And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and on the cloud one sat like to the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown…
I. THE ILLUSTRIOUS PERSONAGE INTENDED. This we conceive to be no other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the exalted Messiah, who, for the suffering of death, was made a little lower than the angels, and is now crowned with glory and honour.
1. His characteristic designation — "The Son of Man." This was the form or similitude He wore. The manhood of Christ is exalted to the throne of Deity.
2. His high exaltation. He is said to be throned on the clouds of heaven, and dignified with the highest honours.
3. The insignia appropriate to His office. He is advanced to the dignity and authority of a king, and therefore is invested with a crown of gold, and a sickle — an emblem of power, answering to a sceptre or sword, but put in this form, as having a relation to the service which was immediately to be performed in reaping the harvest of the earth. These are the regalia of His kingly office.
II. THE MAGNIFICENT APPEARANCE HE ASSUMED.
1. He is seated on a white cloud. On a cloud, to betoken His elevation and empire. On a white cloud, to signify the immaculate purity of His nature, as the Holy One of God; the unimpeachable rectitude of His administrations, transparent as the fleecy vapour of which these visible heavens are composed; and the blessed consequences of His government, when purity shall be universally established, and "white-robed Innocence," returning to our forsaken world, shall take place of fraud and rapine, violence and blood. Furthermore, on this luminous cloud He is said to have been seated, as on a throne, expressing at once the high dignity and perfect repose which He enjoys.
2. On His head was a golden crown. The crown is an emblem of empire and dominion, and a crown of pure gold fitly represents the validity of His title, and the honour and glory by which He is encircled.
3. In His hand there is a sharp sickle. This I apprehend to be an emblem of His judicial authority and retributive vengeance. To Him the Father hath given authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man, and hath put all things into His hands. What havoc and slaughter shall be made by the sharp sickle, with which He is invested, when His irreclaimable enemies shall be made the helpless victims of His inexorable indignation! When the great day of His wrath is come, who shall be able to stand?
III. THE PRACTICAL LESSONS INCULCATED BY THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE SUBJECT.
1. We infer the high and honourable conceptions we should form and entertain of the Lord Christ.
2. We infer that, "before honour is humility."
3. Let us learn how important it is to ascertain whether we are among the subjects of this exalted Prince.
4. Let us learn to rejoice in the perfection of His administration.
5. Let us learn how terrible will be the final doom of all the enemies of this mighty Prince.
6. If such be the advantages and pleasures connected with the sight and contemplation of a glorified Saviour in this world, what will the beatific vision include? To see Him as He is, without the interposition of any obscuring veil, any dense medium!
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.