For some reason, and at this time, I feel led to share with you my thoughts on God's plan that has been in progress and even now is being unfolded before our very eyes!
It seems to be all based on the Harvest cycle of ancient Israel. Some of today's modern techniques can 'skew' the timing of the harvest because of larger areas planted and other modern machines, farming practices, etc.
When we see in I Cor. 15 the mention of the 'Order' of the Harvest, and see that Jesus was the Firstfruit 'harvested' on the very Feast/Day of Firstfruits, and then read the following verses about ''next'' and ect.......then we have the 'clue' to see God's plan.
The use of the Greek word ''then'' or 'next' or ''after this'' are all the same and show a pre-determined Plan and Order.
Indeed, the Greek words in this section of I Cor. 15 mentioning ''every man in his own Order'' and the use of the Greek word that means ''next in order'', after each group is mentioned, shows the Plan.
The one issue that is not mentioned is the WHY of this order of the Harvest. But we have the mind of Christ and other scriptures to give us this answer.......an answer that about 99% of Christians don't ''see'', much less understand.
Most Christians see either a rapture to withdraw Christians from the earth before the wrath hits, or going through all the tribulation and wrath to come and having Jesus come at the end.
And, in the meantime, we have Christians with the belief and teaching that the 'goal' of the Christian life is to go to heaven when you die, instead of hell. That is NOT the goal of the Christian life however. Yes, for sure, when a Christian dies they go to be with the Lord..........but that is not the goal.
God's plan is to redeem the Spirit, Soul, and Body of the Christian (see I Thes. ch 5). That can only be accomplished by Resurrection or what is called the Rapture, which means the translation of the human body to incorruption. To be ''raptured'' to heaven while the other ''poor'' humans are annihilated does not have any purpose to it. Yet, I cannot cover all the Comprehensive Plan of God in one short article.
For the Christian to ''go to heaven'' when they die, does NOT Help those left behind. Time becomes indefinite, not ending, with millions dying and going to heaven while the othes are left behind in this present evil world. That is about the closest thing to the ''rapture'' that has been going on for thousands of years.
So what is God's Plan? Is it the above.....where the earth kind of ''spins off'' those who die as Christians into heaven? Is that it?! Well, if it is, that is kind of an endless/ timeless plan that causes the earth and this life to be meaningless until dying and ''going to heaven'', the supposed goal of the Christian life.
Yet this is all most know and is all most preachers preach!
But God's Plan involves the Calling OUT of a People and then a purpose for those so called out. In this case I am using the term ''called out'' as in being ''called out and then Harvested or Resurrected or Translated'' or what some would call a Rapture.
Those who believe that there will be a Rapture to heaven, out of the earth, go beyond the hope of dying and going to heaven, but that same group have ''missed'' the Plan of God for why 'some' are chosen and 'why' they are translated to immortality. All they see is 'escape' with no plan of God being un-folded.
But, back to the Harvest Plan of God revealed in Scripture.
The order of the ''resurrections'' is given in I Cor. 15. But the ''purpose'' or ''plan'' associated with the order is not given. Why are different Groups ''taken'' and ''why'' at different Times?!!
What is the Plan and Why is it associated with the order of the resurrections given in I Cor. 15?
I believe it is clear, starting with Jesus.....who IS the Pattern!
Jesus was killed. On the Feast of Firstfruits, which was the FIRST DAY of the Harvest for the Entire YEAR! No harvest whatsoever could start UNTIL the Barley Sheaf was waved! It was illegal for the Harvest to START until the Feast of Firstfruits!
As a result of Jesus' resurrection there is currently a ''company'' or group of believers that are being called, being ''taken out'' of humanity who will be the NEXT in order to be resurrected/or if still alive at the time/ Raptured or Translated. But again, there is a REASON for this happening, and it is NOT just to ESCAPE wrath or tribulation.
Acts 15 alludes to God and His Plan when James mentions it is God plan to ''take out for Himself a portion of the Gentiles'' SO THAT the remainder of the Gentiles may one day be called.
That is, God will USE those called out Now, and Resurrected Later to WIN OTHERS REMAINING TO JESUS! Read these incredibly prophetic verses inspired by the Holy Spirit:
Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. Act 15:15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, Act 15:16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: Act 15:17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Act 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
This Plan has already started with Jesus! On the harvest day of Firstfruits. And although it is not my purpose to explain it, we know that PAUL STATED in Romans the principle that ''if the Firstfruit if HOLY, then the Remainder of the Harvest is Holy also''! If the root of wood is holy, so are the branches! ROMANS 11:16:
For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.The above IS The LAW of the Harvest! IT CANNOT BE BROKEN. It reveals to us humans in terms we can relate to the Plan of God and just HOW important the Harvest of the Firstfruit is, and how critical the Firstfruit be HOLY!
Folks read right over this in Romans chs 9-11, where Paul concludes in Total AWE at the PLAN OF GOD....and mentions how few know the Mind of God and how 'unsearchable'' are His Ways.........''for from Him, and through Him, and back to Him are all 'things'/people''.
The Plan is the RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS. This is spoken of in the book of ACTS and it says Jesus must be 'received' in heaven UNTIL this restoration of all things which was spoken of by ALL the prophets in the Old Testament.
So based on Jesus being the Pattern Human Being and the First person Redeemed in God's Plan for the Restoration or Redemption of Mankind, we can look at the Harvest cycle AND the terms used in the Harvest cyle to ''see'' this Awesome plan of God.....even as it Now is Unfolding!
THE PLAN goes like this:
God redeems some or in Jesus' case someone, and then USES them to ''bring in the Next group''. Right Now, Jesus is being used to bring in the Overcomers from the church age, the age of faith. In the order of the harvest, Jesus was the First Ripened BARLEY that was waved on the Feast of Firstfruits.
That Started the Harvest and that Harvest has been ''running'' ever since! What is scheduled NEXT on this Harvest Cycle? It is the REAPING of the Barley!! Those ''next in order''!
This waving of the barley sheaf pictured the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to heaven. This also started the Reaping of the Barley...........the next section of Believers to be brought in!
The Barley comes next, after Jesus..........then comes the Wheat Harvest. All is Divinely Planned and the details are in the Harvest cycle itself. Jesus often alluded to this Harvest Plan in the Gospels.
Barley is ''winnowed'' in the air.........while Wheat has to be ''thrashed'' to be separated. Then the summer time comes when the Grapes are tended to, then harvested just before the Feast of Tabernacles in the Fall...........which is THE END OF THE HARVEST.....and what Jesus termed ''the End of the Age'' in one parable.
Who has not read or heard about the ''grapes of wrath'' mentioned in Rev. 14? And some will say..........''oh see, these grapes of wrath are harvested to be tortured in never-ending torment''.
But God has a PLAN. God is on a Time-Table of His harvest cycle. And EACH CATEGORY OF THE HARVEST HAS A REASON AND PURPOSE FOR WHEN IT IS HARVESTED AND THE WHY AND WAY IT IS HARVESTED!
Even the ''Grapes of wrath'' are harvested with a Purpose in mind! It is because God will have Wine at His Table!! Only those being led by the Spirit of God will ''see'' this truth! True the harvest of the grapes of wrath may be ''severe'' but they too have a Purpose............so God's Table will be Complete! The Bread served with the Wine!
The VERY next group (at our current time)
to be Harvested will be the Barley Overcomers! And then, based on the Pattern of Jesus, these Barley Overcomers WILL BE USED TO BRING IN THE NEXT HARVEST CROP!.......that of the WHEAT!
Do you remember the gospel account of the Barley Loaves that Jesus ''Broke'' to GIVE TO HIS DISCIPLES TO GIVE TO THE REMAINDER OF THE PEOPLE?! Do you not see the Type of the Plan of God in this?
The people were even told to set down in ''ranks'' or groups, the same word/principle mentioned in I Cor 15 about ''every man in his own ORDER''. Can we not see ''How Jesus 'Operates''??!! Jesus Broke BARLEY.........not wheat!
The Barely Group will then be used, once harvested, to bring in the Wheat Group! One group at a time and ALL in order!
And guess what happens next?
Those of the Wheat Harvest will then be used to bring in the next ''crop''...........the Grape Harvest!
This very PLAN of God is specifically mentioned in the following verses: Notice especially verse 31, where Paul shows it is through the ''mercy'' of some that others will be 'brought in''!
Rom 11:31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
God uses and is using Jesus the Wave sheaf of the Barley Harvest to Bring in the rest of the Barley Harvest. This Harvest is now upon us.........even at the door!
God will Use those of the Barley Harvest, once harvested, to bring in those of the Wheat ''company''.
Then, next in order, God will use those of the Wheat Harvest, once harvested, to Bring in those of the Grape company.
WHAT A PLAN! And it has been before us ALL the time in the simple understanding of the Harvest Cycle. The ''part'' that is ''not so simple'' is to ''see'' the Mind of God in this Harvest Plan.
It is ''simple'' to see...........but not ''easy''. Only those who have 'eyes' to see will see.
I realize that us Doves are very interested in ''when all these things will come to pass?''
All I can say is that since Jesus was Resurrected and Ascended on the Very Day of the waving of the Barley Sheaf.........in the Spring.............we might be well advised to WATCH what time of year the Barley was ''brought in'' completely or Harvested.
I might add, we are Now in that season. My studies show the Barley harvest was completed approximately 30 days after starting on The Day of Firstfruits.
Let's watch the Harvest Cycle of God and hope we qualify as the Barley Overcomers!