When Moses told Pharaoh, “Let my people go,” it was because God had announced the time for harvest. The moment had come for Israel’s deliverance from captivity!
But Pharaoh responded, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2). Pharaoh represents Satan’s demonic system, including false religions and oppression that hold people under bondage.
Before Israel could be delivered, the powers of darkness had to be shaken. So God struck Egypt with nine natural calamities. Yet those nine disasters only hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
Finally, there came a calamity so devastating that everyone in Egypt—from the rulers down to ordinary citizens—knew this wasn’t just nature out of control. It was God speaking. The Lord had sent an angel of death, and in one night the eldest son in every Egyptian family died, including Pharaoh’s son. The very next day, Israel paraded out of Egypt. Here was the harvest that came just before judgment.
Centuries later, when Jesus announced the ripe harvest in Jerusalem, He knew judgment was about to come. Years hence, Titus and his army would invade the city, and 1.2 million people would be killed. Many would be hung on crosses, and the city itself would be burned to the ground.
This is why Jesus warned His generation, “You say there are four months before harvest. But I’m telling you, the harvest has to begin now. You have to be about the will of God, because the greatest calamity is at your door. I’m commissioning you now to finish My work. The time to start reaping is today.”
How did Jesus describe the calamity that was to come? “Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). Yet, before that calamity came, it would be time for the harvest.