The Great Winepress of God’s Wrath: Why this Imagery?

When most people think of God they think of someone who is loving and kind.  In fact, they would have difficulties of thinking of him as an angry God.  To them God cannot be both kind and angry.  It’s impossible!  Yet the sacred Scriptures speaks of not only a loving and kind God but an angry God.

To be consistent with Holy Writ we must present both sides of God.  I’m sure that if you were to search a Bible concordance you’d be surprised at how many times the inspired writers attributed anger to God.

John in his towering letter to the seven churches and the church in general would not be out done.  He too paints a vivid picture of the anger and wrath of a holy God.

After that, another angel came from the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. Then another angel, who had power to destroy with fire, came from the altar. He shouted to the angel with the sharp sickle, “Swing your sickle now to gather the clusters of grapes from the vines of the earth, for they are ripe for judgment.” So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and loaded the grapes into the great winepress of God’s wrath. The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles long and as high as a horse’s bridle.  (Rev 14:17-20, NLTse, emphasis added)

In Scripture wine was sometimes called “the blood of grapes” (Gen 49:11; Deut 32:14).   You see, around August or September workers collected ripe grapes in baskets and placed them in long wooden or stone troughs.  Then, often to the rhythm of a flutist, the workers trampled the grapes into juice with their feet.  This is the imagery before us.  This is the imagery that God adopted to convey the outpouring of the fury of his wrath against his enemies.  This is the stark reality of what is to come.  This is a close-up of God’s wrath.

We must deal with it and not attempt to explain it away.  Such reasoning will proved to be futile in the end.   Instead we should come to the realization that what the sage John was led to write, was exactly what God himself wanted us to read.

The vivid imagery of the winepress of God’s wrath brings him glory.

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6 Responses to The Great Winepress of God’s Wrath: Why this Imagery?

  1. I believe our understanding of His mercy is undermined when we don’t understand His wrath and hatred of sin. This seems to be a big weakness in the church today. It’s good to see people write about it. Thanks for the insight into this example.

  2. tc robinson says:

    Jeff, we are afraid, it seems, of the true reality of sin. Sin is cosmic treason.

  3. Mitzi says:

    So who tramples the grapes? Are the grapes being crushed & the “blood” coming out the same blood that flows to the horses bridles in the Revelation?

  4. tc robinson says:

    Mitzi, good question. God is behind it all.

  5. Bob says:

    I’m wondering the same question. I believe these are those who accepted the mark and will be cast in the lake of fire before the thousand year reign. They will literally be gathered and destroyed by Jesus at his return. My question is what is the nature of this winepress? Does it refer to a place that actually exists outside the city of Jerusalem?

  6. Bob says:

    Well, after some study it seems there is a parallel between Jesus’s death outside the city where His blood was shed for sin and the bloodbath of God’s wrath on the sinful world. The reference to this being outside the city is the most important issue.

    This is God making avenging the blood of the martyrs which they cried for in chapter 6 vs 10. God is also calling for the debt of sin on the earth to be paid. Those being slaughtered have committed the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit and their fate is sealed.

    We then see the multitude of saints, who being raptured into heaven, proclaim God’s justice in Chapter 15.

    “Great and marvelous are your deeds,
    Lord God Almighty.
    Just and true are your ways,
    King of the ages. ”


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