Reaping the Lord’s Harvest
Many of our readers are somewhat familiar with my book, Messiah in the Feasts of Israel. The Feasts of Israel are not merely “Jewish holidays,” and not only Biblical feasts that all Bible believers can enjoy and be edified by but, in fact, the seven Biblical feasts in Leviticus 23 outline God’s redemptive program for the world. The annual feasts are literally called “appointed times of the Lord” (Lev 23:4), and are God’s appointment schedule to meet with His redeemed people.
Starting in the first biblical month, the first feast of Passover not only points back to the redemption from Egypt, but points forward to its fulfillment and our salvation in “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). The Biblical calendar goes through the yet-to-be-fulfilled fall festivals, concluding with the Feast of Booths (Sukkot), which reminds us of the much anticipated return of the Lord, Yeshua the Messiah, when He establishes His kingdom on earth (Zechariah 14:16), and sits upon His glorious throne (Matthew 25:31).
Between the last spring festival, the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot, the feast of First Fruits, or Pentecost), and the beginning of the fall harvest festivals, the Feast of Trumpets (or Rosh Hashanah, New Year’s, as it is traditionally called) there are several months with no biblical feast. However, the scriptures teach us that it is not a time for idling away the hours, but rather it is scripturally a long summer of service. Nestled between the portion on Weeks and before the portion on Trumpets is this one verse (Leviticus 23:22), “When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.”
In this portion, there are several values that guide our lives as we follow God’s plan of redemption. First is to the time of year to which this verse refers, that is, after Pentecost. Yeshua poured out the Spirit of God upon all believers which, among other things, empowers us to be His witnesses to all people (Acts 1:8); this is the fulfillment of Shavuot, or Pentecost (Acts 2:1). This spiritual enablement in the feast of First Fruits was precisely given so we could “reap the harvest” in the land.
We are empowered to labor in the Lord.
It takes His same spiritual power to reap His harvest that it took to sow the seed. Some of you are aware that the Lord has abundantly blessed Word of Messiah Ministries in bringing the Good News “to the Jew first” (Romans 1:16) in numerous areas this past year. We have more Messianic congregation planters trained and sent out to bring the Good News to more and more people–to the Jew first, but not to the Jew only (He loves us all the same). This “blessing” is not what it appears to be. It is not as if these blessings of service just fall out of the sky. The Scriptures remind us, “That which a man has sown, this also will he reap” (Galatians 6:7). When we reap, it is because we have sown or, at least, someone has sown the good seed of the Good News of Messiah. As you can see from Lev 23:22, this is especially expected in Messianic ministry because of the Feast of Weeks. It is a time to reap what we have sown. Look and see what the Lord of the Harvest sees –“the fields are white unto harvest” (John 4:35).
We are empowered to love like the Lord.
Leviticus 23:22 continues, “You shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien.” This work of sowing and reaping is not to be a self-serving venture, nor merely a means to gain everything for ourselves. The words “not reap to the very corners” or go after the loose grains of “the gleaning” are further reminders that through the Holy Spirit His love,as well as His power, were poured out into our hearts. He has made our “summer of service” to be concerned for the hurting and alienated people in this world. We are to have a heart of love as we reap the harvest. Currently, we have only “a remnant by God’s gracious choice“ among Israel (Romans 11:5). With all my heart I would want to bring every Jewish person to Yeshua. Though I cannot bring every person to Yeshua, I can bring Yeshua to every Jewish person. For as His witnesses and ambassadors, we each represent Him–and by His grace through faith, we are His instruments of grace, love and the Good News of salvation to all people, Jews and Gentiles alike.
We are empowered to live for the Lord.
Leviticus 23:22 concludes, “I am the LORD your God.” All we do is for the Lord, empowered by the Lord and by the authority of the Lord. We serve according to His Word, for His Word is His authority to serve. We are “not to go beyond what was written”(1 Corinthians 4:6). The present opportunity of service is not a personal option, but a biblical mandate. We live by His grace in order to live for the Lord, for His purposes for our lives, and to live for His glory. So as we continue forward with the message of Messiah, please help prepare the ground with prayer, for scripture instructs that we “have not because we ask not” (James/Jacob 4:2). We are asking the Lord to go before us as we prayerfully work to have more Messianic planters’ conferences in the greater Chicago area, Texas, Colorado, and in California, with outstanding invitations for Germany and Israel. Pray with us that the ground would be prepared for more to be accomplished for the Good News among Jewish people worldwide, as we, His laborers, trust Him for His provision for Messianic harvest.