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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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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."

  • 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. – user862 Jan 25 '13 at 5:45
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Re Rev 14:15 & 16 There is no mention of judgement in this reaping.At the time ordained the Lord will come for his church. No man knows the day nor the hour of the Lord's coming.(Matthew 24:36). However we do know that we are living in the very end of this dispensation in the time of the termination of God's timeclock for the setting up of Christ's kingdom.He is just waiting for the "green light", for the Father to give the signal.The alert Christian will heed the Lord's warning: "Watch therefore for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come ." Matthew 24:42 The second reaping re Rev 14: 17 - 20 is the pouring out of God's wrath upon the wicked of the earth who are referred to as the vine of the earth.See Deuteronomy 32:32 "For their vine is of the vine of Sodom ---" In John 15:1 We read the words of Jesus : "I am the true vine and my Father is the husbandman ".Jesus is the heavenly vine and he invites those who have accepted him to become fruit bearing branches V2. To do that we must be clean through the listening of and reading his Word V3 and abide in Jesus V4.That is to be fully surrended to his will, and walking in the truth of the Word of God. Jesus said : " I am the vine , ye are the branches" V5 Therefore the vine of the earth would be opposite to the vine Jesus.It would have partaken of the fruits that are of the world and the evil systems of the world and therefore would have rejected Jesus and his way. Re Rev 14.:19 & 20 symbolises the terrible slaughter that will be the portion of the inhabitants of the earth who reject the great salvation that is of Jesus.

  • Hello dennis, welcome to BHSE, glad to have you with us. If you haven't already, please make sure to take our tour, to see how we are a little different from other sites you may know. Thanks! (hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour) – sara Oct 6 '19 at 7:11

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