The remainder of the chapter from this point forms a unit. As we look for patterns, we also interpret. Later we will look more at individual verses. Patterns and details work together to bring understanding. This means covering some ideas a second time, which can confirm or cause us to reject initial interpretations. Nothing is more important than a prayerful reading of the text. Before looking at the patterns I have seen, I suggest that you turn to the passage in your own Bible looking for literary structure. Your picture may be different from mine and both may be right.
I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead
which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they
may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
"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. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
"And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs." (Rev. 14:13-20).
Now for the pattern: (See on chapter 1)
One on the cloud with sickle (14)
Angel-1 from temple declares time to reap harvest [grain] (15)
One on cloud reaps from earth (16)
Angel-3 from temple has sickle (17)
Angel-2 from altar, declares ripeness — clusters to be gathered [grapes] (18)
Angel-3 with sickle gathers them and casts into winepress (19)
[Curse for wicked]
winepress trampled outside city
Blood to horse bridles, 1600 furlongs (20)
may have already figured out why I numbered the angels in the outline above.
They fulfill roles complimentary to the three angels that flew earlier,
Some would argue that the same three angels are seen in both cases. Perhaps
so, but I prefer to see the second set of angels as complementary or similar
angels. The messages of the earlier angels are voiced
by humans to whom the Spirit of the Lord has given the burden to preach.
At harvest time we see the results. The time for persuasion will have passed.
||6, 7||midheaven||everlasting gospel||judgment / worship||preadvent judgment begins|
||8||midheaven||-||Babylon has fallen||-|
||9-12||midheaven||-||severe warning against false worship||-|
||14||on cloud||crown and sharp sickle||-||-|
||15||from temple||loud voice||time to reap||preadvent judgment ends|
||17||from temple||sharp sickle||-||-|
||18||from altar||loud cry||cast in sickle||-|
||19||into earth||sharp sickle||vine gathered into winepress (lake of fire)||millennial judgment begins|
||20||around city||-||winepress trampled (wicked destroyed)||millennial judgment ends|
Now notice the whole-chapter pattern:
The heart of such patterns are significant.
Patient saints keep commandments and faith (12)
Blessing for those who die in the Lord (13)
Christ as Son of
man appears on the cloud (14)
Three angels announce and give rewards to righteous and wicked (15-20)
The one on the cloud
"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."
The scene is symbolic drawing from the story of Elijah who saw a small black cloud that became glorious. It marked the end of the famine. See 1 Kings 18:44. The white cloud symbolizes the coming of Christ to end the sin and suffering on this old world. The patient saints of verse 12 and the sleeping ones of verse 13 wait for this appearance.
The introduction to the book of Revelation declares the following about Jesus Christ: "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." (Rev. 1:7).
Like unto the Son of man
But if this is Christ who is coming, why does our text here in chapter 14 say, one like unto the Son of man? This is not to indicate a different person but a different appearance. At His coming, He will look very different from how he looked during His time on this earth. When Judas applied to join the ministry team, Jesus told him, ". . . Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." (Luke 9:58). Isaiah had declared, "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." (Isa. 53:1, 2).
Not long ago, we read Jesus’ statement to Caiaphas, explaining that things would be different. "Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said [correctly that I am the Christ]: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Matt. 26:64). Link.
What a joy it will be to meet our Lord in the air and be with Him forever (1 Thess. 4:17).
A golden crown
The Son of Man who once wore a crown of thorns (Matt. 27:49) will come in glory with a crown of gold. This He receives as a result of the preadvent judgment.
"I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool. . . . a thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. . . . .
"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came. . . . And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." (Dan. 7:9, 10, 14).
Coronation after judgment is also seen in Rev. 11.15-19. At the sound of the last trumpet, the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of Christ and the temple [the place of judgment in the sanctuary system] is opened [after the high priest has finished his work there].
In his hand a sharp sickle
He had earlier received a sealed book (Rev. 5:7) which He proceeded to open as an act of the preadvent judgment. Now the judgment is over and it is time to reward righteous and wicked according to their behavior as clarified in judgment (Rev. 22:11, 12).