“And the Feast of Ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labors out of the field” (Ex. 23:16).
If the Passover was wonderful–and it certainly was–how much more wonderful shall we expect Pentecost to be in its fullness? And if Pentecost is wonderful, how much more shall we expect Tabernacles to exceed it in glory? In the Passover we have but the Sheaf of Firstfruits by way of harvest, and not the harvest itself. But Pentecost was the harvest. And what a tremendous harvest there was! And so now the Feast of Ingathering must far surpass Pentecost, even as Pentecost surpassed the harvest of the Sheaf of Firstfruits.
A GREAT ECLIPSE
The Cross and Pentecost–this was but the dawning of the great Day of the Church. That Day has already extended some nineteen hundred years and more, and the sun rises higher and higher and higher in the heavens of God’s eternal purpose. We are not inferring that the glory of the Sun continued to grow more brilliant as it rose in the sky. It should have done so, but through the disobedience of the reapers the sun was darkened, and the moon (even the Church) did not give her light. The history of the Church is a history of darkness and sorrow and bitterness. What happened? Did the Sun of Righteousness set in the heavens, and was the Church swallowed up in defeat? Ah no! It was not the setting of the Sun, but it was a great eclipse that caused the darkness, even the eclipse of the Dark Ages.
First there was the eclipse of the moon, the Church. In her circuit about the heavens she was caught in the shadow of the earth, and the corruption of the earth transformed her beautiful glow into blood and sorrow. And then there was the eclipse of the Sun. The apostate Church in her circuit obscured the glory of the Sun, so that earth-dwellers witnessed the eclipse of Truth himself. Truth perished from the earth; and joy withered away from the sons of men. Hence the Dark Ages! A few godly saints were left, for God has always had His believing remnant; and how they must have thought the Sun had set forever upon the once-glorious Church! But no! It was just an eclipse, and in due course–according to Divine pattern, the moon began once again to take on her celestial glow, and the Sun began to shine brilliantly in the heavens of the Church Age. The Reformation had started. Light began to dawn upon the darkened understandings of men, and truth began to be restored to the Church. And the Reformation has not ended by any means. Indeed, it too seems to have gone into partial eclipse. But rays of promise are again breaking forth from the heavens. “The darkness is passing away, and the true light now shineth” (1 Jn. 2:8, Literal).
“Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?” (Song 6:10). She is the group known as the overcomers. She is the “undefiled,” “the choice one of her that bare her.” As we mentioned before, there are many, many groups in the Church, according to God’s plan and purpose; and we are not attempting to make any particular distinction between them. “There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, my undefiled is but one” (Song 6:9). There is a place for all God’s people in His great House; but shall we not seek after that intimate place of fellowship and communion with Him in the very “secret place of the Most High?” Says Paul, “In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor…” All the saints have a place in God’s Church; but one company receiveth the highest prize. The challenge is therefore thrown out to the saints everywhere, to rid themselves of the corrupting influences of the flesh and of the natural, and to diligently seek the things of the Spirit of God. “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Tim. 2:20, 21).