“Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor." (John 4:35-38)

Who are the "sower" and the "reaper" in this parable by Jesus? What does the parable mean?

A key element is Jesus' statement:

"Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life..."

The crop is composed of spirit-persons who leave the physical body at the time of death. Every day people's bodies die. Our bodies will also die. As the body ages, diseases develop that eventually ravage it and force us to leave the body. Each of us is a spirit-person who operates the physical body for a few decades before leaving it at the time of death.

At the moment of death, we leave the body. This is harvest time because it is at this moment that those spirit-persons who have developed the consciousness to return to God are taken up to the spiritual world. Meanwhile, those spirit-persons whose focus has been upon a self-centered chase of materialism, remain in the physical dimension.

This is essentially Judgment Day: Judgement Day is the moment of death, when the activities of our lives are judged.

At the time of death or Judgment Day, we may be harvested by either the "grim reaper" or the "glad reaper." The glad reaper, identified here by Jesus, is God and His representatives.

God and His representatives collect (or harvest) those spirit-persons who have dedicated their lives to God. God and His angels bring them home, back to the spiritual dimension. At the time of death, they are harvested and brought back home to God.

The grim reaper is also one of God's representatives (or angels). But their duty is to push the spirit-person back into the physical dimension, according to their consciousness and past activities.

Self-centered individuals are pushed back into bodies that perfectly reflect their past activities and consciousness.

In other words, whatever pain and suffering we inflict upon others is perfectly returned to us in the form of a new body - born into a particular family and society. If we commit others to pain, we will receive the same pain back either in this lifetime or the next. As such, after the death of this body, we will take on another body that suffers those same pains we have inflicted upon others. If a person rapes and starves people as some in Africa have been doing, they will be raped and starved in their next body. This is part of God's perfect design: "As you sow, so shall you reap."

This also explains the question that some ask: 'Why is there suffering in the world?'

God does not cause the suffering in the world: we do.

Each of us causes our own suffering, by inflicting suffering upon others. If we become a party to suffering, we will experience the same suffering we were a party to causing upon others.

It is not as if we are guaranteed a human body: We may also be put into an animal body, fish body or even an insect body. These types of bodies are designed for more suffering. In such bodies, we are chased by giant predators. We are in fear for most of that physical lifetime. These bodies represent the worst of hell.

Oh, but you thought hell was some kind of hot dungeon somewhere under the earth with fiery horned devils chaining people to the walls? Where is that dungeon? Have any excavators or drilling rigs found any hot dungeons with horned people under the earth's surface lately? Today, drillers can drill down for miles under the ground. No one has ever drilled down into a dungeon with horned devils and chained up people.

Let's get something clear: The physical dimension is hell. This is the place where those individuals who want to escape God go.

The visions of hell drawn up in scripture are analogous. Yes, hell is a place of suffering. And yes, people are chained up - as the spirit-person is trapped (chained) inside a physical body racked with pain and suffering. The general description of hell is accurate. It is simply not understood in a practical manner.

The reality is that we are in hell right now, but some of us in human bodies are relatively more pain-free than others. Yes, there are people in worse hells than ours: Consider parts of the world where people are starving, ravished with diseases, or are being raped or tortured. These are suffering worse hells than we are at the moment. (This doesn't mean we shouldn't try to help them, however.)

Or think of those trapped in small animal or insect bodies perpetually chased by large predators. This is a much worse hell than ours. Yet this hell exists all around us.

Each person in a physical body is living within some extent of hell. Every body will be racked with pain and disease. Every body will feel agonizing pain. Every body will suffer a gruesome death. This is the reality of wearing a physical body: Just as it is a reality that the car you drive will break down at some point, and you'll have to leave it behind and get a new car.

Yet each of us can determine the extent of our future hell by our activities and consciousness today. We can determine whether we are harvested by the Glad Reaper - God and His representatives - to return home to the spiritual dimension, or be harvested by the grim reaper to continue our hellish existence in the physical dimension. It is our choice.

"I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor"

Jesus is referring to the work that he, John the Baptist, Moses, David, Solomon, Abraham and the rest of the prophets have done. They had given people information about God and the spiritual world. They had taught people the commandments of God, and instructed them to love God with all their hearts. These were the "sowers" that came before Jesus' students.

Remember that Jesus is speaking to his students here. He says, "I sent you to reap what you did not work for." Jesus is essentially asking them to go out and continue the teachings and gather those who want to return to God by confirming and practicing the teachings of Jesus and the lineage of teachers (the prophets) that he came in. He wanted his students to continue those teachings, and bring those who want to go home, back to the spiritual world - where there is no pain, no death and no suffering.

This is the world of love that each of us seeks from within. This is the world where the Supreme Being is the center. The physical world is the world where each of us wants to be the center.

In order to return to our home in the spiritual realm, loving and serving the Supreme Being must become the center of our lives. This is our natural position, and what will fulfill us and complete us.


(The New International Version was used in the above Biblical quotes. Also consider the Gospels of Jesus - from the original Greek texts without ecclesiastical sectarian influence.)