These passages were compiled by our brother, Alan E. Kurschner, Ph.D., Eschatos Mimistries. I have the pleasure and liberty to comment on them briefly.
In passsage #8 we looked at the great multitude which no man could number. In passage #9, we shall look at the first of the Final Harvest.
This [refuse the Mark of the Beast] requires the steadfast endurance of the saints—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to their faith in Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: ‘Blessed are the dead, those who die in the Lord from this moment on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so they can rest from their hard work, because their deeds will follow them.” Then I looked, and a white cloud appeared, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man! He had a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple, shouting in a loud voice to the one seated on the cloud, “Use your sickle and start to reap, because the time to reap has come, since the earth’s harvest is ripe!” So the one seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.”
The KJV says:
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto 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 that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.”(Rev.14:12-16).
The Greek word rendered patience by the KJV is “hupomone.” It is better rendered steadfast endurance as in the NET. It is endurance, perseverance under persecution,pressures, trouble, distress, pain or tribulation. The perseverance of the saints is predicated upon third angelic announcement. What is the third angelic announcement?
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”(Rev.14:9-11).
What fueled the perseverance of the saints under the persecution by the antiChrist is the understanding that if any man buckles under torture and receives the mark of allegiance to the Beast-antiChrist, he shall burn in Hell for eternity without let. It is incomparably easier to endure temporal pain no matter the severity than to burn in unquenchable fire for eternity. Those who die in the Lord are killed because of their refusal to bear the mark of allegiance to the Beast. They are blessed because having suffered temporal pain, torture, captivity, starvation or martyrdom are exempt from eternal inferno. They shall be rewarded in paradise. Their works do follow them.
We must not lose sight of the fact that Rev.14 is parenthetical. The three angelic announcements were made at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. But now, the Great Tribulation has come to an end, having been terminated by the cosmic and celestial disturbances associated with the breaking of the sixth seal. We are now in the interlude between the end of the sixth seal and the breaking of the seventh. The sixth seal is the sign of the End Of The Ages which signal the wrath of God. The saints are not appointed to God’s wrath. Therefore, they must be evacuated from the Earth which is the scene of God’s wrath. The Earth and it’s inhabitants have gone through the the hour of testing which must test all who dwell on the Earth(Rev.3:10). The wheat and the Tares have come to maturation. The Earth is ripe. It is now the hour of harvest(Greek: therisai).
The angel that is seated on the cloud is no doubt our Lord Jesus the Christ. He is the Judge of the whole Earth. The Father God has committed all judgment to the Son. The lone angelic voice commanding the sitter upon the cloud to cast in His sickle and reap is no doubt God the Father. All three persons of the Godhead are referred to as angels in the OT(Gen.18). Cloud is Heaven’s transport mechanism. It also signals glory. That He has a sickle in His right hand indicates He is about to reap the Earth. The sickle is the instrument of harvest. Judgment must begin in the house of God. The harvest is in stages. The 144,000 have been sealed to protect them from the wrath of God in the Day Of The Lord and to subsequently enter the Millennium. The other Jewish survivors of the first six trumpets are saved to enter the Millennium at the end of the 70th week of Daniel( Zech.12:10-14). The next in the sequence of harvest are those who died in the Lord as well as the living remnant of the saints who did not take the mark of allegiance to the Beast. They are harvested to Heaven. There is no shedding of blood here. This is the glorious Rapture of the saints.
Next in the sequence of harvest of the Earth to the Rapture is the wrath of God which ends in a bloodbath at Armageddon(Rev.14:17-20). And finally, the Sheep of the Sheep and Goat Judgment(Matt.25:31-46) of the Gentiles who enter the Millennium in their mortal bodies to repopulate the Earth alongside the 144,000 and the other Jewish remnants.