Revelation Chapter Fourteen Part III

144,000

Twelve Tribes

Revelation 14:14 “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.”

Many see this One sitting upon a cloud as Jesus Christ. There are numerous passages that support this idea. The following are some of those reasons to understand that the One sitting on the cloud is the Lord Jesus, Himself:

Jesus stated that when He returns, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Mat 24:30).

In our current verse, The One sitting upon the cloud is wearing a golden crown. A golden crown is indicative of a King who wields great power with great glory. Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords and sole Potentate over all creation (Tim 6:15,16; See also Mat 11:27; Col 1:16,17).

In Rev 1:4-7, we find the greeting the Apostle John wrote to the seven churches in Roman Asia. In that greeting John wrote this about the Lord Jesus: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

John is given a similar vision Rev 1:13. Here in our current verse we read, “one sat like unto the Son of Man” upon a cloud. In Rev 1:13 John also saw “one like unto the Son of Man” Who identified Himself as “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty,” in other words, Jesus Christ.

In the passage containing Ezekiel’s vision of the LORD, we read, “And above the firmament [a great cloud—Eze1:4] that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it” (Eze 1:26).

We read more about this event:

Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking” (Eze 1:28).

Again “one like the Son of Man” is seen “coming with the clouds” in Daniel:

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. {14} And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan 7:13-14)

In the New Testament we see Jesus being taken up in a cloud:

And when he [Jesus] had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. {10} And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; {11} Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).

Some understand this one sitting on a cloud to be simply an angel with the appearance of a man. Their reasoning is that an angel commands this one sitting on a cloud to reap; yet an angel could not command God the Son to do anything. Since an angel cannot command Jesus, the reasoning goes, this cannot be Jesus sitting on the cloud; it must be an angel having the appearance of a man.

However, if we look closely at that verse (Rev 14:15), it simply states that the angel cries out with a loud voice. It does not say that the angel commands the one sitting on the cloud, just that he tells him the time to do so has come. The angel crying out comes directly from the Temple of God (see Rev 11:19), thus he is simply the messenger that brings the tidings. The many passages where the Lord sits or rides upon the clouds far outweigh this passage in Rev 14:15.

Throughout the Scriptures, the clouds are almost always associated with the Lord God. The majority of passages absolutely are associated with God and His power. The only exceptions are the few passages that specifically represent the normal clouds in the skies. For examples of those times see Gen 9:13,14; 1 Kin 18:44, 45; Job 7:9; Ecc 11:3; etc. Given all the evidence above, we will proceed with the understanding that this One sitting on the cloud is none other than Jesus Christ our Lord.

Harvest and Vintage

Before we begin with the next section of Revelation chapter fourteen, which includes verses15-20, we must understand the harvest and the vintage, which is represented by the winepress.

In the Old Testament, the harvest normally refers to the normal seasonal harvest or gathering of the grain from the farm fields. Of course other fruits and vegetable are also part of the harvest, but the grain harvest is what is mainly in view in the Scriptures. The harvest normally provides for the well-being of the people.

Harvests are usually joyful occasions with music and dancing at prayerful thanksgiving to God. There are a few instances when the harvest refers directly to the punishment of the people (e.g. Joel 3:13; Jer 15:53), as well as indirect punishment, such as times of drought, enemy encroachment or locusts. Yet, by and large harvests in the Old Testament are beneficial occasions.

In the New Testament, harvests are almost always used metaphorically to describe the faithful to God, who are often referred to as the elect. Examples of the elect are, Mat 24:22, Mar 13:20, and 1 Pet 1:2. The exception is the time that Jesus refers to the world of unbelievers at fields white for harvest (Joh 4:35). Those unbelievers are ready to receive that Word and that Christians are the laborers that will go out into the world to preach the Gospel to them. The other New Testament examples of the harvest refer directly to believers.

Vintages are similar. In the Old Testament vintages usually refer to the normal seasonal grape harvest. Grape harvests and the treading of the grapes in the presses are normally joyous occasions. Again that is usually accompanied with mirth, singing, music dancing, and joy. The exceptions are drought, enemies, etc. There are occasions in the Old Testament when the treading of grapes in the winepress is used as a metaphor of God treading upon unbelievers in His wrath as punishment (e.g. Isa 63:3; Lam 1:15).

In the New Testament the King James Version and others do not use the word “vintage.” Winepress is used instead, and it always refers to God treading out His wrath on unbelievers.

Again, the harvest in the New Testament refers mostly to believers in Christ. See Mat 9:37-38, and Luke 10:2. There are verses in the New Testament that refer directly to the gathering of the saints to Christ at the end of the age:

In the parable of the wheat and the tares, the wheat refers to all Christians, both Jewish and Gentile, and the tares or weeds refer to unbelievers. The farmer planted good seed, but while he was sleeping, an enemy came in and scattered tare seeds in with the good seeds.

When the plants germinated, the field workers came to the farmer and asked if they should remove the tares. He told them no, that would uproot the wheat and to let them grow had at harvest they would separate the wheat from the tares, and then burn the tares. Jesus, in explaining the parable said that He, Jesus, is the sower, the fields are the world, and the devil sowed the tares (Mat 13:24-30).

Jesus said: “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Mat 13:40-43).

Jesus said this about the harvest, “So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come” (Mar 4:26-29). In this scripture ‘corn’ is the Jamesian English generic name for any type of grain. What Americans now call corn is what the Jamesian English termed ‘maize’. Many English folks still call it maize.

Revelation 14:15-16 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

As a reminder, this angel is not commanding the Lord; he came from the temple in heaven (Heb 8:1,2) where God the Father sits on His throne, with a message from the Father to the Son that this is the time for harvest.

This, the first angel, came from the Temple in heaven, which is the place where atonement comes from. As Hebrews tells us, “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:11-14).

Though the writer of Hebrews does not come right out and say it, he implies that Jesus sprinkled His own blood on the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple in heaven. Before Jesus’ advent, the High priest sprinkled the blood of bulls and goats on the Mercy Seat in the Temple on earth. This provided temporary (for a year) atonement for the people. The significance of the angel coming from the Temple is that he had the good news of the gathering of the saints to Jesus. Jesus, with his own blood entered into the Most Holy Place and obtained our eternal redemption.

Remember what Jesus told us about the day of His return? Matthew 24:36, Je said “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Here the Father tells the angel, who, like all angels, is a messenger, and the angel simply delivers the message to Christ that the time is right to gather the saints to Him. The angel told Him it was time to “Thrust in thy sickle, and reap…”

There are some commentators who say that there are two different types of sickle in view here. However, the word δρεπανον, drepanon is used in all instances of sickles in verses 15-19. In the Old Testament there are two types of sickles mentioned. There was the longer, curved flint or iron sickle with a wood or bone handle used specifically to harvest wheat and there was the shorter grape knife with a small handle on it specifically used to cut clusters of grapes from the vine.

However, the Scripture is decisive. While there may be different sickles or knives used in the actual harvesting of actual wheat and grapes, this is metaphorical data. We are not reading of real wheat and grapes; we are reading of real people that will one day be involved in this activity. There is a reason that the same sickle is used to gather His elect, and to reap the vintage in our passage.

The sickle here is the instrument of both salvation and judgement. The same instrument is used to harvest believers that is used to reap unbelievers. Thus the sickle here is similar to the Word of God which is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb 4:12)

The Word of God contains the Good News. It is the dividing point between believers and unbelievers. Therefore, the Word of God affects both believers giving them eternal life, and unbelievers, bringing judgement and death to them. That is what is in view in the two harvests here in this chapter.

The same could be said about the Gospel, which is recorded in the Word of God. The Gospel itself is responsible for both the salvation of believers and judgment of unredeemed unbelievers. The same Gospel that will allow believers in heaven is also the one that will send unbelievers to the lake of fire.

In verse 15 the wheat harvest is definitely in view. Again, we should understand that the word ‘corn’ in the KJV and other older versions is a generic word meaning many types of edible grain. It is still used that way in some commonwealth countries. In many modern Bible versions, it is often rendered ‘barley.’ However, the actual Greek word simply means a head of grain.

The word rendered ‘ripe’ in this verse in the KJV is actually the word “dried” in the Greek. Grain like wheat, oats, and barley is not harvested until the heads are dried. This in unlike the harvest of maize (modern corn), or sorghum. Those grains are not dried when harvested, they are allowed to dry after harvest.

Of course, sweet corn or maize is kept as fresh and moist as possible for human consumption. Wheat and barley must be dried in order to properly thresh the grain from the stalk. Since threshing takes place soon after harvest, the grain must be dried on the branch so to speak.

There are some commentators that state the dried heads represent the iniquity of the people of earth as it does in Joel 3:13. However the context in Joel is judgement against the nations, while the context here is twofold. One is that judgment of unbelievers is in view (Rev 14:8,9,10,11). The other is that believers and their redemption is also in view (Rev 14:4,5 6,12,13). The fact that we see “One like the Son of Man on a cloud just prior to harvesting the earth is the real clincher that the deliverance of believers is in view.

Remember that we know that Jesus will return with the clouds of heaven with power and great glory and send his angels to gather His elect from the entire earth unto Himself (Mat 24:30,31). This is corroborated by what the angels told the disciples at Jesus’ Ascension. They said that Jesus would return just as He left—in a cloud (Act 1:9,10,11). See also Mat 26:54; Mar 14:62; 1 Thes 14:7; Rev 1:7.

The children of God are compared to wheat in several scripture passages. The most well know is the parable of the wheat and tares in Mat 13:24-30 and 37-40. The wheat represents the children of God while the tares represent the children of the devil. According to Jesus Himself in Mat 13:38, the harvest refers to the gathering of the saints at the end of the age. In that same verse, Jesus also said that the good seed, that is the wheat (Mat 13:25), are the children of the kingdom. See also Mat 9:37,38; Mar 4:29; Luke 10:2; Joh 4:35.

Here in our verse we have a picture of the actual gathering of the saints to Christ, that is, the harvest, that occurs here at the end of the age. Let us once again recall that the book of Revelation is not a chronological representation of events. The events are illustrated systematically and in increasing detail by John, but not necessarily chronologically.

We therefore cannot say that this picture of the ingathering of the elect occurs at a specific point in time as related to the other events in Revelation; we can only accept that John is giving us a glimpse of the ultimate ingathering that fits the context of the current passage. According to the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, the ingathering takes place after the tribulation described in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 (see Mat 24:29,30,31; Mar 13:24,25,26,27; Luk 21:25,26,27,28).

Yet it is quite obvious that in Chapter 13, we saw the tribulation of the beast and false prophet against the elect (Rev 13:7). The context of the entire chapter fits what Christ told us about the end of the age in the Olivet Discourse: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Mat 24:21). (See also Dan 12:1; Joel 2:2; Mar 13:9; Luk 19:43-44; 21:24).

We can see that our current chapter is the continuation of the story told of the tribulation of the beast and false prophet in the last chapter. It is also another look at the chapter seven where the 144,000 were sealed by the angels prior to the opening of the seventh seal in chapter 8. Here the 144,000 stand in victory on with their Messiah on Mount Zion, the Place Yahweh chose for His own (Ps 68:16; 87:2; 132;13;). Additionally, in chapter 19, we also see the elect gathered again in heaven for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Therefore there is a larger chronology in the entire book of Revelation, but the chronology is interrupted in several places where the Apostle takes time to add things or to further describe things he has previously described. In other words the chronology is broken up by John’s recapitulation of previous visions.

Rev 14:16  And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

This is a picture of the gathering of the elect of Christ as we read in Mat 24:31, where Jesus reaps the harvest when He sends His angels to gather His elect “from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” There is another example of the gathering in Rev 18:4. In chapter 19, the elect that were delivered are gathered for the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:6,7). These are different perspectives of the same thing—the gathering of the saints to Christ.

Revelation 14:17-18 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. {18} And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

In verse 18, we find that the grapes are fully ripe. The Greek word here means that the grapes have reached maturity. Most grains are harvested when the fruit is dried to allow for threshing, but grapes are harvested when they are mature and succulent. Grapes must be juicy and moist so that when pressed, they will provide the juice necessary to make wine. Of course these are not really grapes. They are a metaphor for the sinners that had opportunity to turn from their sins but did not. In this context those are people that worshipped the beast (Rev14:6,7).

Now another angel comes out from the temple in heaven with a sickle. The first angel was a messenger from Yahweh to inform the One like unto the Son of Man seated upon the cloud that the time had come for the harvest of the Elect. This angel comes out with a sickle in his hand.

A third angel comes out from the altar. This is not the Altar of Incense (the Golden Altar), which was located inside the Holy Place. This is the Altar of Burnt Offerings where the animal sacrifices were burned, which was outside of the Temple Building. Fire from that altar was taken by an angel and poured out upon the earth in judgment in Revelation 8:5.

In Scripture, fire coming down from heaven is always a judgment of God against evildoers. This was seen when God rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:24); when God sent fire to consumed the altar of the prophets of Baal (1 Kin 18:38); when God will rain down fire on those that receive the mark of the beast (Rev 20:9); and the earth will be consumed with fire at the end of the age (2 Pet 3:7;10;12).

This angel, coming from the altar, tells the angel with the sickle to gather the vintage of the earth. This gathering will be for judgment. Fire being poured out on the earth in judgment is the significance of the angel coming from the altar of burnt offering. This angel is the same angel of judgment seen in chapter 8.

The clusters from the vine are gathered and cast into the winepress of the wrath of God. Isaiah wrote of the event: “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come” (Isa 63:3-4).

Revelation 14:19 “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.”

This is the actual act of gathering together all those living that are not believers in Christ. The vine of the earth is indicative of all the evil people that inhabit the earth when the angel gathers them and delivers them to God’s wrath. In this context, these are the people that worshipped the beast and have his mark.

As the grapes are placed in the winepress and are trampled by the feet of the workers to press the juice out of the grapes, so God, through Christ will figuratively tread the winepress of His judgment and great wrath that is kindled against unbelievers.

We see another scene of this action in Rev 17:14 and again in Rev 19:15. There we see the true Rider on the White Horse, which is Christ the Lord Himself, treading “the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Revelation 14:20 “And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”

A winepress in John’s era was either a circular or rectangular affair usually carved in stone with a port for the juice to run into a basin to catch the juice. Sometimes the winepress would be lined with mortar made with lime. The grapes were gathered and placed in the press and several people would climb barefoot into the press and stomp (tread) on the grapes, releasing their juice, which was drained out of the port into a basin.

The juice must be pressed out gently so the seeds will not be crushed for they are very bitter and would ruin the wine. That is why bare feet are used. They are firm enough to press the grapes but soft enough not to crush the seeds. This is the picture of God treading on evil people, venting His wrath.

In the song, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic1” we find this verse: “He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored,” That is a picture of what is going on here. The vintage of the earth is the people who have rejected Christ. They are gathered unto judgment which will be figuratively trodden by Christ (Rev 19:15).

Jesus was crucified outside of Jerusalem’s wall. Hebrews 13:11-16 explains:

“For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (see also Exo 29:14; Lev 4:21; 14:11-12; Num 15:32-36; 2 Kin 21:13; Act 7:58.

The winepress was trodden without the city

The Israelite camp in the wilderness, after God forgave the people from worshipping the golden calf was considered to be Holy (Exo 34:10). For more about this story, see “The Two Tabernacles of Moses.” The camp was holy because the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant were in the midst of the encampment (Num 2:17).

The city of Jerusalem is a holy city (Neh 11:1; Isa 5:21; Dan 9:16; Zec 8:3). Jerusalem was holy because Yahweh dwelt on Mount Zion (Isa 8:18; Psa 9:11; Eze 43:7), where the Temple and the Ark of the Covenant were in its midst.

According to an article at the Jewish Virtual Library, Ancient Jewish History: The Ark of the Covenant, “the Ark was the most important symbol of the Jewish faith, and served as the only physical manifestation of God on earth.” We must note that the word ‘Jewish’ now refers to all of Israel. Before the captivity, the word only applied to the inhabitants of the tribe of Judah.

The blood of the sacrifices was used inside the city, temple, sanctuary, and inside most holy place to forgive sins. Alternatively, the blood of unbelievers in our passage, is shed outside the gate because it is the unholy blood of sinners shed to punish their sins and to pay the wages of sin—death.

Once the sin-cleansing blood of the animal sacrifice was taken into the Holy of Holies to cleanse the people from their unintentional sins, the carcass of the animal was discarded outside the camp. The blood was holy but the carcass was unclean.

For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come (Heb 13:11-14 KJV).

Similarly, the Body of Christ, who became sin for us, was crucified outside the city, but His blood obtained our redemption from sin: “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Heb 9:11-12 NKJV).

God is holy and we are to be holy. But without the shed blood of Jesus we are unholy sinners and sin cannot be in the presence of God for He is totally without sin. If we sinners enter His presence, He is tainted with sin, thus we must be made righteous through Christ’s shed blood, which is when His righteousness is imputed to believers. Thus the wrath of God will be trodden out upon the unsaved outside the city. Those in the city will be protected from His wrath.

We see another aspect of this event in chapter 20 where Satan gathers all the enemies of God to encompass the camp of the saints for a final confrontation. Then fire will come from God out of Heaven and devour those enemies (Rev 2:7-9).

The treading of grapes in a winepress is a metaphor for God expressing His wrath on unbelievers. It would seem that all unbelievers purposely reject the Godhead. In other words, the Father, Son, and Spirit, or the Trinity. Unbelievers are those that receive the wrath of God. As Paul said to the Greek philosophers at the Areopagus tribunal:

“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Act 17:29-31)

Some of those men mocked Paul, others said they wanted to discuss it again later, and a small number of the people there actually believed. Paul specifically mentions Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris “and others with them” as believers (Act 17:34). The mockers, procrastinators, and unbelievers are the ones that were under wrath; unfortunately, these unbelievers represent the majority of humans.

As the Lord Himself said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Mat 7:13-14; See also Luk 13:24)

The point here is, before the wrath of God is poured out upon unbelievers, an angel goes out to the entire world preaching Gospel so that all could hear it and decide to accept and believe or reject it. (Rev 14:6&7 above).

Of that exact time, Jesus said, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Mat 24:11-14).

Thus unbelievers are given a choice. Many choose to believe in Christ, but most consciously decide to not believe and to reject Christ. All who reject will be figuratively tread upon by Christ, as vintners tread upon grapes to release the juice for the making of wine.

The grape juice that flows in an actual winepress is compared to blood in many Scriptures. Let us emphasize Genesis 49:10-11 we read Jacob’s blessing of Judah:

The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.

The scepter, meaning the king, will be a blood member of the tribe of Judah until Messiah comes. Specifically all the kings will be descendants of David. Zedekiah was the last Davidic king of Judah. He reigned before the Babylonian captivity. When Jesus came, Herod the Great was a king appointed by the Roman Senate; he was not a legitimate king of the Jews, and definitely not from the line of David.

Shiloh, which means “he whose it is,” and connotes tranquility. According to ancient Jewish and Christian writers, it refers to the Messiah, Who came to the tribe of Judah, which was the leading tribe of Israel, the tribe in which Jerusalem and its Temple were located. The kings of Israel all came from Judah, including Jesus, the King of kings.

When Shiloh or Messiah comes as King of kings and Lord of lords, He will be dressed in a robe “dipped in blood” (Rev 19:14); He will tread “the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God” (Rev 19:15). Jesus is the final king of the Jews, and thus Shiloh, or Messiah, has come as a Suffering Servant (Isa 53). He will return as conquering King.

We find the blood of grapes in several passages: Genesis 49:11; Deu 32:14. And in the Apocrypha: Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 39:26; 50:15.

When Messiah returns, he will tread the winepress of the fierce wrath of God where blood will flow like the juice of grapes in a winepress. His clothes will be stained with that blood (Rev. 19:13&15) just as the clothes of those treading out the grapes in a winepress become stained with grape juice.

Here, the Scripture likens the juice of a pressed grape to blood. Wine is fermented grape juice and many throughout history have compared red wine to blood. In the pamphlet, “Blood Matters, ” Frances E. Dolan, English Professor at UC Davis, is quoted, “In early modern England, blood and wine were associated at the most basic level by their appearance: the wine most widely drunk and discussed usually seems to have been red.” She further commented that the “Wine was, for the most part, oxidized, dark, and sticky2.” The sanguinity of such wine had a similar color and consistency to blood.

The blood flowing from the winepress of the wrath of God makes use of the resemblance of blood and wine in its depiction. The verse even goes so far as to show the copious amounts of blood that will be spilled in its application.

The Greek says 1600 stadia. A stadion is about an eighth of a mile in length making the use of the word furlong adequate. A furlong is also an eighth of a mile. 1600 stadia or furlongs is 200 miles. Up to the horse bridles is about five or six feet. Now it is obvious that there is a lot of blood flowing in a space six feet deep and two hundred miles long.

If this were literal, the juice flowing out of a winepress would pass through a channel that is less than a cubit wide would amount to over a million cubic feet. If that were blood, it would be enough for over sixty million adult human beings. However, we are not viewing a literal event here. This is a metaphor for the exceeding large amount of unbelievers that will suffer the wrath of God.

According to the Pew Research Center3 31.6% of the world’s population identify as Christian. That is about 2.5 billion people. We know that not all who identify as Christian are true believers in Christ, and there really are no reliable statistics with that information. But even if all those were truly saved, that would leave 5.4 billion people that are unbelievers. If the end of the age were to happen today, then 5.4 billion people would end up in the winepress of God’s wrath. In truth, there are many more than 5.4 billion unbelievers, how many is only a guess.

As Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Mat 7:13-14).

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Joh 14:6).

Jesus was asked, “Lord, will only a few be saved? His answer:

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and won’t be able once the homeowner gets up and shuts the door. Then you will stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up for us!’ He will answer you, ‘I don’t know you or where you’re from.’

Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you’re from. Get away from me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in that place, when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown out” (Luk 13:24-28 CSB).

The amount of blood flowing for 1600 stadia is hyperbolic; it is symbolic of the countless number of people to be judged on the day that Christ figuratively treads the winepress of the wrath of God as we can see in Rev 19:15.

The main thrust of this entire verse is to show us how vast is the number of people that will not be saved when the last few years of this age are upon them. In Revelation 9:7, we read about the innumerable number of people from all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues before the throne in heaven praising the Lord God and The Lord Jesus.

As large as that group is, the group of unbelievers will ultimately dwarf it. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are running out of time. Don’t delay. Repent, confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord of your life and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9). See below:


Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? He is going to return to the world soon. Are you ready? When He does if you do not know Him as your Savior, you will join all those who do not know Him in “Outer Darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 22:13-14).

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Mark Oaks, July 21, 2021

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Footnotes

  1. The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Julia Ward Howe, The Atlantic Monthly, February 1862, Public Domain
  2. Blood Matters, Studies in European Literature and Thought 1400-1700, Bonnie Lander Johnson and Eleanor Decamp, editors, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2018, p.1
  3. Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. The Global Religious Landscape, December 2012
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