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Milepost 42: The Great Harvest of Wheat and Tares

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Milepost 42: The Great Harvest of Wheat and Tares

Primary References: Revelation 14:14-19

 

God follows the ultimatum delivered by the three angels with a couple of remarkable events that clearly demonstrate these are not hollow threats. Both events, the great harvests and the winepress of God’s wrath, show God actively culling out and punishing the wicked. The first of these, the great harvests, features the Son of man and an angel using separate sickles to harvest the earth’s people. Jesus Christ harvests the righteous in the first harvest while wearing a crown for the first time in Revelation. Interestingly, this is a stephanos crown, not the royal diadem crowns worn by the dragon (Revelation 12:3), the beast (Revelation 13:1), and in the future, Jesus Himself (Revelation 19:12)[1]. Stephanos crowns serve several New Testament purposes, not the least of which are the rewards of the righteous and Jesus’ crown of shame (crown of thorns).

Jesus reaps His harvest from the same place He met His bride at the rapture, the clouds. He has again left heaven to come to the earth and, like the rapture, does not set foot on the earth. Unlike Revelation 10’s Mighty Angel, Jesus sits on the clouds and does not wear them. When it is time to reap, an angel comes out of the temple and commands Jesus to use His sickle. Which angel directs Jesus? It would seem natural to assume it is either God the Father or the Holy Spirit since they are God and therefore, Jesus’ equal. Since it is an angel, it is natural to identify Him as Revelation 10’s Mighty Angel but there is simply not enough information to be certain.

The second harvest is carried out by two other angels and immediately follows Jesus’ harvest. One angel, the grim reaper, carries a sickle and waits for the second angel’s command. This second angel is in charge of fire, suggesting he is in charge of the gates of hell and the lake of fire –places of judgment and the destinations for those reaped in this harvest. The first harvest, the harvest of the righteous, is not accompanied by God’s wrath and is performed by Jesus. The second harvest, the harvest of the wicked, only reaps those facing God’s eternal wrath. As a direct result of the abomination, the mark of the beast, and the preaching of the three angels, both the righteous and wicked fruits are ripe. Since they are ripe, God no longer allows the fruit to continue to ripen. Jesus taught of these harvests in several places including Mark 4:26-29. In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus focused on two harvests, wheat and tares, which depict God’s future time of decision, the separation of the wicked and righteous, and the judgment of the wicked. This kingdom of heaven parable shows God the Father sowing good seed (wheat) while His enemy, Satan, plants bad seed (tares). In their early growth stages, wheat and tares are virtually indistinguishable. To protect the wheat, God ordered His servants to let both grow to maturity in the fields until the wheat ripened. When harvested, the wheat goes into God’s barn (heaven) while the wicked are burned. Jesus interpreted this parable in Matthew 13:37-43.

Now in the great tribulation, this parable finally comes into focus. The world’s people are the field, the enemy is Satan, the wheat are the righteous, and the tares are the wicked. Satan has tainted God’s fields with the seeds of sin and God let the good and bad seed grow to maturity when their differences become obvious. Only at the end of the age when the angels harvest the wicked and throw them into a furnace of fire do they reach maturity. These tares continue to endure the punishments of hell until the great white throne judgment moves them into the lake of fire.

[1] These are the only three times the diadema crown is used in the New Testament; and this progression suggests the dragon has the stolen crown, gives it to the beast, and seizes it from them to give it to the rightful heir, Jesus Christ.