Reaping the Grapes of Wrath: Revelation 14:17-20

Revelation 14:17 (KJV) And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

     Only several sentences, Revelation 14 is a short passage in The Revelation of Jesus Christ, but packs a powerful message. Titled, “Reaping the Grapes of Wrath”, what can we gather from this particular part of Revelation? And how can we apply it to our lives today, in a way that brings us closer to Christ? This one passage in Revelation describes the atonement for those who are unsaved once Judgement Day and the Second Coming are upon us, and that, indeed, there will be a time when it is “too late”. I thank you for reading this today, as I attempt to explain this and more.

     In the first passage, Revelation 14:17, we read that an angel came out of the temple in heaven. It is important that we understand that this temple in heaven is the dwelling place of God, not a place from earth. This is important because this particular passage in Revelation is discussing an end-times event.

Revelation 14:18 (KJV) 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.

     Revelation reveals here that this angel had power over fire and cried out to the other angel with a large sickle, saying to thrust it into the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe. What does this mean?

     This angel is calling for the start of Judgment. The “fire on the altar” represents the prayers of the saints, as we can reference this earlier in Revelation 8:3-5(KJV):

3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

     This also discusses the burning fire on the altar in the Jerusalem temple. The priests burn incense with that fire and offer it as a symbol of the people’s prayers. This angel is ensuring they get answered here in Revelation.

     The sickle depicts judgment. The “clusters of the vine of the earth” represent the unbelievers of the earth, those who have followed the Beast and rejected Jesus Christ.

     "Her grapes are fully ripe", is saying that the time for God's judgment of the earth is now. The great wine press of the wrath of God depicts the intensity of God's coming judgment on all.

Revelation 14:19 (KJV) "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."

     The wine press is used here to illicit images in your mind that signify the smashing of all the enemies of God who are still alive, similar to how a wine press smashes grapes. This likely refers to the destruction at Armageddon, the final war on earth against God’s enemies, as this description is leading through end-times prophecy throughout Revelation.

     Revelation 14:20 (KJV) "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"

     It would appear that this grand moment will take place outside of Jerusalem, as we can infer from “without the city”. Only one valley in Israel that fits that mile description, which is the Jordan Valley, and it extends North of the Sea of Galilee to Eilat at the Red Sea. Without debating too much, this shows overall the punishment that will come to those who are alive and still unsaved, and still haven’t accepted Jesus.

     Through parables in Revelation, we can infer some things for certain, even though some of the finer details may require a deeper understanding and deeper study. Jesus often spoke in parables so that we could find understanding ourselves, and Revelation is no different. We were commanded to keep this Word close to our heart because it shall surely come to pass soon, and it is important that we have an understanding to recognize it when it happens.

     One message that sticks out completely here is that a judgement day is coming, and there will be a time when it is too late for those who have not accepted Jesus and His Commands. Our world today faces another crisis with the Coronavirus, and so many details are unknown still, yet the world is spit and against each other, even though we face a common enemy.

     This virus is a prime example - the world is scared, and rightly so, because we face an enemy that is unseen and has no cure publicized yet, and has taken many lives worldwide, but at the same time we turn blind eyes to things that are killing us more every day. On average, 800,000 people have a full nervous breakdown and commit suicide per year, (source: WHO), and currently the world’s abortion rate sits at over 15.5 million (source: Worldometers). What will it take for the world to stop and take those numbers more seriously? Or for the government to shut things down until THOSE numbers improve? Or is it simply because these are choices, and getting Coronavirus is not? Take heed - I am not downplaying Covid-19, but to me, that signifies a moral issue within us, within certain leaders, and only turning to Christ can truly fix this - and it starts at the individual level, with you.  Only YOU can decide to go to Jesus and confess Him as your Lord and Savior and choose to live by His Command, and do things according to the Word.

     I believe, at our core, we have a people problem that only going to Jesus can fix.  This involves re-examining our hearts to the Word, which includes every day decisions and priorities, and if we would turn our hearts in that direction, meet in the middle more, and open our Bibles more, things would calm down. Of course, there will always be evil, and only the Second Coming will cleanse the earth completely of it, but humanity can do better in preparation for our King’s return.

     I urge you all to go to Jesus now, and don’t succumb to anything that feels incorrect to the Word of God, so that we can be saved and not be the ones to endure His wrath.  We can take solace in this fact - He will return and fix all this one day, and save His followers.