In Mark’s gospel, chapter 4, we read the parable of the Sower, which is the same as that given in Matthew’s gospel. However, the agrarian theme is pursued a little further by Jesus, as is given in verses 26-29 by the writer. The kingdom is like seed which has been cast into the ground. The man who has cast it watches day by day for it to shoot forth from the ground; first the blade, then the ear and finally the full grown corn.
The miraculous growth of the plant from the seed, which has been hidden from view in the ground for a time, until germination and first growth has taken place, describes the development of the Kingdom. After their removal from the promised land and their captivity in Assyria, the Kingdom was hidden from the eyes of the world. Like a seed, God planted them in a new location where they remained hidden.
When one plants a seed in the ground one merely watches to see its progress, having no part in the growth process. It already has within it that spark of life and is dependent on God, the giver of all life, for its growth and development. So also is the Kingdom, which makes the analogy so very appropriate.
When the Kingdom seed germinated and began to grow, its identity was not recognised by the world at large. The peoples of the British Isles were just another nation among nations. But to God the developing plant was something special and throughout its growth, He has nurtured it, protecting it against all the storms of life so that it would survive, blossom and bear fruit. In the parable our Lord relates that when the fruit appears the sickle is immediately brought out for it is the time to harvest. Thus, this parable, too, brings us to the end of the age.
The harvesting of many crops can be a fairly critical time. Gather it in too soon and the crop will not be at its best or may even be unfit to use. Do it too late and the result will be the same. So, too, will be the time of the harvest at the end of the age. We are not in a position to know the day or time when the Kingdom will be right for God’s harvest. We are given glimpses through the prophecies of Scripture of the conditions to be expected at that critical time, but the day or hour even the Lord Himself did not know.
When we look at the state of the Kingdom at the present time, we may well despair of it ever being suitable to serve God’s purpose. Yet, through the words of prophecy we know that the state of the Kingdom will not be judged by human standards, when God judges it to be ready for the harvest. From Scripture we learn that the people of Israel in the Isles will, in these last days of the age, be driven by force of circumstances to turn from their unrighteous way and seek God’s help. A critical time indeed! If God were to act before that time we would not be in the right frame of mind or spirit to recognise His hand and as a crop we would not be usable. If He delays in answering our call the crop would quickly wither and die. That such a possibility exists is clearly affirmed by the words of our Lord recorded in Matthew 24: “except these days be shortened there should no flesh be saved; But for the elect’s sake these days shall be shortened.”
The serious situation facing the kingdom at the end of the age is reflected in the unmistakable sense of urgency with which the short parable ends: “…immediately he putteth in the sickle…”
Timing is therefore all-important. However, as has been pointed out already we are in God’s hands and His timing will ensure that the harvest will take place at exactly the right moment. (Courtesy The Covenant Publishing Co Ltd, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Written by By Alfred S. Brown
Editor’s Comment: Alfred S. Brown was brought up with the knowledge of the Israel Truth, as his parents, had studied and accepted the message during the 1930’s and encouraged their son to study as well. In later years, Mr. Brown was an active participant in the movement. For many years he also served as a technical assistant with the BBC. This particular article was taken from his very excellent book, “The Hidden Treasures of the Parables”. I encourage you to read this article in conjunction with all the signs in our world today. Let me repeat Mr. Brown’s comment, “The serious situation facing the kingdom at the end of the age is reflected in the unmistakable sense of urgency with which the short parable ends: “…immediately he putteth in the sickle…” Well, all one has to do is to look at the great strides by the workers of iniquity in these days of pandemic, to know that the sickle is only short years away, at most. I encourage you to re-read our articles on the seven prophetic hours that also suggest time is winding down and soon, we wll be entering the eighth prophetic hour (of 15 years) or an exciting new beginning. And the iniquity will surely end.