I’M STILL WORKING MY WAY through paraphrasing Revelation for the Casual English Bible.
I won’t post Revelation until I finish all 22 chapters. But here’s a sneak peek at an engaging passage that might leave some folks wondering if we’re almost here.
Others would say to relax, and that John of Revelation was talking mostly about Roman times.
The tough thing about paraphrasing Revelation is the footnotes. There are so many questions that I often use more words for the footnotes than for the Bible paraphrase.
This draft is unproofed. So you’ll likely find some mistakes. But see what you think.
14:14. I looked up and, oh my! Sitting there on a white cloud was someone who looked like a man, a Son of Humans. He wore a gold wreath as a crown on his head. And he held a sharp harvesting sickle.
14:15. Suddenly an angel came out of the temple in heaven. In a loud voice, the angel called over to the one sitting on the cloud, “Swing your sickle. It’s time to cut the crop and bring it in. Earth is ripe, and ready to harvest.”
14:16. The one who sat on the cloud raised his sickle and started swinging it across the earth. He cut the crop and harvested the world.
14:17. Another angel came out of heaven’s temple. He was armed with a sharp sickle, too.
14:18. Another angel—the one in charge of maintaining the altar fire at the temple—called over to the angel with the sickle, in a loud voice, “Swing your sickle. Cut the grape clusters from earth’s vine. The grapes are ripe.”
14:19. So the angel started swinging his sickle across the earth, cutting down the grapes. He threw the grapes into the winepress of God’s wrath.
14:20. The grapes were crushed in the winepress outside the city walls. Blood gushed out of the winepress. The blood rose as high as a horses’ bridle and flooded the ground for about 180 miles.
 14:14. Literally “son of man.” This is a title Jesus used a lot to describe himself. In the Jewish Bible the phrase contains hints of divinity in some passages and humanity in others—perhaps a perfect phrase for describing someone Christians would say was fully God and fully human. Hint of the divine: the prophet Daniel “saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven” (Daniel 7:13 NLT). Hint of the human: God often described Ezekiel as a mere mortal by using the phrase “son of man” (Ezekiel 2:1 NLT).
 14:14. A sickle is a farming blade that’s curved and was used to hand-cut wheat, barley, and other crops.
 14:15. It sounds like a fulfillment of Joel 3:14: “Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.” (NLT). Some scholars say they see in this a metaphor of judgment and punishment through destruction and death, as though the world is experiencing its last gasp before dying.
 14:18. It sounds like another reference to Joel 3:14: “Tread the grapes, for the winepress is full. The storage vats are overflowing with the wickedness of these people.” (NLT).
 14:20. Some say they see this as a reference to the thousands of Jews that Roman invaders crucified outside Jerusalem’s city walls when they besieged and destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70.
 14:20. Could be about 4.5 feet (1.5 meters).
 14:20. Literally 1,600 stadia. Each stadion was about 600 feet. So the measurement was about 180 miles or 290 kilometers. That’s roughly the distance of the most livable stretch of ground in what is now Israel and Palestinian Territories, from Mount Hermon in the north to the southern tip of the Dead Sea. Some students of the Bible say they see in these high numbers an exaggerated, symbolic way of describing Rome’s siege and destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. An eyewitness historian, Josephus, put the Jewish body count at 1.1 million. Others say it points to an end-time battle in the Jewish homeland.