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End of the World - The Final Harvest

The end of the world will be marked by a harvest and a separation of the saved and the lost. This is part 6 of a study on Revelation 14 - go back to part 5.

"And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle." (Rev 14:14)

"Clouds" have been identified with angels. In this case, they are escorting Jesus on His return to earth at the end of the world (Second Coming):

"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." (Rev 1:7)

The term "Son of man" is used showing that, although He has a glorified body and is the Son of God, He will still be recognized as a part of the human race. A sickle, of course, is a symbol of harvesting.

"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." (Rev 14:15)

This "another angel" would be the fourth in the chapter. A harvest implies a ripe crop. It will be ripe in the sense that characters are fully developed.

"But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come." (Mark 4:29)

The lost, more and more as we appraoach the end of the world, will have no regard for the things of God and will have past the point of no return; they will be beyond repentance.

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (2 Tim 3:2-5)
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." (2 Tim 3:13)
"And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds." (Rev 16:11)

The saved will have come to the point that they would willingly lose their lives rather that dishonor God:

"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Rev 12:11)

They will have the fruits of the spirit developed and showing in their lives:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Gal 5:22-23)

The fruit is either good fruit or rotten fruit.

"And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped." (Rev 14:16)

The final harvest at the much-anticipated end of the world finally happens:

"And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matt 24:31)

It is also described this way:

"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1 Thess 4:17)

The next verse suggests a second stage of the harvest:

"And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle." (Rev 14:17)

This "another angel" in verse 17 would be the fifth angel in the chapter. It seems he is coming with his sickle after the reaping of verse 15.

"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." (Rev 14:18)

This "another angel" is the sixth in the chapter and he simply gives the command to the angel of verse 17 to perform his harvesting work. Grapes, of course, go into a winepress as indicated by the following verses.

"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)

It is interesting to compare the harvests of Revelation chapter 14 with the following verse where the harvest order is first the tares and second the wheat.

"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." (Matt 13:30)
Harvest Order
Matthew 13
Revelation 14
First harvest tares (weeds) Jesus harvests (saved)
Second harvest wheat angel harvests "grapes"

In Matthew 13:39, where Jesus is explaining the parable, the reapers are clearly said to be the angels. When the parable was first related both servants and reapers where mentioned. We can see that the reapers are the angels so the servants can be seen as the human servants - we who are sometimes too willing to label a person as among the wicked before the fruit is ripe. At the final harvest at the end of the world character will be fully-developed and readily apparent.

"Winepress of the wrath of God" The wrath of God has been examined in other pages on this site.

"Blood ... unto the horses bridles" This is an expression that people readily associate with the end of the world and tend to think it sounds frightening. However, it is only a figure of speech. Figure it out - the volume of blood in a person is about 5 quarts. Imagine people crowded together (standing room only) and each occupying an area of 2 square feet. If all the blood in a person drained onto that 2 square feet, it would only give a depth of one inch. Will there even be literal horses involved? While there will be much suffering and even bloodshed involved we should not let figures of speech occupy our imagination in a negative way. However, there will be much bloodshed and loss of life at the end of the world.

What a person should get from this chapter is that their eternal fate is determined before the end of the world (or before death). It is determined by individual choices over a lifetime that have influenced character. The most important of those choices are those regarding how people understand and evaluate the character of God. As we approach the end of the world, have you learned to properly fear God? For more on Revelation, go to chapter 15.  

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