What Does the Bible Say About Harvest?

by Dr. Michael L. Williams · Print Print · Email Email

One of my favorite seasons is fall. The weather is cooler, leaves are changing colors, and things planted in the garden have matured and are ready for harvesting. With that comes corn on the cob, apple cider, and pumpkin pie. Likewise, in most cultures it is a time when families unite to celebrate the blessings of the harvest before entering the long dark winter. In consideration of these things, what does the Bible say about harvest?

Where do we get the word harvest?

In not so ancient history, the word harvest was a word with roots in many languages that indicated the season of autumn. Going back even further, its roots communicated the idea of plucking or cutting fruit with shears. Some derivatives of the word also included the idea of a celebratory plucking, such as harvest home or harvest moon references (1)

What Does the Bible Say About Harvest

What does the Bible say about the word harvest?

The first mention of the word harvest is found in Genesis 8:22 in the context of God’s Words to Noah just after they came out of the ark after the flood:

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)

The word for harvest used here is the Hebrew word “qāṣir,” which also has similarities to the derivatives of the word that indicate taking, plucking, or cutting of fruit (2).

How is the word harvest used in the Bible?

In addition to the literal use of the word referring to the harvesting of ripened crops, the Bible uses the same word when referring to rescuing of the remnant of Israel and the resurrection and rapture of believers from the earth. We see this in the following passages.

Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. (Jeremiah 5:24)

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. (Matthew 9:36-38)

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. (Matthew 13:30)

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. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;  The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. (Matthew 13:36-40)

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. (John 4:35-38)

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. 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 with a loud voice 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. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. (Revelation 14:13-16)

Finally, there is a reference to another harvest that is unlike those mentioned above. This harvest is the harvest of the wicked to destruction by the wrath of the Lord as follows:

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. (Matthew 24:37-43)

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. (Revelation 14:17-20)

Conclusion

It is clear from God’s Word that the world is divided into two groups of people. The wheat, referring to believers whom have trusted Christ as their Savior, and the tares, referring to non-believers whom have rejected God (Matthew 13:36-40). Only by putting our faith in Christ for salvation from the wrath of God can we experience the harvest of the first resurrection and the eternal blessings that come with it (Revelation 20:4-15).

Read more about blessings here: Bible Verses About Blessings

Resources – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, King James Version. (1) Online Etymology Dictionary (2016). “Harvest”. Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary, http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=harvest. (2) Strong, James (2016). “Harvest”. Strong’s number H7105. Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary

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