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In Revelation 14:15-16, at seemingly the end of the age, we have this scene:

Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. (NIV)

But then immediately in 17-19 we read about another harvest:

Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. (NIV)

If the whole earth is harvested in verses 15-16, then why is there a second harvest in 17-19? Are these the same harvest pictured twice? If so, to what end? Or are they do different harvests of two different things?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

It seems as though each sickle is intended to reap a different thing. John Gill astutely observes that the first sickle (Rev. 14:16) was thrust "upon the earth" (ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν), while the second sickle (Rev. 14:19) was thrust "into the earth" (εἰς τὴν γῆν). This distinction, he says, is because the wheat is on the earth, but does not belong to it. On the other hand, the vine is of the earth, rooted in it, and natural to it.

One may think the "vine" would be a reference to Christians (i.e., the saved; the elect), according to John 15:1-5. But, one must understand that an object can be used in different contexts to refer to diametrically opposed things (e.g., leaven: Luke 12:1 cp. Matt. 13:33). In his lexicon, regarding the word ἄμπελος in Rev. 14:18-19, Joseph Henry Thayer notes that it "signifies the enemies of Christ, who, ripe for destruction, are likened to clusters of grapes, to be cut off, thrown into the wine-press, and trodden there."

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great and concise answer! – Nikos Jan 25 '13 at 0:21
Can you see similarities with this 2nd one and Gehenna? – Nikos Jan 25 '13 at 0:36
@Nikos: Not really. I think it's referring to the wrath of God that He will inflict upon the unrighteous on the earth in the last days. Of course, after that, the dead unrighteous will be in Geihinnam for eternity unless somehow they repent, but I don't know if that would happen. In any case, hope that answers your question. – Simply a Christian Jan 25 '13 at 5:45
thanks, makes sense! – Nikos Jan 25 '13 at 13:18

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