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 Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 64) (Verses 14-20)

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 64) (Verses 14-20)   Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:04 pm

Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 64) (Verses 14-20)

I concluded the last lesson thinking that we should next discuss the Old Testament rules that will be reestablished post-Rapture, but halfway in, I realized that much of it is covering the Millennium period. So I’ll defer this topic until we get to the Millennium. So here, we are picking back up in Revelation 14. Just an FYI: on 1/22/2018, I did a semi-massive edit to lesson 61 for better clarification. I recommend that if you read it before that date that it might be worthwhile to revisit it.

The first thing I should mentioned regarding our text today that I overlooked the first time we covered it is that the angels are the sickle that Jesus uses to gather His people. It is not evident here in Revelation 14, but we studied in Matthew 13 and 24 of this same event, that the angels are the harvesters. I’ll simply quote Revelation 14:14, but then pick back up at verse 15. Verse 14 says, “I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a Son of man” with a crown of gold on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. Verse 15: “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.’” Recall that a sickle separates wheat from the chaff. This sickle that Jesus uses to reap with is His angels. They will be the ones who will gather, or collect the good harvest, which is the saved from the face of the Earth. We mentioned that there will be a standing temple during the Tribulation period (there will be a separate one during the Millennium). But during the Tribulation period, there is a temple on Earth and a temple in Heaven (as there is a temple in Heaven right now. The things in the Old Testament represent what is currently in Heaven). The temple referred to here is the one in Heaven. Verse 17 will verify that as a second angel, it says, steps out of the temple “in Heaven”.

Verse 16 says, “So He who was seated on the cloud swung His sickle over the Earth, and the Earth was harvested.” Now that the Earth is harvested of all authentic Christians, there will be no more Christians on Earth until Revelation 19:14. The door for salvation is once again shut as in the days of Noah when the Ark door was shut by God. This is the final rapture that the bible records.

Before moving to verse 17, let’s look at 2 passages that relate to this moment. Zechariah 13:7-9 is the first. Verse 7 says, “‘Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me!’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones.’” We understand that the shepherd getting stuck here refers to Jesus Christ at the Cross. The “little ones” are the Jews who scattered away from God after the Shepherd got struck. They fell away because they did not accept the Messiah. The consequence is that God’s hand of wrath and rejection turned on His own people, the Jews. So in this verse alone, we have the Cross and the Day of Grace period where the Jews rejected the Messiah, but the Gentiles were engrafted in through their faith in the Messiah.

Verses 8-9 say, “‘In the whole land,’ declares the LORD, ‘two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’” This short passage that I extracted all refers to the Jews. Verses 8-9 specifically refer to the Tribulation period. The 144,000 Jewish Christians will make up part of the one-third that survives. This does not refer to the Holocaust because those survivors did not turn to the Messiah and accept Him. This passage says that the survivors will accept Jesus Christ and be saved. So this has not occurred yet. This regards the future and will occur sometime just before or during the Tribulation. It just happens that Hitler did extirpate one third of the Jews living in the Soviet Union (France lost about 25 percent of its Jewish population, and Italy about 20 percent). Hitler was a precursor of the Tribulation period where it won’t be one third that perishes this time, but rather, 2 thirds, and one third will survive. Today there are 6.5 million Jews in the world. This prophecy says that 2/3rd of them will be struck down. So if the Tribulation were to start tomorrow, then within those 7 years, two thirds that get struck down would equal to 4,333,333.33 Jews. The one third that survives and gets saved would equal 2,166,667 Jews. We know that 144,000 Jews are included in the number who gets saved, which means that they would have converted about 2,022,667 Jews to Christianity. That is pretty good for only a 3 year span to do Kingdom work. That means they will be working really diligently during the Tribulation. That’s just the number of Jews who convert during that time, not to mention the non-Jews who convert to Christianity that are not included in this number. But at the same time, that is a lot of Jews who will perish at that time for never having accepted the Messiah that God sent them.

The other passage that I want to quickly look at that relates to where we are is found in Isaiah 19:19-25. Among the new Christian converts during the day of Tribulation will not only include one third of the Jews, but a huge portion of the new converts will come from Egypt and Assyria. We will look at the passage in Isaiah soon, but first let us consider a few facts. The population in Egypt today is about 80 million people. Eight to 12 percent are purported Christian. Muslims account for about 88 percent of the population in Egypt. Keep in mind, that the Rapture will take away the Christians, leaving only Muslims at the beginning of the Tribulation. Assyria is similar. Biblical day Assyria spans across current day Iraq, Iran, Southeastern Turkey and Eastern Syria, mostly Muslim peoples. Again, the Rapture will take any of the few Christians that might be dispersed throughout, but at the Tribulation, nearly all who begin the Tribulation will consist exclusively of Muslim people. So this passage in Isaiah will show us that during the first 3 years of the Tribulation period, many Muslims will find Christ at the last moment and become saved, but nearly all will come from only Egypt and Assyria (biblical day Assyria—we are sticking with the geographical layout of the world from the bible’s perspective in its day).

Let’s start at Isaiah 19:18. It says, “In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty. One of them will be called the City of Destruction.” The language of Canaan was divided into two subsets and can refer to either the Northwest Semitic language or the Aramaic language. Both were spoken by the Israelites during New Testament times. This verse says that one of these five cities will be given a nickname. Something disastrous must have happened to this city for it to get a nickname of the “City of Destruction.” God is going to reveal Himself during the Tribulation period with signs and wonders from Heaven. Most Muslims today know about the Old Testament plagues of the bible and will see many of those things occurring during the Tribulation. And it seems, if we are allowed to extrapolate our sanctified imagination, that God is going to do some miraculous plague or judgment to one of these five cities to make all 5 realize the True God and repent and submit to Jesus Christ. God can bring nations to their knees through plagues and destruction. I must interject a concession: Most Hebrew manuscripts for this verse say “City of Destruction”, particularly the Masoretic Text; but some manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, along with the Dead Sea Scrolls and Latin Vulgate read, “Heliopolis”, instead of “City of Destruction”. Heliopolis means “City of the Sun.” Moreover, just an FYI: this fact favors Heliopolis as being the original name because with the earliest manuscripts, if there are a few that read one way, and a majority that reads another, not always, but often the original one penned by the actual prophet is the text with the few duplicates. My next concession: The fact that the alternative is “Heliopolis” actually favors the “City of Destruction” in this case. Heliopolis was a real city in ancient Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Heliopolis. This passage is a prophecy of a future event and says that this particular city will be given a new nickname. About half of our English translations translated this as the “City of Destruction”, the other half chose to translate it as “Heliopolis” or “the City of the Sun.” But enough of that... The big takeaway from verse 18 is that these 5 cities will swear allegiance to the LORD during the Tribulation. They will know and serve the true God, which is the God of Christianity.

Verse 19 in Isaiah 19 says, “In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border.” Verse 20: “It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, He will send them a savior and defender, and He will rescue them.” The bible says elsewhere that there will be no war during the Millennium, for they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks during the Millennium. So verse 19, which refers to oppressors, logically means that we are in the Tribulation period here. This is post-Rapture because this has not happened yet in Egypt. There is no altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt today, nor a monument to the LORD at its border. If not for this passage in Isaiah, it would seem as though, by looking through the Old Testament that God completely turned away from Egypt. He even told His own people to never go back to Egypt nor rely on them during time of war. But during the Tribulation period, many Egyptians will find Christ and be in righteous standing before the Lord. We see here that they will not be without persecution. They will be persecuted. But when they are persecuted, God will hear their cries and send a savior to rescue them. This is similar to the period of the book of Judges where whenever God’s people got oppressed, they would cry out and God would send them a savior in the form of a Judge who would battle their enemies and rescue them. Unfortunately, according to the book of Judges, it would not take long for the rescued people to turn back to their evil ways, and then God would send them oppression again, and then they would cry out again from the new oppression from which God would send them another Judge to again save them.

Verse 21 says, “So the LORD will make Himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them.” Here, these people will offer sacrifices and grain offerings to the Lord just like the good old days of the Old Testament. These will be committed and sincere Christians, for it says that not only will they make vows to the LORD, but they will keep them. Worship is often heightened to the next level when God reveals Himself and also when there is persecution. Interestingly, God revealed Himself to the Egyptians through Moses thousands of years ago, and in spite of seeing God’s signs and wonders firsthand, they still rejected Him and continued serving their false gods. This time they will put away all false gods and serve the one true God. Verse 22 says, “The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; He will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and He will respond to their pleas and heal them.” This may be a reference to the one city out of the five that is named “City of Destruction.” It may be, as we earlier surmised, that God will strike the one city with a miraculous plague, but then that city, along with four others will realize the hand of God and repent. And again, this will not be the first time that God strikes Egypt with a plague, but the first time, in the days of Moses, they did not respond appropriately, but the second time, during the Tribulation, they will.

Verse 23 says, “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together.” And verse 24: “In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the Earth.” Finally, verse 25: “The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.’” There will be hope for Egypt and Assyria during the Day of Tribulation. We do not know how many will get saved from these countries, but it suggests that a good number of them will understand the times and the source of the tribulation and repent and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. But the sad thing is that we will only have three countries that will respond and repent during the Tribulation period: Egypt, Assyria, and Israel. God often works in threes. It may be of some consolation to understand that Assyria back then when this prophecy was uttered, makes up several counties today, which we named earlier. So there will be some hope for Muslims during the Tribulation period. There are plenty of Muslim countries that do not allow for Christianity to be preached in their country. Jesus said that when His Gospel is preached in all places, then the end will come. Today, to preach Jesus in certain Muslim countries is asking for certain death. Somehow during the Tribulation period, the word about grace and salvation in Christ will get out to these nations that ban Christ today. All who get saved here (from Egypt, Assyria, and Israel) are raptured off of the Earth at Revelation 14:16. And by the way, we have here the big 3 countries that will respond to Christ during the Tribulation—note that America is not one of the three.

Let’s pick back up with Revelation 14:17. It says, “Another angel came out of the temple in Heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle.” This verse clarifies that this angel comes out of the temple located in Heaven, not the one on Earth built by the hands of man. It is very likely therefore, that the first occurrence of the first angel in verse 15 came out of this same temple. Nevertheless, this is a religious judgment as it is dealing with the God’s temple. The temple in Heaven is judging the temple on Earth. Verse 16 took away all Christians from the Earth, but the angels are still harvesting. Now they are collecting the religious people who claim to worship Jesus but aren’t. Verse 18 says, “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.’” Sickles are used to separate things for gathering, but the good harvest was already taken away in the previous verses. Here, the angel is using his sickle to separate the religious people who are not saved, but look saved, from the rest of the sinners who are obviously not saved. God is going to literally squash those who appear saved, but are not, and let the rest of the obvious sinners live on for a little while longer.

It is interesting that this angel has “charge of the fire” and he too comes out of the temple. Priests in the Old Testament were given charge of the fire. This angel has priestly duties. Leviticus 8-13 speaks of God’s prescription for the burnt offerings. Verses 8-9 say, “The LORD said to Moses: ‘Give Aaron and his sons this command: ‘These are the regulations for the burnt offerings: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar.” We see here that the animal is to be kept on the altar until morning, but the fire is supposed to be continuously burning. I’ll skip to verse 12, which says, “The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.’” It seems Hebrews wasn’t kidding when it said that the things of the Old Testament are copies, or representations of what is in Heaven (Hebrews 9:23). It is quite fascinating to me to find that some angels in Heaven serve as priests.

Back to Revelation 14: Verse 19 says, “The angel swung his sickle on the Earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath.” Verse 20: “They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.” This doesn’t give precise details, but something is going to happen that will literally crush these religious people and spill much blood.

Isaiah 34:6 says, “The sword of the LORD is bathed in blood, it is covered with fat—the blood of lambs and goats, fat from the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in Edom.” There are 2 things that are interesting in this verse. It references the blood of lambs, goats, and fat from rams, which is all religious stuff but symbolizes people. It is dealing with the religious order. Secondly, the word Bozrah in Hebrew, means, “grape-gathering.” The territory of ancient Edom is today located in the Jordan. Edom came from Esau’s descendants, out of which came the Philistines.

Joel 3:13 says, “Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow—so great is their wickedness!”

Whatever happens to these people, it will be filled with much bloodshed. It says that their blood covered a distance of 1,600 stadia. That is about 180 miles, which is roughly the size of Palestine. Not only is the distance great, but it also says that the height is as high as a horse’s bridle. A reasonable approximation for the average height for a horse’s bridle is about 5 feet, or maybe 4 feet for an ancient horse. There are only about 5 liters of blood in an adult human. Some who try to calculate how much blood, and hence people we are talking about assume a radius. The text doesn’t state that it is dealing with a radius (or some circular form); nor do we have a width. Either a radius must be assumed or a width must be given in order to calculate this. If a radius is assumed, then for a 5 foot bridle on a horse would work out to an exaggerated amount of blood. Furthermore, a winepress is not a lake or circular, therefore there would be no circumference. So the missing width does not allow us to calculate this, but we do understand that this passage is describing a lot of blood spilt.

The entire Earth is now harvested. It is harvested of all Christians and non-Christians who claimed to be Christian. Now God is going to deal with all false gods and atheists in the following chapters. The last thing I want to mention is that Revelation 14:17-20 was just the sentencing hearing and partial judgment. Their verdict does not get carried out until Revelation 20. Their physical bodies are destroyed in Revelation 14, but their souls will be later committed to Hell in Revelation 20 when God gathers all the dead of the Earth.

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Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 64) (Verses 14-20)
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