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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 73

The Vintage
 

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Let’s pray together:

Our Father,

The subject of the great vintage looks a lot less heartening than the subject of the harvest. Yet, we really must understand its meaning, and discover the place of this event in Your plan of righteousness and love.

May Your Holy Spirit show us the truth about this passage of Your prophetic Word. In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.




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Revelation 14:15,18

And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud,

«Thrust in Your sickle, and reap: for the time is come for You to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.» (...)

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 your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.»

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The choices we make here on earth will determine our eternal destiny.

This is what the book of Revelation illustrates with the symbolism of the harvest, which was the subject of our last lesson, and the vintage, which is the subject of this lesson.




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Revelation 14:16,17

And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

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Immediately after the great harvest, in which the people of God is gathered at the time of Jesus’ second coming, another scene is presented to the apostle John.

This scene once again introduces an angel holding a sharp sickle.




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Revelation 14:17

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

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Revelation 11:19

And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament.

And there were lightning, and voices, and thunder, and an earthquake, and great hail.

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By presenting the temple of God open in heaven, the prophecy indicates that this event will take place at Jesus’ return, exactly like the great harvest.




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Revelation 14:18

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 your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.»

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This scene describes a great vintage, illustrating the destiny of those who were not gathered in the great harvest.

But before studying this event, let’s identify the angel who commands the vintage.

This angel has power over fire, and is coming out from the altar. Who is he?




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Revelation 6:9,10

And when [the Lamb] had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.

And they cried with a loud voice, saying,

«How long, O Lord, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?»

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The altar from which the angel comes calls to mind the altar of the fifth seal, where the martyrs were crying to God, so that their blood may be avenged.

Now, the vintage is God’s answer to their cry, as we will see in a moment.




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Revelation 8:3,5

And another Angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to Him much incense, that He should offer it with the prayers of all saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. (...)

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 thunder, and lightning, and an earthquake.

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The angel having power over fire and coming out from the altar also refers to the Angel of Revelation chapter 8.

This Angel, interceding for the saints, is Jesus Himself, as we have seen in the lesson «Introduction to the Seven Trumpets».




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Matthew 24:31

[The Son of man] shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds.

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Matthew 13:41

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.

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At the time of the harvest, Jesus Christ will send His angels to gather His faithful people.

At the time of the vintage, Jesus, having power over fire, will also send His angels to destroy the unrepentant sinners.




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Deuteronomy 32:31-33

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.

For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.

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1 Corinthians 10:4

For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them.

And that Rock was Christ.

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In fact, the vintage aims at the poisoned grapes of the wicked, those who rejected the Rock which God offered them, that is, Christ.




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Isaiah 5:4-6

What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it?

Why, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down.

And I will lay it waste.

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The vintage of Revelation chapter 14 calls to mind the vine which God surrounded with care and love, and which, in spite of everything, brought forth bad grapes.

God was patient with His vine, but, seeing this bad result, He had to resign Himself to destroying it.




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Revelation 14:18

Thrust in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

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Revelation 22:11,12

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still. (...)

And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

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God will wait for the grapes of the earth to be fully ripe before beginning the vintage.

Marked by an absolute refusal to repent, this point of no return will lead God to abandon men to the fate they have chosen.




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Amos 8:1,2

Thus has the Lord God showed to me: and behold a basket of summer fruit.

And He said, «Amos, what see you?»

And I said, «A basket of summer fruit.»

Then said the Lord to me, «The end is come on My people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.»

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The grapes of the great vintage, just like Amos’ basket of fruit, indicate that men have reached the close of probation, and that their stubborn refusal to repent and to follow God’s will has finally cost them eternal life.




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Joel 3:13,19

Come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. (...)

Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.

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Revelation 6:10

How long, O Lord, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

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And the juice of the grapes represents the wicked’s blood which will be shed, as a response for innocent blood they have shed throughout centuries.




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Revelation 14:19

And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine press of the wrath of God.

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Isaiah 28:21,22

The Lord shall rise up, (...) that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.

Now therefore be you not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined on the whole earth.

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How will the vintage take place, this sad event, this work of God which the prophet Isaiah described as a «strange work», a «strange act»?




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Joel 3:13-16

Put you 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.

The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake.

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Immediately after the great harvest, a terrifying spectacle will take place on earth, filling men with an indescribable fear.




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Isaiah 63:1,2

«Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?

- I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.

- Why are You red in Your apparel, and Your garments like him that treads in the winefat?»

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This terrifying spectacle is symbolized by the coming of a Man who «speaks in righteousness», and who is «mighty to save».

This Man is clothed with red garments, just as if He had trod the grapes of the vintage in a winepress.




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Isaiah 63:3,4,6

I have trodden the wine press alone; and of the people there was none with Me.

For I will tread them in My anger, and trample them in My fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled on My garments, and I will stain all My raiment.

For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed is come. (...)

And I will tread down the people in My anger.

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This Man, who is Jesus Christ, explains that «the year of His redeemed is come.»

So, the time has also come to tread the wicked in His wrath, the wrath of the Lamb.

This is why Jesus’ garments are red.




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Revelation 19:11,13,15

I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war. (...)

And He was clothed with a clothing dipped in blood. (...)

And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron.

And He treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

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In our lesson «The Faithful and True Rider», we have seen a similar vision, that is, the return of Jesus, clothed in red garments, treading the unrepentant nations in «the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.»




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Revelation 14:19,20 [NKJV]

So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

And the winepress was trampled outside the city.

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The prophecy of the vintage specifies that the winepress will be trampled «outside the city».

What does that mean?




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Hebrews 13:11-13 [NKJV]

The bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp.

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.

Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.

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«The winepress trampled outside the city» indicates that the wicked will not know a more dignified fate than did Jesus, who was crucified outside the city of Jerusalem like a common criminal.




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Revelation 14:20

And the wine press was trodden without the city.

And blood came out of the wine press, even to the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

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Although the vintage will be universal, the prophecy speaks of 1600 furlongs, which represents only 185 miles (300 kilometers).

So the number 1600 necessarily means more than a simple quantity, as we have seen in the lesson «How to Study Prophecy».

In fact, 1600 is the result of 4 x 4 x 100. Let’s remember that the number 144,000, also mentioned in Revelation chapter 14, is the result of 12 x 12 x 1000.

Now, the comparison of these two numbers reveals a very interesting symbolism...




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The numbers 144,000 and 1,600 mean much more than just a simple quantity




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2 Thessalonians 2:8

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.

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Exodus 33:20

[The Lord] said,

«You can not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live.»

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So the vintage of Revelation chapter 14 symbolizes the destruction, at Jesus’ return, of all who rejected God’s offer of salvation.

Not being clothed with Jesus’s righteousness, they won’t be able to survive in His glorious presence, and will be killed by «the brightness of His coming.»




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Revelation 19:15,17,18

He treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (...)

And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the middle of heaven,

«Come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God; that you may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.»

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After the great vintage, the book of Revelation describes a great vulture feast.




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The rebellious men of the sixth seal will make up the birds’ meal




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Revelation 6:14

The heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together.

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Isaiah 34:4,8

The heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll. (...)

For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.

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Besides recalling the feast of the birds, the sixth seal, which ends with the terror of men confronted with the wrath of the Lamb, also refers to a passage in the book of Isaiah which explains that, after the great vintage, the earth will be left in a state of total desolation.

Let's read this passage.




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The earth will be in a state of total desolation, after God’s wrath:

«For the indignation of the Lord is on all nations, and His fury on all their armies: He has utterly destroyed them, He has delivered them to the slaughter.

Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll. (...) For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance. (...)

The owl also and the raven shall dwell in [Edom]. And He shall stretch out on it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness. They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing.

And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.

There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered.» (Isaiah 34:2-4,8,11-15)




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Jeremiah 4:23,25-27

I beheld the earth, and, see, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. (...)

I beheld, and, see, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.

I beheld, and, see, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by His fierce anger.

For thus has the Lord said, «The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.»

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The book of Jeremiah confirms that, at the time of the wrath of God, the earth will be totally desolate, but won’t be completely destroyed.




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Revelation 19:21; 20:1-3

All the fowls were filled with their flesh.

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled.

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The earth will remain desolate for a period of a thousand years.

These thousand years will be the subject of a future lesson.




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Isaiah 45:21,22

There is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside Me.

Look to Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth!

For I am God, and there is none else.

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At first sight, the prophecy of the vintage may seem incompatible with a loving God.

But we must remember that God is also a righteous God, and that He cannot leave sin unpunished.

His immense love for each one of us expresses itself today, as He offers us salvation in His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, so that our sins may be forgiven.




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Matthew 13:40-43

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.

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

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God invites us to accept His salvation, so that we may be among «the righteous who shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.»




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Let’s pray:

Lord,

The vintage of Revelation chapter 14 bears a hard message.

But this prophecy makes us realize the terrible consequences of sin, and the importance of the salvation You offer us in Jesus Christ.

Please give us a new zeal and enthusiasm, so that, by sharing the good news of Your salvation around us, we may bring as many people as possible to take part in the forthcoming great harvest, and not in the vintage.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Savior we pray.

Amen.


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