“When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing.” (Deuteronomy 24:19-22)
This post is a direct response to eBible Fellowship and others who wrongly contend that salvation is no longer available. In light of the above passage, who are we to dictate when God has ended salvation? Some of God’s children discern the signs of this time, the evil that persists and grows in this world, seeing evidence that the gathering of wheat and corn and oil and wine is perhaps now scarce. What should we do in response to God’s clear commandment not to gather the gleanings? Shall we hoard the Word of God for our own and leave nothing for the poor in spirit, the ones who are yet without the Father, those yet without Jesus as the spiritual husband? Shall we withhold the gleanings of God’s Word from those who are still strangers to the kingdom of God and still in bondage to Satan?
There’s no validity at all to this action. It’s not our place to conclude when salvation has ceased to be available. This is not a spiritual soapbox based on human sentimentality. The Bible gives us solid proof that just when we think it looks like God’s Word has simply been silenced the reality is far different. This is true whether we subscribe to this falsehood because of the rampant sin in this world or because of time references found in historical parables like that of the shutting of Noah’s ark.
“And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.” (Ruth 2:15-16)
This was during the barley harvest. Boaz’s young men were picking what had come up out of the ground. Boaz commanded them to let handfuls fall deliberately so that Ruth could pick them. This was not just the garbage that Boaz didn’t want; it was actually some of the food that was of highest quality, the very same that Boaz would eat, put to market, etc.
The Bible links barley to Christ Himself. The Gospel of John recounts a true historical event, which Jesus shortly afterward uses as an opportunity to teach that He is the bread of life. This bread was made of barley.
“When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.” (John 6:5-11)
Not long after this, Jesus taught His lesson to the people.
“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:26-35)
Here we have a path laid out for us from the barley loaves to the true Bread of Life, Christ Himself. These barley loaves represent Christ, whom we know is the Word of God. The barley harvest in the book of Ruth is directly representative of partaking of the Word of God in the latter days of this world. Boaz, a picture of Christ, even as he was bidding his young men to gather the barley harvest, told them to give Ruth, a widow and a stranger, some of that crop. He could just as easily have hoarded it, not allowing a single grain to fall to the ground.
Ruth 2:17 ¶ So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.
Not only did Ruth have enough for herself, but also she had extra.
Ruth 2:18 And she took [it] up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.
God parallels the preceding passage in the feeding of the five thousand, who were also satisfied and had extra.
“When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.” (John 6:12-14)
Salvation is still available today. Let none of us think that we’ve gathered in all the corn and barley and wheat and wine and oil that there is to gather. Doing so is a flagrant disobedience of God’s commandment. We have no right to go back and take up every little grain that has fallen. We are to leave the extra food for those who haven’t become saved yet. We are commanded to do this thing. We have not received all there is for God to give of His barley.
Psalms 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:17-24)