The role of the feast days to our present day is poorly understood by the host of Christianity. However, there remains a very important antitypical application of these ceremonial services to the final harvest of souls at the end of this earth’s history. Thus let us come here what inspiration has revealed for our admonition and understanding that is incomparable to anything other theory or private opinion that has been offered over the centuries. The following reading comes from Tract No. 3, The Judgment and the Harvest, pp. 54-73.
“Just as the Spirit of Prophecy declares that “the whole system of types and symbols was a compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation in which were bound up the promises of redemption” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 14), just so the plan of salvation is unfolded not only in the testimonies of the prophets and in the parables of Christ but also in the types and symbols of the earthly sanctuary. In addition to this, the experiences of the people in the typical period “happened unto them,” we are told, “for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Cor. 10:11. So we are logically bound at the very outset to attend to God’s instruction to Moses:
“On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: . . . make an atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.” “Make an atonement for the children of Israel . . . once a year.” Lev. 23:27-29; 16:34.
When one is “cut off from among his people” on account of sin, then his name must also be “blotted out of the book of the living.” Ps. 69:28. Consequently, the day of atonement was a day of judgment, as it is still commonly called by the Jews, and by that token it was founded as the type of the great antitypical day of atonement (the investigative judgment) — the day in which the Lord will blot from His book the names of all sinners, and “cut off” from the congregation of His people all whose names are not in the book.
Concerning the typical day of atonement, the Lord’s command through Moses was: “On that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. . . . and he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar.” Lev. 16:30, 33.
Being the day of atonement in type for both the dead and the living, this service of the earthly tabernacle therefore projects the day of atonement in its antitype—the cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven from unworthy names in the books, and the cleansing of the church on earth from its unconverted and unstable members,—thus bringing the time of clean books, clean church, and clean people.
Looking forward to this day of purification, Zechariah prophesies: “In that day shall there be upon horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: . . . and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.” Zech. 14:20, 21.
Envisioning the same scene, the prophet Isaiah declares: “And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; . . . thou shalt be called Hephzibah . . . The holy people.” Isa. 62:2-4, 12.
“But ye . . . that forsake the Lord, that forget My holy mountain, . . . ye shall leave your name for a curse unto My chosen: for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call His servants by another name.” Isa. 65:11, 15.
“The people that doth not understand shall fall.” Hos. 4:14. “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” Dan. 12:10.
Those whose vision is clear on the truth of the harvest as taught in the testimonies of the prophets and in the parables will have a still clearer vision as we study the significance of
The Wave-Sheaf, Wave-Loaves, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
Illustrating our salvation in completeness, the harvest rites of the ceremonial system must therefore corroborate both the testimonies of the prophets and the parables concerning the harvest, for all are inextricably bound up together. The ceremonies of the first and the second fruits of grain must accordingly unfold the truth concerning the first and second fruits of humanity. In the Levitical law we read:
“Ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. . . . And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: . . . and ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offer-ing unto the Lord. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the first fruits unto the Lord. . . . Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.” Lev. 23:10,11, 14-17, 39.
Here we see commanded the observance of three harvest rites: (1) the ceremony of the wave-sheaf, at the beginning of the first harvest; (2) the ceremony of the wave-loaves, at the close of the first harvest; and (3) the feast of tabernacles, at the close of the second harvest. Being typical, these two grain harvests with their three literal sacraments, accordingly foreshadow two soul harvests with three spiritual rites, the first of which is the
First Fruits with Wave-Sheaf and Wave-Loaves.
Being of cut stalks of grain, the wave-sheaf signified fruits to be harvested. And as the sheaf was to be offered before the sickle was put to the grain and gathered into sheaves, it obviously pointed forward to a spiritual harvest of first fruits to be gathered.
On Pentecost, fifty days after the typical sheaf was offered, all Israel were to offer “a new meat offering unto the Lord. . . . [two wave-loaves “baken with leaven”] the firstfruits unto the Lord.” Lev. 23:16, 17.
Both the wave-sheaf and the wave-loaves were thank offerings for the first fruits. One was dedicated at the beginning of the harvest; the other at the completion of it. In contrast to the wave-sheaf of cut stalks of grain, prefiguring fruits to be gathered after the sheaf was offered, the wave-loaves, being a finished product, signified fruits previously gathered. (The reader who would best comprehend the significance of these three ceremonial celebrations all-important to our salvation, will follow the chart of page 77, as we proceed.)
It will be observed that the command regarding observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, as well as that regarding observance of the yearly ceremonial feasts, is recorded in the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus, verse 3. Care, therefore, must be exercised not to confuse the one truth with the other.
The wave-sheaf was to be offered “on the morrow after the Sabbath”—that is, on the first day of the week, now commonly called Sunday. This offering was to be presented, not on a special day of the month, but rather on a special day of the week, before the sickle was put to the grain and gathered into sheaves (Lev. 23:11, 14). Coming just at the right time, in the season of the first fruits, the Passover week was the period in which the wave-sheaf was usually offered before the Lord, its ritual prophetically projecting
Christ, the Antitype of the Wave-Sheaf.
For more than a thousand years the annual waving of the sheaf pointed forward to its antitypical event, the resurrection of Christ. And as Christ arose on the very day that the wave-sheaf was to be offered, the day “after the Sabbath,” let no one attribute the singular concurrence of these two events on that day to mere coincidence or to any cause other than divine design. “He was the antitype of the wave-sheaf,” declares the Spirit of Prophecy, “and His resurrection took place on the very day when the wave-sheaf was to be presented before the Lord.”—Desire of Ages, p. 785.
So Christ, the first fruits, and those who with Him at His resurrection came forth from the grave, raised to everlasting life, were the antitypical wave-sheaf of the dead. And since the wave-sheaf of grain pointed forward to the ingathering of the first fruits of the field, just so those who arose with Christ, being first fruits of the dead, pointed forward to the ingathering of the gospel’s first fruits—the 120 disciples. But as those who arose with Christ ascended with Him as trophies of His victory over death and the grave, they thereby became a living type, and thus
The Wave-Sheaf of the Living.
Just as Christ arose on the very day the sheaf was to be offered, likewise the Holy Spirit fell upon the 120 disciples on the very day the wave-loaves were to be presented before the Lord. The apostolic Pentecost was accordingly the prototype of the ceremonial Pentecost (the day the wave-loaves were offered). And since the wave-sheaf was a figure of Christ and of those who arose with Him as the first of the first fruits of the dead, hence the wave-loaves were a figure on the 120 Spirit-filled disciples who were the full complement of first fruits of the dead, and who were gathered in after the resurrection.
From these facts it can more clearly be seen that those whom Christ took with Him were the living wave-sheaf and the only one that has been offered in the heavenly sanctuary; and that as ones raised from the dead, they are the first fruits of the dead, whereas as ones everliving before the Father, they are the living wave-sheaf of the first fruits of the living, the 144,000 servants of God, who sequentially precede
The Second Fruits and the Feast of Tabernacles.
The 120 disciples on the day of Pentecost being the gospel’s first fruits of the dead, it follows that the great multitude added to the church daily thereafter, naturally were the gospel’s second fruits of the dead.
“Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month,” continues the Levitical record of the Lord’s commands concerning the harvest rites, “when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: . . . and ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. . . . Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths.” Lev. 23:39, 40, 42.
As the wave-sheaf and the wave-loaves are typical, then also the Feast of Tabernacles must be typical. Otherwise the ceremony would not have been observed as a part of the harvest rite. And as in the type the feast was to be celebrated at the close of the final ingathering of the year’s harvest, then correspondingly in the anti-type it must be celebrated at the close of the final ingathering of earth’s harvest, which is nearing its fulfilment. So the time consumed in producing and in offering the wave-sheaf and the wave-loaves, also in observing the Feast of Tabernacles, is representative of the entire spiritual harvest time of the living and of the dead.
Bearing out this fact the Spirit of Prophecy says:
“The Feast of Tabernacles was not only commemorative, but typical. . . . It celebrated the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, and pointed forward to the great day of final ingathering, when the Lord of the harvest shall send forth His reapers to gather the tares together in bundles for the fire, and to gather the wheat into His garner. At that time the wicked will all be destroyed.” — Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 541.
Plainly, therefore, since the first and the second fruits of the literal harvest and its attendant rites foreshadowed a spiritual harvest of first and second fruits, they are to be climaxed by the antitypical Feast of Tabernacles.
“I saw the saints,” says the servant of the Lord in describing this celebration, “leaving the cities and villages, and associating together in companies, and living in the most solitary places. Angels provided them food and water, while the wicked were suffering from hunger and thirst.”—Early Writings, p. 282.
Thus ancient Israel’s dwelling in booths typifies modern Israel’s eventually dwelling in the woods. Irrefutably, therefore, the harvest of Matthew 13 precedes the close of probation, and is the time of the ingathering of the first and second fruits—the 144,000 and the “great multitude”,—all the saints who are to be translated.
As the light focusing to this point clearly reveals that the Pentecost after the resurrection was for the ingathering of those who were to die, there must, correspondingly, be a Pentecost for the ingathering of those who are to be translated. And by the same token of logic, the wave-sheaf and the wave-loaves must have a double application, each to the dead and to the living, together comprising the total fruits of the antitypical harvest.
The apostolic Pentecost in providing the power for the ingathering of second fruits up to the beginning of the judgment of those who are now dead, foretokened the final Pentecost, which is yet future, and which is to bring the power for the ingathering of the second fruits of the living, those who shall never die. In other words, those who died prior to the final Pentecost are to be judged by the light of truth reflected through the power of the apostolic Pentecost.
(From His baptism to His ascension, Christ taught abroad the truth which was to prepare those who accepted it, to impart it. Then on the day of Pentecost, He endued them with His Spirit to proclaim it with power.)
Concerning the judgment, the harvest, the servant of the Lord declares:
“I then saw the third angel. Said my accompanying angel, ‘Fearful is his work. Awful is his mission. He is the angel that is to select the wheat from the tares, and seal, or bind, the wheat for the heavenly garner.’ ”—Early Writings, p. 118.
“Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth. Give ye ear, and hear My voice; hearken, and hear My speech.” Isa. 28:22, 23.
And now that each one who honestly seeks to hear and to heed the voice of Truth may have the clearest possible grasp of the several aspects of the subject of the judgment, the harvest, they are hereat brought into consolidated focus:
The reader will remember that those who arose with Christ on the eighteenth day of the first month (follow the chart on page 55), were immortalized and received into heaven as the antitypical sheaf, pointing to the ingathering of the fruits that shall never die. Their resurrection from the dead signified the beginning of the first-fruit harvest of the 120 disciples who were to die and be resurrected. The fact that the followers of Christ were not of one accord before the resurrection, is very positive testimony that the first fruits (the 120) of them that sleep did not ripen (become fully converted) until after the resurrection.
The 40 days of Christ’s personal presence on earth after His resurrection was the time in which the first fruits were gathered in, for after His ascension the Christians closeted themselves in the upper room and did not emerge to preach the truth until the Pentecost. The 120, who received the power of the Spirit on the very day the wave-loaves were offered, were therefore the antitypical wave-loaves, signifying the completeness of the first-fruit harvest. Subsequently came the second fruits of the dead, in the period of which the tares were commingled with the wheat.
Wonderful indeed is the way in which God has worked out the plan of salvation and revealed it step by step as necessary. When in 1844 the investigative judgment of the dead and the ingathering of the first fruits of the living began, He did not leave His people in darkness concerning these events. The very first vision which Sister White received in 1844 was of the 144,000 first fruits, the “servants of our God,” who shall never taste death. (See Early Writings, pp. 13-15.)
Just as Christ and those whom He raised and took with Him became the prototypical sheaf, betokening the ingathering of the first fruits (the 120) of those who are to be resurrected, so also when He entered upon His priestly ministration in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and presented Himself and His trophies before His Father, they became the antitypical sheaf, betokening the ingathering of the first fruits of those who are to be translated (the 144,000 living saints). In the light of this parallel, the spiritual condition of the 120 before the apostolic Pentecost is clearly seen to typify the spiritual condition of the 144,000 before the future Pentecost.
The 40 days (Acts 1:3, 9) from the resurrection to the ascension are consequently typical of the period from 1844 to the fulfilment of the marking and slaying as recorded in Ezekiel 9 and Revelation 7:3-8; 14:1-5 respectively, and in Testimonies to Ministers, p. 445, Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 266, also Early Writings, pp. 270-273.
After the first fruits are sealed and the tares are removed from among them, they then being separate from the influence of the world, as were the 120 on the day of Pentecost, will receive the outpouring of “the Holy Spirit in as much greater measure, as the increase of wickedness demands a more decided call to repentance.” — Testimonies, Vol. 7, p. 33.
The first fruits of the dead (120) being a numbered company, and the second fruits of the dead (the multitudes gathered after Pentecost) being an unnumbered company, so correspondingly must it be with the first and second fruits of the living. Hence the sealing of the 144,000 first fruits; and hence “after this,” says John, “I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and be-fore the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands . . . and all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts.” Rev. 7:9, 11.
Mark carefully that this great multitude stood before the throne, not bodily, but figuratively only, as viewed in Early Writings, p. 55, and as is evidenced by the two-fold fact that (1) the angels “stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts,” showing that the great multitude was outside the angelic circle; and that (2) the presence of the angels, the elders, and the four beasts about the throne shows that the judgment (Rev. 4:2-6) was still in session, and that therefore probation had not closed.
The palms in the hands of the great multitude (Rev. 7:9, 11), and the “victor’s palm” placed “in every hand’’ of “the unnumbered host of the redeemed” (The Great Controversy, p. 646), betoken two entirely different events: for the latter received both a “victor’s palm and [a] shining harp,” whereas the former had no harps but only palms. “The unnumbered host of the redeemed” received their palms and harps in heaven, upon ascending in the “cloudy chariot,” and just before entering the holy city. The great multitude, though, had their palms on earth, for, as we have seen, they had them during the time of the investigative judgment in the heavenly sanctuary—before the close of probation. (See Revelation 4 and 5; The Shepherd’s Rod, Vol. 2, pp. 194-197.)
Clearly, then, while the palms and the harps of the redeemed hosts in heaven are actual guerdons of victory, the palms of the great multitude on earth are figurative victory-palms.” — Tract No. 3, pp. 72-88