Revelation 14:14-20 describes two different harvests. Both the grain harvest and the grape harvest use a sharp sickle.
14. John sees something new.
The white cloud represents the “glory and majesty” of Jesus. (MacArthur, John. New Testament Commentary: Revelation 12-22. [Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2000], 112)
Sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man is Jesus Christ. This fulfills the prophecy of Daniel 7:13-14. (MacArthur, 112)
“Clouds in the Bible often represent the majesty of God’s presence”. (Easley, Kendell H., Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. [Nashville: B&H, 1998], 253)
“White in Revelation usually symbolizes purity.” (Easley, 253)
This is a “crown of triumph.” (MacArthur, 113)
“Sickles were used to harvest grain.” (MacArthur, 113)
“The word sickle occurs only twelve times in the Scriptures, of which seven are in the verses of this section.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume V: [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 1011)
Read the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:1-30.
MacArthur says, “The grain harvest symbolizes the seven bowl judgments.” (111)
Message from God
15. This angel came out of the temple indicating he has come “from the very presence of God.” (Easley, 253) [NIV]
In Mark 13:32, Jesus tells us he does not know the hour of his return. (Easley, 253)
The angel used a loud voice “conveying urgency, power, and the authority delegated to him from God.” (MacArthur, 113)
He is saying this to Him who sat on the cloud.
Now, “the heavenly Father declares from his heavenly temple , ‘It’s time!’” (Easley, 253)
MacArthur tells us that the angel “delivers the message from God the Father to the Son of Man that it is time for Him to move in judgment…The Son can now exercise the right to judge that the Father has delegated to Him.” (113)
Easley gives us a different view:
“The majority of interpreters see parallelism between the two harvests and see both as referring to the judgment of unbelievers. Examination of other New Testament materials seems to lead in a different direction. The Gospels use the language of harvest to depict the return of Christ in glory…’He [the Son of Man] will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (253)
[It does not bother me that they present different interpretations, but I wanted you to be aware of the difference.]
“Christians leave the earth and are gathered into the presence of their Lord” (Easley, 255)
“It records the executing of divine judgment.” (MacArthur, 114)
17. MacArthur tells us this represents Armageddon. (111)
The angel came out of the temple which is in heaven.
He is coming from the throne of God.
He has a sharp sickle and came to gather grapes.
18. This angel has power over fire.
Read about the alter in Exodus 30:1-10.
He came from the altar.
This altar is “associated with the prayers of the saints.” (MacArthur, 116)
The saints’ prayers are being answered, “the time for the reaping of judgment comes.” (MacArthur, 116)
Ripe “refers to something fully ripe and in its prime. It pictures earth’s wicked, unregenerate people as bursting with the juice of wickedness and ready for the harvest of righteousness.” (MacArthur, 116)
19. “He threw his sickle into the earth.” (Easley, 257)
He is gathering the unbelievers.
And cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
“Grapes would be trampled in the upper basin, and the juice would collect in the lower one. The splattering of the juice as the grapes are stomped vividly pictures the splattered blood of those who will be destroyed.” (MacArthur, 117)
20. The winepress was trodden without the city
The Battle of Armageddon will take place “about 60 miles north of Jerusalem.” (MacArthur, 117)
And blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles. [NASB1995]
This is hard to imagine.
“When the Lord Jesus Christ returns, Antichrist, the false prophet, and all their human and demonic forces will be immediately destroyed.” (MacArthur, 117) Revelation 19:11-21
“Those who refuse to repent, even after repeated warnings, will learn firsthand the sobering truth that ‘it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’”(MacArthur, 118)
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB1995. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.
Easley, Kendell H., Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. Nashville: B&H, 1998
MacArthur, John. New Testament Commentary: Revelation 12-22. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2000
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume V: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983