The Harvest Seasons

The last two weeks were about offerings. Now let’s get in to the harvest seasons. Also, we want to introduce you to the Complete Jewish Bible. The main thing about the CJB is that it uses the Hebrew spelling for names of people and places which takes some getting use to.

Why Study the Harvest Seasons?

When we become familiar with the feasts and the agricultural seasons, the Bible becomes a timeline and a road map especially the four books of the Gospel. It is fun following Jesus’ steps as He traveled around the area. Now we are going to explore the agricultural seasons. In an earlier blog we mention about tilling the ground to produce food but also for offerings. As we study the feasts we will find certain plants that were used to glorify Jesus.

Now let’s look at a road map:

Leviticus 23:22 (CJB)
“‘When you harvest the ripe crops produced in your land, don’t harvest all the way to the corners of your field, and don’t gather the ears of grain left by the harvesters; leave them for the poor and the foreigner; I am ADONAI [the LORD our God] your God.’”

In this way, God provided for the poor and alien. In the case of Ruth, this command prepared the way for something special to happen!

Ruth 2:2 (CJB)
Rut [Ruth] the woman from Mo’av [Moab] said to Na‘omi, “Let me go into the field and glean ears of grain behind anyone who will allow me to.” She answered her, “Go, my daughter.”

Later on in the book of Ruth…

Ruth 4:17 (CJB):
The women who were her neighbors gave it a name; they said, “A son has been born to Na‘omi,” and called it ‘Oved [Obed]. He was the father of Yishai [Jesse] the father of David.

And, of course, David’s lineage lead to Jesus (Matthew 1:1–17). Do you see the “order of God” in this example?

Agricultural Seasons

God told the Israelites that they were not the real owners of the land, for it belong to Him, they were simply stewards (Leviticus 25:23).

The six months from the middle of Tishri (Sep-Oct) to the middle of Nisan (Mar-Apr) were occupied with the works of cultivation, and the rest of the year mainly with the gathering of the harvest and fruits. The land was fertile with irrigation from the rills and streams from the mountains made the soil in every part of Palestine richly productive. God told them to gather and store for 6 years and let the land rest on the 7th year (Leviticus 25:1–7) Remember God sent the Hebrew children to the land of milk and honey.

Rain was very important, of course. Certain times during the feasts, they gathered together to pray and thank God for the coming rain. They needed God’s rain to soften the ground to produce the harvest.

Spring Feasts:

  • Passover which is Nisan 14 (Mar-Apr) is the barley harvest.
  • Unleavened Bread is Nisan 15–20 (Mar-Apr) is also barley harvest.
  • Firstfruits sometime within Nisan 16 and 21 (Mar.-Apr) the day after the Saturday Sabbath is again barley harvest.
  • Pentecost occurred 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits.

Barley is the first grain harvest and is used as a wave offering by the priest.

Feasts of Weeks or Pentecost is 50 days after Firstfruits (May-June) which is the wheat harvest. Other crops produced are grapes, olives, dates, figs, etc. It was truly a land of milk and honey.

The harvest season is over and now is the time for early rain, plowing wheat-barley sowing, winter rain, almond bloom, citrus harvest, and rains.

Fall Feasts:

  • Feasts of Trumpets is Tishri 1 (Sept-Oct)
  • Atonement or Yom Kippur is Tishri 14 (Sept-Oct)
  • Feasts of Tabernacles is Tishri 15–21 (Sept-Oct)

Spiritual Fruitfulness

Please take a few moments to read John 15:1–17.

We cannot separate holy living from our relationship with Jesus. Jesus made this clear when He pictured himself as “the true vine” (John 15:1) and His Father as “the husbandman” (KJV) or gardener. Like branches sprouting from a vine, only in a close relationship with Him can we hope to bear fruit in our lives.

Jesus warned His disciples of danger if they left their relationship with Him. Like withered branches they would be cast away should they desert Him (John 15:6). Our relationship with Jesus provides the soil in which godly living can grow.

The pruning process is painful but it will produce more fruit. We need sin cut out of our lives. God is the master gardener.

In order for a crop’s “fruit” like barley, wheat, and corn to be harvested, the plants must die and turn brown for the seeds to be ripe. It is similar for us. Our old sinful self must die so our new self can produce fruit. We once saw fields of sunflowers. Their bright sunny faces would follow the Sun throughout the day. One day the flowers were all wilted with their heads looking down. Their leaves were bent over as if in prayer. We were told that this means the sunflower seeds are ready to be harvested.

“Our wrong desires” versus “The Fruit of the Spirit”

Our wrong desires are:

  • Evil
  • Destructive
  • Easy to Ignite
  • Difficult to stifle
  • Self-center
  • Oppressive and possessive
  • Decadent
  • Sinful
  • Deadly

The Fruit of the Spirit is:

  • Good
  • Productive
  • Difficult to ignite
  • Easy to stifle
  • Self-giving
  • Liberating and nurturing
  • Uplifting
  • Holy
  • Abundant life

The will of the Holy Spirit is in constant opposition to our sinful desires. The two are on opposite sides of the spiritual battle. Do you think being a Christian is easy? Many people feel this way. There is a reason for this. They are not participating in the battle against evil. They are not exerting any force against the enemy.

In Physics, Newton’s third law of motion essentially states for each action there is an opposite but equal reaction. Basically, the more force we exert against evil, the more force evil exerts against us. Unlike Newton’s law, we in our own strength do not have enough power to overcome the forces of evil and demonic powers. However, through Jesus who strengthens us (Ephesians 3:16, Philippians 4:13), we are able to overcome the evil influences against us.

So, if you seem to be having an easy time being a Christian, ask yourself, “What am I doing for God to help lead other people to salvation through Jesus?” The fields are ripe for harvest (John 4:35). Also ask, “What am I not seeing that I need to see?” For those people who are struggling, God is there to give you strength to overcome or at least make it though the storm. In both of these cases, pray to God for help!

Next week, we will start with a two-part overview of the Feasts of the LORD.

Until then,
שָׁלוֹם (Shalom!)