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.”
The garage at my grandparents’ house in Ingleside, Illinois was a place of wonder and adventure for me as a young boy.
It had been a car garage since the turn of the century – the 19th to the 20th, that is – and on the outside was the name “Wear.” This house and property were originally the summer home of the Wear family – where my grandmother spent her summers as a young girl.
Over the ensuing 75 years, no car resided in that garage as it accumulated that side of our family’s “stuff.”
I would explore in there in the spring time – as that was when it was coolest, without being freezing, and no wasps and hornets had built their nests.
It was shaped sort of like a hockey stick, but the blade was rotated 90 degrees and serrated on both edges.
I found out later that it was a sickle.
It was a garden sickle and it was used to cut long grass and weeds before there were such things as powered lawnmowers and weed-wackers.
All you did was swing it back and forth through the grass and weeds and it would cut them down to size.
Farmers used larger – and sharper – sickles to harvest grain and barley back before the combine harvester was invented.
This is the picture painted in Revelation 14 of the Last Day.
Jesus had used the parable and analogy of seeds and harvests throughout his ministry. So it is not surprising that this picture would be used here in the last book of the Bible.
It is just a picture – there won’t be a literal reaping of people by Jesus wielding a sickle. But it is a picture that strikes to the heart of each person. Unfortunately, Satan has influenced the picture by inciting someone’s imagination to see this as The Grim Reaper.
But that isn’t the picture painted in Revelation at all!
Jesus has a sharp sickle and this is a picture of the harvesting of the “elect” – those who remain in their Holy Spirit-given faith (through the Means of Grace). This harvest is swift and complete – that’s the picture of the sickle.
There will be no more suffering or waiting on our part. When Christ comes back, our waiting will have finally come to an end and our suffering will be over forever.
This will be followed immediately by another harvest, that done by an angel (or angels), of those who reject Christ. That harvest will also be swift and complete but will not bring an end to suffering but rather be the beginning of eternal torment and separation from God.
The ultimate harvest by Christ is our glorious future and we look forward to it with longing.
But in the meantime, we are to be at work in God’s Kingdom sharing the Gospel so that others will also long for this last harvest!
Almighty and gracious God, you want all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Magnify the power of the Gospel in the hearts of your faithful people that your Church may spread the good news of salvation. Protect, encourage, and bless all missionaries who proclaim the saving cross that Christ, being lifted up, may draw all people to himself, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
©2017 True Men Ministries