651. And he cast it into the great winepress of the anger of God, signifies exploration of the quality of their works, that they were evil. By "casting the clusters of the vineyard into the winepress," is signified to explore their works, for these are signified by "clusters," as may be seen above (n. 649). But as it is called "the great winepress of the anger of God," it signifies exploration of their works as being evil, for the "anger of God" is said of evil (n. 635). "A winepress" signifies exploration, because, in presses, must is pressed out from clusters, and oil from olives, and from the must and oil which are pressed out is perceived the quality of the grapes and olives. And as by "a vineyard" is signified the Christian church, and by its "clusters" are signified works, therefore the exploring of these with the men of the Christian church is signified by "casting them into the winepress." But because they have separated faith from charity, and have made faith without the works of the law saving; and since from faith separated from charity none but evil works proceed, therefore it is called "the great winepress of the anger of God." The exploration of works is also signified by a winepress in the following passages:
My beloved hath a vineyard in the horn of a son of oil; he planted it with a noble vine, he also hewed out a winepress therein, and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes (Isa. 5:1-2).
Send ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, get you down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow, for their wickedness is great (Joel 3:13).
The threshing-floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the must shall fail in her (Hos. 9:2).
The waster is fallen upon thy vintage, I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses, none shall tread with shouting, the shouting shall be no shouting (Jer. 48:32-33).
A householder planted a vineyard, and digged a winepress in it, and let it out to husbandmen, but they slew the servants sent unto them, and last of all the son (Matt. 21:33-39).
A winepress is also spoken of the goods of charity, from which truths of faith proceed, in Joel:
Rejoice O daughters of Zion, and the threshing-floors are full of grain, and the winepresses shall overflow with must and oil (Joel 2:23-24).