I am not reading this next passage as bad news. Some will and they interpret it with a far greater degree of theology than I have! But this morning I don’t read it as judgment but as joy. So here it is:
“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. 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.” 16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. 17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 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.” 19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. 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.”(Revelation 14 v 14-20)
What we have read so far through this vision is that John is writing to those who suffer as Christians and says salvation comes through suffering and persecution needs patient endurance, we are in a battle but don’t give up, it will all be worth it.
Here comes Jesus, the son of man. Also an angel.
In chapter 13 God’s people were instructed not to worship the beast.
In chapter 15 we will see them worshipping on the sea of glass.
How did they move between those 2 events? Chapter 14, where they are being harvested.
Harvest and reaping is joyful!
But this harvesting is with blood. But whose blood?
The wrath of God is seen in the collision with salvation on the cross of blood and it is the same for our lives. This is Jesus blood. The honour is that it is also the martyr’s blood, the blood of suffering.
Where did this happen? ‘Outside the city’. Where was Jesus crucified? Where was the first martyr Stephen’s death? ‘Outside the city’
This is the blood of suffering, but it is the blood of salvation and the blood of following Jesus.
Reaping is always for keeping never for wasting. This blood will be drunk by the beast worshippers. Yes it will be for judgment eventually, but not here, not on this day of harvesting. God will bring us home. God will turn heartache and suffering into joy.
And the blood? There’s 200 miles of it! Symbolic I am sure. John saw tonnes of blood.
What does it mean? There’s enough blood! The blood is enough!