Revelation Series HARVEST TIME

Revelation 14:1-201 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth– to every nation, tribe, language and people.7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”8 A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand,10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”14 I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a son of man” with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.15 Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle.18 Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.”19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath.20 They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.
One problem the church seems to face is this, we seem to be on the losing side. The church is not listened to, it is even made fun of. Christians on the major networks are pictured as bigoted, narrow minded. It is simply this, if satan can’t win will drag as many as he can with him.
The picture John gives us is different, it is the picture of a victorious church. Can we believe it?. To see this victorious church, we need to adjust our eyes, like when we adjust our eyes when we come from a dark room to a lighted one. It takes time, but it need to be done.
There are two different interpretations of verses 1-5. The first is that the 144,000 are the saved out of Israel —12.,000 form each tribe. This view has these particular ideas within it. These are a special group of believers, ones that God sets aside from the rest, they are unmarried, and thus pure, they are the new government of Jesus. They are rewarded because of what they have done. However, this picture is strange, because it is different than what rest of Bible says. The Bible tells us that God shows no partiality to certain groups of people. This also seems to say that there seems to be something wrong with sex, and the Bible does not say that. And finally, that they are rewarded for what they have done, ie, they are the 144,000 because of what they have done, and that flies in the face of God’s grace.
The second view is that the 144,000 refers to church in a symbolic way, that it refers to the people of God from all ages. Here we we see a picture of the victorious Lamb and the victorious church. Here is the church as God sees it, undefiled and pure, in Jesus Christ. When it seemed as if there was no escape, that the unholy trinity had won the day, then we look and see Jesus Christ and the victory He has won. And because of His grace, they are rewarded, the whole church is rewarded, and they sing the new song, the song only God’s children can sing.
But how can we say this is the church?  Look at the description given. We are not undefiled and pure, that is a different picture than what I see. The answer to that is that we need to see what the Lord sees. (See 2 Corinthians 11:2)
John sees the church as the bride of Christ, when the bride comes down the aisle dressed in white, all thoughts of impurity flee. Our Lord sees His church as one who is faithful, being singlemindedly faithful. The church has not followed its own plan, but the plan laid out by its Lord. The church does not create the kind of Jesus it wants, but listens to the Who He is. They are the sign of the harvest to come, they have sacrificed themselves and dedicated themselves to Jesus, a picture of God’s chosen, no one is left out, each one counted is there
Then in verse, we see the church stands victorious and views the scenes to come in confidence, knowing they will not be lost. There is another angel who proclaims the eternal good news, the special messenger of God and he speaks a special message. It is the good news that he brings, the good news is found in verse 7.
The good news is that judgement is at hand, the end is near. Proclaim this news, and worship the one who created. Then a second angel comes with other news, that Babylon the great has fallen, the political and religious systems of this world have gone down to defeat, the unholy trinity does not win the day.
And a third angel comes and tells of the judgement of God, a horrifying vision of torment that goes on forever.
On that note, comes another appeal, God reaching out another time. The gospel is preached and man is called to worship God. However there is a time coming when man will not listen and believe, when it will be too late. However, those who die in the Lord are blessed, those who don’t will be tormented.
This is not something to hide but to shout from the housetops, the kingdom has come and is coming, Babylon has fallen, all that man has set up falls, it is only a 6. Here is something to be joyous about, it is not an announcement of death, but the end of death, it is not announcing pain, but the end of pain, it is not announcing sin, but the end of sin
Then the scene shifts. (see verse 14) There on the clouds is one like son of man, crowned with gold, the crown of victory, and he carries a sharp sickle, a sickle that is used for harvest. (See Daniel 7:13). This one is given authority. (See Matthew 26:64) It is Jesus Christ coming to do the harvest.
There are two harvests pictured here. The first is grain, a picture of God’s people and here is Christ going out to harvest his own. This is not left to some angel, but he does it himself, he claims his own. Jesus in all his glory, He waits until the right time and then he harvests. His first coming was the sowing time; His second coming is harvest time.
The second harvest is the harvest of grapes. This harvest is done by the angels, who are given a sickle. The harvest of the angels is the harvest of wrath. The grapes are taken in and the judgement of God’s wrath descends upon them. The evil that man is full and they are gathered and pressed out.
This is a comforting picture, it is a picture of victory. A picture of the victorious church where not one is lost, every single one who is to be there, is there, the number of God’s people is full. It is a picture of God’s grace, as the gospel goes forth and a picture of the harvest, Jesus gathering his own.
If we are still preaching, if we are still witnessing, then it is still the sowing and growing time. We dare not ask the lord to send forth the harvesters unless we really mean it. Rather than praying that the Lord send forth harvesters, pray that the Lord send forth the sowers, so the harvest will be abundant.
We need to make sure we are doing the right thing with the Word of God. Are we sowing the Word, or are we holding to ourselves in storage?
In v. 13 we hear about those who die in the Lord. They are blessed, for their work of sowing, cultivating, and feeding is done. The harvest time will come and the seeds they have sown will grow and be fruitful. Praise God that He leaves us time to sow. Praise God that in Jesus our work and we are victorious.


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