Revelation 14:14
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
THE HARVEST.

(14) And I looked . . .—Better, And I saw, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one seated like to a son of man, having upon his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. There can be little doubt that Christ Himself is here intended: the “cloud” (Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:9), the expression “Son of man” (comp. John 5:27 and Daniel 7:13), the “crown,” the general resemblance to the vision in Revelation 1 (see Revelation 1:7-13), indicate as much. The “crown” is the crown of victory; the hour of conquest is at hand. The sickle shows that the harvest has come. (Comp. Joel 3:12-14 and Mark 4:26-29.)

Revelation 14:14-16. And I looked, and behold a white cloud — An emblem of the equity and holiness, as also of the victory of him that sat upon it, over all adverse power; and upon the cloud one like unto the Son of man — By the majesty of his form, as represented in Daniel; having on his head a golden crown — Signifying his high dignity, his extraordinary authority and power; and a sharp sickle in his hand — As if going forth to reap some remarkable harvest. And another angel came out of the temple — Which is in heaven, (Revelation 14:17,) out of which came the judgments of God in the proper seasons; crying, by the command of God, with a loud voice, Thrust in thy sickle and reap, for the time is come, &c. — Namely, the appointed time of judgment, for which the world is ripe; the voices of the three warning angels, spoken of from Revelation 14:6-11, not having their due effect, it is here predicted that the judgments of God would overtake the followers and adherents of the beast, which judgments are represented in this paragraph under the figures of harvest and vintage, figures not unusual in the prophets, and copied particularly from the Prophet Joel, who denounced God’s judgments against the enemies of his people in the like terms, Joel 3:13, saying, Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, get you down, for the press is full, the fats overflow for their wickedness is great.

“Having passed,” says Mr. Faber, “the epoch of the Reformation, we now advance into the times of God’s last judgments upon his enemies, the days of the third wo-trumpet. Two remarkable periods of the most conspicuous of these judgments (the several steps of the whole of which are afterward described under seven vials) are here arranged under the two grand divisions figuratively styled the harvest and the vintage. In the days of Bishop Newton the third wo-trumpet had not begun to sound. Hence his lordship justly observed, ‘What particular events are signified by this harvest and vintage, it appears impossible for any man to determine; time alone can with certainty discover, for these things are yet in futurity. Only it may be observed, that these two signal judgments will as certainly come, as harvest and vintage succeed in their season; and in the course of providence the one will precede the other, as in the course of nature the harvest is before the vintage; and the latter will greatly surpass the former, and be attended with a most terrible destruction of God’s enemies.’ But although both these signal judgments were future when Bishop Newton wrote, it has been our lot to hear the voice of the third wo, and to behold in the French revolution the dreadful scenes of the harvest. Still, however, a more dreadful prospect extends before us. The days of the vintage are yet future; for the time hath not yet arrived when the great controversy of God with the nations shall be carried on between the two seas, in the neighbourhood of the glorious holy mountain, in the blood-stained vale of Megiddo, in the land whose space extends one thousand six hundred furlongs.” Mr. Faber, therefore, considers the harvest and the vintage here as predicting “two tremendous manifestations of God’s wrath, two seasons of peculiar misery;” and that the apostle gives here only a general intimation of these, reserving a more particular account of them for future consideration under the pouring out of the seven vials, which are all comprehended under the third wo, and which he divides into three classes; the vials of the harvest, the intermediate vials, and the vials of the vintage. — Dissertation on the Prophecies, vol. 2. pages 378 and 382, edition 1810. Whether and how far these views of Mr. Faber appear to be just and consistent with the general tenor of this latter part of the prophecy, we shall be better able to judge when we come to consider the contents of the two next chapters.

14:14-20 Warnings and judgments not having produced reformation, the sins of the nations are filled up, and they become ripe for judgments, represented by a harvest, an emblem which is used to signify the gathering of the righteous, when ripe for heaven, by the mercy of God. The harvest time is when the corn is ripe; when the believers are ripe for heaven, then the wheat of the earth shall be gathered into Christ's garner. And by a vintage. The enemies of Christ and his church are not destroyed, till by their sin they are ripe for ruin, and then he will spare them no longer. The wine-press is the wrath of God, some terrible calamity, probably the sword, shedding the blood of the wicked. The patience of God towards sinners, is the greatest miracle in the world; but, though lasting, it will not be everlasting; and ripeness in sin is a sure proof of judgment at hand.And I looked - See the notes on Revelation 14:1. His attention is arrested by a new vision. The Son of man himself comes forth to close the scene, and to wind up the affairs of the world. This, too, is of the nature of an episode, and the design is the same as the previous visions - to support the mind in the prospect of the trials that the church was to experience, by the assurance that it would be finally triumphant, and that every enemy would be destroyed.

And behold a white cloud - Bright, splendid, dazzling - appropriate to be the seat of the Son of God. Compare the Matthew 17:5 note; Revelation 1:7 note. See also Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Luke 20:27; Acts 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Revelation 10:1.

And upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man - Compare the Revelation 1:13 note; Daniel 7:13 note. It is probable that there is here a designed reference to the passage in Daniel. The meaning is, that one appeared on the cloud in a human form, whom John at once recognized as he to whom the appellation of "the Son of man" especially belonged - the Lord Jesus. The meaning of that term had not been fixed in the time of Daniel 7:13; subsequently it was appropriated by the Saviour, and was the favorite term by which he chose to speak of himself, Matthew 8:20; Matthew 9:6; Matthew 10:23; Matthew 11:19; Matthew 12:8, Matthew 12:32, Matthew 12:40, et al.

Having on his head a golden crown - Appropriate to him as king. It was mainly in virtue of his kingly power and office that the work was to be done which John is now about to describe.

And in his hand a sharp sickle - The word "sickle" here - δρέπανον drepanon - means a crooked knife or scythe for gathering the harvest, or vintage, by cutting off the clusters of grapes. See Revelation 14:17. The image of a harvest is often employed in the New Testament to describe moral subjects, Matthew 9:37-38; Matthew 13:30, Matthew 13:39; Mark 4:29; Luke 10:2; John 4:35. Here the reference is to the consummation of all things, when the great harvest of the world will be reaped, and when all the enemies of the church will be cut off - for that is the grand idea which is kept before the mind in this chapter. In various forms, and by various images, that idea had already been presented to the mind, but here it is introduced in a grand closing image; as if the grain of the harvest-field were gathered in - illustrating the reception of the righteous into the kingdom - and the fruit of the vineyard were thrown into the wine-press, representing the manner in which the wicked would be crushed, Revelation 14:19-20.

14. crown—Greek, "stephanon," "garland" of victory; not His diadem as a king. The victory is described in detail, Re 19:11-21.

one sat—"one sitting," Greek, "cathemenon homoion," is the reading of A, B, C, Vulgate, and Coptic.

The description here can agree to none but Christ, sitting, as it were, upon clouds, and coming out in his judicial dispensations of providence, to execute judgment upon his enemies, to which purpose he is said to have

in his hand a sharp sickle.

And I looked, and behold a white cloud,.... In this verse is a description of the person principally concerned in the harvest of the earth, hereafter mentioned; by whom is designed not some great potentate or prince, an encourager of the Reformation among his subjects; nor an angel in an human shape; nor Martin Luther, as others; but the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who is described by his form, and by his seat, and by what he had on his head, and in his hand:

and upon the cloud one sat like unto the son of man; so Christ is said to be, Revelation 1:13 and in Daniel 7:13 where there is a like vision of him as here, and which refers to the same time; it is a name by which the Messiah is often called, and is expressive of the truth of his human nature, who was found in fashion as a man, and was really one; for his being like to the son of man designs reality and truth, and not mere appearance; see Matthew 14:5 and besides, as this was in vision, it is very properly expressed, for Christ appeared to John in vision like to that human nature in which he is at the right hand of God: and here he is seen "sitting" upon the "white cloud"; which shows that he was come to judgment in the clouds of heaven, and was set on one of them, as on a throne; and a white cloud represents the purity, uprightness, and justness of his proceedings in judgment; for which reason he is said to be on a white throne, Revelation 20:11

having on his head a golden crown; as an ensign of royal majesty, showing that his kingdom was now come, the time for him to reign personally with his saints on earth a thousand years; and that it was a very glorious one; and that he should now reign before his ancients gloriously; and that it was pure, solid, and durable; see Psalm 21:4

and in his hand a sharp sickle: to reap the earth with, as hereafter, and is expressive of his power as King of saints and Judge of the world, to gather all nations before him; for the sickle is used to gather with, as well as to cut down.

{9} And I looked, and behold a {10} white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, {11} having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a {12} sharp sickle.

(9) The second part of this chapter as I said see Geneva Re 14:1, of the actions of Christ in overthrowing Antichrist and his church by the Spirit of his divine mouth. Seeing that having been called back by word both publicly and privately to his duty and admonished of his certain ruin, he does not cease to maintain and protect his own adherents, that they may serve him: and to afflict the godly with most barbarous persecutions. Of those things which Christ does, there are two forms: one common or general in the rest of this chapter another specific against that savage and rebellious beast and his worshippers in chapter fifteen and sixteen. The common form is the calamity of wars, spread abroad through the whole earth, and filling all things with blood and without respect of any person. This is figured or shadowed in two types, of the harvest and vintage. Have you seen how since the time that the light of the gospel began to shine out, and since prophecy or preaching by the grace of God was raised up again, horrible wars have been kindled in the world? how much human flesh has been thrown to the earth by this divine reaping? how much blood (alas for woe) has overflown for these 100 years almost? all history cries out, and our age (if ever before) is now in horror by reason of the rage of the sickle which Antichrist calls for. In this place is the first type, that is of the harvest.

(10) Declaring his fierceness by his colour, like that which is in the white or milk circle of heaven

(11) As one that shall reign from God, and occupy the place of Christ in this miserable execution.

(12) That is, a most fit and convenient instrument of execution, destroying all by showing and thrusting through: for who may stand against God?

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 14:14-16. In the first picture of the ripeness of the earth for judgment,[3541] it is the coming Judge himself who appears on a white cloud, with a sharp sickle in his hand. It is of like significance, when, from the first of the seals,[3542] the victorious form of the Lord himself proceeds.

The description (Revelation 14:14) allows us to think only of Christ himself,[3543] but could not mean an angel,[3544] who possibly represented Christ,[3545] or “the heroes and chiefs who, armed with zeal for the truth, plead the cause of the Church, and executed the judgments of God.”[3546] Decisive is the solemn designation ὅμοιον υἱῷ ἀνθρώπου;[3547] also the appearance on the cloud,[3548] and the golden crown indicating a special glory as victor,[3549] make the reference to Christ himself still more certain. The expression ἄλλος ἄγγ. (Revelation 14:15), besides, does not compel us here[3550] to understand an angel also in Revelation 14:14, because the ἄλλος alludes to the angels mentioned in Revelation 14:6 sqq,[3551] and the objection that Christ himself could not have received a command[3552] from an angel, is settled by the fact that the angel is only the bearer of the command coming from God.[3553] See, also, on Revelation 14:17καθήμενον. The accus., as Revelation 4:4.

ἔχων. Cf. Revelation 14:12, Revelation 14:7; Revelation 10:2.

δρέπ. ὀξύ. Therefore serviceable for use in such a way that this sickle allows nothing to stand which is ripe for cutting.

ἐκ τοὺ ναοῦ, Revelation 14:15; cf. Revelation 11:19. The angel appears as one immediately sent from God. πέμψον, cf. Joel 3:13; Mark 4:29. The expression is here especially significant, because the idea is presented that the sickle thrust forth on the earth (Revelation 14:16) is to cut down there.

ἡ ὥρα θερίσα; construed as Revelation 9:10, Revelation 11:16.

ἐξηράνθη. The sign of the ripeness, since the figure of a field of corn is here[3554] presented.

ὁ θερισμὸς τῆς γῆς. The authentic explanation follows (Revelation 14:16): ἐθερίσθη ἡ γῆ. The whole earth is the harvest-field; the ripe stalks are those καθήμενοι ἐπι τ. γ., Revelation 14:6.

[3541] Joel 3:13. Cf. Knobel, Proph., I. 369 sqq.

[3542] Revelation 6:2.

[3543] Beda, Andr., Eichh., Calov., Ew. i., Hengstenb., Ebrard, Volkm.

[3544] Grot., Vitr., Beng., Züll., De Wette.

[3545] Grot., De Wette, Ew. ii.

[3546] Vitr.

[3547] Cf. Revelation 1:13; Daniel 7:13.

[3548] Cf. Revelation 1:7; Dan., I. c.

[3549] Cf. Revelation 6:2, Revelation 19:12.

[3550] Cf., on the contrary, Revelation 10:1, Revelation 7:2.

[3551] In Revelation 14:6. also, the ἄλλος does not have its reference in what immediately precedes.

[3552] Revelation 14:15 : Πἐμψον, κ.τ.λ.

[3553] Cf. Mark 13:32.

[3554] Cf., on the other hand, Revelation 14:18 sqq.

Revelation 14:14-20, in their present position, are a proleptic and realistic summary of the final judgment, representing as a divine catastrophe what 16–17. delineate as the outcome of semi-political movements (cf. 18. after 17). The strange picture of messiah (14 f., contrast Revelation 1:10 f., Revelation 19:11 f.), the absence of any allusion to the Beasts (Revelation 14:9-11) or to the Imperial cultus, the peculiar angelology, and the generally disparate nature of the scene as compared with the context, point to the isolated character of the episode. The abrupt mention of the city (20) suggests that the tradition belonged to the cycle underlying Revelation 11:1-13 (the city, 13), and several critics (e.g., Spitta, Erbes, Weyland, Völter, Schon, Briggs, Rauch) regard it variously as a finâle to the oracles of that chapter. But the connexion is one of tradition rather than of literary unity. The data of style and content leave it uncertain even whether the episode goes back to a source or a tradition, whether it is Jewish (so especially Sabatier, Pfleiderer, and Rauch) or Jewish Christian (Schön, Erbes, Bruston, J. Weiss, etc.), and, if Jewish Christian, whether it was written by the author of the Apocalypse (Weizsäcker) or not. The least obscure feature is the victory of the messiah over antichrist and his legions (not of an angelic judgment on Israel, J. Weiss) in the vicinity of Jerusalem (cf. Revelation 11:13, Revelation 14:1 f., and Revelation 20:9) at the end of the world, an expectation of which we have another variant apparently in Revelation 19:11 f. Probably the prophet inserts the episode here in order to repeat, in a graphic and archaic, although somewhat incongruous fashion, the final doom of which he has just been speaking and to which he is about to lead up (Revelation 14:15-20.) through a fresh series of catastrophes. “If one might venture to wish to discard as an interpolation any part of the attested text of the Apocalypse, it would be this passage. How can it be understood of anything but the final judgment? Yet it comes here as anything but final.… The earth goes on just as before” (Simcox). But here, as often elsewhere, the clue lies partly in the vivid inconsequence of dream-pictures, partly in the preacher’s desire to impress his hearers, and partly in the poetic, imaginative freedom of his own mind.

14. I looked] Better, beheld, as Revelation 4:1, &c.

one sat] More literally, [I saw] One sitting. It is scarcely possible to doubt that a vision of the Last Judgement is here interposed, to encourage “the patience of the Saints” that is to be so sorely tried. No one would have doubted that “One like unto the Son of Man” is the same Person as in Revelation 1:13, and that His coming with the clouds of heaven indicates the same as in Revelation 1:7, except from a desire to interpret the whole series of visions continuously, as fulfilled in chronological order. Now it is probably right to regard the order of the visions as always significant, and generally answering to the chronological order of fulfilment. But exceptions to the latter rule must be admitted: Revelation 11:7 plainly refers to the same events as chap. 13, while chap. 12 goes back to events earlier than, probably, any others indicated in the Book. In this chapter itself, we have in Revelation 14:8 an anticipation of chap. 18: we need not therefore hesitate to suppose that here we have an anticipation of chap. 20. Those who wish to make the order of visions strictly continuous put on the words “one like unto the [or “a”—see on Revelation 1:13] Son of Man” the gloss “an Angel in the likeness of the Messiah,” and suppose that one of God’s typical or anticipatory judgements is described in terms suitable to the last.

a sharp sickle] The image of the harvest, combined with that of the vintage, is from Joel 3:13 : see however also St Matthew 13:30 &c.

Revelation 14:14. [166] Καὶ, and) The harvest and the vintage, which are here described, precede the last judgment, as Cluver fully demonstrates. Each of them is described also in Joel 3:18, and throughout that passage, as Lange teaches.—καθήμενον ὅμοιον[167]) Some read ΚΑΘΉΜΕΝΟς ὍΜΟΙΟς; others differently, for ΝΕΦΈΛΗ ΛΕΥΚῊ, nubem candidam; so that there might be the same cases. The middle reading [the original starting-point of the other readings] mixes the cases (nor does the word ἔχων, which follows, make any difficulty. Comp. App. p. 778, Ed. II. p. 488). See above on ch. Revelation 4:4, Revelation 7:9, Revelation 13:3, No one is ignorant of the ordinary rules of construction; but it is not without reason that the best manuscripts in so many places agree in so extraordinary a figure of speech. As, after long consideration, I do not think that I shall easily withdraw from the instances of this construction, so I do not obtrude them upon the notice of any one. The sense remains the same in all respects. By means of the harvest a great multitude of the righteous, and by means of the vintage a great multitude of the ungodly, is removed from the world.

[166] τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν, their works) their gratuitous reward being at the same time included in the meaning.—V. g.

[167] So ABCh Vulg. Memph.: but Rec. Text, καθήμενος ὅμοιος.—E.

Verse 14. - And I looked, and behold a white cloud; and I saw, introducing a fresh phase of the vision (see on ver. 1, etc.). White; the heavenly colour (see on Revelation 3:18, etc.). Cloud is the symbol of Christ's glory (Acts 1:9, 11; cf. Matthew 24:30, "And they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven;" also Revelation 1:7, "Behold, he cometh with the clouds"). And upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man; one sitting. That Christ is here intended is shown by

(1) the cloud (cf. Luke 21:27, "They shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud");

(2) the expression, "Son of man" (cf. John 5:22, "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son;" and John 5:27, "And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man;" and Acts 17:31, "He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom he hath ordained");

(3) the white colour (cf. Revelation 6:2);

(4) the golden crown, which distinguishes him from the other appearances. He who, as Man, redeemed the world, comes as Man to judge the world. He sits, because he comes in judgment. Having on his head a golden crown. The crown, of victory, στέφανος, which he gained as Man (cf. also Revelation 6:2, where the description is similar). And in his hand a sharp sickle. With which the "Lord of the harvest" (Matthew 9:38) reaps the harvest of the world. The figure is found in Joel 3:12, 13, "Then will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe" (cf. also John 4:35-38). Revelation 14:14
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