Rev 14:20 KJV – 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.
Here, we are told that the lost as the wrath of God falls upon them are located “outside the city”. There are many differing ideas concerning the identity of this city. Some would say Jerusalem on this sinful earth; some would say it is speaking of Babylon, the kingdom of Satan; or perhaps Rome another city associated with Satan and false worship during the first coming of Christ.
It is important to remember the context of this passage to help us identify this city. Please keep in mind, prior to this gathering of the lost to face God’s wrath, we find in the previous harvest of the earth, which is the saints of God have been taken to be in His presence for an eternity.
This harvest of the saints marks a clear difference between the saved and lost. The saved are secure with Christ, while the lost are facing His wrath. In that context, it is very possible this city is symbolically speaking of Heaven, the eternal city of God, the place of His presence protection and blessings…
Heaven being pictured as a city is a consistent theme presented by the writers of Scripture (Isa 52:1, Psa 87:13, Hebs 11:10-16, 12:22 etc etc). It also goes hand in hand with the symbolism of Rev 21:-22:. In these chapters, we find Heaven (as it descends to the New Earth) is described as the glorious city of New Jerusalem. Those facing God’s wrath are located outside this city, in other words, they are excluded from the Lord’s presence, unable to worship Him, nor enjoy His eternal blessings, nor claim a relationship with Him. They are lost and said to be excluded from this city facing His wrath and eternal condemnation (Rev 21:27, 22:14-15)
This is the symbolism of the winepress being located out of the city (the place of eternal blessings of God’s people).
Folks, this is one of the great motivating forces of the people of God. The Christian’s knowledge of their acceptance in Christ, their eternal blessings and certain security, encourages them to serve the Lord out of appreciation for His wonderful love and grace.
On the opposite hand, the Christian’s knowledge of Christ’s rejection of the lost and the eternal destiny that they face, drives the saved to reveal Christ to the lost at every opportunity. They do this through their words and their works. They know that, apart from God’s grace, they would be facing the same eternal separation and condemnation as the lost. They also realize that the only hope for the lost is found in the hearing and acceptance of the good news of Christ’s work on their behalf.
May we all use these truths to motivate us to share Christ with the lost at every opportunity through our lives and words.
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: