A Bloody Harvest

February 25, 2024


Would you turn in your Bibles to Revelation chapter 14, Revelation 14, verses 14 through 20, the last section of the chapter. Let’s ask for the Lord’s help.

Father in heaven, we come to You now, not out of mere habit or custom but because we need Your help, I need Your help if I am to preach faithfully in the power of the Spirit, and we need Your help if we are to listen and hear your voice, and so do it. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Follow along as I read from Revelation 14, beginning at verse 14.

“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.”

“Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.”

When we as Christians affirm the Apostles’ Creed as we just did a few moments ago, we confess our belief that Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. That is a remarkable statement and I hope that you really believe it. Jesus Christ is coming again.

In Acts chapter 1 as He gathers His disciples and He ascends into heaven, we read that in just the way as He ascended so He will return to earth. It will be public. It will be personal. It will be visible to all. Just as God’s people waited for centuries, millennia, wondering could this be the day, could this be the hour, will it be in our lifetimes, and it was. And it came to pass in the fullness of time that some people living on the earth saw the days when the Messiah came in His first Advent. I hope you believe that Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead, perhaps in our lifetime, perhaps we will see it, or our children, or our children’s children.

We read in Acts chapter 10 that Christ is the One appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. This passage in Revelation 14 is a description of the judgment day. It’s the first, it’s not the last time we’ll have a description of the judgment day and it’s given in different metaphors, so this one doesn’t tell us everything that we need to know. We must keep in mind that John is beholding a vision and yet here we have again a picture of what the end will be like.

Notice in contrast to many of the other passages we’ve already had in Revelation and the ones upcoming with the bowls, here when we come to the end we are not met with thunder and lightning and hail stones and earthquake but rather the vision before us of a harvest, actually two different harvests.

I have three points for us this morning about this final harvest of judgment. Three points.

Number one. We are waiting for a single, personal, public return of Christ. We are waiting for a single, personal, public return of Christ.

There are many places in Revelation where I could have taken this little detour but I’m going to do it this morning, and that is to underline that word “a single,” a single return of Christ. Because there is a stream of thought from the Scofield Reference Bible, among other places, which teach something like this, and maybe some of you have been taught this and grew up with this understanding, that there will be at some surprising moment an immediate rapture in which all true believers are taken out of this earth, popularized by those books and the movies Left Behind. So those who are not Christians, they will be left behind, and the Christians will be immediately secretly taken and those Christians will meet Christ in the air and then will go up with Christ into heaven and they will celebrate with Him for seven years while earth endures a seven year period of tribulation and after that time Christ will return with His Church, so Christ comes once for His Church, goes back into heaven, and then Christ comes a second time with His Church all the way down this time to earth. There He will destroy His enemies and the battle of Armageddon. He will set up a throne in Jerusalem and He will begin His reign of a thousand years. That teaching popularized at the turn of the 20th century by the Scofield Reference Bible and by many books in popular conferences since then.

What to argue is that Revelation and the rest of the Bible teaches a single return of Christ. This has been the whole flow of Revelation up to this point. Each of these repeating cycles and with a climactic vision of some cataclysmic judgment and then the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. It’s moving toward this final resounding crescendo when Christ will come. We’ve not seen any hints of Christ returning partially, going back to heaven and then waiting seven years and coming again.

Revelation 19 will give us that vision in another picture which there Christ coming as a conquering king and hero. Revelation 21 and 22 give us this picture at the end that heaven comes down to earth.

Everything in Revelation gives this assumption that Jesus is coming again and it is a single, personal, public return. As we’ve confessed in the Apostles’ Creed, He is coming again, again once, to judge the living and the dead.

Now this is not the time, and we don’t have the time, you’ll be glad to hear me say, to address everything about this understanding, but I do want to take a few minutes to take you to two passages, because this is a popular teaching. There are many fine, good Christians who believe this, so it’s not something that gets you in or out of heaven, of course, but is important to understand what the Bible says.

So let’s look at two passages quickly.

First, Matthew 24. There are two passages that are usually put forward in support of this idea of a secret rapture, a secret rapture where the believers are immediately translated into heaven and the unbelievers are left behind. Most famously is Matthew 24. Look at beginning at verse 36. It says Jesus, in His Olivet discourse, which has to do with some things that would happen in the lifetime of His disciples and some things that were far off.

We read in Matthew 24:36: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah,” now note that, remember in your mind the comparison here is with the days of Noah, “so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”

So the idea of a secret rapture is sometimes seen in these verses that we don’t have men and women, one’s in a field and one’s taken and another one is left behind. One is translated, brought into heaven, they’re saved, a secret rapture of all the believers, and the nonbelievers are left behind.

Why is that not the best understanding of this passage? Two reasons.

First, if this were describing a secret rapture, it would be describing what takes place at Christ’s final and climatic coming. Look up in verse 29, “immediately after the tribulation.” So Jesus has already talked about days of tribulation and suffering that the Church will endure. Verse 30, “then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man with power and great glory.” Then look at verse 31, there will be a climatic trumpet call.

So this language already earlier in chapter 24 is this language of Christ’s power reigning on earth. So it would be strange to then describe at the end of this chapter a secret rapture. Now wait a minute, haven’t we already had this description of Christ’s return?

Second. Notice that the comparison is with Noah and the flood. I told you to underline that in your mind. Verse 37 – for as were the days of Noah.

So what’s the comparison? Just as in the days of Noah, people were marrying and working and partying and having a good time, not prepared for the flood of judgment that was to come, so it will be. People will be caught unawares, they will be caught off guard. This is the passage we’ve already read in this service about the thief in the night. People will be unsuspecting. So be awake, be ready, for Christ’s return.

But notice what it says in verse 39 – and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away. Who are those who are judged in the flood? It was those who were taken, those who were left remained in the ark. So quite apart from this passage saying, oh, well, those who are taken must be those who are spared the years of tribulation and ascend into heaven, no, the parallel with Noah actually is those who were taken were taken away to be swept away in judgment. So in this passage you don’t want to be taken. You would want to be left, you would want to be left to be safe in the ark of God’s mercy.

Revelation 3:3 describes the Lord’s coming as a thief, coming against the wicked, that the one to come here is to come in judgment.

Then the other passage, quickly, turn over to 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, 16 and 17. Before you get to Timothy and Titus, you have 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Look at chapter 4.

We’ve already from chapter 5. Follow along, verse 16 and 17 in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. We read: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

So some read this to mean, well, this is the first Christ comes part way down for His Church and then He will come later with His Church. But this passage does not describe a two-stage coming, separated by seven years of tribulation.

Again, a couple of points.

First, remember the context in 1 Thessalonians 4. Verse 13 says we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep. Some among the Thessalonians were worried that they might miss the resurrection, maybe it had already happened, maybe it had secretly happened, maybe they missed it, maybe their loved ones missed it. So Paul’s point when he says “comfort them with these words” is to tell them, “no, look, all of this is going to be very public.” That’s the point.

Verse 16 – the Lord Himself will descend, there will be a cry, there will be a voice, there will be a trumpet. There will be no mistaking when the end has come. Nobody should say, “Well, did the resurrection happen? Did Jesus already return?” It will be public. No private resurrection. No secret rapture.

The second thing to note, there is no indication that the Lord descends and then reverses direction and heads back to heaven. It does say that they will meet Him. This verb “to meet” is a Greek word, of course. It’s used to describe the public welcome of a visiting dignitary. Just as if the President were to land in your city, some people would surely meet him on the tarmac there with Air Force 1 and welcome him to town.

This word “to meet” is used two other times in the New Testament. Once in Matthew 25:6, which says “but at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom, come out to meet him.’” It’s not to meet the bridegroom and then the bridegroom hightails it somewhere else, but to meet the bridegroom, he’s here, welcome.

Then in Acts 28:15, which reads: “And the brothers there when they heard about us,” Paul, “came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us.”

Again, they don’t go out to meet Paul and his companions so he can then turn around and head to Spain. He’s on his way to Rome and they say “Paul’s on his way” and they come out to meet him.

The only two times, other two times, this verb “to meet.” It’s used in welcoming a coming dignitary. So surely the meeting here is not to go halfway and then Jesus takes them back up and waits a period of time and then comes back down with the Church.

But it’s for all those who then come and say, “Yes, our bridegroom is here.” We go out to meet Him, the conquering King is here. We go out to meet Him and He comes.

So the coming is both for and with His Church at the same time, not in a two-stage coming. So there is no secret rapture of the Church. It is a doctrine that was unknown in the history of the Church until the 19th and 20th centuries. The return of Christ will be one single, public, return both for and with His saints. So we are waiting. A single, personal, public return of Christ.

Number two. Turn back to Revelation. Christ’s return will be a day of safekeeping for His people, a day of safekeeping for His people.

Back in Revelation 14 the image is of a great harvest. It is not uncommon in the Old Testament, and also in Jesus’ parables, that the judgment is compared to a harvest. The seed is sown, crops grow up or they wither. Some seed lands on good soil, some doesn’t. The enemy sows his seed as well. Everything grows up in the world together. At the right time God returns to the harvest to take what he has sown and there are good crops to be gathered into His barn, a picture of eternal life, and there are crops which are gathered to be burned, which is a picture of eternal judgment.

The key to understanding these two paragraphs is to realize that these two harvest pictures depict the same day of judgment from two different perspectives. You may have noticed that the first paragraph, verses 14 through 16, is a harvest of grain. We can assume it’s a harvest of wheat, whereas the second paragraph is a harvest of grapes. The word “ripe” at the end of verse 15 and at the end of verse 18 is not actually the same Greek word. The first “ripe” is to be dried up, second is to be ready to be harvested. So there is a wheat harvest and there is a grape harvest.

So the wheat harvest is in verses 14 through 16 and this is a picture of the ingathering of the righteous. It’s true, some people interpret both of these as scenes of judgment, but I think there’s good reason to think this first paragraph is the Church being gathered safely into the storehouse of God’s keeping.

Remember earlier the Church triumphant was called the first fruits. That’s already earlier in this chapter. We have this image that the Church is a kind of first fruits of the harvest to come.

Well, those who have died and now reign with Christ are first fruits of this larger harvest. This harvest at the end of that age when the righteous, the believing, those who belong to Christ will be gathered unto eternal life.

Notice in the two paragraphs there are different beings that do the reaping. In the first it’s one like the Son of Man, that’s Christ, in the second it’s an angel. Now again, it’s a vision and we don’t want to be too exact with this because we’ll find in Revelation 19 Christ is coming to judge. We confess Christ judged the living and the dead, so it doesn’t mean that only Christ judges the righteous and then He gives to an angel, as if He can’t bear to look, this unfortunate task. No, it’s a vision and we’re not supposed to press this particular vision too far, but it is instructive here to realize there are two different beings in these two different scenes.

Also, there’s no mention of judgment in the first scene. Clearly the second scene has images of wrath and blood, but there’s no description of judgment in the first scene. Revelation repeats patterns, that’s true, but the patterns are sevenfold and then the same thing from a different picture. It would be strange and redundant in Revelation to say, well, here’s this harvest, here’s this harvest, they mean the exact same thing. I don’t think they mean the exact same thing.

There are in the first scene two beings, an angel and the Son of Man, and in the second scene two angels. So three angels and one who is the Son of Man. This is not an angel but this is the Christ.

We’ve already seen this imagery. It comes from Daniel chapter 7 – in my vision at night I looked and there before me was one like a Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven.

Jesus was described as coming with the clouds in Revelation 1:7. He was called one like a Son of Man in Revelation 1:13.

So here again this cloud imagery has to do with the coming of Christ.

Now you say, well, isn’t it strange that Christ seems to be taking orders from an angel? You look at verse 15 – another angel came out and called to the one like a Son of Man, the one with the sickle, “put in your sickle and reap.” So that seems strange. Is an angel have the authority to tell Christ what to do on the earth? But you have to remember that angels are heavenly messengers. We’re meant to infer that the angel is giving a message from God the Father. This is how the economy of salvation works.

Remember, Jesus told His disciples the Father sets the times and dates for the end. I do the will of My Father and My authority is to judge as the Father has given it to Me.

So it makes sense that in this judgment it would be the Father, through this intermediary of an angel, instructing His Son, one like a Son of Man, now is the time, now is ready, sweep Your sickle across the earth.

This harvest is to bring in the righteous, God’s own people, safely into His fold. Notice it says in verse 14, “one like a Son of Man with a golden crown on His head.” We’ve been singing about crown Him with many crowns. There are two words for crown in Greek. One is diadema, we get our word “diadem,” a royal crown befitting a king, and certainly Christ wears that crown. But this is a different word. This is the word stefanas, and this is the word that is more like a victor’s wreath, a laurel that would be given to the Olympic champion.

So it’s not that Christ isn’t a king, we will certainly see His kingly authority in the passages ahead, but here He is described as wearing the crown as one who is a victor, as one who has gone through the race, as one who has already proved to be victorious.

This is, recall, an aspect of His exaltation, that Christ in His humiliation, came down to earth, took on human nature, He suffered, He died, buried, and then in His exaltation He’s given new life, resurrected, ascended, seated, and coming again. This is an aspect of His conquering work.

So this passage is good news for the believer, that Christ who has won the race, who has proved victorious, now comes back for His own to say, “Let Me gather you into My barn that you may be safe.”

One of the differences between the South and the Midwest is that everyone in the Midwest has a basement. Now I know people here say, “We have a basement.” No, it doesn’t count if you can get out of your basement. There’s a door, I don’t know, something to do with the water table or something, but everyone has a basement. It’s usually, you know, if you’re looking to buy or sell your house, the square footage is just above ground and you don’t know, there may be just wonderful surprises there in this expansive or very scary basement. What you learn as a child then is if there is a storm, you go into the basement.

I have to tell you, it did feel a little more secure than here, “go to the center of the house.” Well, I guess, that’s you know, better than nothing. Stay away from a window. Okay. I would like to have a basement. That’s why in the scary twister movies they’re always trying to open some cellar to go down in there and if my memory of that twister movie stands correct, even the cows are spinning around in the air and tractors.

So that’s where you go, into the basement. Go. Everyone gather. A storm is coming. If you want to surely be safe.

We had at one time, actually when we get storms here we don’t actually get very many tornadoes up in Michigan, it’s more Alabama, that’s tornado alley. But we had one time, growing up, we were at church and the word kind of came through that there was a tornado, had passed through and our house was just a few blocks from the church and people are sort of whispering about this really came very close. We went, true story, and we had heard, because people had told us, the DeYoung’s house was hit by the tornado. I’m a young kid, I’m kindergarten, first grade or something, and what I had in my mind was our house exactly upside down, like the pitch of the roof, like that. Either that or just popsicle sticks.

Well, it turned out that some of the roof and shingles, but what was most noteworthy is our neighbor’s aluminum fishing boat was in our tree. That was our claim to fame. We made the news. A boat was in our tree. So all’s well that ends well.

But in that moment when you hear the whispers, a storm is coming and then a storm has passed, you think how can I know that I will be safe? What has happened to my home? What has happened to the ones I love?

So this picture is to warn us but also to assure us that there is a way to be safe from the judgment to come, and that is to be among that chosen harvest, the first fruits which have already gone to be with Christ, to be brought safely in to His barn that we may escape the wrath to come.

Christ’s return will be a day of safekeeping for His people.

Here’s the third and final point. It’s the other side and it’s the other picture. Christ’s return will be a day of terrible judgment for the wicked.

Because there’s another scene to this harvest. It is the ingathering of the wicked. John the Baptist said about Jesus in Matthew 3:12, “His winnowing fork is in His hand and He will clear His threshing floor, gathering His wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” So if the wheat has been brought safely, this is the chaff.

Or, to change the imagery as Revelation does, we’re no longer thinking of a wheat harvest but we’re thinking of grapes. We’ve gone from grain to grapes.

There’s no way around this picture. You have to stare at it. It is graphic. It is gruesome.

In chapter 11, the nations were trampling on the holy city. That was a picture of the Church suffering in this age. The nations were trampling upon the holy city. Now notice the nations are like grapes to be trampled upon in the winepress of God’s fury.

You see verse 19, the angel swung his sickle, gathered the grape harvest of the earth, threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God and the winepress was trodden, outside the city. Why outside the city? Because that’s the place of judgment, that’s the place far from the presence and blessing and favor of God.

Just as easily as you might stomp upon a grape on the ground. You ever have here your kids or grandkids, niece, nephew, drop grapes on the ground and you squirt on that thing and it squishes on the bottom of your heel. It’s not hard to break the skin of a grape, especially when they’re ripe for harvest.

So just as easily, just as effectively, the Lord stomps upon the rebellious nations of the earth in the winepress of His fury.

Joel 3:12 and 13 says “let the nations be roused, let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, so great is their wickedness.”

Even more graphic is Isaiah 63. “Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah with His garments stained crimson? Who is this robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of His strength? ‘It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.’ ‘Why are Your garments red like those of one treading the winepress?’ ‘I have trodden the winepress alone, from the nations no one was with Me; I trampled them in My anger, trod them in My wrath; their blood spattered My garments, I stained all My clothing. For the day of vengeance was in My heart, the year of my redemption has come. I trampled the nations in My anger, in My wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.’”

There’s no way around it. It is a graphic and gruesome picture.

People will fault Jonathan Edwards. I grew up in the public schools and the one thing we knew about the Puritans was Jonathan Edwards. The one thing we learned about Jonathan Edwards was that he preached sinners in the hands of an angry God. That was the one thing we had to read in the big Norton Anthology of American Literature. He’s often criticized, fire, brimstone. Famously, Edwards depicted each of us as a spider hanging by the slender thread just above the abyss of God’s wrath. If the slightest bit of the flame were to singe that mere spider’s web, we would plunge into an eternity of wrath and destruction.

It was said when Edwards preached that initially in Enfield, Connecticut, and preached it in more than an hour and told that his delivery could be somewhat matter of fact, reading a manuscript, yet it was said that people began to lift their feet off the ground so arrested they were by Edwards’ image, so fearful that they might fall like that spider into the abyss of God’s wrath.

People say, well, that’s what’s wrong with Edwards, that’s what’s wrong with the Puritans, that’s what’s wrong with evangelicalism. Well, if that’s what’s wrong with all of them, then that’s what’s wrong with the Bible. Because Jonathan Edwards doesn’t have anything on Revelation 14, stomping out the winepress of God’s righteous anger. You say, well, I don’t know if I like this picture.

Well, perhaps we’re not oppressed as God’s people were with real enemies. I mean, real bloodthirsty enemies. Perhaps then it would sound a bit different to say, “O Lord, would You judge the living and the dead.” Perhaps the problem is that we think of sin so lightly that this kind of anger against sin seems so misplaced. Haven’t all of you who are a parent, haven’t you had that time, sometimes even a righteous indignation, when your child, a child whom you brought into the world, a child whom you do everything for, the child whom you love and support, and this child thumbs his or her nose at you in great rebellion and dares to speak a word of wrath against you and your heart wells up, that is not right. And it isn’t. Multiply that by infinity our rebellion against God.

Or most of all, perhaps this offends us because we do not think upon the holiness of God.

The harvest here is a figurative image. It’s a vision. But it speaks of something real, something real and dreadful and terrifying. The scene of judgment here is so complete and decisive.

Look at verse 20. The blood, like those grapes squirt upon the aprons, the man comes and says, “Why are you stained and red?” “Well, I was trodding out the winepress.” “Why are you stained?” “Because the blood of God’s enemies, it flows as high as a horse’s bridle, 5, 6 feet tall, to 1600 stadia.” That’s just short of 200 miles, or the length of Israel from Dan to Beersheba. 1600 is the multiple of 10 squared and 4 squared. So whether you get there by multiplying 40 by 40, 40 being a biblical number for a long period of time, 40 years in the wilderness, 40 days and 40 nights Jesus tempted and without food, 40 is a long number. Or you get it by squaring 10, a number of completion, 10 times 10, 100, and squaring 4, remember 4 is a number of worldwide scope, the 4 winds of the earth, language, nation, tribe, peoples, fourfold, squaring that 16 times 100 you get 1600 stadia, or about 184 miles.

Notice the angels in this scene come from the temple, from the altar. We read that the angel who has authority over the fire in verse 18. So conceptually there is a grape harvest but the angels are coming from the tabernacle or for the temple. This is important. Because what happens at the altar? A sacrifice is made at the altar. What is fire for? Fire in the temple is to burn up that sacrifice.

The message is clear. If you will not have the Lamb of God as the sacrifice for your sins, you will bear His fiery wrath. That’s the significance of the angel, coming from the temple, coming from the altar, the One who has authority over the fire. You wanted nothing to do with this Jesus? You didn’t think that you needed an atoning sacrifice for your sins? You rejected this offer of salvation? You spurned His supernatural offer of pardon? You didn’t want it. Well, now you get the fire. You get the fire not that consumes the sacrifice for your sins but the fire that is a wrath of God upon the earth.

Hebrews says it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe for our God is a consuming fire. This is what is to come. It will happen on a real day in history. We’ve confessed it, virtually everyone in this room, I bet you said it in the Apostles’ Creed – I believe that Jesus is coming again to judge the living and the dead.

If you believe that it’s coming, what will you do to escape His wrath on that day? Because there is yet time. The ark is being built, the ark which is the Church in this age. There is a place of safety. There is a place if you would but turn away from all those who are mocking and saying, “What are you doing, Noah? Why are you building an ark? There’s no flood coming. What do you have that big boat for? You don’t need that. You’re wasting your time. We’re marrying, we’re having fun, we’re going about our lives and you’re wasting your life on a big boat.”

There’s time yet to get into the boat. There’s time yet that the blood would be the blood of Christ, shed for your sins, rather than the blood of His enemies as high as a horse’s bridle for 200 miles. There is yet time to enter the ark. There is yet time to be covered in the blood of Christ for your sins. Today is the day of salvation because there will come a time when it will be too late.

I read from Joel, verses 12 and 13. I want you to listen in closing to verse 14, the next verse. So 12 and 13 are one of the harvest and the sickle and the judgment. Here’s what verse 14 says: “Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”

Maybe you’ve heard of that verse before, you’ve heard it alluded to. Maybe you think “multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision,” maybe you think that’s a great message for a tent revival meeting, that’s a great evangelistic message. Maybe you think even now the way to end this sermon from that text would be to say, “Multitudes, all of you in the valley of decision, who will you decide this day?”

Well, it is true, we must make a decision for or against Christ, but that’s not what this verse is talking about. That verse is not about our decision, but God’s decision. Whether you think you have a decision to make or not, there will come a time, multitudes, multitudes, the valley of decision is the final decision, the final decision that will be rendered, the final verdict will be God’s.

We are used to choice. Choice, liberty, decision. That’s what they, you know, the decision desk whenever there’s an election. I don’t know about you, I am 90% of my mail right now are political flyers. I didn’t know I was so important, everyone wants me to vote for them. I don’t know everyone they’re running against are basically criminals from what I can tell from the flyers. They’re all about the worst people on the face of the earth. They all have really scary pictures. I think I got six or seven of these yesterday. We sort of let that go to our head. Oh, isn’t this nice? Everybody. Isn’t that a good thing about living in a representative democracy, for all of its flaws, it’s kind of nice to have everybody have to convince you and me to vote for them. Please, would you decide for me, decide for me, decide for me.

Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision. God will not be standing before us on that day, “Please, please, vote for me! Vote for Jesus! Please!” No. The final verdict will be God’s.

We think because we vote for senators and governors and presidents, we think because people inundate us with their advertisements for college, people even want to put their best foot forward in signs and make sure you come to church or what job you will take. The world screams every day in commercials and advertisements, please buy from our store, please sign up for our list, please download our app, please join our club, make a decision for us.

The final decision will be God’s. And on that day in the valley of decision any decisions you have to make will be too late. God cannot be mocked. Whatsoever a man sows, that he will also reap. Today is the day of salvation. Today is yet a day when you can turn from your sins. You can say I have heard of all this and I didn’t want to believe it, it sounds so barbaric, but it’s right there in the Bible and it’s true and I can feel it in my own heart that it’s true and I deserve this and our world deserves it and I want to be set free from this coming judgment. There is today a day of salvation that you can repent of your sins and come to Christ and be covered in His blood.

On that final day, when the sickle is swung, and the elect are gathered into the barn of safety and the rest are judged, then the decision will be all His. May it be that we will be ready on that day.

Let’s pray. Our Father in heaven, we given thanks for Your inspired, inerrant Word. It is all true. It corrects us, it reproves us, it trains us in righteousness that we may be competent for every good work. So we turn to You to be covered in the blood of Christ that we might be safe on the day of judgment. In Jesus we pray. Amen.