The mention of "firstfruits," with the stipulation that the sacrificial victims are "blameless" (14:4-5), leads us to expect that the "harvest" will soon begin, and we are not disappointed. John sees the harvest carried out in another of his sequences of seven. Like the judgments introduced by the trumpets, it is the work of seven angels, but this time only the first three are numbered. The judgment is ceremoniously announced by three angels (vv. 6-12), punctuated with a voice from heaven (v. 13), and then carried out by four more angels (vv. 14-20). The earth itself is harvested first (vv. 14-16), and finally the earth's inhabitants (vv. 17-20). Only as the judgment is actually carried out is it explicitly defined as a harvest (vv. 15-16, 18-19).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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