Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Sixth and Seventh Angels

    Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 14:17 

The Grape Reaping Angel. 

   Just as the commanding angel of 14:15 told the grain reaping angel of 14:14 that it was time to reap the grain, (the previous post), so the angel, of 14:18, The angel with power over fire, tells the grape reaping angel of 14:17, that it is time to gather the clusters of the vine.

Dr. McGee* says, My feeling is that no careful study of the Word of God would lead any person of reasonable intelligence to believe that the church is going through this awful period (the Great Tribulation). Folk who want to push the church into the Great Tribulation seem to think that it will be no more unpleasant than a trip to the dentist to get a tooth pulled.  Let it be noted, that I believe that I have reasonable intelligence but I do not interpret the Bible according to “how it feels”.  There is far too much “feel good” theology in modern churches.  

   We cannot change the words of the Bible, or our theological beliefs, just because what we read does not make us feel good.  Christ very plainly said that Immediately after the tribulation of those days…the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and…He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Mat. 24:29-31. Distinctly, according to Christ, the rapture will take place after the Great Tribulation, whether or not Mr. McGee wants it there.

The Angel with Power Over fire

   And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.” 

   So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

   And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs. 

It sounds as if this is the angel we first met in 8:5, where we read that the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire from the altar.  Here, we read of him as another angel, who came out from the altar, an angel who had power over fire.  

The grapes, now gathered, are placed into the winepress of God's wrath.  They will be trodden outside the city walls of Jerusalem.  It sounds, to me, as if this is again referring to the Battle of Armageddon, which is to be fought about 60 miles north of Jerusalem; outside the city.

   blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles.  In the notes on 8:8 it was suggested that the words "red as" should be added before the word "blood" so that the meaning would make sense.   It seems that a similar change is needed here.  So that it would read, and blood red juice of the grape, came out of the winepress, as opposed to actual blood.  

  This is allegory and the wine that is overflowing the cup is not the wine of human blood.  Certainly, the harvest was not actual grapes.  We learned in 14:8 that Babylon had caused all nations to drink of her fornication. Now, symbolically, these are the grapes that the angel has reaped, the grapes of physical, immoral and spiritual fornication; it is this fornication that will be trampled.  It is the juice of this fornication that will run out of the winepress.

The blood flowed out in a stream 200 miles long. The Living Bible.  About this, Dr. McGee* writes, A thousand and six hundred furlongs” is about 185 miles, and that is the distance from Dan to Beer-sheba.  All of Palestine is the scene of this final war ... and is concluded by the personal return of Christ to the earth.

In contradiction, to imagine that it marks the extent of the Holy Land from Dan to Beer-sheba is ... to introduce an incorrect calculation. EBC

Many commentaries use the idea that this blood will be a "lake of blood" but it seems to fit the picture better to see it as The Living Bible has The blood flowed out in a stream.  The stream was about 200 miles (300 km) long.  

If the word stream is used it might paint the picture that the pain and suffering caused by the war will be ongoing; without cessation, like a flowing stream.

and as high as a horse’s bridle. The Living Bible.  As has already been noted, the horses in The Apocalypse are not actual horses.  For example, the horses in 9:17 have lion's heads.  

For that matter, horses are not even mentioned in these verses except as a commonly understood height against which to measure the depth of the wine of God's wrath.  

An example of this is found at the Grist Mill in Keremeos in British Columbia, Canada.  Early settlers writing about the height of the grass wrote, Bunchgrass as high as a horse's belly.  This did not mean that the horses were in the grass, it was merely a standard unit of measurement, to which a person at another place could relate.
* Through the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee.

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