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Mark 4:29 (NASB):

But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.

What does putting in the sickle mean (spiritually), and what is the “harvest”?

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In spiritual context, what does the "putting in the sickle" symbolize in Mark 4:29 along with the "harvest"?

Mark 4:29 [NASB] "But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."

Regarding the Harvest ( θερισμός ) in the greek Gospel account of [Mark 4:29] :

θερισμός, "harvest" : equivalent to the act of reaping, John 4:35; figuratively, of the gathering of men into the kingdom of God, ibid. equivalent to the time of reaping, i. e. figuratively, the time of final judgment, when the righteous are gathered into the kingdom of God and the wicked are delivered up to destruction, Matthew 13:30, 39; Mark 4:29

[ https://biblehub.com/greek/2326.htm ]

  • In agricultural context : Harvest is the process of gathering a ripe crop from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper. [ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest ]

Spiritually - the Harvest is the Messianic age, illustrated by the Parable of the Sower :

Matthew 13:19-23 [NASB]

"When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.

The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;

yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.

And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”

The phrase "Putting in the Sickle" in Mark 4:29 [NASB] relates to the Angels of YHVH who will be "reaping souls" (His elect) to build the New Jerusalem.

Mark 13:27 [NASB] "And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven."
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What is the “harvest” in Mark 4:29?

Mark 4:29 (NASB):

But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.

What does putting in the sickle mean (spiritually), and what is the “harvest”?

The Harvest.

Jesus referred to the "end of the age"( Matt. Vs 13:39 NASB, end of the world KJB) meaning the consummation of the wicked world, as the harvest, at which time the angels, acting in the capacity of reapers, would gather out all weedlike ones will be thrown into the fiery furnace, whereas the wheatlike ones would "shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." Recommend reading "The Parable of the Weeds"(Mt 13:24-30 )

https://classic.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2013%3A24-30&version=NASB;NET;TLB

Matthew 13:36-43 (NASB)

The Tares Explained

36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the [a]tares of the field.” 37 And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the [b]end of the age; and the reapers are angels.

40 So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the [c]end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom [d]all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, [e]let him hear.

The sickle and the harvesting.

The reapers are "angels" who under the direction of the Son of Man "Jesus" depicted with a sharp sickle carry out the harvesting. (Read also Rev.14:17-20)

Revelation 14:14-16 (NASB)

The Reapers

14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped

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Jesus spoke in parables to explain complex concepts in familiar terms using common experiences. Everyone in his audience was familiar with planting, growing, reaping and harvest. They were not familiar with the many facets of the kingdom of God.

This parable in Mark 4:26-29 has a great deal of similarity to Jesus’ parable given for us in Matt 13:24-30. The advantage of the parable in Matthew is that Jesus explains exactly what it means in Matt 13:36-43. It is always best to have the artist (author) explain the symbolism he is using. Then I don’t have to try to guess what he is saying!

Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: Mat 13:25  But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. Mat 13:26  But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. Mat 13:27  So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? Mat 13:28  He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? Mat 13:29  But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Mat 13:30  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.

Mat 13:36  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. Mat 13:37  He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; Mat 13:38  The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; Mat 13:39  The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. Mat 13:40  As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. Mat 13:41  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; Mat 13:42  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Mat 13:43  Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

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The sower is God. Well, sort of. The sower is God by his proxy, the Messiah, at least from the NT perspective reflected in Mark. Or one might say, the Sower is God by his proxy, the Messiah and the Messiah by proxy by his servants: prophets (including John the baptizer) and the Johanine and Messianic disciples:

[Hos 2:23 NASB] (23) "I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they will say, '[You are] my God!'"

The idea is that the ones to whom he had said "Not my People!" (the Northern tribes of Israel) aka "The lost sheep of the house of Israel":

[Mat 10:5-7 NASB] (5) These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in [the] way of [the] Gentiles, and do not enter [any] city of the Samaritans; (6) but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (7) "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'

[Mat 15:21-28 NASB] (21) Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. (22) And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and [began] to cry out, saying, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed." (23) But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, "Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us." (24) But He answered and said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (25) But she came and [began] to bow down before Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" (26) And He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." (27) But she said, "Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." (28) Then Jesus said to her, "O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed at once.

The harvest is the 144,000 selected as first fruits to participate in the first resurrection so that they could accompany the Messiah when he returned Circa 70 AD to judge the living and dead of his People:

[Jde 1:12-19 CSB] (12) These people are dangerous reefs at your love feasts as they eat with you without reverence. They are shepherds who only look after themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by winds; trees in late autumn ​-- ​fruitless, twice dead and uprooted. (13) They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameful deeds; wandering stars for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever. (14) It was about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied: "Look! The Lord comes with tens of thousands of his holy ones (15) "to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly concerning all the ungodly acts that they have done in an ungodly way, and concerning all the harsh things ungodly sinners have said against him." (16) These people are discontented grumblers, living according to their desires; their mouths utter arrogant words, flattering people for their own advantage. (17) But you, dear friends, remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. (18) They told you, "In the end time there will be scoffers living according to their own ungodly desires." (19) These people create divisions and are worldly, not having the Spirit.

[Eze 34:17 NLT] (17) "And as for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says to his people: I will judge between one animal of the flock and another, separating the sheep from the goats. [Heb 10:30 NLT] (30) For we know the one who said, "I will take revenge. I will pay them back." He also said, "The LORD will judge his own people."

[Amo 3:2 NKJV] (2) "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."

The gentiles came in because of those who were invited from the lost sheep, few responded. So that opened spots for gentiles:

[Act 13:46 NLT] (46) Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, "It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles.

[Rom 11:12 NLT] (12) Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God's offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.

[Luk 14:16-24 NLT] (16) Jesus replied with this story: "A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. (17) When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, 'Come, the banquet is ready.' (18) But they all began making excuses. One said, 'I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.' (19) Another said, 'I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.' (20) Another said, 'I now have a wife, so I can't come.' (21) "The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, 'Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.' (22) After the servant had done this, he reported, 'There is still room for more.' (23) So his master said, 'Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. (24) For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.'"

The "full house" was the 144,000 that were to appear with Christ when he came to "close out" the Jewish Jerusalem temple-based and Sinai covenant based theocracy and introduce the Kingdom of God aka the Body and Bride of Christ aka the New Jerusalem aka the New Creation aka the New Man aka the True Vine aka the City on a Hill aka the Israel of God aka... well, you get the idea...

No? Okay, well, aka the Building Not Made With Hands aka the New Lump aka the Nation that Brings the Fruit aka... the Harvest!

Which is the answer to the question. It is the first fruits of the New Creation.

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