What does Revelation 14:14-20 mean to us now?

 

The forces of evil seem invincible and overwhelming, but the call is to see Christ and take our courage and comfort in Him and not in the situation. We do this by being blameless and trusting God, even when all those around us are not doing so, or things seem unchangeable. We have to see that God does indeed care for His own—and that means you and me. This passage is a hope for us, as it was used to point John’s people to their future hope and the assurance that their faith is meaningful and important; so is ours (2 Kings 6:15-17)! 

God patiently offers His love and grace, yet the wicked sow their seeds of sin. Since God is patient, these sin-seeds grow and grow and eventfully have to be harvested. Thus, this passage is about reaping what we have sown. We can reap His love, goodness, and reward, or His Judgment and chastisement—all from what we want and desire, what we take in, and what we avoid. Take in sin or grace; avoid sin or Him. Some are His while others are condemned and desire no part in His salvation and love. As the sickle is swung, which way will the people you encountered in life be tossed? Heaven? Or, to judgment and hell (John 15)? 

Cunning in sin or coming to Him? The questions we need to ask ourselves are these: Are the riches and desires of Satan and evil ours too? Do we seek what we should not have or what is bad for us and others and think it does not matter? Do we worship what we want and not Christ? Do we seek our ways as godlike and ignore His God like ways that He has for us? What about when He has called us to produce Love and Fruit which He wants to reap? The bottom line is this; there is nothing in the world, not all of its gold or all the treasures of kings and captains of industry that can ever light a candle to what we already have in Christ! If we seek what is foul and not of Him and His Fruit, we only delude and rob ourselves of the far greater treasure we already have or could have when we are Christians. Wealth, fortune, or successes are not bad of themselves; it is how we perceive them, what we do with them. Are they gods to us, or the tools and means to glorify Christ? 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. If you were making a movie of the “Last Days,” what would it look like from what you have learned so far from Revelation?
  1. How has the book of The Revelation and this passage been so much more than just about judgment? What are you reaping with your faith now, and what will you have sown from it?
  1. How is this passage a great hope for the faithful who bear Him good fruit, and a great fear to the godless who bear rotten fruit? How will this motivate you and your church to be better as “vines” in Christ?
  1. When the forces of evil seem invincible and overwhelming to you, what can you and your church do to see Christ and take your courage and comfort in Him and not in the situation? What can be done to wake up an “apostate” Church who ignores truth and that chases trends and personalities and not real, effectual, biblical truth?

 © 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

The Four Main Views of Revelation 14:14-20

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as not referring to the Second Coming, because Christ is seated on His throne, but rather the fall of Jerusalem, as the vine of Jerusalem is cut and judged because they despised God and persecuted the faithful (Matt. 23). The imagery of the harvests is seen as describing the events of the destruction of Jerusalem, the conflict of the evil powers, and the apostasy of Jerusalem with the faith of the early Christians. The sickle is about how the righteous escaped by their salvation in Christ and by heeding the warnings of John to leave the city. The Church received a blessing from God because of its faith and obedience. And, the grape means the wicked were judged and then perished for their evil deeds. The symbol, 1,600 stadia, represents  great carnage as the Romans and their horses trampled their victims in Jerusalem, just as Josephus recorded. 

The Futurist view: They see this as the horrific, ultimate judgment of the wicked while Christ gathers His saints to safety. The Son of Man is seen as Christ Himself and His Second Coming, of His judging the wicked. They see no problem with the angel giving commands to Christ, as it is a message of the Father to the Son. The sickle represents God’s love and the gathering of the faithful as they are separated from the unfaithful. Some see this happening after the rapture and these as the Christians who are saved post-rapture (a pre-tribulation view), while others hold a view that the rapture takes place (post-tribulation view) when Christ comes—after the tribulation. Some see this as the battle of Armageddon and these as literal images of that battle. In addition, there are lengthily views of this battle and what it means; very speculative, but not essential doctrine. A problem with this view is this: according to the Bible, the battle of Armageddon never takes place; it is only prepared for, “gathered” (Rev. 16:16). Thus, to get this theory that the battle took place and many of the theories in this camp, you have to take a whole bunch of passages out of their context, string them together, and ignore the actual meanings of the words. You would have to create your own word meanings, ignore Jewish culture, and completely disregard the Old Testament, Matthew 24, and the original languages in order to create this view. This is very minor stuff theologically; I am not sure how Christ would feel about that, do you? Perhaps, a look into 2 Peter should cause us to tremble if we dare seek to twist and/or read in our ideas to His Word. Always be careful not to read into the Bible what you want it to say; rather, seek what The Word actually says, even if it goes against your personal thinking! 

The Idealist view: They see this as the final judgment held at Christ’s Second Coming where the Church is raptured and the wicked are judged. Most do not see this as Christ Himself, but as Him directing the events according to His will; others in this camp say this is Jesus. All of the key words in this passage are metaphors depicting Judgment of the wicked and the protection of the faithful. 

The Historicist view: They see, in this passage, further images of what has already been stated. This is the consummation of all of humanity and life with a harvest of the wicked and the saved, and then the end of the world as we know it. The Church triumphs and its enemies are overthrown and judged. The sickle is an image of redemption and righteousness as Christ the Redeemer gathers His elect. The grapes are seen as representing the wicked and their resulting judgment. Most see 1,600 stadia as representing the universality of judgment, while others see this as hyperbole for the extent of this calamity.

Exegetical look into Revelation 14:14-20

 

  • White cloud. The quintessential, metaphoric image of Heaven and the Second Coming of Christ.
  • Like a son of man. May just mean an angel who looked like a man, or was acting as an agent of Christ. It could mean Christ standing in the midst of His Church. However, this theme normally refers to Christ’s supremacy and role as Lord, Ruler, and Love for the believer (Dan. 7:9-13; 10:5-6; Ezek. 1:25-28; Mark 8:31; Col. 1:16-17). It is an apparent description of Christ’s Second Coming when He comes back and rules over the harvest of the souls of humanity (those who are bought by Him, who received His grace by faith versus those who reject Him). However, this may not be Christ Himself because of the problem of the angel giving commands to Christ. It is more likely this is an angel or representative of Christ. Some see this as a message of the Father to the Son (Joel 3:12-16; Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 13:36-43; Mark 8:31; John 5:22-27; Rev. 1:13; 4:7).
  • Crown of gold means a great victory (Rev. 2:10).
  • Another angel may not mean that there are literal angels engaged in this, although it certainly could be; rather, this can be a metaphor for God directing the elements and behavior of nature for His means (Psalm 148:1-12; Zech. 6:5).
  • Sickle is a harvesting tool used for cutting grain. This is also the symbol used as the image of the “grim reapers” of death. It was a curved wood shaft with a stone flint blade or iron in contrast to the much smaller grape knife.
  • Sharp sickle (Grain) …grapes…winepress of God’s wrath. This is also a metaphor of judgment, the grain possibly referring to the harvest of the Righteous, and grapes to the harvest of the wicked (Jer. 51:33; Luke 3:17). This is great hope for believers but great worry for the wicked. It is clear that God will pour out His wrath to all. This is an opportunity for vengeance of the saints to gloat over our victory, yet great sadness to those who chose the ways that caused their fall and judgment. Remember, God does not just send people to hell, He places them where they want to go (Gen. 19:24; Psalm 75:8; Is. 51:17-22; 63:1-6; Jer. 25:15; 49:12; Ezek. 23:31; 38:22; Hab. 2:16; Zech. 12:2; Rev. 2:21; 7:1; 11:8-13).
  • From the earth’s vine. In context, this is an image of the harvest time, and the Feast of Tabernacles and First Fruits as well as sacrifice (Lev. 23:34-43; Num. 29:12-38; Deut. 32:33,33 Is. 34:1-8; Psalm 81:1-3; Matt. 13:24-51; 24:20; 30-31, 40-42; Mark 24:36;13:28-37; John 1:14; 14:1; Rev 14:4). 
  • Harvest of the earth…Fire represents the coming judgment and the return of Christ. This was also a symbol of judgment against Babylon and all those who oppressed the Jews. In Israel, the wheat is harvested in the spring, and is represented by the image of the sickle; grapes come in the late summer or fall. The contrast is that Christ is the true vine and the wicked are ripe for judgment (Jer. 51:33; Psalm 80:8; Matt. 13:30, 40-42; 18:8; 21: 19-20; 24:20, 31-34; Mark 3:1; Luke 9:54; John 15:6; 2 Thess. 1:7; Rev. 6:12-17; 11:15-18; 16:12).
  • Grapes are ripe… and blood flowed out of the press. Origin of the term, “grapes of wrath” refers that crushed grapes look like blood and was an ancient term for judgment and the final battle of good against evil when blood will flow (Gen. 49:11; Jer. 25:30; Joel 3:13). This is also a contrasting picture of Christ’s love poured out for us, the faithful; John calls the faithful a vine in Christ (Gen. 49:9-12; John 15:1; Rev. 16:6).
  • Outside the city. This is where the winepresses were operated because of the mess they made. Possibly, this is an image of the exclusion of the wicked from God’s mercy and protection and/or the separation of good from evil.
  • High as the horses’ bridles. A “hyperbole” metaphor for battle and war, that it will be quick and swift. It was common for Jews and other ancients to exaggerate battles for epic effect; the audience, of course, knew the reality. The apocryphal book 1 Enoch 100 gives a similar account.
  • Winepress is a trough made of rock and mortar and used to make wine; it is also a symbol for divine wrath and judgment, as Isaiah’s image of how God “tramples” His enemies. In context, this also refers to “viticulture,” the cultivation of grapes; as a metaphor, it refers to “we reap what we sow,” or, we cultivate our judgments from our attitudes and actions (Is 63:3; Lam. 1:15; Zech 14:1-4; Heb 13:12).
  • God’s wrath. In context to winepress, this refers to those being drunk and not caring about the judgment or the consequences of their actions. Also, that no one can escape God’s will—either His love or His wrath.
  • 1,600 stadia is a “square number” referring to a square of 40 times 40 a distance roughly 200 miles; it is also a metaphor for “completeness,” the land of Palestine, and/or a very large amount or great carnage.

Revelation 14:14-20

 

Introduction 

The Angels and the Harvest 

John now turns his attention to Christ Himself, the Son of Man, who was perhaps a representative of Christ, sitting on a white cloud and directing the harvest of humanity’s souls through time. He is in charge with His gold crown as He holds the sickle for the crop of souls. These souls are the “vine of the earth” and are ripe, ready to fall from their vine. They have reached their maturity and are ready for harvest. Thus, the entireties of the earth’s people are harvested. Then, the attention is turned to judgment and the souls who rejected Christ, whose hearts were moored to evil. They are gathered and thrown to the winepress of God’s wrath. The wicked are judged, and the blood of the people who have no right to vindication, who received their just reward, who were offered grace and love but refused it and Him, have met their fate. The vindication of the righteous is met; the strategy of evil that was pursued failed, and they have met and “execrated” their outcome. 

John is giving a portrayal of the “Last Days” and the “Second Coming” of Christ our Lord where Christ is the great Director, directing His representatives in the reaping and the harvesting of humanity’s souls. This passage represents the quintessence of how most people, including many Christians, see Revelation. Yes, it is; but, it is also so much more. It is not just about judgment; it is about how we are called to life too! This passage also relates to the final “swan song” of humanity, when life and earth and all that we were to do are done. The time is up; the great harvest and judgment are upon us all. We see the contrast between Babylon and Sodom, of evil iniquity versus God’s grace, love, and goodness. It is a great hope for the faithful who bear good fruit for Him and a great fear to the godless who bear rotten fruit (Gen. 19:24; Psalm 112:10; Joel 3:12-16; Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 13:36-43; 24:14; Luke 3:17; John 15:1-8; Gal. 5; Rev. 1:13).  

What have you and your church done about being representatives of Christ? What may have been pleasing to Him and what may have disappointed Him?

What does Revelation 10: 8-11 mean to us now?

 

This passage is also about how God’s Word must first transform and “affect” us before it can be used to have an “effect” on others. The Gospel must be experienced and be impacting before it can be used to make an impact upon others. As we feed on His Word, we grow from His precepts, and who we are and what we can be are significantly enhanced from His work in us; thus, our efforts to bring Him glory will in turn flourish. His Truth is the impact for whatever condition or situation we face. We must allow Christ to transform us as we digest His principles and apply them to our faith and lives so we can be used by our Lord to influence and affect others. Truth is bitter to those who do not like it and to those of us who need to be moved and challenged to make room for it in our mindsets and worldviews. Are His Word and precepts a part of you? If not, why not? For us to thrive as His children and His messengers, His Word must be a part of us—deeply and passionately! This means that to be an effectual Christian, we must walk in Christ and remain trusting and faithful with our confidence and submission to Him. If not, we are of no use to God or to others, and we become the noise of 1 Cor. 13:1, not the love of verses three and onward. 

This is convicting and will move us beyond what we think we can do and where we can go; this bitterness can either be a barrier we refuse to trespass or an obstacle we take as a challenge to go deeper and further with what Christ has for us. Look at it this way; we are called to Fruit and Love, and to operate in His call and principles with joy. When we impact others with His Gospel, it will cause some resentment in others—perhaps even persecution. When we speak out against the sins of others, they will hate us. But, we must set the example and tell His Truth in love to others even when they do not want to hear it. Our experiences and actions will give us both sweetness and bitterness from others. If we only see the bitterness, we will gain little and the sweetness will not last. If we refuse, the journey we undertake may become bitter by our own actions, whereas we could have had the sweetness of trusting and obeying Him (Psalm 119:103; Jer. 15:16; Ezek. 3:1-11; 1 Thess. 2:13). 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. How has God’s Word been both sour and sweet to you? How has the Christian life been sour and sweet to you?
  1. How have you seen God’s Word convicting and moving people beyond where they thought they could do and go? What about you?
  1. What needs to happen in your life and Christian walk for God’s ways to go deeper within you, changing you from the inside out? How would your learning and obedience be a prime source of joy?
  1. What can you do to take sin seriously and allow God’s conviction to remove what is in the way of your growth? How can you do this? Who can help keep you accountable?
  1. The Gospel must be experienced and impacting before we can be used to make it impact upon others. So, what are you going to do to allow God’s Word to first transform and affect you before you have an effect on others?

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

 

The Four Main Views of Revelation 10: 8-11

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as a reference to Ezekiel and his prophecy of the downfall of Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem (Ezek. 3:1-14). However, Jerusalem was destroyed shortly after his prediction in 586 BC by the Babylonians, so others in this camp say it is a template to the Roman invasion or that John is making a similar prophecy to Ezekiel’s. Sweet and sour is seen to mean that some things that come to us will be sweet—things such as that we are glad when God intervenes and His hand gives us hope—and other times, things will be sour, as in those who refuse Him and stay in their sins and experience suffering. The Little Book is seen as more prophecy and from this some say it is the second half of Revelation, while others see it as extra information of and dimension into the coming events already told to us. Many peoples, nations, is seen as the New Covenant of Christ being offered to all people. 

The Futurist view: They see “eat this book” as John’s allowing God’s Word to transform and affect him before he prophesies to others. God’s Word is sweet as is His promise; however, it will be bitter when God’s judgments commence. God will deal with the sins of humanity. Be warned; there will be a time when the delay is over and the judgments commence, so be warned and be prepared! This view on this passage is very insightful! 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as an introduction to the prophecy John utters in chapters 11 and 12.  The “sweet” is the sweetness of the Gospel’s proclamation and meaning while the “bitterness” is the persecution that arises from judgment. Others in this camp place the focus on John’s grasping and digesting the Word himself before he can be used to proclaim it. We experience its sweetness and its bitterness. The gospel must be qualified in us first before is can be impacting on others. This view also places the emphasis on our effectual Christian walk in Christ remaining trusting and faithful with our obedience. For a preacher, it does no good to proclaim a sermon when he is not impacted by the words he says or does not walk in what he asks of others. The woes of bitterness are from the reactions of others who hear our convicting words and instead of accepting them, they hate and persecute the faithful. The message is to go to all of humanity. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as the time period of the Reformation. The “little scroll” is the Reformation of the Bible and God’s principles to the Church from the Reformers. The “sweetness” is the message of the gospel in understandable language to those who receive it and the “bitterness” is the reception and opposition the Church gave to it.  Prophesy means to preach; prior to this, the Church only used meaningless rituals in a language unknown to the audience, making Christianity meaningless and unattainable as well as a tool of manipulation. Now, the call is to preach the Word, not as a performance, but as a means of communicating to people His Word, with understanding, for conviction and application.

 

Exegetical look into Revelation 10: 8-11

 

John is drawing from Ezekiel 2:8-3:3 (an apocryphal, apocalyptic book “4 Ezra” (an “Apocryphal” not recognized or inspired as Scripture, “Apocalyptical” referring to end of days literature, that gives us insights to this type of genre and metaphors and their usage to a 1st century Jewish understanding) where Ezekiel sees a hand extending to him and God telling him to “listen to what I say to you,” and also from what Jeremiah experienced emotionally (Jer. 15:16; Rev. 5:1). It was a warning that sin is sweet but then becomes bitter as it ferments and works its way in us, corrupting and destroying, and it upsets us as God’s judgments precede over our will, poor choices, and willful disobedience. At first sin seems good and we get away with it; then, at some point, the party is over and we have a disease and are dying. Then, there is the eternal damnation thing looming over us, and as we utterly refuse His offer of salvation, His love and grace go unnoticed and unmet.  God extends a dire warning to us to stay away from sin and seek Him. Conversely, this passage is also a call to heed God’s Word, to cling to His precepts which are sweet, and take them seriously, which can be bitter as we must allow His conviction to remove what is in His way of our growth and betterment, and point to His Worth and Glory. If not, there will be judgment from our own misdeeds accumulating and implementing their way back to us from their own harm as well as opening us up to God’s judgment (Num. 5:23-31; Prov. 5:3-4; 24:13-14; Rom. 1:18-32; Rev. 7:13-14). 

  • Take it and eat it. This refers to “grasping” as in taking food for our pleasure and nourishment. However, before we can be nourished, we have to obtain it, then eat and digest it. This applies to God’s Word as we have to get it, read it, understand it, and apply it (Psalm 119:103). 
  • Your stomach sour/bitter indicates that the contents of this scroll will also contain suffering and a message of judgment that the people will not like because when we will receive “bad news,” it will “sour” us (as in sadden us), from all of these events coming in chapter 11. This also refers to the taking in of His Word; as we do, His Word will come across our will and ideas and we will be challenged and convicted.
  • Sweet as honey refers to God’s goodness, grace, and mercy, and that through His Word, both written and Spirit-led, we have “good news” from God’s promises and our communion with Him through which we receive His instructions and the knowledge of His nature inducing His grace, mercy, and goodness (Psalm 19:10; 119:103; Ezek. 2:3).
  • Prophesy again refers to telling the people again, as Jeremiah, who kept prophesying even when his people ignored and rejected him. It refers to the sounding of the seventh trumpet in chapter 11. It also is a warning to John that his obedience may have a cost, and that he, too, will “sour” or suffer for the cause of Christ as he offers “sweetness,” or God’s forgiveness. The people he tells may reject the message as well as the messenger. People do not want or like to be convicted of their sins. They would rather choose between two sins that will destroy them rather than choose the right and good path that will bless them. They may even refuse to acknowledge another and better way. The application, as John demonstrated, is our call to heed God’s precepts and make them known to others, even though we may suffer for our obedience. However, whatever we endure, our reward will be far, far greater…sweet (Rev. 9:20). 
  • Many peoples refers to our allegiance to Christ. Christians are in Christ, and are a part of a greater Kingdom than one of race or nationality. This also refers to the “Abrahamic Promise” (Gen 12; 18:18; 22:18; Is. 60:1-5; Rev. 7:9-17; 11:9) which indicates that God’s purpose and plan is inclusive to all; there are no peoples that are not a part of His will and plan. His purpose will be accomplished and nothing can stop Him. His message is universal as it not only applies to Christians, but to all people of all time (Rev. 5:9; 7:9; 11:2).