Summary: The Grain harvest
Revelation 14:14-16, “14Then I saw the Son of Man sitting on a white cloud. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.15Then an angel came from the Temple and called out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud, "Use the sickle, for the time has come for you to harvest; the crop is ripe on the earth." 16So the one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the whole earth was harvested.”
The grain harvest symbolizes the seven bowl judgments, the grape harvest the judgment of Armageddon. Both harvests involve a sickle and reaping, but both can be best described by breaking them down into three points: the reaper, the ripeness and the reaping.
Revelation 14:14, ““14Then I saw the Son of Man sitting on a white cloud. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.”
The familiar phrase I saw introduces a new and important subject in Revelation (4:1; 6:2,5,8:7:9; 14:1) The imagery here for us is clearly taking from Daniel 7:13-14 in reference here used in sitting on a white cloud, “As my vision continued that night, I saw someone who looked like a man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. 14He was given authority, honor, and royal power over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal--it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.”
John saw the Son of Man sitting on a white cloud which can easily be identified as the Lord Jesus Christ coming in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. The white cloud resembles the glory and majesty of who He is (1:8; Matthew 17:5; 24:30; 26:64; Acts 1:9). This ought to catch our attention, the Lord Jesus Christ is sitting thus preparing to reap that which He wishes, but He is still waiting till the proper time to reap, to stand, that the reaping is the seven bowl judgments, will be followed by Christ’s return to establish His Kingdom.
The description of the Son of Man is again taken from Daniel’s prophecy (7:13). This is the Lord’s favorite term for Himself during His incarnation (Matthew 8:20; 9:6; 24:27, 30; Mark 2:10, 28; 8:31; 9:9; Luke 6:22; 7:34; 9:22; 12:8; John 5:27; 6:27, 62; 8:28). This is the last use in Scripture where Christ is described as the Son of Man, but it is in sharp contrast to its first where He had nothing, not even a place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20), now He is about to take possession of the entire earth.
The reaper is further described as He had a gold crown on his head. The crown is not the crown worn by a king (diadema) (19:20), but the stephanos worn by victors in war or athletic events; it is the crown of triumph (2:10; 1 Cor 9:25; 1 Thess 2:19; 2 Tim 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4). This here pictures the Son of Man not in His identity as the Sovereign ruler, but as a Triumphant conqueror victorious over all His enemies (Matthew 24:30).
The reaper also had a sharp sickle in his hand. A sickle was a long, curved, razor sharp iron blade attached to a long, broomsticklike wooden handle. Sickles were used to harvest grain; as they were held with both hands spread apart and swept back and forth, their sharp blades would cut off the grain stalks at ground level. The picture here is of the Lord Jesus Christ mowing down His enemies like a harvester cutting grain.
Revelation 14:15, “15Then an angel came from the Temple and called out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud, "Use the sickle, for the time has come for you to harvest; the crop is ripe on the earth."
This angel (6,8,9) would be the fourth angel in this chapter already shown. The first three angels as we discussed in our previous examinations of this chapter were proclaiming judgment, but the fourth bring the command to execute the very judgment of the three’s pronouncements. This angel came from the Temple (vs.17) from before the throne of God. The loud voice conveys the sense of urgency of the message that the angel proclaims for us, "Use the sickle, for the time has come for you to harvest; the crop is ripe on the earth." This ought not to be seen as an angel exercising power or authority over the Lord Jesus but as God the Father giving an angel the command to execute, for this message came directly from God the Father to God the Son-the Son of Man that it is time for Him to move in judgment. God’s anger has reached its absolute limit and His wrath is poured out. The time for grace is over and there will be no more delaying the harvest of judgment. The Son can now exercise the right to judge that the Father has delegated unto Him (John 5:22, 27; Acts 10:42; 17:31). Yet the reality is the earth is ripe for judgment and harvest. The grain or the earth here pictured has passed the point of any usefulness and is fit only to be as Jesus described, “Gathered up and burned with fire” (Matthew 13:40).