Revelation 14:16
And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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 he that sat on the cloud - The Saviour, Revelation 14:14.

Thrust in his sickle on the earth - To cut down the harvest - that is, to gather his people to himself.

And the earth was reaped - So far as the righteous were concerned. The end had come; the church was redeemed; the work contemplated was accomplished; and the results of the work of the Saviour were like a glorious harvest.

16. thrust in—Greek, "cast." According to the before mentioned different notion of the harvest, there is amongst them a different interpretation of this verse; some interpreting it of God’s calling in the Jews, or his elect, by the preaching of the gospel; others, of his vengeance upon antichrist and his adherents, more fully expressed, Revelation 15:1-16:21. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth,.... He put forth, and made use of that power which he had in his hand, in answer to the entreaty of the angel, the time being fully come which was fixed for this great event:

and the earth was reaped; and the harvest of it was got in; reaping and harvest sometimes are used in an ill sense, and design the wrath of God, and his judgments inflicted upon men; see Isaiah 17:5. Hence some think, that both this and the vintage following intend the judgments of God upon antichrist, and that they are contemporary with the pouring out of the fifth and sixth vials upon the beast and his followers; and the rather, since the destruction of Babylon, literally taken, is expressed in such language, Jeremiah 51:33 though these seem to have respect to times after the fall of the Romish Babylon, before declared in Revelation 14:8 and most interpreters refer the harvest to the last judgment at the end of the world; and which sense is greatly countenanced, and to be illustrated by the parable of the tares and wheat, in Matthew 13:30 sometimes these phrases are used in a good sense, and intend the gathering in of souls by the preaching of the Gospel; as there are the appointed weeks of the harvest, so there is a time fixed for the calling and conversion of God's elect; and when this time is come, and especially to any number of them in any particular place, it is an harvest, as in Galilee and Samaria in the times of Christ, Matthew 9:37 the reapers are the ministers of the Gospel; such were the apostles of Christ, John 4:36 and the sickle is the Gospel, by which not only men are cut to the heart, and cut down, and removed from their old bottom, and principles and practices, but are gathered to Christ, and into his churches; and when large numbers are brought in, it is an harvest time, as in the times of Christ and his apostles; see Isaiah 9:1 hence some interpreters think that the harvest here has respect to the Reformation, which followed upon the preaching of Luther, Calvin, and others, when a large harvest of souls were gathered in, in Germany, France, England, and elsewhere; but rather it may be thought to refer to the conversion of the Jews, and the bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles in the latter day, in the spiritual reign of Christ, to which the preceding visions belong, as we have seen; the earth will be reaped indeed, and a great harvest it will be, when a nation shall be born at once, and the vast multitudes of the Gentiles shall be brought in, as in Isaiah 66:8 and the rather this may be judged to be the meaning of it, since the passage from whence these phrases are borrowed respects the bringing again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, Joel 3:1 though it seems best to understand it of the Lord's wheat harvest at the end of the world, when the wheat of the earth shall be reaped, and gathered into Christ's barn, or garner, or into his and his Father's kingdom; this reaping of the earth is the removing of the saints out of it, not by death, but by the resurrection of them from the dead; for when Christ shall come in the clouds of heaven, and sit on the white cloud, or throne, the dead in him will rise first, and the living saints will be changed, and both will be caught up together, to meet the Lord in the air; so that the earth will be reaped, and be clear of them, and there will be none left in it but the wicked of the world; and what will become of them is declared in the following verses, under the representation of a vintage.

And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 14:16. The δρέπανον (only here, Revelation 14:14-19, in Apocalypse; cf. C. B. P. ii. 652 f. for a Phrygian inscription καὶ τὸ ἀρᾶς δρέπανον εὶς τὸν ὗκον αὐτοῦ) is represented as a living thing, probably like the δρέπανον πετὸμενον of Zechariah 5:1 (Wellhausen). The classical use of reaping to symbolise death and destruction is too common to need illustration. “The harvest of the earth is ripe and dry,” but this ripeness of paganism for judgment (Jeremiah 51:33) is re-stated dramatically (Revelation 14:17-20) in a parallel O.T. symbol from the wine-press. The angelic mise-en-scène recalls that of Revelation 8:3-5. Unlike the harvest-symbol, the vintage-symbol is worked out vividly (cf. Genesis 49:11; Isaiah 63:1 f.).16. thrust in] Lit. cast: but the word is used in much milder senses, e.g. of the Lord “putting” His fingers in the deaf man’s ears, St Mark 7:33. The A. V. can therefore be defended: but it is perhaps likelier, that He Who sat on the cloud threw down the sickle, for others (unnamed angels) to reap with.

the earth was reaped] Comparing the parables in SS. Matthew and Mark, there is little doubt that the gathering of the harvest indicates the gathering of the Elect. In Jeremiah 51:33, it is true, the image of harvest is used of the time of God’s vengeance, and so Joel 3:13, where, as here, it is combined with that of the vintage. But it would be pointless to have the two images successively worked out, if they meant exactly the same: while the vengeance of the other image is clearly defined in Revelation 14:19-20, and there is nothing (like the threshing of Jer., l.c.) to indicate it here.Verse 16. - And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. "Cast his sickle;" not the same verb as that in ver. 15, but which, nevertheless, has the same signification (cf. the use of this verb in John 20:25, 27). There are two gatherings described in this place:

(1) the harvest of the earth by the Son of man;

(2) the gathering of the vintage by the angel.

On the whole, it seems probable that the first refers to the selection by Christ of the faithful at the end of the world, while the secured describes the ingathering of the wicked for punishment immediately afterwards. This agrees with the general tenor of the whole chapter, viz, a portrayal of the opposite fates in store for the faithful and the wicked. The description thus corresponds with the account of the end of the world given in Revelation 7, with which chapter this one has so much in common (see on the first verses of the present chapter). In Revelation 7. the saints are first selected and sealed, before the wicked meet their doom. Thus, also, the judgment is described by our Lord in his parables of the wheat and the tares, and the sheep and the goats. This accounts also for the first gathering being presided over by the Son of man, while the second is conducted by an angel. The punishment in connection with the vintage seems to distinguish it from the first harvest. This also corresponds to the announcements of the former angels, who first preach the everlasting gospel, and afterwards denounce those who serve the beast (vers. 6-11). Thrust in (ἔβαλεν)

Lit., cast.

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