For some time, now, I’ve been demonstrating that Jesus’ parables lay the foundation for what is taught elsewhere in the New Testament about the last days, i.e. Jesus’ parables establish the New Testament’s eschatology. Moreover, the fact is that Jesus doesn’t teach anything new, but he does show how the Old Testament prophecies unfold in history, as they pertain to the end times. In other words, Jesus shows how the prophets should be understood. So, in effect, his parables are like a hub, which ties the prophecies of the Old Testament and the Gospel of the New Testament, together.
Daniel’s time of trouble (Daniel 12:1) is Jesus’ great tribulation (Matthew 24:21), and Daniel’s resurrection (Daniel 12:2) is Jesus’ harvest at the end of the age (Matthew 13:30, 39). I’ve also demonstrated that Jesus’ harvest at the end of the age is also Paul’s end and resurrection (1Corinthians 15:24-26, 54), which, moreover, is Isaiah’s time of resurrection and destruction of the city and the mountain (Isaiah 25:2, 7-8). In other words, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies could never have been understood to point to the first century AD, without seeing such a fulfillment in Jesus’ parables.
What I want to do in this study is look at the book of Revelation from the perspective we have discovered in Jesus’ parables:
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. (Revelation 14:6-8; emphasis mine)
Notice that the Gospel has been preached to those who dwell on the earth (verse-6), which corresponds to Jesus’ words: “and this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14). Notice what John says occurs after the Gospel went out to the whole earth; Babylon is fallen, that great city…” (Revelation 14:8). Therefore, applying what John says to Jesus’ words concerning the same Gospel, the “end” that comes (Matthew 24:14) is Babylon that falls (Revelation 14:8). In other words, Babylon, that great city, is judged at the end of the age, after the great tribulation (Daniel 12:1, 7; Matthew 24:21, 29), at the time of the resurrection or harvest (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 13:30, 39), in the time of the end, when Jesus’ enemies are destroyed (1Corinthians 15:24-26, 54; Isaiah 25:2, 7-8).
Notice now what John tells us occurs when Babylon, that great city, is judged:
And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 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. 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 14:14-20; emphasis mine)
What occurs here in the Apocalypse happens at the time of the harvest (viz. the sickle), and notice that the Son of man is sitting on a cloud, coming to the earth to thrust in the sickle (verses 14-16). Who can read this without remembering Matthew 24:29-31. Both in Matthew 24 and in Revelation 14 we have the Son of Man coming to the earth on the clouds of heaven. In both scriptures the angels of heaven are used to separate the wicked from the righteous, and the wicked would be destroyed (Revelation 14:17-20; cf. Matthew 13:39-43).
Clearly, we have a perfect correlation of Jesus’ words with what we find in Revelation 14, and the Lord’s judgment upon Babylon, that great city (Jerusalem – cf. Revelation 11:8). Thus, once again, we are able to see that Jesus’ words, especially what he says in the parables, are the very foundation of or the keys needed to understand the eschatology of the New Testament.