Every Thought Captive

A Crown, a Sickle, and the Winepress of Wrath

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.

Revelation 14:14-20

One of the most pivotal moments of a lifetime for most people is the moment you decide what college you will be attending. We can remember filling out the applications and sending them out to a handful of schools, just waiting to see who we would get an acceptance from and where we would spend our college years. Some of you reading may have just finished this process or have just watched kids go through this. We envision ourselves at the campus, what organizations we would want to get involved in, what major we would want to pursue, while making lifelong friends, maybe even meeting our spouse, building a life there, and experiencing some of the most formative years of our lives. For me, I applied to only one college. I laid all my eggs in one basket knowing I loved that school and the city I would get to do life in. I watched my two older brothers get their education at Texas Christian University, and I wanted to experience that for myself. A friend of ours was checking the mail for us as we were out of town one week, and I knew the odds of an acceptance or rejection letter coming in the mail were very high. As I was walking, I saw a photo pop up on my phone. I remember exactly where I was, in Omaha, Nebraska to watch TCU in the College World Series. Specifically, I was at the Omaha Zoo. Sure enough, a photo of that big package that said, “You’re going to be a Horned Frog” was on my screen. As I celebrated with my family, that became the moment when one of my greatest dreams ever came true. I was going to be a TCU Horned Frog and spend the next four years of my life in Fort Worth, Texas, where I made lifelong friends, pursued an Education in Youth Advocacy, truly started following God and allowing Him to be the King of my heart. I even met my spouse there.

We all have things in life we look forward to, like going to a college we love, traveling somewhere fun, starting a business, getting married, having kids, owning a home, etc. Things that are not necessarily promised, but things that we dream of, and sometimes, things that do become a reality for us. But ultimately even the greatest joys of this earth hold no comparison to the joy and satisfaction that we find in Christ alone. The goodness of being in Christ is the eternal hope that we, as believers in Christ, hold unlike any other.

As John writes in chapter 14 of Revelation, he is laying out the final harvest, which describes the Lord Jesus descending in final judgment on the earth. Initially hearing that, we could feel a sense of fear. In Scripture, we read that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But it doesn’t stop there. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Because none of us have batted 1.000, we all do fall short of the mark of perfection. We are unable to be good enough or do enough in order to make things right between us and God. We should stand guilty in judgment. Yet because of Jesus, our story doesn’t stop there. In Tim Keller's book, Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, he closes it by giving a picture of a scene in a courtroom. Picture yourself there at the end of your life—you know the wrongs you have done and that before God, without the blood and power of Christ, the cross, and His resurrection, you should be declared guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But, the judge looks at you and says, “Not guilty.” That is what Christ has done on our behalf. He has removed the unbearable weight of our sin that leads to death, declared us guiltless, though we are unworthy of such a title, and has allowed us to walk in freedom and be fully known and loved by our heavenly Father. In Christ, we freely receive the gift of salvation and are made fully right with God, forgiven, washed clean, and loved unconditionally for all of eternity.

What we see in Revelation 14 is that judgment day is coming. The wicked will not escape judgment from God. All that is wrong will be made right, and there will be justice from the One true Judge. We do not know when that is coming, but we must be ready. While we have hope to look forward to because of Christ, this begs the question, where do our hope and satisfaction lie? Are they in Christ or in something else? Are we seeking God, attending church, and going to small groups to just check the box? Or do we do those things because He has grown our hearts towards Him, and we believe abundant life is found in Him? As believers, we will not live in a broken world forever, this is not the best that it gets, and this is not our home. Christ will indeed return again; His Kingdom will come. And those He intends to save will indeed be saved. May we as believers live not in fear of what’s next, but instead live with an unwavering hope and joy firmly rooted in His promises. May we seek Him above all else and find that He alone sustains us. May we trust that God is who He says He is, therefore, He will do what He said that He will do. We will dwell in the house of the Lord without any brokenness in His holy presence, worshiping Him forever and ever. Come soon, Lord Jesus! Amen.

About the Author

Photograph of Kenna Gaw

Kenna Gaw

Middle School Resident

Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Kenna Gaw is a Resident for Middle School at Park Cities Presbyterian Church. She graduated from TCU with a degree in Youth Advocacy and Educational Studies with an emphasis on Criminal Justice and afterwards attended the Kanakuk Institute. Kenna’s passions include encouraging young girls in their faith and identity in Christ, wake surfing on the lake, and learning how to cook. Kenna is newly married to her husband, David.