The Weekend Word
The Harvest of the Earth – Is this Matt 25 – sheep / goats?
- Here we see another vision of the Last Day. This chapter began with a vision of the 144,000 (all believers of all time) who stand with Christ on the Last Day. Now, the chapter ends with a vision showing the judgment of unbelievers on the Last Day.
14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand.
- 14-16 describes a harvest of grains
- 17-20 describes the same as a harvest of grapes.
- #14 = one seated — #17 another angel = both are Jesus.
- It is interesting that in 14:6-20, these acts are performed by 7 angels. Earlier 7 angels blew the trumpets – Rev 8 there are 7 bowl of God’s wrath and now these 7 angels – 14:6; 14:8; 14:9-10; 14:14; 14:15; 14:17; and 14:18.
- This is how Revelation works – in 7s = completeness.
- White cloud = God’s presence = as in Luke 21:27 it says “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” – He will truly be present.
- What we see here is war between God and the red dragon and between the church and the beasts which culminates in the great harvest – the judgment of God.
- Earlier Jesus’ crown was thorns – this crown is royal – Jesus is not coming in humility but in judgment.
- Even today we use this imagery as the grim reaper.
15 And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.”
- This is interesting – an angel telling Jesus what to do. But to keep it in perspective, this angel is coming from the temple in heaven where the Father dwells.
- In the gospel of St John, many times we hear about “the hour”. That is always the time when God’s glory is revealed in and through Jesus. John 2:4; 7:6; 12:23; and 12:27. This is that day and hour that was mentioned that ‘no one knows except the Father.’
- At this point everyone knows the day and hour.
16 So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.
- The hour has come and here we see the reaping – the end (again).
- This is so anti what is often presented about who God is and what the end game is. So many think of a grandfatherly God patting all of us on the head as we pass through the pearly gates saying – “heck, I know you tried – I probably wasn’t clear enough for you to believe and follow.”
17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle.
- This is another example of Jesus presented as an angel – as in the angel of the Lord.
- Jesus has the sickle in 14 and we see him with the sickle here also.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.”
- What altar and fire is this? Speaking of when the persecuted saints were before the altar (Rev 6) and those at the altar of the fiery censers – Rev 8.
- Remember, the altar is always in the temple where God dwells.
19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
- The reaping of the grapes – see Joel 3:12-13
20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.
- “outside of the city” – kind of a loaded phrase. Jesus was crucified outside of the city – where is God’s wrath executed?
- 1600 stadia = 184 miles. Is it flowing for an actual 184 miles or is the number symbolic in a context the readers would figure out?
- See Isaiah 63:1-6 – Yo!! There it is. This is what we are getting here in Revelation. This is the fulfillment of the prophecy – this is that wrath to those who stand opposed to Christ.
- Christ’s judgment comes here – and it is full and complete as we have seen in the previous several end of time scenes.
- This is not a passage of comfort – it is a call for constant evangelism to an unbelieving world that opposes Jesus.
- Think of the enormity of this judgment as it is compared to a bloodletting. 184 miles long about 5 feet deep. – or is it symbolic? One example it that from Dan to Beersheba is 145 miles.
- The number 1,600 here is symbolic for the ultimate completeness of God’s final judgment upon unbelievers on the Last Day (4 x 4 x 100 = 1600; 4 being the number of earth – unbelievers will be gathered from the 4 corners of the earth and the 4 winds of the earth; 100 being the square of 10, God’s number for completeness – this judgment will be final and complete). The point: The judgment upon unbelievers on the Last Day will be severe – eternally severe, even as the reward upon believers will be great – eternally great.