Summary: The Grape Harvest
Revelation 14:17-20, “17After that, another angel came from the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18Then another angel, who has power to destroy the world with fire, shouted to the angel with the sickle, "Use your sickle now to gather the clusters of grapes from the vines of the earth, for they are fully ripe for judgment." 19So the angel swung his sickle on the earth and loaded the grapes into the great winepress of God’s wrath. 20And the grapes were trodden in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles long and as high as a horse’s bridle.”
This judgment refers to the grape harvest and does not speak of the bowl judgments but of the Battle of Armageddon. The vintage judgment is more dramatic because of the imagery of the winepress. Like the vision of the grain harvest, the grape harvest can be described in three points: the reaper, the ripeness, and the reaping.
Revelation 14:17, “After that, another angel came from the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle.”
Another angel is not the Lord Jesus, but another angel the fifth one here recorded. Like the fourth angel this angel came from the Temple in heaven and also this angel also had a sharp sickle. We have seen quite a bit regarding angels in this context of our study of Revelation. We have seen them call the four horseman, sounding the seven trumpets, and defeating Satan and his demon hosts. Yet Angels will continue to play an important role in pouring out the seven bowl judgments in Chapter 16, announcing the battle of Armageddon (19:17), and bind Satan (20:13). That an angel is pictured in this vision as the reaper, then, is not surprising. The Son of Man will be assisted by holy angels in His final judgment (Matthew 13:39,49; 2 Thess 1:7).
Revelation 14:18, “Then another angel, who has power to destroy the world with fire, shouted to the angel with the sickle, "Use your sickle now to gather the clusters of grapes from the vines of the earth, for they are fully ripe for judgment."”
Yet another angel the sixth one in this chapter is here shown. This angel is given an interesting distinction as who has power to destroy the world with fire which for us has a very significant influence from the intertestamental literature specifically from the writing of Malachi to Matthew that is. Angels are assigned to the various elements of nature. Enoch speaks of the angels of thunder, sea, hail, snow rain and so on (1 Enoch 60:11-21; Jub 2:2). John has in mind here is the angel of 8:3-5 who filled the censer with fire from the altar and cast it upon the earth. Fire is commonly associated with judgment in the NT (Matthew 18:8; Luke 9:54; 2 Thess 1:7). Swete points out, “The angel who had charge of the fire commands the angel with the sharp sickle to gather the vintage. This follows closely the parallel command in the previous vision to reap the harvest of the earth. Joel 3:14 is our model for both. Like the grain that has turned golden and must now be harvest immediately the grapes are fully ripe.”