"Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? ..." (John 4:35-38)

"Don't you have a saying, 'It's still four months until harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a 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)
What does the parable mean? Let's discuss all the symbolism involved in this transcendental parable.

What are the crop and the harvest?

Jesus is speaking to his followers and disciples about passing on his teachings to others. The people who learn about God and change their lives as a result of Jesus' teachings are essentially harvested. They essentially become the crop, because Jesus' teachings can grow within our hearts and eventually allow us to change.

Jesus knows that as his teachings are passed to others, others have a chance to change their hearts and give their lives to the Supreme Being. This is the ultimate "harvest" because it essentially helps the Supreme Being bring home those who are ready to return to Him.

The crop consists of the souls who are ready and prepared. They have become prepared by the teachers such as the Prophets that lived before Jesus. This is why Jesus says that others sowed. Those who sowed were those messengers of God before Jesus who taught their followers - and those who followed - about the Supreme Being.

So Jesus is stating that the hard work has already been done. All his disciples have to do now is pass on Jesus' teachings - which also echoed the teachings of the Prophets - in order to complete the process of inviting those souls back home as they are ready.

These are the souls who can be educated and given a chance to have a change of heart prior to their leaving 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 soul or spirit-person who operates the physical body for a few decades before leaving it at the time of death.

Who are the "sower" and the "reaper"?

The "sower" in this parable is someone who is responsible for initially teaching people about love of God. The sowers in this case are the Prophets, John the Baptist and Jesus. Essentially, they had been teaching and slowly changing people's hearts over the centuries.

The "reaper" in Jesus' analogy represents those of his disciples who will be organizing and gathering together those who have been changed by these teachings. If a person had a change of heart after hearing Jesus' and the Prophets' teachings, they would naturally become prepared to become a follower of Jesus. This process of bringing those people along, to further their commitments to loving and serving the Supreme Being, would essentially be "reaping" or harvesting those who have had a change of heart.

Is this about Judgment day?

Many have interpreted that Jesus is teaching about Judgment day. They have assumed that Jesus is speaking about some theoretical point in time where the end of the world comes and everyone becomes judged and reaps what they sow.

Such an interpretation is full of holes. The least of which is that it has been 2,000 years and the end of the world has yet to come. Does this mean that Jesus was tricking his students into thinking that the end of the world would come during their lifetimes?

Or are these interpreters talking about the end of the world the ones who have been tricking us?

The latter is true, since the end of the world keeps being predicted by charlatans who have continued to be wrong over the centuries.

Rather, Jesus is using an entendre here as he amalgamates the concept of harvesting souls by educating them about God. The harvest relates to success in the goal of life: Learning to know and love the Supreme Being.

As far as judgment day referred to by Jesus elsewhere: At the moment of death, each of us will leave the physical body. This is our individual judgment day because it is at this moment that those souls who have developed the consciousness to return to God are taken up to the spiritual world. Meanwhile, those souls whose journey has not been perfected will return to the physical dimension to continue our education.

Essentially then, Judgment Day is the moment of death, when the activities of our lives are judged.

What about reaping what we sow?

While not here, Jesus has used reaping what we sow in other contexts as well. In the physical world, our choices and activities have consequences. If we make others suffer, we will suffer similarly in a future incarnation.

In other words, self-centered individuals return back into bodies that reflect their past activities and consciousness.

This means that 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.