The Great Harvest of the Earth

Samuel Smith



You are welcome to another edition of Insights from God's Word, a Bible study programme that is committed to sharing God's Word by allowing the Bible to speak for itself.

Friends, I want to thank the Lord so much for how far He has brought us. This study will be the last in our series on The Three Angels' Messages. This last study is captioned: The Great Harvest of the Earth. It is interesting to learn that the three angels' messages of Revelation 14:6-12 will ripen the fruit of the earth, and make it ready for a great harvest. The message on the great harvest of the earth is graphically chronicled in the closing chapters of Revelation 14:14-20. In order for us to obtain a clear understanding of this important message, we will consider the pivotal expressions that are found in the passage, and provide key explanations to them. The verse 14 of Revelation 14 reads:

"And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle" (Revelation 14:14).

Key Explanation: The picture that the apostle John sees here is that of Christ. He is referred to as the Son of man, a title that is utilised for Christ in both the Old and New Testaments of Scripture (see Daniel 7:13; John 3:14; Matthew 24:20; Acts 7:56; Revelation 1:13). In this single verse is found several symbols in relation to the second advent of Christ. The white cloud that He sits on symbolises the literal and personal aspect of His second coming. From Acts 1:9-11, we read the following: "1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

(Acts 1:9-11)
From the passage above, we note that if Christ is going to come back in the same manner as He went to heaven, then His second coming is going to be literal and personal just as His ascension to heaven. Moreover, just as Christ went up to heaven on clouds (Acts 1:9), so is He going to come the second time with clouds. From Revelation 1:7, we read that "Behold, he cometh with clouds", another text that comes to confirm the literal and personal second coming of Christ as prophesied by the angels in Acts 1:9-11.

The apostle John also sees Christ in this verse wearing a golden crown. The Greek word rendered crown in this verse is "diadema" which is a symbol of kingly or imperial dignity and status. The fact that Christ wears this crown at His second coming illustrate the fact that He is coming the second time as "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (Revelation 19:16), a picture that highly contrasts the emblems of His first advent in the city of David (Luke 2:1-7).

Moreover John sees Jesus in Revelation 14:14 also holding a sharp sickle. The sickle is an ancient instrument for harvesting grain or grass. By comparing Scripture with Scripture, it is clear that this picture portrays Christ's authority as the absolute Judge of the earth (John 5:22). It is He who will separate the wheat from the tares at the end of the world. From the gospel of Matthew, we read the following passage which sheds light in relation to this point: "13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."

(Matthew 13:24-30; see also Mark 4:26-29; John 4:34-36)
From the passage above, it is clear that the harvesting of the tares represents the destruction of the wicked at the second coming of Christ (compare Matthew 13:24-30 with Isaiah 11:4; Jeremiah 25:33; Matthew 24:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8; 2 Thessalonians 2:8). On the other hand, the harvesting of the wheat represents the salvation of the righteous unto eternal life at the second coming of Jesus. From 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, we read the following in relation to this point: "4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; see also 1 Corinthians 15:51-58)
The verses 15 and 16 of Revelation 14 give us intricate details of the ripened condition of the earth, and the call for the Son of man to step in and harvest. The scriptural text reads: "14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

14:16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped."

(Revelation 14:15, 16)
Key Explanation: The picture in this verse portrays the urgency with which Christ is called upon to begin the harvest of the earth. We are told that the angel that gives the loud cry message to Christ comes from the temple in heaven. This basically signals a command from the Father unto the Son to begin the final harvest of the earth without delay (see Matthew 24:36). During the last days of earth's history, scoffers have mocked the forbearance of God in dealing with evil (see 1 Peter 3:3-10). Here in this text of Revelation 14:15, 16, we find that this scoffing will not continue forever. A day is coming when the probation of the wicked will finally close in the courts of heaven, and the Father will give an urgent command for His son to descend in His glory and judge the world, giving unto every man according as his work shall be (Revelation 22:11, 12).

In the verses 17-20 of Revelation 14, the apostle John gives us a sordid picture of the harvest that has to do with the destruction of the wicked at the second coming of Christ. The scriptural text reads: "14:17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

14:18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

14:19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

14:20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."

(Revelation 14:17-20; see also Joel 3:11-13 )
Key Explanation: The symbolism that the apostle John utilises to describe the judgement of the wicked in this passage is intense. The wicked of the earth are gathered into the great winepress of the wrath of God (review Revelation 14:19; see also Revelation 15:1, 5-8; Revelation 16:1-21). And as the winepress is trodden without the city, blood comes out of the winepress even unto the horse bridles. Here is a description of the great onslaught of the wicked that will take place across the world beginning from the unleashing of the first plague up unto the seventh plague which culminates in the second coming of Christ. The prophet Jeremiah describes the scene on earth by the end of the seventh plague with these heartbreaking words:

1) "I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger" (Jeremiah 4:26).

2) "And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground" (Jeremiah 25:33).

From the prophet of Patmos, we read the following similar symbolism of harvest in relation to the wicked and the end of the great controversy battle between Christ and Satan: "19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

19:18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh."

(Revelation 19:11-21)
Exhortation: In relation to the Great Harvest of the Earth, the apostle Peter wrote the following admonition to the young Church of Christ: "3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."

(2 Peter 3:9-13)
Stay blessed and keep shining for King Jesus.


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