Revelation 14.17->

And another angel came out of the Temple in Heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has power over fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one with the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the Earth, for its grapes are ripe.”

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.

And the the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the wine press, as high as a horse’s bridle, for one thousand six hundred miles.

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3 responses

  1. The Bible I’m using says this apparent repetition is not mere poetic exuberance; that last passage showed us Jesus reaping souls ripe for reward, while this part descibes the rest of us getting what we’re ripe for! We can’t say that ‘John’ was stingy with the special effects!So. Should we read this as a celebration of punitive “justice” on a grand scale?– or is it better seen as descriptive?After all, what we call “the Wrath of God” is much in evidence, whether in what we call “news” or in what we call “history.” A prophet I met a few years ago liked to say: “God is not squeamish.” As a friend of mine commented, “If we’ve all got immortal souls, why should He be?” True, true, where our external eyes see nothing but death and destruction, we don’t know what people actually experience or what significance they eventually find in it.The best commentators I know on the Jewish scriptures attribute God’s “Wrath” to His compassion. It’s human suffering that arouses God to these acts of apparent rage.Very nice, I say, but aren’t they still pretty rough on all the extras in these spectacles? Do people even learn anything useful from the experience? And history answers: They haven’t got a clue to start from, and none of all this fuss makes even a dent in their Ignorance! If this world were in the hands of AS Neill, he’d be trying a little kindness and getting all us Bad Kids to blossoming wonderfully! This passage, on the contrary, has God squeezing out all the blood of history just to make himself an intoxicating drink, evidently getting Himself into a Mood for the next chapter! Does this look like Jesus’ Father? Wouldn’t Human Protective Services call Him an abusive Parent, and seriously consider something like cosmic foster care?It’s the Father Jesus describes I know in my personal experience… But it hasn’t always been that way.My earthly father was a good model of God’s love, in intention. Unfortunately he had the traditional notion that I might benefit from occasionally being taken down to the basement & thumped, taught to “respect” him. What I actually learned from that was fear and distrust of him, and the notion that I had to strive to intimidate my own son, for which I have been heartily sorry!Something I remember reading, around the time I went off to college: a study of outcomes from of various child-rearing practices. Apparently kids could survive, heal from, grow up basically okay after just about any mistake a parent could make… as long as their parent really loved them.So while we seem to have grown up in the Bad Kids’ Playpen, and our games here have typically turned into orgies of unnecessary roughness, we ought to come out okay, once we’re through all these gnarly bits. (And what kinds of stories do you like to read, watch… live in?)

  2. Blood flowing for sixteen hundred miles? What a gonzo book!

  3. How wide an outlet? I remember Hendrik Van Loon writing about someone’s calculation that you could just about fit the whole human race (He may have been including all past generations) into a one-mile cube, which you might then drop into any convenient undersea trench (and perhaps should!) After you’d squeezed out the crunchy bits, you’d have mostly liquid… Anyway, I doubt this was meant to be a precise quantitative description. We’re shown a hypothetical process which does in a whole lot of people, and the product is (if this is a wine-press) “wine”. And also “the wrath of God.”We, all us drunken humans, should expect to have one sorry head the next morning! I remember accounts of the beginning of WW I!–After some 100 years of peace, people looked forward to a little excitement! They were dancing and cheering in the streets of major European cities! I was around to hear how the US media milked the 9-11 thing. Less of a celebration, but just as much a self-indulgence of something that never should be indulged! There’s something like a mass resonance of crazy energy that wouldn’t stand up to any serious consideration–But people don’t ask a wine bottle, “Is this drunkenness really necessary?”William Stringfellow used to rant about “the presence of death” in the US psyche. It was there before the Vietnam War; it was blatantly there during that war; and as he said, it did not go away just because we stopped that particular expression.I would say that his “presence of death,” in the late 20th Century, was most marked in the US embrace of “welfare reform,” the persecution of “the homeless”, the reestablishment of racism as politically okay, other such rejections of our common humanity. All the horrors that have followed have followed quite naturally from that one basic “sin.”Punishment does not seem to be an effective remedy! That is, by the traditional operational test of criminal insanity: “Pounding on him doesn’t make him stop”–We’re collectively nuts!So if all the present and pending consequences of folly can’t wake us up… can we love ourselves back to health? Or do we need a little more excitement first, “just a little more”?

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