Man's purpose is to bear fruit
Apr 16, 2012
James 5:7 and 8 says,
(7) Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. (8) You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). God created Time in order to produce this fruit. Moses was given 80 years to produce this fruit in sufficient quantity that qualified him to lead Israel in the wilderness. God gave Joseph and David twelve years to produce this fruit so that they could rule properly.
Those who revolt against Time are not yet qualified to rule in the Kingdom, for they have not yet produced the fruit of Patience in their lives. I have met many who consider Time to be their enemy, rather than their friend. Many think that if they recognize Time, they cannot live in the Spirit, which is the timeless realm. But that is like saying Jesus could live not in flesh while at the same time being in the Spirit. Heaven and earth are often juxtaposed, but they are not in conflict. The goal of history is to reconcile all things that God has created--not to love one and despise the other.
Genesis 2:5-9 says,
(5) Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no man to cultivate the ground. . . (7) Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (8) And the Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden, and there He placed the man whom He had formed. (9) And out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food. . .
The purpose for man's creation was to bring forth fruit in the earth. As in the physical realm, so also was man called to bring forth the various fruits of the Spirit. Farming the earth or tending orchards was designed to teach him patience--otherwise, God could have created different laws by which man could produce instant cabbage. In fact, our "instant" society today, complete with credit card mentality, has brought forth a generation of Americans who have little or no patience. We are the "now" generation.
James tells us that God Himself is the Great Husbandman of the earth. Though He has delegated authority to mankind, He has retained an active interest in managing and directing the activities on His great farm. The physical activity of farming is designed to bring forth fruit in mankind. In fact, all that He commands and directs us to do is designed to bring forth fruit in our lives.
He is therefore the great example of patience, because the fruit of the Spirit is His character that He is working into us. James implies that patience is linked to "the coming of the Lord." This was one of the reasons that God designed two comings of Christ, instead of just one. The interim time, which we know as the Age of Pentecost, is designed to bring forth the fruit of patience.
There is no doubt that God could have accomplished His work in just a single coming of Christ, if He had chosen to do so. But instead, He designed from the beginning that the Scepter would be separated from the Birthright (1 Chron. 5:1, 2), so that Christ--being born in human flesh--would come first of the lineage of Judah and later of Joseph, whose robe was dipped in blood. This was prophesied in the law, as I have shown in my book, The Laws of the Second Coming, but the rabbis did not comprehend it.
The Church under Pentecost has had an advantage over the rabbis in that they recognize two comings of Christ. Many Jews have become embittered for waiting so long for the Messiah to come, and many have given up altogether. Christians have generally understood that they must wait for the second appearance of Christ (Heb. 9:28), but many have tried to circumvent Time because they do not like the constraints of patience. Hence, many doctrines have arisen out of impatience.
Preterism, for example, claims that Christ came around 70 A.D. at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. Jehovah's Witnesses claim that Christ came in 1917, and when their view proved to be wrong, they interpreted it as a spiritual and invisible coming. Personally, I do not think that an "appearance" of Christ can be invisible, because the whole idea is manifestation, or coming into visibility.
Others personalize His coming and reject any historical fulfillment of a second coming. It is certainly true that He is coming in us as individuals, for this is the main thrust of the manifestation of the Sons of God. We read in 2 Thess. 2:10 of the time. . .
(10) when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed. . .
But Paul makes it quite clear that he was speaking of a future historical event that was to occur in the corporate body of saints at the same time. Certainly, we ought to show forth this pattern individually as well, as we grow in Christ through the experiences of Justification (Passover), Sanctification (Pentecost), and Glorification (Tabernacles). Nonetheless, if any man repudiates the historical fulfillment of these feasts, he has not yet learned patience, nor has he embraced that part of God's creation which we call Time.
God's husbandry is demonstrated historically when He planted a "vineyard" in the land of Canaan. Isaiah 5:7 says,
(7) For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His delightful plant. Thus, He looked for justice [mishpat], but behold, bloodshed [mispakh]; for righteousness [tsedakah], but behold, a cry of distress [tsaakah].
God planted the Israelites in His vineyard. Isaiah 5:2 says, "He expected it to produce good grapes, but it produced only worthless ones." For this reason, God cast Israel out of the land, as He said in Isaiah 5:5,
(5) So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard; I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground.
God did the same with the house of Judah in the days of Jeremiah and again in the first century. It was for the same reason, as Jesus tells us in His vineyard parable (Matt. 21:33-44). In the same chapter He cursed the unfruitful fig tree, which was the symbol of Judea. For three years Jesus had looked for fruit, but found none (Luke 13:7). He then cursed the fig tree (nation), forbidding it bear fruit ever again as a nation (Matt. 21:19). He then said in Matt. 21:42,
(42) Therefore the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.
God is looking for fruit, and a major factor in this is patience. God has experienced crop failures in the past. Even these were planned, of course, but it illustrates the patience and persistence of God. He will continue His husbandry until He receives a hundred-fold increase. On a personal level, Passover believers bring forth thirty-fold; Spirit-filled believers of Pentecost bring forth sixty-fold; and Tabernacles overcomers bring forth a hundred-fold.
There were two rains in Canaan. The early rain came in the Tabernacles season; the latter rain came toward Pentecost. In Acts 2 they saw the latter rain. There is another rain coming, which is actually the "former rain" associated with Tabernacles.
Dr. Stephen Jones