Ingathering of Grapes

The ingathering of the fruit of the vine represents the wrath of God on all men who take the mark of the Beast – Revelation 14:17-20. 

Next, Revelation presents the ingathering of the “fruit of the vine, which is then pressed in the “winepress of God's wrath.” This is the fate of all men who swear fealty to the “Beast” and take its “mark.” The “saints” are gathered to the “sanctuary of God,” but the “inhabitants of the earth” are “tread underfoot” in His winepress.

The saints from every nation are reaped by the “son of man” figure, the final grain harvest. Now, the other crop is ready for harvest, the ingathering of the grapes to be crushed in the “winepress of the wrath of God” - (Revelation 14:17-20).

John sees “another angel coming out of the sanctuary…having a sharp sickle.” Like the preceding grain harvest, this one is executed with a “sharp sickle.”

However, unlike the reaping of the grain, the fruit of the vine is “gathered” by an “angel” and not by the “Son of Man.” Moreover, the angel does NOT “reap” the fruit of the vine; instead, he “gathers” it and “casts it into the winepress.”

GATHERING THE GRAPES


The “gathering” is performed by an angel “from the altar who has authority over the fire.” The clause provides verbal links to the opening of the “seventh seal” and the introduction of the angels with the seven “bowls of wrath.” In all three passages, the same judicial event is in view, though the details vary in each description - (Revelation 8:2-5, 15:7-16:2).

And he gathered the vine of the earth and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” This provides another link to the “seventh seal” opening when the angel with the censer took its contents and “cast them onto the earth” - (ebalen eis tén gén).

Likewise, here, the angel takes the fruit of the vine and “casts it into the winepress” - (ebalen eis tén lénon). The series of “seven seals,” “seven trumpets,” and the “war” that began in chapter 12 now culminate in the final judgment on the wicked.

The change in verb from “reap” to “gather” is significant. It is a verbal link to the “sixth bowl of wrath” where the “kings of the earth and their armies” are “gathered” to the “great day of the battle of God the Almighty” – (Revelation 16:12-16, 19:17-21).

The winepress was trodden outside the city.” The “city” is “Babylon,” the same “great city” where Jesus was crucified, and the “Two Witnesses” were slain. The image presents a fitting judgment for the “nations” that have “tread under foot” the court that was “cast outside the sanctuary,” and for the slaying of Jesus “outside the city.”

So, in like manner, the men who took the “mark of the Beast” and drank the “wine of the wrath” of “Babylon” are now judged “outside” the “city” – (Revelation 11:1-13, 16:17-21, 18:1-24).

The “great winepress of the wrath of God” is in fulfillment of the announcement of the fall of Babylon by the third angel:

  • (Revelation 14:8-10) - “If anyone renders homage to the beast and his image… he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone before holy angels and before the Lamb.

And that vintage is produced as the angel casts the “fruit of the vine” into the “winepress of the wrath of God.” Those who rendered homage to the “Beast” and allied with the “Great Whore, Babylon,” will drink of the “wine” of His wrath.

OUTSIDE THE CITY


And the winepress was trodden… And there came forth blood out of the winepress.” This employs language from two passages in Isaiah, plus one in Joel. Language from the first passage was found previously in the description of the “sixth seal,” the day of the “wrath of the Lamb.” Language from the second passage is found in the vision of the “Rider on a White Horse” who wages “war” against the “Beast” and destroys him and his allies - (Revelation 6:12-17, 19:11-21, (Isaiah 34:4-9, 63:1-4, 3:12-13).

Originally, both passages in Isaiah pictured the judgment of Yahweh on Edom. But now, the “wrath of God” falls on all the “inhabitants of the earth” who took the Beast’s “mark.” The verbal parallels demonstrate that the several passages which refer to the execution of God’s “wrath” all point to the same event.

There came forth blood…even to the bridles of the horses, at a distance of a thousand six hundred furlongs.” The image is not easily explained. “Furlong” or stadion occurs also in the book’s final vision when describing the dimensions of “New Jerusalem” - (Revelation 21:16).

The “blood” produced from the “winepress” flows “to the bits of the horses, a thousand six hundred furlongs.” The sum of sixteen hundred is the square of 40 - (40 x 40 = 1600). In contrast, the dimensions of “New Jerusalem” are four square, and each side measures 12,000 furlongs. Effectively, the city of “New Jerusalem” is coterminous with the “new heavens and new earth.”

The distance and volume covered by the blood “outside the city” are significantly less than the size of “New Jerusalem.” Possibly, the purpose is to stress the limitations of the “wrath of God.” That is, the “harvest” of the grapes is not necessarily larger than the grain harvest “reaped” and gathered into the city of “New Jerusalem” – (Revelation 21:22).

The outline of the two contrasting “final harvests” has been given. The book will now provide a detailed picture of the final “wrath of God” that is about to be poured out on the “inhabitants of the earth” by seven angels with their “bowls of fury.”


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