12th October 2017

Harvest Festival

Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.”
Exodus 23:16 (NIV)

What has this scripture got to do with Christian salvation? Let us find out.

In Israel there were two harvest seasons and each was celebrated with a Festival. One was spring harvest which yielded a small harvest. The other was autumn harvest when a greater harvest was reaped. Old Testament Israel observed these Festivals but did not understand the spiritual application. They were the shadows, but Jesus is the reality. In the New Testament, Jesus used the parable of the wheat and the tares as an analogy of a spiritual harvest. Matthew 24:30-32 refers to the saving of the souls that will be reaped at His second coming.

The Festivals were kept by the Jews of Jesus’ time—In fact, all the feasts given to Israel in Leviticus 23 somehow prefigured Christ, and were kept by the Jews of Jesus’ time. Jesus Himself kept them to fulfil all righteousness. We are not saved by keeping them, as we read in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” However, there are great benefits if we observe them in the spirit of love, truth and sincerity spoken of in 1 Corinthians 5:8. The Autumn Festival reminds me of the peaceful reign of Jesus when a great harvest will be reaped.

Many brethren will get together at our Autumn Festivals, where they will taste and experience peace, harmony and joy with the brethren from different parts of the world, dwelling together rejoicing in fellowship with each other. “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” said King David in Psalm 133:1.

This is the shadow. The reality is in the future when Jesus Christ will return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords ruling from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1-4). Isaiah 11:9 foretells that then the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea. Let us rejoice and give thanks to God Almighty who loads us with blessings every day.

Prayer
Merciful Father, I am very grateful to You for the opportunity to dwell together with the brethren in peace. I give thanks and praise You in the name of our Saviour, Jesus.
Amen

Study by Natu Moti

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About the Author:
Natu Moti is a Deacon in the Birmingham Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Birmingham
All Saints Church
George Road
BIRMINGHAM B23 7QB

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1pm

Local Congregational Contact:
David Gibbs
Phone: 01213420609 (answer phone)
Mobile: 07974440580
Email: david_gibbs@wcg.org.uk