Revelation 14:14-20

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 15, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

The apostle John found himself caught up into heaven before the throne of God.

He saw Jesus take a scroll from the hand of God that had been sealed with seven seals.

As Jesus broke each seal and unrolled the scroll a little further, events begin to take place on the earth and the time that we call the Tribulation begins to unfold.

The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving world and God begins to make right all the things that have been so wrong.

We are somewhere in the middle of the Tribulation period, when the antichrist is unmasked as pure evil and turns to kill the Jews, specifically those who have come to believe in Jesus as their Messiah.

Today we look at two different harvests.

It gets a little confusing because some of the terms are the same.  Both harvests use a “sharp sickle”.

But some of the terms are different, like the words for “ripe”.

The first harvest uses terms that describe a wheat harvest.

The second harvest is describing a grape harvest.

I see these two “harvests” as pictures that cover the events of the next couple chapters.  We’ll see these harvests fleshed out in the coming judgments.

The second harvest, the grape harvest is tied to the “great winepress of the wrath of God” (14:19), which is something Jesus will be “treading” in Revelation 19.

(Re 19:15 NKJV) —15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
I see these two harvests encompassing the next couple of chapters.

14:14-16 The Wheat Harvest

:14 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.

:14 sickledrepanon – a sickle, a hooked vine knife

The word could be used to describe a couple different types of sharp tools.

Here it is used to describe a sickle used to harvest wheat.
In verse 17, it is used to describe a curved knife used to harvest grapes.

:14 sharpoxus – sharp

:14 crownstephanos – a crown

Not the badge of royalty (diadema), but the badge of victory in the games, military valor, festive gladness.

:14 One like the Son of Man

This is the way that Daniel described Jesus:

(Da 7:13 NKJV) “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.

This how John has already described Jesus:

(Re 1:13 NKJV) and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.

He, being God, took on human flesh to be “like” us, “like the Son of Man”.

:14 on the cloud sat

Jesus has this thing with clouds.  When He ascended into heaven…

(Ac 1:9–11 NKJV) —9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
He ascended in a cloud to heaven.  He will come back on the clouds.

(Mt 24:30b NKJV) …and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

David said that God rides on the clouds.

(Ps 68:4 NKJV) Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, By His name Yah, And rejoice before Him.


He can do anything

My kids used to watch a cartoon where the hero rode on a cloud.  But Jesus isn’t a Japanese anime character.  He is real.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t know of any real person who can “ride on the clouds”.  Fall through the clouds, yes.  Ride on the clouds, no.
Riding on the clouds sounds as impossible as walking on water.
(Mt 14:22–33 NKJV) —22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
Jesus can do anything, including walking on the water in the middle of a storm.
Our part is to have “faith”.

Our part is to have confidence in Jesus’ ability to work.

We don’t have to have confidence in our own ability to handle the storm, we just have to have confidence in Jesus’ ability to walk on water.

Are you going through a storm right now?  Have confidence in the One who rides on the clouds, the One who walks on water.

:15 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.”

:15 Thrustpempo – to send; to send (thrust or insert) a thing into another

:15 reaptherizo – to reap, harvest

:15 is ripexeraino – to become dry, be withered; of plants; of the ripening of crops

In the past I’ve seen this as a bad word, that the crops here are dried out and over-ripe.

I think the word is simply describing the fact that these crops are ready for harvest.

You don’t harvest wheat when it’s green, but when it’s dried out and brown.

:15 harvesttherismos – harvest, the act of reaping

:15 templenaos – used of the temple at Jerusalem, but only of the sacred edifice (or sanctuary) itself, consisting of the Holy place and the Holy of Holies (in classical Greek it is used of the sanctuary or cell of the temple, where the image of gold was placed which is distinguished from the whole enclosure)

This isn’t the temple on the earth, but the temple in heaven.

:15 another angel came out of the temple

This angel is coming out of the temple in heaven.  He’s coming out from the presence of the Father to give instruction to Jesus.

:15 the harvest of the earth is ripe

ripe – xeraino – to become dry, be withered; of plants; of the ripening of crops

This is describing a wheat harvest. You don’t harvest wheat when it’s green, but when it’s dried out and brown.

:16 So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.

:16 thrustballo – to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls; to scatter, to throw, cast into; to put into, insert

:16 reapedtherizo – to reap, harvest

:16 the earth was reaped

Some have taken these verses to say that this is the rapture of the church, and it shows that the church won’t be raptured until the middle of the Tribulation period.

I’m not so sure that it is talking about the rapture.  I think when we look at some other passages, this is actually a picture of judgment

Sometimes we think of evangelism in terms of a “harvest” – planting, growing, and reaping.

(Jn 4:35 NKJV) Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!
In the church we talk about sharing the gospel with people as “planting seeds”.
When a person comes to Christ, we call that “reaping”.
Each summer we look forward to our annual Harvest Crusade at Angel Stadium.

A “harvest” can be a type of judgment.

It’s the end of the growing season.
The reaping is when you find out just what has been growing, whether good or bad.

Jesus taught a parable about this.

Jesus’ story is about a farmer, wheat, and something called “tares”.
Tares are weeds that look just like wheat, at least until the time of harvest.  During the harvest time, the ears of real wheat turn brown, while tares turn black.

Tares are also called “darnel”, or “Lolium temulentum”

(Mt 13:24–30 NKJV)24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who 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 grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 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?’ 28 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?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 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.” ’ ”

Jesus later went on to explain the parable.

(Mt 13:36–43 NKJV) —36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 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, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
I think Jesus is describing the event that we’re seeing in Revelation.
Our harvest in Revelation is the harvest at “the end of the age” (Mat. 13:39)
The judgment will be against the false believers that have entered the church.

The church has always had a mixture of true believers and false believers.

Jesus sows good seeds, true believers.
The devil plants tares in the church, false believers.
How do we separate the true believers and the false believers in the church?
You can’t always do that.

Sometimes it’s pretty clear.  Sometimes it is pretty obvious that someone is not really a believer.

Jesus warned the church about false prophets and said that we’d know them by their fruits.

When people are teaching false doctrines, we ought to point them out.

But sometimes you can’t really tell.

Is a person’s carnal life due to them being a backslidden believer, or could it be that they’ve never really been born again?

If we try to separate the wheat from the tares, we can end up destroying the wheat in the process.


Let Him judge

There will be a day when the harvest comes.
You don’t have to be the one to make sure every person at church is a true believer.
Jesus will take care of it.


Are you for real?

On the other hand, there is a warning for any of us here who are just “playing” at church.
You may see church as a place where people learn how to better their lives.

That does happen at church, but that’s not what it’s all about.

Church is first of all a place where people actually come into contact with God Himself.

Knowing God starts with a realization that I need Him.  I am a sinner.

Knowing God involves realizing that Jesus didn’t just come to leave us with nice sayings, He came to die on a cross and pay for our sins, and rose again to prove that your sins have been paid for.

Knowing God involves opening your heart to God and allowing Him into your life.

People have strange ideas about what will send you to hell.

PlayCell Phones in Church

The truth is, not knowing God is what will send you to hell.

Opening your heart to God and asking Jesus to forgive you will get you into heaven.


1John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life

14:17-20 The Grape Harvest

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

:17 templenaos – temple (like vs. 15)

:17 sharp sickle – same words as in verse 14

Jesus is not the only one with a sharp sickle.  This angel is equipped with a knife used to harvest grapes.

:18 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.”

:18 altarthusiasterion – the altar for slaying and burning of victims used of; altar of burnt offerings; altar of incense

:18 powerexousia – power of choice; authority

:18 criedphoneo – to sound, emit a sound, to speak; to call

:18 crykrauge – a crying, outcry, clamour

:18 Thrustpempo – to send; to send (thrust or insert) a thing into another

:18 gathertrugao – to gather in ripe fruits; to gather the harvest or vintage

:18 clustersbotrus – a bunch or cluster of grapes

:18 grapesstaphule – grapes, bunch of grapes

:18 another angel came out from the altar

Just as Jesus was instructed by an angel to begin His harvest, this angel is instructed to begin his harvest.

:18 fully ripeakmazo – to flourish, come to maturity

This is a different word than the word used in the previous harvest.

Grapes aren’t harvested when they’re dried (like wheat), but when they’re at their juiciest, when they’re bursting full of juice.

:19 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.

:19 thrustballo – to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls; to scatter, to throw, cast into; to put into, insert

:19 gatheredtrugao – to gather in ripe fruits; to gather the harvest or vintage

:19 vineampelos – a vine

:19 threwballo – to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls; to scatter, to throw, cast into; to put into, insert

:19 winepresslenos – a receptacle or area dug into the ground where grapes are trodden.

There is an ancient winepress near the Garden Tomb just outside Jerusalem.

:19 wraththumos – passion, angry, heat, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again; glow, ardor, the wine of passion, inflaming wine (which either drives the drinker mad or kills him with its strength)

:19 winepress of the wrath of God

This is where we get the phrase “the grapes of wrath”.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

In 1861, Julia Ward Howe wrote a poem after having visited Abraham Lincoln at the White House and having visited a Union Army camp on the Potomac River near Washington D.C.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;

Her words spoke about God’s judgment during the Civil War.

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

The Grapes of Wrath

In 1939, John Steinbeck wrote the famous novel, “The Grapes of Wrath”.  Henry Fonda starred in the 1940 movie based on the book.
The title of the novel was based on the line in the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
The novel was intended to bring anger and judgment against those greedy men who were responsible for the Great Depression.

:20 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.

:20 trampledpateo – to tread; to trample, crush with the feet

:20 winepresslenos – a tub or trough shaped receptacle, vat, in which grapes are trodden; the lower vat, dug in the ground, into which the must or new wine flowed from the press

:20 trampled outside the city

This winepress is outside of the city of Jerusalem.

Play Grape Treading clip.  Treading grapes in Portugal.

:20 bridleschalinos – a bridle

:20 furlongsstadion – a space or distance of about 600 feet (185 m); a race course; place in which contests in running were held, the one who outstripped the rest and reached the goal first, receiving the prize. Courses of this description were found in most of the larger Greek cities, and were like that at Olympia, 600 Greek feet in length

:20 up to the horses’ bridles

Instead of treading grapes that are only ankle deep or knee deep, this winepress is up to the horses’ bridles, perhaps four feet deep.

These are not grapes being tread, but men.

:20 one thousand six hundred furlongs

A furlong is the length of an ancient race course, about 600 feet.

1600 furlongs = 182 miles

Israel is 260 miles long from Dan to Eilat. 

From Dan to Beersheba is it 145 miles. 
From Beersheba to Damascus is about 180 miles.
The length of the Jordan Valley, from the northern part of the Sea of Galilee to the spot south of the Dead Sea that comes back up to Sea Level is about 165 miles. Play Jordan Valley Map Clip.
The Dead Sea is the lowest place on the planet, about 1500 feet below sea level.
The Sea of Galilee is 600 feet below sea level.
The Jordan River valley is an example of a 160 mile long “wine press”.

:20 trampled outside the city

The prophet Joel used this same imagery to talk about the coming battle of Armageddon:

(Joe 3:13 NKJV) 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.”


I can count on Him

We will see this winepress imagery again when we get to Revelation 19, and we see Jesus returning with a robe dipped in blood.
(Re 19:15 NKJV) …He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Isaiah foresaw this event, and says that the Messiah will come to Jerusalem from Edom, across the Jordan River.
Remember that when the antichrist reveals his true evil self, the Jewish believers will flee from Jerusalem and head across the Jordan River to places like Petra and Bozrah.  The antichrist will try to pursue the Jews, but will be unable to reach them.
It’s to these Jewish believers that Jesus comes to rescue when He comes back.
(Is 63:1–6 NKJV)1 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.” 2 Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? 3 “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. 4 For the day of vengeance is in My heart, And the year of My redeemed has come. 5 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. 6 I have trodden down the peoples in My anger, Made them drunk in My fury, And brought down their strength to the earth.”

His people will be persecuted and forsaken with no one to help them.

So He will return and save them.

It’s the same for us.
There is none to help us.  There is no one else who is going to save us from hell.

He will come through.

(Ac 4:12 NKJV) Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

He will save us.