Ruth - The Great Harvest
By Bill Britton
Ruth is a Gentile bride. But her Jewish husband is dead, there is no fruit from that marriage, and she was on a journey from the land in which she was born. She was on her way to the land of Promise. Naomi had tested her about returning to the land she had left, but there was a powerful force that drew her to a destiny in following Naomi's God. For Ruth, there was no turning back.
This is a beautiful story of the faith of this Moabite girl who, because of her humility and obedience, became an ancestor of Jesus Christ. But it is more. It is an allegory, a symbolic picture of the Church and God's purpose in Restoration.
Ruth and Naomi arrive in Bethlehem at the beginning of harvest. And that is what this book is about, a harvest. God has planned a Harvest from the Seed that His Son planted in this earth life. James 5:7 tells us that the Farmer patiently waits for the harvest of the precious fruit of the earth until it comes to its fullness.
FIRSTFRUITS - HARVEST - GLEANINGS
Yes, there are three parts of the harvest, and each part is symbolic of a people. They are all found in the book of Ruth, though the first fruits are only implied. Let us look at what each part of the harvest represents:
PART WHO IS IT? WHO REAPS IT?
FIRSTFRUITS BOAZ - SONSHIP GOD, THROUGH BOAZ
MAIN HARVEST RUTH - THE CHURCH BOAZ AND REAPERS
GLEANINGS CREATION RESTORED RUTH, THE CHURCH
BOAZ THE FIRSTFRUITS
Boaz is the son in the story who took a Gentile bride and brought forth the purpose of God in the earth. This of course speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God. Since He and His body are One, this picture includes the sons of God of all ages. Boaz represents the firstfruits of the harvest. Before the harvest was reaped, the lord of the harvest would go into the field and hand pick a few of the first ripe heads of grain. These he would offer to God as a sacrifice, and as a promise from God that there would be a full harvest. These firstfruits belong 100% to God.
We can easily see what this means to us today. Before the full restoration of the Church, there will be a hand picked company of sons brought forth into the image of the Son of God. They belong to Him. They are his body. God picks them, but He uses Boaz (the son) to pluck them out of the field. They have to be fully ripe. The work of God today, working through His corporate son on Earth, is to mature and prepare this firstfruits company for their harvesting. James 1:18 in the Amplified Bible is very clear and expressive about this. It is by the will of God, and through His word of truth, that we are begotten to be a firstfruits, a sample of what He will harvest from the Earth. Man cannot do this for himself, or by his own will. We are the work of His hands. All we can do is to be ripe and mature for a sacrifice unto the Lord. And it is God Himself who calls us and ripens us through the fires of tribulation. It takes the rain of His blessings to help ripen the faith of the called. But too much rain without the heat of the sun will cause the grain to rot and die. It takes the fire of the sun and its heat to complete the work of maturing the grain.
"BURN ON, O FIRE OF GOD"
So the firstfruit sons are being brought to maturity now. And the fires are hot. Sincere men of God are being listed as "cults" by those who are not aware of what God is doing today. Capable ministries are facing failures they conquered easily in days gone by. Sons of God are being tempted to doubt God's promises. The fire is burning, and the elect are being forced to cast themselves upon Him as never before.
What is all this doing? It is ripening the precious fruit of the earth. And as the Son goes through the harvest field, He will pick one here, another there, for the end-time purposes of God. It is His hand (five-fold ministry of Apostles-Prophets-Evangelist-Pastors-Teachers) that is being used to perfect those who will come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
When Ruth and Naomi get to Bethlehem, Boaz had already plucked the firstfruits unto the Lord. Now the harvest is beginning. It is time for Boaz to meet Ruth.
RUTH THE HARVEST - THE REWARD FOR BOAZ
As Boaz and his reapers gather the harvest, Boaz gets Ruth as his reward. She becomes his bride. He becomes her head, as Christ is the Head of the Church. The labors of Boaz, as well as his reward, is in the harvest. And the heart of God is to see the Church harvested, a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle or any blemish. He is now preparing His reapers to do the work of bringing the harvest into His barns. It is not an easy job for the reapers under the hot sun at harvest time. They will not bring in the harvest during the rains. Revival must come, and God's blessings will fall. And it will cause the grain to grow more quickly. But the work is not complete until the heat of that great ball of fire we call "the sun" has hardened and matured the grain.
Ruth does not gather in the main harvest, she IS the harvest! Boaz and the many-membered reapers do the work. Ruth is the reward God gives Boaz. But Ruth has her own work to finish to fulfill the will of God for her.
THE GLEANINGS - RUTH'S WORK - RESTORATION OF CREATION
Beloved, let us look at the work of the Kingdom done by the bride, the Church. There is a great work of restoration to take place soon. Acts 3:21 says that Jesus will return from Heaven at the times of this restoration. But where does He return FROM? Isn't He here on Earth with us now? Didn't He say He would never leave us? Yes, He did. He is here, but in the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, Jesus came back to His Church, but not in His physical body. That physical return is what we call "the second coming of Christ." He will come back with a shout and the voice of the archangel, and He will be seen in a glorified body. The body of Jesus will become visible again.
"BECAUSE I GO TO THE FATHER"
When Jesus said in John 14:12 that we would do greater works because He was going to the Father, where did He have to go to be with the Father? Wasn't the Father with Him at all times? Yes, of course, but in the Spirit. He went back to the Father, or back to spirit form. But He took that physical body with Him as a promise that He would return to a physical, visible form.
Hebrews 9:24 says that Jesus is now appearing in Heaven itself, FOR US! The chapter ends with the promise that He will appear to those who look for him, to bring them to a full salvation never before known by man. So He is with the Father now in that invisible omnipresent realm. He is everywhere all the time, but by the Spirit. But he will return to the physical realm, but with His glorified body, in a much higher order than He had when He was on Earth the first time. And to explain to the Thessalonians how high that place is, Paul referred to the clouds of Heaven, a place they had not been. He says that we will be "caught up" to that place. We shall be with the Lord forever, wherever He goes. I see by the Spirit something happening to the Church. Caught up! Not to take this old realm we are in to another planet, but to go where He is when He returns to Earth. I wish there were words in the human language to express what I am seeing. Let God speak it to your spirit. That is where you hear the truly deep things of God.
FIRST THE GLEANINGS - THEN THE WEDDING
In the book of Revelation, we see a wedding. But it does not come in chapter 1. Ruth spent time in the fields, gleaning, before Boaz took her as his bride. So it is with the Church. She has a gleaning work to do in the fields to bring in those who did not make it into the main Harvest. There will be a great Restoration, and then the heavenly Boaz will make His move to take His bride. What about the wedding feast? It comes first, then they go to the bridal tent. What is to eat at the feast? Jesus said: "My meat (food) is to do the will of Him that sent me, and finish His work." That is the marriage feast. To finish His work. To restore creation. Then a union in Him that we have never known before. And remember the tithe. 10% of the harvest is to go to the Lord. That part of the main harvest will go where the Firstfruits are. Think about it. Selah.
The call is going out today to prepare firstfruits, to bring them to full maturity now. Then a glorious church without spot or wrinkle shall appear and do a work of restoration. It is written. It shall be done!