And 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, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in 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 without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. Revelation 14:17-20.

Part I
by Brother Emerson A. Wilson

Knowing Your Enemies
I realize that I am dealing with a Scripture that many have tossed 'way out into the future. They are looking for the fulfillment of this somewhere beyond the second coming of Christ. We have already shown you, however, that the appearance of Christ in this chapter is as a LAMB. When He appears the second time, He will NOT be dealing with sin. No, when He comes the second time, He will come as a JUDGE, and ALL nations will be gathered before His judgment seat. We are considering something which is going on right in this very time in which we are living.

Paul said that God ...will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. I Timothy 2:4. Beyond salvation, there is truth to be understood. There is truth to be understood about the great battle of Armageddon, that battle of truth against error, which has been going on ever since the Garden of Eden.

I say it with kindness, but many people who profess to be Christians are enemies to the cause of Christ. The words of Paul in Philippians 3:17-19, warned the Church of God at Philippi that there were people right among them who claimed to be Christians, but were actually enemies to the very cause of Christ. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) He ended up by saying that they "mind earthly things". They work on an earthly level. They refuse spiritual things.

Just as in Paul's time, the same is true today. There are people who profess Christianity, but when we begin to drop the Word down on them to check them out, we find they are actually enemies to the cause of Christ! This condition has been magnified until there are countless thousands out there in the religious world who claim to be Christian, but when you put the Word of Truth down on them, you will find they are actually enemies!

Now friends, if we are going to carry on in the battle of Armageddon, we must know who our enemies are. How are we going to fight in the battle if we don't even know who our enemies are? This is the very reason the devil has made the inroads he's made: he keeps mankind in darkness about who their enemies really are! The Word of God is given to let us know who our enemies are. Certainly, even when we know who our enemies are, we must pray for them and love them. At the same time, if we are going to go safely through this battle, we must understand who our enemies really are.

God wants all men to be saved. Understand this: read it right--it doesn't say that all men WILL be saved--it says God WANTS all men (and women, of course) to be saved. It is not His Will that ANY should perish. If He had His way, all men would be saved, and beyond being saved, He wants them to come to a knowledge of truth. What knowledge of truth does He want them to come to? That there is just ONE God and ONE mediator between man and God, the man Christ Jesus. Now, you don't need a preacher to tell you that there are many supposed intervening mediators between man and God. It is sad to say, but these mediators are leading mankind further and further AWAY from God.

The Sharp Sickle
Now as we get right into the lesson, Revelation 14:16 lets us understand that He that sat on the cloud thrust in this sharp sickle, the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 lets us know that the Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword. It can come right down between the marrow and the bone, right down where you really are. It comes down between soul and spirit, and is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Everyone is naked before the Word of God; it works on every one of us.

There is no way you can hide from the Word of God. You may be hypocriting and fooling everybody around you, but the Word of God knows the intents of your heart. Brothers and Sisters, it not only knows it, but if you get around where the True Word is preached, it will tell on you! The first thing you know, you'll be thinking that everybody knows about you. Friends, it isn't the fact that somebody ran and told the preacher about your sins; you're just not giving enough credit to the Word of God. Some people seem to forget that God knows you altogether. The light and the darkness are the same to Him. There is nowhere you can go to hide from Him. He has your number every day, and He keeps it up to date. He knows your thoughts from afar off, before they ever register in your brain.

So the sharp sickle is the Word of God, and it's gathering the wheat and it's binding the tares. We are in the harvest period. The fields are ripe for harvest. Jesus said in Matthew 13:30, about His planting the good seed and the enemy sowing tares among the wheat. 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.

Some feel this must mean the second coming of Christ, but in verse 40 of that same chapter, He explains: As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. Every Bible student knows that "in" the end of this world is NOT the same as "at" the end of this world. Hebrews 9:26 tells us that Christ appeared on Calvary "in" the end of the world. When is "in" the end of the world? The last days, beginning A.D. 33--it is "in" the end of the world.

When a train goes by, the engineer is in the engine and the brakeman is in the end of it, the caboose. Now, when does the end of the train go by? After it is gone? No, the end of the train is the last car. So, the end of the world is the last days. Once in the end of the world He (Christ) appeared. When did He appear? On Calvary's Cross to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. The end of the world is the last days. THESE are the last days. The Holy Ghost dispensation is the LAST PERIOD OF TIME.

The Gospel Binds or Looses
Now, Jesus said to let the tares and the wheat grow together until the harvest. In the harvest, in the end of the world, He will send for His angels, or the Greek says, "the messengers". Somebody might say, "Oh, I think He is sending angels out of Heaven." Angels out of Heaven can't tell a saint from a sinner. WE will judge the angels--they don't judge us! Read 1 Corinthians, the sixth chapter. When it comes to spiritual things, WE WILL JUDGE THE ANGELS. Who are His angels? His ministers.

Now what did He do. Beginning at Pentecost, there was a morning time harvest. Were the tares bound? Yes! God expects the saints and sinners to live together out in the world, but not in the kingdom. Remember, this is in the kingdom (or in The Church). When the Day of Pentecost came, God sent forth His ministers ministering, and they began to bind the tares. Just follow through the Acts: Annanias and Sapphira were the first two bound; and from there right on through, my friends, the tares were bound and the wheat was loosed. There was a morning-time harvest.

Then Jesus began to prophesy of an evening-time harvest. He said the kingdom would be likened unto a man who sowed good seed in his field, and when the wheat came forth, so did the tares. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus told His disciples, nd I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. What power did He give them to bind and loose men? The Gospel!

Friends, when you hear the Gospel, if you believe it, it will loose you from every bondage. It doesn't make any difference how much you are bound in sin, how many habits of life have you bound, how much false religion you're bound with, how many spirits of the devil have hold on you--if you'll believe and meet the conditions of the Gospel, it will loose you! On the other hand, when you disbelieve it and rise up against it, it binds you. You will be eternally bound if you don't change your mind, start believing the Gospel and meet the conditions of it. So the binding and loosing power was through the Gospel, as Jesus sent people forth.

Angels, Angels, Angels
Revelation 14:17 tells us, And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. The reason it says "another angel" is because there already have been three angels mentioned. In verse 14, we saw a picture of that pillar of a cloud with one like the Son of man sitting on it with a sharp sickle in His hand. In verse 17, the ministry also had a sharp sickle. Every time we talk about this sickle, we are talking about the Word of God. When it says that it is a sharp sickle, it means it will cut.

It merely is a picture of the sickle in the hand of a man who is in the hand of the Lord. In Revelation 1:20, it refers to the seven stars, or angels, which are the pastors of the seven congregations of The Church in Asia. They were all in Christ's hand. "In His hand" means that He can control them: He tells them what to preach and when to preach it. What the people "want to hear" doesn't affect them one bit. So we have a picture of a ministry with a sharp sickle in his hand, as he is in the hand of the Lord.

In verse 18, we read of another angel: And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. This sickle is two-edged. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Romans 11:22 tells us to Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God... Here are the two sides of the sword, and God can use either of them. Some people just "cannot believe" that God could be hard on anyone or cut people off. There is none who can be as good as God, and there is none as severe as God when He decides to turn to severity.

Now, this last angel talks about putting people in the winepress of the wrath of God. I realize this type of preaching doesn't catch the applause of the kind of world we are living in, but it is necessary that you hear it and understand it so that God can bring you to a just judgment. Man, in his earthly thinking, is trying to bring God down to his level. It is difficult for some people to accept the fact that God would send anyone to hell. We tend to forget that He is God; we want to bring Him down to man's level. God is just. Certainly, He is love, but He is just. We need to behold the goodness and the severity of God in God's eternal Word.

Power Over Fire
This angel of the 18th verse had power over fire. In Jeremiah 23:29, God asks, Is not my word like as a fire?...and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? He goes right on in Jeremiah 50:23 and says, How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations! How did the hammer of God's Word get broken so that it lost its force? How has Babylon become a desolation? When they added to and failed to preach God's Word, soft-peddled it and took the hammering qualities out of it, God moved out and it became a desolate state.

The same thing will happen to you and me, individually or collectively, if we desire to remove the harsh qualities from God's Word. We can be just as old Israel and ask for smooth things to be preached to us. Some people have the idea that they can do about anything they want to, that God is like a rubber doll which they can twist around any way they want to and fit Him into their mold. They are just deceiving themselves. "Power over fire" merely means that this angel, or ministry, was already measuring to the truth which he was preaching. Do you know why so many preachers don't preach about so many things? Because they would burn themselves! A preacher who smokes cigarettes doesn't preach on the sinfulness of the tobacco habit!

The three Hebrew boys who were thrown into the fire had power over fire. They had power over fire because they wouldn't bend; they wouldn't compromise. They stood for the Word just as it was, and when they stood for it squarely and honored God, then God honored them. When they threw them in the fire, they stood right in the fire and praised God. That One walking in there with them looked like the Son of man. They had power over fire. Power over fire means you have been square with God; you stood straight with God; you would not bend or bow, but you stood squarely. So, this ministry had power over fire.

Someone might say, "That was just the ministry; the people don't have that power." Well, let's consider Revelation 15:2, which gives us a picture of the saints standing on a sea of glass mingled with fire, a type of the Word of God mingled with the fire of the Holy Ghost. Here is a picture of a whole lot of saints standing right in the fire; they have power over this fire.

Too many times, the reason we don't see a greater work done for God is because many people who claim to be Christians can't sit under fire-and-brimstone preaching without getting burned. Too often, the sinner sits and watches the saints get scorched. In any case, God has a people who can stand right in the fire, or the burning messages of God's Word.

Do you remember how God is going to take away the filth from the daughters of Zion? With the Spirit of judgment and the Spirit of burning. So here were people who stood right on the sea of glass, God's Word, mingled with the fire of the Holy Ghost. They not only accepted it, but they were also happy about it. They were harping on their harps right in the fire. They were singing songs, rejoicing in the great privilege that God had given them.

Whenever you lay hold of this experience, where you get to the place that you can sit under the straight preaching of God's Word, rejoice in it and not get burned by it, you are ready to go out with victory over every circumstance. The preaching of God's eternal Word--straight, hot and heavy--will produce a people who can stand something.

The Vine Of The Earth
This angel which came out from the altar, that had power over fire, cried with a loud cry to Him that had the sharp sickle, saying, "Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe." Now what is He going to do with the sickle this time? What are the clusters of the vine of the earth? Jesus said in John 15:5, I am the vine, ye are the branches... Christians who have been inducted into The Church through a born-again experience, or have been grafted into the true vine, are the branches.

When John talks about the vine of the earth, he is talking about the old dragon. He is spoken of as the vine of the earth, and the many religious organizations springing off of this vine are branches. Coming through the Revelation, we found that paganism (the dragon) was cast down when Roman Catholicism came up under the papal state (the beast). He spake as a dragon because he is a branch-off. We came right on over to Protestantism; he looked like a lamb, but spake as a dragon. Right over in our day and time, we hear dragon talk.

What is dragon talk? What was the herald and cry of the pagan Roman Empire? Why did they fight Christianity so? The cry of the Roman Empire was, "All religions are all right--one is as good as another." They would not have bothered Christianity at all if she would have taken her place right along with nominal religion, but God is a jealous God!

Jesus came teaching that there is only ONE way; every other way is false. Jesus came teaching that I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6. Be sure to note in particular the article "the". He didn't say "a way"; He didn't say, "one of many ways"--He said, "I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life." He also said, "NO man cometh unto the Father but by ME." True Christianity is just as narrow today as it was then, and that is what gets the true Christians in trouble. So when we talk about the vine of the earth, my friends, we are talking about this dragon power that reached clear through the Gospel day with the many clusters (different religions) springing off of it.

Their Rock is Not Our ROCK
Revelation 15:2,3 pictures the saints standing on a sea of glass, singing the song of Moses. What is the song of Moses? The entire song is found in Deuteronomy 32, verses 1-43. Let's consider verses 31-35:

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures? To me belongeth vengeance and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.

Let's consider what they were singing about. The Revelation tells us this was the song which the saints sung when they stood on the sea of glass, the Word of God. Moses' song lets us know that their vine is the vine of Sodom, talking about the vine of the earth. People who will not have Christ as their rock, or their foundation, choose their own foundation. Their rock is not OUR ROCK. What happens when temptation comes? They break down and sin. They turn around and teach that you sin, more-or-less, every day. Everybody and anybody who says that has not found the RIGHT ROCK. When the trial or temptation comes, their rock fails them, and is not able to keep them.

Moses said that their vine of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter. In the previous message, we found that Babylon is spiritually called Sodom because of the lewdness and ungodliness that goes on under the cloak (guise) of religion. Brothers and Sisters, there is more filth and corruption going on under the cloak (guise) of religion today than there is in the nightclubs and honky-tonks. My friends, when it goes on under the cloak of religion, it is much blacker in the eyes of God. So their vine is the vine of Sodom, and Babylon is spiritually called Sodom.

We have a picture of an anti-Christ system of religion stretched clear out through the Gospel day. It is an anti-Christ system of religion into which millions have been grafted without a real experience of Christ. Because of it, my friends, they are not able to live holy, not able to live any differently. They are forever endeavoring to do better, but never able to because they lack this power that we talked about a little bit ago.

So, the clusters of this vine are the various religious organizations. From this vine of the earth came forth Roman Catholicism; from this vine of the earth came forth Protestantism; and the cluster continues to reach right on out. The further Protestantism goes, the more division there is. The dragon, my friends, is working through every one of them in one way or another to hinder them from finding the truth of God's eternal Word.

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