Updated: Sep 2, 2022
This is the third Harvest.
President Monson 2012 ~ Present Time
Grapes must be harvested quickly before they sour.
Grape Offering to the Temple ~ Feast of Tabernacle (Day of Atonement)
END: Next Solar Eclipse 2024? ~ Revelation 14:17-19
What is it?
In Israel, there are three main "feast" days that are associated with three main Jewish holidays:
Barley = Passover = harvested in early Spring = the overcomers
Wheat = Pentecost = harvested in early Summer & Fall = main body of believers
Grapes = Tabernacles = harvested in mid-late Summer = hastening/unbelievers
Olives = Fall Harvest = Olive Press/Preserved or Scattered (connected with the Grapes)
The Grape Harvest represents the hastening of the work of salvation for the purpose of bringing in as many more souls to the gospel as we can! In Jewish tradition, the grape harvest also represents either Glorification (for the righteous) or the wine-press of wrath (for the wicked.) Into a wine-press, the grapes are thrown. Then once the wine-press is full, they are stomped on for hours until all the juice has run out. In Revelations 14, when Christ treads the wine-press alone in the last days, instead of juice that flows, it is the blood of the wicked.
There is a rare celestial event coming up on December 21, 2020 where the planets Jupiter and Saturn will converge. Jupiter is known as the "King" and Saturn as the "harvest" with it's sign as the sickle. In Revelation 14:17-19 (below) Christ tells the angel to go forth and harvest these wicked grapes with a sharp sickle and throw them into the wine-press of Christ's wrath. Thus we have Christ, the King; Jupiter, and the harvesting angel with its sickle; Saturn, on December 21-22, 2020.
But that's astrology! I may hear you cry. No. That is astronomy. Several times over in all scriptural works, Christ and His Prophets reference "wonders in the heavens" or signs in the skies. The star of Bethlehem was the most notable sign of a major event - Christ's birth. Abraham was a seer and used an instrument known as the “Urim and Thummim” to obtain revelation from the Lord about the planets and stars (Abraham 3:1-2, Mosiah 8:17, JSH 1:35). He even taught Astronomy to the Egyptians, according to ancient texts by Eupolemus! We have been commanded to watch for these signs and wonders. Here's Astronomy in the Triple Index.
The second theme, is the Feast of Tabernacles is thought to be linked to Christ's birth when John links the dwelling in tents as a symbol of Incarnation of Christ's birth:
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us[...]
Here "flesh" is shown in the Topical Guide as the birth of Christ, and the Feast of Tabernacles (or Feast of Booths as it is also called) focuses on the dwelling in booths (tents) and represents the finished work of the seasons or harvests. This holiday would start on a Sabbath and end on the Sabbath. Here we can see the end of the Grape Harvest as representing the final rest from all labors (missionary work).
The third and final theme, we have two different passages of scripture:
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
If not for context, these two passages would contradict themselves. Will there be a temple or won't there be? In context with the first verse listed, John is having a vision of a Temple dedication or something similar to it in the later-days when the Saints will come out of great tribulations and the temple will be a solace. The second verse is John seeing the coming of Christ in His Second Coming and Christ being the temple. So this theme represents the gathering of Christ's people to their "harvest home" or gathering places. This article here, is in more detail.
Lets put all three themes together.
The hastening of a great missionary work and then a restful Sabbath.
The gathering of the Saints to their places.
We know we have our hastening since 2012 and that it's winding down and that another sign of the last days is the returning of missionaries. In my personal opinion, I think that sometime between the fall holiday "The Feast of the Tabernacle" and the end of this Grape Harvest that we will see the missionaries brought home, though they may still be able to teach in their homelands. "We have already noted that the Feast of Tabernacles signifies a completed harvest," as stated by Lenet Hadley Read in the January 2000 Ensign.
We will have a sign in the sky around December 21-22, 2020 with the same stars and planets that converged to proclaim His birth - the star of Bethlehem. Last, we know that after the Olive Press which overlaps some the other harvests, we will be "gathered to our places". Revelation 12:5-14 speaks to this with the baby representing Christ and the woman representing the Church in the last days. This woman flees into the wilderness that God has prepared for her which Satan, the great serpent looks for her so he can devour the child. Going back to missionary work...
The great missionary work during this hastening period is so important because there will be a time when the day of the Gentiles is over: D&C 45:25-30. That great Sabbath rest of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Christ has commanded us to "feed my sheep" to bring them back to the fold of the gospel so that they, too, may be counted among the Church of God and be blessed even as we are blessed.
The hastening is the last great effort and push to get this missionary work done.
President Monson, in his October 2012 General Conference address, changed the missionary age of Elders from age 19 to age 18. For the Sisters, this was changed from age 21 to age 19. This may not sound like a huge change, but it sure was. In his October 2013 General Conference address, just a year later, he says:
"It has scarcely been one year since I announced the lowering of the age of missionary service. Since that time the number of full-time missionaries serving has increased from 58,500 in October 2012 to 80,333 today. What a tremendous and inspiring response we have witnessed!"
Sweet or Sour Grapes?
Our goal as Saints, in essence, is to become as an Olive tree. If we put time and effort into our prayers, fasting, temple worship and repentance, our testimony will give us those deep roots and that hard bark to withstand the toughest trials that will come with the Olive Press; when Christ presses His church as olives are pressed, to separate the olive from the pure olive oil. This is Christ "cleaning His house" to give only the most obedient and pure in heart the best safety in His temples in the last days as well as taking the pure and obedient remnant to the New Jerusalem to build His kingdom on earth.
In Revelation 14, John see's two different harvest of grapes. One angel comes and blesses those who die in the Lord and keep His commandments. John sees Christ in a cloud while this angel reaps the first harvest (remember, first fruits are the most blessed!) in verse 13-15. In verse 15, the word "thrust" references to:
5 Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live.
If we follow the commandments and look towards Christ and live, when we are harvested, we will be found clean through the gift of repentance. However, if we live in such a way that brings us ripe in iniquity, then we will be harvested and cast into Christ's wine-press which represents His wrath.
18 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.
19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God.
The Institute manual says:
The actual harvesting of the grapes, however, represents "God’s judgments upon the wicked and the destruction that will come upon them when they, like grapes on the vine, are fully ripe in iniquity and are trodden in the “wine-press of the wrath of God”
Every Member a Missionary
The last thing I wish to add here, in inspiration of an experience I had, are the words of President Monson about missionary work:
"The holy scriptures contain no proclamation more relevant, no responsibility more binding, no instruction more direct than the injunction given by the resurrected Lord as He appeared in Galilee to the eleven disciples. Said He, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared, “After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel.” Some of you here today will yet remember the words of President David O. McKay, who phrased the familiar “Every member a missionary!”
To their words I add my own. Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him. He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work."
I know that being a member missionary can be difficult. I'm not very great at it either. However, we have been commanded several times to labor in God's vineyard. It can be difficult in sharing difficult things that many people just do not want to hear, even other members. They may be offended, no matter how we teach. Some may turn away. That is between them and God. Our job is to simply open our mouths and teach with love.
We need to look for the sign that will tell us when the next harvest will be. The next harvest is the Olive Harvest. This is the big one. If we are not prepared, we will not make it through to safety when the Olive's are thrust into the Olive Press.