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L to R: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet, saying, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last,’ and, ‘What thou seest, write in a book and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia: unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.’ And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks One like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the breast with a golden girdle. ~ Revelation 1:10-13, KJV21

 

God uses the number 7 in the Holy Bible to denote spiritual perfection—holiness, fullness, completeness, and goodness. This spiritual perfection is achieved through the aid of the Holy Spirit, whose ministry depends on the willingness of the participants to allow Him to do His work in and through them.

Be that as it may, there can be no doubt that the number 7 is the dominant number used throughout the inspired Word of God, beginning in Genesis, with the emphasis on God’s 7-day work of Creation, and going all the way through to Revelation, with the comparison between the 7 churches and the 7 golden candlesticks. Where the Apostle John’s vision of 7 golden candlesticks is concerned, there is no doubt that his imagery paints a spitting image of the ancient 7-branched Menorah. In his vision are 6 candlesticks (branches), which come out of one central stem, and the central stem also is counted as one of the 7 envisioned candlesticks. The apostle’s description of the center stem, thus, points out that the Light Source of the 7 candlesticks is the center Light—the Divine Light of God who is Jesus the Christ, the servant Lamp (Shamash) of the Jewish 7-branched Menorah.

JEWISH 7-BRANCHED MENORAH MIRRORS 7 JEWISH FEASTS:

There can be no doubt that Apostle John’s vision of 7 golden candlesticks, with Jesus the Christ in the middle of them, is similar to the Prophet Zechariah’s vision of the golden lampstand with a bowl of oil on top, 7 lamps around the bowl, and two olive trees on either side of his lampstand (cf. Zechariah 4:1-3). Likewise, there can be no doubt that each of these visions in which the men of God describe either 7 candlesticks or a lampstand having 7 lamps are vivid images of the Jewish 7-branched Menorah that God commanded Moses to hammer out of one piece of gold and then place it across from the Table of Shewbread in the Holy Place (cf. Exodus 25:31-40, 26:35). 

It should be clear from the above-mentioned visions that many of God’s repeated patterns and cycles have the number 7 in them. Just to mention a few of the recurring patterns and cycles, there are 7 days, 7 weeks, 7 Sabbaths, 7-fold sprinkling, and the 7 feasts (7 mo’edim—appointed times of the Lord). Where the 7 feasts are concerned, the number 7 and compounds of 7 are repeated, beginning with the Feast of Passover, which starts on the 14th (7 X 2) of Nisan; to the 7 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread; to the Counting of the Omer (7 X 7 + 1)—the counting of 50 days from the Feast of Passover to the Feast of Pentecost, which is celebrated the day after the seventh Sabbath. This recurring cycle is a lesser version of the greater repeated pattern of the Year of Jubilee, which happens every fifty years (7 x 7 + 1), beginning on the 10th day of the 7th month’s Day of Atonement (cf. Leviticus 25:8-55); lastly, there are the 3 connected “Holy Convocations” of the 7th month—the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles, with the last feast being the end to the whole cycle of 7 feasts.

Each of the 7 feasts not only embody the whole range of figurative meanings for the number 7—perfection, holiness, fullness, completeness, and goodness—but also the 7 feasts reveal a prophetic timetable, as it were, which relates to the seasons (Spring and Autumn) and the months when the Lord would fulfill the purposes for His First and Second Comings. He already has fulfilled the four Spring Feasts. The next feast to be fulfilled is the Fall Feast of Trumpets (a.k.a., Rosh Hashanah). 

As already mentioned, the 7 feasts’ prophetic pictures of Jesus the Christ’s First and Second Comings are reflected in the 7-branched Menorah. In fact, the 7-branched Menorah is the personification of Jesus the Christ, the Light of the World. As such, each branch of the Menorah equals each of the 7 feasts, which means that both the feasts and the branches are definitive prophetic signs about the redemptive ministry of Jesus the Christ.

Using the Menorah pictured above, and starting from the reader’s left and moving right (which would be a right-to-left movement for the wilderness Tabernacle and Temple Priests), the first branch of the Menorah is that of the Feast of Passover. Both the branch and the feast signify the Lord’s death (crucifixion), which happens after He is inhumanely beaten, whipped, and pierced. The second branch is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Both the branch and the feast signify the Lord’s burial. The third branch is the Feast of Firstfruits. Both the branch and the feast signify the Lord’s resurrection—the firstfruits of those raised from the dead never to die again. All three of these feasts point to the prophesied First Coming of Jesus the Christ, which, as already indicated, the Lord has fulfilled.

Next is the fourth branch, the middle or center stem (the Shamash or Servant Lamp), which in this case represents the Feast of Pentecost. Both the branch and the feast signify the flames or tongues of fire, and the pouring out of the oil (power) of the Holy Spirit. The Menorah’s 4th or middle position always refers to either the Lord of Light (Jesus the Christ) or fire. For this reason, Pentecost definitely qualifies to be in this 4th position! More important is the fact that Jesus the Christ also fulfilled this feast, primarily through His BETROTHAL CONTRACT (New Testament or New Covenant), which His young Bride (the CHURCH) accepted. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit seals this marriage contract!

On the above picture of a Menorah, to the reader’s right of the center branch are the three branches that symbolize the three feasts that deal with Jesus the Christ’s Second Coming. The first of these three branches is the branch of the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah). Both the branch and the feast signify the Rapture of the Bride of Christ. The next branch is the Feast of Atonement. Both the branch and the feast signify the visible bodily return of Jesus the Christ. The last branch is the Feast of Tabernacles. Both the branch and the feast signify the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom.

As previously indicated, the visions Apostle John and the Prophet Zechariah have both mirror the Mosaic image of the wilderness Tabernacle’s 7-Branched Menorah. What is important about this ancient lampstand is the fact that God commanded Moses to use the purest olive oil, which symbolizes the nature and identity of the Holy Spirit. This oil was to be poured in to the center lamp, and rabbinic traditions teach that this oil miraculously never runs out, even though the center lamp of the Menorah is lit first.

Perhaps the rabbinic traditions are correct; at any rate, the taught custom is that twice every day, morning and evening, Aaron would remove the lamps from the Menorah, clean them out with a sponge, refill them with pure beaten olive oil poured down through the center stem, and insert their wicks. He then put the lamps back into the Menorah (cf. Exodus 30:7).  The exception is the center lamp. Every morning, when Aaron would relight the three lamps on either side of the Menorah’s center stem, he would find the Shamash (the Servant Lamp; the center lamp atop the center branch) still burning, so he just would refill the Shamash with oil and trim its wick. As a result of the oil refill, from the middle or center stem would flow enough oil for the six branches. According to the Talmud (Shabbat 22b), each lamp would receive about 9 ounces of the purest olive oil, and this amount means that there would be enough oil to burn throughout the night into the morning (cf. Exodus 27:20-21; Leviticus 24:1-3).

By extension, the oil in the Menorah represents the Holy Spirit and His work, and the one parable that connects the importance of Menorah’s oil (the Holy Spirit) being present in a believer with the God-given command that the Menorah’s oil always must burn is the Parable of the Ten Virgins (cf. Matthew 25:1-13). What is more, this parable also strongly suggests that the 7-branched Menorah mirrors the seven Jewish Feasts.

The Holy Spirit is THE Oil that ALL of the 10 Virgins should have had—THE Oil that, when human lamps are trimmed and burning, miraculously never runs out. As the parable teaches, only 5 of these 10 Virgins had the right kind and right amount of Oil with them—the infilling of the Holy Spirit—and therefore were prepared and alert when the Bridegroom came like “a thief in the night” (cf. Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39; Revelation 3:3).

Moreover, this parable depicts several of the Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah’s idioms, which are found in the New Testament, like the “loud cry (shout)” (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:16) of the bridegroom who comes like a “thief in the night” (cf. Revelation 3:3) on a day of which “no man knew the day or the hour” (cf. Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32), after which the Bride and Groom enter the bridal chamber through the “open gate (door)” (cf. John 10:9; Revelation 3:8) that soon shuts and locks out the 5 foolish Virgins who have no Oil. There can be no doubt that each of these Rosh Hashanah idioms not only depict the return of Jesus the Christ to a world that is preoccupied with slumbering, but also each of them suggests that a great reawakening (warning) would precede His Return for His Bride.

While Rosh Hashanah is referred to as Yom Teruah (the Day of the Awakening Blast), and while the theme associated with Rosh Hashanah is “to awake,” the great reawakening (warning) that will precede the Lord’s return happens during the entire 6th month of Elul. This month is a special season known as Teshuvah, which begins a 30-day process of personal examination and repentance that prepares God’s people for the 10 days of Tishri (the Days of Awe) that end on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). The sad truth is that even with all of the prophetic warnings and the recurring seasons of Teshuvah, as the 5 unprepared Virgins demonstrate, there will be too many believers who will not have any Oil in their lamps (will not be FULL of the Holy Spirit).

Consequently, their lamps’ flame will not be able to light their path to where the Bridegroom is standing and calling them to Himself so that He can “steal them away” to the prepared Bridal Chamber, all because they did not accept the Oil (the Holy Spirit’s infilling and His illumination of the Word of God; cf. Matthew 25:3). Now, as believers, the 5 foolish Virgins would have had the indwelling Holy Spirit. However, only the Holy Spirit’s infilling (the Baptism of the Holy Spirit) provides THE OIL (power) believers need to keep their inner “light” shining brightly. Thus, even though the Lord’s Mattan (more about this betrothal gift, later) is His free “love” gift of the indwelling AND infilling Holy Spirit, apparently the 5 foolish Virgins didn’t think much about the second part of His gift!

The Scriptures, therefore, leave no doubt about the fact that the 5 foolish Virgins’ spiritual lamps had not been filled, or refilled, with the Holy Spirit’s supernatural Oil. The truth is, if their lamps had been filled, or refilled, then these Virgins would not have been out trying to buy some generic oil to pour into them. The point here is that these Virgins’ spiritual deficiency is why, by the time they returned either with the “oil” they went out to buy or with no “oil” at all, the Bridegroom already had shut and locked the door to Heaven’s Bridal Chamber!  

JEWISH MARRIAGE TRADITIONS AND THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS:

As earlier stated, the 7 Jewish Feasts paint prophetic pictures of Jesus the Christ’s First and Second Comings. While most people will agree that the Lord has fulfilled the first 4 feasts, and that He will soon fulfill the last three feasts, there are many believers who disagree with the Christians who think that the Rapture will happen during the Feast of Pentecost. The problem with the Pentecost-Rapture thinkers is that the Feast of Pentecost does not fit any of the second part of the Jewish marriage traditions.

Traditionally, the Jewish marriage consists of two parts. The first part is the betrothal (marriage), which in the Hebrew language is called the Erusin (engagement, sanctification) or Kiddushin (betrothal, sanctification). This part involves several steps, including but not limited to the bridegroom (or his father) selecting a bride, the bridegroom paying the bride’s price (the Mohar), the bride accepting the betrothal contract (the Ketubah, which is all of the bridegroom’s promises to his bride), the sealing of the betrothal contract, the giving of gifts (in particular, the Mattan), the bride’s water purification ritual (the Mikvah), the bridegroom giving gifts, the bridegroom’s departure, and the bride’s consecration period.

For the next one or two years, the bridegroom is in his father’s house, building his chador (bridal chamber), sometimes called a “chuppah” (honeymoon bed). Once the bridal chamber is finished, the bridegroom then returns for his bride. At this point in time, the second part of the marriage takes place. This part is the Wedding Ceremony, which in the Hebrew language is called the Nesu’in (full fledged marriage), or Huppah, or Chuppah (canopy or tent under which the marriage is consummated; the honeymoon bed). The Wedding Ceremony consists of the bridegroom coming back like “a thief in the night” for the purpose of “stealing” his bride and taking her away with him to their bridal chamber. The next step in the Wedding Ceremony happens after seven days in the bridal chamber. This is the time when the bridegroom and his bride come out and share their wedding bliss with their wedding guests, whom the bridegroom’s father has invited to his son’s wedding feast (symbolic of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb; the King’s Wedding Banquet).

In other words, before the Feast of Pentecost, Jesus the Christ fulfills the Bride’s price (the Mohar, or the value Father God places on the Bride, which the Lord pays to Father God). That price is Jesus the Christ’s atoning sacrifice (cf. John 3:16). Then, after the Lord’s resurrection and ascension come the Day of Pentecost’s pouring out of the Holy Spirit, which seals the marriage contract (the Lord’s New Testament promises) between Jesus the Christ (The Bridegroom) and His CHURCH (The Bride). Also, on this same Day of Pentecost, Jesus the Christ fulfills the Mattan—the gifts that the Bridegroom brings to His Bride.

While the Mohar is a contractual obligation (cf. Genesis 34:11-12; Romans 8:3-4; 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a; 1 Peter 1:17-18; Revelation 5:9), the Mattan is the expression of the Bridegroom’s love for His Bride—the betrothal gift(s) that will sustain the Bride until the Bridegroom is able to return for Her. These gifts no doubt are Salvation, the measure of Faith, and the Holy Spirit, and it undoubtedly is the work of the Holy Spirit that helps the Lord’s Bride remain pure without getting any spot or blemish on Her, while the Bridegroom is away from Her.

Perhaps the Old Testament verses that best show this understandable distinction between the Mohar and the Mattan are Genesis 34:11-12. These Scriptures deal with Dinah (Leah and Jacob’s daughter) and Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite. It is written:

And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, ‘Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me, I will give. Ask me ever so much dowry {Mohar} and gift {Mattan}, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me; but give me the damsel for a wife.’ ~ NKJ21 (the inserted words inside the curly brackets are this blogger’s emphasis)

In these verses, it is obvious that even though Shechem has raped his wife-to-be (Dinah), Shechem is still like the Lord in that he (Shechem) not only is willing to pay what the Law (cf. Exodus 22:16-17) requires must be paid to a woman’s father before a man can receive permission to marry that woman, in this case the dowry (Mohar), but also Shechem, like Jesus the Christ, is willing to pay his wife-to-be (betrothed) his personal gift (Mattan) that shows his betrothed his love for her.

The bottom line then is, according to the previously mentioned second part of the traditional Jewish marriage, the Feast of Pentecost’s commemorative activities clearly do not fit the customary Jewish Wedding Ceremony’s steps. Thus, the feast that best fits the Wedding Ceremony’s steps of the Rapture (snatching away) of the Bride, the wedding consummation, and the 7 days in the Bridal Chamber is the Feast of Trumpets!

Indeed, what’s important about the Fall Feast of Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets) is this irrefutable picture of the marital union between the true CHURCH (Jesus the Christ’s Bride) and the Messiah (the Bridegroom). For sure, Hebraic roots definitely show through the Messiah’s Wedding Ceremony, which is the Rosh Hashanah Hebrew idiom of Kiddushin/Nesu’in. Likewise, the irrefutable pictures of the resurrection of the righteous dead and the taking up of the living righteous, plus the Bridegroom and His Bride being hidden away in their bridal chamber obviously relate to the Rosh Hashanah Hebrew idioms of Natzal (Rapture) and Yom HaKeseh (Hidden Day, Day of Hiding, Day of Concealment; or Bridal Week). For sure, the ancient Jewish customs responsible for the established 12 or 14 steps to a Jewish Wedding plainly explain why the Bridegroom “steals away” His Bride, like “a thief in the night.” He does so, because He wants the two of them to enjoy their marriage in peace and safety, which is achieved during the Bridal Week, which is symbolic of the 7-year Tribulation Period.

The truth of the matter is that the Feast of Pentecost themes of new revelation, new covenant, betrothal contract, first trump, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the birth of the CHURCH are not the same as the Feast of Trumpets’ themes of preparedness, repentance, vigilance, last trump, resurrection, rapture, wedding, consummation, and kingship. Once again, these Feast of Trumpets’ themes are apparent in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (cf. Matthew 25:1-13), which not only symbolizes many of the Rosh Hashanah idioms but also typifies several of the Jewish Wedding Ceremony’s steps.

Furthermore, when the Gospel writer says that, “…at midnight there was a shout, Behold, the bridegroom! Go out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6, AMP), this imagery definitely points to the Jewish Bridegroom. Ancient Jewish wedding traditions teach that the Bridegroom usually comes for His Bride late at night, near the midnight hour, after the deafening shofar’s blast breaks the silence of the late night, and after the noisy shout gets everyone out of the house and into the streets, dancing. 

Having said all of that, it is important to look again at the 7-branched Menorah, in particular, the center stem. This 4th branch not only represents the Feast of Pentecost’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit but also represents the 4-month break from the Spring and the Fall Feasts. Moreover, this 4-month break also represents the 1 to 2 years of the Bridegroom’s absence, which is the typical time it takes a bridegroom to build an acceptable bridal chamber. Lastly, this 4-month break typifies the much longer nearly 2,000 years of the Age of Grace or the CHURCH Age.

Normally, neither 4 months nor 1 to 2 years would be considered a very LONG time. This truth explains why in His Parable of the Ten Virgins the Lord makes mention of the bridegroom taking longer than expected (tarrying; delaying his return). Indeed, it is the bridegroom’s long absence that causes the 10 Virgins to become so drowsy that they fall asleep (cf. Matthew 25:5-6). This long delay also explains to the Bride of Christ why the 1 to 2 years that it usually takes the Bridegroom to return for his Bride are literally nearing 2,000 years. The Bride really has been waiting for Her Bridegroom (Christ) to return, for a very LONG time!

Once again, the last three Feasts of God (mo’edim) have yet to be fulfilled. However, it should be obvious that just as the Feast of Trumpets, after the 4-month break, follows the Feast of Pentecost, then following the Feast of Pentecost’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit, marriage contract, betrothal, and bride’s sanctification are the next scheduled prophetic events, which Rosh Hashanah’s idiomatic expressions unmistakably describe. This truth is confirmed by Jesus the Christ’s Parable of the Ten Virgins, which typifies the Rosh Hashanah idioms of Yom Teruah (an awakening Shofar blast), Akedah (Abraham’s ram’s left and right horns or the Shofar’s “first trump” and the Shofar’s “last Trump,” respectively), Natzal (the Rapture; the resurrection of the righteous dead, and the taking up of the living righteous; and/or the end of the Age of Grace or CHURCH Age), Kiddushin/Nesu’in (the Messiah’s full fledged Wedding Ceremony), and Yom HaKeseh (hidden day, day of hiding, day of concealment, bridal week, “a thief in the night,” and “the day and hour no man knows”).

The last point on the Rapture of the Bride of Christ is this: Even the Lord, who is the Bridegroom, did not ascend up to Heaven on the Feast of Pentecost! For sure, it should speak volumes that the ONE person who is fulfilling the mo’edim His Father established was not taken up on Pentecost to the place He came from and the place He plans to take His resurrected and raptured Bride!

THREE PHASES TO THE ONE HARVEST OF SOULS:

Just like there are many believers who think the Rapture of the Bride of Christ will happen on the Feast of Pentecost, based on what the Lord says in Matthew 13:39, there also are many believers who think that there is only ONE Harvest of human souls, the WHEAT HARVEST, after which comes the end of the world. The problem with the one-harvest thinkers is that they miss the spiritual applications of the 3 mandated Jewish Feasts, each of which is associated with 3 different harvests: Passover (Barley), Pentecost (Wheat), and Tabernacles (Grapes).

Furthermore, without a doubt, since Matthew 13:39 suggests that there is going to be ONE huge Harvest, then the Barley, Wheat, and Grape harvests must represent 3 separate phases of that ONE enormous Harvest of souls. Indeed, they do, for the Scriptures confirm that these phases not only happen over a span of time but also occur in their own order (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:23; see also Daniel 12:2, 10, 13). Put differently, each of these 3 separate harvest phases culminate in a weeklong pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Thus, the spiritual application of the Feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles is that they represent the three stages of salvation from justification to sanctification to glorification. For this reason, the Barley, Wheat, and Grape phases of the ONE Harvest of souls prove that not every “saved” believer will be resurrected at the same time, because many will be at different stages of their salvation!

For the record, the 3 harvest phases do not include those resurrected saints who came out of their graves AFTER Jesus the Christ arose (cf. Matthew 27:51-53). In other words, the Word of God purposely describes three unique harvest phases within the Matthew 13:39 ONE HARVEST of souls, over which the Lord is chief Harvester. What’s more, these phases are separated from one another, having a crop that testifies to each harvest’s true nature!

Furthermore, the Scriptures confirm that there will be firstfruits in the first, second, and third harvest phases. Based on this truth, it will become obvious to the reader that it is the rest of second harvest phase that becomes the majority of the Matthew 13:39 final end of the Age (world) Harvest of souls! Be that as it may, where firstfruits are concerned, the Revelation 14:3-4 passage clearly proves that the three literal firstfruits’ harvest phases (the firstfruits of the Barley, Wheat, and Grape Harvests) also are depicted figuratively as God’s 1st resurrection firstfruits—those individuals who will be in Heaven singing a new song, while the Tribulation Period is happening on the Earth. The Apostle John writes:

And they sang, as it were, a new song before the throne, and before the four living beings and the elders; and no man could learn that song, except the hundred and forty and four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are they that were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. ~ Revelation 14:3-4, KJV21

In verses 3 and 4 of the above-cited verses, the word “redeemed” is agoradzo, which according to Strong’s Greek Lexicon means “to buy” or “to purchase.” Moreover, agoradzo comes from the Greek word agorah, which means “an assembly of people.” Agorah comes from ageiro, which means “to gather,” and ageiro is probably akin to egiro, which means “to arise.” In essence, the word “redeemed” means the same thing as the resurrected!

Therefore, even though the firstfruits of the Barley Harvest is literally and figuratively the Early Harvest, and even though the firstfruits of the Wheat Harvest is literally and figuratively the later of these two harvests, the Revelation 14:3-4 passage proves that there are three harvests of firstfruits, which means there is going to be a firstfruits of the literal and figurative Grape Harvests. Now, agriculturally speaking, the firstfruits of any harvest are that part of a crop that matures first; therefore, firstfruits are always just a small part of the whole harvest—the first portion of any harvest that is dedicated to God, as a guarantee that the whole harvest also belongs to Him (cf. Leviticus 23:10-11; Exodus 34:22a; Nehemiah 10:35-37). For this reason, each of the figurative firstfruits (Barley, Wheat, Grapes) is a part of the ONE GREAT end of the Age Harvest of souls.

What’s more, the Revelation 14:3-4 passage also is saying that there will be more than one firstfruits’ resurrection of those who have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20-23; Romans 8:29; Romans 11:16). Now, the Apostle Paul makes it crystal clear that Jesus the Christ is the FIRST of the firstfruits of the resurrected, never-to-die again, glorified, and raised upward until a cloud receives Him and takes Him to Heaven [cf. Acts 1:9]). Put differently, the Lord is “…the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead” (Colossians 1:18, AMP; cf. Revelation 1:5; Acts 26:23).

Next in line, then, is the Bride of Christ, who is symbolized as the EARLY but ripe firstfruits of the Barley Harvest. These firstfruits of Barley are the resurrected dead in Christ overcomers, AND the rest of the Barley Harvest overcomers who are the alive in Christ—the wise Virgins. They, all of these Barley overcomers, are the individuals who make-up the FIRST PHASE of the ONE Harvest of souls.

Agriculturally speaking, Barley and Wheat are planted at the same time, in the Fall of Israel’s Agricultural and Civil New Year; specifically, they are planted in the latter part of Tishri. However, because Barley matures faster and its chaff is easy to separate (is winnowed and tossed up), literally and figuratively speaking, Barley not only is harvested before the Wheat but also is resurrected and raptured before the Wheat.

The winnowing, separating the chaff with ease, is no doubt a metaphor for the Bride of Christ’s spiritual nature and characteristics that the literal Barley grain has. Perhaps, this truth is why there are many Bride of Christ examples and Bride of Christ characteristics associated with the word “barley,” as seen in the Lord’s feeding of the multitudes. It was at Passover when the Lord fed the multitudes with 5 fishes AND 5 barley loaves (cf. John 6:4-14).

The 5 barley loaves that the Lord feeds to thousands not only signify just how easily and quickly Barley (the CHURCH; the Bride of Christ) multiplies, meaning how quickly these believers respond to the wind of the Holy Spirit, but also these loaves testify about those whom God has given to the Lord that He should not lose one of them. This last truth is seen in the 12 baskets of the remnant pieces of Barley bread, which the Lord tells His disciples to: “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost” (John 6:12, KJV21). Then later in this same chapter the Lord says that He will not lose any God has given to Him but instead will “…raise [them] up again at the Last Day” (John 6:39, KJV21). Clearly these verses are references to the Bride of Christ AND the 144,000 Jewish brethren, plus those who come to the Lord after going through a time of severe testing. More on this last point, later.

Then too, the Feasts of Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits both are “barley” metaphors for unleavened lives—lives that are NOT flawed, NOT blemished—like those lives of the Bride of Christ! The Scriptures declare that the Lord ONLY is coming back to rapture His Bride, to rapture those believers who are holy and righteous without any spot or wrinkle, whom the Holy Spirit has sanctified wholly (cf. Ephesians 5:27; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Revelation 21:2). There, thus, can be no doubt that the 5 wise, prepared, alert, full of the Holy Spirit Virgins of the Parable of the Ten Virgins represent the Bride of Christ, the firstfruits of the Barley Harvest—the FIRST PHASE of the Harvest of souls, some who have been resurrected and others who have been raptured.

Once again, the Barley Harvest is literally and figuratively the EARLY or 1st phase of the One Harvest of souls who participate in the 1st resurrection—the collective reaping of all of the centuries of the dead in Christ spiritually mature believers, AND the spiritually mature alive in Christ believers who remain on the Earth after the dead in Christ are resurrected (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). The alive in Christ overcomers are best illustrated as the 5 wise Virgins with Oil in their vessels. For sure, because these alive believers are prepared, alert, holy, and righteous, they are the rest of the Barley Harvest and, thus, included in with the Bride of Christ’s resurrected, the 1st of the firstfruits after Jesus the Christ. As such, like Joel 2:16 suggests, they leave this world before the collective firstfruits of Wheat are harvested. That is why the Bride of Christ’s departure (Rapture) happens at the start of the Feast of Trumpets, at the Last Trump, in the twinkling of an eye.

Like the firstfruits of the Barley Harvest, the firstfruits of the Wheat Harvest also are believers (i.e., the 5 foolish Virgins in the Parable of the Ten Virgins). Because these believers are like the foolish 5 Virgins, these firstfruits of Wheat are the beheaded martyrs (cf. Revelation 20:4) who have been purified by the Tribulation—the threshing and final sifting that separate the chaff so that the Lord can put them in His granary (cf. Revelation 7:13-14; Matthew 3:12). Thus, the Feast of Pentecost’s literal Wheat Harvest is the picture of the firstfruits of the figurative Wheat Harvest, the latter of which is the SECOND PHASE of the One Harvest of souls who participate in the 1st resurrection.

Furthermore, unlike the alive Barley (Bride of Christ) who get raptured after the dead in Christ and complete the FIRST PHASE of the ONE Harvest of souls, the rest of the Wheat are those left-behind believers who make-up the complete SECOND PHASE of the ONE Harvest of souls. They  are those believers who survive the entire Tribulation. This fully ripen harvest is of those believers who, by virtue of their faith in Jesus the Christ, received their robe of righteousness, BUT because they were not prepared or watchful, and remained unprepared and careless much longer than the firstfruits did, they not only were not ready when the Bridegroom came to rapture His Bride but also not ready to be the firstfruits of the Wheat. Indeed, unlike the literal Barley, which is easily separated from the chaff—winnowed—and then tossed up, it is much harder to separate these Wheat from their chaff!

For this reason, figuratively speaking, the rest of the Wheat Harvest includes all of the left behind hardhearted and/or carnal believers who must endure the Tribulation Period, and the entire Tribulation Period is for them a judgment that can be compared to the most severe action of threshing Wheat, which is done in order to make the Wheat easier to separate (to winnow) away from the chaff. Only after the threshing of Wheat is complete will this Wheat be soft enough to toss up in the wind. That is to say, in the case of the believers’ whose nature and characteristics are similar to that of literal wheat, these believers will go through a time of testing that will result in them becoming the massive Wheat Harvest that has been thoroughly purged—the surviving Tribulation saints (cf. Revelation 14:14-16; Matthew 13:39). The Apostle John confirms this Divine Truth, for he writes:

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, ‘Who are these that are arrayed in white robes, and from whence have they come?’ And I said unto him, ‘Sir, thou knowest.’ And he said to me, ‘These are they that came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ ~ Revelation 7:13-14, KJV21

Included in this left-behind Harvest of Wheat are many left behind evangelized unbelievers (Jews and Gentiles) who finally accept Jesus the Christ as their personal Savior. They will be those Tribulation converts biblically described as “…a great multitude, which no man could number…” (Revelation 7:9). This multitude no doubt will include those Jewish survivors (the nation of Israel as a whole) who find refuge in Petra during the second half of the Tribulation Period (cf. Revelation 12:6).

Furthermore, those souls from this end of Harvest Wheat who die during the Tribulation, but not as the result of being beheaded, also will be resurrected. The Scripture says that their souls are those that are under the altar in Heaven (cf. Revelation 6:9). These and the above-stated Tribulation Wheat are those who make-up the complete SECOND PHASE of the ONE Harvest of souls.

So then, there are the firstfruits of the Barley and Wheat Harvests, and one more—the firstfruits of the Grape Harvests. These are the three harvest firstfruits’ phases of the Matthew 13:39 ONE Harvest of souls. Concerning the firstfruits of the Grape Harvest, the literal firstfruits of grapes ripen in mid-Av, which is around the time that the full crop of wheat ripens. Thus, the Wheat-threshing season overlaps with the firstfruits of Grape Harvest (cf. Leviticus 26:5; Revelation 14:14).

Now, it is important to note here that the first two harvests are of grains, from which bread is made. However, the picture the Scriptures give of the Lord’s Table during the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is one in which both bread and wine are on His table. The Lord Himself tells His disciples: “Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the Kingdom of God” (Mark 14:25; cf. Matthew 26:29).

For sure, the literal firstfruits of the Grape Harvest are those that will be enjoyed during the Feast of Tabernacles, which typifies the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. However, spiritually speaking, the firstfruits of the Grapes represent the 3rd phase of the One Harvest of souls—the  mature 144,000 Jewish brethren, who received God’s seal and who participate in the 1st resurrection (cf. Revelation 14:3-5; Revelation 7:3). Now, this writer believes these Jewish brethren actually are unmarried Messianic Jews who accepted Jesus the Christ as their Savior and were filled with the Holy Spirit, all before the end of the CHURCH Age or Age of Grace. That’s why they are sealed (saved) from any of the wrath that is poured out during the Tribulation Period.

Be that as it may, the Scriptures declare that these 144,000 firstfruits of the Grape Harvest have been “redeemed” (purchased, gathered, resurrected) by the blood of Jesus the Christ. As already established, the word “redeemed,” like it is used in Revelation 14:3-4, means the same thing as the resurrected. Thus, together with this sense of resurrection and the Scriptures that use the vivid language of blameless (“without fault”), not defiled (“without blemish”), and following the Lamb wherever He goes, the picture of 144,000 translated firstfruits become very clear. This imagery is not only the vivid language that declares these literal 144,000 Jewish believers are in Heaven with Jesus the Christ, but also the blameless, not defiled, and follower of Jesus the Christ descriptors are those used for ALL firstfruits! Therefore, because these translated (raptured) firstfruits of the Grape Harvest are the THIRD PHASE of One Harvest of souls who participate in the 1st resurrection, these 144,000 are singing the new song with the Bride of Christ (Barely) and martyred saints (Wheat).

The 144,000 can sing the new song because they too have completed their work. Indeed, because of their evangelistic work, during the first half of the Tribulation Period, they convert people out of every nation, but primarily those unbelievers from the nation of Israel, as a  whole. As a result, these 144,000 produce the greatest harvest of souls, that is to say “…a great multitude, which no man could number…” (cf. Revelation 7:9). Thus, by mid-Trib, they are translated (raptured), and after that the angel of Revelation 14:6-7 takes over the 144,000 Jewish brethren’s evangelistic work, which indicates the severity of the circumstances—those who are still unbelievers are about to receive the Mark of the Beast and, thus, the winepress’ most severe judgment, as symbolized through the actions of Jesus the Christ, who is the ONE who “…treadeth the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:15, KJV21; see Revelation 19:13-15; Isaiah 63:1-3)!

Now, the rest of the literal Grape Harvest or the full gathering of grapes, for making the “new” wine, is in Tishri, around the time for the Feast of Tabernacles (cf. Exodus 22:29a; Leviticus 26:5). However, spiritually speaking, just like the image of the marriage supper of the fowls is a stark contrast of the image of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (cf. Revelation 19:21; Revelation 19:9; Luke 14:15), the image of the “new” wine (blood) from the unbelievers who are harvested at the end Armageddon, as depicted in Revelation 14:17-20, is a stark contrast of the image of the “new” wine (the fruit of the vine) that will be enjoyed at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. For sure, the Apostle John is describing the full Grape Harvest, the rest of the Grape Harvest as those whom the Lord has trodden in the winepress outside the city (cf. Revelation 14:19-20; Isaiah 63:1-3; Revelation 19:13-15).

Based on the apostle’s description, it is clear that these ripen end of the Harvest Grapes are those unbelieving individuals who heard the Gospel but made a choice to not make the Gospel a part of their lives—to not accept Jesus the Christ as their personal Savior and then receive the Holy Spirit. These Grapes, thus, are the Tribulation’s unbelievers—a harvest that comes by way of the winepress, which thoroughly extracts juice (life) from the “crushed” grapes. Even after the wrath of God’s trumpets and bowls’ judgments, which symbolize severe pressing, these unbelievers still refuse to accept Jesus the Christ as their Savior! Consequently, this rest of the Grape Harvest will be part of the massive crop of unbelievers who are in the 2nd resurrection! Only the firstfruits of the Grape Harvest are the THIRD PHASE of the ONE Harvest of souls!

So then, the 3 separate firstfruits of the 3 separate harvest phases (Barley, Wheat, and Grapes) most definitely prove that there are more harvests than the ONE huge Harvest of souls that comes at the end of the Age. As it is with firstfruits’ harvests, they are much smaller in size, but harvests all the same. 

Lastly, since the Grape Harvest usually is completed right before the Feast of Tabernacles, then this 3rd Harvest testifies to the fact that ALL of these Harvests are directly connected to the three Fall Feasts, instead of the Feast of Pentecost! For sure, the firstfruits of the Barley (Bride of Christ) Harvest are associated with the Feast of Trumpets; the firstfruits of the Wheat (martyred Tribulations saints) Harvest have to do with the Day of Atonement, and the firstfruits of the Grapes (144,000 translated Jewish brethren) Harvest are connected to the Feast of Tabernacles’ “new” wine that is served at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

LOVE FOR CHRIST DETERMINES FIRST RESURRECTION PHASES:

There are many believers who think that there is but one Rapture. The problem with their thinking is that the Scriptures confirm that there is more than one First Resurrection and, therefore, more than one Rapture, which is here defined as the snatching away of the ALIVE saints (translating the righteous and holy).

For sure, the Feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles reveal that the 1st resurrection is determined by the nature and characteristics of the “redeemed” believers’ crop. For example, the firstfruits of Barley represent the 1st phase of the 1st resurrection’s ripened overcomers, who are the Bride of Christ (the dead and alive in Christ; the Jews and Gentiles; the wise Virgins). The firstfruits of Wheat represent the 2nd phase of the 1st resurrection’s ripened believers, who are the Tribulation’s beheaded saints; the initial foolish Virgins who eventually surrender to the Lord during the Tribulation Period and begin to keep His commandments. Lastly, the firstfruits of Grapes represent the 3rd phase of the 1st resurrection’s ripened Jewish brethren, who because of their righteous and holy living have been translated.

Put differently, love, holiness, and righteousness are both the characteristics and nature of the final massive Harvest of souls included in the 1st resurrection. Certainly, ONLY those individuals who love the Lord with everything that is within them will keep His commandments and live a holy and righteous lifestyle, even unto death.

That is why, even though both the “saved” Bride of Christ and the “saved” 144,000 Jewish brethren firstfruits are taken to Heaven, they do not go up at the same time. Their different times of departure are because of the nature and characteristics of their respective Barley and Grape crops. In other words, unlike the Bride of Christ who has for centuries kept the Lord’s commandments and lived a holy and righteous lifestyle (cf. John 13:34-35; see also Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:29-31), the last days’ converted Jewish people have come to the Lord because the gift of salvation that was first offered to the Jewish nation as a whole is now the “…salvation [that] has come unto the Gentiles to provoke [Jewish people] to jealousy” (Romans 11:11; inserted bracketed words are this blogger’s emphasis).

Therefore, as previously mentioned, these last days’ unmarried 144,000 Messianic Jews, though “saved” are “redeemed” (the translated resurrected) after God uses them to evangelize the left behind masses by teaching them primarily about the Kingdom of God. Thus, the Tribulation becomes their time of testing that will prove their love for God.  

Likewise, the Tribulation Period is also the “saved” 1st firstfruits of the Wheat’s time of testing and, therefore, the main reason why these firstfruits of the Wheat Harvest—the foolish Virgins—are taken up to Heaven at a different time than the Bride of Christ AND the 144,000 translated Jewish brethren. These firstfruits, thus, are those people who lack the genuine love for Jesus the Christ—the God kind of love that would move them to keep the Lord’s commandments on this side of the Rapture.

For this reason, because these once lukewarm carnal believers ONLY claimed to love the Lord, as well as ONLY called Him Lord with their lips, while their “hearts” were far from Him, they are the left behind Wheat—the 5 foolish Virgins—whose doubtful “love” for the Lord puts them in the Tribulation where they go through a time of testing. This testing causes them to repent and then surrendered to Jesus the Christ’s Lordship. As a result of their renewed minds and their new-found determination to keep the Lord’s commandments and their faith in Jesus the Christ, they become the martyred Tribulation saints who, because they do not take the mark of the beast, are beheaded. These firstfruits are the masses described in Revelation 7:14 Revelation 14:14-15, and Revelation 20:4—those who passed the “love” test of literally laying down their lives for their Friend (cf. John 15:13).

Contrary to popular opinions, there are indeed two major resurrections aptly called the First and the Second resurrections. What is more, the 3 firstfruits’ resurrections clearly prove that the 1st resurrection consists of the “saved” believers who are resurrected in 3 stages during the 3 Fall Feasts, each stage of which is determined by their love for Jesus the Christ and their holy and righteous lifestyles. Furthermore, each of the firstfruits’ resurrection also proves that there are 3 raptures, one each of: the dead and alive in Christ; the martyred Tribulation saints; and the translated 144,000 Jewish brethren. Scriptures confirm that the souls of these resurrected firstfruits will be snatched out of this world (raptured).

Now, in contrast to the 1st resurrection of the saints, the harvest of the trodden in the winepress Grapes—the Tribulation Period’s unbelievers (cf. Revelation 14:17-20)—also are those individuals who become a part of all of the centuries of unbelievers who have never accepted Jesus the Christ as their Lord and Savior, and as such they all will take part in the 2nd resurrection that happens after the Great White Throne judgment. Every one of these unbelievers, therefore, will be judged according to their works (cf. Revelation 20:11-13).

The bottom line is this: Today is 2011’s first day of the Feast of Trumpets. Many have predicted or suggested that this day would be the day of the long-prophesied Rapture. Since a Jewish day begins at sundown and runs from sundown to sundown, meaning this present Feast of Trumpets began at sundown on September 28th, then it is safe to say that this Feast of Trumpets is not that Feast of Trumpets, which starts not only a new Civil, Sabbatical, and Agricultural Year in Israel but also starts the global moment in time after when many will begin reporting the disappearances of their loved ones. Although this Feast of Trumpets is not that Feast of Trumpets, that Feast of Trumpets is still coming.

Therefore, ALL of the information provided here has been given for the purpose of warning, illuminating, and preparing those who want to know what they must do to ensure that they are indeed the Lord’s Bride. Certainly, for this last reason, it is crucial that believers in Jesus the Christ make a spiritual and moral inventory of their lives for the purpose of ascertaining whether they are or are not prepared to be abducted—stolen away, snatched right out of this world. Why? Well, for one thing, the Holy Bible specifically speaks about the First and Second resurrections. Then too, even though there never has been anything like the prophesied large masses of resurrected dead occurring right before numerous disappearances of alive individuals happen, the Scriptures are here to remind the prepared and watchful people about this startling fact: It wasn’t raining when Noah began to build the Ark!   

For additional information, please read my blog entries: The Fall Feast of Trumpets’ Spiritual Realities and The Three Most Important Crops of Israel’s Seven Major Crops