Angelic Gardeners

The first entry in this series can be found here.
The previous entry can be found here.

In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus tells an interesting parable.

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. The landowner’s slaves came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’

“ ‘An enemy did this!’ he told them.

“ ‘So, do you want us to go and gather them up?’ the slaves asked him.

“ ‘No,’ he said. ‘When you gather up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but store the wheat in my barn.’ ”

He later explains it as follows:

“The One who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world; and the good seed—these are the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Therefore, just as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather from His kingdom everything that causes sin and those guilty of lawlessness. They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Anyone who has ears should listen!”

Matthew 13:37-43

In our passage today, John uses very similar imagery to describe the harvest at the end of the age:

Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and One like the Son of Man was seated on the cloud, with a gold crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. Another angel came out of the sanctuary, crying out in a loud voice to the One who was seated on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap, for the time to reap has come, since the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So the One seated on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

Then another angel who also had a sharp sickle came out of the sanctuary in heaven. Yet another angel, who had authority over fire, came from the altar, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from earth’s vineyard, because its grapes have ripened.” So the angel swung his sickle toward earth and gathered the grapes from earth’s vineyard, and he threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. Then the press was trampled outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press up to the horses’ bridles for about 180 miles.

Revelation 14:14-20

Last week we saw three angels. This week we see three more. We see “another angel [who] came out of the sanctuary,” we see “another angel who also had a sharp sickle,” and we see “yet another angel, who had authority over fire.” In between these two groups of three angels each, we are introduced to “One like the Son of Man.” This must refer to Jesus, and as such, makes seven heavenly beings present at this point in the text. Seven is the number of perfection (cf. Revelation 1:4, 12, 16, 20; Revelation 2-3; Revelation 4:5; Revelation 5:1), and the existence of seven spiritual beings here (in Revelation 14:6-20) potentially indicates the perfection of time. “The harvest of the earth is ripe” (cf. Joel 3:13).

But it is worth pointing out that the heavenly being between the first three and the last three is Jesus. Jesus is “the Son of Man.” And interestingly, this is exactly how Jesus described Himself in Matthew 13:37–in relation to the harvest at the end of the age.

However, given the multiplicity of angels in this section of our text, the outline will follow the same theme as last week. First, we will look at the angel and the wheat; next we will look at the angel and the grapes.

The Angel and the Wheat

Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and One like the Son of Man was seated on the cloud, with a gold crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. Another angel came out of the sanctuary, crying out in a loud voice to the One who was seated on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap, for the time to reap has come, since the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So the One seated on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

Revelation 14:14-16

The one in charge of gathering Christians is Jesus. An angel calls for Him to reap, but Jesus is the One holding the sickle, and He is the One who reaps the harvest of the earth. Given the similarity in the passage in Matthew (and the existence here of an angel) it could be safe to infer that Jesus uses angels to help Him reap the earth.

If we remember back to last week’s passage, it ended with a word of comfort from the Holy Spirit. “Yes, let them rest from their labors, for their works follow them!” (14:13). It is here–when Christ reaps the believers from the earth that this happens. Once believers are safely stored in heaven–on Mount Zion (cf. 14:1-5) in the arms of the Lamb–they can finally rest.

However, this is not the whole passage. It is important to note that simultaneously to believers being reaped for eternal blessing, unbelievers are being reaped for eternal cursing. The differentiation between the two passages (grouped in verses 14-16 and 17-20) clearly show that God makes a distinction between those who are His and those who are not.

I pray that the following verses would convince you to join God’s people by faith today!

The Angel and the Grapes

Then another angel who also had a sharp sickle came out of the sanctuary in heaven. Yet another angel, who had authority over fire, came from the altar, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from earth’s vineyard, because its grapes have ripened.” So the angel swung his sickle toward earth and gathered the grapes from earth’s vineyard, and he threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. Then the press was trampled outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press up to the horses’ bridles for about 180 miles.

Revelation 14:17-20

The parallel here with Jesus’ parable in Matthew 13 is astounding.

The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather from His kingdom everything that causes sin and those guilty of lawlessness. They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13:41-42

In Revelation, it reads, “he threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath,” and in Matthew, it reads, “They will throw them into the blazing furnace.” In Revelation, it is singular because one angel is standing in for many (much like books made into movies often combine a few characters into one character). But the “winepress of God’s wrath” is just another way to describe “the blazing furnace.” Hell is described in many ways–especially in Revelation–so if you think fire is cool, there’s something else that Bible says about hell that should terrify you. What it is, only you can know, but the point is clear: Trust God today!

According to Scripture, Jesus drank the wrath of God so you could escape His wrath. Jesus took your place. He took the punishment your sin deserved. And He rose from the grave to prove to you that death isn’t the scariest thing anymore. Getting trampled in the winepress of God’s wrath is actually the most terrifying thing now.

Don’t go another day without trusting in Jesus.

I’m begging you!

In this with you.

Soli Deo Gloria
Sola Fide
Solus Christus
Sola Scriptura

Thanks for reading.

The next entry can be found here.


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