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The Sword and Sickle
by Wayne Blank
"And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt [see When Will You Be Judged?]. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." (Daniel 12:2-3 RSV)
"For the harvest of the earth is fully ripe"
The return of Jesus Christ is going to be the most spectacular event in the history of this world up to that time. The purpose of His return is twofold; first, to harvest the firstfruits of salvation who will be resurrected or changed if alive that day, and second, to proclaim and enforce the beginning of the Kingdom of God on earth. Those two elements are symbolized in Prophecy by two things at Christ's disposal at that time - a sickle for the harvest, and a sword to make peace in the world.
Christ is the "first of the firstfruits" (see Seasons Of The Harvest). The firstfruits will be harvested at His return, a process that will also deliver The Lord's wrath upon the "chaff" (i.e. "His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the granary, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire," Matthew 3:12 RSV - see also Baptism Of Fire).
"Then I looked, and lo, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man [see The Clouds of Heaven], with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat upon the cloud, "Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe."
Unfortunately, for those who try to fight Him ("they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them," Revelation 17:14 RSV), Christ is going to be forced to annihilate the war makers of the world. Otherwise the well-known prophecy "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" of Micah 4:3 would never happen because humans have consistently demonstrated over all of human history that they themselves don't know, or won't know, how to live in peace.
"Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Fact Finder: How is Christ going to bring true and everlasting peace and freedom to the entire world?