John 4:35

Say not, There are yet four months, and then comes harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
He was intent now on beginning the work, and hastened to send laborers: And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to life eternal, that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together. The Apostles and Prophets had different labors, corresponding to the difference of times; but both will attain to like joy, and receive together their wages, even eternal life. So then He sent reapers, no sowers. The reapers went where the Prophets had preached. Read the account of their labors: they all contain prophecy of Christ. And the harvest was gathered on that occasion when so many thousands brought the prices of their possessions, and laid the mat the Apostles’ feet; relieving their shoulders from earthly burdens, that they might follow Christ. Yes verily, and from that harvest were a few grains scattered, which filled the whole world. And now arises another harvest, which will be reaped at the end of the world, not by Apostles, but by Angels. The reapers, He says, are the Ang...

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
Say not ye, &c. From the metaphor of food He passes to the allegorical harvest, from which are food and bread. Say not ye? That Isaiah , ye are wont often to say. From this it would appear that the Apostles, as they passed through the corn fields of the Sichemites, talked among themselves about the coming harvest, as men are wont to do. From hence Christ took occasion to speak about the spiritual harvest, i.e, the conversion of the Samaritans. As though He had said, "The care of the natural harvest interests you: but the care of the spiritual harvest ought to concern you far more, that you should help Me in converting the Samaritans." Yet four months. Maldonatus thinks this was a proverb, meaning that there was time enough for thinking about any matter—as the natural harvest, for instance: but that it could not be used of the spiritual harvest; for that indeed was already ripe for being reaped by Christ and the Apostles. For Maldonatus thinks this was spoken by Christ about the end o...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
Behold I say unto you, Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest. That is, raising up the eye of your understanding a little from the affairs of the earth, consider ye the spiritual sowing, that it hath progressed already and whitened unto the floor, and at length calls for the reaper's sickle unto itself. But from the similarity to things in actual life, you will see what is meant. For you will conceive that the spiritual sowing and multitude of spiritual ears, are they who, tilled beforehand by the voice of the Prophets, are brought to the faith that should be shewn through Christ. But it is white, as being already ripe and ready to the faith, and confirmed unto piety. But the sickle of the reaper is the glittering and most sharp word of the Apostle, cutting away the hearers from the worship according to the law, transferring them to the floor, that is, to the Church of God: there they bruised and pressed by good toils shall be set forth pure ...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
Say not YE, There are yet four months and the harvest cometh? He again taketh occasions of His Discourse from the time and event, and from the grosser things of sense He fashioneth His declaration of spiritual ideas. For it was yet winter at that time, and the tender sprouting and fresh stalk of the seed was scarce bristling forth from the soil: but after the expiration of four months, it was awaiting its fall into the hand of the reaper. Do not therefore YE men say (saith He) that there are yet four months, and the harvest cometh?

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
For they are white already to harvest. The great harvest of souls was approaching, when Christ was come to teach men the way of salvation, and was to send his apostles to convert all nations. They succeeded to the labours of the prophets, but with much greater advantages and success. And to this is applied that common saying, that one soweth and another reapeth. (Witham)
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Irenaeus of Lyons

AD 202
For I have sent you forward to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour; other men have laboured, and ye have entered into their labours."
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
2. Behold, He again by familiar words leads them up to the consideration of greater matters; for when He spoke of meat, He signified nothing else than the salvation of the men who should come to Him; and again, the field and the harvest signify the very same thing, the multitude of souls prepared for the reception of the preaching; and the eyes of which He speaks are those both of the mind and of the body; (for they now beheld the crowd of Samaritans advancing;) and the readiness of their will He calls, fields already white. For as the ears of grain, when they have become white, and are ready for reaping, so these, He says, are prepared and fitted for salvation. And wherefore instead of calling them fields and harvest, did He not plainly say, that the men were coming to believe and were ready to receive the Word, having been instructed by the Prophets; and now bringing forth fruit? What mean these figures used by Him? For this He does not here only, but through all the Gospel; and the...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
What is the will of the Father He now proceeds to explain: Say you not, There are yet four months, and then comes harvest? . He leads them, as his custom is, from low things to high. Fields and harvest here express the great number of souls, which are ready to receive the word. The eyesare both spiritual, and bodily ones, for they saw a great multitude of Samaritans now approaching. This expectant crowd he calls very suitably white fields. For as the corn, when it grows white, is reader for the harvest; so were these ready for salvation. But why does He not say this in direct language? Because by making use in this way of the objects around them, hegave greater vividness and power to His words, and brought the truth home to them; and also that His discourse might be more pleasant, and might sink deeper into their memories. Again He distinguishes earthly from heavenly things, for as above He said of the water, that he who drank of it should never thirst, so here He says, He that reaps g...

Theophilus of Antioch

AD 184
Now you are expecting a material harvest. But I say to you, that a spiritual harvest is at hand: lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. He alludes to the Samaritans who are approaching.
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Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
Now he begins to reveal clearly to His disciples the meaning of what He had said before in riddles. "You say," meaning, you think, "that the harvest," namely, the material harvest, "is coming in four months. But I say to you, the noetic harvest is here already." He said this in reference to the Samaritans who were just then approaching Him. "Therefore lift up your eyes, both noetic and physical, and behold the multitude of approaching Samaritans and the souls eager and ready to believe, which are like fields white for the harvest." Just as whitened ears of wheat are ready for harvest, so have these men been prepared for harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. What He means is this: the prophets sowed but did not reap. Yet they have by no means been deprived of the pleasure of the reward, but rejoice with you who do the reaping. It is not so with [farmers'] harvests, where, if...
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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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