The Meaning of the Harvest

by Jews for Jesus | May 01 1998

By joining the spiritual worship to the physical harvest, God sanctified the language of the harvest and imbued it with great spiritual and even prophetic significance. We see this theme throughout the Bible. For example:

In the Law

  • The land would not yield produce nor trees fruit based on the strength of the Israelites, but only in accordance with God’s will (see Leviticus 26:20).
  • God punished Israel’s disobedience with drought and famine but rewarded faithfulness with an abundant harvest (see Deuteronomy 28).

In the Prophets

  • The faithful person was depicted as a fruitful tree (see Jeremiah 17:8).
  • The concept of reaping what one sowed was also depicted as a “harvest” (see Hosea 6:11).

In the Writings

  • Drought and famine symbolized unrepentant sin (see Psalm 32:3-4).
  • The return of Israelites to the Land after the captivity is described as sowing with tears and reaping with joy (Psalm 126).

In the Gospels

  • Jesus refers to the harvest of people who are ready to believe and be gathered into the kingdom (Matthew 9:38).
  • Jesus spoke of His resurrection using the language of the harvest. “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24). Through His death and resurrection, Yeshua became the first fruits of a harvest that was yet to come.

In the Epistles

  • James who was writing to the earliest followers of Jesus, a group of first century Jews for Jesus, declared those early believers likewise to be the first fruits of the harvest. “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of his creatures” (James 1:18).
  • Paul correlates the volume of what we will reap spiritually with what we are willing to sow (see 2 Corinthians 9:6).