Read Revelation 14 at Bible Gateway.
Previously: revelation 14, the patience of the saints
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. Rev 14:14-16
Quick recap: Rev 12-13 describe God’s ultimate enemy, the great dragon, and the rise of the kingdoms of this world, which are of the great dragon. The world- dominating kingdom of Rev 13 is the Roman empire which lived on, in the Roman church, and the Holy Roman empire, after its head received the mortal wound of the fall of Rome. The Roman kingdoms of this world exercised complete unchallenged authority and waged a successful war upon the saints, the citizens of the kingdom of heaven.
But then the Lamb that was slain appeared on Mount Zion (Rev 14), and the tide began to turn. First the everlasting gospel was once again preached, to every tribe, nation, and tongue. That has been going on since the Reformation. Then as a result of the spread of the gospel, the angel announced the fall of Babylon, i.e., the kingdoms of this world, i.e., the city of man and the fate of those who reject the gospel to remain citizens of the world – eternal torment in the lake of fire. The saints are encouraged to have patience, for the fall of the kingdoms of this world will not take place in one day, or one month, or one year.
That brings us up to verse 14. The next event is the harvest of the earth, which the Son of Man harvests. It is not explained what the symbolism of the harvest is, because it has previously been explained in Scripture:
But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Mat 9:36-38
Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and thencomes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! Joh 4:35
The context of both of these passages, is the harvest of souls coming into the Lord’s flock, coming into the kingdom of heaven. This harvest also in Rev 14 is of the souls of the saints. The feast days of the LORD are prophetic in nature, and three of them are harvest feasts — they prophesy of the harvest of souls. The first, Firstfruits or the barley harvest, is the day that Jesus rose from the dead, Resurrection Sunday, and it prophesies that the Lord Jesus is the firstfruit of those who will be reborn with new life for God.
The second, Weeks or Pentecost, the wheat harvest, is the day that the LORD baptized the church with the Holy Spirit and with fire from heaven, in Act 2. It prophesies of the harvest which is going on right now, which has been going on since the day of Pentecost. This is the harvest of those who are “born again” – another reference to new life and resurrection from the dead.
The third and final harvest festival is Tabernacles, the fruit harvest. Tabernacles, as a fall feast, prophesies of the Lord’s return, so I believe there is a great harvest that takes place at the Lord’s return. My current understanding is that Tabernacles represents the actual resurrection from the dead of the saints which will occur at the blowing of the Last Trumpet at the Lord’s return. This may well be the harvest referred to here.
If that is the case, let me just say that this harvest will not leave a void on the earth of godliness because of the absence of the saints for seven years. Paul clearly describes the saints going up to meet Jesus in the air at the same time as He is coming down. Although Paul stops his explanation there, it is likely that once we have met Him, we will also continue down with Him and His host that has come with Him from heaven. We will be added to His host, to serve Him in His defeat of His enemies as He establishes His millennial reign on the earth, beginning in Jerusalem. That is my opinion.
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. Rev 14:17-20
The next event, after the harvest of souls, is the harvest of the grapes of the wrath of God. The souls who are His are harvested first from the earth, because the wrath of God is not going to be poured out on them. Those with the Lord’s mark on their foreheads, the name of the Father of the Lamb, will not receive the wrath of God, nor will they be under its punishment. The wrath of God is reserved for His enemies, for the kingdoms of this world, for the beast and the antichrist, for Babylon and those with the mark of the beast.
The history of the final plagues and of the final war, which will establish the Lord Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords, is found in Rev 15-19.