01 August 2021

Final Grain Harvest


Two different “harvests” will occur at the end of the age – the reaping of the “grain” and the ingathering of the “fruit of the vine.” 

Wheat ripened - Photo by Paz Arando on Unsplash
In chapter 14,
Revelation contrasts the men who follow the “Lamb” with those who render homage to the “beast,” the “inhabitants of the earth.” And two different fates await each that are presented as two different harvests: the “grain” harvest and the ingathering of the “fruit of the vine.” Both will occur at the final judgment - [Wheat harvest photo by Paz Arando on Unsplash].

In anticipation of the final “harvest,” three angels issue warnings to the “inhabitants of the earth”: The summons to heed the “everlasting gospel,” the announcement of the fall of “Babylon,” and the ominous warning 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).

SON OF MAN


Everyone who has his “Father’s name” inscribed on the forehead will be “reaped” by the “Son of Man” and gathered into his “sanctuary.” In contrast, all who “take the mark of the beast or his number” will “drink of the wine of the wrath of God.”
  • (Revelation 14:14-16) – “And I saw, and behold, a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having upon his head a crown of gold, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came forth out of the sanctuary, crying out with a loud voice to him that was sitting upon the cloud: Thrust in your sickle, and reap; because the hour to reap is come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that was sitting on the cloud thrust in his sickle upon the earth; and the earth was reaped.

And upon the cloud, one sitting like a son of man.” This links the passage to the book’s first vision when John saw Jesus pictured as the glorious “Son of Man” figure arriving on the “clouds”:
  • (Revelation 1:7-12) - “Behold, he comes with the clouds, and every eye shall see him, such also as pierced him… And I turned round to see the voice that was speaking with me, and having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lamp-stands, one like a Son of Man, clothed with a robe reaching to the feet, and girt about at the breasts with a girdle of gold” – (Daniel 7:13-14, Matthew 24:30, 26:64, Mark 13:26, Acts 1:9-11, 1 Thessalonians 4:17).

In that first vision, the “Son of Man” was arrayed in priestly garments and walking among the “seven golden lamp-stands” that represented the “seven churches of Asia.” The same figure then issued seven “letters” to the “seven churches.”

From the start, Jesus as the “Son of Man” is linked inextricably 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).

ON CLOUDS


The image of the “Son of Man” is based on the vision in Daniel when the prophet saw “one like a Son of Man” coming “on the clouds” towards the “Ancient of Days” to receive the “kingdom” for the “saints”:
  • (Daniel 7:13-14, 18) – “I continued looking in the visions of the night when behold, with the clouds of the heavens, one like a son of man was coming, and unto the Ancient of days he approached, and before him, they brought him near; and to him were given dominion and dignity and kingship, that all peoples, races and tongues unto him should do service… but the saints of the Highest shall receive the kingdom.”

Having upon his head a crown of gold.” The term “crown” translates the Greek noun stephanos, or “victor’s wreath,” and this highlights the Son’s overcoming victory achieved through his death. Previously, to the church at Smyrna, the “Son of Man” promised to give the “victor’s wreath of life” or stephanos to every member who remained “faithful unto death” – (Revelation 2:10).

Next, “another angel” cries with a “loud voice” to the “Son of Man” to reap the earth with his “sickle” for the “hour to reap is come.” The language echoes a passage from 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 provides the basis for the two “harvests” now pictured in Revelation – the reaping of the grain, and the gathering of the grapes, and sickles were not used for gathering grapes, but to reap stalks of grain.

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 God demonstrates that the “hour” does not necessarily mean destruction, though for many it may.

Stopwatch - Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash
[Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash]

When the grain “harvest” is reaped, all the “
dead who died in the Lord” are gathered into the “sanctuary of God” by the “Son of Man.” Once again, throughout this chapter, the fates of two distinct groups are presented.

The “hour to reap” is the same as the final “hour” of Judgment portrayed variously in the book 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” will mean 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 who give their allegiance to God are “reaped” and gathered by Jesus into the “sanctuary.”

In contrast, all others participate in another and quite horrific “ingathering.” Although one “everlasting gospel” has been proclaimed, it produces two very different results, depending on how one responds to it.



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