A RIPE HARVEST
Lord Jesus, I choose You. Be the first goal, the main reason the primary agenda I have in my life.
Read REVELATION 14:14–20
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The early Christians did not blast away at other religions. They simply made the ultimate claim for Jesus as the Son of God with everything that was in them” (Michael Green).
From the death of the saints, we move to the final ingathering of the completed church of Jesus Christ. For the “firstfruits” (4), harvest time has come. Jesus is depicted as the one who carries out this harvest, picking up the language of Daniel (7:13,14) and Joel (3:13). The picture of the ingathering of wheat is familiar from the gospels (Matt. 13:30), but commentators are less united on the grape harvest—some seeing it as the harvest of the church but others of judgment on sinners. G. B. Caird sees the blood that is shed as that of the martyrs whose death adds to the wrath of God on the followers of the beasts. He writes that John “has achieved yet another rebirth of images… [that] can transform even the shambles of martyrdom into a glorious harvest-home.”
It is a great encouragement to the beleaguered church to see the activity of Jesus himself gathering in his people. The fact that he needs to be told that the time has arrived accords well with his own words that this time is known only to the Father (Mark 13:32), who here dispatches an angel to tell him. Revelation continually has this dual theme of the safety and security of the believers in the hands of Christ and the reality of suffering and death as the end of all things approaches.
We must hold these themes in tension, just as we look at the death of Jesus in terms both of his sufferings and the joy of our salvation. The joy set before us is not worthy of comparing with the sufferings of the present time—but we should prepare for the reality of suffering!
Do you feel the end of the world is close at hand? Why or why not? How does this affect your life?
Father, use me and all Your servants to help reap the harvest at this time.
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