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…
The expression is a singular and, indeed, a striking one.
I. GOD PREPARED THE EARTH FOR HIS SEEDING. Scientific men may wrangle over the ages and order of creation. It is enough for us to know that, at a given time, God had prepared the earth to be the scene of a moral trial for a new race of beings. The farmer cleans, and ploughs, and manures, and harrows, and ridges, his fields, in precise adaptation to the crop that he intends to grow upon it; and earth is the prepared field of God, made ready for His sowing.
II. GOD SEEDS HIS PREPARED EARTH WITH MEN. Scattering the seed all over the earth, that man's probation may be carried on under every varying condition of soil, and landscape, and climate, and relationship. God keeps on seeding the earth with men; every seed with a great possibility in it; every seed set where its possibility may freely unfold, and where the God-provided influences all tend to the nourishment of all its best possibilities. Men, men everywhere are the seed of God. They are quick with Divine life, and sown in the earth to grow into a harvest for God.
III. THE HARVEST GOD SEEKS FROM HIS SEEDING IS CHARACTER. God sows His earth with moral beings, in the hope of reaping moral character. But what is moral character? It is the proper fruitage of the earth-experience of moral beings. But can we understand it a little more fully than that? A moral being is one that can recognise a distinction between good and evil, and, when the distinction is seen, can choose for itself which it will have, the good or the evil. But a moral being must be put into such circumstances as will offer it the choice between good and evil. And substantially the test amounts to this: good is doing what is known to be the will of the Creator: evil is doing the will of the moral being himself, when that is known to be not the will of the Creator. The story of a life is the story of that conflict. It is the growth, through the long months, of God's seed into the "full corn in the ear" of established moral character. It is the unfolding of what God would gather in from His seeding of men, the righteousness of the accepted will of God. One thing only does man take through the great gates — the character that he has gained. It is the full ear that heads the stalk, and ripens for the reaper.
IV. GOD HAS ANXIOUS TIMES WHILE HIS SEED OF MEN IS GROWING INTO HIS HARVEST OF CHARACTER. Every blade that breaks the earth in the farmer's field has to fight for its life with varied foes: insects, worms, mildew, rust, living creatures, varying temperatures, crowding weeds; the growth of every blade to stalk and ear is a hard-won victory. The stalk can do its best, and be its best, only at the cost of unceasing struggle and watchfulness. And the field of earth is but a type of the world of men. Every character is the product of a stern experience, the issue of a hundred fights; a triumph from an unceasing struggle. The problem of each man's dealings with his surroundings — helpful be they, or injurious — God is intensely interested in. He is anxious as the farmer is anxious over his growing blades. The one thing of profoundest interest to God is the making of characters in His great earth-fields. Be it so; then a fact of infinite sadness has to be faced. The issue is disappointing, for God's harvest-hope of reaping character from His sowing of men is only partially fulfilled.
(R. Tuck, B. A.)
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.