Summary: Message 25 in our exposition of Revelation. This message explores the bowl Judgments in 14-26.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
“Angels and the 7 Bowl judgments” Revelation 14-16
I. PROLOGUE 1:1-20 (Things you have seen)
II. Messages to the Seven churches 2-3 (Things with are)
III. Last Days 4-22 (Things which are about to take place)
A. Heavenly worship around the throne 4-5
B. The Seven seals 6:1-8:1
C. The Seven Trumpets 8-11
D. Interlude 12-14
1. The Pregnant Woman and the Great Red Dragon 12:1-6
2. Great War In Heaven (Battle royal) 12:7-17
3. Two Beasts Rising 13:1-18
4. The Lamb and the 144,000 14:1-5
5. The seven angels from heaven 14:6-20
a. 1st angel proclaims the gospel to every nation 14:6-7
b. 2nd Angel announces Babylon’s fall. 14:8
c. 3rd angel pronounces judgment on the followers of Antichrist 14:9-13
d. 4th Angel on a cloud with a sharp sickle 14:14
Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.
This is a difficult passage. Who is this figure? Many identify him as Jesus. I have a bit of difficulty given the angel in verse 15 instructs him to go to work. John recognized Jesus several times already. He does not identify Jesus in majestic terms as before. The next angel is called “another angel” comparing him to the previous figure which I think was an angel. It is all angels performing this particular mission why would this be an exception. Whoever this being is, he has authority to execute judgment on the earth’s inhabitants.
e. 5th Angel calls for the reaping 14:15-16
And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe." 16 Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.
The fifth angel calls for the being on the cloud to harvest the wicked from the earth.
f. 6th angel with a second sickle 14:17
And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle.
The fourth angel is joined by a sixth angel who comes out of the temple to help with the harvest.
g. 7th angel instructs the 6th angel to gather the harvest
Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe." 19 So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 20 And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses' bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles. Revelation 14:18-20
A seventh angel coming out from the altar then issues the go-ahead to gather the harvest.
Maybe this is the special angel ministering to the martyred saints under the altar. Now is the time. Operation sickle is a “go.”
We end this vision with a second harvesting picture.
First John used the image of a grain harvest.
Here we find the image of a grape harvest.
The grapes are gathered and then stomped. Together the point is the harvesting of the wicked and wickedness beginning with the fall of the driving force Babylon and ending with those who indulged in her godless philosophy and lifestyle. The description of blood flowing 4.5 feet deep for 200 miles serves to illustrate that God’s judgment is extensive and horrific. The actual execution of this judgment will find even greater detail in the following seven bowl judgments about to be poured out by angels on the inhabitants of the earth and the earth itself.
What is this “harvest”? Not to get lost in the details, I think we have here a general observation of the angel’s participation in the final judgment. We have already seen massive death from plagues and catastrophic natural disasters. This reaping represents the final purging of all the wicked from the earth.
E. Seven Bowl Judgments 15-16
1. Announcement and preparation for the final judgments
Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished. Revelation 15:1
John introduces another vision session. He appears to return to the chronology left off with the last trumpet judgment. His last vision focused on an earthly perspective. Now he switches back relating the heavenly perspective. He saw seven angels who supervise the execution of the last of the plagues to complete the expression of the last of God’s wrath. Along with the angels, John saw and heard survivors and overcomers of the wrath of the Antichrist.