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Saturday, May 13, 2017

5/13/2017 THE REAPING

                                  Revelation 14:13-20

Laying in my bed early one morning a little over a week ago, Father started running ‘reaping’ past me.  Now, anyone who’s been around long enough discovers the concept of reaping and sowing – if we would like the Lord to bless us we know that we need to sow into other lives or do unto others as we would have them do unto us. 

Seeking the kingdom of God first (Mat. 6:33) is learning how to care about others, do those things to help them (Rom. 14:19).  In so doing, we do it unto God (Matt. 25:40).  BUT, that’s not what we talking about today.

Today, we’re going to talk a bit about ‘final’ spiritual reaping, the eternal destination type.
I’m going to paraphrase the following verses from Revelation chapter fourteen a tad:

Revelation 20:11-12    I saw a great white throne and him that sat on it, from whose face earth and heaven fled away and there was no place for them to hide.

I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God and the books were opened.  And another book was opened which is of life.  And the dead were judged according those things, their works, written in the books.

This sets the stage for the next seven verses.  We ARE and WILL BE held accountable for what we say and do in this life.  Notice the ‘books’, plural and the book which is of life, singular.  There’s a lot written about the unsaved, every act, every deed, every word.  Thank God we who are in Christ don’t have to worry about everything that we’ve ever done or said beings brought back up for us to see.  We are cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ!

Revelations 14:13-16  I heard a voice from heaven say to me write blessed are they who die in the Lord from now on.  And the Spirit says that they may have rest from their labors and their works will follow them.

I looked and saw a white cloud and He who sat upon it was like the Son of man and wore a golden crown and held a sharp sickle.

Another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud saying thrust in you sickle and reap for the harvest of the earth is ripe and ready.

And He who sat upon the cloud, thrust in His sickle and the earth was reaped.      

When we are with Jesus Christ in heaven, we all shall have a crown of life (James 1:12), but this precedes that event, so ask yourself ‘who is wearing the golden crown?’  I can think only of One.  How about you (Matt. 25:31-33)?  And so Jesus reaps the earth and we ask ‘who or what is He reaping?’

Matt. 25:34-40 gives us a hint – the sheep.  And the sheep are those who served Jesus/God in this life.  As we have done for the least in the kingdom of God, we have done it unto Jesus (v40).  And what is the end of these sheep?  But the righteous (enter) into eternal life (v46)
We know, as Christians, Jesus encourages us follow Him and keep our eyes focused on heaven for the gate into heaven is narrow (Matt. 7:13-14), so we should keep Jesus’ commandments as He kept the Father’s (John 15:10). 

We should run the race expecting to win it – give our utmost effort (1 Corinth. 9:24-27) through yielding ourselves to Jesus.

We show our faith BY our works, not the other way around (James 2:14-20).  Remember that the devils also believe and they know (Matt. 8:29) who Jesus is.  They also know who operates in the power of the Lord (Acts 19:13-16).

Yet we need to keep alert for Satan can show himself to be something good (2 Corinth. 11:14) so we need to be aware of deceivers (Matt. 7:15-20) who try to turn us astray from the original gospel of God (Jude v4 – only one chapter), even people who have done things in Jesus’ name (Matt. 7:21-23) may have a problem that without repentance (Acts 3:19), they will not enter in.  All that glitters is not gold.

 But we need to endure to the end (Matt. 24:13) so that we may be reaped into the kingdom of God.  When we are founded in Jesus Christ, we are like gold, silver and precious stones, receiving an appropriate reward.  Even when we are weak in our works but our faith remains steady, we ourselves enter in, our rewards just aren’t as good (1 Corinth. 3:11-15).  And we enter into the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21:1-4).  Read the last two chapters in Revelation and see what God has in store for His children in eternity.

This angel wearing the crown (Jesus) is reaping souls into everlasting life.  He is gathering the saved!  Those who endured until the end for Jesus!  Eternal fellowship with the Father through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Now, let’s look at the flip side of this coin.

Rev. 14:17-20  And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven and he had a sharp sickle.

And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire, and he cried to him who had the sharp sickle “Thrust in you sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth for her grapes are fully ripe.”

And the angel thrust 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 horses bridles (as deep as) for a distance of 1600 furlongs (@200 mi.)

The first angel with a sickle reaped those who are in Christ Jesus, but look at what happens with this second reaping.  The fruit (souls) of this reaping are crushed like grapes and life is utterly crushed out of them.

We can compare this to the “great white throne judgement” where those who were not found written in the book of life but were rather judged on their ‘works’ were cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.  This is the second (v14), eternal death.

Let’s take a look at some who will face this final destination:

 The goats (Matt. 25:41-46) stand before the Son of man (Jesus, Matt.25: 31) and are held accountable for what they didn’t do.  They didn’t feed, give drink, house strangers,  clothe or visit the sick or incarcerated.  Again Jesus attests that because they didn’t do it to the least of the kingdom, they didn’t do it unto Him.  And He tells them “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (v41)  And even though the goats thought they were headed to heaven, they just didn’t care enough about anybody else to assure their eternity.   They were too concerned only about themselves.  I’m OK, therefore I’m ‘in’.  N-O-O-O-OT!

Also, the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13).  Ten virgins were all waiting for the bridegroom.  They all knew that they had ‘salvation’ wrapped up.  The five wise virgins trimmed their lamps and took extra oil so they would always be prepared for the bridegroom.  The five foolish virgins trimmed their lamps but did not take extra oil, figuring they had plenty.  But the bridegroom lingered in coming and their lamps went out.  They tried to borrow from the five wise virgins, but no go and while they were out trying to buy more oil the bridegroom came, leaving them ‘out’.  Note those five foolish virgins knew where the bridegroom lived and knocked on His door but what did He tell them “Truly, I say to you, I don’t know you.”(v12).  And they weren’t allowed in.  They didn’t care enough continue living in Jesus and became slack along the way and didn’t do what was necessary to stay focused for eternity.  We don’t know when Jesus is returning, so we have to be ready at all times.

We know when our names are written in the book of life, our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus and we won’t be judged at the great white throne (that is only for those who died in their sin). 

But we do stand a judgment.  We are not judged for our salvation, but having accepted Jesus into our hearts and ‘hangin’ in there with Him, our names are written in the book of life, but we do stand what is referred to as the ‘judgment seat of Christ”.  Not a salvation judgment, but, if you will, a rewards banquet.  We are judged for the works we did for Christ.  If we did no works for Jesus, or what we did wasn’t worth much because of doubt or whatever, yet because we continued to believe on Him, we enter in to the kingdom of God.  We just miss out on what blessings Father may have had in store for us.  Those who did works for Jesus (like the sheep), will be rewarded accordingly with whatever God has decided to bless us with. (1 Corinth. 3:11-16)

So we see two reapings in Revelation chapter fourteen.  One for the saved and one for the unsaved.  We’ve seen a contrast on the fate of each and we should have a reasonable idea of what qualifies for each.  It hasn’t happened yet, so why are we concerned?

Today, we are dealing with two seasons.  One has already started (Jan. 2015) and the next is yet to come.  Both are for seven years.  Seven years represents resurrection, spiritual completeness or Father’s perfection.  This season is preparing a host for the resurrection of the dead and the lost.  The next season is for ‘bringing in the sheaves’, that Spiritual explosion we’re starting t hear about.
This current seven years, Father is preparing His children for a Spiritual explosion such as the world has never seen before.  The prophet Haggai speaks of the latter house being greater than the former (Hag. 2:9).  Theologians have translated this as in reference to the outpouring of the Holy Ghost.  We read in the book of Acts how the Holy Ghost worked through the apostles and the early church.  And we must admit that the church hasn’t acted like that in a long time.  But this Spiritual explosion (Ezek. 36:27) will make those days look like child’s play in comparison.  Much of the church will come to know, beyond any doubt, that God is THE God, Creator, Savior, Eternal Father (Jer. 24:7) and that we are His children and we will know this so deeply in our hearts that it can’t be shaken.  AND we will live and act like we know it (John 15:12-14)!  And Father is using blessings, restoration of things lost and restitution of things stolen to encourage all of us (believers) to come into an active role in this event so we can move boldly and effectively in the next season.

Man is man and because of pride, or whatever, the apostate church (those who function like the Pharisees of 2000 years ago, the goats, the foolish virgins) and much of the unsaved will remain so.  Nonetheless, God will work His work and those whose lives He touches, will know it and live it abiding in God’s power becoming effective soldiers in the next season.

Father is preparing His church, His children to serve, to prepare new believers and to reconstitute the current church back into His principles of life (Ezek. 37:1-14 – dry bones).

For six seasons He has been preparing us and we are now in the seventh season (for this, a season = @100 years, beginning with Wycliffe’s 1st English translation of the bible so the common man would have something to read – not in Latin).  As the prophet Ezekiel said that the bones gathered together, attached by sinew, covered with muscle and the skin, the church as gone through growth from getting a bible the common man can read to the Protestant Reformation, the Holiness Movement, the Pentecostal Movement and through the Charismatic movement so the church can look something like what Father intended His church to look like!  And now?  Now He has been, and continues to infuse His Holy Ghost into our lives, bringing us up out of our graves, bringing us into our own land, our proper place in His scheme (Ezek. 37:1-14) so that we can know that He IS our God and we are His people (Jer. 32:38).

It’s not our job to ‘just know what’s comin’ down’, but to be ready when it does happen for we don’t know exactly when He’s returning (Matt. 25:13).  Think about it, Paul, Peter, John, Matthew and the rest looked for Jesus to come back in their lifetime and today, we are still waiting.  So we need to be and help others be ready! (Matt. 28:18-20, Acts 1:8).    Will all of us become worldwide evangelists?  No.  But Father does give us own sphere, no matter how small or how great, to be a testimony for His love.

 There will be a reaping
When the Lord calls us all home (1 Thess. 4:16-17 – the Lord shall shout with the voice of an arch-angel, the trump of God and the dead shall rise first, then those who are alive on the earth shall be caught up in the clouds with them)
Or when He takes us (personally) out of this world (Luke 23:43 – today, you will be with Me in paradise)

To where will people be reaped
            The lake of fire and brimstone?
            The New Jerusalem, the new heaven and new earth?

We don’t know when the reaping shall occur.  We just need to always be ready for His call.


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