We are going to go through the book of Revelations and point to you what the plan of God is. Let's go to the book of Revelations, chapter 14. This chapter talks about the plan of God to take the Christians out of this world, which we call the rapture or the harvesting of the earth, before the world will be judged. I want to point to the parables Jesus Christ gave that, at the end of the world there will be harvesting of the world. In this parable you'll see that the Lord has given us specific details about how the end of the world will be. This parable can be found in Matthew chapter 13, verse 24.
24 "Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence has it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."
That is one of the parables that Jesus Christ gave. Now we are going to read the interpretation in verses 36-43.
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
That was the parable Jesus Christ gave to the disciples. Now we are going to see what the similarity is in the book of Revelations. What I want to point to you in this chapter is the fact that the world, according to the verses we just read, is the field. In the bible, the Law of Moses that was given to the Israelites commanded them concerning harvest. The first thing to do was to gather the first fruits of the field. The law concerning the first fruits of the field was to give the first fruits unto God. Then after a while they would go for the real harvest. We are going to see the similar thing in the bible concerning the harvesting of this world. Like the parable we just read the Lord Jesus Christ said the world is the field, where we have the seed, the children of the kingdom and the children of the devil. Now there will be a harvesting of the world and when we say harvesting of the world, the Lord will follow the same procedure he gave to the Israelites. He has to first take out the first fruits and give it to God. Then he will go and harvest the real crop. Now lets look at Revelations chapter 14 and see the harvesting the Lord will do for this earth. There will also have to be first fruits taken out of this world and given to God. When it says give it to God, though Jesus Christ is God himself, he means take them out among the band of believers and give it to heaven where they will be in charge of things and affairs of this world before the throne of God.
1 And I looked and lo, a lamb stood on mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand which were redeemed from the earth.
4 These are they that were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.
5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Now this describes the first fruits of the earth that will be harvested from this planet Earth. The bible says that they are redeemed from among men. In chapter 14, God gave a number, God deals in numbers, for these first fruits. He said that there are going to be one hundred and forty-four thousand first fruits. I want you to know that these 144000 in chapter fourteen, are completely different from the one hundred forty-four thousand mentioned in Revelations chapter 7 verse 4, which were all Hebrews which are Israelites from the 12 tribes of Israel. But these 144,000 mentioned in chapter 14 were redeemed from the earth, from among men. These have to be the Gentiles. They are not just Israelites. The bible says they are first fruits from the earth. And remember Christ is coming to harvest the world, and if he is going to harvest the world he is going to have to harvest the children of God. In Matthew chapter 13, it said the field is the world. The good seed are the children of the kingdom. So who are the children of the kingdom? Both Jews and Gentiles!
Now, what do we mean by first fruits when it comes to the children of the kingdom? In the harvesting of any field, there will be some that will ripen first whenever you plant your field. If you don't go to the field and take out the first fruits, they will dry up and fall off and die before the rest of the fruits are ripen.
In Israel the first fruits are given to God, not to be eaten by the farmer.
In the same way, we, Christians are shooting for a goal, the ripen state. What is this goal? In Ephesian 4:7-11 We see the ripened state of our faith: "He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints". These ministries are given to the church for the saints to be perfected; "for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ."
v.13: "Till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. "
In short, our goal is to arrive at the stature of Christ individually. You can look around and see that some believers are higher than the others in their spiritual growth. This is normal, because in the field, the fruits do not all grow at the same pace. Whether you plant corn or wheat, some corns grow faster than others in the same field. However, we are all to shoot for this fullness of Christ. Of course, so many believers will not arrive at the stature of Christ before they either die physically or before Christ comes. Nevertheless, God intended to get himself a band of believers at this end of the world which must arrive at this fullness of Christ. This group must be manifested at this end of the world. That is what the scripture implies by "the manifestation of the sons of God". The band of believers that will arrive first at this stature of Christ are classified as the sons of God.
You may say "aren't all of us said to be sons of God". Yes. However, just as a king may have little babies who are his children, but have not grown to maturity to assume the royal throne, John 1:12 said, as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God. We are given the power to "become" the sons of God, i.e. to grow to maturity.
God meant it that there must be some to arrive at this stature before leaving this earth; Christ will bring many sons unto glory as written in Hebrew 2 verse 10. God will wait until he gets the number of the first fruits who will arrive at the fullness of the stature of Christ. "The husbandman waited patiently for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receives the early and the latter rain". (James 5:7). God will continue to wait until the 144000 first fruits of revelation 14 have come to fruition. This is the plan of God, to bring many more sons unto glory.
As written in Ephesians 4:12, we are to arrive at the fullness of the stature of Christ. Look at Rev.14. The 144000 followed the lamb wherever he goeth. These are their characteristics:
They are not defiled with women for they are virgins. (We believe being pure in faith, not mixed with idols. I.e spiritual virgins rather than physical virgins.
They follow the lamb whithersoever he goeth.
This is very important. It implies the relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and the individual believer in the first fruits. Completely lined up to the head - Christ is the head of every man. These believers are to be completely lined up to the head, i.e. they go withersoever he leadeth. As the scripture said, "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Rom.8:14). These first fruits will be the perfect example of those who are obedient to the Spirit -- completely lined up to the head. They will not move unless he moves them. This is a very important characteristic. Remember when the lamb of God was baptized in water, the Holy Ghost came like a dove and landed upon the lamb of God and rested. It was not shaken off. That is perfect obedience. That is the goal of the believer in Christ -- to be submissive to the Spirit of God. Every believer that is aspiring to be like Christ must have this as your goal -- perfect obedience to the Spirit of God, which is leading you. You can see this example in Elijah the prophet. Before he was taken away in the chariot of fire, he was being led step by step by the Spirit of God unto the port of departure. (2Kgs 2). These first fruits will be totally yielded vessels to God. Those who arrive to the yielded state first are the first fruits unto God. Each one of us is expected to aspire to this goal. We are to overcome all things that may hinder us from being totally yielded to the Spirit of God.
If you want to be one of the first fruits to the Lord, these are the things you must work on - to be a yielded vessel to the Lord, lined up with the head.
In their mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault before the throne of God. This is what every Christian is expected to be. Speak the word only, and there will be no lie in your mouth. If you speak the word of God only, there will be no guile in you for you are speaking the truth. The grace of God has perfected this for us, and it's not a work for righteousness.
God will continue to wait until he gets his 144000 from the earth and these will be taken out of the earth and they are the people that will be in the army of Michael to cast down the dragon in the war of Rev.12.
These first fruits must be harvested first or God is not done yet.
In the latter part of Rev.14, verse 14, after the first fruits were out of the earth, then cometh the real harvest.
(v.14-16) "And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
And another angel came out of the temple, crying to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. "
Now this is symbolizing the actual harvesting of the earth, when all the redeemed are gathered unto Christ. This is the general rapture, whereas the first fruits are given unto heaven for they have a work to do for the Father in the Universe. They have a work for God even after they leave the earth. The general harvest is seen in Rev.14:16 and this is what was referred to by apostle Paul in the book of Thessalonians when he said "the dead in Christ shall rise first and we which are alive and remain shall be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." (1Thes.4:17).
This has to take place before the wrath of God can be poured on the world. The wrath of God is revealed by the seven last vials in Rev. 16.
The wicked also shall be harvested and gathered for the wrath of God to be poured upon them. This is seen in Rev.14:17-20 where another angel harvested the clusters of the grapes of the earth and cast it into the winepress of the wrath of God, and the winepress was crushed. This symbolizes the gathering of the world armies by the "beast" (anti-Christ) for the battle of the great day of the Lord in a place called "Armageddon". They were all slaughtered by the sword of the Lord as written in Rev. 19:21.
If you are a believer and you are born again, begin to aspire to come to the fullness of the stature of Christ by yielding yourself to the Spirit of God. Begin to be obedient to the word of God written in the scriptures, so that you can be a candidate to hear the spoken instructions from the Spirit of God. Those who are yielding to the written word of God are the candidates to hear the spoken word of God. Christ will come to you and give you the anointing that will help you grow to the stature of Christ. What is this stature of Christ -- perfect submissiveness to the Spirit of God.
If you are not a believer, you are invited to come to Christ today and let him give you a new life and be saved.
I pray that the Lord give you the anointing that will help you to be yielded to the Spirit of God.
God bless you.
Bro. Julius Adewumi
Gospel Distribution Ministry