Zechariah 5:1-11; Revelation 14:13-20; Psalms 142:4-7; Proverbs 30:1-4
NT: “Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and one like the Son of Man was seated on the cloud, with a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Another angel came out of the temple, crying out in a loud voice to the one who was seated on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap, for the time to reap has come, since the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So the one seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. Then another angel who also had a sharp sickle came out of the temple in heaven. Yet another angel, who had authority over fire, came from the altar, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the vineyard of the earth, because its grapes have ripened.” So the angel swung his sickle at the earth and gathered the grapes from the vineyard of the earth, and he threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. Then the press was trampled outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press up to the horses’ bridles for about 180 miles.” (Revelation 14:14-20 CSB)
In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus told a parable that described what would happen at the end of days. A landowner sowed good seed in his field, but then an enemy came and sowed bad seed along with the good seed. When the plants sprouted, there were weeds growing up amongst the wheat. When his workers asked how to remedy the situation, the landowner said to let the wheat and the weeds grow together until harvest time. Then at harvest, the wheat would be spared and collected, and the weeds would be reaped and burned. That scene described by Jesus in His parable is exactly what John saw played out before him in Revelation 14:14-20.
At this point in the tribulation, the church of Christ had already been caught up and the redeemed of the earth had been gathered in the “barns” of heaven. The time to reap the weeds had come. In John’s vision, he saw two reapings: the reaping of the earth, and then the reaping of the grapes of wrath. Many Biblical scholars see both reapings as a high-level summary of the wrath that will be described later in detail. The reaping of the earth is representative of the seven bowls of wrath and the final collapse of Babylon the great. The reaping and crushing of the grapes is representative of the slaughter that will occur at the battle of Armageddon.
In interesting fact about this passage of scripture. The announcement from heaven was that the harvest of the earth was ripe, and that the grapes from the vineyard of the earth had ripened. Though the word in English is the same word (ripe), there are two different words used in Greek. The word used in reference to the harvest of the earth was xeraino, which means dried up and whithered – or over-ripe and useless. The word used to describe the grapes was akmazo, which means fully ripe. The harvest of the earth is the resources of the earth. The grapes are the culmination of all of mankind’s iniquity and evil. God, because He desires everyone to hear the gospel and have the opportunity to be saved, has delayed the outpouring of His wrath. When that final reaping comes, it will come when all that is good has been saved from the earth, and all that is left is a wasted planet full of spiritually dead and withered people who gave their life to the beast instead of to Christ. God will stay the reapers sickle until mankind’s sin and evil has fully ripened and God can not justify waiting any longer. Then, the vengeance of our God and the final destruction of evil will begin. What a testimony to the love and mercy of God that He has kept the reapers from their job for so long, but we mustn’t see His mercy as Him being ok with our sin… and we shouldn’t see His patience and long suffering as something that will last forever. The final reaping will come.
Prayer: Lord I thank You for You patience and longsuffering. I thank You for Your love and mercy. I thank You that I had the opportunity to hear the gospel, respond in faith, and be saved from the wrath to come. Help me to not see the final reaping as something that will never come but as something that will surely come. And with that knowledge, compel me with Your love to make Your gospel known to as many as will hear. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.