Revelation 14 - The Coming of the Son of Man

Turn in your Bibles to Revelation 14:14;

 

14 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. 15 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[i] to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.

 

17 Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

 

18 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.” 19 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. 20 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.

 

Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.

 

2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark[a] and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. 3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:

 

“Great and marvelous are Your works,

Lord God Almighty!

Just and true are Your ways,

O King of the saints![b]

4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?

For You alone are holy.

For all nations shall come and worship before You,

For Your judgments have been manifested.”

 

5 After these things I looked, and behold,[c] the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. 6 And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands. 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. 8 The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

 

May God bless the reading of His word.

 

Let us pray.

 

Having looked at Our Lords description of the end of the age in Matthew 24, I thought that we might go to Revelation and see where this same time was seen by the Apostle John in God's revelation to him on the Isle of Patmos.

 

Compare what we just read with what our Lord Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 24:29-31;

 

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

It is the same scene that we see here, the Son of Man coming on the clouds.

 

John lends detail to Jesus' description. Verse 31 in Matthew becomes Jesus' command to bring in the harvest. When we look at these verses together, we understand that Jesus first reaps the elect from the Earth before the second event, which our Lord does not describe, the harvesting of the grapes of wrath.

 

In the parables that Jesus tells at the end of Matthew 24 and in Matthew 25 the recurring theme is the differentiation between those who are saved and those who are not. Notice that this time is given by our Lord as being “immediately after the tribulation of those days.”

 

Though it may not agree with modern day eschatological thought, it seems rather obvious that the harvest of the saints occurs “after the tribulation of those days,” after which the pouring out of God's wrath will commence upon all those left upon the Earth.

 

This is not the timeline which I grew up with.

 

Neither is it a timeline that I am going to force upon you.

 

My job is never to foist thought upon you, but rather it is to attempt to illuminate the Scriptures through the power of the Holy Spirit that He might testify to the proper understanding of His word.

 

With the harvest brought in, it is now time for God's wrath to be poured out upon the Earth.

 

The first part of this wrath is the grapes being fed into the winepress outside the gates of the city

 

When we take into consideration the words of the prophet Daniel concerning the demise of the King of the North we see in 11:44-45:

 

But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. 45 And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.

 

With this in mind, it is very likely that the blood shed outside the gates of the city is the destruction of the King of the North, the Anti-Christ's army. The destruction is said to be to 1600 furlongs. If John is speaking of area and the 1600 furlongs is square furlongs, then we are talking about an area that is 25 square miles, or five miles by five miles squared. Though morbid, calculations have actually been done that estimate how many would be killed to fill the volume in question, and the answer is surprisingly small, at somewhere between 15 and 30 thousand people.

 

Matthew Henry comments on this section, writing;

 

Warnings and judgments not having produced reformation, the sins of the nations are filled up, and they become ripe for judgments, represented by a harvest, an emblem which is used to signify the gathering of the righteous, when ripe for heaven, by the mercy of God. The harvest time is when the corn is ripe; when the believers are ripe for heaven, then the wheat of the earth shall be gathered into Christ's garner. And by a vintage. The enemies of Christ and his church are not destroyed, till by their sin they are ripe for ruin, and then he will spare them no longer. The wine-press is the wrath of God, some terrible calamity, probably the sword, shedding the blood of the wicked. The patience of God towards sinners, is the greatest miracle in the world; but, though lasting, it will not be everlasting; and ripeness in sin is a sure proof of judgment at hand.

 

Truly, the extent of God's long suffering has been exhausted.

 

This is not the end of the King of the North, or even his armies. It is only beginning of the pouring out of God's wrath. For now we come to the seven bowl judgments.

 

In our timeline the elect have been removed, the army of the King of the North has suffered defeat outside the gates of the city, and now, with only those deserving of God's wrath left upon the Earth the Lord dispenses His judgment upon it.

 

Even when God dispenses His punishments, He is glorified by the elect. So it is that we see the interlude in chapter 15. John tells us;

 

2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark[a] and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. 3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:

 

“Great and marvelous are Your works,

Lord God Almighty!

Just and true are Your ways,

O King of the saints![b]

4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?

For You alone are holy.

For all nations shall come and worship before You,

For Your judgments have been manifested.”

 

After this John sees the seven angels coming out to the true temple in heaven. Their appearance from this venue signifies their righteousness and the righteousness of the work that they are about to perform. This is further enhanced by the brightness of their garments and the golden bands girded around their chest.

 

It may be beyond our comprehension, but evil does not deserve to exist unmolested and unpunished for its rebellion against the laws of God. God is the Creator of Heaven and Earth. It is enough that we cannot keep the law, but those who continue on the earth at this point have actively rebelled against their Creator.

 

So it is God takes matters into His own hands, dispensing His wrath upon these rebels.

 

We read in chapter 16 starting at verse 1;

 

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls[a] of the wrath of God on the earth.”

 

2 So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.

 

3 Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died.

 

4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying:

 

“You are righteous, O Lord,[b]

The One who is and who was and who is to be,[c]

Because You have judged these things.

6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,

And You have given them blood to drink.

For[d] it is their just due.”

 

7 And I heard another from[e] the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”

 

8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.

 

10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. 11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.

 

12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and[f] of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

 

15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”

 

16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.[g]

 

17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. 19 Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. 20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.

 

Of particular note is the acknowledgment of God's righteousness by the angels, as well as the fact that, regardless of the punishment meted out, men blaspheme God and do not repent from their rebellion.

 

Verse 19 is a prelude to John's vision of Babylon in chapter 17, and then her destruction in chapter 18. Finally in chapter 19 verse 11 we see Jesus triumphal return to the Earth. John tell us;

 

11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had[e] a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,[f] followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp[g] sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

 

KING OF KINGS AND

LORD OF LORDS.

 

So comes the defeat of the beast and the 1,000 year or millenial reign of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

What is important to remember is that in this period of the pouring out of God's wrath, right up to and including Jesus' triumphal return, not everyone is killed. Indeed the population of the Earth, at the beginning of Jesus' millenial reign will consist of those who have survived the bowl judgments as well as the destruction of Babylon and the fate of the armies at Armaggedon, and those of Jesus' triumphal army who follow Him into battle on the day of His return.

 

John tells us the ultimate fate of all those who do not worship Jesus, at the end of those thousand years in Revelation 20:7-10, which says;

 

Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where[b] the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

 

Then will come the great White Throne judgment which John describes in Revelatin 20:11-15 which tell us;

 

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God,[c] and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.[d] 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

John writes in 22:1-5;

 

And he showed me a pure[a] river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

 

This is the eternal fate of those whom God has chosen before the foundation of the Earth.

 

If you confess Jesus as you Lord, hopefully you can see how Daniel, Matthew and Revelation work together to give us an intricate insight into God's plan for His creation. The plan is far from done. Even after the Anti-Christ is crushed and Jesus establishes His millenial kingdom on the Earth we will still have a 1,000 years before the final judgment of both the lambs and the goats. We need to be about our Lord's business until He returns or until He calls us home, whether through natural means or through the harvest before God pours His wrath out upon the Earth.

 

We can have no greater priority than to share the Gospel with those who do not serve the Living God, trusting that God will use our faithfulness to Him as part of His plan to redeem His elect.

 

And if yu have never confessed Jesus as Lord, I beg you to consider your eternal fate.

 

We have only scratched the surface of all that will occur as God brings this era to a close. As we studied Daniel and the word so of our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 24 it has almost been like reading a newspaper.

 

Even if global changes and the establishment of Jesus' throne does not come as quickly as one may like, it is still a given that you will die. Death is a crossroads were those whose name is written in the Book of Life will have eternal life in Christ Jesus, and those who do not have their name written in the book of life shall suffer eternally with the beast and his minions in the lake of fire.

 

As John tells us, it is not our works which allow us to e saved, it is the fact that our name is written in the Book.

 

If you have not confessed Jesus as your Lord and believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then your name is not written in that book and you will go to that lake of fire which John speaks of.

 

So if your need for a savior is weighing upon you, then pray that God will give you the faith to believe and that He will write you name in the book of Life in order that you might have eternal life as well

 

Won't you do it today?

 

 

Let us pray.

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