Nov 23, 2020
(Rv.14:14-19; Ps.96:10-13; Lk.21:5-11)
“Use your sickle and cut down the harvest,
for now is the time to reap.”
Brothers and sisters, you will “hear of wars and insurrections,” and “there will be great earthquakes, plagues, and famines in various places, and in the sky fearful omens and great signs.” “These things are bound to happen first, but the end does not follow immediately.” The end does not follow immediately from the signs, so do not set your hearts upon them – “take care not to be misled” by those whose seed has no root and so jumps up at any indication of travail. There has been travail throughout human history and the end, which is upon us every moment now, will only be fulfilled at the angels’ cry. When this will be, be assured you do not know.
In John’s vision, at the first angel’s cry “the one sitting on the cloud wielded his sickle over all the earth and reaped the earth’s harvest.” At a second angel’s cry another “wielded his sickle over the earth and gathered the grapes of the earth… [and] threw them into the huge winepress of God’s wrath.” And so the end comes. But does John see the future only, the past or the present as well… or a time that exists quite apart from our own? And even the angels did not know the time had come until they obediently acted upon the word of their God. And would you yet listen to the anxious rantings of those without eyes, those whose vision does not approach the heavenly reality?
The Lord “shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with His constancy” when “He comes to rule the earth.” This you can know even now; of this you can be assured. But when “the heavens [shall] be glad and the earth rejoice… [and] the sea and what fills it resound,” none can say – this word is in His mouth alone, and when the Mighty One shall pronounce it is known to His Heart alone. He has spoken once at the coming of Christ, but when He shall speak finally cannot be ascertained; it is but for us to be prepared for that Day. For He will come again, we know, and the angels’ sickles shall be sharp, and separate with certainty the wheat from the chaff. The time of harvest is at hand.
(In the harvest of the wheat and the grapes of the earth at the end of the age is made perfect this Body and Blood of Christ we eat and drink from our altar today. The saints’ flesh and blood become the Lord’s own.)
O LORD, when harvest time comes,
let us not be fearful but rejoice
in the return of your Son.
YHWH, you rule the world with justice and in the end your justice will be known. There will not be left a stone on another as you reap the harvest you have sown and cast the unrighteous into the winepress of your wrath.
Those who love you, LORD, shall rejoice at your coming, at the return of your only Son and all His angels with Him. They shall rejoice that the end has come and your justice will be fully known. And you shall gather them into your barns.
But those who are not your own, LORD, will not be able to endure that day, for they will be anxious and afraid at the glory that comes to rule the earth. Turn all hearts from the empty illusion of this passing world and set them on your kingdom which passes not away but is fulfilled in the judgment of your Son on the Day of His return. Let us not fear the violence coming upon the land but look to the peace that follows.