June 12 2022
Today, Sunday June 12
The Time For Judgment Has Come
Revelation 14:14-20 “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe." So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses' bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.”
In Revelation 14, John sees at least six angels and they each have a specific message that anticipates the coming judgments that will take place in the last three and half years of the Tribulation, as the seven vials, or bowls, of God’s wrath are pour out on the earth and also the last great “battle of Armageddon”.
The first angel proclaimed that the “Hour of God’s judgment has come.” (Rev. 14:7) It appears that the first three angels were warning the earth dwellers that God’s final judgments are about to fall. The last three angels are now giving the command to execute these judgments. The fourth angel proclaims, "Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." (v. 15)
The Person pictured here sitting on the white cloud in verse 14, is undoubtedly our Lord Jesus Christ (see Dan. 7:13-14; Rev. 1:13). The cloud is a mark of identification: "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matt. 24:30). I think that the "clouds" are the shekinah cloud, which is "the sign" in heaven. "On his head a golden crown" further confirms this One as the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the hero of the Book of Revelation, my friend, and you need this book to get a true picture of Him. He is seen as King -- not as Prophet or Priest. His office as King is always connected with His return to the earth.
We have had the image of the cup in Rev. 14:10, and now we have the image of the harvest, both of the grain (Rev. 14:14-16) and of the grape (Rev. 14:17-20). Again, this anticipates the final judgment of the world. While winning lost souls to Christ is sometimes pictured as a harvest (John 4:34-38), this image is also used of God's judgment (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43; Luke 3:8-17). God permits the seeds of iniquity to grow until they are ripe, and then He judges (Gen. 15:16).
The grape harvest is often a picture of judgment. In Joel 3:13, which anticipates the Day of the Lord, we read this: “Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; For the winepress is full, The vats overflow-- For their wickedness is great."
The fourth angel speaks of the harvest of the final judgments. The fifth and sixth angels speak of the judgments on the “clusters of the vines of the earth” (v. 18). We find that Scripture portrays three different "vines." Israel was God's vine, planted in the land to bear fruit for God's glory; but the nation failed God and had to be cut down. You can read about God’s vine, Israel in Psalm 80:8-16 and Isaiah 5:1-7. In the New Testament you will see it in Matthew 21:33-46.
Today, Christ is the Vine and believers are branches in Him. We read this in John 15:5: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” But the world system is also a vine, "the vine of the earth" in contrast to Christ, the heavenly Vine; and it is ripening for judgment. The wicked system—Babylon—that intoxicates people and controls them, will one day be cut down and destroyed in "the winepress of the wrath of God." (v. 19)
It is my prayer that today we will be “abiding in the Vine”, Jesus Christ, and bearing much fruit for Him!