Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, October 18, 2015
“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. 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. 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.” (Revelation 14:18–20).
In yesterday’s devotional thought, I made reference to a great harvest that will take place at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, wherein those who are ripened in the sunshine of Jesus Christ’s grace will be harvested unto eternal life.
Unfortunately, the Revelation continues with a balanced approach to the harvest. We made allusion to the fact that there are crops that spoil and are trampled. Today’s focus brings that ghastly reality to view. How do we know? The Bible says that the grapes (probably overripe) were cast into the winepress of God’s wrath and trampled outside the city.
You will notice that the angel who came out from the altar had power over fire. We have said a few times that fire can have two primary effects—to refine or destroy. Given the context, and the fact that by this point the righteous are already harvested, this fire must accomplish the latter.
There are no two ways to interpret the destructive wrath of God, especially here. While I’m sure there was a historic understanding of the outside the city symbol, this also brings to mind the live goat of Leviticus 16 we discussed recently that was taken outside the camp to die, having the sins that were already atoned for confessed on its head. Salvation always occurs on the inside of God’s protection; inside of the sanctuary, the homes with blood applied during passover, Noah’s ark, the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21, etc. Thus is the wrath of God poured out unmixed with mercy on those who refuse His grace, outside the city.
There is a 1,000-year period of time between the harvests of the righteous and wicked. When Jesus comes, the people of God who are resting in the grave will be resurrected. The righteous people that are alive when He returns will be given immortality with the resurrected saints, and then taken to heaven. One thousand years later, the wicked people who were dead when Jesus came, or died because of the brightness of His coming, will finally be resurrected to face the final phase of judgment we discussed a few days ago. At that time, they and the evil spirits will burn until the fires of God’s wrath have consumed them.
You will notice that the angel who came out from the altar had power over fire. We have said a few times that fire can have two primary effects—to refine or destroy.
Hear the appeal directly from the Throne Room of God: ““Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair!’ Listen, now, house of Israel, is my way not fair? Is it not your ways that are not fair? When the righteous turns from his righteousness, and he does injustice, then he will die because of them; because of his injustice that he did he will die! And when the wicked turns from his wickedness that he did and he does justice and righteousness, he will preserve his life. And if he sees and he returns from all of his transgressions that he did, surely he will live; he will not die! And yet they, the house of Israel, say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair!’ Are not my ways fair, house of Israel? Are not your ways unfair? “Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel, each one according to his ways,” declares the Lord Yahweh. “Repent and turn around from all of your transgression, and it will not be as a stumbling block of iniquity to you. Throw away from yourselves all of your transgressions that you committed, and make for yourselves a new heart and new spirit, and so why will you die, house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of the dying,” declares the Lord Yahweh. “And so repent and live!”” (Ezekiel 18:25–32, LEB).
A Prayer for Your Hearts:
Lord, I pray that nobody that is listening to our devotional thoughts will die in their sins. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.