Harvesting the Vine of the Earth (14:17-20)

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2006-10-30 11:47.

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John saw yet another angel, carrying a large sickle, coming out of the heavenly sanctuary. Another angel, with authority over the fire, came from the altar. With a loud voice, he told the angel with the sickle to use it for harvesting the grape clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes were ripe. The angel harvested the vine and cast the grapes into the wine press of God’s anger. The press was then trodden with horses outside the city, and the “blood” came up to the bridle of the horses and flowed for a distance of 1,600 stadia or approximately 200 miles. (14:17-20)

This particular harvest involves the ungodly, and the imagery indicates that angels will share in the execution of divine judgment upon them. (Compare 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8.) As one having authority over the fire, the angel had control over a destructive element, an element indicative of a severe judgment. The grapes that are harvested represent the ungodly who will be facing their doom as if trodden by horses in a large winepress. Suggestive of the large number whom the adverse judgment will affect is the reference to the tremendous amount of “blood” the treading operation would yield. John did not identify the city near which the winepress was located. Based on 11:2, the city could be Jerusalem.