01 August 2021

Final Grain Harvest


Two different harvests occur at the end of the age – The reaping of the grain and the ingathering of the fruit of the vine

Revelation contrasts two distinct groups: Those who follow the “Lamb,” and the men who render homage to the “Beast,” the “inhabitants of the earth.” Two different fates await each group presented here as two harvests: the “grain” harvest, and the “fruit of the vine.” Both occur at the final judgment.

In anticipation, three angels issue warnings to the “inhabitants of the earth”: The summons to heed the “everlasting gospel,” the announcement of Babylon's fall, and the dire announcement that everyone who takes the “mark of the Beast” will “drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared, unmixed” – (Revelation 14:6-10).

Anyone who follows the “Lamb” and has his “Father’s name” inscribed on his forehead will be “reaped” by the “Son of Man” and gathered to his “sanctuary.” In contrast, everyone who “take the mark of the Beast, or his number,” will “drink of the wine of the wrath of God” – (Revelation 14:14-16).

THE SON OF MAN


John saw upon a cloud “one sitting like a son of man.” This provides a link to his first vision in which he saw Jesus as this same glorious figure arriving on the “clouds” - (Revelation 1:7-12, Daniel 7:13-14, Matthew 24:30, 26:64, Mark 13:26, Acts 1:9-11, 1 Thessalonians 4:17).

In the book’s first vision, the “Son of Man” is arrayed in priestly garments and walking among the “seven golden lampstands” which represent the “seven churches.” He issues seven “letters” to the “churches.”

From the start, Jesus as the “Son of Man” is linked to the churches. And in the book’s prologue and epilogue, his appearance “with the clouds” is connected to his arrival in glory at the end of the age - (Revelation 1:7, 22:12, 20).

The image of the “Son of Man” is derived from the vision of Daniel in which he saw “one like a Son of Man” coming “on the clouds” to receive his dominion from the “Ancient of Days” - (Daniel 7:13-14, 18).

And on his head, he has “a crown of gold.” The Greek term rendered “crown” is the noun stephanos, meaning a “victor’s wreath.” This points to the Son of Man’s overcoming victory that he achieved through his death. And to the church at Smyrna, this same “Son of Man” promises to give the “victor’s wreath of life” or stephanos to every believer who remains “faithful unto death” – (Revelation 2:10).

Next, “another angel” cries with a “loud voice” to this “Son of Man” to reap the earth with his “sickle” since the “hour to reap is come.” The language echoes a passage in the book of Joel:

  • (Joel 3:12-14) – “Let the nations bestir themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there will I sit to judge all the nations round about. PUT IN THE SICKLE; FOR THE HARVEST IS RIPE: come, tread ye; for the wine-press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! for the day of Yahweh is near in the valley of decision.

The passage in Joel also provides the basis for the two “harvests” pictured in the present passage – the reaping of the grain, and the gathering of the grapes. Sickles are not used to gather grapes, but instead, to reap stalks of grain.

FINAL HOUR


The “hour to reap” is the “hour of his judging” announced by the angel with the “everlasting gospel” - (Because the HOUR OF HIS JUDGING IS COME; therefore, render homage to him that made heaven and the earth”). That men are called to honor to God demonstrates this “hour” does not necessarily mean their destruction.

When the grain “harvest” is reaped, all the “dead who died in the Lord” and received “rest from their labors” are gathered into the “sanctuary of God” by the “Son of Man.”

Once again, the fates of two distinct groups are presented - the overcoming “saints,” and the “inhabitants of the earth.”

The “hour to reap” is the same as the final “hour” of judgment portrayed variously as the “hour of trial,” the hour when Jesus “comes,” the “hour” when Babylon falls, and the time of judgment when God rewards the “saints,” but also, “destroys them that destroy the earth.”

Thus, the final “hour” means vindication for some, but destruction for others (Revelation 3:3, 3:10, 11:13-19, 18:10,18:19).

The “everlasting gospel” has been announced. Men must either render homage to God or to the “Beast.”

All men who give their allegiance to God are “reaped” and gathered by Jesus in the grain harvest. In contrast, the others participate in the horrific “ingathering” of the fruit of the vine.

One “everlasting gospel” has been proclaimed, but it produces two very different results, depending on how one responds to it and the “Lamb.”


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