Questions about specific scriptures

ID #1023

Can you comment on Rev. 14:14-20. Who is being harvested in verse 16?

I have had this question come up a couple of times.  the passage in question is:

Rev 14:14 (NIV) I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one "like a son of man" with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, "Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." 16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. 17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because its grapes are ripe." 19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. 20 They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.  (emphasis added)

This passage in Revelation is a reflection of the prophet Joel where he said...

Joel 3:13 (NIV) Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow-- so great is their wickedness!´ 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near
in the valley of decision (emphasis added).

In both places there is a mention of a harvest followed by the trampling of the grapes in the winepress which clearly refers to God's judgment.  Both passages also allude to the battle of Armageddon - in Revelation it mentions the blood flowing up to the horses bridles and in Joel it speaks of the Day of the Lord in the valley of decision.  In Revelation, this passage is followed by the seven last bowls of God's judgment which culminate in the battle of Armageddon.  Therefore, I see this "harvest" as a harvest of wrath leading up to judgment when God's enemies will be defeated at Armageddon.

Posttributlationists have tried to infer that the first angel's harvest in Rev 14:16 is the rapture.  However, in this passage there is no indication of any positive aspect of this harvest.  On the contrary, because of the parallel in Joel, I find that these angels are participating in the same harvest and it is a harvest of the judgment of God for their wickedness.

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Last update: 2008-11-25 17:33
Author: Elbert Charpie
Revision: 1.0

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