Four Months Yet Until the Harvest

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“Don’t you say, ‘There are still four more months, then comes the harvest’? Listen to what I’m telling you: Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest.” John 4:35 (HCSB)

Typically we think of harvest in the Fall, yet in Israel the harvest began in Spring. Cheshvan, the end of the Autumn months, is actually when the harvest was over – four months until it would begin again in Spring. This saying, “four months yet until the harvest” seems to have been a sentiment of procrastination in Jesus’ time. The harvest isn’t for another four months, we don’t have to worry about that right now. Yet Jesus pushed back against this cultural phrase, insisting that his Kingdom wasn’t someday far off, but present and available now.

In this exchange Jesus is using harvest to describe people coming into the Kingdom. He uses this same language in Matthew 9:35-38 when he says, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (HCSB). And again in Mark 13 in the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Weeds. He makes the harvest even more personal in Matthew 21:33-43, when he presents himself as the Rejected Son coming to collect His Father’s harvest – prophetically telling of his crucifixion. Harvest is a picture of revival, of evangelism, of sharing the good news about the Kingdom of God.

Harvest can also be seen as picture of Christ’s return. Depending on your interpretation of Revelation, The Harvest of the Earth in chapter 14 is a spiritual picture of what was happening when Jesus was teaching about the harvest in Mark and Matthew, a prophetic picture of the harvest to come with his return, or both. Jesus often taught to be ready at all times for his return Matthew 24:36-44; Matthew 25:1-13

Cheshvan is the only month with no holidays, no feasts, no fasts. Traditionally it is believed Cheshvan is reserved as the month the Messiah will come. This month also plays a prominent role in the story of Noah; the flood both began and ended in the month of Cheshvan.

“For it will be exactly like it was in the days of Noah when the Son of Man appears. Before the flood, people lived their lives eating, drinking, marrying, and having children. They didn’t realize the end was near until Noah entered the ark, and then suddenly, the flood came and took them all away in judgment. It will happen the same way when the Son of Man appears.”
Matthew 24:37-39 (TPT)

In Noah’s day were they saying, “four months yet until the harvest”? Like the Parable of the Virgins, were they letting their lamps dry up? Perhaps Jesus’ rebuke about saying the harvest is still months away was not just about evangelism, but also about our own hearts, being always prepared for his return, always filled with the Holy Spirit, eager to bring even more harvest into his store house. Cheshvan marks four months until the harvest, but let us not live like the harvest is still far off.

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