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To: All

From: Revelation 14:14-19

The Harvest and the Vintage


[14] Then I looked, and lo, 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. [15]
And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who
sat upon the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come,
for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” [16] So he who sat upon the cloud
swung his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.

[17] And another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp
sickle. [18] Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has power
over fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Put in
your sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.”
[19] So the angel swung his sickle on the earth and gathered the vintage of the
earth, and threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God.

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Commentary:

14-20. This preliminary description of the Last Judgment is given in two scenes
— the harvest (cf. 14:14-16) and the vintage (cf. 14:17-20) — no doubt following
the prophecy of Joel about how God will judge nations hostile to Israel: “Let the
nations bestir themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I
shall sit to judge all the nations round about. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is
ripe. Go in, tread, for the wine press is full” (Joel 3:12-13).

In the first scene Christ himself appears, described as “son of man” (cf. Dan 7:
13); it is he who will deliver the judgment (symbolized by the harvest), as in the
parable of the wheat and the weeds (cf. Mt 13: 24-30). In the second it is an an-
gel sent by God who gathers the grapes and puts them in the press to be trod-
den on either by God (in keeping with the prophecy of Isaiah 63:3, which says,
“I have trodden the wine press alone”) or by Christ (as we are told later in Reve-
lation 19:15). In either case we are being told that Jesus Christ, true God and
true man, has been empowered to perform the General Judgment which, accor-
ding to Jewish tradition, will take place at the gates of Jerusalem (cf., e.g. Zech
14:4) and which involves a huge bloodbath (cf. Rev 14:20).

In both scenes, an angel has the prominent role of giving the order (cf. vv. 15,
18) The fact that he comes out from the temple and the altar shows that the out-
come is linked to the prayers of the saints and martyrs, which stir Christ to take
action (cf. Rev 8:3-4). So it is that the moment Christ is made present on the al-
tar through the consecration of the bread and wine the Church calls for him to
come again — calls for his second coming, the Parousia, which will make his
victory complete: “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your
death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory” (”Roman Missal”, eucharistic accla-
mation).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


3 posted on 11/26/2012 6:16:44 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Luke 21:5-11

Discourse on the Destruction of Jerusalem and the End of the World


[5] And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and
offerings, He (Jesus) said, [6] “As for these things which you see, the days will
come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be
thrown down.” [7] And they asked Him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what
will be the sign when this is about to take place?” [8] And He said, “Take heed
that you are not led astray; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’
and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. [9] And when you hear of wars
and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not
be at once.”

[10] Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against
kingdom; [11] there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and
pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

5-36. The disciples are in awe of the magnificence of the temple, and Jesus uses
the occasion to give a long discourse, known as the “eschatological discourse”
because it has to do with the last days of the world. The account given here is
very similar to those in the other Synoptic Gospels (cf. Mt 24:1-51; Mk 13:1-37).
The discourse deals with three inter-connected subjects — the destruction of Je-
rusalem (which took place some forty years later), the end of the world, and the
second coming of Christ in glory and majesty. Jesus, who also predicts here the
persecution the Church will experience, exhorts His disciples to be patient, to
pray and be watchful.

Our Lord speaks here in the style and language of prophecy, using images taken
from the Old Testament; also, in this discourse prophecies which are going to be
fulfilled very soon are mixed in with others which have to do with the end of the
world. It is not our Lord’s intention to satisfy people’s curiosity about future events,
but to protect them from being discouraged and scandalized about what is going
to happen in the days immediately ahead. This explains why He exhorts them:
“Take heed that you are not led astray” (v. 8); “do not be terrified” (v. 9); “watch
at all times” (v. 36).

8. On hearing that Jerusalem is going to be destroyed, the disciples ask what
sign will be given as a warning of these events (vv. 5-7). Jesus answers by telling
them “not to be led astray,” that is to say, not to expect any warning; not to be
misled by false prophets; to stay faithful to Him. These false prophets will come
along claiming to be the Messiah (”I am He!”). Our Lord’s reply in fact refers to
two events which in the Jewish mind were interrelated — the destruction of the Ho-
ly City and the end of the world. This is why He goes on to speak of both events
and implies that there will be a long gap between the two; the destruction of the
temple and of Jerusalem are a kind of sign or symbol of the catastrophes which
will mark the end of the world.

9-11. Our Lord does not want His disciples to confuse just any catastrophe —
famine, earthquake, war — or even persecution with the signals of the end of the
world. He exhorts them quite clearly: “Do not be terrified,” because although all
these has to happen, “the end will not be at once;” in spite of difficulties of all
kinds the Gospel will spread to the ends of the earth. Difficulties should not pa-
ralyze the preaching of the faith.

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 11/26/2012 6:18:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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