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The Great Winepress of God

[19] 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. [20] 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 14:19-20.


This particular angel thrusts his sickle INTO the earth.  We are advised in verse 20 as to WHERE the sickle makes its earthly penetration; somewhere in Israel “outside the city,” which is the city of Jerusalem.  The word used for winepress is “LENOS,” which means: “a trough dug in the earth, a ditch or canal, or anything shaped like a tub.” The winepresses with which John was familiar were rectangular in shape and made of, or dug out of, the rock of the earth. Blood-red wine was made from grapes.  The ripe clusters were carried in baskets and thrown into the press.  The winepress consisted of a shallow trough built above the ground, or excavated by chipping it out of limestone rocks in the earth.  There were also village and household winepresses, but since the one to which John refers is one in a vineyard field, one made by chipping out a rectangular trough in limestone rock, I will limit my discourse to that type.  One end of this type was made lower, such that the blood-red liquid from the grapes would flow into it, after being pressed out by the feet of humans in the shallow end. So both the upper and lower sections of the winepress presented a view of a blood-red trough in the crust of the earth.

John, in his vision, looks down upon the earth and, from this aerial view, recognized the city of Jerusalem, a city he had looked down upon many times from the Mount of Olives.  He beheld “without” (outside) Jerusalem, to the east, the greatest winepress ever seen by human eyes.  He saw a trough (lenos) in the earth 1600 furlongs (185 miles) in length.  The opening of the earth caused by the angel’s sickle had caused blood (haima) to come up “out” (ek) of the winepress to a depth of about five feet (“unto the horse bridles”).  The Greek word used for blood is haima, which can mean real blood, or any object taking on a blood red color, or any liquid that has a blood-red hue.   The Hebrew word for blood is also used to describe a blood-red liquid rather than body blood, as we find stated in Genesis 49:11 – “Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:”  The moon will not turn to real blood in the Tribulation Period, but it will take on a blood-red hue, as is described by the use of the word haima in Revelation 6:12 –     “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;”  Before this Birth Pang is completed I will carefully pull together everything previously stated, and thereby put together a full exposition of Revelation 14:19,20.  But for now I must take time to describe one of the most terrifying creations of God in the distant past: a flood-basalt plain.


In the distant past, six major rips in the crust of the earth have produced six great basaltic flood plains.  These great cleavages of the earth’s crust occurred in zones along the dashed lines of Figure 3.   They represent old magma extrusions associated with the initial stages of continental drift.  Dr. W. Kenneth Hamblin, in his standard geological text, The Earth’s Dynamic Systems, states: “Where the rift system passes beneath a continent, the continental crust is split and great volumes of basalt are extruded and spread out over large areas of the continent.  These great floods of lava fill the lowlands and depressions in the existing topography.”  The rift system that passes beneath the continent from the Gulf of Aqabah northward through Israel is a prime candidate for the sudden creation of a raging flood basalt plain.  The following quoted material, concerning flood basalt plains, was extracted from Volcano,volume 2 of A 1982 Time-Life series that examines the workings of the planet earth: “Flood basalts are generated atop the upper mantle.  When tension opens fissures in the crust, the fluid magma spurts directly to the surface.  The sheer volume of it dwarfs all other volcanic activity: a week long flow can release 360 cubic miles of lava, 10 times the volume of Mount Rainier.  Extremely fluid magma suddenly spurts to the surface through a line of hundred of offset dikes, each one as much as 15 miles long and fifty feet wide.  The lava from such individual fissures, about five cubic miles per day, is so hot and runny that it speeds down the slightest slope at speeds up to 10 miles an hour, creating a lava sheet as much as 100 miles wide.  A standard textbook notes, “sooner or later they must recur.”  This liquid rock can hit the surface at temperatures from 2300 to 2900 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is double the temperature required to cremate a human body.  At these temperatures, the flesh would disappear from the body before it hit the ground, were it directly exposed to the initial air heat flash surge near the crack through which the magna extruded.  All that would remain would be a human skeleton.  At the same time that the Mount of Olives cleaves in its midst, and all the land in Israel from Geba to Rimmon is lifted up, what follows will happen to the antichrist’s army in the Jordan River Valley, as indicated in Zechariah 14:3-12.


[12] And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.  Zechariah 14:12.


At some point in time, near the end of the Tribulation Period, the great rift valley of Israel will suddenly rip open from one end to the other.  For a period of time after this ripping a vast flood basalt plain will be created along a 1600 furlough (185 mile) section of the valley.  Looking down on it from heaven in his vision it looked like a north-south winepress. It was east of Jerusalem, along the Jordan River Valley, as a long rectangular trough in the crust of the earth filled with blood.  Tremendous tectonic changes will completely restructure the entire valley from the Gulf of Aqabah to Lebanon.  The fissures will close abruptly at the end of the Tribulation Period from the southern end of the Dead Sea to Lebanon.  However, limited volcanic activity will continue south of the Dead Sea, in what once was Idumea, throughout Christ’s Millennial Reign from “generation to generation,” according to Isaiah.

[8] For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. [9] And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. [10] It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever. Isaiah 34:8-10.


Now, considering John’s description of the great winepress in Revelation 14:19,20, in light of one of God’s fantastic creations in the earth, let us compare God’s linguistics with God’s science.  What John saw looked like a great lenos (trough or ditch or canal) about 185 miles long.  I call your attention to Figure 24, Part A, which is an excerpt from a 1970 diagram by Dr. Fruend showing both sides of the Dead Sea Rift.  The long dashed black lines that run north and south along both sides of the Dead Sea, from the Gulf of Aqabah through Israel, are great fissures in the crust of the earth.  These fissures erratically weave down through the crust of the earth to eventually make contact with great undersea lakes of magma.  Part A of Figure 24 gives a picture of these fissures as though you were looking down on them from a satellite, while Part B pictures the same fissures as though you were deep within the earth looking northward, and could see their downward progression into the earth.  These fissures are where they should be to comply with the description by John.  They are “without the city,” which is Jerusalem.  And the word lenos does fit the characteristics of the Jordan River Valley, which is a great trough in the crust of the earth.


John saw haima come up out the lenos to cover an area some 185 miles long.  John viewed a blood-red liquid (haima), which we call lava, spread across the great trough (lenos) to fill what we know as the Jordan River Valley.  And the blood-red liquid filled the valley to a depth of about five feet (height of a horse bridle).  Please note that, on Part A of Figure 24, a lone fissure  veers off from the main trough, then extends northwest past the Tel of Armageddon, and finally goes on to Haifa, where it meets the Mediterranean Sea.  If you measure northward from the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqabah to the point of departure by the fissure that extends to Haifa, you will discover it is 1600 furlongs, or 185 miles.  I believe this 185 mile section of the Jordan River trough is the great winepress that John saw filled with a blood-red fluid as he looked down upon the earth in his vision.


Please observe Figure 25.  God, for some time, has brought an unbelievable tonnage of hot flowing rock upward into the Red Sea Fault.  As this liquid rock makes contact with the water- cooled Red Sea floor, it solidifies into new basaltic crust.  This new crust is forcing two great plates, the Arabian and African, to move away from one another at a rapid geological rate.   This particular segment is moving faster than others in the Middle East.  Please note that, on Figure 25, while the Red Sea section of the fault is spreading rapidly, the great Rift Fault running up both sides of the Jordan Valley, is locked tighter than a drum.  Long ago God pushed together these two great tectonic plates, which are separated only by the Jordan Rift Valley between them.  God’s horizontal pressure fused both sides of the valley floor to these plates, like one would push together two pieces of clay.  It is this horizontal pressure that locks the fissures in place and prevents magma from spurting to the surface on both sides of the valley. The locked section, (See Figure 26), is held together by a strong tensional force placed there by God.  In the Red Sea section of the rift God is generating a force that is in direct opposition to His tensional force that locks the section through Israel.  Tensional forces are building in the Gulf of Aqabah, and soon the southern opposing force will end a long struggle by ripping apart the northern section to form a flood basalt plain.  It will be sudden, abrupt, and horrifying.  God will suddenly create flood basalt plains 185 miles long that begin at the Gulf of Aqabah, and then extend up to the east end of the Valley of Jezreel.  On both sides of the Jordan River Valley hot fountains of blood-red liquid, now confined by pressure below the fissures of Figure 27, will suddenly shoot hundreds of feet into the air.  And a heat flash will blast toward the west to reach the foothills of the mountains of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, and toward the east to smash against the bluffs of the mountains of Moab and Ammon.  I believe Figure 28 is what John saw from the air in Revelation 14:19,20. When the angel, who has authority to say when fire is to be released on the earth, tells the angel that has the sickle to stick it into the earth, then as the sickle goes in, the vine of the of the earth (the antichrist’s army) will feel the wrath of God. God does not have to use the creations of man to fulfill his prophecies.   As he did in the flood of Noah, he will destroy man “with the earth,” but this time it will be fire from the earth, rather than water on the earth. 


[18] And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. Revelation 14:18.