2910. The Harvest And The Vintage

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The Harvest And The Vintage

No. 2910-50:553. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, September 17, 1876, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Tuesday, November 17, 1904.

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and on the cloud one sat like 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 who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in your sickle, and reap: for the time is come for you to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” And he who sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. 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, who had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your 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 wine-press of the wrath of God. And the wine-press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out of the wine-press, even to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand and six hundred furlongs. {Re 14:14-20}

1. I am no prophet, nor the son of a prophet; neither do I profess to be able to explain all the prophecies in this blessed Book. I believe that many of them will only be explained as the events occur which they foretell. Yet there are some things which are plain even to the most superficial reader. It is plain, for example, that it is certainly foretold that the power of antichrist shall be utterly and eternally destroyed, and that Babylon, that is to say, the Papal system, with all its abominations, shall be thrown like a millstone into the flood, to rise no more for ever. It is also certain that the Jews, as a people, will yet acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of David, as their King, and that they will return to their own land, “and they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.” It is certain also that our Lord Jesus Christ will come again to this earth, and that he will reign among his ancients gloriously, and that there will be a thousand years of joy and peace such as were never known on this earth before. It is also certain that there will be a great and general judgment, when all nations shall be gathered before the Son of man sitting on the throne of his glory; and his final award concerning those on his left hand will be, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment”; and concerning those on his right hand, “but the righteous into life eternal.”

2. How all these great events are to be chronologically arranged, I cannot tell. This I know, — for I have read a multitude of books on this subject, and of making them there is practically no end, — all the authors seem to me to be amazingly wise in refuting each other, but not to be so successful in establishing their own theories. Therefore I am content to believe what I see to be clearly taught in the Scriptures, and to leave to abler minds than my own the arrangement of the various events in some kind of historical sequence. This, however, seems to me to be clearly revealed in the Scriptures, that there is to come, some time, — we do not know when, — a solemn winding up of all the events of this world’s history. Whatever else may happen, or may not happen, the apostle Paul plainly declared that God “has appointed a day, on which he will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom he has ordained. He has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead.” Even though we cannot understand some things that are foretold by John, or Isaiah, or Daniel, or Ezekiel, we know that “it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment”; and that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; so that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether it is good or bad.” Judgment must certainly come, even to the house of God, for Peter says that it shall begin there; and if it shall begin there, “what shall the end be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

3. That there will be a day of judgment, appears to be clear even to human reason; for, apart from revelation, or, perhaps, assisted by some dim remnants of it, all nations — I think I may say all, for no exceptions are known to me, — have believed in a judgment. They have called it by different names, and they have described it in various ways, but they have all believed, more or less clearly, in a great throne of justice, before which wrongs will be rectified, sin will be punished, and righteousness will be rewarded. This has seemed so self-evident, even to the crudest thoughts of the lowest of mankind, that, in some form or other, the most benighted nations have believed it; and it strikes one, at once, as being most reasonable; for, in this world, how often does infamy triumph! How often is oppression linked with power to destroy innocence and virtue! What are the groans, and sighs, and wailings that I hear, and what are the tears that I see, but the outbursts of men who are being crushed beneath the awful burden of lifelong injustice? The best of men are, all too often, trodden down as the very mire of the street, while the worst are sitting proudly in the high places of the earth. If there is a God at all, — and we know that there is, — there must be a time and a way of rectifying all this in another state; and so there is, as David says, “Truly there is a reward for the righteous: truly he is a God who judges in the earth”; and, therefore, truly there must be a time of judgment for the ungodly, even common reason seems to teach us that.

4. Moreover, there is, within us all, a conscience, which Shakespeare says “does make cowards of us all”; and well I think that it may do so, since we have all sinned and turned from the path of right. Let man do what he wishes with that conscience, — unless there is an extraordinary restraint put on it, — it bears testimony to the great fact that the judgment is coming quickly. We have known men to stifle or silence this voice until they have come to a sick-bed, or have been at sea in a storm; yet why have they been so alarmed at the approach of death? Death itself is not to be feared, but it is —

    The dread of something after death, —
    The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
    No traveller returns, —

that makes a man cling even to an ignominious and shameful life rather than hurry himself, all unprepared, before the judgment bar of God. Men who have, when in health, denied this, have, as they have lain dying, proved that they believed it by the cold clammy sweat that has stood on their brow at the very thought of passing into the spirit world. They have known that there is a God, — a God who must do right, — and knowing that they have done wrong, they have been afraid to fall into the hands of the living God.

5. But we are not left to the faint taper of human reason, or to the flickering candle of conscience; we have the full sunlight of divine revelation. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself has told us, in various ways, sometimes by parable, and sometimes by plain speech, that there is a day assuredly coming in which all mankind shall stand before his judgment bar; and the apostle John, in the visions which we are about to consider, had a view, not exactly of the judgment itself, but of a parable or picture of that judgment. May the Holy Spirit help us to look into it with eyes divinely opened, and may he graciously impress the truth concerning the judgment on all our hearts!

6. Before we consider my main subject, let me call your attention to what John says about the coming of the Judge: “I looked, and behold a white cloud, and on the cloud one sat like the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.”

7. Observe then, first, the Judge’s throne. On that great judgment day, he will come sitting on a cloud. What can this metaphor mean? Surely it must mean that his judgment seat will be far more glorious than the thrones of mere mortal monarchs. They may sit on thrones of ivory; they may exalt themselves on thrones made of gold, and bedecked with myriads of gems shining like the eyes of the morning, or the stars of the midnight sky; but their thrones can never be compared in splendour with the judgment seat of Christ. A great white throne shall come sailing along the sky, and on it shall sit the King of kings, and Lord of lords, the Judge of all, who has the right to sit in judgment, whose decisions will be impartial and infallible, and whose sentences will assuredly be carried out. He does not ask for any throne that this world could supply; he borrows no permission to judge from Parliament, or Pope, or prince. He is Judge by divine right, as himself God, and as the Mediator, appointed by God to judge the quick and the dead.

8. His mysterious throne is also said to be “a white cloud.” The word expresses, not so much the colour of whiteness, as the dazzling brilliancy of a white substance, — dazzling because of its perfect purity. That white cloud shall be as a throne of alabaster to him, — a throne as of transparent glass, pure as crystal, — a throne that shall be without spot or blemish, — a throne whose judgment no bribe can ever influence, — a throne concerning which it may be said that the Judge seated there never fears the face of man or devil, nor will he ever do any man or devil an injustice, but will “lay judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet.”

9. The Judge’s throne, then, shall be unique for its splendour and unearthly purity; and he will be seated on a cloud, which will be so elevated in the sky that all can see it. If Christ were to be seated on a throne set up at Jerusalem or at Rome, only a part of the world’s vast population would be able to behold him; but, on that tremendous day, there shall be an audience chamber large enough to hold the quick and the dead of all climes and all times, and Christ shall be there, above them all, “and every eye shall see him, and those also who pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” So, on some calm summer evening, as the sun has been setting, I have seen a cloud, wafted by the wind in the very face of the sun, and the sun has shone on it, lighting it up with such glory as only heaven’s pencil could give; and I have said to myself, “So shall it be in that day when the Son of man shall appear, seated on a white cloud as his last throne of judgment.”

10. Now turn your eye, for a little while, from the Judge’s throne to his person:“ on the cloud one sat like the Son of man.” And well may John say “like the Son of man,” for it is no one but he: “THE Son of man.” Man has had many sons, but no other like this “Son of man.” He is the truest man who ever lived, — the most manly of all men, — the only one in whom manhood has reached its perfection; and, in that day, every eye shall see that, though he is “very God of very God,” yet he is also just as truly man. They shall behold the nail-prints in his hands and his feet, and the marks of the spear thrust in his side, and they shall see that it is even he whom they called “the Nazarene,” and whom wicked men nailed to the cross of Calvary. It is HE who shall come to judge the quick and the dead, — the gentle Jesus, “meek and lowly in heart” still, full of love, and abundant in mercy, for those attributes can never depart from our Lord Jesus Christ; yet they will be consistent with the sternest justice and the most unflinching administration of the law of God. It will go badly, in that day, for those who have despised the Lamb of Calvary, for they shall find that he is also “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” None are more terrible in justice than those who are tender in mercy. Bring to me the gentlest spirit that ever lived, and begin to tell the account of the Bulgarian massacres, {a} and I will warrant you that, in proportion to the tenderness will be the indignation. Those, who have no heart, cannot display real indignation; but where there beats a true heart of love, there must be righteous wrath against whatever is unloving, holy anger against whatever is unjust and true. So it shall be with him who will sit on the white cloud. With a perfectly balanced mind, calm and absolutely impartial, gentle, yet terrible, he will sit on that throne of spotless purity, “and every eye shall see him.” My eyes shall see him, and your eyes shall see him, and the eyes of everyone who has been born of woman shall see him in that day.

11. We have glanced at the Judge’s throne, and at his person; now let us note his adornments. John mentions that he saw “on his head a golden crown.” That is to signify that he is a Sovereign; and, indeed, as I have already reminded you, he is King of kings, and Lord of lords, and he is to be the Judge of all by virtue of his divine authority and power. How different it will be to see him with a crown of gold on his head from what it was to see him wearing that terrible crown of thorns which the cruel soldiers wove, and thrust on his brow! The word used here does not usually refer to the diadem of power, but to the crown won in conflict; and it is very remarkable that it should be said that, when Christ comes to judge the world, he will wear the garland of victory, the crown which he has won in the great battle which he has fought. How significant of his final triumph will that crown of gold be on those brows that were once covered with bloody sweat when he was fighting the battle for our salvation! As his saints catch a glimpse of that fillet of gold, they will remember his victorious words, “It is finished”; and the very sight of that golden crown will fill their hearts with indescribable joy and delight, for they will remember that he triumphed on the cross for them, and that he has vanquished all their foes, and now he has come to claim them as the reward of his struggles, and the spoils of his victory.

12. Give one more look at the Judge on his throne, and you will see that he carries “in his hand a sharp sickle” or reaping hook. This is his sceptre, and it means that he has come to finish his last great work, which will be sharp, swift, and decisive. When he came to fight the battle of truth, “out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword”; but now it is handwork rather than mouth-work with him. There will be no ministry of mercy now, no further proclamation of the gospel; but, with a sharp sickle, Christ will come to reap. The sowing time will be over, and the reaping time will have come. What a sight that will be! “For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because the Lord will make a short work on the earth.” On that last tremendous day, when the earth will be rocking and reeling to and fro in terror at his coming, there will be a fulfilment of that verse in the last chapter of this Book: “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he who is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he who is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he who is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be.”

13. I. Now follow me while we look, first, at THE HARVEST, and may the Spirit of God render these great truths extremely impressive to us!

14. The first thing to be done, at the coming of the Lord, is to gather to himself his own people, — the wheat which he himself sowed, the precious grain which he watered with his bitter tears and his bloody sweat: “Another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in your sickle, and reap: for the time is come for you to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ ”

15. Notice that this reaping comes first, and I think it comes first in order of time. If I read the Scriptures properly, there are to be two resurrections, and the first will be the resurrection of the righteous; for it is written, “but the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power.” Sometimes, in Scripture, the resurrection of the just and of the unjust is represented as taking place simultaneously; and, at other times, they are represented as having an interval of a thousand years between the two; yet a thousand years are only as one day to God, and it may be that the whole period is included in the day of judgment. Still, it strikes me that we have sufficient warrant from Scripture to say that, in the order of time, the harvest comes before the vintage, as Paul says, “The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.” After that, I gather that he will come to judge and to condemn the wicked.

16. But, certainly, if not first in order of time, it is here put first in order of importance, for it is the ingathering of the wheat to which Christ especially looks forward; it is this on which his soul is set with ardent longing. Judgment is his strange work, his left-handed work; but “he delights in mercy,” and he will put this work first when he comes to “judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.” He has such regard for his saints that “when he makes inquisition for blood, he remembers them.” His eye is always fixed on them; and even on the day of judgment, the great event to Christ shall be the clearing of the righteous from every accusation that may be brought against them, the complete and final justification of as many as have believed in Jesus.

17. We can see, from reading this passage, that those to be left, after the righteous are gathered in, are very clearly indicated. In this world, in the present state, there is a mixture of good and bad. Here, the tares and the wheat grow close together in the same field; and, as a general rule, no man can tell the tares from the wheat. If any of us were to try to root up the tares, we should be almost sure to root up the wheat also. But, in that day, the righteous and the wicked will be easily distinguished from each other. No one ever mistook an ear of wheat for a cluster of grapes, and when Christ comes, the distinction between the righteous and the wicked will be as clearly obvious as between a field of wheat in the time of harvest and a vineyard when the grapes are ripe. It is plainly declared that, in that day, God’s wheat will be ripe for the heavenly garner: “Thrust in your sickle, and reap: for the time is come for you to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” When the Lord Jesus comes, every child of God will be found to be ripe for heaven. There is a great deal of greenness and sourness in us while we are in the blade and in the ear; but when we are dried, — as the word might be translated, — when the wheat has become mellowed by the ripening influences of autumn, — then we shall be as sweet, ripe grain for the Lord of the harvest to gather into his garner. Some of you do not feel very ripe at present; but you may rest assured that you will not be harvested until you are fully ripe. The Lord will not reap one ear of his grain green; and he has a secret way of preparing his people for heaven when he has prepared heaven for them. The righteous will be perfectly ripe in that day: “The time is come for you to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”

18. Notice, also, that they are all to be gathered in, and that this great task is to be accomplished by the crowned King himself. I want that fact to be especially noted by you, so let me read the sixteenth verse again: “And he who sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” With the golden crown on his brow, he who is like the Son of man will stoop from his throne of cloud, and reap his saints, — gathering them all to his bosom at one glorious sweep of his strong right arm. It does not say that Christ will send an angel to do this reaping. His love for his chosen is so great that he will not entrust this task to any angel, but will do it all himself. Only he knows how much that ripe grain has cost him. Those precious souls were espoused to him from eternity, and they were redeemed by him with his own heart’s blood. They are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones; so he gathers them to himself, and does not think it is beneath his dignity himself to be the reaper of this golden grain. Do you not delight in that thought, — you who love the Lord? Does not your heart rejoice in knowing that, in that great day when you stand like ripe grain, Christ shall come, sitting on a white cloud, and having on his head a golden crown, and, with the sharp sickle in his hand, he will gather you to himself with the glad joy of the reaper? It is another metaphor that we find in the Book of Malachi, but it has the same meaning: “ ‘They shall be mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘in that day when I make up my jewels.’ ” No one can tell, not even those who have had the greatest sympathy with Christ in the sowing, what will be his joy in the reaping; and what shall be our joy, too, when we enter into the joy of our glorified Lord. The harvest, even on earth, is a happy time; hear how the reapers sing and shout as they carry the golden sheaves into the garner; but what rejoicing and what shouting there will be when we, as shocks of grain fully ripe, are taken home to the heavenly garner! Well did we sing, just now, in anticipation of that last harvest home, —

    Welcome, welcome, Son of God!

19. May you and I, dear friends, all be garnered among the wheat in that great harvest day!

20. II. Now, for a little while, we must have the very heavy task of looking at THE VINTAGE.

21. The vintage represents the destruction of the wicked: “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.” You see, it is not the crowned Christ who comes to do this work of judgment, but an angel. “And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, ‘Thrust in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.’ ” I want to speak to you very calmly, yet very solemnly, about this last vintage, because it may concern some of you. If you do not escape from the wrath to come, it must concern you, — awfully and terribly concern you.

22. Notice, first, that this vintage comes after the harvest. As I have told you, I think it will be so in the order of time. After Christ shall have gathered his saints to himself, then he shall summon the wicked to appear before his judgment seat. Then shall follow their terrible condemnation; and even if it is not second in the order of time, it will be second in the order of importance. Dreadful as is their doom, our Lord Jesus Christ does not look at that as the principal event of that last great day. His own words are, “The Son of man shall send out his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and those who do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous shall shine out as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” As I said before, the wicked will be clearly distinguished from the righteous in that day. No one will mistaken them then. They may be mistaken here, for they may go to the same place of worship, they may sing the same hymns, and in many respects they may be like the children of God. We may easily mistaken tares — such tares as Christ mentioned, — for blades of wheat; but again I remark that there is no possibility of mistaking a cluster of grapes for an ear of grain. So, in that day, there will be no way of evading the Judge’s infallible judgment; there will be no miscarriage of justice before the judgment bar of God.

23. Observe, next, that the condemnation of the ungodly is called for by the angel of fire:“ another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire.” Ah, me! what does this mean? Has God appointed some holy spirits to watch over the instruments of terror with which he will execute the fierceness of his wrath? Was that the angel, “who had power over fire,” who launched the thunderbolts in Egypt on that dread night when the firstborn in all the land were slain unless they were sheltered under the sprinkled blood? Was that the angel, “who had power over fire,” who struck the hosts of Sennacherib? Was that the angel, “who had power over fire,” who opened the furnaces of hell, and caused fire and brimstone to descend on guilty Sodom and Gomorrah? It may be so, and that this same angel shall come forward, at the last, to demand that justice shall be executed on those who have despised God, and rejected Jesus Christ whom he has sent.

24. It appears also, from the parable, that the wicked will be fully ripe for punishment. That is a very strong expression in the eighteenth verse: “Gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.” The righteous are said to be ripe; some of them, perhaps, only just ripe; but the wicked are fully ripe, for sin has an amazingly ripening effect on men. They add iniquity to iniquity until they have filled up its measure. The Greek word, used here, means that they have reached their acme, — they have come to the highest point of sin. Are any of you here fully ripe? Why, I think that one sin makes a man ripe for judgment; but to go on, year after year, despising Christ, and rejecting his gospel, must make man what we call “dead ripe.” When a man goes on to profanity, and blasphemy, and infidelity, surely he must be “fully ripe.” So will all be in that great day of the gathering of the vintage of woe; and, just as the clusters of the vine cannot resist the force of the hand that picks them, or the sharp knife that cuts them off, so shall the wicked, in that day, be utterly defenceless, hopeless, and helpless; and he, who reaps them with his sharp sickle, shall find no difficulty in cutting them all off. Again I remind you that it will not be Christ who will do this work; an angel will do it, not the crowned King seated on the white cloud. They would not have anything to do with him, so he will have nothing to do with them, except to deliver them over to the angel who has power over fire, and his brother executioner. What a terrible sight that judgment will be! As John looked at it in his vision, I feel sure that his very bones must have trembled, and the marrow in them must have melted, as he saw that angel, with his sharp sickle, quickly reap all the clusters of the vine of the earth, and cast them into the great wine-press of the wrath of God. Oh sinner, this is only a faint picture of the doom of the lost, yet the picture itself is too terrible for me to try to describe or explain it! What will happen, in that great day, when you shall be reaped, and cast into the great wine-press of the wrath of God; — or, as it may be read, “the great wine-press of an angry God”? Ask yourself, my hearer, this solemn question, “Shall I ever be cast into that great wine-press?” If you continue to reject the mercy of Christ, what else can happen to you?

25. Notice, further, that this wine-press is “outside the city”; — not in the New Jerusalem, — not in heaven, — but “outside the city.” That reminds us of another wine-press, or olive press, which was “outside the city,” and which was called Gethsemane, where he, who shall, eventually, be seated on the white cloud, himself suffered even to agony and bloody sweat. These people would not plead his sufferings on their own account; they would not have him to reign over them, and therefore they must go into the great wine-press of the angry God. Perhaps, in that dread day, if any of you are there, — which may God in mercy prevent! — you will remember that amazing passage, in the prophecy of Isaiah, in which Christ says, “I have trodden the wine-press alone; and of the people there was no one with me”; and, since you would not have the salvation which he worked out in that wine-press, you must be cast into the great wine-press of the wrath of God.

26. “And the wine-press was trodden outside the city.” This represents the awful suffering of lost souls, the eternal punishment that will then begin. And, as the red juice spurts from the trodden grapes, so did John, in his terrible vision, see the blood of men come flowing out, “even to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand and six hundred furlongs.” That metaphor and measurement are meant to show how terrible the wrath of God is against the ungodly. Perhaps someone here says, “That is too terrible a theme to talk about.” Then, what must it be to endure it? Someone will object to my words on this awful topic. No, sir, object to the Scriptures, not to me. I do not explain the idea, but I tell you what John saw in a vision. “It was only a vision,” someone says. I know it was, but the reality will be far more terrible. There can be no possible exaggeration of the wrath of God. I beseech you, my dear hearers, — though I do not know, and never wish to know, much about this dreadful subject, — remember that what we do know about the doom of the lost is enough to make one’s hair stand on end, and one’s heart almost cease to beat; so, I beseech you, do not risk that doom for yourselves. Escape for your lives; do not look behind you; but flee to the one refuge which God has provided. Whoever will entrust his soul to Jesus Christ shall be eternally saved. Look to him who wore the thorn-crown, and repose your soul’s entire confidence in him, and then, in that last great day, you shall see him seated on the white cloud, wearing the golden crown, and you shall be gathered, with the wheat, into his garner. But if you reject him, do not think it wrong that you should be cast with the grapes into the wine-press of the wrath of God, and be trodden with the rest of “the clusters of the vine of the earth.” I implore you to take Christ as your Saviour, this very hour; lest tonight you should die unsaved. Lay hold of Jesus, lest you never hear another gospel invitation or warning. If I have seemed to speak terribly, God knows that I have done it out of love for your souls; and, believe me, that I do not speak as strongly as the truth might well permit me to do, for there is something far more terrible about the doom of the lost than language can ever express or thought conceive. May God save all of you from ever suffering that doom, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

{a} Batak massacre refers to the massacre of Bulgarians in Batak by Ottoman irregular troops in 1876 at the beginning of the April Uprising. The number of victims ranges from 1,200 to 7,000, depending on the source. See Explorer "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batak_massacre"

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Re 14}

1. And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand, having his Father’s name written on their foreheads.

The great question for us is, — shall we be among the number? If we have the Father’s name inscribed on our hearts, we may conclude that we shall, one day, have it written in our foreheads, and that we shall be among that chosen company.

2, 3. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpists playing on their harps: and they sang as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand, who were redeemed from the earth.

Notice how loud their singing was, — it was like many waters and great thunder. But notice, also, its sweetness, for it was as melodious as the music of well-skilled harpists playing on their harps. Note, too, the freshness, the vivacity of it: “they sang as it were a new song.” Shall we be there to sing that new song? If so, we must be “redeemed from the earth,” not with a general, but with a particular redemption, which lifts us up from the rest of our fellow creatures; and we must also have attended the sacred rehearsals, for no one can sing in heaven but those who have learned the song; and no one can learn it but those who are “redeemed from the earth.”

4, 5. These are those who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are those who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Now we have another vision.

6, 7. And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him who made heaven, and earth, and the sea and the fountains of waters.”

This vision represents the spread of the gospel. It is generally referred to the Reformation period, when, suddenly, the truth, which had so long lain hidden in old musty tomes, was proclaimed in every market-place. Beneath many a “gospel oak” the good news was preached, — the good news concerning Christ, — as if an angel were flying through the midst of heaven. This preaching of the truth led to the beginning of the downfall of Rome, which is here called Babylon, and which is ultimately to fall to utter and everlasting ruin.

8. And there followed another angel, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

That is, spiritual fornication, as we understand it in the Old Testament, — man’s idolatry, — the setting up of visible objects of worship, instead of the invisible God. And what is there, in all the world, that is so idolatrous as the so-called “religion” of Rome? She multiplies her idol-gods to great excess, — her crosses and her crucifixes, her saints and her saintesses, her “sacraments” and her relics, her “old cast clouts” and her “old rotten rags.” The Papacy is the most paganish of all the paganisms that have ever existed on the face of the earth; but it is to come to an end, for the mouth of the Lord has said so.

9, 10. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If any man worships the beast and his image, and receives 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:

How clear, therefore, we ought to keep of this idolatrous system! For even if we do not have the mark of the beast on our foreheads by an open profession of loyalty to it, yet if we have the mark on our hands by being the partakers of Rome’s sins, we shall also be partakers of her plagues concerning Romanism in all its forms. The great message to be proclaimed today is, “Come out of her, my people; — come away from her, as far as the poles are asunder; — so that you are not partakers of her sins, and that you do not receive her plagues.”

11, 12. And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

Truly, Rome has tried “the patience of the saints.” What country is there in Europe which has not been dyed crimson with the blood of the martyrs? The rack, the stake, the block, the dungeon, the fires, all kinds of cruelties have been practised on those who “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Let the valleys of Piedmont {b} speak; do they not cry aloud to our God for vengeance? Let the St. Bartholomew massacre {c} bear witness before the living God. Let the stakes of Smithfield {d} say, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

13. And I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on”: “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours; and their works follow them.”

It does not matter where they die, or under what ignominy they die, — whether branded with the name of heretic, or cast out as the offscouring of all things, yet blessed are they, and their works follow them to heaven to bear witness to their faith; and they spiritually, continue to live on earth to propagate the gracious seed for which they laid down their lives.

14-18. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and on the cloud one sat like 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 who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in your sickle, and reap: for the time is come for you to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” And he who sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. 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, who had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.”

After the glad harvest comes the sad vintage. After the ingathering of the righteous, there will be the ingathering of the wicked.

19, 20. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God. And the wine-press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out of the wine-press, even to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand and six hundred furlongs.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Second Advent — The Lord Shall Come” 364}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Second Advent — Come Quickly” 345}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Second Advent — Lo! He Cometh!” 363}

{b} Piedmont Massacre: On April 24, 1655 there was an order given to begin the attack on the people. It is said that the Catholic forces went beyond reason of attacking the Waldensians. They are reported to have unleashed an unprovoked campaign of looting, rape, torture, and murder. The estimated number of people killed was around 2,000 people killed and another 2,000 were forcibly converted to the Catholic faith. Word of the killings spread quickly throughout Europe and great efforts were made to remove any survivors from the area and bring them to safety. The events of this massacre are what led to the inspiration and writing of John Milton’s sonnet “On the Late Massacre in Piedmont.” See Explorer "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Late_Massacre_in_Piedmont" {c} The St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre in 1572 was a targeted group of assassinations and a wave of Catholic mob violence, directed against the Huguenots (French Calvinist Protestants) during the French Wars of Religion. The massacre began in the night of 23-24 August 1572 (the eve of the feast of Bartholomew the Apostle), two days after the attempted assassination of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, the military and political leader of the Huguenots. The king ordered the killing of a group of Huguenot leaders, including Coligny, and the slaughter spread throughout Paris. Lasting several weeks, the massacre expanded outward to other urban centres and the countryside. Modern estimates for the number of dead across France vary widely, from 5,000 to 30,000. See Explorer "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Bartholomew%27s_Day_massacre" {d} Smithfield: The place where the fires that Queen Mary (1553-1558) ordered to be lit to put to death such Protestant leaders and men of influence as Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer and Hooper, but also hundreds of lesser men who refused to adopt the Catholic faith. See Explorer "http://www.britannia.com/history/narrefhist3.html"

Messrs. Passmore and Alabaster have just published, price one penny each, Spurgeon’s Illustrated Almanac for 1905 and John Ploughman’s Almanac for 1905. Pastor Thos. Spurgeon has selected the Texts for the Book Almanac in which more than half the illustrated articles still bear the familiar initials, C. H. S. The proverbs on the Sheet Almanac have been pronounced, by competent judges who have read them, fully equal to those of former years, while the pictures are as striking as usual, and two of the articles are “John Ploughman’s” own. Both Almanacs can be procured through the colporteurs, or from all booksellers, or direct from the publishers, who will be pleased to supply terms for large quantities for distribution. Address, Messrs. Passmore and Alabaster, 4, Paternoster Buildings, E. C.

Jesus Christ, Second Advent
364 — The Lord Shall Come
1 The Lord shall come! the earth shall quake;
   The mountains to their centre shake;
   And, withering from the vault of night,
   The stars shall pale their feeble light.
2 The Lord shall come! but not the same
   As once in lowliness he came;
   A silent lamb before his foes,
   A weary man, and full of woes.
3 The Lord shall come! a dreadful form,
   With rainbow wreath and robes of storm;
   On cherub wings, and wings of wind,
   Appointed Judge of all mankind.
4 Can this be he, who wont to stray
   A pilgrim on the world’s highway,
   Oppress’d by power, and mock’d by pride
   The Nazarene — the Crucified?
5 While sinners in despair shall call,
   “Rocks, hide us; mountains, on us fall!”
   The saints, ascending from the tomb,
   Shall joyful sing, “The Lord is come!”
                     Reginald Heber, 1811;
                     Thomas Cotterhill, 1815.

Jesus Christ, Second Advent
345 — Come Quickly
1 Come, Lord, and tarry not;
   Bring the long look’d for day;
   Oh, why these years of waiting here,
   These ages of delay?
2 Come, for thy saints still wait;
   Daily ascends their sigh;
   The Spirit and the bride say, Come;
   Dost thou not hear the cry?
3 Come, for creation groans,
   Impatient of thy stay,
   Worn out with these long years of ill,
   These ages of delay.
4 Come, for the corn is ripe,
   Put in thy sickle now,
   Reap the great harvest of the earth;
   Sower and Reaper thou!
5 Come, in thy glorious might,
   Come with the iron rod,
   Scattering thy foes before thy face,
   Most mighty Son of God.
6 Come, and make all things new,
   Build up this ruined earth,
   Restore our faded Paradise,
   Creation’s second birth.
7 Come, and begin thy reign
   Of everlasting peace;
   Come, take the kingdom to thyself,
   Great King of Righteousness.
                  Horatius Bonar, 1857.

Jesus Christ, Second Advent
363 — Lo! He Cometh! <8.7.4.>
1 Lo! He cometh! countless trumpets
   Blow to raise the sleeping dead!
   ‘Mid ten thousand saints and angels,
   See the great exalted Head!
   Welcome, welcome, Son of God.
2 Now his merit, by the harpers,
   Through the eternal deep resounds;
   Now resplendent shine his nail prints,
   Every eye shall see his wounds:
      They who pierced him
   Shall at his appearance wail.
3 Full of joyful expectation,
   Saints, behold the Judge appear;
   Truth and justice go before him,
   Now the joyful sentence hear!
   Welcome, welcome to the skies.
4 “Come, ye blessed of my Father,
   Enter into life and joy!
   Banish all your fears and sorrows,
   Endless praise be your employ!”
   Welcome, welcome to the skies.
5 Now at once they rise to glory,
   Jesus brings them to the King;
   There, with all the hosts of heaven,
   They eternal anthems sing:
   Boundless glory to the Lamb.
               John Cennick, 1752;
               Caleb Evans’ Collection, 1769.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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