Revelation part 28 March 10th 2013 Revelation chapter 14 verses 14-20. After a brief pause to encourage the faithfulness of the saints in verses 1-13 John returns to the theme of divine judgment on the world. He does this by first describing the judgment in terms of a harvest which is found in verses 14-20… And then by what is called the 7 bowl plagues found in chapters 15-16. In verse 14 John says…Then I looked and behold, a white cloud. Throughout the Bible clouds there are mentioned many times as they are very significant. The first mention or appearance of a cloud in the Bible is in Gen. 9. This is where God used the rainbow in a cloud as a sign of His covenant with the earth to never destroy it again with a flood. In Exodus 19:16… When the law was given to Moses a cloud covered the mountain. In Exodus 40:34…When the tabernacle was completed it was covered by a cloud. In Numbers 9:17…When God led the Israelites He used a cloud in the daytime and a fire at night. 1rst Kings 8:10…When the temple was dedicated, a cloud filled the Holy of Holies. In Isaiah 42:22…A cloud is used to picture the blotting out of the sins of Israel. In Daniel 7:13 Jesus is pictured as coming on the clouds. In Matthew 17:5 God’s voice came out of a cloud admonishing the disciples to hear the Son. In Luke 21:27 Jesus promised to come with the clouds in power and great glory. In Acts 1:9 Jesus was taken up and a cloud received Him. 1rst Thess. 4:17 says…For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. Verse 18 says…Then we who alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Just a note here the words caught up together with them is the chief Biblical source of the doctrine of the rapture. The word rapture is not in Scripture it was formed from a word in the Latin translation of the Bible simul rapiemur cum illis. But a cloud is also a mark of identification… 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. Here in Rev. 14:14 John sees a white cloud and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man. White represents purity… A cloud represents the glory of God… The words Son of Man refers to the humanity of Jesus. The words…Sitting on a cloud speaks of majesty and Kingship. All these are here to show us…The One John sees sitting on the cloud is Jesus Christ, the Messiah. John says Jesus had on His head a golden crown… A golden crown is further confirmation that this is the Lord Jesus Christ. The golden crown is the victors crown… As ruler of the earth Jesus wears a crown made of gold coming as a triumphant conqueror out of heaven to prevail over His enemies. John also says in Jesus’ hands there was a sharp sickle. A sickle is a harvesting tool with a razor sharp, curved steel or iron blade and a wooden handle commonly used by ancient farmers to cut grain. Where the golden crown represents the kingship of Jesus the sharp sickle represents swift and devastating judgment. Verse 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. The words…Send forth Your sickle and reap refers to the final judgment and punishment of people on the earth who rejected the grace and offer of salvation. The sickle is used to separate the plant from the ground… At that point the cut plant can either be harvested or thrown into the fire. At this point the 144,000 witnesses will be called to heaven, the angels as we saw last week will have preached the gospel and now time for salvation has run out. The word harvest is a typical O.T. figure used for divine judgment. There is some confusion in the church world when it comes to harvesting and sowing. Believers are not called to be harvesters… Believers are called to be sowers of the Word of God. Mt. 13:3 says behold a sower went to sow. That verse is a picture of our responsibility as a believer. We are not to be in the harvesting business… Our business is to sow the seed, Jesus is going to have or reap the harvest and the harvest is the judgment. It is then the Holy Spirit’s job from that point on to take care of the results. And it is Jesus’ place to do the harvesting. Here the word harvest is not a reference to salvation but to judgment. Harvest of the earth is speaking about all the ungodly people of the world and how they will be gathered up and judged. Verse 16…So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth and the earth was reaped. This is speaking of Jesus who will orchestrate this momentous event. Verse 17…Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. The temple refers to the dwelling place of God not the temple in Jerusalem that we have read about. Here in this verse it speaks of another angel… The angel with a sickle represents the role the angels will play in the harvest of the earth. Mt. 13:41-43 says…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… And will cast them into the furnace of fire there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth, then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The words sharp sickle indicates once again judgment. Verse 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. Where verses 14 to 16 picture Jesus’ judgment as a grain harvest… Verses 17 to 20 symbolize the wrath of God as a grape harvest with the treading of the grape clusters in a huge winepress. This angel came out from the altar and had power over fire. This angel is associated with fire on the altar which represents the prayers of the saints that we read about in chapter 6. Fire refers to the constantly burning fire on the brass altar of Jerusalem’s temple. Twice daily the priest would burn incense with that fire and offer the burning incense in the Holy Place as a symbol of the people’s prayers. What all that means is this angel is coming from the heavenly altar to ensure that all the prayers of the saints for judgment and the coming of the kingdom are answered. The angel calls for judgment to start by saying with a loud cry thrust in your sickle. It is like a car race where the announcer says start your engines… Again the sickle speaks of the start of judgment. The clusters of the vine of the earth represent the unbelievers of the earth or to those who have followed and worshiped the beast. The words for her grapes are fully ripe mean they are at their prime or worthy of judgment. Meaning the time for judgment is here . Verse 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. A winepress was a trough in which workers trampled grapes with their bare feet causing juice to come from the grape and flow down into a vat. The great winepress of the wrath of God pictures the violence and intensity of God’s coming judgment on the earth. It is vivid imagery signifying a horrible slaughter or bloodbath. Here it refers to the slaughter of all the enemies of God. The bloody imagery comes from the fresh juice of stomped grapes splattering and running down a trough from the upper vat to the lower vat of a winepress. The picture here is of a ripe grape that gets mashed and the juice flies in every direction and gets all over everything… This is a picture of what will happen one day to all who rejected Jesus Christ like a grape that is mashed in a vat… People will fall into the vat of God’s judgment. This is a picture of Armageddon. Verse 20…And the winepress was trampled outside the city. The words outside the city need to be understood… In the Bible the city always refers to Jerusalem. It is very fitting that the grapes are pressed or trampled outside the city… Because it was outside the city Jesus was pressed to the cross and shed His blood in order for mankind to not have to go through this judgment. Verse 20 says…And blood came out of the winepress up to the horses’ bridles. The distance from the ground to a horses’ bridle is about 4 feet. This is speaking of the severity and the amount of blood because of the slaughter at that time of human beings. 1600 furlongs is approximately 184 miles or the full length of Palestine. Meaning blood will flow like a river for miles. Hebrews 2:3 asks a question…How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? And then question from many would be escape what? The answer would be judgment. The way of escape is through accepting Jesus Christ. When Jesus came to this earth the first time He shed His blood for all mankind. Sad thing is some people reject it… But there will come a day for all that reject His blood it will be their blood that will be shed. The book of Revelation is a book about decision. People must choose their eternity. They must choose either life in heaven or eternity in hell. They must choose between bathing in the blood of Jesus… Or drowning in the blood of judgment. Today God is speaking to the world in grace and people do not seem to care or listen. One day God will speak in wrath and everyone who rejected grace will be judged. Joshua 24:15 says…choose this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. A decision today can determine the outcome of tomorrow.