Two Types of Harvests
The biblical writers often use contrast to make their point powerfully. This is true in the book of Revelation, as well. In Revelation, we see two riders on white horses. One creates a false peace on the earth (6:2), while the other, known as the Prince of Peace, brings eternal peace between mankind and God. (Rev. 19-22). In Revelation, we also see two kinds of marks. One is demanded by the Antichrist as a means of buying and selling during the Tribulation. The other is given to God's bondservants to mark them for eternal life (Rev. 3: 12; 7:3; 14:1; Eph. 1:13). Now I’d like to look at two types of harvests in Scripture. The first is found in Revelation 14:17-20, and the other in the Gospel of John.
In Revelation 14:14-20, we see a couple of harvests. Scholars have many interpretive questions and comments on some of the details in these verses. However, the second harvest in verses 17-20 is clearly the reaping of unbelievers gathered like grapes and thrown into the "great winepress of the wrath of God" (Rev. 14:19; Joel 3:12-13, 18-21). We can learn more about this event as prophesied by Isaiah 63:1-4:
“Who is this who comes from Edom, from the city of Bozrah, with his magnificent garments of crimson? Who is this in royal robes, marching in the greatness of his strength?
“It is I, the Lord, announcing your salvation; I, the Lord, the one who is mighty to save!”
“Why are your clothes so red, as from treading out the grapes?”
“I have trodden the winepress alone. No one was there to help me. In my wrath I have trodden my enemies like grapes. In my fury I trampled my foes. It is their blood you see upon my clothes. For the time has come for me to avenge my people, to redeem them from the hands of their oppressors.”
“It is their blood that you see upon my clothes.”
In Isaiah, the Lord is describing this harvest of vengeance on the nations as "salvation" for those who have been oppressed by their enemies. As we see in Revelation, chapter 14, in the Lamb's righteous wrath, He tramples His foes. Those who have shed the blood of God's people are now being judged. Christ says in Isaiah (above) that “It is their blood that you see upon my clothes.” Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in Revelation, chapter 19, at Christ's return, where Scripture notes that He is clothed in a “robe dipped in blood” (19:13).
Now, contrast this harvest of the ungodly with the harvest Jesus’ spoke of in John 4:35 saying, "Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest '? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” Jesus is teaching His disciples to see that today is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2). We live in the Church Age, also called the Age of Grace, and this is the time when “whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13; 2 Tim. 2:19). The Lord desires that none should perish (2 Pet. 3:9). We live in a time when souls are being harvested for the kingdom of God! As Christians, this is a harvest for us to be involved in—planting, sowing, and reaping. Matthew 28:18-20 tells us to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you." Today is the day, and the command is to “Go.”
At the end of the Age, at Christ’s return, the Lord and His angels will put in the sickle and reap a harvest of souls for judgment. But currently, we as believers have the command and privilege to join the Lord in the harvest of those obtaining salvation. Let's pray that God will help us to see that His field of souls is ripe for harvest and that we can gather fruit for eternal life (John 4:35-36).
Study the book of Revelation: Come Lord Jesus: A Woman's Walk—Spirit, Body & Soul—Through the Book of Revelation.