All is ready. It is time for the harvest of the earth to begin. There are two harvests here. One for God and one for destruction.
When I first read this passage I didn’t realize there were two different harvests. I thought the first call to reap the earth cut things down and the second call to gather the grapes was the gathering of what had been cut. I don’t believe so now. Remember too though that I am not an expert here, but I did receive insight when checking in with my bible helps. I’m trusting the Holy Spirit to fill in even more blanks for me.
There are two distinct harvests. The first is “the Son of Man” gathering His full yield from the earth. “So He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped” (verse 16). He doesn’t leave the grain in the field to be picked up later. He completes the task at hand.
I believe these are the believers who came to Him after the rapture of the church. We saw in the beginning of this chapter the “first fruits” of the 144,000. Today, we see Him bringing in the rest of the harvest.
The second call to “reap” the earth is to gather the “clusters from the vine” (verse 18b). This reaping is still done by emissaries from Heaven but those being gathered have a VERY different destination ahead. This group is going to be the recipients of God’s full wrath. These are NOT the children of God. They are the unbelievers. Those who refused Jesus and have followed the beast instead.
I’m wondering is the area covered by the flow from the winepress corresponds with the area associated with the final battle of Armageddon. I would not be surprised if they did match. I’m also wondering exactly when this reaping will occur. Will the first be with the return of Christ and the second be as all the believers join Him in that final battle? I certainly can’t see it happening before the seven bowls full of God’s final judgement are poured out.
Sometimes I wish I had a precise picture of exactly what happens when and how it is all laid out. Other times I’m GLAD I don’t know what is coming next. Knowing would give me certainty as those days approach but that knowledge would remove my need to rely on Jesus. I DON’T have it all figured out and I HAVE to trust Him to walk me through what lies ahead.
Even in my own life, the not knowing is a good thing. If I had known what struggles I would face ahead, would I have tried to avoid them? Would I have tried to reduce or eliminate the pain waiting for me? Probably. But then I would have missed out on the growth that pain brought. I would also have missed the lessons where I learned to lean on Him more deeply in the midst of the battle.
Thank You Father for each and every lesson! Thank You that each storm taught me to turn to the One who holds my life in His hands; Jesus. Thank You Father that You have it all laid out, even though You are keeping the EXACT date under wraps. I trust You to know when, where, and how to bring us all home. Until then, Holy Spirit, please keep me walking in the Father’s plan holding fast to Jesus’ hand. I put my hand in His hand FOR KEEPS! I trust my tomorrows to You because YOU hold ALL the tomorrows.