The Final Harvest

The description of the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost stresses the theme of fulfillment. On that day, what was foreshadowed by the ancient feast began to receive its promised substance. The bestowal of the Spirit was an epochal event that marked the start of the Age of the Spirit, and the Gift of the Spirit fulfilled what the annual Levitical feast symbolized.

With the arrival of the Spirit, the end-time “harvest” initiated by Jesus began in earnest. “He that sows the good seed is the Son of man… And the harvest is the end of the age” – (Matthew 13:36-43).

Wheat ripened - Photo by Paz Arando on Unsplash
[Photo by Paz Arando on Unsplash]

This was the seminal event that inaugurated the Church. Unfortunately, the full force of Luke’s language is obscured in English translations of the Greek text, which states, “W
hen the DAY OF PENTECOST WAS BEING FILLED FULL, they were all assembled with one intent…” – (Acts 2:1-4).

Jesus commanded his disciples to “wait in Jerusalem” until they received the “Promise of the Father.” The Spirit’s empowerment was vital for transforming them into effective witnesses for the Gospel - (Luke 24:44-49, Acts 1:7-9).

The Gospel mission began in Jerusalem, but it did not end there. In the concluding section of the Book of Acts, the Apostle Paul is found preaching the Gospel in Rome to Jews and Gentiles alike. What transpired on the Day of Pentecost was the beginning, not the end.

Originally, Pentecost was an agricultural feast celebrating the barley harvest. In Scripture, it is called the “Feast of Harvest, the first fruits of your labors.” The highlight of the Feast was the offering of the first sheaf, the “first fruits” of the grain harvest - (Exodus 34:22-23, Leviticus 23:11-16, Deuteronomy 16:9-10).

The outpouring of the Spirit on this day was theologically significant, and this is indicated by the Greek infinitive sumpléroō in verse 1. It means to “fill up,” and it is in the present tense, signifying action in progress. It describes something that is in the process of being “filled up completely.”

Thus, Pentecost was in the process of being fulfilled fully as the Spirit filled the 120 disciples. What it symbolized was coming to fruition, and the disciples were the “first fruits” of the newly inaugurated final harvest - (Compare Romans 8:23, Luke 24:49).

Under the Law, all able-bodied males were required to attend the Feast. Likewise, all 120 disciples were assembled in the Temple. The “all” repeated in verse 4 emphasizes the point - “ALL were filled with the Holy Spirit, and ALL began to speak in tongues.”

BEGINNING IN JERUSALEM


Similarly, the passage emphasizes the fact that they all “BEGAN (archomai) to speak in tongues as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” The verb rendered “began” echoes Christ’s command to “wait in Jerusalem” until his disciples received the Spirit:

  • (Luke 24:47) – “Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, BEGINNING from Jerusalem.”
  • (Acts 1:8) – “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the Earth.”

The 120 disciples were the “first fruits” of the end-time harvest. The period known as the “Last Days” had begun, and therefore, the Gospel must be proclaimed to all nations. This understanding is confirmed by the Church’s first recorded act after receiving the Spirit when Peter stood up and announced to a large gathering of Jewish pilgrims:

  • This is that which has been spoken through the prophet Joel, It will be in the Last Days, says God, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh… I will show wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath… Before the Day of the Lord comes… And it will be, that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” - (Acts 2:16-21).

Considering all that God had done through the death and resurrection of Jesus, as well as the events of that day, Peter summoned all those present to repent, believe the Good News, and receive the “promise”:

  • Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you is the Promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God will call” - (Acts 2:38-39).

This was followed by the baptism of “about three thousand souls” who were added to the Church that day.

Sunset Portugal - Photo by Daniele Franchi on Unsplash
[Photo by Daniele Franchi on Unsplash]

Thus, the great harvest of the Earth commenced. “
Beginning from Jerusalem,” the proclamation of “repentance and remission of sins” began its journey to “uttermost parts of the Earth,” a process that will not cease until the “Day of the Lord” when Jesus arrives and gathers the ripened “wheat to his barn” at the “conclusion of the present age.”



RELATED POSTS:
  • In the Last Days... - (The outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost signaled the arrival of the last days, the era of salvation and fulfillment)
  • Spirit and Mission - (The Gift of the Spirit is for every man who repents, even to those afar off, and in fulfillment of the promise of the Father - Acts 2:37-41)
  • The Mission - (Jesus dispenses the Gift of the Spirit to his people to empower them to carry out the proclamation of the Gospel to the Earth)

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