The harvest is the climax of the Revelation given to John. It is what every seal lead to and what every trumpet warned of. It is what the Gospel has proclaimed since God first gave the message to His prophets. Verses 14-16 read,
“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand.15 And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16 So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.”
What is the harvest? A harvest is a mature crop or fruit ready to be gathered. Jesus compares the people of the earth to the harvest in Matthew 9:35-38,
“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
The people of the harvest must hear the Gospel and make a choice. They need those of us who have chosen Jesus Christ to be the laborers who will tell them the truth and give them the choice (Matthew 24:13-14). When everyone on the earth has had the chance to make that choice the crop will be ready for harvesting. Some people will be wheat, some will be chaff. In Matthew 3:10-12 John the Baptist prophesies about the harvest of Revelation.
“Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Chaff is the seed coverings and other debris separated from the seed in threshing grain, it is a word used to describe something worthless. Your life either produces valuable fruit in the image of Christ which leads people to Christ or its testimony is empty and worthless and will not bring anyone to Christ. The seed becomes more wheat with more seeds, the chaff blows away in the wind or is thrown into the fire. When the earth is harvested the wheat will have one destiny and the chaff another. Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and the weeds.
“He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
Jesus sowed good seed, but the enemy sows weeds in an attempt to destroy the harvest. Jesus explains it in Matthew 13:36-43.
“Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
The harvest begins with Jesus gathering the believers to Him. But before Jesus throws the weeds and chaff into the unquenchable fire, He harvests the grapes of his wrath. Verses 17-20 read,
“Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse's bridle, for 1,600 stadia”
Jesus paid for our sin with His blood. We commemorate that and worship Him by drinking of the wine as a symbol of Jesus’ blood at the Lord’s Supper. But not everyone has chosen to let Jesus blood pay for their sin. Their blood must still be spilled for their sins. The grape harvest therefore is the procurement of their debt before they are thrown into the fire.
Jesus is taking back His city and He does not soil it with the blood of the lost. The blood is so great that it creates a river of blood and this is not little stream, it is a full on raging river of blood. It is about five feet tall and a little less than 185 miles long. That is a lot of blood. That is not just enough for blood for all the lost on earth, but for every person who ever lived without faith in Jesus. It is not only those living who will have to pay the price, it is everyone, ever.
You have either let Jesus pay the price for your sins, or you will pay the price. You are either good seed maturing into wheat, multiplying the crop or you are empty chaff, trash to be burned. You are either wheat ready to be gathered to the barn or weeds ready to be burned in the fire. Which are you? If you are wheat, are you bearing fruit in keeping with your repentance? Are you laboring for the harvest?