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The Judgment of Those without the Mark of the Beast.
Knowledge Not Acted Upon Is A Death Sentence
The Tares May Fool Us, But Not God!
The First Harvest - Revelation 14:14-16
The Martyrs are in Paradise; the mission of the three angelic messengers is complete; now the first two of four angels are commissioned to gather all survivors of the 70th Week except those destined for the wine-press of God: the second harvest.
NO, it is NOT Jesus upon the cloud. It is written "...like unto the Son of Man"; (like = homoios3664 - similar in appearance or character). First of all, John knows exactly our Lord by sight and as the glory of the angel in Revelation 18:1 lit the earth, one who has lived in the presence of God's glory will reflect His character. Think of Moses and Mt. Sinai. Also the crown he is wearing is a stephanos4735 - the crown of a victor not a diadem1238 - the crown of a king. No doubt this is an angel of great importance and the cloud suggests the presence of God's glory. (The wilderness tabernacle, the transfiguration and the ascension)
He carries a sharp sickle which I believe John saw as literal but also it is figurative in nature. How he reaps the earth of possibly a billion or more souls is beyond my understanding. Taking Matthew 13:30 into account "...in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers.."; It could entail a legion of angels, but what is interesting is the grouping. The tares I believe are all those who have the Mark or worshipers of the image of the Beast but are not in Israel where Jesus alone will tread the wine-press of the wrath of God. They will be easy to identify and the angels will have no problems culling them out. It is the second group that draws my attention for wheat gathered into a barn goes through another process: culling the wheat from the chaff.
A question that most do not ask is this: who will populate the new earth? If we are to rule and reign with Christ, the Martyrs serve the New Jerusalem, the 144,000 as our Lord's entourage and Israel ministering from the Millennial Temple; who are we ruling and to whom is Israel ministering? Enter the sheep and the goats; culling the chaff from the wheat.
In the 70th Week, Both Were Clueless
Enter the Sheep - Matthew 25:31-46
Matthew 25:31-32 "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory...before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them...as a shepherd divideth his sheep and goats."
Who are the sheep?
- They are not the Jews who have been saved and hidden for 3 1/2 years.
- They are not the seed of Israel for they have been martyred.
- They are not the Church for we are with Christ.
- They are from the Gentile nations, a people who served our Lord without knowing they did so. (Verses 37 - 39) As Rahab feared the God of Israel more than the king of Jericho and received the gift of faith that she should hide the spies, so these did not take the Mark nor worship its image but went one additional step. They exercised mercy on those who were persecuted for their faith. Why they did not respond to the message of the 144,000 or the angel with the final Gospel message is totally due to the sovereign will of God. Salvation, the times and the seasons are fully in His hands. Verse 34 - "...come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:" In 1 Kings 19:18 where Elijah was complaining that he was the only one left, God set him straight by letting him know that there were 7,000 others who had not bowed their knees to Baal. In this case, these sheep had not bowed their knees before the Beast.
- Their works (James 2:14-26) demonstrated the work of faith in their lives. They ministered for up to seven years and they had to know the danger of what they were doing; there were NOT clueless. All of us have met people who are more giving and kind than many of our Christian brethren. NO, they did not walk down an aisle, NO, they were not baptized per "church" doctrines (neither was the thief on the Cross), NO, they did not say the "magic" words that many feel are necessary; they just acted Christ-like and lived their faith in the face of personal peril.
- I believe the number of "sheep" will be in the hundreds of millions or more, for our God loves a crowd. A great number of the Martyrs will be saved during the witness of the 144,000 and our Lord will raise a "great" many more to be their "caregivers" during the darkest days on earth.
Sadly for the "goats", the chaff; though they did not receive the mark or worship the image of the Beast, they exercised NO faith; distanced themselves from the turmoil that filled the world in every corner and neglected relational human kindness. Many movies and books today stress a survivalist mentality: stay independent, trust no one and make it one more day. The messages of grace will fall on deaf ears. Their lot is no different than those who took the Mark or worshiped the image of the Beast. God will not tolerate a lukewarm "fence" sitter!
From The Valley of Megido to Gaza
A Scene That Defies True Description
Into the Valley of Death
Angel with the power over fire commands yet another angel armed with a sickle to gather the clusters of the vine.
Deuteronomy 32:32-33 "For their vine is of the vine of sodom, and of the fields of gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps"
joel 3:13 "put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great."
For those who neglect the Old Testament truly miss the fact that God is not describing anything new in the Book of Revelation that He has not addressed before: IN DETAIL. We need to make Amos 3:7 a KEY verse when studying Revelation's passages. As we shall see when we get to chapter 16; God will fill the wine-press of His "fierceness and wrath" and Jesus alone (Revelation 19:15) will bring a rod of iron and tread the "grapes of wrath" until the blood fills the "Valley of Decision" to a depth of a horses bridle for 156 miles.
The measure of a furlong: the following will become pertinent when we address the New Jerusalem.
- Furlong - stadion4712 - the ancient Greek measure of a stadion is equivalent to 157 meters (515 feet) - a measure John would be familiar with as opposed to the modern "furlong" which is 201+ meters.
- 1600 furlongs (ancient measure) = approximately 156 miles
- There are 31.2176887 rods to a stadion = 5.0292 meters = 16.5 feet
The topographical map of Israel demonstrates very clearly the total area of God's wine-press. The Valley of Megido which lies at the foot of Mt. Megido upon which you will find the city of Megido is only 35 miles in length at its farthest point northeast and anywhere from 14 to 20 miles wide. The armies assembled for the Battle of Armageddon (6 th Bowl Judgment) will not fit into such a small space but Mt. Megido makes a perfect "command" position for the control of its massive army of wickedness. It overlooks the Valley of Megido; all smaller valleys leading to the south and the eastern rim of the Mediterranean to Gaza; 40 or so miles southwest of Jerusalem. From it most northeasterly point to Gaza is approximately 160 miles and as Revelation 14:20 states: "And the wine-press was trodden without the city..". The "killing" field will NOT include Jerusalem, for I believe that Jesus has one more great use for the ancient city.