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A Brief Commentary On The Apocalypse by Sylvester Bliss

The Reaping of the Vine.

|And another angel came out of the temple in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over the fire, and called with a loud shout to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and cut off the clusters of the vine of the earth; for its grapes are ripe. And the angel cast in his sickle into the earth, and cut off the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God. And the wine-press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the wine-press, even to the bridles of the horses, for the distance of one thousand six hundred furlongs.| -- Rev.14:17-20.

The wicked also are gathered by the instrumentality of angels: said the Saviour, |As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth,| Matt.13:40-42. In the parable of the tares, the Saviour said, |Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.| Thus the tares were to be gathered first -- not before the righteous are gathered, but before the wheat is placed in the garner: the new earth being the garner where the righteous are finally to be gathered, they cannot be placed there till the wicked have been gathered out. |Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear,| Matt.13:30, 43.

The disposition of the vine, its being trodden down, and the great presence of blood flowing, symbolize the awful judgments to overtake the wicked, after the escape of the righteous, when they are gathered into bundles and burned. Thus Isaiah prophesied: |Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat? I have trodden the wine-press alone: and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come,| Isa.63:1-4.

Before the destruction of the old world by the deluge, Noah was secure in the ark. Before the destruction of Sodom, Lot is removed to a place of safety. So before the destruction of the vine of the earth, the righteous are caught up to the Lord in the air, where they are symbolized, in the following chapter, as:

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