Ealees, Littleborough - Reaping the harvest

Reaping the Harvest

The Apocalypse – Chapter 14 – Part 3

Continuing on in the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse, we are ending Chapter 14. A time when the enemy will at last be destroyed. Rev 1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Reaping the Harvest

 God’s Patience
  
 Patience is only called for
 While judgement yet in the future lies.
 Once it has begun there is no more need
 For patient hearts and eyes.
  
 For those who cry “How long?”,
 Would that their faith were stronger.
 Even the martyred saints were 
      given a white robe
 And told to rest a little while longer.
  
 Their number was not yet complete.
 It was not for them to seek to intervene.
 Many more of their fellow 
      servants and brothers
 Had to be killed, as they had been.
  
 Against opposition and evil, we may 
      willingly take up the sword.
 Would we for a moment 
      would we hesitate?
 But so often we are told
 That this is not the time, we must wait.
  
 How can the God who Himself 
     is long suffering
 Justify the impatience in you.
 If we avail ourselves of this patience
 We display a faith in Him that is true.
  
 By the late Andrew Feakin 
 [passed away 16th March 2019] 

Keys – Reaping the Harvest

  • What is written is for a matter of record that the people of God might have it for their support and comfort on all occasions.
  • It shows us the blessedness of all the faithful saints and servants of God in death and after death. 
  • In death they are blessed in their rest from all sin, temptation, sorrow, and persecution. 
  • The memory of the saints will be pleasant, and the reward glorious, far above the merit of all their services and sufferings.
  • All this is confirmed by the testimony of the Spirit witnessing with their spirits and with the written Word.
  • Though He was resolved to do it, He would for this in return to their prayers.
  • The worst enemies of Christ and His church are not destroyed until their sin bring them ripe for ruin.
  • Though it may seem to tarry, we are to wait for it. 

In previous accounts we have seen the great trials and sufferings which the servants of God had endured. Now a new day is dawning. Here represented is the Lord Jesus at the head of His faithful followers, Rev. 14:1-5. Three angels are sent successively to proclaim the fall of Babylon and the consequences of so great an event, Rev. 14:6-13. Lastly the vision of the harvest, Rev. 14:14-20

Reaping the Harvest

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ”Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”

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.

Reaping the Grapes of Wrath

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.

Henry says Here we have the vision of the harvest and vintage. A prophecy about the harvest came down from heaven, and so it is of certain truth and great authority. It was to be preserved and published in writing. To be a matter of record that the people of God might have it for their support and comfort on all occasions. It is principally intended to show the blessedness of all the faithful saints and servants of God, both in death and after death. 

Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth. Here is the description of those that are and shall be blessed. Those who die in the Lord, either die in the cause of Christ, or rather die in a state of vital union with Christ.

Blessed in their reward

They rest from their labours, and their works do follow them. In their rest they are blessed: they rest from all sin, temptation, sorrow, and persecution. There the wicked cease from troubling them, there the weary are at rest. They are blessed in their reward: Their works follow them. They have evidence of having lived and died in the Lord. The memory of them will be pleasant, and the reward glorious, far above the merit of all their services and sufferings.

They are happy in the time of their dying. They have lived to see the cause of God reviving and the peace of the church returning. Such times are good times to die in; they have Simeon’s desire: Now, Lord, let thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. And all this is ratified and confirmed by the testimony of the Spirit witnessing with their spirits and with the written Word.

On His head was a golden crown

In the vision there is a representation of a harvest and a vintage. The harvest (Rev. 14:14, 15), is an emblem that sometimes signifies the cutting down of the wicked. Sometimes it signifies the gathering in of the righteous, when ripe for heaven, by the mercy of God. Here it seems to represent God’s judgments against the wicked.

The Lord of the harvest was like unto the Son of man, even the Lord Jesus. He is described by the chariot in which He sat—a white cloud, a cloud that had a bright side turned to the church. On His head was a golden crown, authority to do all that He did and whatsoever He would do.

The sword of God’s justice

In His hand was a sharp sickle. He had a legal right from the temple to perform this great work. What He did, His people desired for Him to do. Though He was resolved to do it, He would for this in return to their prayers.

The harvest-work is to thrust the sickle into the corn and reap the field. The sickle is the sword of God’s justice and the field is the world. Reaping is cutting the inhabitants of the earth down and carrying them off.

The harvest-time is when the corn is ripe or when the measure of the sin of men is filled up and they are ripe for destruction. The worst enemies of Christ and His church are not destroyed untill their sin bring them ripe for ruin. Then He will spare them no longer and thrust in His sickle, and the earth shall be reaped.

The vintage work undertaken

In terms of a vintage, Rev. 14:17. Some think that these two are only different emblems of the same judgment. Others that they refer to distinct events before the end of all things. This vintage-work was committed to an angel, another angel that came out from the altar. That is, from the holiest of all in heaven. This vintage-work was undertaken at the cry of an angel out of the temple, the ministers and churches of God on earth.

The work of the vintage consisted of two parts [1] The cutting off, and gathering, the clusters of the vine, which were now ripe and ready, fully ripeRev. 14:18. [2] Casting these grapes into the wine-press (Rev. 14:19). Here we are told that the wine-press was the wrath of God, the fire of His indignation. We are told where the wine-press was—where the army lay that came against Babylon. 

The blood that was drawn by this judgment was up to the horses’ bridles in depth for a thousand and six hundred furlongs (Rev. 14:20). That is, say some, 200 miles, which is thought to be the measure of the holy land. It also encompasses the city of Rome. But here we are left to conjectures. Yet the vision is for an appointed time. Though it may seem to tarry, we are to wait for it. But who shall live when the Lord does this?

Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary

Prayer for the Day

Prayer: Father, I come to You. Thank You for the record written in Your Word that we might have it for our support and comfort. Thank You that Your Word says we who are faithful shall be blessed in death and after death. That in death we are blessed in our rest. It shall be rest from all sin, temptation, sorrow, and persecution. 

Our reward shall be glorious, far above the merit of all our services and sufferings. Your Spirit indeed witnesses with our spirits and with the written Word. May I be faithful in prayer for I know that Your hear and answer at Your appointed time and in Your way. May we be patient in the wait, but faithful in the work until that great day. In Jesus name. Amen.

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Reaping the Harvest

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