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Toward an Eschatology of Harvest
Letter to a Friend
Thanks for your thoughts, ________, on eschatology! It’s interesting to see how you have migrated in thought about these things. I have migrated too, but not in the same direction. My migration is due to a change in reference points for evaluating eschatological truth.
The standard reference point for arriving at an eschatological view is to mentally interpret scriptural meanings against perceived facts of history and present reality. While there is place for this, I find it inadequate as a standalone basis of interpretation. People think differently by nature, and perceive reality differently as well. So it is only natural that there will be different schemes of interpretations developed. For this reason, I find the power of reason and perception an inadequate basis for understanding the future.
For 20 years now, my reference point has shifted from a place of mentally weighing evidences of isolated scripture passages and reality to one of seeing scripture and history in light of the broad developmental pattern (plan) of eternal life under present-tense revelation by the Holy Spirit. The term best used in the Bible to describe that living (growing) pattern is the word “harvest.”
For me, the return of the Lord is keyed to the accomplished “harvesting” of a certain “planting” first made through His death at Calvary. He said of course that if a seed die in the ground, it would bring forth much fruit. The first application of this is to His own death and the master plan for its fruition. The harvesting of the “fruit” to come forth from that death is the key to His return.
So what is the fruit? I understand two intertwined dimensions to this fruit. The first dimension is the fruit of inward development in holiness (such as Hebrews refers to, and of which “conversion” is just the beginning). The second is the transformation of the body out of its state of death into immortality (as I Cor. 15 refers to.) The two are connected. As the seed of eternal life works in us, it is designed to grow up through us yielding increasing purity, perfection and maturity of character, and in the process of such, works a silent but literal transformation in the body through the forcing out of sickness, demonic powers and ultimately, death itself.
We will know that the harvest has occurred when death is overcome. At the point death is overcome, we are able to physically meet the Lord, by which token He is therefore able to return. The overcoming of death is the proof of His Kingdom coming to manifestation in the earth.
From this reference point, the reason the Lord has not returned is because the power of eternal life He released at Calvary has not developed far enough in a generation of people to effect the necessary harvest. It has taken many many generations for the process of eternal life to take its course. Even the church has had to “die and be buried” so to speak through the dark ages and has been steadily coming forth since the last 500 years with increasing liberty and revelation. In the last 150 years, the “watering rains” of the Holy Spirit have been increasingly poured out to help the harvest.
It is in this light that I see all the other scriptures and surrounding events of history, including the false harvest of the Man of Sin also to appear. From the platform I use, all of the New Testament serves an eschatological framework. My eschatology is not based just on the book of Revelation and the isolated sections of Mt 24 and I Thess 4, etc.
Under the illumination of Holy Spirit revelation, the complete book of Revelation has present tense application and meaning, and is not merely symbolic. And all of history since the cross can be seen to demonstrate multi-levels of prophetic fulfilment leading toward the ultimate harvest. (for example, A.D. 70 was but one level of prophetic fulfilment, but death was obviously not overcome that year, so it could not have been the year of final harvest. Here we are, still dying in the wilderness!!)
For me then, the question regarding knowing the return of the Lord is, are we the generation that will finally overcome death? Are we the generation of physical harvest? Are we the generation that will have developed the holiness Hebrews says is necessary to “see the Lord?”—coming to the place where John says our seeing Him and being like Him are one (I Jn. 3)? Sure, the falling away is great. That is the false harvest. But! “Where sin abounds, grace abounds more.” In the midst of the falling away, there is a faithful remnant generation persevering into His likeness, and who will be the fulfilment of the true harvest. I aspire to be part of that generation.
I could go on in detail, but this is enough for the moment! Suffice to say that I have come to what is for me a very satisfying and comprehensive eschatologic framework for measuring and moving toward an active living destiny. My eschatology is integrated into my present growth in eternal life. (I’m not sitting around waiting for anything to “just happen”!)
Well then, blessings, good sir. Perhaps we shall discourse upon such fancies againe! (Or, as we just say in America… )
Talk to you later!
New Meadow Neck, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created October 12, 2016