Revelation 14:14-20

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

September 3, 1997


The Bible is written to an agrarian society, a society built around the times of the year when crops are planted, and then eventually harvested.

This is a central part of people's lives, and one that we don't really have much in common with anymore, at least not living in suburban America.

Many kinds of "harvests" mentioned in scripture.

Jesus often talked of a person coming to trust in Him in agricultural terms.

A person who hears the message is having a seed planted in them.

When they come to trust in Jesus, they are bearing fruit in their lives.

(John 4:35-39 KJV) Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. {36} And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. {37} And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. {38} I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. {39} And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

There’s a sense in which there’s a harvest always going on around us, a harvest of souls.


Be a part of the current harvest.

God's at work in the world, using us to plant seeds, and using us to reap a harvest.

Jesus said,

Mt 9:37-38 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly [is] plenteous, but the labourers [are] few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Some just plant seeds. (sharing the gospel)

Others water. (praying, sharing, etc.)

Others can reap.

Two harvests

:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and

The cloud is a part of Jesus' coming back to earth:

Mt 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

(see also Mat 26:64; Mar 13:26; 14:62)

:14 upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man

This is Jesus.

Re 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [one] like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

He is "like" unto the Son of man in that He is the "God-man", both fully man, yet fully God.

:14 having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

golden crown - after all, He is the King of Kings!

sharp - oxus - sharp; swift, quick

sickle - drepanon - a sickle, a pruning-hook, a hooked vine knife, such as reapers and vinedressers use

:15 And another angel came out of the temple

This is the temple in heaven, see vs.17

Re 7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

Re 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

God's throne is in the temple, in the "holy of holies".

This angel is apparently bringing a message from God the Father to Jesus.

:15 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.

ripe - xeraino - to make dry, dry up, wither; some have suggested that the idea is "over-ripe", almost as if the harvester is waiting too long.

The word is used 16 times in the New Testament, and in all the other places it is translated "whither", "whither away", "dry up", etc.

I kind of get the idea that this is not a job God is longing to have done.


God's patience, use it, don't abuse it.

Sometimes we get the mistaken impression that God is just chomping at the bit to bring wrath and vengeance upon people.

Just the opposite is true.

2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Sometimes we want to just give up on people because they don't respond to what we share with them.

Don't quit! It isn't over yet!

(Rom 2:4 NLT) Don't you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don't you care? Can't you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin?

:16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

It has been suggested that this first harvesting is a wheat harvest, while the second is a harvest of grapes. (Wiersbe)

But keep in mind, the language used in each harvest is the same (sickles, etc.), it's just that the second harvest mentions grapes.

What's the significance of the two harvests?

Some have suggested that the first harvest is a good one, while the second is a bad one, since there's no mention of judgment. It has been further suggested that the first one is an ingathering of believers, while the second one is that of unbelievers.

I imagine this is why some people subscribe to a mid-trib, or a "pre-wrath" rapture of the church.

The problem I have with this, is that the harvest is described as "withered".

It's not a word that has a very good connotation.

Does Mat 13 play into this?

(Mat 13:24-30 KJV) Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: {25} But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. {26} But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. {27} So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? {28} He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? {29} But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. {30} Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Some have suggested that the two harvests are those of this passage.

The problem is that in this parable, the wicked are gathered first in judgment, then the righteous are gathered.

Others have suggested that these are simply two different judgments, judgments on sin.

It seems that the events we've seen are at least some kind of a wrap-up summary of at least some future things.

We're going to be talking about a "wine-press" of the wrath of God, which will begin in chapter 16, and finish in chapter 19.

Yet we have it mentioned here in chapter 14.

It's possible then that the first harvest we're going to see is also some kind of a summary of things.

Perhaps the first harvest refers to the events leading up to the final judgment at Armaggedon.

:17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

Same kind of sharp sickle as Jesus has in verse 14.

This angel comes from God's presence.

:18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire

altar - I think this must refer to the bronze altar of sacrifice, not the golden altar of incense, since John seems to be viewing these events from the outside of the temple, not the inside where the golden altar is.

I think this may be tied to what we saw back in chapter 6:

Rev 6:9-11 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: {10} And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? {11} And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

Perhaps it is tied to this, that the judgment now comes.


Let God take care of it.

In good time, it will all be made right.


DON'T do it like this …

I heard a story the other night about a truck driver who dropped in at an all-night restaurant in Broken Bow, Nebraska. The waitress had just served him when three swaggering, leather-jacketed motorcyclists -- of the Hell's Angels type -- entered and rushed up to him, apparently spoiling for a fight. One grabbed the hamburger off his plate; another took a handful of his French fries; and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it.

The trucker did not respond as one might expect. Instead, he calmly rose, picked up his check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the cash register, and went out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and stood watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night.

When she returned, one of the cyclists said to her, "Well, he's not much of a man, is he?"

She replied, "I can't answer as to that, but he's not much of a truck driver. He just ran over three motorcycles out in the parking lot."


From the Business Farmer News, Scottsbluff, Nebraska: In the column under "For Sale or Trade" it says:

Will trade one white wedding gown size 16 -- never worn. Will trade for 38 caliber revolver.

Instead, do it like this …

Rom 12:17-21 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. {18} If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. {19} Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. {20} Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. {21} Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.


Any thief knows that the easiest way to steal gasoline from a car is to siphon it from the other guy's tank into your own. Stick a rubber hose in his gas tank, suck on the other end of the rubber hose until you get a mouth full of the gas, then spit it out. From then on the gasoline will flow into your tank. A thief decided to siphon gas from Dennis Quiggley's motor home in Seattle. When Dennis, inside the motor home, heard the noises outside he investigated and discovered the thief curled upon the ground violently vomiting. Intending to suck up the contents of the gas tank the thief had put his hose into the wrong hole -- and had sucked up the contents of the sewage tank instead. The thief, a boy 14 will not be prosecuted, Dennis and the police agree that he has suffered enough.

Associated Press, 8/7/91


A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.

-- Francis Bacon

:18 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.

gather - trugao (from a derivative of trugo (to dry) meaning ripe fruit (as if dry)) to gather in ripe fruits

fully ripe - akmazo - to flourish, come to maturity. Not the same word that's used in verse 15 (dry, whithered).

:19 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.

A winepress might be a large vat, where the grapes are piled up, and then people take off their shoes, jump in, and start squishing.

The picture of making wine from grapes is kind of a gory one in relation to the wrath of God.

These grapes are ripe, bursting with juice, and when you step on them, juice squirts everywhere, just as the blood will.

:20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress,

This is a picture of the battle of Armageddon, which we'll get more later on …

Rev 16:13-16 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. {14} For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. {15} Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. {16} And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

Rev 19:11-16 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. {12} His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. {13} And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. {14} And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. {15} And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. {16} And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Rev 19:17-19 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; {18} That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. {19} And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

They are looking forward to Jesus coming, and they think they're going to fight against him!

I haven't seen the movie Independence Day, but I understand a little about the plot, and in a way I can see the world thinking that they are being invaded by aliens, and rising up against them or something.

This whole scenario of mankind rising up in rebellion against God is going to look so silly to God, that He's going to laugh:

(Psa 2:4 KJV) He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

We get the same picture from Isaiah, with a little more detail.

Isa 63:1-6 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. {2} Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? {3} 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. {4} For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. {5} 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. {6} 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.

Treading the winepress alone refers to the idea that no one on earth will be with Him, but He'll have His armies behind him.

Even Joel mentions this

Joe 3:9-17 Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: 10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I [am] strong. 11 Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. 12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. 13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness [is] great. 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD [is] near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. 16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD [will be] the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. 17 So shall ye know that I [am] the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.

The Valley of Jehoshaphat is not a known place. Some have suggested it will be formed when the Mount of Olives is split by an earthquake (Zech 14:4)

The multitudes in the valley of decision is a picture of people standing before God in judgment, which will happen in the battle.

:20 even unto the horse bridles,

Suggested to be about 4 ½ feet high.

:20 by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

furlongs - stadion - a space or distance of about 600 feet (185 m)

600 x 1600 = 960,000 feet, or 181.8 miles

That’s about 75% of the length of modern Israel today, which is about 240 miles long (depending on where you measure).

Is this possible?

Some have suggested that it's impossible for there to be that much blood spilled, and this is just a symbolical way of saying there will be great judgment.

But why does it have to be symbolical?

This is the end of the world.


Be a part of the current harvest.

We want our friends and loved ones to be a part of the current, GOOD harvest.

So they won't be a part of the hard one at the end of the world.