Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud one like a son of man. He had a gold crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the temple, shouting in a loud voice to the one who was sitting on the cloud, “It’s harvest time! Put in your sickle and reap: the harvest of the earth is ripe!” ~REVELATION 14:14-15
Upon first reading, I was taken aback by what appeared to be an angel giving a command to Christ. But after digging below the surface, I learned that the angel is merely relaying the command of Yahweh, for the angel came out of the temple with this message. This makes perfect sense since the word “angel” means messenger.
Much more interesting is that many commentators connect this to Mark 13:32 where Jesus said, “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, only the Father.” Revelation seems to be amplifying this declaration, showing that it really is only Papa Yahweh who knows when it’s all going to go down. So you apparently have complete permission to enjoy a convivial laugh at and with anyone who tries to predict the date for the end of the world.
Another interesting observation is that when the angel does tell Jesus that it is time to start reaping, Christ already has the sickle in His hand. He may not know the day nor the hour, but I think this signifies that He is ever at the ready to do His Father’s bidding. This takes me back to Abraham’s response when God called on him in Genesis 22. “Hinneni” was Abraham’s response in his language, and we could translate that as: “Here I am, your servant. I am at your disposal. Tell me what you want me to do!” Jesus, being one with the Father, was in a constant state of hinneni, as should we be.
Yet another fascinating aspect is the dual purpose of the sickle. Jesus’s reaping of the harvest in verse 16 is the gathering of God’s followers into His kingdom. Here the sickle is used to gather and protect, a “salvific ingathering” as Brian Blount says it. But in verse 19 an angel uses its sickle for judgment. This “fifth angel” of Revelation 14 takes those who have allied themselves with the dragon and the beast, and throws them into the great winepress of God’s anger. Sounds like a place I don’t want to be.
What a powerful visual, this “Hinneni Sickle” in hand at all times, ever at the ready to do God’s will, using this heavenly tool to gather and protect those who Yahweh puts in your path in need of compassion and companionship. Also using the same implement to extricate yourself from a harmful situation or toxic relationship which serve the evil one’s purpose to pull you away from Christ and His Spirit. We might also think of using this reaping hook for protecting and preserving good habits, as well as cutting off injurious ones.
May we remain in a posture of listening for Papa Yahweh’s timely command, with our hinneni sickle always in hand.