for 1,000 years is a reward for all who
conquer through Christ, but not all who believe in Jesus in this eon conquer (Luke 12:45-59;
14:13-14). Everyone is promised immortal life , but this does not mean that all will receive it at
the same time. Some will have to wait in death until the end of the oncoming eon when the
great and small are resurrected.
Again, as Paul wrote, they will be saved, yet so as through fire. All their carnal, fleshly works will
be burned up, for God is a consuming fire, but they will be saved to enter the Day of God and
the Holy City because their names are recorded in the Book of Life; they are accounted as
righteous because of Christ, but they were not counted worthy to reign over the nations with
Christ in His Kingdom 1,000 years before. They will receive immortal life as promised and enter
the eon of the eons, the last eon revealed to us in Scripture; thus, they too will experience
eonian life. However, it is life in the last eon, not the one that is coming soon. This is not the
better resurrection! But, let us not lose sight of the fact that all will eventually enter into the
presence of God.
9
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
Then Comes the End [Consummation] ― Subjects all
(24) … then comes the end [ telos ; consummation ] , when He hands over the kingdom to the
God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. (25) For He must
reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. (26) The last enemy that will be
abolished is death. (27) For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But
when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all
things in subjection to Him. (28) When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself
also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in
all. (1 Corinthians 15:24-28 NASB)
Paul defines the end in two ways by referring to what could be called controlling entities or
influences over mankind. First, it comes when Jesus has abolished all rule and authority and
power. Second, it comes when the last enemy, death, is abolished. Take note that these entities
are abolished but all others, specifically, a troop of enemies (people), are subjected.
The key to identifying the third troop is discovered in how the Son of God abolishes all rule and
authority. He does it by subjecting all things under His feet so that the Kingdom can be
delivered up to the Father, so that He may be all in all. The verb subject means to place things in
order, to make an orderly arrangement. It is not about casting many into hell, a place of chaos.
When this occurs, it is called the consummation of the eons [ages] .
This third troop will be resurrected but, most likely, not into immortal bodies at this time.
Resurrection does not always automatically lead to transfiguration ( metamorphic change ) at
the same time. For example, Lazarus was resurrected but later died. I believe they will be much
like believers are today. We have passed out of death into life, but we have yet to attain to
immortal bodies. They will require immortality, but to receive this, they must be chastened and
purified in the lake of fire, which represents God's divine law, the standard by which their works
will be judged. They will enter into a second type of death (not physical and definitely not for
torture) that is designed to purify them, so that one day they too will enter into immortality. If
they are not brought out of this second death, then it cannot be declared that death is
abolished. The first death refers to mortality of our physical bodies; the second death refers to
death of works and speaks of Christ's death on the cross, the second Adamic death.
See article #61 The Second Death . http://www.kingdomandglory.com/art/art61.pdf
As long as the second death is active, death in all its forms has not been abolished. If this were
allowed to continue, the Son would not accomplish the work given to Him by His Father. Thus,
His work of the cross would end in failure. But the good news is that once it is abolished, all
creation and all mankind will be beyond death.
But how do we know that the unjust one day will be brought into immortal life? We know it
because Paul declared that Christ must reign until He has subjected all things to Himself. The
ones being subjected to Christ are the unjust or the wicked. In other words, His purpose of
reigning is to subject all things in heaven and on earth to Himself, so that He can then subject
all things, including Himself, to His Father, so that God may be All in all. Notice that the mission
10
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
of the Son of God is not to destroy all things but to subject all things, for the Son of Man did
not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them (Luke 9:56 NASB). It is not His purpose to
destroy or annihilate the unjust but to subject them, so that the Word of God, which does not
return void, is fulfilled.
Scripture is abundantly clear that the all or all things will be subjected to Christ. If we agree
that all is truly all, then there will be nothing excluded from this subjection or, worded in the
positive, everything is included in all things .
Consider this: Paul declared that the creation will be set free from its slavery to corruption
(Romans 8:21). Most people acknowledge this. However, if creation is to be set free, do you
think that God will not set free all mankind that has been in slavery to sin and death; a race
created to be in His image and likeness and to have dominion over the earth? The whole earth
will be filled with the glory of God.
Again, do you think that most of mankind is destined to be left out of this glory, a race that
began in the glory of God? The lion and the lamb will be brought into peace with each other. Do
you think that if God is going to do this with the animal kingdom, He will not do it with mankind
that was created to have dominion? Will He forever be at enmity with what He created to be in
the image of His Son when Paul tells us that He is not reckoning their (the world's) offenses
against them but is reconciling all things in the heavens and on the earth to Himself, having
made peace through the blood of His cross? May God be all in all !
He Purchased the Whole Field
There is more proof along these lines. In the parables of the mysteries of the reign of the
heavens , the Lord Jesus explained that He, as the Son of Man, sowed the good seed in the field,
which He purchased. To redeem the treasure hidden in the field, the Lord bought the entire
field, which is the whole world (Matthew 13:44).
The Lord not only purchased His treasure, which I believe refers to the first fruits anointed
ones, but He also purchased all the crops in the world, which, more than likely, refers to the
rest of mankind. Thus, He purchased the whole world, the field, which means that He possesses
not only His treasure hidden in the field but also all else that the field contains, which must
refer to all mankind.
Psalm 2 confirms this, as the Father decreed to His Son: 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the
nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession' (Psalms 2:8
NASB). Christ possesses all the earth.
The good news is that just as a farmer harvests different kinds of crops at different times of the
harvest season, so will God harvest mankind through resurrection and transfiguration. Again,
there are troops or classes of people raised up in order, the first being a first fruits, a barley
harvest, followed by a more general harvest, a wheat harvest, and concluding with the final
harvest of all that is left, a grape harvest.
11
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
Now, this leads to the three feasts and the harvests associated with each.
As we have seen already, Paul describes three troops of people that will be resurrected, each in
their own order. The first troop is the anointed first fruits or the conquerors from among the
Body of Christ; the second troop is the rest of the Body of Christ, saved, yet so as through fire ;
and the third troop is the bulk of mankind that must be subjected under the reign of Christ
through the lake of fire or second death, which is the judgment of their carnal nature and works
through the fiery law of God.
By identifying the anointed first fruits as the first troop, Paul likened the resurrections of the
troops to an agricultural harvest, starting with the first of the grains, namely, the barley,
followed by the wheat, and concluding with the fruit of the vine.
The first mention of first fruits is found in the second of the three national feasts that the
ancient sons of Israel were called to celebrate unto the Lord after they were delivered out of
Egypt.
"Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what
you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather
in the fruit of your labors from the field. (Exodus 23:16 NASB)
In this case, the first fruits of the harvest pertained to agricultural products. However, first fruits
also pertained to the first to come from the womb of man and animals. The primitive root word
bakar ( Strong's H1069), which means "to bear new fruit, to constitute as first-born" is the
source word for first fruits as well as firstborn or firstlings , which first appears in the account of
Cain and Abel.
Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the
LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering…. (Genesis 4:4 NASB)
In the New Testament, both Paul and James used the term first fruits to convey the thought of
being the first of a much larger whole.
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we
ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of
our body. (Romans 8:23 NASB)
Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first
fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints)…. (1
Corinthians 16:15 NASB)
In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a
kind of first fruits among His creatures. (James 1:18 NASB)
12
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
The key to understanding the first fruits is to realize that they represent the first of a large crop
to follow. Simply, it means more are to follow. The first fruits could be called the pioneers , the
ones who go before all others, forging a way for others to follow.
Those not called among the troop of the first fruits might think jealously of the first fruits as if
they are the privileged ones. However, this is the wrong way to view the first fruits. The fact of
the matter is that, according to God's divine law, they are essential for all the crops to be
brought into the house, to the glory of God. After all, as Paul reminds us: And if the firstfruit is
holy, so is the lump: and if the root is holy, so are the branches (Romans 11:16 ASV).
Pioneer
What is a pioneer? A pioneer is one who opens the way or prepares the way for others to
follow. A pioneer could be called a trailblazer or one who cuts a way through the bush so that
others may follow—one who goes forth into territory not trodden by others, into uncharted
territory. The pioneer leaves the comfort and security of home and willingly pays the cost to go
in and occupy new territory; he puts down his feet and declares that this is a new possession.
There is great cost, peril, danger, and even perplexity for pioneers. But they are obsessed to
make it through to the new land so that others may follow. They are not concerned that those
who follow will not have to pay the same price. They are more concerned that others may enter
into what they have occupied. Pioneers have vision, courage, faith, and a sense of destiny. Their
very life is a testimony. They go out, not knowing where they are going because few, if any,
have gone their way before.
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to
receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8
NASB)
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having
welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on
the earth. (Hebrews 11:13 NASB)
Hebrews 11 reveals that God has had pioneers down through the many centuries. They were
spiritual pioneers who were pioneering a way into the Kingdom of the Heavens —pioneers of
the Kingdom of God. They were so captivated by the heavenly vision that they confessed they
were strangers and exiles on earth. They were no longer an earthly people but a heavenly or
celestial people of whom the world was not worthy (Hebrews 11:32-40). They were wanderers
on earth, always seeking for and reaching toward the goal and the promises of God. They were
looking for God's city, for His country, for His purpose, for His end.
Of course, the Pioneer of all pioneers is our Lord Jesus. Although it may not render the best
translation of the Greek word archegos , which is generally translated prince , leader , or founder ,
the James Moffat Translation (JMT) captures the heart of the matter by using the word pioneer
in relation to Jesus.
13
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
"Pilate had decided to release him, but you repudiated the Holy and Just One; the boon you
asked was a murderer, and you killed the pioneer of Life. (Acts 3:14 JMT)
"God lifted him up to his right hand as pioneer and saviour, in order to grant repentance and
remission of sins to Israel." (Acts 5:31 JMT)
In bringing many sons to glory, it was befitting that He for whom and by whom the universe
exists, should perfect the Pioneer of their salvation by suffering. (Hebrews 2:10 JMT)
To run our appointed course with steadiness, our eyes fixed upon Jesus as the pioneer and
the perfection of faith…. (Hebrews 12:2 JMT)
It is in this vein that Paul reminds us that Christ, the Anointed Son of God, is the firstborn from
the dead , the first fruits of those who are asleep (Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 15:20). Having
suffered the agony and the shame of the cross and being the first man raised from among the
dead to ascend to the throne of God, our Lord Jesus is truly the Pioneer of Life, of Salvation, and
of Faith.
All who willingly lay down their lives daily, dying to self, even suffering in their flesh so that
Christ might live through them are in the likeness of the Christ within them (Colossians 1:27),
and they will be found worthy of the Kingdom to reign with Christ for a thousand years in the
age to come and then in the age(s) beyond (1 Corinthians 9:26-27; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2
Thessalonians 1:5; Revelation 20:4-6).
Truly, Paul had the heart of a pioneer.
(8) More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing
Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but
rubbish so that I may gain Christ, (9) and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of
my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness
which comes from God on the basis of faith, (10) that I may know Him and the power of His
resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; (11) in order
that I may attain to the resurrection [out-resurrection] from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11
NASB [WAET])
The point that needs to be underlined is that the first fruits signify the very beginning of the
harvest season. When the first fruits are called forth, it is truly good news for the rest of
mankind, for it means that God is about to harvest the rest unto Himself, that is, to bring the
rest into His house, each in his own order. Some might have to be harvested in a way that
causes some pain to them individually, but even this is good, for it is God's good and perfect
intention that His entire ( the all) crop be suitable for His house.
14
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
Significance of the Three Feasts
A basic understanding of the significance of the first fruits or pioneers is essential, for it proves
that God is going to bring in a large crop, so large that, by the consummation of the eons, it will
encompass the all of God's creation. Miss this point and the whole of God's ultimate purpose is
missed.
Now, to further understand what could be called the "resurrection" harvests, we need to
consider the three feasts given to ancient Israel. These feasts are also known by other names:
the Feast of Unleavened Bread is Passover ; the Feast of the Harvest is Pentecost ; and the Feast
of the Ingathering is Tabernacles . Leviticus 23 further explains the feasts and adds the Wave-
Sheaf Offering , the Feast of Trumpets , and the Day of Atonement .
(14) "Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me. (15) "You shall observe the Feast of
Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at
the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear
before Me empty-handed. (16) "Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first
fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the
end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field. (Exodus 23:14-16
NASB)
As revealed through the following charts, each is significant on several levels, specifically, in the
national history of ancient Israel, in the corporate history of the church, starting in the
wilderness, and in the history of individual believers, joined together corporately as a holy
temple in the Lord , built into a dwelling of God in Spirit (Ephesians 2:21-22).
National Level ─ Ancient Israel
Passover
"Feast of Unleavened Bread"
Commemoration of the day Israel left Egypt under Moses as
they journeyed to the Promised Land. Coming out of Egypt
symbolized the coming out of bondage (the world and sin) and
into a new life of liberty under God.
Pentecost
"Feast of the Harvest"
Commemoration of the law given at Mount Sinai in Arabia
when fire came down upon the mount and God spoke to all
the people who feared for their lives. The law was to be
written on their hearts; but, due to their fear of hearing the
Lord directly, it was written on literal stones.
Tabernacles
"Feast of the Ingathering"
Commemoration of the building of the tabernacle in the
wilderness and the time Israel was supposed to cross the
Jordan River into the Promised Land. Living in booths
symbolized coming into a new life in the Promised Land.
15
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
Corporate Level ─ Ecclesia, Body of Christ
Passover Church
"In the Wilderness"
"Blood-Bought"
Blood-bought Church. When Moses delivered the sons of
Israel out of Egypt, after applying the blood, they began their
sojourn as the church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38), which
ended with Jesus' death on the cross about 1,500 years later.
The Holy Spirit was with them but not in them. Christ the Rock
followed them , but He did not reside in them (1 Corinthians
10:4). God met them in a physical tabernacle of wood and
cloth, later a temple of wood and inorganic stone.
Pentecost Church
"In Spirit"
"Leavened"
Leavened Church (Leviticus 23:17). Seven weeks after Jesus'
resurrection, the Holy Spirit began to take up residence in a
new temple of living, organic stones. The people of God
became the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16) with an
earnest of the Spirit residing in them (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5;
Ephesians 1:14), yet imperfect as they occupy mortal bodies,
for this feast was celebrated with leavened bread (Leviticus
23:17).
Tabernacles Church
"In Glory"
"Perfected"
Glorious Church. It will take shape In the 7 th month, signifying
the Millennial Reign of Christ, the Tabernacles Age, which is
the 7 th day or the last 1,000-year day for this present heaven
and earth. The greatest revival of the ecclesia of God will occur
during this age. Through them, the nations will learn
righteousness (Isaiah 26:9), and the earth will be filled with
the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover
the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).
Individual Level ─ Believers
Passover
"Justification"
Justification by faith in the blood of the Lamb. Jesus' blood is
applied to the door of one's heart, meaning one puts his faith
in Jesus' shed blood and is delivered out of bondage to the
world and sin (signified by "Egypt").
Pentecost
"Sanctification"
Sanctification by the infilling of an earnest of the Holy Spirit.
God begins to write His law on one's heart and, through this
process one begins to learn obedience and how to be led by
the Spirit of God during the journey to the Promised Land.
Tabernacles
"Glorification"
Glorification of members of Christ's Body. This occurs through
resurrection, either in the first or second resurrection, which is
the redemption of the body into an immortal, celestial,
spiritual body in the image of Christ (Romans 8:23; 1 John 3:2).
This is the believer's Promised Land, coming into the fullness
of the Spirit as a son of God, conformed to the image of the
Son of God; no longer bound by death but beyond it in all its
forms.
16
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
Three Crops
Now, each feast is also associated with a harvest of crops ─ barley, wheat, and grapes.
Obviously, the first two are grains and the last one is the fruit of a vine. The first feast relates to
barley and Passover ; the second feast relates to wheat and Pentecost ; and the third feast
relates to grapes and Tabernacles .
Barley is the first grain to ripen and be harvested around the time of Passover. Jesus was
crucified during this harvest season and typifies the first fruits of the barley.
In The Ryrie Study Bible (Moody Press, 1978), a footnote for Leviticus 23:10-14 states: "The first
fruits involved presenting to the Lord a sheaf (lit., an omer ), about two quarts of the barley
harvest on the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (16 th of Nisan). … First fruits
symbolized the consecration of the entire harvest to God and were an earnest, or pledge, of the
full harvest yet to be gathered."
Again, from the same reference, a footnote for Exodus 9:31-31 states: "That barley was ripe
and the flax in blossom indicates the plague of hail was in January. … The wheat and spelt (an
inferior kind of wheat) were not harmed at this time because they ripen a month or so later."
Wheat is the next grain to ripen and be harvested during Pentecost, 50 days later. Saul was
crowned king on Pentecost (1 Samuel 12:17), and the embryonic Pentecostal-era ecclesia was
formed on Pentecost, 50 days after Jesus' resurrection. This has led some to describe the
Pentecostal-era ecclesia as the "Saul Church," since it has been mixed with leaven (corruption)
just as King's Saul's kingdom was leavened. This fact was memorialized in the feast, for Moses
was commanded to prepare two loaves of bread baked with leaven (Leviticus 23:17).
Grapes, a fruit, not a grain, are the last to ripen and be harvested during the feast of the
Ingathering or Tabernacles. They are harvested for the juice that is pressed out of its pulp. In
type, this speaks of the wine for God's communion table, lives poured out as living sacrifices
(Romans 12:1). This is signified in the Feast of Tabernacles as each day of the feast grape juice
from the fall harvest was poured out before the Lord as a drink offering (Numbers 29).
In terms of harvesting, it is important to understand that crops vary in what a farmer must do
to harvest them or bring them into the barn or storehouse as a useful product. Some crops are
easier to harvest than others, meaning some require greater work. In terms of these three
crops, barley is the easiest, since it is winnowed by blowing on it to release the grain from the
chaff; wheat is next, since it is threshed or beaten to release the grain from the hull; and grapes
are the more difficult, since they are trodden under foot to break the hull and squeeze (press
on) the pulp in order to release its tasty juice.
In type, the chaff, the hull, and the pulp signify the fleshly, carnal nature of man that must be
broken or crushed in order to release the good grain and juice that is pleasing to the Lord.
Just as the feasts represent truths on several levels, so do the crops represent certain truths, as
presented in the following charts.
17
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
Ancient Israel
"Barley"
[Out of Egypt]
Ancient Israel was called out of Egypt during the barley season
[Passover]. They applied the blood and were released, which could be
likened to being winnowed. However, they left Egypt unchanged in
character, i.e. their heart was unchanged.
"Wheat"
[At Mt Sinai]
[Wilderness, 40 Years]
The sons of Israel arrived at Mt Sinai during the wheat season
[Pentecost] to receive the fiery law of God by hearing the Word of
God, which was meant to give them the faith to enter the Promised
Land. Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ
(Romans 10:17). However, they feared God's fire and refused to hear
from Him directly, so they sent Moses up the mount to receive the
law written on stones rather than have it written on their hearts.
They were leavened, which was memorialized in the fact that
Pentecost was celebrated with leavened bread (Leviticus 23:17). The
only way to stop leaven is to put it in fire to heat it up. By refusing
God's fire, their leaven continued to rise.
Consequently, they spent 40 years being threshed in the wilderness in
order to break their chaff (carnal nature). The first generation was not
allowed to enter the Promised Land, so they fell in the wildness and
did not ripen to produce a harvest of grapes. They died on the vine,
so to speak.
"Grape"
[Promised Land]
Due to their faith, Joshua and Caleb were the only ones found worthy
to enter the Promised Land with the second generation. In type,
Joshua and Caleb could be likened to the grape harvest. They were
ready to enter the land 40 years earlier, but because of the
faithlessness of their brethren, they too had to suffer by wandering in
the wilderness. They were trodden down during this dusty journey in
order to produce grape juice for God's communion table. Their flesh
was trodden under foot to produce the sweet fruit juice of the grape
to be presented to God. In other words, they typify coming into the
presence of God as conquerors.
However, the second generation entered the land during Passover
(Joshua 5:10), not during the grape harvest. This means that although
they were allowed to enter the Promised Land, they were not
allowed to enter into the full experience of Tabernacles. In typology,
the grape harvest is seen 40 years earlier when the twelve spies went
into the Promised Land to see that it truly was a land of milk and
honey. To prove that it was a land of fruit, they came out with a
cluster of grapes, meaning that it was grape harvest time
[Tabernacles]. If all the sons of Israel had had the faith to enter the
land, they would have been likened to the sweet juice crushed from
the grapes and would have experienced Tabernacles.
18
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
Troops
"Barley" "Conquerors"
First fruits company of conquerors, the first of the Lord's people to
mature spiritually and, as such, the first to be found worthy to reign
with Christ during His millennial Kingdom. They are the first to
come into glorification, to rise up in the first resurrection and be
transfigured as sons of God into the image of the Son of God; the
first from among the Body of Christ to receive redeemed bodies ─
spiritual, immortal, celestial, and glorified. They are the first to
receive the fullness of God, full of His Spirit as signified by the fact
that they are the anointed first fruits. The first fruits of the barley
harvest were mixed with oil (Leviticus 23:13), which signifies
anointing. Gideon's army was likened to a loaf of barley bread, and
they conquered the Midianites (Judges 7:13). The entire account of
Gideon's victory is a type of the resurrection of the conquerors.
"Wheat"
"Church"
Rest of the Body of Christ, saved, yet as through fire (1 Corinthians
3:15). They will rise up, along with all the remaining dead, to appear
before the Great White Throne. They are the leavened company
that will receive their inheritance in the Kingdom through the
second resurrection. The fire of God will stop and remove the
leaven from them so that they, like the anointed first fruits that
rose up 1,000 years earlier, will come into the redemption of their
bodies and immortality.
"Grape"
"Nations"
Nations; the rest of the dead of mankind that will rise up in the
second resurrection to face the Great White Throne Judgment and
the lake of fire. Just as it takes much more effort to break the thick
hull of a grape, so too will it take much more effort to break the hull
of man's carnal flesh. The fiery law of God is God's consuming fire
(not literal fire) that exposes all the carnal nature and works of man
in order to remove all sin and right all wrongs, so that, at the
consummation of the eons, all debts are resolved.
Believers
Barley
When one first believes, there are things (sins, leaven) that are
easily winnowed out of his or her life. It takes very little effort to be
released from these things.
Wheat
However, some of the leaven is more entrenched and requires
threshing to remove the chaff. It requires the disciplining of our
Heavenly Father to release these things (Hebrews 12:4-11).
Grapes
Unfortunately, some things are so entrenched that they are like the
thick hull of a grape. These things must be trodden under foot, a
more severe crushing. He scourges every son whom He receives
(Hebrews 12:6).
This, and much more, serves as background material to understand Paul's unveiling of the three
troops as presented in 1 Corinthians 15. However, Paul was not the only one of the apostles to
19
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
employ the metaphor of a harvest of people, for John was given the same understanding as
presented in Revelation 14:1-20 (below).
(1) Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one
hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on
their foreheads. (4) These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have
been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
The 144,000 signify conquerors and, as such, are first fruits. They could be called the cream of
the crop and, most likely, signify a barley harvest or, perhaps, a kind of first fruits of first fruits.
After all, Paul tells us that Jesus Himself is a first fruit of first fruits to follow Him in resurrection.
(14) Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of
man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. (15) And another
angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Put
in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is
ripe." (16) Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was
reaped.
Clearly, this is a picture of a harvest, specifically one that follows the barley, which means it has
to be a wheat harvest.
(17) And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp
sickle. (18) Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar;
and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Put in your sharp
sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe." (19) So
the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth,
and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. (20) And the wine press was
trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses' bridles,
for a distance of two hundred miles.
The great wine press is meant to break the thick hull of the carnal nations in order to release
the sweet wine for God.
First Fruit is Holy
All doubt that there are three harvests in view is cleared up by the fact that the last harvest is of
grapes, meaning that the barley and wheat harvests must precede it; all are destined to be
harvested into God's house, holy unto the Lord. How do we know? And if the firstfruit is holy,
so is the lump: and if the root is holy, so are the branches (Romans 11:16 ASV). If the first crop
or harvest is holy, then the remaining crops or harvests are holy as well. This is a vital point to
keep in mind in understanding God's ultimate purpose for all mankind. The Son of God and of
Man is Holy, and He is the first fruit and the root. All that follow Him in the resurrection
harvests, whether of the lump or branches, must eventually be holy as well.
20
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
1,600 Furlongs of Love
Now, this leads to the last verse of Revelation 14 that is so often described as if it will be
manifested literally. The New American Standard Bibles (NASB) does a disservice to the
meaning of this verse, for it uses 200 miles (not 180) instead of 1,600 furlongs or stadia.
And the winepress was trodden [trampled] without [outside] the city, and there came out
blood from the winepress, even unto the bridles of the horses, as far as a thousand and six
hundred furlongs [1,600]. [ stadia ; about 180 miles or 300 kilometers] (Revelation 14:20 ASV
[ALT])
Most of us have been taught that this scene of blood rising to the bridles of the horses for 1,600
furlongs ( stadia ) will be literally fulfilled as the Lord rides out of heaven to slay all His enemies
with a physical sword. Some have tried to calculate how many bodies it would take to
accomplish this. There is no width given, only the length, so assumptions have to be made.
Someone has calculated that there could be from 3,580 to 30,810 bodies, but not millions as so
many assume. And yet, others have stated that even if every person on earth were placed in
the space, it still would not achieve this result. Frankly, I do not have the skill to prove it one
way or the other.
I recall listening to preachers with near glee in their voices as they expounded on this verse as,
according to them, God gets His pound of flesh from rebellious man at the end of our present
age. They spoke of the Lord as if He were "mad as hell" and determined to wipe out thousands
upon thousands in His anger for their rebellion and rejection of Him. They described how
massive amounts of blood will flow in that day, so much of it that it will rise to the bridle of a
horse and for a distance of 180 miles, which is nearly the length of the present state of Israel.
Strangely, I never sensed the preachers were broken-hearted over such a thing happening to
our fellow humans. There was no love or compassion in their words. It was almost as if they
thought these ones will deserve what they get, and that this is exactly how God views the
matter as well. When I heard such oration, I was left wondering whatever happened to God is
love , which leads to the heart of the matter.
Let us put aside the literal interpretation and consider another possibility on the basis of what it
signifies. After all, Jesus declared that He came to save the world, not condemn it (John 3:17).
Why? Because God so loves the world !
Again, let us be reminded that the barley and wheat harvests pertain to the ecclesia of God
being gathered into His barn, after which, God turns to the rest of mankind, as depicted in the
grape harvest, with the number 1600 referring to the full impact of the winepress of God upon
the grapes, which is revealed in the meaning of the numbers 16 and 100. The number 100 is
important because the number 1600 is the number 16 intensified 100 times.
The number 16 signifies love , and the number 100 often indicates something that has come
into fullness . Thus, it is proposed that the number 1600 signifies the fullness of God's love for
all .
21
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
Could it mean that as John was in spirit he saw the fullness of God's love in action? Although he
described it as a grotesque result of a physical battle, could it be interpreted as something
gloriously positive, something only seen in spirit? A winepress is designed to produce wine from
the fruit of the vine. The end product is a good thing, not a bad thing, for wine is for pleasure
and communion. The vine that the grapes hang on signifies the nations.
The parable of the vineyard in Isaiah 5 reveals that vines are nations. The nation in view was the
nation of Judah that had produced bad grapes. Another example of vines representing nations
is discovered in the parable of the trees in Judges 9.
(1) Let me sing now for my well-beloved a song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My
well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill. (2) He dug it all around, removed its stones, and
planted it with the choicest vine. And He built a tower in the middle of it and also hewed out
a wine vat in it; then He expected it to produce good grapes…. (Isaiah 5:1-2 NASB)
At any rate, the grapes on the vines signify the people of the nations. The flesh of the grapes
signifies the flesh of carnal man. The carnal flesh must be crushed so that new life can and will
come forth.
Metaphorically speaking, the blood comes from the grapes being harvested and signifies the
soul of man, for the soul of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11 DNT). He who loses his soul
shall gain it. The people of the nations represented in John's Patmos vision did not lose their
soul (carnal life) during our present eon or the age to come (if they live and/or die during this
age), so they must lose it through the winepress of the wrath of God.
But remember that God's wrath is not like man's wrath. His wrath is for the purpose of
restoration and correction, not for destruction. As a father disciplines his child, so does the
Father discipline mankind. The heart of wrath is love. Thus, the wine represents the product
that will progressively and eventually come forth from God's love; God and man in communion,
which is an intimate spiritual relationship, a necessity for God to be all in all.
Thus, we are given a glorious picture of a harvest of love as the Lord, through His conquerors,
turns to the nations to lead them into His Kingdom of Love. How will He do it? Not by the
physical sword but by the much sharper sword of the Word of God that divides soul and spirit,
both joints and marrow (Hebrews 4:12). He will do it by His Word, which is the very law of God.
It is the Word of God that will crush the flesh of carnal man, not to destroy or annihilate the
man but to save him.
Fulfilled in the Ages to Come
One final thought: Generally, Revelation 14 is seen unfolding entirely at the end of our present
age; however, there is the possibility that it depicts the entire spectrum of God's harvest that
will begin at the end of our age and proceed throughout the age to come and come to its full
conclusion at the consummation of the ages.
22
#62
Harvest of the Kingdom of God
September 2014
We have to keep in mind that when our present age ends and the Kingdom of Christ takes root
a great revival will spread throughout the whole earth. The Gospel of the Kingdom will be
taken to the nations and many, but not all, will become kingdom nations. As such, there will be
many new believers during the Kingdom Age that will remain in mortal bodies. As I see it, there
will also be believers from the previous age that were not counted worthy as conquerors
(Revelation 2-3) to be transfigured into immortality to reign with Christ. If so, they too will be
part of the great revival led by the conquerors.
As presented in the previous charts, new believers and ones that did not conquer or overcome
in our present age, more than likely, will follow the same path of the three feasts (Passover,
Pentecost, Tabernacles) and the three crops (barley, wheat, grapes) that the conquerors
followed. In other words, they will follow the path trod by the pioneers.
Further, when the resurrected unbelievers from the nations appear before the Great White
Throne, they too, most likely, will have to follow the same path, except that their experience of
being trodden under foot, likened to the winepress of grapes, is going to be far more painful
than believers experienced while in mortal bodies. But even this will end, for God's judgments
are never eternal; they are eonian.
The good news for all mankind is that the winepress will produce 1600 furlongs of love , which
signifies the fullness of the love of God . When all is said and done at the consummation of the
ages, which will occur at Creation's Grand Jubilee, all will be in love with God as all are filled
with God is love .
In the end, God will have a huge communion table of bread and wine as all enter into the joy of
the love of God, and the Father's ultimate purpose of being all in all is fulfilled. Absolutely
nothing will be lost.
"Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost." (John 6:12)
This is the harvest of the Kingdom of God!
23