|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:14-20 Warnings and judgments not having produced reformation, the sins of the nations are filled up, and they become ripe for judgments, represented by a harvest, an emblem which is used to signify the gathering of the righteous, when ripe for heaven, by the mercy of God. The harvest time is when the corn is ripe; when the believers are ripe for heaven, then the wheat of the earth shall be gathered into Christ's garner. And by a vintage. The enemies of Christ and his church are not destroyed, till by their sin they are ripe for ruin, and then he will spare them no longer. The wine-press is the wrath of God, some terrible calamity, probably the sword, shedding the blood of the wicked. The patience of God towards sinners, is the greatest miracle in the world; but, though lasting, it will not be everlasting; and ripeness in sin is a sure proof of judgment at hand.
Verse 19. - And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth. This angel is described in quite a different manner from "him who sat on the cloud" (ver. 16). And cast it into the great wine press of the wrath of God; into the wine press, the great [winepress], etc. The feminine substantive has agreeing with it a masculine adjective. It is doubtful whether we ought to see in this anything more than a mere slip of grammar. Possibly the word is of either gender. It is connected with the festival of Bacchus. Wordsworth, however, accounts for the masculine form of the adjective by supposing that the writer wishes to give a stronger force to the word, and to emphasize the terrible nature of the wrath of God. We have the same image in Revelation 19:15, and it seems derived from Isaiah 58, and Lamentations 1:15. Destruction by an enemy is alluded to as the gathering of grapes in Isaiah 17:6 and Jeremiah 49:9. The text itself explains the signification of the figure. There seems also some reference in the language to those who "drink of the wine of the wrath of her [Babylon's] fornication" (ver. 8).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth,.... Before "upon the earth", when the harvest was gathered in, the wheat being on the earth, but not belonging to it; but here "into the earth", the vine being the vine of the earth, rooted in it, and natural to it:
and gathered the vine of the earth; the Arabic version reads, "of the whole earth"; in like manner as the tares in the parable are said to be gathered, and bound in bundles, and cast into the fire, which, as here, intends the destruction of the wicked, at the end of the world: this vine may be said to be cut down at the burning of the world, and to be gathered at the second resurrection, as the wheat harvest of the saints will be at the first resurrection:
and cast it into the great winepress the wrath of God; the same with the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, so often mentioned in this book: the torments of the wicked will lie in the wrath of God being poured forth upon them, and into them, which will be that fire that cannot be quenched, and that worm that never dies; and this is signified by the squeezing of grapes in a winepress, as God's judgments in this world sometimes are, Isaiah 63:3 and which will be very heavy and intolerable, since this winepress will be trod by the Lord God Almighty: and it is said to be a great one, as it must needs be, to hold the vine of the whole earth, or all the wicked of the world, who will be like the sand of the sea, innumerable; and this will be big enough for them all, and they will all be cast into it at once. Tophet is deep and large, Isaiah 30:33.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. "The vine" is what is the subject of judgment because its grapes are not what God looked for considering its careful culture, but "wild grapes" (Isa 5:1-30). The apostate world of Christendom, not the world of heathendom who have not heard of Christ, is the object of judgment. Compare the emblem, Re 19:15; Isa 63:2, 3; Joe 3:13.
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