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…
In the spirit of the former words, and as a further confirmation of them, the process of judgment is again set forth under fresh images. So is consolation borne to the suffering and afflicted Church, and warning and admonition dealt out to the ungodly. Under the imagery of a harvest and of the gathering of the vintage, the certainties of the threatened judgment and the promised blessedness are set forth. The afflicted, down trodden, despised Church must here see mighty motives urged upon it to maintain a steadfast faith and hope and patience. This vision declares -
I. THE FINAL CESSATION OF THE CHURCH'S SUFFERING. Her warfare may be long continued. Generation after generation of believers may be called upon to suffer, but an end is appointed. It will be proclaimed: "The hour to reap is come." The life of "earth " - ever the symbol of that which stands in opposition to the heavenlies - has been patiently borne through much long suffering. But this is at an end - "the harvest of the earth is over ripe." The command is issued, "Send forth thy sickle, and reap."
II. THE GATHERING OF A HARVEST HAS THE PREVAILING CHARACTER OF GRACIOUSNESS. It is the ingathering of that which sprang from "the seed" which "is the Word;" and, in our view, indicates the gathering for the heavenly garner.
III. THE FIGURE OF THE VINTAGE IS RESERVED FOR THE EXPRESSION OF THE WRATH OF GOD. "Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel?... I have trodden the wine press alone." Here it is distinguished as "the great wine press of the wrath of God." No such designation is given to the wheat harvest. In this, then, we are to see the final judgment upon the wicked. Thus are set before us both the ingathering of the holy - the harvest waiting for which "the husbandman" has had "long patience," and the ingathering or crushing of the wicked. "Terrible," indeed, "is he in his doings to the children of men." - R.G.
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.