Gathering What Was Sown
Revelation 14:16-20

   At our previous encounter, we looked at two patterns involving the last part of this chapter and one for the whole chapter. link. Now we will look closely at the final verses.


     "And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped." (Rev. 14:15, 16).
    Imagery for the coming Christ is drawn largely from the story of the wheat and the tares. Read Matt. 13:24-30).

Getting ripe
   Is the harvest ripe at the time the judgment begins? No, the ripening process of spiritual maturity necessary to stand while the four winds of strife blow is the sealing, under the symbols of chapter 7, re0702b. The preadvent judgment is, in fact, a time for the end-time preparation.
   We also see the preparation under the harvest motif in the symbol of the latter rain. In Palestine, the former rain developed the plants and the latter rain (in the spring) was for ripening. This is the typical cycle of growing winter wheat today.
   "Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.  And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil. . . . And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions." (Joel 2:23-28; also see ps05005, jl0313, zc1001, mr0426ff).

The angel came out of the temple
   What do we know about coming out of the temple? What significant event in the sanctuary system is marked by the high priest coming out of the temple? It means that the atonement process has ended. It is too late to process unconfessed sins and too late for the cleansing that must follow le1620ff. Those who did not humble their souls during that special day were cut off from the camp le2329. This shows the judgment aspect of the day of atonement. Christ makes atonement for us in the heavenly sanctuary. When He comes out, human probation will close.
   In a different set of symbols, Christ is seated on the throne of judgment, 0509a. He is given the book or scroll, 0503. When all the seals have been broken, the righteous are acquitted and the atonement stops, 0801d.
   "And at that time shall Michael stand up [after being seated in judgment], the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book [of judgment]."  See the context of this verse below.

The wicked gathered as grapes

    "And 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, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God." (Rev. 14:17-19).

The wine concept elsewhere in the Scriptures
   God, through Isaiah identified the divided kingdom of His people as a vineyard that had failed because of apostasy is05. The vineyard is one of many motifs in the Song of Solomon. See so0106b, so0812. Jesus identified the Jewish leaders as unfaithful keepers of the vineyard lu2009ff. False doctrine of the end-time religious power is presented as the wine of Babylon, 1408e. And in the next chapter, we will see bad wine as apostasy predicted by Moses, 1503+. Usually the the vineyard concepts are associated with true religion that turned bad.

Time relationships of the grain and the grapes
   By comparing the concept of silence with the seventh seal, we may understand a brief time between the harvest (for the grain) and the vintage (for the grapes). The sealed (harvested) righteous are not taken to heaven immediately, however. During this brief interval, the sealed ones are protected from the forces of the enemy. It is the time of silence in heaven, (or perhaps after it). 0800. This time of protection is seen in the ninety-first psalm.
   "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked." (Ps. 91:1-8). Also jl0313.

The gathering time
   Notice, in the text, that the grapes are first gathered, then thrown into the winepress. "And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God."  (Rev. 14:19).
   Jesus' story of the wheat and tares is about this same time of harvest. It sheds more light on the events. "Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn." (Mat. 13:30). Here we see that the binding comes before the wheat harvest. This agrees with the order we have seen for the harvest and the vintage because the binding is separate from the throwing the grapes into the winepress. Image from a book in the public domain.
   From what we have studied and some concepts based on other passages, I see the following sequence of events. I don't claim that this list is perfect. We have plenty of solid and clear statements of Scripture to guide us in being faithful to God. Let us listen to His voice through the Word. Then when trials or special events come, He will provide the strength to endure them and the wisdom to know how to relate to them.

Preadvent judgment begins; this point is in the past (14:6, 7)
Righteous preparing to stand, 6:17; 7:1-4; wicked (including false Christians) are bound in bundles, 14:18; Matt. 13:30
Image created; false worship enforced, 13:14-17, false Christians are shaken out, 6:13
Sealing of righteous in process, 7:1-4
Latter rain prepares for loud cry of final appeal, Joel 2:23-28; Rev. 18:1
Sealing ends, Ezek. 9:4; judgment ends; probation closes, 22:11 
Time of silence or Jacob's trouble for righteous; special resurrection; time of trouble begins, Dan. 12:1; Christ begins to reign (throws sickle into the earth), 11:15; 14:16; seven last plagues, 16
General resurrection of righteous dead; righteous living join them and both are taken to heaven, John 14:1-3, 1 Thess. 4:16, 17.
Wicked thrown into the winepress (wicked living killed) 19:21
Millennium begins (time of judgment of the dead; 11:18) All righteous will then be living and all wicked will be dead
Millennium ends with another judgment and the destruction of the wicked by fire (or trampling the winepress) 20:9-15.

 Earlier, we looked at three general points in time, link .

   The concept of being bound at the end of time is significant. In a sense, the wicked bind themselves.
   "Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us. For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem." (Isa. 8:9-14)
   "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14)

Very little imagination is needed to see what will happen as the winds of strife (7:1-4) blow with more force.
   The world is already starting to fall apart, I believe people will give up liberty of conscience for assumed security. This will mean strong labor unions and civil militia hate groups which I expect to take over control of people, especially in the cities. If you have ever witnessed a mob in action, you have sensed the power of Satanic control.
   Of course, the working force does not carry all the blame for such strife. The wealthy members of society will also bind themselves, with the control of the financial interests of the world in a very few hands. Both the unions and the commercial giants will be manipulated by the false religious power. Notice how Daniel describes the end of time.
   "And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.  But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." (Dan. 11:40-12:1).

   Searching the detailed meaning of this passage is beyond the scope of our study, but you can see where the the end-time power will have tremendous  political  financial and  religious power.
    We face a time of trial, but in the end, Daniel's people, you and me, can be found written in the book of the preadvent judgment, prepared to stand. The next verse in Daniel describes the resurrection, then "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." (Dan. 12:3). That is the reward for the faithful.

14:20, note a
Winepress of wrath of God

   ^   And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. (Rev. 14:19, 20).

   As indicated earlier, I see the end-of-world punishment separate from the punishment at the end of the millennium. Here these two are symbolized by casting into the winepress and treading the winepress. Does this mean some are punished twice? Yes, although we know that in all, God is fair. Punishment will be according to guilt.

Image from a book in the public domain.
   "But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." (Luke 12:45-48).

Those who receive punishment
   The end-of-world punishment is only for those who worship the beast and its image (14:9). The rest of the wicked are dead at this time. This is still future as these comments are prepared (1998). We have seen part of this picture in studying the four horses, reo601c. As I understand it, the last two of the four picture the righteous and wicked living at the end of time and represent the larger groups of all the people of the New Testament era. The righteous and the wicked both pass through very intense experiences in the final conflict between good and evil.
   "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." re1217.

Outside the city
   Notice in verse 20, that the winepress is "trodden without the city." This is pictured as well in chapter 20: "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them." (20:7-9). re2009a
    Let's not miss the striking comparison that this imagery leads us to. "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate." (Heb. 13:12). Our Lord was crucified outside the city of Jerusalem. He suffered the punishment of the wicked who will be forever lost! That is the penalty we deserve to pay. O Lord, may we be sanctified by that blood!

14:20 b
Blood from the winepress

   "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth." (Isa. 63:1-6)
   Edom was the traditional enemy of God's people in Isaiah's time. Here the prophet pictures the Lord returning victoriously. This passage must be the source of the symbols in 14:20, although it may also represent the one on the white horse in 19:11-21.
   Jesus, in yielding His life for us, also tread the winepress alone. He was alone in Gethsemane, except for the Father (John 16:32). On the cross, even the Father withdrew (Matt. 27:46). He thus gained the victory over Satan, clearing the way to finally bring an end to sin and sinners. Praise God!

Blood to the horse bridles
   "And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window. And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master? And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three unuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot. And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king's daughter. And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel." (2 Kings 9:30-37). Also ez0909.
   So Jezebel, who led the people of Israel into idolatry, may be seen here to represent the final destruction of evil doers.
   The wicked people could be represented by a horse, See re0601c. Bridles are used to direct the horses and could indicate completeness of the punishment by including the leaders of those who try to take the New Jerusalem at the end of the thousand years. Satan, of course is the general.
   Jesus, who did not yield to evil even to the point of death, trampled the winepress outside the city of Old Jerusalem. There He obtained the victory that vindicated Him in His final work of cleansing this work of sin. He will then destroy the leader of evil and the followers, the root and the branches (Mal. 4:1), the bridle and the horse. Praise God.

1,600 furlongs
   I do not have a satisfactory idea of the source or meaning of this distance symbol. The holy city has four walls, but each is 12,000 furlongs long, not 400 (Rev. 21:16). It has twelve foundations and twelve gates. Walls may be seen as representing divine protection. They are 144 cubits (apparently the thickness) (21:17). At the end of the millennium, the wicked are gathered from the four corners of the earth to surround the city (20:8) to attack its four sides r20o. Perhaps the blood of the wicked here, as spread symbolically over 4 X 400 furlongs, is contrasted with the 4 X 12,000 furlong perimeter of the city. Or the trampling is in the valley of Gehenna which is elsewhere used as a symbol of the burning destruction of the wicked or "hell."

This has been a significant chapter. We may praise God who will lead and care for those who heed its warnings and follow the Lamb of Mount Zion.

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