The Seasons of the Father
I wrote a chapter in The Spirit and Power of Elijah about the Father’s times and seasons to emphasize how prophetic leadership prepares the Lord a people. Every kingdom leader leads prophetically. “Prophetic leadership accurately anticipates what is coming next and prepares the Lord a people ready to respond when the new season arrives.” Father prepares a prophetic reset in order to prepare for a kingdom leadership reset. He initiates everything He does prophetically.
Key thought: When God wants to do something, He says something.
Father anticipates season change with leadership change. To understand leadership change, we need to examine season change.
Father operates in seasons. Natural seasons respond to their Creation designs, rhythms of moving planets in relation to the sun. Kingdom seasons respond to higher, heavenly rhythms in relation to the Throne. One is natural and one is spiritual. Father controls them by design and decision.
Jesus says that Father maintains direct authority for spiritual seasons, motivated by His eternal passion love for His purposes. Father delegates authority for preparation and positioning His people to kingdom leaders so that His people stand ready to respond in the season when it arrives.
“The Father alone has the authority to set seasons and times.” [See Acts 1:7.]
Kingdom seasons relate to kingdom purpose because they derive from Father’s passion for His people to produce His purpose. Notice how forty days’ discussion of kingdom concluded with this principle. “Seasons and times” reveal more than calendar and chronology.
Key thought: Father determines when seasons begin and end, and how times within a season synchronize His people to His process.
Jesus says, “Save yourselves from this perverse generation. One season must end so a new season can begin. So, do not leave Jerusalem until you receive power from heaven.”
He says, “The new season calls for a reset of kingdom power and authority! Nothing will ever be the same again! Do not invest your attention in any attempt set or control the seasons or times. Instead, surrender yourself to Father’s preparation promise so you can respond to His seasons and synchronize to His times.”
Spiritual seasons, like their natural counterparts, respond to the rhythms of spiritual reality. When asked about kingdom seasons – “Will you now restore the kingdom to Israel?” – Jesus says the “times and the seasons” remain in Father’s hands, but your preparation for the new season comes soon. So, wait for Father’s promise, and you will be ready for His seasons. Seasons have “times.”
Spiritual seasons have times for plowing, planting, precipitation, and pruning. “Times” respond to seasons: when Father resets kingdom and a new season arrives, the “times” that correspond to that season should be evident to kingdom leaders. Something is obvious to a leader that is not obvious to other people.
Leaders with prophetic vision and discernment know the difference between judgment within a season and judgment to end a season. I’m speaking of harvest times.
Once the process of season change begins, God brings “what is” to harvest time. Note the difference between “harvest time” within Father’s seasons and “harvest time” that ends one of Father’s seasons. “Harvesting” should be understood as one form of judgment.
Judgment appears on the list of kingdom leadership dynamics, and should be understood in light of the basic building blocks of leadership: leaders make decisions and solve problems. Judgment makes a decision. Judgment solves a problem. God judges because God is an involved and intentional leader. Among the myriads of Divine decisions and solutions, God ends one season in order to begin a new one with a final harvest.
Father decides when to reap ripened fruit; He may reap ripened fruit within a season. Or, He may do so to end a season
Father picks a ripened apple while the tree continues to produce apples. Conversely, Father decides to harvest an entire field of wheat, no matter the present condition of any one section, cluster, shock, or plant. First fruits harvest tests the process and progress of the season. Final harvest resets the season. A final harvest calls the entire field to judgment, separating the good and bad fruit that Father left growing together.
Harvest within a Season
Speaking of the True Vine’s branches, Jesus says, “If you don’t produce fruit, you are cut off.” Pruning extends judgment beyond inspection into application. The Greek word, kathairó, means, “cleanse, purify, and purge of waste or undesirable material.” That means Father makes a decision and solves a problem while producing fruit persists. Pruning isn’t final harvest, but pruning is judgment.
Jesus also says, “If you produce fruit, Father will prune you so you produce more fruit.” With that in mind, the process should enhance the branch’s ability to produce consistently, and to produce fruit that “remains on the branch until it is ripe.”
In the True Vine metaphor, Jesus illustrates “abiding in Me.”
This isn’t final harvest because Jesus is speaking of harvest and judgment that occurs while the season of production remains in progress.
Jesus clarifies His Father’s involvement in harvest. Father retains direct authority in both seasons and times. Branches that produce ripe fruit – fruit that remains on the branch until mature – can continue producing mature fruit. The season can continue. The “tilling the ground” isn’t plowing but fertilization and root system maintenance, making room in the loosened soil for root system expansion to support Vine growth and extension.
Yet, Father’s process prunes off fruitless branches and prunes down beautiful leaves so the branches invest their highest in fruit; unfettered by the weight of leaves they bear the increasing heft of ripening fruit. At any moment, Father harvests mature fruit without damaging a pruned branch or interfering with other fruit in process.
This is harvest within a season at a time chosen by Father. Such a moment is a moment of triumph and reward. The branch is maturing while the fruit is maturing. Father certainly loves the fruit, but His long-term investment in the branch represents a heritage. Father has more than one harvest in mind, more than one season in mind. He is developing a whole vineyard and vintage by investing personal attention in individual branches.
Harvest that Ends a Season
Final harvest arrives when Father determines that kingdom requires a reset. We are not talking about Jesus, the True Vine, when we speak of final harvest, of course; we are speaking of delegated kingdom leadership that reaches a point of no return – a play on words that speaks a double meaning – a dead end from which that leadership cannot return, and a deadness of spiritual life from which that leadership cannot recover.
In order to reset kingdom leadership, one season ends. Reset requires a final harvest, a word from God of “its over,” and an implementation of Father’s reset strategy. Get ready for times of plowing and planting, pruning and purifying, precipitation and production. Father’s purpose restored with “heirloom seed.”
Consider the conditions that accompany a final harvest to discern the season change before it arrives. Father allows the entire field to mature, wheat with tares. Both wheat and tares reach maturity. Their particular and peculiar DNA produces “according to its kind.”
When both light and darkness reach maturity, blazing Glory and raging Destruction, revival and riot, the end results of two opposing systems become clearer.
Key thought: God allows both the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness to produce their most significant consequences. While they grow up together, gray areas shade their appearances; but when they reveal their ultimate outcomes, an end result becomes apparent and the true nature and character of each becomes obvious.
God often allows things to reach their ultimate before mercy produces judgment. Make no mistake! Mercy produces judgment because the end of God’s mercy is judgment. Mercy marches in synchrony with Father’s seasons and times. Mercy is opportunity, so opportunity remains operative until the season reaches an end. At that point, harvest occurs.
Expect a person, ministry, generation, or culture that reaches these extremities of contrast to experience a season change. Expect judgment to begin at God’s house for the very same reason. Consider that God’s mercy, the opportunity to continue to grow and produce fruit, moves people, ministries, generations, and cultures toward harvest. They reap what they sow. And, they also experience God’s judgments because Father determines seasons and times.
Note the prophetic psalm of Hannah. The one pregnant with purpose and promise declares the revelation:
Those who fight against the LORD will be shattered. He thunders against them from heaven; the LORD judges throughout the earth. He gives power to his king; he increases the strength of his anointed one.”
The sense of the Hebrew in the phrase “judges throughout the earth” is “ceasing.” The word often translated “the ends, or extremities” has the meaning of “reaching the end or extremity.” In other words, God judges to bring things to finality. In this sense, the judgment ends one season in order to introduce a new one.
Note the response of Samuel to the final harvest season of Saul’s leadership: “Samuel never went to meet with Saul again, but he mourned him constantly. And the Lord grieved that he had ever made Saul king of Israel.”