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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 14
Section 12.

The Vintage of the Earth



17. "And another angel came out from the Nave, which is in the heaven, he having also a sharp sickle.

18. And another angel came out from the Altar, having power over the fire, and he shouted with a great outcry to him having the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and cut off the clusters of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.

19.  "And the angel cast his sickle into the earth, and cut off the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of the Deity.

20 "And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out from the winepress unto the bridles of the horses for a thousand six hundred furlongs".

"And another angel came out of the Nave." This is the same form of expression as in the fifteenth verse. The word "another" in verse 15 implies, that the one sitting upon the cloud was an angel, or Messenger-Power, also. The angel of the seventeenth verse is, doubtless, identical with the symbolic Son of Man. This is to be inferred from the fact, that they both have possession, or command, of a sharp sickle. The power of the sickle is vested in the Commander-in-Chief, who executes, through his officers and brigades, the behests of the Supreme Power. In verse 17, the holder of the sickle is styled an angel; and "another" in relation to the one on the cloud, who reaps the harvest, because the situation of the sickling executive is changed.

Thus the symbolic Son of Man, "whose voice is as the sound of many waters" (ch. 1:13-16), sickled the harvest for the purpose of "opening a door," through which the mighty ones of the Spirit, the Elohim of Israel, might enter in the heaven, and set up a throne therein

ch. 4:1-2. In this work, or labor, they succeeded gloriously. They opened a door, entered amid the acclamations of the people, planted themselves on Mount Zion, and established the throne of the Deity, be-fore and around which they circle in faultless myriads (ch. 14:1,5). But, the other angel that sickles the vine of the earth comes out of the Nave "which is in the heaven". The angel power of the harvest and vintage belongs to the Nave, or temple, in most holy manifestation; but between the advent and the harvest, it is the Nave "which is not in the heaven;" while after the harvest and before the vintage it is "the Nave which is in the heaven", or "Air," where it will continue evermore.

The reaping of the harvest of the earth, which puts the saints in possession of "the City of the Great King," is only the beginning of national judgment. It is the smiting of the Babylonian Image upon its Russo-Gogian clayey feet by the stone-power. This shatters its homogeneity as a political organization under one imperial ruler. But though the continuity of its political elements is broken, the dynasties represented by the gold and the silver, the brass, the iron and the clay, of the image, do still exist; so that the work remaining for the mighty ones of the Spirit is that of reducing the broken fragments of the Image to the condition represented by the chaff of the summer threshing floors, which the wind carries away into nonentity (Dan. 2:35). This is the work of the vintage in its simplest illustration.

The harvest and the vintage of the earth are still further distinguished in Daniel's vision of the Four Beasts of the Great Sea, in ch. 7. First, there is the slaying of the Fourth Beast; a process, the beginning of which is the harvest; then, there is the destroying of his body in the burning flame; and the taking away of the dominion of the other three Beasts; which consummates "the judgments written", and constitutes the Vintage of the Earth, which the angel Son of Man with the sharp sickle is to gather and to tread without the city.

But, before this angel issues forth from the heaven, the proclamation of the aionian gospel is made through midheaven - verse 7. It announces, that "the Hour of the Judgment," or the time of the treading of the winepress by the angel is come. When these causes and its result are manifested, it is found that the political organization symbolized by "the Beast and the False Prophet," "the King of the Earth," and "the Ten Horns," making in the aggregate the Powers "within" and "without" the great city Babylon - refuse to comply with the demands; in evidence of which, "the Beast and the kings of the earth and" their armies, gather together to make war with the Lamb and them that are with him" (ch.19:19; 17:14).

Affairs having arrived at this crisis, the Deity determines to exercise forbearance no longer. This decision is evinced by another angel coming out of the temple from the altar, having power over fire (verse 18). The angel is said to come out "from the altar". He issues thence as the avenger of those whose blood had been poured out beneath it. Hence, the altar is symbolical of the apostles, prophets, and saints, and of all slain upon the earth, for the witness of Jesus, and the word of the Deity (ch. 17:6; 18:20,24;6:9,10; 20:4). All oft hese, accepted at the tribunal, are constituents of the avenging minister. They live again; and judgment being given unto them, they have "power over fire" - over that fire with which Babylon is utterly burned (ch. 18:8); that, into which the Beast and the False Prophet are cast alive (ch. 19:20); that, with which the worshippers of the Beast and his Image are tormented (ch. 14:10): that, which is mingled with the crystal sea; and that, the smoke of which ascendeth to the end of the "sixteen hundred furlongs". This is the "fire," or "wrath of the Deity poured out unmixed in the cup of His indignation," at their command. Their tribulations, sufferings and down-treading. have continued and accumulated for ages and generations; so that the cry for vengeance in the day when the Deity avenges his elect, is truthfully represented as the shout of a great outcry. The cry of Abel's blood, though faint as that of one man, was loud enough to reach the ear of Deity; hence the loudness of the cry proceeding from the angel of the altar, is not because the avenger is hard of hearing, but symbolical of the multitudes to be avenged - "a great multitude which no man can number;" "a great cloud of witnesses," of whom the world is not worthy (ch. 7:9; Heb. 12:1; 11:38).

But the Angelhood of the Altar, though possessing power over the fire, does not apply it to judicial purposes of its own accord. It appeals to the Angel of the Sickle, the Head of which is Christ the Lord. He being the Commander-in-Chief, all things await his mandate. Hence, the loud outcry must be understood, not as a command, but as an entreaty, that he would now "thrust in his sharp sickle, and "gather the clusters of the vine of the earth". Remembering their former sufferings in the flesh, which they endured without retaliation; and seeing that the day of vengeance has come, and that they are now in power, they long to begin the work of vindicating the truth, which cost many of them their lives, by overthrowing Babylon, destroying the Beast, and grinding to powder the broken fragments of the Image, so that these evil and accursed powers being abolished, they may enter upon "the rest that remaineth for the people of God", in which there is abundant peace so long as the sun and moon endure.

"The Vine of the Earth" is a phrase representative of the civil, military, and ecclesiastical, constitution of what is called "Christendom". The grapes of this vine are the nations clustered together into empires and kingdoms upon it. To gather the clusters of the vine is to cause the armies of the nations to assemble together for war, so that they may be cut off and trodden down. Wherever the trampling of them occurs, there is the winepress into which they are cast - "the great winepress of the wrath of the Deity".

The great outcry shouted forth by the Angel of the Altar is promptly responded to by the Angel of the Sickle, who puts his forces into motion against the enemy. The sickle he handles in the sanguinary vintage of the earth, is "the Remnant of Jacob" who are then "among the Gentiles in the midst of many peoples as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep; who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the nations, such as they have not heard" (Micah 5:8,15). Such is the instrumentality of the Spirit in the down-treading of the wine press. Judah and Israel in their dispersion are handled by the King of the Jews as his sword, bow, arrow, battle-axe, sickle, fan, and so forth. "Behold," saith the Spirit in Isaiah 41:15, "I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth; thou, worm Jacob, shalt thresh the mountains (empires), and beat them small, and shalt make the hills (lesser states) as chaff. And thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; and thou shalt rejoice in Yahweh, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel". This has never come to pass since it was written. It will, however, assuredly be fulfilled, when He who hath been raised up "shall come upon princes as upon mortar, and as the potter treadeth clay" (v.25). And in Psa. 44 they say, "Thou art He, 0 Elohim, my King: command thou deliverances for Jacob. Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy Name will we tread them under that rise up against us". Then "the righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked: so that a man shall say, Verily, there is a reward for the righteous: verily there is Elohim judging the earth" (Psa. 58:10,11). Jesus and his Brethren in command of the twelve tribes of Israel, are the Sickle of the Spirit by which he cuts off the vine of the earth, and treads its clusters in the great winepress of Divine wrath. Behold them all in battle array in ch. 19:11-16! There is the Faithful and True One, the Commander of the forces, who makes war in righteousness; His brethren in arms, who are "the called, and chosen and faithful;" and their hosts, the horses they ride, and the sharp sword of their warfare. These constitute the instrumentality symbolized in ch. 14 by the Angel of the Sickle who treads the winepress. This is evident from the fact that his mission is the same as theirs, which the reader may see by comparing verse 19 of this chapter with verse 15 of the former, where it is written "He treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness of Mighty God". Thus, those who "go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall, tread down the wicked: for they shall be ashes under the soles of their feet in the day that I shall do, saith Yahweh Tz'vaoth".




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