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26. The Two Harvests of the Earth

Updated: May 22, 2023




I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.


Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia. Revelation 14: 14-20


Do you remember the first time as a child you looked through a kaleidoscope? You had to hold it up to the sun and light to experience the unbelievable array of colors and patterns. It was a jumble of wonder and yet the longer you looked and turned the body of the container, the more you realized that there was an order there to the chaos that you were seeing. You realized even as a child that there were different pieces moving inside the tube. My brother who came into the world with a desire to figure all mechanical things out, cut into our kaleidoscope to see how it worked. His destruction of our toy caused me great destress but it was amazing to hold the small beautiful pieces of glass in my hands and to see the three mirrors arranged in the cardboard tube. The kingdom of God is like a kaleidoscope...


This lesson will be such a jumble of pieces. In the last lesson, we were introduced to the woman clothed with the sun who has birthed the Lord's Son. Now we're going back again to two earlier chapters, Revelation 6 - 7. Remember, the telescope of Revelation slides back and forth both as to time and place. What John reveals in these two chapters is but another view of the earth and what will be happening at the same time that the descendants of Israel, the woman clothed with the sun, will be protected in the wilderness for the last three and a half years. It is very confusing; awful and awesome ...


The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse


I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals.Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.


When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.


When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. ...


When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. Revelation 6:1- 8


Remember when John was in the throne room and the Lamb had just taken the scroll? John witnesses the first four seals being opened by the Lamb. You've probably heard of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse: four horrific horses and their riders, all let loose on the sin-filled earth to begin its destruction through four different and brutal tactics. The first rider will conquer and oppress, the second will take away peace and incite people to murder, the third will cause starvation, and the forth is the ultimate horror of death and Hades. Can you imagine one out of every four people in the world dying within a three and a half year period?


Do you remember the story of the Destroyer, the angel of death, set loose by the Lord over Egypt? Remember every firstborn killed? Was the Lord justified in his action then? Will he be justified when these four horsemen are set loose on the earth in the future? And the church, Christ’s bride-to-be also gone. Can you imagine how many people will disappear as they are gathered up, snatched up, to the heavens?


With the the church safely snatched up to her bridegroom, Christ, there are three important groups of people who will still be on the earth who will face the last half of the Great Tribulation along with Satan, his two beasts, and his prostitute, Babylon, as Christ and his Father’s Wrath proceeds in its cataclysmic fury:

  1. The great multitude, those souls from every nation, tribe, people and language, who will hear the eternal gospel preached from the heavens during the last half of the Great Tribulation. They will turn to God, too many to count, and

  2. The 144,000 who will be sealed on the forehead by God who are descended from the beloved but stiff-necked and hard-hearted chosen Israel.This Jewish remnant will again be rescued by their Living Lord. The Exodus of the Old Testament recorded their first rescue from Egypt. The Book of Revelation records their ultimate rescue from the broken earth. The Jewish nation’s redemption will also include two mysterious witnesses of God, and

  3. The inhabitants of the earth, those who refuse to acknowledge God and worship Satan instead. These will bear a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads that is the enigmatic name or number of Satan’s beast out of the earth, 666.


Two harvests of the earth are to be gathered in, but first, we need to understand what must take place before that awesome and awful great event.


The Martyrs


When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. Revelation 6: 9-11


The fifth seal is fascinating. These martyrs are given great weight and importance in the final bringing into fruition of the kingdom of God along with the blood of the Lamb. Take note as to where these souls are now, what they demand, and why. Do you remember what the Lord said to Cain after he spilled his brother’s blood? “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.


Do you remember what the Lord said to Noah as he presented his gift of the rainbow? “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.” Also note what they are given to wear and what they must wait for. Do you remember what Christ is wearing when John sees him in his vision. Think about God and the Trinity’s desire for fullness. Do you remember that God instructed both Adam and Noah to fill the earth?


The Great Multitude


After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:


“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”…


Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7: 9-14


This must be what Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit have desired; a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language finally understanding the good news of the gospel, the Word of Christ, the only way for them to be brought into an eternal life of joy. Do you remember what John the Baptist said regarding his baptism of water versus that of Christ’s baptism of the Holy Spirit? Do you remember the Syrian gentile woman who begged for the scraps from the Lord’s table? Do you remember Hagar, the Egyptian slave girl of Sarah who was seen and heard by God? Do you remember Ruth and the unnamed Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well who had their homes and their futures redeemed by their guardian redeemers?


The Inhabitants of the Earth


I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.


Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” Revelation 6: 12-17


Can you remember what Jesus told his dear friends about the sun, the moon, and the stars? “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky,

and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. Matthew 24: 29. In his visions here in the heavens as an old man, John sees these same very cosmic things prophesied to him when he was a young man sitting at Jesus’ feet. Do you remember how Moses begged to see the Lord's face? Do you remember how Cain and David longed to be in His Presence? The inhabitants of the earth will long to hide themselves from God's face and his wrath in the end times. Take a moment to read Revelation 8-10.


When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Revelation 8: 1-2.


There was silence for about half an hour. I think this is huge, this silence. Then the destruction begins again in its cataclysmic fury as the telescope slides open to reveal what is occurring between the heavens and the earth: peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake, hail and fire mixed with blood, and:


As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” Revelation 8: 13.


Who are these “inhabitants of the earth?” They will be those who refuse God and Christ. They will join Satan, his two beasts, Babylon, his prostitute of seduction, along with death, and Hades, in the lake of fire. This will be their choice: All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. Whoever has ears, let them hear. Revelation 13: 8-9.


Did you hear? ... Christ's sacrificial death was destined to be necessary from before the world was even created. The Lamb was already slain in the Trinity's reality before he even spoke us into being, before he even breathed the Ruach into the chaos beyond, Christ was to be put to death by us, for us.


 

Discussion


  • Have you ever looked back through your life and interconnected the events that have made up your story? Has your life been made up of mere coincidences? Can you see a higher power or purpose in anything in your life?

  • Who do you know whose blood has been shed by murder?

  • What is a martyr? Do you know of anyone who was a martyr?

  • What does the word enigmatic mean?

  • We all have endured a pandemic. It was bad, many of us lost loved ones? Did you?

  • What is the worst thing that you have ever endured? What is the worst thing that anyone in your family, past or present, has endured?

  • What is the worst thing that has happened to anyone that you are aware of?

  • What and where is Hades?

 

The Two Witnesses


And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.


Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.


But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. Revelation 11: 3-12


Remember where we were in the last lesson, with the pregnant woman clothed with the sun. We’ve read how in the future, remember, we cannot know how far or near that future is, the nation of Israel is to be tormented by Satan. But she, Jerusalem, the Lord’s beloved daughter, will be protected from Satan for the remaining three and a half years of the Great Tribulation. Do you remember that one of the four creatures in God’s throne room has the face of an eagle? On wings of an eagle, she will fly to the wilderness to a place already prepared for her. What do you think she will eat and drink for this time? We don’t know. Perhaps manna and living water from a rock? Like the enslaved Israelites, her people are to be rescued by the Lord, taken into the desert and and protected from death and calamity.


During this time, John sees two holy witnesses in the courtyard of the temple. Remember, there is no temple in Jerusalem now in our present time. Both Solomon’s Temple and second Temple were long ago destroyed. This future temple will be trampled by gentiles for 1,260 days, three and a half years. This new temple is to be in Jerusalem where the Lord was crucified, but also enigmatically in Egypt and Sodom as well. Do you remember Egypt and Sodom in the Old Testament, how seeped in sin their inhabitants were? Read Revelation 11-14.


These two witnesses are fascinating and frightening. They are not identified by name but we get some very compelling information regarding who they could possibly be. They have power over the heavens and the rain, and they have power to inflict all kinds of plagues reminiscent of those in Egypt. Who had power over the heavens amidst a drought? Who did God choose to announce the plagues on Egypt? Who did the Lord sent to set the people free? Who did John, Peter, and James see with Christ at his Transfiguration?


Apparently, Elijah and Moses will return to earth in their physical bodies to testify and proclaim Christ as the Lord of the earth now. These two great and wise and beloved Jewish prophets will come back to evangelize to the gentiles remaining on the earth. For three and a half years, they will witness of Christ, the promised Messiah and Yeshua to every people, tribe, language and nation. Like Christ, they will then be crucified by Satan’s beast but not until their message has been delivered:


But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. Revelation 11: 11-12


They will be resurrected and ascend to their father, God, as Christ did. Remember God’s breath? His very Ruach, Christ’s Word, the Holy Spirit will enter them anew.



The Lamb and the 144,000


Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins.They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. Revelation 14: 1-5


This is lovely! Here is Christ with his Father's redeemed child, the nation of Israel. They are singing a new song, no longer are they bound and damned by the law.They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. The Lord’s beloved, now a holy army for their now recognized Messiah, Christ. Do you remember the eagle that is flighting in midair to warn the inhabitants of the earth of the impending plagues? Now listen to what else will be heard coming from the heavens to the earth:


Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Revelation 14: 6-7


The Two Harvests


The hour of his judgment has come. This is what the creation itself has been in agony for: We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Romans 8: 22.


Now, it is time for Revelation's two harvests. The first time I read this chapter, I thought that there was only one harvest described in two different ways. But the descriptions of the two harvests tell of two very different crops. Let’s look back to the passage that we read as we opened this lesson. Who reaps the first harvest of the earth? What is gathered in this harvest?


The good news, the eternal gospel that will be to preached by an angel to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people will become the great multitude, dressed in white. They will be the ones on the earth who have eyes to see and ears to hear. One like a son of man gathers in this crop. The Son of Man, Christ, reaps this harvest of new believers.


Who will reap the second? Not Christ butdestroying angels with fire. What will be gathered in that harvest? ...The inhabitants of the earth:


Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.


“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’


“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.


“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’


“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” Matthew 13: 24-30


 

Discussion


  • What keeps you tied to the earth?

  • What has brought you closer to the heavens?

  • Where do you see yourself?

  • What have your struggles in life been?

  • What are your frustrations?

  • Is redemption possible for everyone?

  • Do you know of anyone in your life that has been redeemed in your eyes.

  • Is there anyone you know who you refuse to allow to be redeemed in your eyes? Why? What did he or she do to you to cause you to feel this way?

  • Is it possible to pray for someone's redemption even if you hate him or her?

  • Do you know anyone who has refused an offer of redemption? What are the circumstances?

  • Do you know anyone who is firmly an inhabitant of the earth?

  • Do you believe in free will? Do you believe in predestination?

  • How can you reconcile the two?

  • What songs are important to you? Why is music so delightful to us as humans?


 


The 29:11 Story


The cream colored bead of our Church age body of believers and its matching bead of the Seven Churches of Revelation has now become the beautiful white light filled bead of the Bride of Christ.


The 144,000 young Jewish men, a bronze bead, which matches the bronze bead of the Old Testament’s Twelve Tribes, the nation of Israel, will be redeemed as she, the Lord’s daughter, Jerusalem, will be instrumental in Christ’s mighty war against Satan. The Two Witnesses, Moses and Elijah, both bronze beads crying out to the Living Lord’s beloved child of Israel, and that child, Israel, to be protected again in the wilderness, will be part of this redemption and become gathered in to the body that makes up the Bride.


The old red dragon, that fallen angel, the beautiful red bead that matches the red apple in the book of Genesis, and the serpent who led the entire creation astray, will be full of fury because he knows his time is short.


The entire host of angels, myriads, echoed by the cherubim that guarded Adam and Eve from their reentry into Eden, will be gathered to the destruction of Satan and the sin that has perverted the fallen and broken earth.



Salley's Story



God Talks to William on the Last Night


William lay coughing and cold

while God perched cross-legged

at the foot of the bed. They spoke

in whispers which seemed to move

between them like dust. God told

William stories with long, tangled strings

all piled and braided into each other.

William listened and remembered

his own stories, those our family told

at dinner tables, the ones he read in books,

or heard in songs or dreamt or watched

or made himself - all of them

just as alive as he was, at that moment.

When God ran out of stories to tell,

he began to sing. And when

he ran out of songs, he simply

hummed. Before sleeping,

William asked God what happens next

and God told him.


Callie Plaxco Parks

William’s cousin


This lovely poem was written by my niece, the daughter of my brother. Remember the kaleidoscope from my youth?



 

Closing

  • What surprised you today?

  • What new connections in the Bible did you make today?

  • What questions do you want to explore further about today's study?


 

Digging Deeper


  1. Read Romans 8. Can you find the inhabitants of the earth? What makes them so?

  2. Who are those that are led by the Spirit? Carefully read the passage contained in Romans 8: 14-17. Paraphrase what Paul is telling us here. Does anything surprise you? What does it mean to be a co-heir with Christ? This is so mysterious and delightful.

  3. Now read carefully Romans 8: 18-21. Who subjected us to frustration? What does that even mean? Why were we subjected to frustration? What was the purpose in that? How does the creation of time along with our creation made in the Trinity's image work together? What was and is the reason for time?

  4. Now Romans 8: 28-30. This is always the source of much discussion and argument regarding predestination and free will. What are your thoughts?

  5. Do we worship a "fair" God? Is the Trinity kind? Are they jealous?

  6. Now Romans 8: 31-39. Does this help you to reconcile the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?

  7. Do you think Paul was God's choice as the new twelfth disciple?



 


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