(cf. Rev. 14:14-20)
In verse 14 and following is the same sight we had back in chapter 6:1 and in chapter 10. Some people see this as an angel, some see it as Christ. I want to admit to you that the terms used to describe this angel are magnificent just like the terms in chapter 10, and to some extent the white horse in chapter 6:1. But i really think because we’re in a series of angels, because he’s called an angel, because another angel commands him, because Matthew 13:39 talks about the angels reaping the earth in the end-time, that this is an angel who stands for Jesus, but is still an angel. Now there is much controversy because he’s going to be called “likened to a Son of man” which is used in the Gospels for the Messiah, and earlier in Revelation for the Messiah, but i do believe it is an angel for the reasons that i mentioned to you. Some see two different judgments, here two different reapings. Reaping of course is an Old Testament metaphor for God’s judgment usually, but it seems that verses 14-15 are a grain harvest and then in verse 17 following is a grape harvest. Grape harvest was often used of judgment, but in the New Testament the grain harvest may be used for God reaping His people to Himself. You might want to compare Matthew 13:30 & 38; Mark 4:26-29; Matthew 9:37-38; Luke 10:2; John 4:35-39 for what i think, it’s a grain harvest of the elect, not of the wicked that’s going to follow into the grapes harvest. Now notice this one sitting on a bright cloud, sounds like Daniel 7:13 to me, “like unto a son of man with a crown of gold” – the Greek translation means ‘a son of man’ and not ‘the son of man’, which is the form used of Christ in the Gospels. Some translations capitalizes it which makes it assume it’s deity, but an angel (vs. 15) commanding Jesus doesn’t sound right to me, “Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.” – It is unlikely that John would depict the glorious Christ as doing essentially the same thing as an angel does (vs. 19). Also, if this were Christ, we would have six angels in the series, which is not in keeping with the style of John. Now, “the hour” is literal meaning, the end of the world. Because the harvest of the earth is ripe, and he who had been sitting on the cloud (mentioned 3rd time for emphasis) swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped, and i think it’s the harvest of believers.
Verse 17, “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven,…” – several of these have come out from the temple shows God’s power behind them. This i think is the spiritual temple of Hebrew 9:23. “…and he also had a sharp sickle. Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar;…” – which altar is it, incense or sacrifice? It seems to me it’s associated with the prayers of God’s people and with judgment. Judgment is God’s final answer to the prayers of His suffering saints. This angel was in charge over the fire, fire and judgment are often closely connected. “and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.” – this grape harvest is always used of judgment the Old Testament. You might want to see Isaiah 63:2 & 3; Jeremiah 51:33; Joel:3:13; and lamentations 1:15, the same picture is use in Revelation 19:15 for Jesus treading the wine-press of God.
Verse, 20, “And the wine-press was trodden outside the city,…” – Some see this as an allusion to the crucifixion of Christ being outside the gate (cf. Heb. 13:12). Some say it’s just the idea of the Old Testament laws of purification, the unclean thing being taken outside the holy city. Others see it as eschatological battleground outside the city of Jerusalem (cf. Dan. 11:45; Joel 3:12-14; and Zech. 14:1-4. Then it says, “…and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles. Other translators say it’s 184 miles, some says it’s just 165 miles, but i guess John’s interest is rather in the number than in the precise distance it represents. Perhaps the number simply stands for the complete judgment of the whole earth and the destruction of all the wicked. Many say this is an end-time battle -Armageddon, Gog and Magog, or perhaps it could imply an end-time battle between the forces of this world, satanically inspired, and the forces of our Christ and His kingdom, exactly how that’s going to work out, i’m just not sure at this point, but I know this: we know from chapter 14 that God’s people in the face of the evil one of chapter 12; and the two beasts of chapter 13, are still protected and sealed. They may be killed by the unbelievers, but ultimately they’re secured in the hand of God. Hallelujah! Isn’t it good for a group of persecuted Christians to know that God knows their name? God knows what they’re going through. God cares about them, that all history is in His hand, and that the evil ones are going to come to their end, and the unbelievers who hurt them so badly are going to stand before God in judgment.