When Jesus spoke of the rapture as the harvest of the earth, he mentioned the fact that there would be two distinct groups of people gathered together in that day. One group, he said, will be delivered from God’s wrath and experience the resurrection of life into new bodies (or be instantly transformed if still alive), while the other group will be gathered together, bound, and burned as “tares”. In the book of Revelation, this same symbolism is carried through in a fantastic prophecy related to the battle of Armageddon and the rapture of believers.
In Revelation 14, John has a vision in which he looks up to see a spectacular white cloud upon which, he says, “one sat, like the Son of man…” (Rev. 14:14). John actually saw the Lord sitting on a cloud above the earth, and he noticed that he had a sharp sickle in his hand. The Apostle went on to say that an angel then appeared and cried out with a loud voice to the Lord,
“Thrust in thy sickle, and reap; for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”
Immediately after the angel uttered these words we are told,
“And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.”
This highly symbolic vision relates to the harvest of the “wheat” or to the resurrection and gathering together of believers as the Lord describes in Matthew 13. But that’s only half the story. As the prophecy continues, another angel is seen to come forth also having a sickle. To this second angel another one is heard to cry,
“Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.”
The second reaping of the earth is not just another description of the rapture, but is a second vision of what is going to happen to the “tares” and other nonbelievers (especially the followers of the Antichrist) after the followers of Christ are delivered from God’s wrath into His protection. This is how the Bible describes this event:
“And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
“And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”
The battling nations at the end of the age ultimately will find themselves attacking and fighting within and around the small nation of Israel. John says that the “winepress” of God’s wrath will occur outside the city of Jerusalem. When Jesus returns, he will first deliver his own people out of harm’s way, which corresponds to the harvest of the wheat. He will then go forth alone to do battle with all those nations that have dared to attack Israel. The people who have taken the Mark and destroyed the earth in world war and nuclear insanity then will be gathered for the final battle into the valley of Megiddo (the Jezreel Valley) and annihilated by the Lord himself.
The gruesome account of the God’s wrath in this passage is almost beyond comprehension…[read the entire article]