Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Reaping the Earth's Harvest or the Grapes of Wrath? (Revelation 14, John 3:5-8, 1 Thessalonians 4:16)

"I heard a voice from Heaven, like the voice of many waters."
Canon Rebel t1i

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

My husband and I drove to Pennsylvania last weekend to see fall colors.  It's a beautiful state.  This is of the Bushkill waterfall.  I wanted to blur the water giving it a dreamy look and have the background be in focus.  So I used 1/10 of a second on my camera.  Sometimes I'm a bad backseat driver.  I try not too.  But, well, you know...  We got home safe.  My poor husband...  He still loves me.

I've made friends with a local gallery for my artwork.  So, I'm trying to challenge myself to finish at least 3 pieces of work a week.  I have a ton of photos.  It's exciting to think after all these years I can really be a professional artist.  Err sometimes my husband is a backseat driver with my paintings, "The sky should be blue right?"

Oh well, we are all in this together right?  I still love him.  Besides remember the Michelangelo story?  It's human nature.

Revelation 14

1 Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty- four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. 3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty- four thousand who were redeemed from the earth
I love this!  John is telling us his experience in the vision.  He hears waters tumbling like a waterfall, loud thunder, harps, and it was a new song.  Instead of a mark from the beast, these people wear God's Name on their foreheads.  We don't know His real name.  That will be revealed in Heaven.  These verses come to mind:
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again. ’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
(John 3:5-8 NKJV)
I've always loved these verses because, when things are going wrong I know God can redirect my steps. When people are mean and annoying, the Holy Spirit gives me wisdom and words to say. When I speak in anger and rudeness, He points it out so I can change.  He gives hope to the hopeless, strength to the weary.  
4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.
I believe the 144,000 are the remnant of Israel that accepted Christ as their Messiah.  They followed Jesus.  The Church will be with Jesus.  When I read the New Testament (Acts), I see all sorts of Jewish and Gentile people believing and accepting Jesus as their Messiah (Savior).  Many of these were martyred.  I would be surprised if 144,000 are the only ones in God's Church.  In Revelation it appears to be a number associated with the Jews.  The lamb symbolizes Jesus.
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16 NKJV)
Those from history who died, and are Christians, will be the first to rise in the rapture : )

Remember this children's song?

Mary had a little lamb,
His fleece was white as snow,
Everywhere that Mary went, 
the lamb was sure to go.

(just a fun thought... Jesus promised to be with us always.)

6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— 7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”

8 And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write:‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’”

“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”
He gives rest to the weary, hope to the hopeless.  I believe this will be a peaceful rest like nothing we've experienced on earth.

Reaping the Earth's Harvest
14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.
This would include those who died as Christians.  

Jesus told the disciples this day would come years before it will be fulfilled:  
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35 Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true:‘One sows and another reaps. ’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.
(John 4:34-38 NKJV)
These are the words of Jesus from the Book of John. He was describing what is to come. I'm sure some of the disciples scratched their heads and wondered. Revelation contains the fulfillment of all the prophecies.

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

18 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.” 19 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. 20 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's believed this this last battle will take place in the Valley of Megiddo, in Israel.  Israel has won wars in this location before.  It's an ancient stronghold.  Blood will fill the valley.  
Here's a link to a web site about this location in Israel:  "Armaggedon - Har Megiddo (link)."   
(Revelation 14:1-20 NKJV)

Here's the song, "Jesus loves me," by Chris Tomlin (link)

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