Harvest Times - First Fruits - Next Second Fruits
Out of the pure ashes of the fires of enduring in "the faith which is In Christ Jesus" shall come the "first of the firstfruits" (Ex.23:19) of an imminent world harvest. Out of great tribulation, there shall blossom forth in promised manifestation (Ro.8:19), a gloriously empowered body of mature saints, full of Christ's power (Jn.14:12) and incorruptible glory - Phil.3:21; 2Ths.1:10. The scriptures give us a glimpse into the coming realm of a manifested fulness wherein the body of the woman, the present day church shall give birth to a mature body (Rev.12:5) which will come forth as a new "glorious church...holy and without blemish."Eph.5:27. These will be found to have received not only the initial "GIFT" of salvation, but also obtained unto the "the PRIZE of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" Phil.3:14.
This remnant body of sons whom Daniel refers to as "the saints of the most High" (Da.chptr.7) shall be fully clothed with all the necessary "garments of salvation" Isa.61:10. They shall have put on "the WHOLE armour of God" (Eph.6:11-18), even "the armour of light" (Ro.13:12) and "the armour of righteousness" (2Cor.6:7) which they have "put on" (1Cor.15:53) through the Spirit (Zec.4:6) over top of the "robe of [Christ's] righteousness." Isa.61:10. These are often referred to as "Joel's army "or "Giddeon's army", but foremost, they are the chosen and anointed "army" of the Lord - Rev.19:19; Song.6:10. These faithful soldiers (2tim.2:3,4) are of those that shall ENDURE UNTO THE END of their self life even unto FULL AND FINAL SALVATION - Matt.24:13; 10:22,39: Mk.13:13.
These are those also spoken of as "overcomers" (Rev.2:11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).and as "a great people and a strong" (Jl.2:2; Isa.13:4), "wise men" (Matt. 7:24), "faithful and wise servants" (Matt.24:45), "good and faithful servants." Matt.25:23. These ones are the "called and chosen AND FAITHFUL." Rev.17:14. They are "wise" (Matt.25:1, 2; Rev.14:4) and "chaste" (2Cor.11:2) "virgins" (Rev.14:4) in contrast to the "foolish." Matt. 25:2, 3; 7:26; Gal.3:1, 3.
Unlike the "lukewarm" (Rev.3:16) "servants of men" (1Cor.7:23), "evil servants" (Matt.24:48), "servants of corruption" (2Ptr.2:19), "servants to uncleanness" (Ro.6:19), "hypocrites" (Matt.7:5) and "workers of iniquity" (Matt.7:23), Christ shall grant only His faithful "servants to righteousness UNTO HOLINESS" (Ro.6:19) to have "power over the nations" (Rev.2:26) on earth as godly "kings and priests" - Rev.4:10. It is these same "firstfruits unto God and the Lamb" (Rev.14:4) who shall be made "ruler over ALL His goods." Matt.24:47. These are they who "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in theknowledge of God." Col.1:10; Lk.11:25; Ac.5:41; 1Ths.2:12; 2Ths.1:5, 11; Rev.3:4; 16:6
These are they who are KEPT by the power of God through faith (even through the divine faith OF the Son of God - Gal.2:16,20; Phil.3:9) UNTO SALVATION, which speaks of FULL SALVATION (Eph.3:19; 4:13; Heb. 9:28), even THE REDEMPTION OF THE BODY (Ro.8:23) which is "READY TO BE REVEALED IN THE LAST TIME" (1Ptr.1:5), during the "TIME OF THE HARVEST" (Matt.13:30) of the world (Grk.--age) - Matt.24:3; 28:20. God is preparing to bring the first of "many sons unto glory." Heb.2:10. These are of the "firstfruits" (Jas.1:18) of those whom He did foreknow and predestinate to be conformed to the image of the Son...and these whom He called, He justified and who He justified, them He also GLORIFIED - Ro. 8:29,30; Eph.1:23; Phil.1:6.
These also are they who choose to gird up the loins of their mind, who are sober, and HOPE TO THE END for the grace that is to be [yet] brought to them at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1Ptr.1:13) "IN His kingdom" (Matt.16:28); receiving and seeing "THE END OF THE LORD" (Jas.5:11), "THE END OF THEIR FAITH" (1Ptr.1:9) and not just the beginning of their salvation by faith...."for NOW IS OUR SALVATION NEARER THAN WHEN WE (initially) BELIEVED." Ro.13:11. "Much more then, being now justified by His blood, WE SHALL BE SAVED from wrath through Him." Ro.5:9; Jn.3:36.
The Bible teaches a progressive salvation which changes from "glory to glory" (1Cor.3:18), "from faith to faith" (Ro.1:17), ending even in the salvation of their souls [complete deliverance of the whole man] of which SALVATION the prophets prophesied of THE GRACE THE SHOULD COME UNTO THEM - 1Ptr.1:9,10. This is the same ABUNDANCE OF GRACE which grows with the gift of righteousness [initial salvation - Ro.5:17] only through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord - 2Ptr.1:2. These also are they who give diligence to making their calling and election sure, so an entrance (Matt.7:13; Rev.22:14) shall be administered unto them ABUNDANTLY into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ - 2Ptr.1:10,11.
"The Obtaining Of The Glory"
Those that endure all things for the elect's sake that they may also OBTAIN the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal GLORY (2Tim.2:10), are they whom God has from the beginning chosen to first receive this salvation "through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth....TO THE OBTAINING OF THE GLORY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST." 2Ths. 2:13,14; 1Ths.5:9. They are made partakers of Christ [even His divine nature - 2Ptr.1:4] as they hold THE BEGINNING of their confidence [faith] and choose to diligently work out their SALVATION [from the beginning TO THE END - Phil.2:12], enduring steadfastly "UNTO THE END" (Heb.3:14) until "Christ be formed" fully in them - Gal.4:19.
"And we do desire that everyone of you do shew this same diligence [in working out their salvation] to THE FULL ASSURANCE of HOPE UNTO THE END that we may through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Heb. 6:12), even all of them - Heb.11:13, 40. "It is good that a man should both HOPE and quietly WAIT FOR THE SALVATION OF THE LORD." Lam.3:26. But if we stumble along "the way of holiness" (Isa.35:8) and we all do; know that the Lord will afflict or chastise and discipline, not willingly (Lam.3:33) nor without just cause, but wholly for our profit that we might be PARTAKERS OF HIS HOLINESS - Heb.12:10. For "How shall we escape [chastisement] if we neglect SO GREAT SALVATION" ? (Heb.2:3) even that SALVATION whereby He is able to SAVE US TO THE UTTERMOST -Heb.7:25.
"Blessed is the man that ENDURETH temptation for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to them that love Him." Jas.1:12. "Behold we count them happy which ENDURE [all things for Christ's sake]. Ye have heard of the PATIENCE of Job, and seen THE END OF THE LORD: that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy" Jas.5:11. For if you ENDURE chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons - Heb.12:7. Therefore, "In your PATIENCE [endurance] possess ye your SOULS " Lk.21:19. We should earnestly desire to be "not of them who draw back unto perdition [involving ruin or loss of reward]; but of them who believe to the [progressive] SAVING OF THE SOUL." Heb.10:39. Being "doers" of the word will "save your SOULS." Jas.1:21.
A Promised Prize
Let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Heb.12:1), not looking back but reaching forth unto those things which are before us, and press on toward the mark for THE PRIZE of the HIGH CALLING of God [which is] in Christ Jesus (Phil.3:13,14), looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy...ENDURED the cross...For consider Him that ENDURED...lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds - Heb.12:2, 3. Therefore let us also "ENDURE HARDNESS as a good soldier " (2Tim. 2:3) "knowing in yourselves ye have heaven a better and an ENDURING SUBSTANCE" (Heb.10:34), for "greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." 1Jn.4:4. "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of REWARD. For ye have need of PATIENCE, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive THE PROMISE." Heb.10:35,36.
The "PRIZE" is part of the "PROMISE" of the "EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD" Gen.15:1. This involves the "FULL REWARD" (2Jn.8) of winning Christ and being found IN HIM (Phil.3:8, 9), whereby "when that which is PERFECT is come" (1Cor.13:10), "in the twinkling of an eye" (1Cor.15:51), then shall "the riches of the glory of HIS INHERITANCE IN THE SAINTS (Eph.1:18), be revealed IN (Ro.8:18), manifested IN (Ro.8:19) and "admired IN" (1Ths.1:10) the "firstfruit" (Rev.14:4) "saints...that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev.15:12.
This is the first prize and is a great reward and prize of these "EXCEEDING GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES" (2Ptr.1:4) to be won, and should not be confused with "THE GIFT of God" (Eph.2:8) which is not earned but rather is freely given by His grace in order that one might enter the race that is set before him. Gifts are unconditional. Promises, rewards and prizes are generally conditional and are to be earned or won based upon our responses to God's word and His holy Spirit - 1Cor.3:12-15; Ro.2:10.
We are exhorted to "go on UNTO PERFECTION" Heb.6:1. Therefore let us run and "press toward" the prize that we may obtain (1Cor.9:24), for this prize includes a portion of all the promises and rewards in the word. But know ye also, that only to him that chooses continual overcoming of evil, and in humility (Matt.23:12; Jas.4:6) keeps Christ's work [doing the will of the Father, not their own] UNTO THE END, "ENDURING as seeing Him who is invisible" Heb.11:27. To him will Christ give power over the nations (Rev.2:26) in the first resurrection - Rev.20:4,5. This is the time when Christ brings many sons [for not all shall be in this firstruit rank] UNTO GLORY (Heb.2:10) in this the "better resurrection." Heb.11:35.
With this end in mind of this SO GREAT SALVATION to come, Paul prayed with his understanding enlightened not by man but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal.2:12)..."and my the very God of peace sanctify you WHOLLY [totally, fully]: and I pray God, your WHOLE SPIRIT and SOUL and BODY be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ" (1Cor.1:18); even "TO THE END that He may establish your hearts unblameable in HOLINESS before God at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints." 1Ths.3:13.
"Having therefore THESE PROMISES [amongst others] dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh & spirit, PERFECTING HOLINESS in the fear of God." 2Cor.7:1. Let us give all glory and honour and power to Jesus "who [has] delivered us [our spirit] from SO GREAT A DEATH [of separation from God], and doth [even yet progressively] deliver [cleansing our soul from the indwelling powers of darkness], in whom we trust that He will YET DELIVER [save] US" [by sanctifying, cleansing and purifying WHOLLY, the spirit, soul and body] 2Cor.1:10. Out of SO GREAT A DEATH is coming forth "SO GREAT SALVATION"! Heb.2:3.
"This man continueth ever, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for us."Heb.7:24, 25. Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many [includes all - Ro.5:18; Heb.2:9) and unto them that look for Him shall He appear a second time, without sin UNTO SALVATION (Heb.9:8); a great salvation whereby ye might be filled with all the FULLNESS OF GOD (Eph.3:19), filled with the fruits of righteousness (Phil.1:11; Col.1:9,10) that shall remain - Jn.15:16. For he shall have quickened your mortal bodies [of death] by His Spirit that dwelleth IN you - Ro.8:11. Then shall come a loud voice saying in heaven, "NOW IS COME [this so great] SALVATION and strength and the kingdom of our God" (Rev.12:10); come in all its manifested FULNESS in these the first ripe harvested fruits of all God's people - Mk.4:26-29.
Let us who are [now] of the day [ even this day and age of salvation ], be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the HOPE of [FULL] SALVATION (1Ths.5:8) looking always for the BLESSED HOPE." Tit.2:13. For God hath not appointed us [the children now walking in light ] to wrath [the inherant judgment of our own carnal natures], which wrath is always reserved in judgment of the ungodly (Jn.3:36; Ro.5:9; 1Ths.1:10; Jb.21:30) and also for those who hold the truth [ but yet ] in unrighteousness - Ro.1:18. But, He hath appointed us [along with every man in His own order and rank - 1Cor.15:23] TO OBTAIN [ their portion of the glory of ] SALVATION (2Ths.2:14) by our Lord Jesus Christ." 1Ths.5:9.
"And it shall be said in that day, Lo this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His Salvation." Isa.25:9. "Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift" (2Cor.9:15) and His "so great salvation." There is a glorious "eternal purpose" (Eph.3:11) which the Almighty in His majesty & soveregnty, cannot fail to fulfill regardless of what the carnal mind and man's selfwil thinks & does - Eph.1:9-11.
We are not at the end of time as some seem to think, but only at the end of an age. The church is entering into another even more glorious age wherein the Lord, through "the blood of his cross" (Col.1:20) contained in the "everlasting gospel" (Rev.14:6), "shall have put down ALL rule and ALL authority and ALL power." 1Cor.15:24. How many have the faith now to believe for "SO GREAT SALVATION" as shall be fulfilled when God becomes "ALL in ALL?" 1Cor.15:20-28.
Has not the Lord in His great purpose concluded all in vanity and unbelief (Rom.8:20) that He might have mercy on all in due time? Ro.11:32; 25,26; 1Tim.2:4-6. "For out of Him [as Creator], and through Him [as mediator], and to Him [as creation's Almighty sovereign restorer & Saviour] are ALL THINGS: to whom be glory, for ever. Amen." Ro.11:36.
SO GREAT A SALVATION there is even in the beginning of the new creation in Christ. How much more glorious and greater even shall it be in the end! Ro.5:8-20. Finally, "when that which is perfect is come, then [all] that which is [yet] in part shall be done away." 1Cor.13:9. We all as the present day church, have been given the power of God unto this complete and perfect salvation (Ro.1:16) and He hath committed unto us "the word" and "the ministry" of the "reconciliation of ALL THINGS" (Col.1:20). 2Cor.5:17-21. Let us walk in wisdom toward them that are yet without Christ, redeeming the time in using it wisely because these days are yet evil - 1Co.4:5; Eph.5:16.
"For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face:
Now I know IN PART; BUT THEN SHALL I KNOW EVEN ALSO
AS I AM KNOWN. 1Cor.13:12