Summer Harvest Time: A closer look at Leviticus 23:22

06 June 2017 Written by  Dr. Micheal Herts

Dr. Michael Herts is the New York Regional Director for Chosen People Ministries

“Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you are not to reap to the furthest corners of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Rather you are to leave them for the poor and for the outsider. I am Adonai your God.” (Leviticus 23:22, TLV)

We live in prophetic times. It is amazing to see history (His Story) unfold before our eyes. As we go through the Biblical calendar in Leviticus 23 we see God’s prophetic plan unfold before our eyes. We see the Lord refer to them as His feasts at His appointed Times (Lev 23:1). It all begins with Shabbat (Leviticus 23:3) where we are to rest in Him and remember that it is God who brought us out of bondage and slavery to Pharaoh (Deuteronomy 5:15). As Newer Covenant believers in Yeshua we can also remember that it was God who redeemed us from bondage and slavery to sin. Remember, the Jewish people don’t keep Shabbat, it is Shabbat that keeps the Jewish people.

Then we have the Spring feasts (Leviticus 23:4-21). We had Passover where we remember the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The Feast of Unleavened Bread which calls us to Holy living while the rest of the world around us feasts on a diet of leaven (sin). Sfirat HaOmer (Early First Fruits., Leviticus 23:9-14) which is prophetic of the Resurrection of Yeshua. Shavuot just ended which is prophetic of the birthday of Judaism and the Birth of the Body of Messiah. According to Jewish tradition, on the first Shavuot the Law of God was inscribed on stone tablets. On the Shavuot in the second chapter of Acts as the Holy Spirit was released the Law of God became inscribed on the hearts of those who believe in Yeshua.

The Spring feasts from Passover through Shavuot have been prophetically fulfilled. Prophetically speaking we await the shofar blast that will begin the fulfillment of the Fall feasts in Leviticus 23:23 and following. Between the Spring and Fall feasts we have a four month interval. Instructing us during that interval we have Leviticus 23:22.  As the rest of the chapter has a literal and a prophetic fulfillment, verse 22 is no exception.

The literal fulfillment is consistent with Jewish and Biblical life and values. Simply put we are to continue our lives in such a way where we practice Tikkun Ha-Olam (fixing up the world). In the summer time Israel is laboring in the fields preparing for the final harvest of summer and getting things ready for the Fall Harvest. When doing so we are to remember to provide for the less fortunate among us. Both in Leviticus 23:22 and in Leviticus 19:9-10 we are to fulfill our obligation to provide for the poor by leaving the corners of our fields and the gleanings of our harvest for them. In Leviticus 19:9-10 vineyards are also included. The priority of caring for the poor and needy was also practiced by the early believers in Messiah (Acts 6:1; 11:29; 24:17) and should be practiced by us today.

With a prophetic understanding we can see this period as what we are experiencing today. The Spring feasts were fulfilled in Yeshua’s first coming and the Fall feasts will be fulfilled in Yeshua’s second coming. We are to be caring for the poor and needy physically speaking, and we must also consider the poor and needy spiritually speaking. John 4:35 tells us to look on the fields that are ready for harvest. From the context this is a metaphor for the spiritual needs of the people. While we are waiting for that great trumpet blasts that we are sure to hear at Yeshua’s second coming we are to be busy laboring in the fields. This means we are to be sharing our faith and making disciples of Yeshua. In other words, we are to get off our tuchus and be about our Heavenly Father’s business.

Bonhoeffer said, “As long as Levi sits in the tax collector’s booth and Peter at his nets, they would do their work honestly and loyally, they would have old or new knowledge about God. But if they want to learn to believe in God, they have to follow the Son of God incarnate and walk with him.”[1]

To follow Yeshua means to keep our focus on Him and obey His teachings. If we are sitting on the sidelines while others labor in the fields we are not fulfilling the calling Yeshua gave in Matthew 18:18-20 to make disciples of all nations. While earlier in His ministry Yeshua sent His disciples to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, now they are to go to all nations, starting with the Jewish people and continuing with the Jewish people (Acts 1:8, Romans 1:16). Statistics indicate that less than one percent of Jewish people believe in Yeshua. While many of us understand the reasons for our rejection of Messiah, that is no excuse for us to sit on the sidelines without hope. Anything less than that is insubordination to the commandments of Yeshua.

We cannot say we are fulfilling Leviticus 23:22 or the Great Commission (Matthew 18:18-20) until we are making disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We must also teach them to observe all that Jesus commands them, and imparting the truth that God is with us always and forever. We know we are successful when we are doing this and our disciples are making disciples of their own. May we be take care of the poor and needy among us both physically and spiritually. How can they hear without a preacher (Romans 10:14).

Bibliography

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works. English-Language ed. Edited by Gerhard Ludwig Müller and Albrecht Schönherr. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996-2014


[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, English-language ed., ed. Gerhard Ludwig Müller and Albrecht Schönherr (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996-2014), 62.

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