Faithlife Sermons

Sunday, February 25th, 2018 - AM - The Great Harvest of the Earth (Rev. 14:14-20)

Rejoicing Through Revelation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:03:53
0 ratings

Jesus and the angels thrust in their sickles and reap, ushering in His final judgment upon the earth.

Notes & Transcripts


Jesus Christ is going to be victorious over all the ungodly and evil of this world. This is the great announcement of the two angels in this passage. Jesus Christ is going to triumph. In the last days of human history, He is coming back, and He is going to harvest the earth. He is going to reap those who believe in Him and take them on to heaven with Him. But He is going to judge the ungodly and evil of this earth. Christ and His followers will be vindicated: the world will see and know that Christ is truly the Son of God who came to earth to save man. The world is going to know …
• that He was well worth forsaking the world and its pleasures and possessions for
• that He was well worth following and standing up for
• that He was well worth even dying for
• that He was well worth denying oneself for
• that He was well worth sacrificing everything for
• that He was well worth suffering persecution for
When Jesus Christ returns in judgment, the world will know that He is exactly who He claimed to be: the Son of God, the Lord and Majesty of the universe. But it will be too late. He is returning in judgment. He came the first time in mercy and grace to save people. But now, the next time, He returns in glory and majesty to judge the earth. This is the scene of this passage. This is the sixth great assurance to believers: the day of harvest is coming. The Lord God is going to reap the earth. The believers are going to be taken home to heaven to live with God and Christ forever. And all the ungodly and evil are to be judged and shut out from God’s presence. There is to be a perfect world in which nothing reigns but godliness and righteousness. God is going to create a new heavens and earth, and believers are to have the glorious privilege of living there with God forever and ever. [Leadership Ministries Worldwide, Revelation, The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible (Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1996), 204.]
Main Thought:
Unregenerate humanity faces a terrifying future. The unrepentant, even after repeated warnings, will learn firsthand the sobering truth that “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).
Connecting Context:
The final vision of the chapter clearly points to the finale of the Tribulation, the battle of Armageddon, and Christ’s return in power and wrath. See II Thessalonians 1:7-10. [David H. Sorenson, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary - Hebrews through Revelation, vol. 11, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary (Northstar Ministries, 2007), 483.]
The battle described here, and the battle of Gog and Magog, described in Revelation 20:8-9, are two separate battles. This battle will be fought at the close of the Tribulation period. The battle of Gog and Magog will be fought at the close of the one thousand years’ reign of Jesus. We will discuss that further when we reach chapter 20. The battle here is a battle of blood. The battle in chapter 20 is a battle of fire. Fire will come down from God out of Heaven and consume the armies of Gog. [Oliver B. Greene, Revelation, A Verse by Verse Study, Commentaries and Writings of Oliver B. Greene (The Gospel Hour, Inc., 1963), 283.]
Background/Intro Material:
In this chapter, then, we have the fall outline of the dealings of God in the latter-day crisis. There are seven divisions of it. First, there is the full remnant of godly Jews associated with the Lamb on mount Sion, in sympathy with His sufferings and waiting for the kingdom. Secondly, a testimony to the Gentile nations scattered all over the world as well as to those seated on the prophetic earth. Thirdly, the fall of Babylon. Fourthly, the fearful doom, both in this world and in the next, of such as should worship the beast and his image, or receive the mark of his name. Fifthly, the blessedness from that time of those that die in the Lord. Sixthly, the discriminating process of the harvest. And seventhly, the awful infliction of vengeance on religious apostacy; the first, at least, of these two last acts of judgment being executed by the Son of man, which necessarily supposes the very close of the age: the wrath, not of God only, but of the Lamb. ...Although it is not about us, yet what a mercy it is to feel that we do not always require to think about ourselves when reading the Bible! [William Kelly, Lectures on the Book of Revelation (London: T. Weston, 1903), 330.]

I. The Harvest of Grain By the Reaping of the Son of Man (Rev. 14:14-16).

A. The Son's Description (Rev. 14:14):

Revelation 14:14 KJV 1900
And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

1. He Is Sitting upon a White Cloud.

State Point -
Later, in chapter nineteen, our Lord will be seen sitting upon a white horse. Horses are seen here also in verse 20.
Anchor Point -
Daniel 7:13 KJV 1900
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
Validate Point -
Luke 21:27 KJV 1900
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
[Apply Point] -
He is like unto the Son of man. This is a title that Christ used often of Himself. (Matthew 8:20; 9:6; 24:27,30; Mark 2:10, 28; 8:31; 9:9; Luke 6:22; 7:34; 9:22; 12:8; John 5:27; 6:27,62; 8:28). [Dr. Glen Jr. Spencer, The Expository Pulpit Series: Revelation (WORDsearch, 2013), Re 14:14–20.]

2. He Is Wearing a Golden Crown.

State Point -
This is the stephanos crown.
Validate Point -
Isaiah 28:5 KJV 1900
In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, And for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,
Explain Point -
stephanos (στέφανος, 4735), primarily, “that which surrounds, as a wall or crowd” (from stepho, “to encircle”), denotes (a) “the victor’s crown,” the symbol of triumph in the games or some such contest; hence, by metonymy, a reward or prize; (b) “a token of public honor” for distinguished service, military prowess, etc., or of nuptial joy, or festal gladness, especially at the parousia of kings. It was woven as a garland of oak, ivy, parsley, myrtle, or olive, or in imitation of these in gold. In some passages the reference to the games is clear, 1 Cor. 9:25; 2 Tim. 4:8 (“crown of righteousness”); it may be so in 1 Pet. 5:4, where the fadeless character of “the crown of glory” is set in contrast to the garlands of earth. In other passages it stands as an emblem of life, joy, reward and glory, Phil. 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:19; Jas. 1:12 (“crown of life”); Rev. 2:10 (ditto); 3:11; 4:4, 10: of triumph, 6:2; 9:7; 12:1; 14:14. It is used of “the crown of thorns” which the soldiers plaited and put on Christ’s head, Matt. 27:29; Mark 15:17; John 19:2, 5. At first sight this might be taken as an alternative for diadema, “a kingly crown” (see below), but considering the blasphemous character of that masquerade, and the materials used, obviously diadema would be quite unfitting and the only alternative was stephanos.... [W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 139.]
[Apply Point] -
Note two statements concerning the Head of the Son of Man. First time His Head referred to in New Testament, Luk 9:58. Last time His Head referred to in New Testament, Rev 14:14. [Dr. James Smith and Robert Lee, Handfuls on Purpose: For Christian Workers and Bible Students, n.d., Re 16:1–21.]
Isaiah 63:1–3 KJV 1900
Who is this that cometh from Edom, With dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in his apparel, Travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, And thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; And of the people there was none with me: For I will tread them in mine anger, And trample them in my fury; And their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, And I will stain all my raiment.
Revelation 19:13 KJV 1900
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

3. His Great Cause - He Is Holding a Sharp Sickle.

State Point -
Joel 3:14 KJV 1900
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
Anchor Point -
The Revelator used sickle seven times in these seven verses; the harvest will be a complete harvest, and will complete the fullness of wrath of God.
Validate Point -
Spiritual harvest time during the Tribulation will involve both the gathering the tares and then of the wheat, according to the Saviour, Who prophesied, “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (Mt. 13:30). [Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 593.]
Explain Point -
SICKLE - drepanon (δρέπανον, 1407), “a pruning hook, a sickle” (akin to drepo, “to pluck”), occurs in Mark 4:29; Rev. 14:14, 15, 16, 17, 18 (twice), 19.¶ [Vine, Unger, and White Jr., 574.]
* Of particular note is that the only other usage of this word outside of the Apocalypse is found in Mk. 4:29, which references the coming of the harvest.

B. The Son's Directive (Rev. 14:15-16):

1. The Angel Cries to the Son of Man (Rev. 14:15).

Revelation 14:15 KJV 1900
And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
State Point -
His cry gives both the call to reap as well as the cause for reaping.
Anchor Point -
This angel is said to be another of the same kind (see previous), and to issue forth from the temple. It is not expressed by John here whether this is the temple in heaven or in earth; the latter angel from the temple (see next), however is expressly said to come from the temple in heaven.
Whether this is the heavenly temple or the earthly temple is not stated, but it is probably the latter. The angel had perhaps been observing the abominable defilement of the temple by the beast and his image, and so cries up to the heavens, entreating the Lord not to delay any longer. [Henry M. Morris, The Revelation Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Prophetic Book of the End Times (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 1983), 273.]
Validate Point -
Nevertheless, notice that this angel gives the cue to the Son (perhaps from the Father)
Explain Point -
The cause is two-fold here: first, because the hour of the Son is come; second, because the earth is ripened and ready.
[Apply Point] -
The word translated as ripe (xhrainw xeraino) literally means to be ‘dried or withered.’ [Due to tribulation difficulties] Implied is that the harvest was overdue. Thus, the Son of man was urged by an angel in heaven to commence the harvest of the earth. The time had more than arrived. [Sorenson, 484.]
Note however that in verse 18 below, the word ripe there carries the flavor of "full and plump." Context determining.

2. The Son's Sickle Is Cast UPON the earth (Rev. 14:16).

Revelation 14:16 KJV 1900
And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
State Point -
Here we see that the tares of Satan are hewn down.
Validate Point -
Consider our Lord's parable of the wheat and tares when explaining to His disciples concerning the Kingdom of Heaven (see Matt. 13, et. al.).
Explain Point -
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only authorized and privileged One to reap the harvest of human judgment, as Scripture stated, saying, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (Jn. 5:22). [Strouse, 597.]
God is never late, he is always on time; and He never misses His mark. This was the case of His first Advent, and it will be likewise for His Second Advent.
Galatians 4:4–5 KJV 1900
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
“Send forth thy sickle, and reap” refers to the judgment of men on the earth. “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:40–42). In Matthew the “harvest” has so long been identified with Christian witnessing, and believers have been urged to pray for laborers for the harvest, that it is difficult for the average Christian to fit this scene into the true context of Scripture. Actually, believers are not urged to harvest today; they are urged to sow, to sow the Word of God.
“… a sower went forth to sow” (Matt. 13:3) is a picture of Christendom today. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of Man. He is the sower and the seed is the Word of God and the field is the world. He is flinging out the seed into the world. There is going to be a harvest someday, but that will come at the end of the age. You and I are not in the harvesting business today. Our business is to sow the seed. That is the reason I do not worry about results. I worry a great deal about the source. I want to do my best in giving out the Word of God. Why? Because sowing seed is my business. [J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary, electronic ed., vol. 5 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 1012.]
We've considered the Harvest of Grain by the Reaping of the Son of Man, now consider:

II. The Gathering the Grapes By God's Holy Angels (Rev. 14:17-20).

A. The Angel with the Sharp Sickle (Rev. 14:17):

Revelation 14:17 KJV 1900
And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
State Point -
This fifth angel proceeds forth from the temple, and we're told this is the Temple in Heaven, and he holds in his hand a sharp sickle just like the Cloud-sitter before him, equipped for judgment.
Anchor Point -
Matthew 13:39 KJV 1900
The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
Matthew 13:49 KJV 1900
So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

B. The Angel from the Altar (Rev. 14:18):

Revelation 14:18 KJV 1900
And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
Compare this sixth angel's coming out of the altar and his authority over fire with the previous angel of Rev. 8:1-5, where the Golden Censer was cast to the earth just before the seven angels prepared to sound their respective trumpets.
Compare this angel's power over fire with those who had authority over the wind (Rev. 7:1), and water (Rev. 16:5).

1. His Call for the Gathering.

He Calls the Other Temple Angel to Gather the Grape-Clusters.
Explain Point -
The clusters of grapes which are fully ripe refer to the unsaved armies of the world in rebellion against the Lamb of God. They will be gathered together and slaughtered together by Christ and His armies (cf. Isa. 63:1-6; Zech. 14:1-4; Rev. 16:14, 16; 19:15-19). [Strouse, 603.]

2. The Cause for Gathering.

State Point -
The pleasure of sin is for a season, and the season for sin in the earth has come to ripeness.
[Apply Point] -
As the blood of the Lamb once was shed by His enemies, so their blood now must be shed, wrung out to the last drop. When His blood was shed, however, it became the life-giving new wine of the kingdom, symbolized by the cup of remembrance at the Lord’s supper. When their blood is shed, crushed out in the great vintage-trampling at Armageddon, it will merely provide “the supper of the great God” (Revelation 19:17) to the fowls of the air. [Morris, 275.]
Notice in this passage from Isaiah’s prophecy that He is seen treading the winepress alone. It is positively terrifying. Little wonder that the men of this earth will cry to the rocks to fall upon them and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. This will be the sad end of that civilization which at the Tower of Babel demonstrated an active rebellion against God, a rebellion which has been mounting like a mighty crescendo ever since and will break in all of its fury during the Great Tribulation Period. As we will see when we come to chapter 19, when Christ comes He will put down that rebellion against God in order to establish His kingdom here upon the earth. He will (in the language of Psalm 2) “break them with a rod of iron” and “dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
You see, the “gentle Jesus” who wouldn’t swat a fly, whom we have heard so much about, is just not the Jesus of the Word of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, but He is also the Judge of all the world. If you do not accept His blood shed for you, then if the Great Tribulation Period comes during your lifetime, your blood will be shed. [McGee, 1013.]

C. The Fruit of the Earth Pressed (Rev. 14:19-20):

1. The Sickle Is Cast INTO the Earth (Rev. 14:19a).

Revelation 14:19 KJV 1900
And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
State Point -
As the Son brought His sickle UPON the earth, with more of a picture of harvesting grain, here this angel casts his sickle INTO the earth, with a picture of gathering grapes.
Validate Point -
It is not the genuine vine, but the “vine of the earth.” The Lord Jesus is the only true vine: and if we are fruit-bearing branches, it must be by abiding in Him. But here it is “the vine of the earth.” [Kelly, 329.]
Explain Point - Joel predicted, saying, “Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision”2296 [The decision made is that of Jehovah Who will thresh the wicked with His sword] (Rev. 19:15).] (Joel 3:12-14). [Strouse, 598–599.]
[Apply Point] -
The first reaping is apparently a “harvest” of grain, the second a “vintage” of grapes. The first is cut and threshed, the second is gathered for the winepress. Probably the first refers to all the worldwide judgments of the second half of the tribulation, unleashed when the seven bowls of wrath pour out over the earth (Revelation 16), climaxing in the utter destruction of Babylon, the capital, and the entire Babylonish world-system. The second refers more specifically to the final judgment of the beast and all his followers at Armageddon.
The climax of this reaping of the earth at Babylon is described in Revelation 17 and 18, but was long ago prophesied also by Jeremiah and foreshadowed by the defeat of ancient Babylon. “For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come” (Jeremiah 51:33). [Morris, 274.]

2. The Clusters Are Gathered (Rev. 14:19b).

Let me make it clear that I make no apology for these scenes of judgment. God has not asked me to apologize for His Word. He has told me to give it out. We need to face up to the facts:
1. Sin is an awful thing.
2. Sin is in the world.
3. You and I are sinners. The only remedy for sin is the redemption Christ offered when He shed His blood on the cross and paid the penalty for our sins.
4. You and I merit the judgment of God.
Our only escape is to accept the work of Christ for us on Calvary’s cross. The Bible asks a question that even God cannot answer: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? …” (Heb. 2:3). Escape what? Escape judgment—the Tribulation is judgment. The way out is to accept Christ. Call it an escape mechanism if you want to; but, my friend, when the house is on fire, I’ll go out a window or any other way that is an escape. This judgment must inevitably come on Christ-rejectors. Mankind has rejected Him, trodden under foot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant as an unholy thing. If God is just (and He is) there will be judgment. The generation of today needs to hear this. Instead of being given this, they are offered endless little methods of living the Christian life. My friend, there is nothing that will straighten out your life like knowing that our God is a holy God, that the Lord Jesus Christ is righteous, and that He is not going to tolerate sin in your life. [McGee, 1014.]

3. The Grapes Are Cast Into the Vat (Rev. 14:19c).

Explain Point -
...the Scriptures have made explicit the identification of “the city”2322 as Jerusalem.2323 Zechariah predicted, saying, “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city” (Zech. 14:2). The city of Jerusalem will be where the Antichrist slays the Two Witnesses and then demands all Jews to worship him in the Temple of God and all people to take his mark (Rev. 11:7; 13:3-4, 12-18). The winepress will be “without”2324 the city, referring to the Battle of Armageddon and its proximity to the capital of Judea. Furthermore, Jerusalem will be the only city in the world to survive the Seven Vial Judgments (cf. Rev. 16:19). [Strouse, 606.]

4. The Blood Is Crushed from the Fruit (Rev. 14:20).

Revelation 14:20 KJV 1900
And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
State Point -
The justice of God upon sinners will find swift execution; the saddest part is that this is merely the temporal consequence. The souls of the damned will die at Armageddon, only to writhe until they are brought before that great tribunal of the soul - God's Great White Throne Judgment, where they will receive an eternal sentence of perpetual torments.
Explain Point -
And what does the Lord do with this vine of the earth and its clusters? There is nothing but unmixed judgment—no mercy whatever to mitigate it. The fruit is gathered and cast into the great winepress of the wrath of God. Then follows the image of unsparing judgment. “The winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”* It is an awful figure of carnage—blood flowing in a deep stream for about 200 miles. [Kelly, 329.]
The whole land of Israel will be involved in this gruesome bloodletting of the Lord’s harvest as He will use sickle-swinging and foot-treading judgment upon the armies of the earth. He will mercilessly slaughter the enemies of the Tribulation martyrs in answer to their prayers of vengeance (cf. Rev. 6:9-10). John described the Saviour’s appearance when He will finish this massacre, saying, “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped2331 in blood: and his name is called The Word of God” (Rev. 19:13). [Strouse, 607–608.]


The great day of earth’s harvest is coming, the harvest of the ungodly and evil of this world. Jesus Christ is going to judge all the ungodly and evil of this world. Not a single person will escape. And He is going to judge them in wrath, not in love. The day is coming when the world will be ripe for judgment, a day when ungodliness and evil will be cut totally loose and run rampant upon earth. Horrors of lawlessness and evil and murder will run so wild that Christ cannot take it anymore. The people of the world will be engulfed in idolatry, murder, sorcery, immorality, and stealing. They will be materialistic and worldly, atheistic and God-rejecting: there will be no hope whatsoever that they will ever change and turn to God. There is coming a time when the situation upon earth is utterly hopeless and helpless. When that day comes, then comes the great tribulation of the earth. And in the end of that great tribulation, in the very last day of world history, Jesus Christ shall reap the earth. [Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 207.]
God Wants You To: Understand:
Unregenerate humanity faces a terrifying future. The unrepentant, even after repeated warnings, will learn firsthand the sobering truth that “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). They would do well to heed the psalmist’s admonition:
Psalm 2:12 KJV 1900
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, And ye perish from the way, When his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
Related Media
Related Sermons