Let’s read that solemn portion: “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. 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.’ So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.  Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 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.’ 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. And the winepress was trampled outside of the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs” (NKJV).

The book of Revelation is a “book of judgment.” It deals with God’s judgments falling upon the earth for a period of 7 years, culminating in the Second Coming of Christ. When He appears, He will bring the final judgments to the enemies of God and Israel and that is what we have before us in this passage. In verses 14-16 we have Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, “gathering souls for judgment.” We read of Christ coming as “the Son of Man” a few times in Scripture and they all refer to Him coming to separate the RIGHTEOUS from the WICKED, resulting in Him “judging the wicked.” In Matthew 24:29-31 we read, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days…the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on clouds with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Now let’s read Matthew 25:31-32, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All THE NATIONS WILL BE GATHERED BEFORE HIM, and He will SEPARATE THEM ONE FROM ANOTHER, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” In Matthew 24 we see Christ “gathering His elect from the nation of Israel” and in Matthew 25 we Christ “gathering all other nations together” to separate believers from unbelievers. The rest of this chapter shows believers (the SHEEP) entering His kingdom here on earth (verse 34) and unbelievers entering hell (verse 45). Earlier in Matthew chapter 13 the Lord told a parable of the “the WHEAT and the TARES” (depicting BELIEVERS and UNBELIEVERS). In verse 30 the Lord Jesus said, “Let both grow together UNTIL THE HARVEST, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” This parable illustrates the same truth, for when the Son of Man comes in His glory, He will gather all souls together and separate the unbelievers to be judged while believers will enter His kingdom.

In verses 17-20 we have another “judgment scene” before us which will take place when the Son of Man comes in glory. This judgment will take place at the battle of Armageddon where “all the armies of the world will be gathered” (see Revelation 16:12-16). When the Lord Jesus Christ appears, they will join forces (in their common hatred of Christ and God) to do battle with Him, yet I believe they will be destroyed before they can fire one shot. We read of this solemn scene in Revelation 19:11, 12-16: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and IN RIGHTEOUSNESS HE JUDGES AND MAKES WAR…Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should STRIKE THE NATION. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself TREADS THE WINEPRESS OF THE FIERCENESS AND WRATH of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” We read in Revelation 14:19 of the “great WINEPRESS of the wrath of God” and that corresponds perfectly to what we have just read. Like a man trampling grapes in a winepress, the Lord Jesus will trample His enemies. We read of this same judgment in Joel 3:13, “Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the WINEPRESS IS FULL, the vats overflow—for their wickedness is great.” The prophet Isaiah was made to write of this judgment as well: “Who is this who coms from Edom, with dyed garments in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?—‘I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’ Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who TREADS THE WINEPRESS? ‘I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have TRODDEN THEM IN MY ANGER, and TRAMPLED THEM IN MY FURY; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments and I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me; and My own fury, it sustained Me. I have TRODDEN DOWN THE PEOPLE IN MY ANGER, made them drunk in My fury, and brought down their strength to the earth.” We read that “the winepress was trampled outside the city” and this no doubt refers to the “city of Jerusalem.” It is outside this city that the most devastating judgment in human history is to fall upon the armies of the world, a city characterized by moral corruption (Revelation 11:8), the worship of the Beast (13:4), and the city that draws all the nations of the earth to it for battle (16:14 with Zechariah 14:2).  So great will be the carnage that the blood will be “up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs” (a distance of nearly 190 miles). Yet as seen in several passages, Christ’s judgment upon His enemies will bring salvation to those who have believed on Him.  (DO)  (579.3)