Verses 8-13 give us a general
summary of some spiritual truths that are pertinent to the people on the earth
after the rapture of the church.
proclamation of the fall of the great “Babylonian” harlot
And another angel, a second
one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is
Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the
passion of her immorality.”
Again, this is what happens in John’s vision. It is not what is going to be
proclaimed on the earth when it actually happens. At this point in the
chronology, the CITY that is called “Babylon the great” has NOT been
destroyed. That event will not occur until just before (perhaps a few days)
the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:19; 18:20-24; 19:1-4). This proclamation,
then, should probably be viewed as anticipatory of the final judgment on that
city that has influenced the world, politically, religiously and economically
more than any other city over the last 2000 years.
There are two factors involved
with the FALL of Babylon
(1) The neutralization of
Babylonian evil as it exists throughout the world at the time that the beast
begins his reign. Although, in actuality, the beast simply perpetuates the
essence of Babylonian evil through his own reign and Satan’s Messiah Strategy.
However, THIS event is not in view by this proclamation.
(2) The actual physical destruction of the city that has been the
organizational headquarters of Babylonian evil for the last 2000 years and
will be at the time of the end – Rome.
Since the beast essentially
TAKES OVER possession of the city when he neutralizes the ENTITY of Babylonian
evil, there is no dramatic effect or subsequent response from the peoples of
the earth as is seen at Rev. 18:9-11. This proclamation then is best viewed as
anticipatory of the physical destruction of the city.
Thus, the chronology of chapter
14 is preserved. The beast’s confiscation of “Babylon”
(Rome) will occur at the midpoint of the week, and that will occur PRIOR to
the events of chapter 14. However, the physical destruction of the city will
occur after the midpoint of the week, and after the arrival of Jesus in the
clouds of the sky. The anticipatory announcement of Babylon’s destruction is
well-placed, as that destruction will occur through the reaping of verses
14-16, “in one day” (Rev. 18:8), and “in one hour” (Rev. 18:10).
It is certain that the term, “Babylon
the great,” refers to the same entity that is in view at Chapter 17:2 and 18:3
since in each of the three verses the unifying factor is, drinking the wine of
the passion of her immorality. Although it is the entity of Babylonian evil
that has had the greatest influence on the world throughout history, it is the
CITY that is the organizational headquarters and the SYMBOL of that influence.
That city will still hold its symbolic sway over the world at the time that
the world-ruler (man of lawlessness) comes on the scene. For the last 2000
years that entity has been the Roman Church and the city has been Rome. It
alone of all religious entities fulfills the details of the language used to
describe the Babylonian harlot.
The existence of any ONE city
does not promote or hinder the influence of the beast when he begins his
reign. But it is the existence of a religious influence that has indeed
reached to the ends of the earth and affected every nation, both socially and
politically that will hinder the advance of beast worship. In order for Satan
to implement the next stage (The Messiah Strategy) of his personal salvation
plan, he will have to first utilize this entity of international influence and
power, and then neutralize it.
When the world ruler first
comes on the scene of international politics, he will NEED the influence and
power of the
Babylon harlot in order to begin the Covenant Experiment. Thus, according to
Revelation 17, the beast will “ride on the harlot” for the first 3 ½ years of
The Covenant Experiment, and then after he terminates The Experiment at its
mid-term point, he will destroy the religious entity that assisted him in
advancing The Experiment.
It is at that point that
Satan’s Messiah Strategy will be fully implemented, and beast worship will
Although it is the beast and
his associates who neutralize Babylon
the harlot, it is actually engineered by God, Who uses the beast and his
minions (Rev. 17:16-18) to carry out this judgment.
“And the ten horns which you
saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and
naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. For God has put
it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose and by
giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God should be
The language at verse 17:16 indicates that the beast and his allies will
become intolerant of the Babylonian religious system of the harlot. Too much
interference with the beast's agenda will create hatred and then action.
However, in order to neutralize
the ENTITY, the organizational center will need to be “confiscated.” Thus, at
the mid-point of the Covenant Experiment, the beast will confiscate the city
and use it to promote Satan’s Messiah Strategy to the rest of the world. From
the perspective of the last 2000 years, that city has been
In actuality, Satan’s Messiah
Strategy is a perpetuation of Babylonian evil that started with the religion
of Nimrod. Thus, Rome
will remain the center of evil and the center of international economic
prosperity, for apart from beast worship, “no one will be able to buy or sell”
The beast will use his control
Jerusalem to influence the Jews and Muslims, and his control of Rome to
influence the rest of the world. It is the control of THIS city that thus
effectively removes the influence and power that the “harlot” entity has over
the “peoples and multitudes and nations and languages” (Rev. 17:15), and “over
the kings of the earth” (Rev. 17:18).
However, the actual physical
destruction of the city will not occur until just prior to the battle of
Armageddon (Rev. 16:17-21; 18). It is at the 7th bowl judgment that
a great earthquake will occur that will cause world-wide destruction described
as the greatest earthquake EVER (Rev. 16:18). At this time “in one hour,” “the
great city (Jerusalem)
was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And Babylon
the great was remembered before God to give her the cup of the wine of the
passion of His anger.” Rev. 16:17.
At the 7th bowl
judgment, there will still be TIME for human response to God’s wrath. There
will be two responses. (1) “And men blasphemed God” (Rev. 16:21). (2) “And the
kings of the earth will weep and lament . . . and the merchants of the earth
will weep and mourn” (Rev. 18:9-11).
The TIMING of this destruction
within the chronology of chapter 14 would be after the rapture and after the
commission of the 144,000 Jewish bondservants. But since the proclamation is
anticipatory, the destruction will not occur BEFORE the reaping judgment of
verses 14-16. And since it will occur BEFORE the battle of Armageddon, it must
be placed BEFORE verses 17-20. Thus, the destruction of “Babylon
the great” will occur as part of the reaping judgment of verses 14-16, which
will be administered by Jesus, the Son of man.
According to chapter 18:9-19,
there will be TIME for the earth-dwellers to moan and lament over the
destruction of this entity, which indicates to me that this does not occur in
direct connection with Armageddon.
So this proclamation is
anticipatory of the destruction that will happen in connection with the 7th
bowl judgment, which is described at Revelation 16:19. It will occur toward
the end of the 30 day period that follows the 1260 days of the last half of
the week, and appears to be one of the last items of judgment before the
Armageddon campaign begins.
(1) The great city was split
into 3 parts.
(2) The cities of the nations fell.
(3) Babylon the Great was judged.
(4) Great earthquake.
(5) Huge hailstones.
(6) And then the descent of Jesus to the earth will occur at Rev. 19:11-21, at
which time the Armageddon campaign will be completed by Jesus Himself.
The Armageddon campaign will have begun at the 6th trumpet judgment
(Rev. 9:13-21), as the king of the North begins to move. And then at the 6th
bowl judgment, the nations are influenced by demons to gather into the
land of Palestine for “the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.” (Rev.
16:12-16). The placement of this destruction of the city of Babylon
some time prior to the actual defeat of the armies at Armageddon, allows for
the period of mourning over the loss of such a valuable city.
This destruction is described
at Revelation 18:1-19.
The command to “rejoice” at the destruction of this city is given in verse
And the fulfillment of the command is given at verses 19:1-4.
THE DESTINY OF BEAST
1. Again, this is a proclamation made in heaven for John’s hearing within the
context of his vision. It is not a warning proclaimed on the earth. But the
fact that it is here recorded IN THE BOOK for mankind serves as a warning to
them not only through the entire church age, but also during the end times.
The focus here is on their final disposition in the lake of fire.
This embraces those who take the mark both BEFORE the arrival of Jesus AND
after the arrival of Jesus - so the focus is on the FACT of taking the mark
and does not break the chronology of the chapter
After the beast’s system is destroyed, what comes next?
Those who have the mark will be thrown into the fire.
BUT it is not at this point in the vision that they are thrown into the lake.
This is just stating the FACT that it will happen.
The PROCESS of destroying the beast’s system is through TWO spheres of
(A) The trumpets
(B) The bowls
2. "and another (allos) angel (angellos), a third (tritos) followed them."
The reason THIRD is used is because two angels were already mentioned at verse
6 and 8. In fact, at verse 8, we have the same construction only with the word
There is no definite article so it should not
be, "and THE third angel."
Nor should it be "the angel, the third one."
Any translation that ignores the word, ALLOS (another) is erroneous.
SECONDLY, here are some more versions that may help:
NASB = and another angel, a third one
Amplified = Then another angel, a third
American Standard V = And another angel, a third
Darby's = and another, a third angel
RSV = And another angel, a third
3. THE CHOICE: If anyone worships the beast and his image, and
receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand.
These details of beast worship were described in detail in chapter 13.
See Topic: Worshipping the beast
4. THE DESTINY:
A. He will drink of the wine: to indicate a complete identification with
B. Of the wrath of God: The word, thumos (passion, anger), is used to indicate
the very intense expression of divine justice against violation of God’s
Thumos is an advance on orgā, and intensifies it, giving it a more passionate
or even EMOTIONAL expression.
C. Mixed in full strength:
1. which has been mixed:
perfect passive participle of kerannumi. This indicates that the expression of
God’s justice HAS ALREADY been determined by His perfect righteousness and
2. Full strength = unmixed: akratos indicates full alcoholic content. The idea
then is that there is NO Restraint from God; no Release from judgment; and no
Relief from intensity.
It is a full and uncompromising expression of divine justice.
the cup of His anger: The word, orgā,
is used to indicate the bona fide expression of divine displeasure when God’s
truth and righteousness are violated.
A. And he will be tormented: future passive indicative of
This indicates an actual experience of pain and discomfort.
B. With fire and brimstone: indicates a literal type fire, although a
non-consuming one, so that the torment will be experienced in both soul and
body. Unbelievers will be raised with a resurrection body in which they will
be judged. John 5:28-29
the presence of: enōpion
- indicates observation and not immediate locality. 2Thes 1:9 says, “away from
the face (prosōpon)
of the Lord and from the power of His glory.”
D. His holy angels and the Lamb: These will not be PRESENT there, but be able
to OBSERVE what is occurring. Apparently the saints will not take part in this
A. And the smoke: the visible sign of the fire. Although it does not consume,
it produces smoke as indication of the effects it is producing.
their torment: basanismos
C. goes up: present active indicative of anabainō.
The present tense indicates a continuous non-stop experience. The smoke
apparently provides the basis for a visible observation by the angels.
D. Forever (TIME duration): unto ages of ages (eis + accusative plural of aiōn
+ genitive plural of aiōn).
Cf. Heb. 1:8 for the extent of time involved (unto the age of the age,
they do not have: echō,
present active indicative + negative to indicate once again the continuous
F. Rest: anapausis = cessation, and in this case, the cessation of torment.
G. Day or night (CONSTANCY duration): a human expression that indicates a
perpetual experience. This indicates the CONSTANT duration of the pain.
1. Here is the endurance of the saints:
The adverb, hōde is used here to indicate, “in this
situation or under these circumstances.”
It applies to believers who live during any age or generation. The principle
is CONSTANT. But the focus is specifically on those who endure the persecution
pressure from the beast. There are two categories of saints who endure under
the reign of the beast.
(A) Those who live during the tribulation – from the midpoint of the week
until the tribulation is cut short by the sovereign decree of God the Father.
At that time Jesus will arrive in the clouds of the sky in power and great
glory and gather together (rapture) the saints out from the world.
(B) Those who become believers after the rapture, who will still come under
persecution from the beast. That persecution will be less severe because of
the Day of the Lord judgments coming upon the beast’s kingdom. But there will
be some who die and will need to be resurrected after the battle of Armageddon
2. The word is hupomonā and it indicates successful Christian living in the
face of various pressures; persecution, deprivation and temptation.
The following two expressions of faithfulness constitute the nature of
endurance; the nature of successful Christian living.
3. Endurance is characterized by KEEPING the commandments of God and keeping
THE FAITH of Jesus.
A. Those who keep the commandments of God: The commandments, refers to all
that God has taught His people to be the right and proper behavior toward God,
self and others (1 John 3:22-23).
It is summed up in the teachings of Jesus and the apostles as LOVE. Romans
12:9-21 and 13:8-14.
B. And (those who keep) the faith of Jesus: The faith of Jesus refers to the
whole realm of Christian truth as it has been revealed by the apostles in the
gospels and in their letters.
The faith, is the definite article (the) with the noun pistis (faith) and the
genitive of JESUS to indicate the content of FAITH-BASED doctrine that is
belonging to and ABOUT Jesus. It implies faith IN those standards of truth,
for that is the means by which the believer KEEPS them.
1. At Hebrews 13:9, it is summarized by the word, GRACE, “it is beneficial for
the heart to be strengthened by grace.”
2. At 1 Timothy 6:3, it is summarized by, “the words of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the doctrine conforming to good worship (godliness).”
In contrast to those who take the mark of the beast and worship his image, the
FAITHFUL believer will follow truth during this time of great tribulation
(pressure and persecution). This is not a salvation issue.
It is true that anyone who takes the mark will end up in the lake of fire for
all eternity. However, based on the sovereign decision of God concerning the
permanent salvation status of everyone who has believed in Jesus; and
according to the doctrine of divine discipline, if a believe ever attempts to
take the mark, it is certain that God will prevent it – and probably do so by
bringing instant death on the erring believer.
See Topic: Divine Discipline.
THE BLESSING OF THE POST-RAPTURE MARTYRS
Many of those who become believers after the rapture, and who remain faithful
to God during the time remaining before Armageddon is completed, will be
killed for their faith. These are seen to be recipients of a very special
experience of happiness.
1. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, write: This seems to be in contrast
to the angelic announcements that are made. John has heard “this” voice from
heaven four previous times in His vision (V. 10:4, 8; 11:12; 14:2) and will
hear it two additional times (V. 18:4; 21:3). It seems best to understand this
as the voice of God the Father.
2. HAPPY: The adjective is makarios in the plural to describe the ones who are
mentioned. It means happiness.
3. Those who die in the Lord from now on: This is clearly a blessing on
Christians who are martyred at the hands of the beast and his minions during
the time between the rapture and the defeat of the beast.
4. Yes, says the Spirit: There is a minor discrepancy in the manuscripts.
A. (legei) “Happy are those who die in the Lord from now on, says the Spirit,
in order that . . .”
B. (nai, legei) “Happy are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says
the Spirit, in order that . . .”
The reading “A” identifies the voice as that of the Spirit.
The reading “B” makes the Spirit someone different from the voice from heaven,
who confirms the blessing made by that voice.
The manuscript evidence supports the presence of “yes” (nai) rather than its
exclusion. The shorter reading LEGEI could be viewed as earlier and the other
readings, simply scribal changes. But NAI, LEGEI is probably the original. It
has the stronger support and follows the style seen elsewhere in the book of
Revelation (1:7; 16:7; 22:20).
Furthermore, there is no apparent reason for some scribe to add the “nai.”
5. In order that they may rest from their labors: The verb is anapauo, in the
future tense. It indicates the cause of the blessing and the result of dying
instead of going through more physical suffering.
The word, labors, refers to the practice of Christian faithfulness in the face
of the extreme persecution suffering that comes from the beast.
The REAL issue in deliverance at this time is NOT rapture.
If it were, then the rapture would be the focus.
Instead, believers are delivered THROUGH DEATH because the persecution still
continues after the rapture. The rapture has already occurred in the
chronology (prior to the sealing of the 144,000 bond servants), so the HOPE of
these believers is for deliverance and “blessing” through martyrdom so as NOT
to remain alive for “more of the same” suffering, but rather go into the third
One could argue between the blessing of dying (and going into the third
heaven) and of remaining alive and going “alive” into the earthly millennial
kingdom. But the passage - for WHATEVER reason - is saying that death is
better, or at least carries a very special blessing.
6. for their deeds follow them: However, those who will be martyred
will be raised up as part of the first resurrection. They will join the rest
of the body of Christ and will reign with Christ for 1000 years during His
earthly kingdom. Revelation 20:4. This will be the reward for faithfulness.
Revelation 2:26; 3:21;
At Revelation 14:14-20 the
earth is reaped in judgment.
First by Jesus “sitting on the cloud,” (where He "sits" until His physical
descent at Rev. 19:11), and pouring out the final wrath of God via the 7
bowls. Perhaps the trumpet judgments should be included as well.
Second, by an angel who gathers the armies of the earth to the
Valley of Megiddo for their final defeat by Christ’s “physical” descent to
SUMMARY of the chapter:
1. Evangelism after the rapture via the 144,000 bond servants: verses 1-7.
2. Indictment on Babylonian religion: verse 8.
3. Indictment on beast worship: verses 9-12.
4. Martyrdom for faithfulness: verse 13.
5. Reaping of the earth through the bowl judgments: verses 14-16.
6. Gathering of the armies to Armageddon: verses 17-20.
And then chapter 15 and 16 pick up chronologically from Verse 11:19 and gives
details for the 7 bowls of the final wrath of God.
THE DAY OF THE LORD JUDGMENTS
THE REAPING OF THE EARTH IN JUDGMENT
"And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one
like a son of man, having a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in
Some think this is another
angel and some think it is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. The issue of
reaping is not affected one way or the other.
In support of this person being
an angel, the commentary on Revelation from SOLA SCRIPTURA provides:
2. Sitting on the cloud was
one like a son of man = identifies the rider of heaven’s unique
transportation. One like a son of man is clearly reminiscent of Daniel 7:13.
However, this is not Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus would hardly need an angelic
exhortation to begin the earthly harvest (Rev 14:15). The one thing that can
be dogmatically asserted is the fact that this is a unique heavenly being.
3. Having a golden crown on
His head = is one indication of the uniqueness of this person. A golden crown
is worn by the each of the twenty-four elders as mentioned in Revelation 4:4
and 10. Revelation 6:2 indicates that the rider on a white horse wears a
golden crown. Revelation 9:7 depicts the locust cavalry wearing golden crowns.
Golden crowns obviously depict authority and status.
4. A sharp sickle in His hand
= is the second descriptive item enumerated by John. A sickle is an ancient
instrument of the harvest. A sharp sickle suggests the beginning of the
harvest with an instrument in prime condition.
In support of this person being Jesus, Walvoord writes:
“Though the one described is
said to be like the Son of man, it is probably that this is none other than
Christ Himself participating in the divine judgments of God upon a wicked
world. This probability is reinforced by the golden crown speaking of His
glorified state and His royal dignity.
THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, page 222-21.
I prefer to see this person as
THE Son of Man (Jesus) for several reasons.
1. Every other time that an angel is mentioned in the book of The Revelation,
it is clearly stated that it is in fact, an angel.
This would be an uncharacteristic exception.
2. In the Old Testament, the title, “son of man,” is indeed, used dozens of
times for the prophet Ezekiel, once for Daniel, dozens of times for the
progeny of man in general, and one time for the Messiah at His first advent
ascension (Dan. 7:13). However, in the New Testament it is ALWAYS used to
refer to Jesus.
3. This person is sitting ON a
cloud. Angels are never seen in this manner.
I find it COMPELLING that we
see Jesus SITTING on the cloud rather than COMING on the cloud.
The second coming always shows Jesus COMING in a cloud or clouds.
(Matt. 24:30; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 4:17; Rev. 1:7)
The idea of SITTING indicates what he is doing now that he has arrived.
After He arrives, he remains IN THE CLOUDS, and ON a cloud (He SITS DOWN to
judge) as he pours out the trumpet and bowl judgments on the earth.
This of course agrees with the
chronology that sees the 144k ALREADY saved and sealed at verses 1-5, which
will occur AFTER the 6th seal arrival of Jesus and the rapture.
In answer to the argument that,
“The Lord Jesus would hardly need an angelic exhortation to begin the
earthly harvest (Rev 14:15),” I see no problem, and the concept of NEED, is
not an issue. Such PLEAS for God to perform such and such an action are
prevalent throughout the Psalms and elsewhere. Furthermore, I remind the
reader that this is simply a vision of SYMBOLS shown to John. These symbols
represent events that will certainly take place in the future, but the way
these events are here portrayed will NOT necessarily occur in that exact
manner. Jesus is not a lamb; Satan is not a dragon; there are no horses for
the seals and there are no literal trumpets and bowls, etc. involved when the
events actually occur in the future.
Accepting the view that this is
in fact, Jesus, the crown, obviously portrays His past victory and his
royalty. And the sharp sickle portrays the fact that He is prepared to express
divine wrath as the Day of the Lord judgments begin with the trumpet
judgments, or CONTINUE with the bowl judgments.
And another angel came
out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud,
"Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the
harvest of the earth is ripe."
1. This, “another angel” refers
to the FOURTH one in this part of the vision.
The SOLA SCRIPTURA commentary suggests:
“1. And another angel came out
of the temple = supports the conclusion that the rider on the white cloud is
an angelic being. Another angel suggests a previous angel. The
immediate context suggests that the rider is the focus. This angel’s job is to
deliver a message.”
The mention of “another angel”
does not at all support the conclusion suggested above. There is “another
angel” at verse 6, but the nearest previous angel is the “strong” angel at
verses 10:1, 5, 7 and 9. The SEVEN angels who have the bowls are in a separate
At verse 14:8, we see the second “another angel” and at verse 9, we see the
When we get to verse 15, the most normal understanding of “another angel” is
that it is a fourth one and follows from number three. And At verse 18, there
is still a fifth angel mentioned. There is no indication of any kind that the
“one like a son of man” is an angel.
Further attempt to support the “angel” view from SOLA SCRIPTURA:
“2. Crying out with a loud
voice to Him who sat on the cloud = expresses the recipient of the angel’s
message. Emerging from the temple, this angel undoubtedly is under the
authority of God. The fact that an angel commands the cloud-rider to begin
argues against the identity of the rider as the Lord Jesus. That the aspect of
sitting on the cloud is emphasized suggests that the identity of the
cloud-rider is not paramount. The Lord Jesus stated in Matthew 13:39 that "the
reapers are angels" at the end of the age. This argues strongly that the
identity of the rider is an angelic being.”
This is not proof at all. Jesus
and God do many things through the agency of another; angels, man, and even a
In fact, the gathering at the rapture as described at Matthew 24:31 and Mark
13:27, is accomplished by Jesus, but He USES the angels to do it.
(1) Matthew 24:31, “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and
they will gather together His elect.”
(2) Mark 13:27, “And then He will send forth His angels and He will gather
together His elect.”
Likewise at Matthew 13:39 the
reapers at the end of the age are angels, but it is something that Jesus does
by using the angels.
Another example is found at Revelation 17:16-17, where God USES the beast
to neutralize the Babylonian harlot.
THE PLEA OF THE ANGEL
”Put in your sickle and reap.”
This is not a COMMAND directed to Jesus, nor is it the granting of permission.
It is simply a plea for the Lord to begin His expression of wrath on a world
that is RIPE for judgment. It is no different from the many pleas expressed by
the Psalmist for God to bring judgment on the evil doers.
Walvoord writes: “It is remarkable that an angel should thus address the Son
of man, but it should be regarded as an entreaty of a holy angel to Christ as
the Son of man in His position as judge of men (cf. John 5:22, 27).
Commentary, page 221.
It is even probable that the PLEA given at Joel 3:13 is directed to God.
"Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the wine press
is full; the vats overflow, for their wickedness is great."
Of course, the use of a sickle is symbolic. When the actual event takes place
in the future, Jesus will not be wielding a sickle to reap the wicked from the
THE HOUR TO REAP
The use of the word, “hour” is simply to indicate that it is now TIME.
At Rev. 11:18, we are told that “the time came . . . to destroy those who
destroy the earth.”
At Rev. 14:7, the urgency of the gospel message is “because the hour of His
judgment has come.” That means that it is here and upon us. This is expressed
after the salvation and sealing of the 144,000 bond servants of God, and
refers to the bowl judgments. Although, it is possible that both trumpet and
bowl judgments are in view with this reaping of the earth in judgment.
Then at Rev. 15:1 and 5-8, preparation is made for the final outpouring of
At Jeremiah 51:33 the evil of Babylon will be harvested.
”For thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel;
The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor
At the time it is stamped firm;
Yet in a little while the time of harvest will come for her.”
Likewise at Joel 3:13, the RIPE harvest refers to the advance of wickedness
on the earth.
The SOLA SCRIPTURA commentary reads:
“4. Because the harvest of the
earth is ripe = explains why the time of harvest
begins at this point. A ripe earth continues the metaphor of the wheat
harvest. Literally, wickedness has run its course and demands punishment. As
indicated in Joel 3:13, wickedness overflows.”
The word for RIPE is the verb, xzāraino. It is used several times in the Old
Testament, and 13 times in the New Testament in a negative sense. The only
time it is used for something good, is when an open and bleeding abscess was
cured and DRIED up (Mark 5:29).
This word does not speak of a GOOD crop that is ready to be harvested. It
refers to a crop that is OVER-RIPE and OVER-DUE for removal – judgment. For
those who think that a “ripe” field of wheat is a good thing in this context,
just compare it with the RIPE grapes at verse 18, which are clearly SO ripe
that it is time for them to be judged. A different word is used there for
“ripe” but the image is still that of being ripe for judgment.
Walvoord writes: “The expression, ‘the harvest of the earth is ripe’ (Gr.,
exeranthe), meaning ‘to become dry or withered,’ has a bad connotation (cf.
Matt. 21:19-20; Mark 3:1, 3; 11:20; Luke 8:6; Rev. 16:12). The picture here is
of a fruit or vegetable that has become so ripe that it has begun to dry up
and wither. The rotten moral condition of the world is dealt with now with a
sharp sickle.” Commentary, page 221.
James Moffett writes: “The classical use of reaping to symbolize death and
destruction is too common to need illustration. . . . but this ripeness of
paganism for judgment (Jer. 51:33) is re-stated dramatically (17-20) in a
parallel O.T. symbol from the wine-press.”
Expositor’s Greek New Testament, volume 5, page 441.
Some have suggested that verses 14:15-16 refers to a “reaping” of believers out
from the earth via the rapture.
Alford writes: “The verdict of
Commentators is very much divided. There are circumstances in the context
which tell both ways. The parallelism with the vintage which follows, seems to
favour a harvest of the wicked;: but then on the other hand, if so, what is
the distinction between the two ingatherings? . . . On the whole then, though
I would not pronounce decidedly, I must incline to think that the harvest is
the ingathering of the saints, God’s harvest, reaped from the earth: described
here thus generally, before the vintage of wrath which follows.”
The Greek New Testament, Volume 4, page 690.
Walvoord concludes: “There is
no distinct event in this sequence of prophecies which clearly presents a
harvest of saints, and it is probably preferable to consider the first harvest
as the judgments in general which characterize the period and the second
harvest is the final climactic one.”
Commentary, page 222.
However, if chapter 14 begins
with the 144,000 Jewish converts, which takes place AFTER the rapture, how
then can verses 15-16 refer to the rapture when it appears that the events
outlined in the chapter are chronological?
And if someone does not want to take the events as chronological, then an
alternate explanation is needed. To date, I have not encountered any
explanations that adequately deal with what I see to be a very clear
chronological progression in the chapter. But then, I insist that the trumpets
FOLLOW the seals and indeed come out from the 7th seal, and that the bowls
come out from the 7th trumpet - and others insist on making these things
“overlap.” So, in like manner, it is just as likely that some people will see
a different chronological progression in other portions of scripture. As
always, each one must become convinced in his own mind as to what is the most
“reasonable” (for this is indeed, all that we have) and harmonious
understanding of all the passages involved.
THE CHRONOLOGY ISSUE
If there is a chronological order to the events in Revelation 14, then the
reaping at verses 14-19 CANNOT refer to the rapture. So if that chronological
issue can be resolved then the interpretation of the first reaping is solved.
However, if the chronological issue cannot be solved, this STILL does not
resolve the interpretation of the first reaping.
AN UNRESOLVED CHRONOLOGY
Technically, it does not matter whether the chapter is chronological or not.
But if it is NOT then the "items" mentioned have no set parameters and can
refer to anything we choose (within reason of course).
However, if one operates on the idea that there is an inherent chronology
within the chapter, then there are parameters which help us understand what
each event is.
Some believe that the chronological order is (1) sealing and then
(2) rapture. They suggest that the 144,000
are saved prior to the rapture and sealed prior to the rapture, but stay
behind because of their bondservant ministry that God has planned for them.
However, this view is untenable in view of several factors found in the
It should be clear that WHEN the Lord
descends from heaven on the clouds with power and great glory, at that very
instant, the gathering of the saints occurs.
SALVATION OF THE BONDSERVANTS
After the arrival of Jesus at the 6th seal, we are shown two results that are
recorded in Revelation chapter 7.
The first result is ON EARTH, and is recorded in verses 1-8. It is the
conversion and sealing of 144,000 Jews who will trust in Christ shortly after
He returns and gathers out (raptures) the believers.
The second result, recorded in verses 9-17, is IN HEAVEN, and is the PRESENCE
of the raptured believers standing before God on the sea of glass.
The 144 thousand are saved AFTER the ARRIVAL and after the RAPTURE.
It is at that time of salvation that they become bondservants.
If they were saved before the arrival, then they would be OF THE CHURCH and
would be raptured along with all the other saints. However, they are viewed as
FIRST FRUIT converts at Rev. 14:1-4, and that would have to mean first fruits
of the day of the Lord. And that requires a conversion AFTER Jesus arrives in
the clouds of the sky in power and great glory.
If one wants to view the SEAL as a mark of ownership BEFORE they are saved
that occurs before the rapture, this is not consistent with the rest of
Scripture. The seal is the Holy Spirit, whose presence in the soul of the
believer marks that believer out as purchased and owned by God (2 Cor. 1:22;
Eph. 1:13-14; 2 Tim. 2:19a; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). And there is no clear teaching
that this ministry of the Holy Spirit would CEASE after the rapture. There is
no violation of any dispensational distinctions between pre and post rapture
believers for the sealing ministry of the Spirit to be the same in both cases.
Both groups partake of the same first resurrection and will reign together
with Christ for 1000 years.
Rev. 5:10; 20:4-6.
Those who hold to the view that the 144k are sealed before the rapture, do so
because of the ORDER given to us in Revelation 7. However, the order is NOT an
order of OCCURRENCE, but an order of FOCUS.
At Revelation 7:9ff, we are not shown the EVENT of the rapture; we are shown
the RESULT of the rapture. The language does not have John SEEING the
multitude arrive, but seeing them ALREADY IN HEAVEN. The rapture occurs IN
CONNECTION with Rev. 6:14-15. These unbelievers can not make the confession
that is made in verses 16-17 UNLESS they have seen the Lord’s arrival, which
is exactly what they see as recorded at Mat. 24:29-30. “And they will SEE The
Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.” And,
as already established, the rapture occurs IMMEDIATELY upon the arrival of
They likewise suggest
that the order at Revelation 14 is (1) sealing and salvation of the 144,000
bond servants. (2) then the rapture through the wheat harvest. And (3) then
the judgment of the grape harvest, and (4) then the presence of the raptured
church in heaven at Revelation 15:2-4.
The "reaping" of verses 14-16 does not HAVE to refer to the rapture.
If it did NOT refer to the rapture, nothing else would really be affected
If it DOES refer to the rapture, then only my chronology of the chapter breaks
down; nothing else.
However, my chronology is not of concern to me. It is a comparing of scripture
with scripture which would "allow" me to SEE rapture at Rev. 14.
And He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth; and the earth was
The judgments begin. This could
refer to both the trumpet and bowl judgments, or just anticipatory of the bowl
The INITIAL “normal” read of this is that JUDGMENT is in view.
Especially, since nothing yet has caused me to see anything in this chapter as
happening BEFORE the arrival of Jesus.
That is because verses 1-5 already set the NORMATIVE understanding.
That is, the 144k have already been saved so this is following the 6th seal
arrival of Jesus.
THE SECOND harvesting is certainly Armageddon.
It is RESTRICTIVE to that time when the armies will be gathered and judged.
The image of lots and lots of blood compared to the height of the bridles on
the horses relates this to a BATTLE SCENE.
THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
And another angel: This is angel #five. He has a sharp sickle as well. But
this time the sickle is for the fruit of the vine; the clusters of grapes that
are also RIPE for judgment. The verb is akmadzo as an aorist active indicative
which indicates that they have BECOME ripe.
1. And another angel: This is angel #6 who brings the instructions to angel
2. power over fire: There seems to be no FIRE involved in this judgment at
Armageddon, so the image is that of bringing God’s JUSTICE to those who are
ripe for judgment.
3. He came out from the altar: At Revelation 8:5, there is an angel who takes
FIRE from the altar, and throws it to the earth to indicate the justice of God
that will be expressed through the trumpet judgments.
Angel #6 could very well be the same angel of the 7th seal who
seems to also have power over the fire of the altar.
4. The instructions are clear enough. Gather the clusters of grapes from the
vine of the earth. At verse 19 we learn that the grapes are to be crushed by
the justice of God as an expression of His divine wrath.
because her grapes are ripe: In a normal grape harvest, the grapes would be
ripe and ready to be thrown into the wine press in order to produce wine.
In this case, the wine press is an instrument of judgment so the grapes that
are ripe, are ripe for judgment.
Verse 19 THE GREAT WINE PRESS OF THE WRATH OF GOD.
1. The angel swung the sickle . . . and gathered . . . and threw them into the
great wine press of the wrath of God.
Is this the ACT of the angel or just the symbolism within John’s vision?
At Revelation 16:12-16, the 6th bowl judgment, demons are used to
gather the kings of the nations to Armageddon.
At Revelation 19:15, those same kings of the earth are assembled at one
location to make war against Jesus, and the judgment against them is called
“He treads the wine press of the passionate anger of the wrath of God” (the
thumos of the orgā of God).
There are some who suggest that this battle is different from what is
described in Revelation 19. It is suggested that this "great wine press"
battle occurs right after the Day of the Lord begins, and is the battle
described at Joel 3:9-17. It is further suggested that this battle is one of
three that are described in Ezekiel 38-39. This issue will be dealt with in a
separate article, but the
normal understanding that comes from
comparing the pertinent passages is that the NEAR comparison provides the
right interpretation and that is, that Rev. 14:19-20 and 19:15f represent the
one and the same event, which is Armageddon.
2. At verse 20, we have information about this WAR that is not recorded
elsewhere. A symbol of the killing of thousands and thousands of armies is
shown as blood rising to the height of the horses’ bridles. Surely this is
symbolic and not to be taken literally. It is quite impossible for such a
RIVER of blood to truly happen. Liquid would naturally flow to the lowest
point in the geography. Some have suggested that this refers to the blood
SPLATTERING to that height. While the language does not DENY that possibility,
I think it should still be taken as symbolic of the slaying of the armies by
the simple verbal proclamation of Jesus (the sword from His mouth). It is a
physical killing of these armies for there is no other reason to tell us that
the flesh of these people would be eaten by the bird scavengers. This of
course, would be a natural occurrence if such a massive destruction of people
were to happen.
Another factor that relates to this is that the image of men and horses is
also symbolic. This image of warfare will not be the medium that is involved
at the battle. This is the image that would naturally be employed from the
perspective of the time of writing. This symbolism should likewise be the
understanding of the "horses" and "riders" that are pictured at Zechariah
12:4, and the "horses" that are pictured at Revelation 19:18.
In actuality, this will involve MODERN mediums of warfare, and the images
shown to us in the pertinent visions are symbols of that warfare.
interpretation that this language refers to a literal river or rivers of blood
mixed with water (rainfall) is an inadequate attempt to find a LITERAL
understanding. This idea is presented by Mo Dardinger in her "The Great
Winepress is not Armageddon, pages 28-29.
There is no "violence to the scripture" done by taking this description as
symbolic. The Bible uses images of the time in which it was written to
communicate massive destruction in a warfare setting. When the time actually
comes for this war to take place, it will involve modern weaponry and
transportation; not horses and chariots.
3. The 1600 furlongs is close to 200 miles, and could be simply a round
number. Alford thinks the distance is symbolic “as the
Holy land is actually only 160 miles North and South,” (Walvoord’s Commentary,
page 223). However, 160 miles is close enough to 200 that it is reasonable to
see it as a general description of the distance involved. Walvoord describes
it as “a 200 mile radius from Jerusalem.”
Palestine is about 180 kilometers wide, and that translates into about 111
miles, a 50 mile radius within the general Jerusalem
area is a very reasonable interpretation for the “distance of 200 miles.”
The chapter ends then with the
final outpouring of God’s wrath at the end of the 1290 days of Daniel 12:11,
which is 30 days after the end of the 70th week.
In between the gathering of the
nations to the valley
of Megiddo (bowl #6) and the actual confrontation at Armageddon (Rev.
19:11-21), the 7th bowl judgment of Revelation 16:17-21 will occur
which brings a physical judgment on (1) (the great city,” which is Jerusalem;
and (2)the cities of the nations;” and (3) “Babylon the great.”
After the summary of the final
wrath of God described at the end of chapter 14, the vision presents John with
the preparation for and the execution of the 7 bowl judgments in chapter 15