When One Who Preaches Christ Plants Corn
Who has not heard the story about a man who saw a vision in the sky with the letters “P.C.” boldly emblazoned? This man, the story goes, forthwith concluded what the initials meant: “Preach Christ!”
Some have taunted the many people who, without any real call from God nor any adequate preparation in both heart and mind, rush to “preach Christ.” They say that these people should read the initials, instead, as “Plant [or Plow] Corn!”
Indeed, Jesus had prophesied about our end-times that there would be many who would “preach Christ,” but that the “Christ” they preach would be a false Christ (Matthew 24:24)! [See The True Christ and Beware of False Prophets.] To deny this reality would be to make Christ out to be a liar. But, as Romans 3:4 affirms, “Let God be true but every man a liar.” Titus 1:2 also assures that God “cannot lie!”
Is there a true prophet in the house?
The fact that our times are awash with pseudo-prophets has turned a lot of people cynical — and suspicious — whenever someone claims to be or postures himself as a prophet or preacher truly sent by God. These people have prejudged those who claim to be “prophets” to be anything but really and truly God’s prophets. They class all preachers with those spoken of in Ezekiel 13:6-7: “They have envisioned futility and false divination, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD!’ But the LORD has not sent them; yet they hope that the word may be confirmed. Have you not seen a futile vision, and have you not spoken false divination? You say, ‘The LORD says,’ but I have not spoken.” It’s as if these people are saying that Satan has the upper hand in the “broadcast media,” while God has retreated to somewhere where His voice cannot, or can hardly, be heard.
But, what if there truly are genuine prophets sent by God today?
Who can say with absolute certainty that God no longer sends prophets in our times? To do so would be tantamount to preempting God’s sovereignty — limiting God or “shortening” His hand (Psalm 78:41; Isaiah 50:2; 59:1). As God told the prophet Jeremiah, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me” (Jeremiah 32:27)?
If, however, God is using only a handful of genuine preachers of His Word at this time, then are we not, in fact, living in the time prophesied by Amos: “Behold, the days are coming…that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, but shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12)? [The apostle Paul describes these people as “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7).] And that, because most people have rejected those who are truly sent by God, as the Jews did God’s true prophets just before the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians (2 Chronicles 36:15-16).
Revelation 11:3-13 shows clearly that God will send His two witnesses who will prophesy on His behalf for “forty-two months” (or 3 and 1/2 years) from Jerusalem just before Jesus Christ returns to earth. That, despite many who have volunteered or appointed themselves as one of the “two witnesses.”
So compelling and penetrating will be the testimony of these two witnesses in the midst of the flood of false religious teachings that the whole world will be “tormented” by their message. The people will ultimately have their voices silenced. And the world will celebrate the death of these two witnesses — but not for long (Revelation 11:7-11). Their dead bodies will be revived, apparently to join the rest of the true people of God in a resurrection or change to immortality, at the return of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).
The apostle Paul also declared, under inspiration by God’s Spirit, that God has not left “Himself without witness…” (Acts 14:17) from the beginning (with Abel, Hebrews 11:4, etc.).
It behooves anyone who is truly seeking God and His truth to test those who claim to “preach Christ,” to see whether they really are of Christ and are sent by Him. Even early in the history of the Christian Church, the problem with false preachers had been such a challenge that the apostle John warned the brethren: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits [the intents and contents of what people preach], whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
Once one has proven who God’s true servants are, one should believe only them! [See: About Pool of Siloam.] Paul warns that if we believe the lies which false preachers are promoting today and we do not “receive the love of the truth,” at Christ’s return we will be condemned along with “the man of sin,” the “lawless one,” who will deceive a vast swath of humanity in these end-times (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).
Jesus warned that when we reject someone whom He has truly sent, we — in effect — also reject Him, and God the Father as well (Luke 10:1, 16)! That’s an extremely serious warning that a true believer in God had better heed!
My claim as Christ’s minister
As I mention in About the Author, I was personally ordained by Herbert W. Armstrong, founder and pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), in February 1982 (fully four years before he died in January 1986). My ordination certificate declares that I have “been chosen according to the will of God to become a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ;” that I am “qualified in character and by consecration, education and experience;” and that I meet “the Scriptural qualifications…”
To say that is one thing. It’s another thing to prove that indeed the ordination is genuine — and that by the fruit of one’s ministry. Jesus said that we can distinguish false preachers from true preachers “by their fruit” (Matthew 7:15-20). Galatians 5:22-23 also lists nine facets of the “fruit” of God’s Spirit that we can judge preachers by.
The most important “fruit” or proof is whether what a minister preaches truly lines up with God’s Word. “To the law and to the testimony [prophecy, as Revelation 19:10 says]! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light [truth] in them” (Isaiah 8:20). God’s Word is like a “plumb line” against which we can check whether what we believe, teach, and practice aligns with that Word — is truly and perfectly “vertical” or upright, correct (Zechariah 4:10).
Just as Mr. Armstrong taught those who heard him on radio or TV or read his writings, I have invited readers and visitors of this website to “prove all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). I encourage — even challenge — everyone to check in your own or borrowed copy of the Holy Bible to see whether what I have taught or preached through my articles on this website agrees with God’s Word.
I encourage you to truly do as the fair-minded [or “noble,” KJV] “Bereans” did — to receive God’s Word “with all readiness” [to believe] and to search the Scriptures “to find out whether these things [such as what I have written and continue to write]” are so (Acts 17:10-11). This positive — instead of negative — attitude will serve you better in comprehending God’s Word than taking these things, as a theologian put it, from a “hermeneutics of suspicion.”
Jesus said that “…unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). It takes a certain child-like “naivete” — a trusting, not a suspicious, attitude — in order to understand properly the deep things, the mysteries, about God’s kingdom.
A reverse of Zechariah 13:2-5
This Old Testament passage prophesies about a time, after Jesus’ return to establish God’s kingdom on this earth, when Jesus Christ will put away, among other things, false prophets. And if any of them happen to survive, they will be ashamed of their “vision” — such as that of preaching a false Christ. Instead they will renounce their being a prophet or preacher at all. They will stick to farming! Instead of “preaching Christ” they will “plant [or plow] corn!”
In my case during these past months (as I write), I did a kind of reverse of this Scripture passage — or a revised version of it.
I have taken up planting corn — literally! Not because I have come to conclude that I am a false prophet or a false preacher of Christ’s gospel, but because I have wanted to follow the apostle Paul’s example as a “tent-maker” (Acts 18:3).
Why Paul did it
Paul’s true intent in becoming a “tent-maker” has become obscured by a lot of “evangelical” missionaries going to “restricted areas” [non-Christian and often hostile to the Christian faith] not as outright “missionaries” but as covert missionaries working in some “secular” (or normal, regular) job there — as “tent-makers.” However, that was not Paul’s reason for taking up tent-making! Paul preached Christ openly, not secretly or covertly!
In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul explains his “right” as an apostle of Christ “to eat and drink” — that is, to be supported for his daily provisions, as God’s worker — through means God has commanded in His Word. [See: The New Testament Teaching on Giving.] In a word, Paul believed what Jesus said: “…the laborer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:4), and “…a worker is worthy of his food” (Matthew 10:10). Paul instructed his trainee and assistant Timothy: “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,’ and ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages’ ” (1 Timothy 5:17-18).
However, Paul chose not to avail himself of that right (1 Corinthians 9:12, 15). And why? “…that I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel” (Verse 18; see also 2 Corinthians 11:7).
In 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10 Paul further explains why he chose this path: “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”
This is not to say that Paul did not ever receive material and other help from the Church brethren, especially on behalf of the needs of the poor brethren (2 Corinthians 9; Galatians 2:10; Romans 15:25-27; 1 Corinthians 16:15-18; 2 Corinthians 11:7-10; Philippians 4:10-18; Philemon 22). He praised the churches at Macedonia for being bright examples of generosity despite their poverty, in ministering to the more needy brethren (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).
God’s Word no merchandise
“Buy the truth, and do not sell it; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding,” says Proverbs 23:23. We use the word “buy” figuratively to mean fully embracing something worthwhile — being fully convinced of it and giving one’s whole heart to it. Buying into something eventually involves one’s giving what many have called the “3 T’s” — one’s time, talent, and treasure.
Nothing is more worthwhile than God’s truth — God’s Word (John 17:17). In one of His parables Jesus compared God’s kingdom — and the truth about it — to a “pearl of great price” which a merchant seeking such jewels found and bought with all that he had (Matthew 13:46).
However, when it comes to proclaiming the gospel (or “good news,” as what “gospel” means) of God’s coming kingdom and of salvation [how one can enter that kingdom] through Jesus Christ, here is what Jesus Himself told His disciples: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
This was the Lord’s instruction which Herbert W. Armstrong followed religiously all through most of his ministry. From the start, all WCG literature was distributed free of charge to the public. Only later, with the inroads of liberal thinking into the WCG, did Mr. Armstrong consent to selling some of his books. A number of “splinters” from the original WCG have followed the Scriptural instruction and have distributed their religious literature free of charge to the public. [See, for example: www.ucg.org or www.lcg.org.]
It has puzzled me how an avowed preacher of Christ can, in good conscience, “make merchandise” of (or “exploit,” NKJV) their hearers (or readers) by selling God’s Word — putting a price tag on their explanation of God’s Word (whether understood rightly or not). 2 Peter 2:1-3 warns against this! Paul set the example: “For we are not, as so many [already, back then!], peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17).
Isaiah 55:1-3 shows the way of God with sharing His Word [and His Spirit, John 6:63], which is often symbolized by water and food. “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters, and you who have no money, come buy and eat. Yes, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy [merely material things]? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me, hear, and your soul shall live….” [Compare with John 7:37-39; Ephesians 5:25-27; Matthew 4:4; Luke 5:37-39; and 1 Peter 2:2.]
For these reasons I have opted to share, without cost to the public, what understanding of and insights into God’s Word God has given me, through this website.
Lessons from planting corn
Unlike with “preaching Christ,” I am a newcomer when it comes to “planting corn.” In fact, I have never in my life gone into actual farming. Backyard gardening — yes. And that includes planting corn for our own consumption. Gardening — particularly organic gardening — is a love my wife and I share.
But for me to plant corn in two hectares (about five acres) of my farm lot in the environs of Malaybalay City, Bukidnon (the city of my birth) is something else. It has been something like sailing through uncharted waters!
Soon I was to learn that there are a number of challenges and risks to deal with in this venture.
Lesson #1: The Soil
I’ve had my small farm lot as an inheritance from my dad and mom after years of hassles with the Philippine government’s “land reform” program. The former tenants who used to work our land that’s been retained for our family had, to my best knowledge, been planting the land to corn or sugar cane all through the years.
Like most farmers, our tenants had followed the usual way of farming — with the use of commercial (that is, chemical or inorganic) fertilizers. When I finally had my share of what remained of our family’s land, I decided to let it lie fallow for a good number of years.
Then, not having any definite and immediate plan to farm my land, I consented to a sugar cane planter leasing the land for three years. Lucky for the planter, the many years that the land had rested gave him a good bumper crop the first year — and presumably the next years as well. He wanted to extend the lease for another three years, but I decided that I would use the land myself this time.
The land had rested for over a year when I decided to plant corn in it, just over a month ago (as I write). I had obtained from the city’s Agricultural Office seeds of a variety of corn that a friend suggested — a variety which the government has been promoting as human food for better health, especially for diabetics or as a deterrent to developing diabetes.
Confident that the land having enjoyed over a year’s “sabbath” was thus “fertile,” I chose not to apply chemical fertilizers as the seeds were sown.
Here’s where I got into some “eddy!” The sprouted corn were thin-looking! My helper at the farm saw the problem as my having failed to apply chemical fertilizers.
I soon awoke to the fact that, despite more than a year’s rest, the land had not fully recovered from the three years that our lessee used the land — presumably with chemical fertilizers applied to the crop, as is the practice of most every other farmer.
In a great hurry — and at great expense — I bought sacks of chemical fertilizers, in hopes that the sprouted corn plants would recover. I had learned from previous study on organic farming that one cannot transition from chemical farming into organic farming in one fell swoop. One has to do some gradual phasing out and phasing in. Thus I hesitatingly had the fertilizers applied on the crop.
As I write (18 July 2015), I am still waiting for sufficient rain to revive the corn plants. I pray and hope they will recover well, and I can have some crop to harvest in the end.
The lesson everyone needs to learn is that this “good earth” — the soil that sustains life for both man and beast — is a gift God has given us to manage properly as God’s “stewards.” If one has eyes to see, one would understand that God has a way that sustains the soil as a living system.
By contrast, man’s way of “get” — man’s way of exploiting and abusing the land for quick and easy money — only leads to the eventual poisoning and death of the land. And we are seeing the multiple ill-effects on man’s physical and mental health that man’s greedy way of farming has brought about!
When I pulled out some stubborn woody weeds among my corn crop, I was aghast to discover no earthworms among the weeds’ roots! That could only point to one thing: the soil had not reached a bio-chemical balance that would support active micro-organic and other life forms essential to healthy, nourishing soil. In His “Parable of the Sower” Jesus showed the vital importance of “good ground” in order to yield a good crop, “some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:8; see also Mark 4:8; Luke 8:15).
It is a great comfort to reflect on what wonderful changes the coming kingdom of God will bring upon the earth’s soil, among other things.
One of the immediate things Jesus Christ will do, after He will have destroyed human structures (physical, social and religious) and mopped up all the debris of war [see: “The Next Chapter of History“], is to have all land enjoy a year or more of rest (“sabbath”).
In Leviticus 26:34-35, 43 God promises a side-benefit to the land of Israel when its people would be carried away captive to other lands because of their disobedience to God’s commandments (Verses 14-15): “Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in our enemies’ land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths.” [Compare this with an actual fulfillment of this prophecy, in 2 Chronicles 36:21.]
God has ordained, as a sound agricultural principle not only for Israel but for all humanity, giving the land a year of rest after every six years of planting — the seventh or “sabbatical” year (Leviticus 25:2-7). Honest farmers see practical sense in this principle or statute. If people trusted God in obeying this statute, they would enjoy the blessings God has promised — to bless them with an extra bumper crop in the sixth year so as to last even into the ninth year (Verses 20-22)!
Besides simply letting the land rest with whatever volunteer vegetation, some have suggested planting leguminous plants (which have bacteria that fix nitrogen into the soil), periodically cutting them and plowing the debris under the soil during the land’s sabbatical year. This will help build up the soil’s fertility.
In addition, Ezekiel 47:12-12 describes God’s miraculous act to heal earth’s polluted waters — and the soil as well. This encouraging and exciting promise is about the “healing water” that will proceed from the temple in Jerusalem during Jesus’ soon-coming reign on earth [see: The Temple in Ezekiel 40-48]. This miraculous water will flow into all of our earth’s polluted fresh and salt waters. Wherever the healing water reaches, aquatic plant and animal life will be restored to vibrant health.
The ill-effects of “acid rain” and other toxins, which pollute both earth’s waters and lands, will be reversed. God will also miraculously open up springs of fresh water all over the earth — including the vast deserts (Isaiah 35:6-7). With the transformed environment and proper, Godly ways of agriculture which Jesus and His glorified saints will teach to all remaining human beings on earth, there will be an abundance of healthy food for everyone. True healthy living will be enjoyed by all! [For more details on how Christ will work out the unimaginable transformation of life on planet earth, see this link: http://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE , select “Books & Booklets” and scroll down to the book titled Tomorrow’s World — What It Will Be Like or the booklet “The Wonderful World Tomorrow — What It Will Be Like.]
Lesson #2: The Seed
I also woke up, rather a bit late, to the fact that, unlike the old, traditional seeds, many of today’s technologically developed (or “engineered”) crop seeds need a lot of chemical inputs in order to kick-start the plants’ growth. It was disheartening to realize that I spent more for chemical fertilizers than I did for the seeds! Isn’t this a blatant shame?
When we study God’s Word carefully, we will find that God is seriously concerned about the quality of seeds — both of plant and animal, as well as those of mankind — that are propagated on earth.
Leviticus 19:19 — “You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed…”
The words “another kind” (or “diverse kinds,” KJV) and “mixed seed” (or “mingled seed,” KJV) are rendered from the same Hebrew word kilayim, which occurs only in this Scripture passage and in Deuteronomy 22:9.
This word is different from the Hebrew word for “kind” as found in Genesis 1, 6, 7; Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14; and Ezekiel 47:10 — which is min. In these chapters “kind” refers to what biologists would refer to as a “family” of animals that are diverse from one another.
Thus the “dog” kind of animals belong to the family Canidae [from which we derive the word “canine”]. This family includes our common dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes, hyenas or jackals and their varieties. Each member of this family also belongs to a particular “genus” (plural “genera”). Taxonomists (biologists who classify animals and plants) classify tamed or domestic dogs under the genus Canis and under the “species” (for more specific distinction) familiaris — including our familiar or common dogs with all their different breeds, varieties or “races” (as some biologists call them).
The mention of “races” often raises the hackles of some people who are at either pole of those that promote “racial purity” or those that wink an eye on racial diversity.
Left to themselves in the wild, without any human intervention, there is endless diversification of different species into “subspecies” or “races.” People who are into selective breeding have also come up with ever-growing varieties of both animals and plants that are stable and predictable, each having its own virtues, beauty or usefulness — or bane.
God’s command in Leviticus 19:19 would seem to be more concerned about mixing up animals and plants of the same genus — such as, for example, crossbreeding a zebra and a donkey (both of the “horse” family) to produce an unstable mix [thus not able to reproduce normally] which some have called a “zebronkey.” [The same may be said of mixing a lion and a tiger to produce a “liger.” Mixing up related plants like melons and cucumbers could result in a perverse (“defiled”) kind of product that is “neither here nor there.”]
God’s command to the children of Israel not to marry into the heathen people around them (Deuteronomy 7:3) was not for the sake of racial purity but for spiritual purity. Otherwise, the human ancestry of Jesus Christ Himself would be thus “tainted,” for He had Rahab, a Canaanite — and an ex-prostitute at that — as an ancestor (Matthew 1:4; Luke 3:32; Joshua 6:25). After all, God created mankind “from one blood” (Acts 17:26).
Malachi 2:15 clearly shows what God seeks or desires: “godly offspring” (or “seed,” KJV). God chose Noah, Abraham and all the righteous men and women of faith as good and Godly “seed” to keep and sow in order to produce more men and women like them in God’s appointed time [see: Predestination and This Is Not the Only Day of Salvation, and The Children of Abraham].
“Seed selection” is a vital key to a good harvest, as any wise farmer knows. Here’s where I trusted too much where I should have been more judicious and savvy before I planted corn in my field.
A number of factors affected the corn seeds which I had sown: the unknown quality of the seeds, and they had been in storage in my basement for about a month. The day I opened the seed sacks, we found that beetles or weevils had infested a good portion of the seeds. It seemed like the seeds had not been sufficiently dried before they were packed. I had the sowers throw out the bad seed before they proceeded to sow the rest.
But, as I mentioned earlier, I did not know that this new breed or variety of seed needed the chemical inputs in order to sprout well — and I had naively thought the seeds would grow well despite the absence of commercial or chemical fertilizers on my land that had lain fallow for over a year.
The lesson to learn here is that we need to select our seed to sow as carefully as God is very meticulous when it comes to selecting or choosing the people He is “planting” in the field — the world — right now. Jesus’ parable of the “wheat and the tares” (Matthew 13:24-30) shows that God plants only “good seed” for His kingdom.
After all the wreckage of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22) and the Day of the Lord (Joel 1:15; 2:1-11; Revelation 14-19, etc.), God will preserve about a tenth of humanity (Isaiah 6:11-13). This remnant will serve as God’s “seed” of humanity to sow on earth during Christ’s 1,000-year rule on earth (Revelation 20:4). Mankind will proliferate on earth once again during that reign. [See: Predestination.]
The prophet Jeremiah especially prophesied about “the seed of Israel” — the remnant of the children of Israel who will survive as mortals when Jesus returns. “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. And it shall come to pass, that as I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to throw down, to destroy, and to afflict, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the LORD” (Jeremiah 31:27-28).
That God wants to multiply “good seed” of men is shown by His desire to multiply the “seed” of faithful Abraham, so as to be as numerous and countless as the stars of heaven, the dust of the earth, and the sand on the seashore. [See: God’s Kingdom and Israel and The Children of Abraham.] Jeremiah 33:19-26 also shows that God wants to likewise multiply the “seed” of King David and of Levi [the latter “purified” by God (Malachi 3:3)] as He will the “seed” of Abraham, through Israel.
But, as in planting crops, some bad seeds could crop up — which then would need to be put away (see a prophecy about this, in Ezekiel 38 and 39). Thus God will make sure that only the “good seed” of man will remain on earth.
To ensure healthy, wholesome and nourishing food for everyone when Christ rules this earth, we can have confidence that He will make available only good, stable and beneficial crop seeds for people to grow and feed on. After all, Jesus is the Creator of all things. He it was who created all the herbs and seed-bearing plants for the benefit of man. [See: The True Christ.]
Lesson #3: The Season
The piece of farmland that is my lot is totally rain-fed. Until I am able to get some connection to a water source such as a pipeline some considerable distance away, my farm is totally at the mercy of the seasons.
With what mankind as a whole has done to our global environment, seasons have been affected severely. They have turned topsy-turvy! Where and when it should normally rain, it often doesn’t. And the opposite has happened as well: where there should be no rain, there’s too much of it at a time! Exactly as Amos 4:7 prophesied!
With these changes around the world, a frightening scenario of worldwide famine faces mankind, just as Jesus prophesied centuries ago (Matthew 24:7). There is even now a looming crisis in the supply of drinking water. This, too, had long been prophesied in Amos 4:8.
An agriculturist wrote that in farming “water is everything” — however it is sourced, whether by rain or by irrigation.
When crowding and jostling had become a problem between the workers of Abraham (then still named Abram) and his nephew Lot because of the increase in their livestock, Abraham let Lot choose first between the two areas available to them (story in Genesis 13) so as to give each other more elbow room. Lot chose the irrigated plain of Jordan, near the bright lights of Sodom and Gomorrah — a bad choice in the end, as the story continues in Genesis 18 and 19.
Abraham was left with no choice but the other side of Jordan. Although not naturally irrigated, the land God gave Abraham and his descendants was a “good land,” a “land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year” (Deuteronomy 11:17, 11-12).
Thus God used this kind of land as a test to see whether the children of Israel would obey Him or not. “And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled. Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, lest the LORD’s anger be aroused against you, and He shuts up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you” (Verses 13-17).
Another principle that has to do with God’s blessing on the produce of the land concerns God’s command on bringing to God’s “storehouse” [God’s tabernacle and later temple in the Old Testament times, and today God’s Church, where God is working to send His end-time message into all the world (Matthew 24:14)], the “tithe” or tenth (10%) of one’s “increase” or income. [See: The New Testament Teaching on Giving.]
Malachi 3:8-10 shows that “tithing” is something most of mankind have failed to do. Had people obeyed this commandment, they would have received God’s promised blessings to “…open for you the windows of heaven [literally through rain in ‘due season’ and at the right amounts, or through spiritual blessings] and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer [insect, other plant, or human pest] for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field…and all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land” (Verses 10-12).
While these are sure promises in God’s Word, other Scripture passages also show that “time and chance happen to…all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11) — whether sinner or saint. The righteous Job was blessed by God tremendously, but God also allowed him to be tested by Satan and to undergo horrendous suffering. It is all according to God’s sovereign will and purpose. Despite our best efforts, we can suffer from the ill-effects of mankind’s collective wrongdoings, as my corn crop has suffered from previous chemical farming.
In Matthew 5:45 Jesus declares that our Father in heaven “…makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
I do not profess to know the will of God in all and every situation I and others may meet. Often it is only after all has been said and done that we come to know for certain what God’s will for us is.
But one thing is for sure: when Christ rules on earth both with mercy and judgment (“rod of iron,” Revelation 2:27; 12:5; 19:15), He will use rain to keep people in line with His commandments. [See: The Four Dimensions of Christ’s Love.] Zechariah 14:16-19 couldn’t be more graphic in showing this: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of Hosts, on them there will be no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This is the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.”
To those who are obedient to His law, God promises “rain in due season” to bless both crop and livestock (Deuteronomy 11:13-15) — in this present age and, especially, in the age to come!
Spiritually speaking, God will also “pour out” His Spirit in the last days on all of mankind (Joel 2:28-29) — like rain in due season. [See: Predestination, God’s Feasts and the Jews — Part 2 , especially the section on “The Feast of Weeks/Day of Pentecost and the Jews,” and God’s Feasts and the Jews — Part 3 , especially the sections on “The Feast of Tabernacles and the Jews” and “The Last Great Day and the Jews.”]
P.C. both ways
In the meantime that I am waiting for God’s will to be clearly revealed to me, I will continue to do “P.C.” — both preach Christ and plant corn (or plant crop)! God knows my heart more than I can ever know it.
I know well in my heart that I want to plant not merely corn. I desire to set up a farm that could model what family farms will be like when Christ rules the world. That farm will not be “mono-crop” — planted to just one crop — but a multi-crop or diversified one based on God’s way of living, organic farming.
Micah 4:3-4 says it best in a word picture, about what family farms will be like, when Christ’s rule will bring about world peace [see: World Peace — At Last!]: “But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.” [For an example of God’s agricultural principles in action, see this link: http://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE , select “Good News 1951-1989,” choose 1960-1969, scroll down to the November 1967 (Volume XVI Number 11) issue for the article “How God Looks at Agriculture,” on pages 3-4, 21-24. You may remain on this link and choose “Books & Booklets,” and scroll down to the booklet (two versions) titled “World Agriculture in Crisis.”]
May God give us a foretaste of that coming genuine “green revolution” — in this age! And may He speed the day when all the good things prophesied in His Word will finally become reality!
Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.