The Two Harvests

In Revelation 13 we have seen the beast; or more accurately two beasts. Firstly we are shown the beast from the sea. He is a gentile ruler that will control most of the world during the latter part of the tribulation. We then sea the beast from the Earth, the false prophet or anti-Christ that will trick the Jews during the former part of the tribulation and then lead the World in beast worship during the latter part. Chapter 13 shows the formidable power they will have and the question is asked: "who is able to make war with him (the beast)[1]"

Revelation 14 commences by answering that question: it shows the lamb. Perhaps that is not the picture we would expect to see in answer to the power of the world: but it is the one the Spirit provides us. Much as in Rev 5 the 'Lion of the Tribe of Judah' transpires to be a lamb; then the answer to the beast is a lamb.

Interestingly it is only in reference to believers[2] that the term Lord is used. Whilst he will one day be Lord of all; Revelation 14 commences at a time when the powers of darkness appear at their zenith. Very few will be referring to Jesus Christ as the Lord.

What we do see increasingly as Revelation continues is the role of angels in world events. Whilst it is probable that God works in providence through angelic beings today they are largely invisible. Even as the trumpets were blown the view of them is strictly from heaven; the earth dwellers will just have seen so-called random events occurring. It is not clear whether the woes announced[3] are actually audible to the earth or simply about the earth.

However as Revelation 14 unfolds we find three angels actively engaging with the Earth dwellers. The first is preaching the everlasting gospel, the second announcing the fall of the world church and the third denouncing the followers of the beast.

In the latter half of the chapter we see a harvest; or more accurately two harvests[4], we find angels involved in each.

The first harvest is the harvest of the earth[5]. Here we see the Lord with the sickle; we hear the harvest is dried and we see an angel signaling that the harvest is to commence. At first sight it is strange that an angel appears to be commanding the Lord to do something. The key is to note the angle comes from the temple (cf v17). This is the midpoint of the tribulation; the abomination of desolation has been set up in the temple in Jerusalem. After this sacrilege it is time to pull the believers out; this is signaled in verse 13 and enacted in verses 14-16. It is ironic that the persecution of believers that the world will see as victory is actually seen from heaven as the Lord bring in his own.

The second harvest is from verse 17 to the end. This time it is an angel with the sickle and another, the one with command over fire, that is ordering the attack. It is significant that this time it is grapes that are being harvested. You do not harvest grapes with a sickle; it would destroy the vine. I suggest that is the intent.

Note too that the grapes are fully ripe, or juicy. The believers were dried and shriveled: the non-believers full of juice. The believers were being gathered to the Lord: the non-believers to destruction.

Some have a problem with these verses in that it clearly shows that angels are gathering the grapes (people) to the winepress yet we know from elsewhere[6] that the Lord will tread the winepress alone. This leads to the suggestion that the angel of verse 17 must be the Lord. However a careful reading of these verses show that is not the case. It does not say the angel of verse 17 treads the grapes; it says he brings them to the winepress. Rev 14 does not say whom it is that causes the wine to come from the press; simply that it comes in volume.

Thus we see the answer to whom will make war with the beast: and how. Even the actions that the beast takes that he believes are victory are actually divinely inspired 'air-lifting' of believers out of what will be a bloodbath. As we go through our own lives we will see many things that may make us question whether or not the Lord is in control. The lesson of this chapter is that he is; it is simply that we may not see the victory from where we are standing.

1 Pe 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

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