Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
STUDY 1: THE TIME OF REAPING
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
THE word Harvest may be used in a wide and in a narrow sense. In the wide sense it includes all the work done with the symbolic grains of wheat – from their seeking, until they are safe in the Kingdom. As in the natural, so in the spiritual harvest, there are seven distinct processes: (1) reaping, separating the Lord’s people from the nominal church; (2) sheaving, gathering them into classes; (3) drying, developing them in knowledge, grace and service; (4) threshing, testing them with view to strengthening of character; (5) winnowing, separating them from outsiders; (6) sifting, separating them from Second Death and Great Company members; and (7) garnering, taking them into the Kingdom. The narrow sense includes only reaping, the one we will consider.
The word reaping may also be used in a wide and a narrow sense. In the wide sense it includes the gleaning as well as the reaping, while in the narrow sense it excludes the gleaning work. We will use the word reaping in the narrow and the wide sense. The completion of the reaping work in the wide sense and the completion of the sealing of the Elect in their foreheads were one and the same thing.
The Scriptures speak of the sealing of the Elect from two standpoints: (1) the heart (2 Corinthians 1: 22; Ephesians 1: 13; 4: 30) ; and (2) the head (Revelation 7: 3-8; 14: 1). Sealing in the heart is the impressing of the holy spirit upon one to the degree that he is completely in harmony with God’s will. Sealing in the forehead is the bestowment of enough Truth to enable one to leave Babylon.
Reaping Completed Before our Pastor’s Death
I. The first thing that will be proven is that the reaping of the Little Flock, that is, the sealing in their foreheads, but not the other features of the Harvest, was completed before our Pastor’s (Bro. Russell’s) death. Following are several arguments:
(1.) John 9: 4: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” The work referred to is reaping work, which was the work that Jesus and the Apostles were doing when Jesus uttered these words. The night is the great Time of Trouble which began in each country as it became involved in World War I. This began in August, 1914, but this symbolic night, like the natural night, did not set in everywhere at the same time. Rather it reached each country as it became involved in the war. Once every nation was involved in the war, the reaping was complete the world over; the Elect’s forehead sealing was finished.
(2.) According to Revelation 7: 1-3, especially the third verse, the great tribulation which began with the symbolic wind (the World War) could not come anywhere until first all of the Elect there had been sealed. As the war gradually spread from one country to another, so the sealing would be gradually finished in one country after another, being completed in each country before it became involved in the war. Once every country was involved in the war, the Elect were all sealed.
(3.) All the saints, the 144,000, would be given the honor of executing (spiritual) vengeance upon the nations, and (spiritual) punishment upon the people, of binding the kings and princes, and executing upon them the judgment written (Psalm 149: 5-9). This work was done from the Fall of 1914 to that of 1916, consequently, all the Elect had been sealed in the forehead before the Fall of 1916 in order to have taken part in this work; hence the reaping was then over.
(4.) Antitypical Elijah’s last work toward Nominal Spiritual Israel, before he lost the mantle of power to be God’s mouthpiece to Nominal Spiritual Israel, was the smiting and dividing of Jordan (2 Kings 2: 8). But to be a part of antitypical Elijah, one would have to take part in his last work as God’s mouthpiece to Nominal Spiritual Israel (for Elijah represents God’s Elect in that capacity). This smiting work was finished in the Fall of 1916, therefore, before the Fall of 1916 all of the Elect were sealed in their foreheads, the reaping was complete.
(5.) The last general work of the World’s High Priest, before leaving this world in His last members, would be: (1) to confess the willful sins of Christendom over the antitypical Goat of Azazel; (2) to lead it to the Gate of the Court; and (3) to send it away to Azazel by the hand of the fit man (Leviticus 16: 20, 21). (1) was completed by the Fall of 1916, therefore, all the Elect must have been sealed by the Fall of 1916, since the last of the Elect must have shared in this last general work.
(6.) The separation of Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2: 11-14) proves that before that time all of the Elect had been sealed in the forehead; because the Church would have to be complete and fulfill its mission toward Nominal Spiritual Israel before the separation of the Little Flock from the Great Company could take place. That separation began on June 27, 1917, therefore, for some considerable time before that date, the entire Little Flock was reaped, sealed in the forehead.
(7.) The Penny of Matthew 20: 1-16 means the special opportunities of service implied in smiting Jordan, which was done twice: (1) from the Fall of 1914 to that of 1916; and (2) from the Fall of 1917 to the Spring of 1918. All of the Elect were not only reaped and sealed, but were smiting Jordan before October 24, 1916, when its first smiting began to end with our Pastor’s last public lecture.
(8.) “That Servant” was made Steward of all the Lord’s goods for the entire reaping time following his appointment, and ruler over the whole household (Matthew 24: 45-47) (Luke 12: 42-44). Therefore, he must have provided all the meat for the reaping time, and controlled the entire work for the whole household during the reaping time following his appointment. Consequently, before his death every one of the Elect was working in harmony with his teachings and under his direction of the work. Hence, before his death, October 31, 1916, all of the Elect had been reaped, sealed in the forehead, and were engaged in serving others under that Servant’s general direction.
(to be continued)