“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.” Revelation 14:14-16.
“Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, ‘Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.’” Revelation 14:17-18.
The first passage above from Revelation 14:14-16 has been added to maintain the context for this study.
Having examined the first segment of this harvest/reaping passage in Revelation 14:14-16 reposted on 9-11-22, there is only one reference to be made to the former study, and that is to verse 15.
The purpose here will be to show how important each word can be to the over all understanding of a passage.
In Revelation 14:15 it is stated that, “another angel came out of the temple”. In verse 17 above “another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven”. This is the same temple as the one the angel came out of in verse 15. Finally in verse 18, “another angel came out from the altar”. Why the difference?
We know from the last study that the angel coming out of the temple is a messenger from God, signifying the end.
The angel coming out of the temple which is in heaven verse 17, is also sent from God to execute the task of gathering the grapes, he is joined by an angel coming out from the altar, who commands him to, “Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe”.
This subtle difference may be a further clue as to the identities of those being harvested as opposed to the grapes which are being gathered.
The angel, who comes from the altar, is coming from the golden altar of incense before the throne of God referred to in Revelation chapter 8.
“Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. And he was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8:3-4.
The altar of incense is a type of Christ as our intercessor.
“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus…” 1 Timothy 2:5.
The golden altar is also where we see the martyrs of Christ calling out from under.
“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ And a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” Revelation 6:9-11.
These martyrs under the altar are likely the ones slain during the first half of the tribulation and the number of their fellow servants to follow them will be killed during the second half of the tribulation.
As a result the symbolism of the angel coming from the altar would indicate that God is finally answering their prayers and avenging the blood of the martyrs.
Since this angel appears only for the harvest of the grapes, it would mean that this group is made up of the unsaved beast worshipers.
Another interesting phrase to note is in verse 18, “gather the clusters of the vine of the earth”; these clusters of grapes are of the vine of the earth.
The reaping of the harvest of the earth in verses 15-16 seems to emphasize that the harvest is of that which is on the earth, whereas this vine is of the earth.
This connection with the earth reminds us of the term earth-dwellers first discussed in Revelation 3:10. Once again these are people who have settled into this earth as their home, and as such they have accepted earth’s commerce and religion as their own.
These grapes of the vine of the earth have become fully ripe and can go no further; evil has become fully manifest for all to see. This harvest of the grapes in the next two verses is directly related to the battle of Armageddon which will be covered in more detail in Revelation chapters 16 and 19, as well as in the following.
“So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.” Revelation 14:19-20.
The gathering of the grapes into the winepress foretells of the gathering of all the armies of the nations into one place for the last and most horrific battle of mankind.
“Proclaim this among the nations: ‘Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am strong.”’ Assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O Lord. ‘Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow – for their wickedness is great.’ Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness.” Joel 3:9-15.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself that treads out the winepress.
“Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? –‘I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’ Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? ‘I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me; and My own fury, it sustained Me. I have trodden down the peoples in My anger, made them drunk in My fury, and brought down their strength to the earth. ‘” Isaiah 63:1-6.
It says of Christ in Revelation chapter 19.
“He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.” Revelation 19:13.
At the end of the Lord’s first advent He was covered in His own blood, during His second advent His robes will be drenched in the blood of earth’s rebels.
For a very long time I wondered why the Lord made statements like those above in Isaiah and shown again below.
“I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me.” Isaiah 63:3a.
“I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me…” Isaiah 63:5a.
When the Lord returns He will have a whole army of saints and angels with Him; why is He alone?
The shocking answer is that as He comes down and faces armies consisting of millions of individuals, not one will turn and say, “I cannot do this, I will follow Jesus!”
Not one! This is why the Lord wondered that there was no one to uphold or to help.
God can do this you know; even though He is omniscient, He can still marvel and wonder.
“When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” Matthew 8:10.
God can marvel at man’s great faith or his stubborn heart without giving up any of the qualities of His own deity.
The Lord now treads the winepress where the angels have gathered the grapes, outside the city of Jerusalem, and it is made plain that it is blood that comes out of the press.
“…and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.” Revelation 14:20b.
This will be an unimaginable flow of blood creating a stream 4 ½ feet deep and running for 200 miles.
Yet it will be a small stream compared to that shed by mankind in, wars, murders, terrorist attacks, abortions, human sacrifices, tortures, maiming, and other cruelties perpetrated on men, women and children during man’s squalid six or so thousand year sojourn on earth.
There is a sort of brinkmanship involved in the timing of all of this reaping and harvesting which has been alluded to, but not clarified. The Lord Jesus is the best person to explain it to you, so I will let Him do it.
This explanation is in two parts, first in a parable the Lord tells and the second will be when He opens the parable up to His disciples, and us.
“…The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” Matthew 13:24-30.
These tares are weeds, presumed to be darnel, which resembles wheat at first, but when full grown it can be more easily distinguished from wheat.
The disciples came to Jesus later and asked for an explanation. His answer is as follows.
“…He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 13:37-43.
Let us not forget that God is all-knowing and because of this omniscience, He already knows who the sons of the wicked one are. He does not need the help of the angels to gather these malefactors out of the earth.
He does not need a courtroom, lawyers, a confession, witnesses, or evidence to make His case or to render a righteous judgment. God knows the heart of man, yours and mine; there will be no lying, or lame excuses, only truth.
Yet most of the things mentioned above will be done, why?
Satan has impugned the truthfulness and righteousness of God from the beginning of his rebellion, and men continually accuse Him of unrighteousness today and have throughout history.
The day is coming very soon now when the thoughts and intentions of both men’s and fallen angels hearts will be shown to be rebellion against a holy God whose every intention is and has always been to do good in all of His creation.
We will see this with our own eyes, and even we, you and I, will put our hands over our mouths when we realize all the times we assigned unrighteousness to God when He was trying to do only good for us.
“Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.” Revelation 15:1.
This first verse in the next chapter has been added above because it further shows the approximate time frame of the two harvests examined here.
These seven last plagues are the bowl judgments which are the wrath of God to be poured out. They should begin to be poured out roughly after Revelation 14:11 and they will overlap the reaping/harvesting studied in Revelation 14:14-20.
The actual pouring out of these bowls will occur in Revelation chapter 16 and will be examined at that point.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.” Matthew 22:2-7.
“Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” Hebrews 10:28-29.
Revelation 14:17-15:1 taken from godisrevealed.com updated on 1-28-17, reposted on 9-15-22.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.