By Dr. Ed Hindson
World Prophetic Ministry
Q. The end of Revelation Chapter 14 talks about treading the winepress of the wrath of God. What does this mean?
A. In Revelation Chapter 14, three angels appear, coming out of the Temple in Heaven. Presumably, at this point, Heaven is still opened, as it has been since Revelation 11:19. The second of these angels has a sharp sickle. A third angel appears and gives instructions to the second angel with the sickle, as seen in the following passage:
“… Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs,” (Revelation 14:18-20).In ancient times, grapes were harvested, collected, and dumped into the wine press. There, they were crushed and the juice ran out and was collected in wine vats. The red stain of the juice and the staining of one’s feet and garments comprise a picture of Divine judgment (See also Genesis 49:10-11 and Isaiah 63:1-4).
The “winepress of the wrath of God” symbolizes the severity of this judgment. Its location is “without the city,” indicating that it will take place near, but not in, Jerusalem. Later, in Revelation 16:16, John will pinpoint it at Armageddon, which is about 50 miles northwest of Jerusalem.
This final conflict is so severe that the blood of those killed runs “unto the horse bridles.” It covers “a thousand and six hundred furlongs,” or about 200 miles. This is the distance between Bozrah in Edom, alluded to in Isaiah 63:1, and the Valley of Megiddo, the locale of Armageddon.
Although this river of blood suggests the result of direct combat on the battlefield, such devastation would be hard to explain aside from nuclear war or other weapons of mass destruction. Whatever the means that are utilized to effect this desolation, the Bible emphasizes that ultimately, it is God’s Divine retribution on a world that has rejected Him.
Ancient Wine Press - Bible History Online
What is the battle of Armageddon? - GotQuestions.org
Revelation 14 - SpiritandTruth.org (Tony Garland)
The Wrath of God - Grace to You (John MacArthur)
Revelation (Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary) - Edward E. Hindson (Book)