Revelation Part 10: The Song of the Redeemed and the Grapes of Wrath (Revelation 14)
(New American Standard Bible, 1995):
Rev. 14:1 ¶ Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.
Rev. 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps.
Rev. 14:3 And they *sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.
Rev. 14:4 These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
Rev. 14:5 And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.
Rev. 14:6 ¶ And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people;
Rev. 14:7 and he said with a loud voice, "Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters."
Rev. 14:8 ¶ And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality."
Rev. 14:9 ¶ Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,
Rev. 14:10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
Rev. 14:11 "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."
Rev. 14:12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
Rev. 14:13 ¶ And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them."
Rev. 14:14 ¶ Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.
Rev. 14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe."
Rev. 14:16 Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.
Rev. 14:17 ¶ And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle.
Rev. 14:18 Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; 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."
Rev. 14:19 So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God.
Rev. 14:20 And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses' bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.
Novum Testamentum Graece (New Testament in Greek)
Nestle-Aland, 27th Edition, prepared by Institut für neutestamentliche Testforschung Münster/Westfalen, Barbara and Kurt Aland (Editors). Copyright © 1898 and 1993 by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.
Used by permission.
Morphological tagging by William D. Mounce and Rex A. Koivisto
Copyright © 2003 William D. Mounce.
Copyright © 2006 OakTree Software, Inc.
All rights reserved.
(You must have the Helena font installed in order to see the Greek text rendered correctly; it can be obtained here: http://www.accordancebible.com/)
Rev. 14:1 ¼ Kai« eidon, kai« idou\ to\ aÓrni÷on esto\ß epi« to\ o¡roß Siw»n kai« met aujtouv ekato\n tessera¿konta te÷ssareß cilia¿deß e¶cousai to\ o¡noma aujtouv kai« to\ o¡noma touv patro\ß aujtouv gegramme÷non epi« tw×n metw¿pwn aujtw×n.
Rev. 14:2 kai« h¡kousa fwnh\n ek touv oujranouv wJß fwnh\n uJda¿twn pollw×n kai« wJß fwnh\n bronthvß mega¿lhß, kai« hJ fwnh\ h§n h¡kousa wJß kiqarwdw×n kiqarizo/ntwn en taiß kiqa¿raiß aujtw×n.
Rev. 14:3 kai« aýdousin [wJß] wÓdh\n kainh\n enw¿pion touv qro/nou kai« enw¿pion tw×n tessa¿rwn zw¿wn kai« tw×n presbute÷rwn, kai« oujdei«ß edu/nato maqein th\n wÓdh\n ei mh\ ai ekato\n tessera¿konta te÷ssareß cilia¿deß, oi hjgorasme÷noi aÓpo\ thvß ghvß.
Rev. 14:4 ¼ outoi÷ eisin oi meta» gunaikw×n oujk emolu/nqhsan, parqe÷noi ga¿r eisin, outoi oi aÓkolouqouvnteß tw× aÓrni÷w o¢pou a·n uJpa¿ghØ. outoi hjgora¿sqhsan aÓpo\ tw×n aÓnqrw¿pwn aÓparch\ tw× qew× kai« tw× aÓrni÷w,
Rev. 14:5 kai« en tw× sto/mati aujtw×n oujc euJre÷qh yeuvdoß, aýmwmoi÷ eisin.
Rev. 14:6 ¼ Kai« eidon aýllon aýggelon peto/menon en mesouranh/mati, e¶conta eujagge÷lion aiw¿nion eujaggeli÷sai epi« tou\ß kaqhme÷nouß epi« thvß ghvß kai« epi« pa×n e¶qnoß kai« fulh\n kai« glw×ssan kai« lao/n,
Rev. 14:7 le÷gwn en fwnhØv mega¿lhØ: ¼ fobh/qhte to\n qeo\n kai« do/te aujtw× do/xan, o¢ti hlqen hJ wra thvß kri÷sewß aujtouv, kai« proskunh/sate tw× poih/santi to\n oujrano\n kai« th\n ghvn kai« qa¿lassan kai« phga»ß uJda¿twn.
Rev. 14:8 ¼ Kai« aýlloß aýggeloß deu/teroß hjkolou/qhsen le÷gwn: ¼ e¶pesen e¶pesen Babulw»n hJ mega¿lh h§ ek touv oi¶nou touv qumouv thvß pornei÷aß aujthvß pepo/tiken pa¿nta ta» e¶qnh.
Rev. 14:9 ¼ Kai« aýlloß aýggeloß tri÷toß hjkolou/qhsen aujtoiß le÷gwn en fwnhØv mega¿lhØ: ¼ ei¶ tiß proskunei to\ qhri÷on kai« th\n eiko/na aujtouv kai« lamba¿nei ca¿ragma epi« touv metw¿pou aujtouv h£ epi« th\n ceira aujtouv,
Rev. 14:10 kai« aujto\ß pi÷etai ek touv oi¶nou touv qumouv touv qeouv touv kekerasme÷nou aÓkra¿tou en tw× pothri÷w thvß ojrghvß aujtouv kai« basanisqh/setai en puri« kai« qei÷w enw¿pion aÓgge÷lwn aJgi÷wn kai« enw¿pion touv aÓrni÷ou.
Rev. 14:11 kai« oJ kapno\ß touv basanismouv aujtw×n eiß aiw×naß aiw¿nwn aÓnabai÷nei, kai« oujk e¶cousin aÓna¿pausin hJme÷raß kai« nukto\ß oi proskunouvnteß to\ qhri÷on kai« th\n eiko/na aujtouv kai« ei¶ tiß lamba¿nei to\ ca¿ragma touv ojno/matoß aujtouv.
Rev. 14:12 ÞWde hJ uJpomonh\ tw×n aJgi÷wn esti÷n, oi throuvnteß ta»ß entola»ß touv qeouv kai« th\n pi÷stin Ihsouv.
Rev. 14:13 ¼ Kai« h¡kousa fwnhvß ek touv oujranouv legou/shß: gra¿yon: ¼ maka¿rioi oi nekroi« oi en kuri÷w aÓpoqnhØ/skonteß aÓp aýrti. nai÷, le÷gei to\ pneuvma, iºna aÓnapah/sontai ek tw×n ko/pwn aujtw×n, ta» ga»r e¶rga aujtw×n aÓkolouqei met aujtw×n.
Rev. 14:14 ¼ Kai« eidon, kai« idou\ nefe÷lh leukh/, kai« epi« th\n nefe÷lhn kaqh/menon o¢moion uio\n aÓnqrw¿pou, e¶cwn epi« thvß kefalhvß aujtouv ste÷fanon crusouvn kai« en thØv ceiri« aujtouv dre÷panon ojxu/.
Rev. 14:15 kai« aýlloß aýggeloß exhvlqen ek touv naouv kra¿zwn en fwnhØv mega¿lhØ tw× kaqhme÷nw epi« thvß nefe÷lhß: ¼ pe÷myon to\ dre÷pano/n sou kai« qe÷rison, o¢ti hlqen hJ wra qeri÷sai, o¢ti exhra¿nqh oJ qerismo\ß thvß ghvß.
Rev. 14:16 ¼ kai« e¶balen oJ kaqh/menoß epi« thvß nefe÷lhß to\ dre÷panon aujtouv epi« th\n ghvn kai« eqeri÷sqh hJ ghv.
Rev. 14:17 ¼ Kai« aýlloß aýggeloß exhvlqen ek touv naouv touv en tw× oujranw× e¶cwn kai« aujto\ß dre÷panon ojxu/.
Rev. 14:18 kai« aýlloß aýggeloß [exhvlqen] ek touv qusiasthri÷ou [oJ] e¶cwn exousi÷an epi« touv puro/ß, kai« efw¿nhsen fwnhØv mega¿lhØ tw× e¶conti to\ dre÷panon to\ ojxu\ le÷gwn: pe÷myon sou to\ dre÷panon to\ ojxu\ kai« tru/ghson tou\ß bo/truaß thvß aÓmpe÷lou thvß ghvß, o¢ti h¡kmasan ai stafulai« aujthvß.
Rev. 14:19 kai« e¶balen oJ aýggeloß to\ dre÷panon aujtouv eiß th\n ghvn kai« etru/ghsen th\n aýmpelon thvß ghvß kai« e¶balen eiß th\n lhno\n touv qumouv touv qeouv to\n me÷gan.
Rev. 14:20 kai« epath/qh hJ lhno\ß e¶xwqen thvß po/lewß kai« exhvlqen aima ek thvß lhnouv aýcri tw×n calinw×n tw×n iºppwn aÓpo\ stadi÷wn cili÷wn exakosi÷wn.
VI. Seven Signs (12:1-14:20)
A. First Sign: A Woman Gives Birth to a Son (12:1-6)
B. Second Sign: War in Heaven between Michael and the Dragon (12:7-12)
C. Third Sign: The Dragon Pursues the Woman and Her Offspring (12:13-13:1)
D. Fourth Sign: The Beast From the Sea (13:1-10)
E. Fifth Sign: The Beast From the Earth (13:11-18)
F. Sixth Sign: The Lamb and the 144,000 (14:1-5)
G. The Three Angels (14:6-13)
H. Seventh Sign: The Earth Harvested by "One Like the Son of Man" (14:14-20)
We are using Dr. Constable's notes for today's lesson; I do not have anything of merit or worth to add to this exquisite commentary. A PDF (Adobe Acrobat) version of these notes may be found here.
IVP-New Bible Commentary
14:1-20 Oracles of kingdom and judgment
The NIV with the NEB divides the chapter into seven short oracles: vs 1-5, a vision of faithful believers in the kingdom of Christ; vs 6-7, the preaching of the gospel in the period of tribulation; v 8, a declaration of Babylon's' doom; vs 9-12, a warning concerning receiving the mark of the beast; v 13, a beatitude on those who die in the Lord'; vs 14-20, two visions of judgment, one using the symbolism of grain harvest (14-16) and the other the figure of grape harvest (17-20).
14:1-5 The 144,000 on Mt Zion. The purpose of this vision is to encourage Christians in view of the account of antichrist's reign in chs. 12-13.
1 The identity of the 144,000 is determined by 7:1-8 and 5:9-10. John would not represent two different groups by such an unusual symbolic number, especially when he states that in both cases they bear the mark of God on their foreheads (7:3-4). The multitude is defined as those who had been redeemed from the earth (3), an echo of the description of the church in 5:9. They stand on Mount Zion, i.e. in the heavenly Jerusalem (21:9-27). This too conforms to the song of thanksgiving in 5:9-10, but represents an advance on the previous picture of the 144,000 (7:1-8), where this multitude is still on earth, though afterwards viewed in heaven but not yet entered on their kingly privileges (7:9-17). The name written on their foreheads explains the nature of the seal' spoken of in 7:1-8; it is the name of the Lamb's Father (contrast the name or number of the beast on the hand or forehead of his followers!).
3 The angelic hosts in 5:9 sang a new song, but only the 144,000 could learn this one; it deals with the experience of redemption, which only saved [p. 1443] sinners could know.
4-5 This description of the saved multitude is as pictorial as their number. They are viewed as males who did not defile themselves with women, most plausibly because they were soldiers of the Lamb engaged on active service (cf. the OT regulations concerning holy war, which include abstention from sexual relations: Dt. 20:1-9; 23:9-14; 1 Sa. 21:4-5; 2 Sa. 11:6-13). The symbolism could include abstaining from fornication' with the harlot Babylon (cf. v 8).
14:6-20 The day of wrath. This succession of short oracles is unified by the use of six angels, who announce the judgment and carry it out. Like vs 1-5 it is intended to strengthen the Christian's nerve, the former vision depicting a requital of good, the other a requital of evil works.
6-7 A last warning is given to the unbelieving of humanity. All the nations are summoned to repentance and the worship of God. The message is called the eternal gospel, since the eternal blessings of the good news still remain for those who will respond. Observe that the representation of an angel preaching the gospel is part of the symbolism of the prophecies; the term angel' means messenger, and the messengers are of flesh and blood.
8 The fall of Babylon is recounted at greater length in chs. 17-18. This name is applied to Rome in 1 Pet. 5:13 and in other, extrabiblical texts.
9-13 This warning forms a complement to the preaching of the eternal gospel in vs 6-7. Followers of the beast will drink the wine of God's fury... poured full strength. The Greek text describes the wine as mixed unmixed', i.e. mixed strong wine that has not been watered down (for the symbolism see Ps. 75:8; Is. 51:17-23). The symbolism of burning sulphur as a judgment goes back to the overthrow of Sodom in Gn. 19:24-25 (cf. Is. 34:8-10).
12 The call for patient endurance on the part of the saints finds an additional spur in the contemplation of the doom of the worshippers of the beast; just as the knowledge that many Christians will be called to suffer imprisonment and death (see 13:10).
13 The beatitude for the dead who die in the Lord serves a similar purpose. If from now on denotes a point of time it will be the now' of Christ's redemption (cf. 12:10). An alternative translation is assuredly'; in which case,
the statement is simply emphaticBlessed assuredly are the dead who die in the Lord'.
14-20 It is common to interpret vs 14-16 as portraying the gathering of the church by Christ at his coming and vs 18-20 as the gathering of the unbelieving world for judgment, especially in view of the appearance of one like a son of man in v 14 (cf. 1:13). Yet it seems strange that Christ should be commanded by an angel to appear in glory and perform his saving work. It is more likely that the humanlike one' is a heavenly figure sharing something of the glory of Christ, like the mighty angel' of 10:1. The reaping of the wheat and gathering of the grape harvest then represent one inclusive act of judgment, as in Joel 3:13, on which these two oracles are based. For the reaping of earth by angelic instrumentality cf. Mt. 13:41-42.
The sixth angel had charge of the fire and came from the altar; this links up with 6:9-11; 8:1-5; 9:13; 16:7. It exemplifies again the connection between the sacrifice and prayer of God's saints and the advent of God's kingdom. The image of divine judgment as a trampling of grapes goes back to Is. 63:1-6. It is as symbolic as the measurement of the flow of blood from the wine vat, and typical in its exaggeration, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses bridles (20).
1 Enoch 100 tells of warfare in the last days when fathers and sons fight one another and brothers fight brothers till the streams flow with their blood... and the horse shall walk up to the breast in the blood of sinners, and the chariot shall be submerged to its height'. The Jews similarly described the slaughter by the Romans in Hadrian's time: They murdered people [of Bether] continually, till a horse sank to its nostrils in blood. And the blood poured into the sea to an extent of four miles. If you think, however, that Bether lay near the sea, do you not know that it was forty miles away?' John's prophecy is a characteristic apocalyptic representation of the judgment at the parousia of Christ and is to be interpreted in the light of the nature of apocalypse.
Followers of the Lamb
14:1. "And I looked, and behold" indicates another vision (Ezek 10:1; 44:4; Dan 10:5). Mount Zion was the Temple Mount (sometimes loosely encompassing all Jerusalem), thus applied to the heavenly temple in the present (Rev 11:19) but pointing to the new Jerusalem of the future (21:2), a hope shared by nearly all ancient Jews, who longed for the restoration of their city and its sanctuary. Mount Zion thus figures prominently in apocalyptic expectations (it appears by that title in 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch). The name on their foreheads contrasts with Revelation 13:16 (cf. 3:12; 7:3; 22:4); on the identity of the 144,000, see comment on 7:4-8.
14:2. Ezekiel heard the sound of many waters in heaven (Ezek 1:24; 43:2; cf. Rev 1:15), and thunder was heard at Sinai (Ex 19:16; cf. Ezek 1:4, 13; Rev 4:5; 19:6). Ancient meteorology, as reflected in 1 Enoch, placed waters (for rain) and thunders in the heavens. Harps had been used by priests and Levites in the worship of the earthly temple; it was natural to expect them in heaven's temple (Rev 5:8; 15:2).
14:3. Only these people could offer the song because it involved only them (5:9-10); on secret revelations in the heavens, see comment on 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.
14:4. The Greek term translated "virgin" here is hardly ever applied to men in Greek literatureprobably partly because men in ancient Greek culture rarely werebut it means never having had sex with someone of the opposite gender, and hence includes not being married. In a literal sense, this virginity was practiced most often among a Jewish group known as the Essenes. But the image here may here allude symbolically to the purity of priests for the temple service (Lev 15:16-18) or, less likely, to the purity required by the rules of a spiritual holy war (Deut 23:9-11). "Following" the lamb is John's idiom for the role of sheep (Rev 7:17; cf. Jn 10:4). "First fruits" were the beginning of harvest, offered up to God; the term declares their holiness (Jer 2:3) and perhaps that others like them would come after them.
14:5. "No lie" includes theological lies, i.e., false doctrine (3:9; 1 Jn 2:22). Truthtelling was important in ancient ethics, although it could be suspended even in the Bible to save life (e.g., Ex 1:19-20; Jer 38:25-27).
Vindication of the Righteous
14:6-7. On "midheaven" see comment on 8:13. The angel's "good news" is the vindication of God's people by judgment on the wicked (14:7; cf. Nahum 1:15). Because the activity of angels in heaven often corresponds to what happens on earth, however (12:7), this picture may refer, as some commentators have suggested, to the final proclamation of the good news of the kingdom (including both salvation and vindication/ judgment) preceding the end (cf. Mt 24:14).
14:8. In a taunting mockery of a dirge, Isaiah 21:9 announces, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon" (cf. Jer 51:8), referring to the historical Babylon that would later drag Judah off into captivity. But Jewish writers of John's day saw commonalities among all the empires that subjugated Israel, generally believing that Rome was the final such power (cf. Dan 2:35, 44). "Babylon" and its synonym, "the Chaldeans," were used as ciphers for Rome in Jewish texts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, 4 Ezra and the rabbis (although the rabbis use "Edom" more frequently). The Old Testament normally reserved the symbolic use of "harlot" for the sins of God's people (with only two exceptions), but the allusion here is to Babylon in Jeremiah 51:7, who made all the nations drunk with its wine (i.e., Babylon was God's judgment on them).
14:9-10. In the Old Testament, God passed around a cup of intoxicating wrath to all the nations (cf. Ps 75:8; Is 51:17, 21-22; 63:6; Jer 25:15; 49:12; Ezek 23:31; Hab 2:16; Zech 12:2; also the Dead Sea Scrolls; for infidelity, cf. Num 5:24). Fire and brimstone were appropriate for a spiritual Sodom (Rev 11:8; Gen 19:24), although the image may be broader than that (e.g., Ezek 38:22). (This text does not imply that they cannot repent if they do so before death or the world's end- Rev 2:21; 11:10-13.) As often in apocalyptic literature, the wicked get to see what they missed (cf. also Ps 112:10); but Revelation omits a common apocalyptic feature, in which the righteous also get to see and gloat over the fate of the damned (e.g., 1 Enoch 108:14-15).
14:11. The eternal smoking of Edom (night and day; contrast 4:8; 12:10) is described in similar terms in Isaiah 34:10, but there the meaning is desolation, whereas here it is eternal burning and torment.
14:12. Many comfortable people today (influenced in part by historical misapplications of biblical ideals of mercy) dislike the idea of judgment. But salvation /deliverance in the Old Testament picture was not complete without vindicationremoving the shame of the oppressed by punishing their unrepentant oppressors. The martyrs are here assured that they will be vindicated to the utmost (cf. 13:10).
14:13. Jewish texts spoke longingly of the day when the sufferings of the righteous would end. Greco-Roman letters of consolation stressed either that the dead were happy or that they were at least not sad, but Judaism especially stressed the peace of the righteous dead. The writer of 1 Enoch noted that the wicked would have no rest (99:13-14; cf. Rev 14:11), but the righteous dead would have great rewards (1 Enoch 103:3), and the idea of rest for the righteous dead occurs throughout Jewish texts (Syriac Menander, Wisdom of Solomon). Jewish funerary inscriptions regularly mentioned peace for the dead; over half the Jewish epitaphs recovered in Rome included the words "in peace" (hence "rest in peace" is not only a modern concept). The image of reward for works is from the Old Testament and is common in Judaism and in the New Testament (see comment on Rev 22:12).
Reaping the Earth
14:14-16. Although the "one like a son of man" could refer to Jesus (1:13; Dan 7:13), it technically need only mean that this figure appeared human, in contrast to some of the other angelic figures in the book (Rev 4:7; Christ would not need to take orders- 14:15-16). The harvest is also an image of judgment against Babylon in the Old Testament (Jer 51:33); it is specifically appropriate for the final battle when blood would flow, as Joel 3:13 noted: "Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the wine press is full" (NASB).
14:17-19. Because crushed grapes could look like human blood (Gen 49:11), this image, playing on Joel 3:13 (cf. also Jer 25:30), was powerful for ancients, who were more familiar with viticulture than most modern peoples are (contrast Christ and his people as a vine in Jn 15:1). This harvest image is particularly from Isaiah 63:1-6: God goes on to tread the wine press of his fury and tramples the nations, splattering his garments with their lifeblood. For angels over various elements of nature (including fire), see comment on Revelation 7:1.
14:20. Ancient reports of urban battles sometimes refer to streets flowing with blood due to the massive slaughter that occurred in a short span of time. For example, exaggerating the massacre at Bethar, the rabbis declared that rivers of blood flowed from the city to the distant sea, rolling boulders from their place and submerging horses. Likewise, 1 Enoch reported God judging people by letting them slay one another till blood flowed in streams (100:1-2), so that horses walked up to their chests in it and chariots were submerged (100:3); cf. similarly other oracles of the end time (Sibylline Oracles, several times).
The literal number here, "1,600 stadia" (NIV), which is about two hundred miles (NASB, NRSV, TEV), is a square number (40 x 40), probably used roundly for a large quantity (although it may be of interest that some ancients estimated the length of Palestine to about sixteen hundred stadia). The wine of God's wrath (14:10, 19) turns out to be human blood here, which is drunk in 16:6; other texts also speak of being drunk with blood (e.g., Judith 6:4).
Revelation 14:1-20. THE LAMB SEEN ON ZION WITH THE 144,000. THEIR SONG. THE GOSPEL PROCLAIMED BEFORE THE END BY ONE ANGEL: THE FALL OF BABYLON, BY ANOTHER: THE DOOM OF THE BEAST WORSHIPPERS, BY A THIRD. THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE DEAD IN THE LORD. THE HARVEST. THE VINTAGE.
In contrast to the beast, false prophet, and apostate Church (Revelation 13:1-18) and introductory to the announcement of judgments about to descend on them and the world (Revelation 14:8-11, anticipatory of Revelation 18:2-6), stand here the redeemed, "the divine kernel of humanity, the positive fruits of the history of the world and the Church" [AUBERLEN]. The fourteenth through sixteenth chapters describe the preparations for the Messianic judgment. As the fourteenth chapter begins with the 144,000 of Israel (compare Revelation 7:4-8, no longer exposed to trial as then, but now triumphant), so the fifteenth chapter begins with those who have overcome from among the Gentiles (compare Revelation 15:1-5 with Revelation 7:9-17); the two classes of elect forming together the whole company of transfigured saints who shall reign with Christ.
1. a A, B, C, Coptic, and ORIGEN read, "the." Lamb . . . on . . . Sion having left His position "in the midst of the throne," and now taking His stand on Sion. his Father's name A, B, and C read, "His name and His Father's name." in Greek, "upon." God's and Christ's name here answers to the seal "upon their foreheads" in Revelation 7:3. As the 144,000 of Israel are "the first-fruits" (Revelation 14:4), so "the harvest" (Revelation 14:15) is the general assembly of Gentile saints to be translated by Christ as His first act in assuming His kingdom, prior to His judgment (Revelation 16:17-21, the last seven vials) on the Antichristian world, in executing which His saints shall share. As Noah and Lot were taken seasonably out of the judgment, but exposed to the trial to the last moment [DE BURGH], so those who shall reign with Christ shall first suffer with Him, being delivered out of the judgments, but not out of the trials. The Jews are meant by "the saints of the Most High": against them Antichrist makes war, changing their times and laws; for true Israelites cannot join in the idolatry of the beast, any more than true Christians. The common affliction will draw closely together, in opposing the beast's worship, the Old Testament and New Testament people of God. Thus the way is paved for Israel's conversion. This last utter scattering of the holy people's power leads them, under the Spirit, to seek Messiah, and to cry at His approach, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord."
2. from Greek, "out of." voice of many waters as is the voice of Himself, such also is the voice of His people. I heard the voice of harpers A, B, C, and ORIGEN read, "the voice which I heard (was) as of harpers."
3. sung Greek, "sing." as it were So A, C, and Vulgate read. It is "as it were" a new song; for it is, in truth, as old as God's eternal purpose. But B, Syriac, Coptic, ORIGEN, and ANDREAS omit these words. new song (Revelation 5:9, 10). The song is that of victory after conflict with the dragon, beast, and false prophet: never sung before, for such a conflict had never been fought before; therefore new: till now the kingdom of Christ on earth had been usurped; they sing the new song in anticipation of His blood-bought kingdom with His saints. four beasts rather, as Greek, "four living creatures." The harpers and singers evidently include the 144,000: so the parallel proves (Revelation 15:2, 3), where the same act is attributed to the general company of the saints, the harvest (Revelation 14:15) from all nations. Not as ALFORD, "the harpers and song are in heaven, but the 144,000 are on earth." redeemed literally, "purchased." Not even the angels can learn that song, for they know not experimentally what it is to have "come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14).
4. virgins spiritually (Matthew 25:1); in contrast to the apostate Church, Babylon (Revelation 14:8), spiritually "a harlot" (Revelation 17:1-5; Isaiah 1:21; contrast 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27). Their not being defiled with women means they were not led astray from Christian faithfulness by the tempters who jointly constitute the spiritual "harlot." follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth in glory, being especially near His person; the fitting reward of their following Him so fully on earth. redeemed "purchased." being the rather, "as a first-fruit." Not merely a "first-fruit" in the sense in which all believers are so, but Israel's 144,000 elect are the first-fruit, the Jewish and Gentile elect Church is the harvest; in a further sense, the whole of the transfigured and translated Church which reigns with Christ at His coming, is the first-fruit, and the consequent general ingathering of Israel and the nations, ending in the last judgment, is the full and final harvest.
5. guile So ANDREAS in one copy. But A, B, C, ORIGEN, and ANDREAS in other copies read, "falsehood." Compare with English Version reading Psalms 32:2; Isaiah 53:9; John 1:47. for So B, Syriac, Coptic, ORIGEN, and ANDREAS read. But A and C omit. without fault Greek, "blameless": in respect to the sincerity of their fidelity to Him. Not absolutely, and in themselves blameless; but regarded as such on the ground of His righteousness in whom alone they trusted, and whom they faithfully served by His Spirit in them. The allusion seems to be to Psalms 15:1, 2. Compare Revelation 14:1, "stood on Mount Sion." before the throne of God A, B, C, Syriac, Coptic, ORIGEN, and ANDREAS omit these words. The oldest Vulgate manuscript supports them.
6. Here begins the portion relating to the Gentile world, as the former portion related to Israel. Before the end the Gospel is to be preached for a WITNESS unto all nations: not that all nations shall be converted, but all nations shall have had the opportunity given them of deciding whether they will be for, or against, Christ. Those thus preached to are "they that dwell (so A, Coptic, and Syriac read. But B, C, ORIGEN, Vulgate, CYPRIAN, 312, read, SIT,' compare Matthew 4:16; Luke 1:79, having their settled home) on the earth," being of earth earthy: this last season of grace is given them, if yet they may repent, before "judgment" (Revelation 14:7) descends:if not, they will be left without excuse, as the world which resisted the preaching of Noah in the the hundred twenty years "while the long-suffering of God waited." "So also the prophets gave the people a last opportunity of repentance before the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem, and our Lord and His apostles before the Roman destruction of the holy city" [AUBERLEN]. The Greek for "unto" (epi, in A and C) means literally, "upon," or "over," or "in respect to" (Mark 9:12; Hebrews 7:13). So also "TO every nation" (Greek, "epi," in A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, ORIGEN, ANDREAS, CYPRIAN, and PRIMASIUS). This, perhaps, implies that the Gospel, though diffused over the globe, shall not come savingly unto any save the elect. The world is not to be evangelized till Christ shall come: meanwhile, God's purpose is "to take out of the Gentiles a people for His name," to be witnesses of the effectual working of His Spirit during the counter-working of "the mystery of iniquity." everlasting gospel the Gospel which announces the glad tidings of the everlasting kingdom of Christ, about to ensue immediately after the "judgment" on Antichrist, announced as imminent in Revelation 14:7. As the former angel "flying through the midst of heaven" (Revelation 8:13) announced "woe," so this angel "flying in the midst of heaven" announced joy. The three angels making this last proclamation of the Gospel, the fall of Babylon (Revelation 14:8), the harlot, and the judgment on the beast worshippers (Revelation 14:9-11), the voice from heaven respecting the blessed dead (Revelation 14:13), the vision of the Son of man on the cloud (Revelation 14:11), the harvest (Revelation 14:15), and the vintage (Revelation 14:18), form the compendious summary, amplified in detail in the rest of the book.
7. Fear God the forerunner to embracing the love of God manifested in the Gospel. Repentance accompanies faith. give glory to him and not to the beast (compare Revelation 13:4; Jeremiah 13:16). the hour of his judgment "The hour" implies the definite time. "Judgment," not the general judgment, but that upon Babylon, the beast, and his worshippers (Revelation 14:8-12). worship him that made heaven not Antichrist (compare Acts 14:15). sea . . . fountains distinguished also in Revelation 8:8, 10.
8. another So Vulgate. But A, B, Syriac, and ANDREAS add, "a second"; "another, a second angel." Babylon here first mentioned; identical with the harlot, the apostate Church; distinct from the beast, and judged separately. is fallen anticipation of Revelation 18:2. A, Vulgate, Syriac, and ANDREAS support the second "is fallen." But B, C, and Coptic omit it. that great city A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic omit "city." Then translate, "Babylon the great." The ulterior and exhaustive fulfilment of Isaiah 21:9. because So ANDREAS. But A, C, Vulgate, and Syriac read, "which." B and Coptic omit it. Even reading "which," we must understand it as giving the reason of her fall. all nations A, B and C read, "all the nations." the wine of the wrath of her fornication the wine of the wrath of God, the consequence of her fornication. As she made the nations drunk with the wine of her fornication, so she herself shall be made drunk with the wine of God's wrath.
9. A, B, C, and ANDREAS read, "another, a third angel." Compare with this verse Revelation 13:15, 16.
10. The same Greek, "he also," as the just and inevitable retribution. wine of . . . wrath of God (Psalms 75:8). without mixture whereas wine was so commonly mixed with water that to mix wine is used in Greek for to pour out wine; this wine of God's wrath is undiluted; there is no drop of water to cool its heat. Naught of grace or hope is blended with it. This terrible threat may well raise us above the fear of man's threats. This unmixed cup is already mingled and prepared for Satan and the beast's followers. indignation Greek, "orges," "abiding wrath," But the Greek for "wrath" above (Greek, "thumou ") is boiling indignation, from (Greek, "thuo ") a root meaning "to boil"; this is temporary ebullition of anger; that is lasting [AMMONIUS], and accompanied with a purpose of vengeance [ORIGEN on Psalm 2:5]. tormented . . . in the presence of . . . angels (Psalms 49:14; 58:10; 139:21; Isaiah 66:24). God's enemies are regarded by the saints as their enemies, and when the day of probation is past, their mind shall be so entirely one with God's, that they shall rejoice in witnessing visibly the judicial vindication of God's righteousness in sinners' punishment.
11. for ever and ever Greek, "unto ages of ages." no rest day nor night Contrast the very different sense in which the same is said of the four living creatures in heaven, "They rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy"; yet they do "rest" in another sense; they rest from sin and sorrow, weariness and weakness, trial and temptation (Revelation 14:13); the lost have no rest from sin and Satan, terror, torment, and remorse.
12. Here, etc. resumed from Revelation 13:10; see note on Revelation 13:10. In the fiery ordeal of persecution which awaits all who will not worship the beast, the faith and patience of the followers of God and Jesus shall be put to the test, and proved. patience Greek, "hupomene," "patient, persevering endurance." The second "here" is omitted in A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and PRIMASIUS. Translate, "Here is the endurance of the saints, who keep," etc. the faith of Jesus the faith which has Jesus for its object.
13. Encouragement to cheer those persecuted under the beast. Write to put it on record for ever. Blessed in resting from their toils, and, in the case of the saints just before alluded to as persecuted by the beast, in resting from persecutions. Their full blessedness is now "from henceforth," that is, FROM THIS TIME, when the judgment on the beast and the harvest gatherings of the elect are imminent. The time so earnestly longed for by former martyrs is now all but come; the full number of their fellow servants is on the verge of completion; they have no longer to "rest (the same Greek as here, anapausis ) yet for a little season," their eternal rest, or cessation from toils (2 Thessalonians 1:7; Greek, "anesis," relaxation after hardships. Hebrews 4:9, 10, sabbatism of rest; and Greek, "catapausis," akin to the Greek here) is close at hand now. They are blessed in being about to sit down to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9), and in having part in the first resurrection (Revelation 20:6), and in having right to the tree of life (Revelation 22:14). In Revelation 14:14-16 follows the explanation of why they are pronounced "blessed" now in particular, namely, the Son of man on the cloud is just coming to gather them in as the harvest ripe for garner. Yea, saith the Spirit The words of God the Father (the "voice from heaven") are echoed back and confirmed by the Spirit (speaking in the Word, Revelation 2:7; 22:17; and in the saints, 2 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Peter 4:14). All "God's promises in Christ are yea" (2 Corinthians 1:20). unto me omitted in A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic. that they may The Greek includes also the idea, They are blessed, in that they SHALL rest from their toils (so the Greek ). and So B and ANDREAS read. But A, C, Vulgate, and Syriac read "for." They rest from their toils because their time for toil is past; they enter on the blessed rest because of their faith evinced by their works which, therefore, "follow WITH (so the Greek ) them." Their works are specified because respect is had to the coming judgment, wherein every man shall be "judged according to his works." His works do not go before the believer, nor even go by his side, but follow him at the same time that they go with him as a proof that he is Christ's.
14. crown Greek, "stephanon," "garland" of victory; not His diadem as a king. The victory is described in detail, Revelation 19:11-21. one sat "one sitting," Greek, "cathemenon homoion," is the reading of A, B, C, Vulgate, and Coptic.
15. Thrust in Greek, "Send." The angel does not command the "Son of man" (Revelation 14:14), but is the mere messenger announcing to the Son the will of God the Father, in whose hands are kept the times and the seasons. thy sickle alluding to Mark 4:29, where also it is "sendeth the sickle." The Son sends His sickle-bearing angel to reap the righteous when fully ripe. harvest the harvest crop. By the harvest -reaping the elect righteous are gathered out; by the vintage the Antichristian offenders are removed out of the earth, the scene of Christ's coming kingdom. The Son of man Himself, with a golden crown, is introduced in the harvest -gathering of the elect, a mere angel in the vintage (Revelation 14:18-20). is ripe literally, "is dried." Ripe for glory.
16. thrust in Greek, "cast."
17. out of the temple . . . in heaven (Revelation 11:19).
18. from the altar upon which were offered the incense-accompanied prayers of all saints, which bring down in answer God's fiery judgment on the Church's foes, the fire being taken from the altar and cast upon the earth. fully ripe Greek, "come to their acme"; ripe for punishment.
19. "The vine" is what is the subject of judgment because its grapes are not what God looked for considering its careful culture, but "wild grapes" (Isaiah 5:1-30). The apostate world of Christendom, not the world of heathendom who have not heard of Christ, is the object of judgment. Compare the emblem, Revelation 19:15; Isaiah 63:2, 3; Joel 3:13.
20. without the city Jerusalem. The scene of the blood-shedding of Christ and His people shall be also the scene of God's vengeance on the Antichristian foe. Compare the "horsemen," Revelation 9:16, 17. blood answering to the red wine. The slaughter of the apostates is what is here spoken of, not their eternal punishment. even unto the horse bridles of the avenging "armies of heaven." by the space of a thousand . . . six hundred furlongs literally, "a thousand six hundred furlongs off" [W. KELLY]. Sixteen hundred is a square number; four by four by one hundred. The four quarters, north, south, east, and west, of the Holy Land, or else of the world (the completeness and universality of the world-wide destruction being hereby indicated). It does not exactly answer to the length of Palestine as given by JEROME, one hundred sixty Roman miles. BENGEL thinks the valley of Kedron, between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, is meant, the torrent in that valley being about to be discolored with blood to the extent of sixteen hundred furlongs. This view accords with Joel's prophecy that the valley of Jehoshaphat is to be the scene of the overthrow of the Antichristian foes.
Analysis of the Chapter
IN the previous chapters (12,13) there is a description of the woes and sorrows which, for a long period, would come upon the church, and which would threaten to destroy it. It was proper that this gloomy picture should be relieved, and accordingly this chapter, having much of the aspect of an episode, is thrown in to comfort the hearts of those who should see those troublous times. There were bright scenes beyond, and it was important to direct the eye to them, that the hearts of the sad might be consoled. This chapter, therefore, contains a succession of symbolical representations designed to show the ultimate result of all these things"to hold out the symbols of ultimate and certain victory."Prof. Stuart. Those symbols are the following:
(1.) The vision of the hundred and forty-four thousand on Mount Zion, as emblematic of the final triumph of the redeemed, Rev. 14:1-5. They have the Father's name in their foreheads, Rev. 14:1; they sing a song of victory, Rev. 14:2, 3; they are found without fault before God's representatives, in this respect, of all that will be saved, Rev. 14:4, 5.
(2.) The vision of the final triumph of the gospel, Rev. 14:6, 7. An angel is seen flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to all that dwell upon the earth, and announcing that the end is near: a representation designed to show that the gospel will be thus preached among all nations; and when that is done, the time will draw on when the affairs of the world will be wound up.
(3.) The fall of Babylon, the mighty Antichristian power, Rev. 14:8. An angel is seen going forth announcing the glad tidings that this mighty power is overthrown, and that, therefore, its oppressions are come to an end. This, to the church in trouble and persecution, is one of the most comforting of all the assurances that God makes in regard to the future.
(4.) The certain and final destruction of all the upholders of that Antichristian power, Rev. 14:9-12. Another angel is seen making proclamation that all the supporters and abettors of this formidable power would drink of the wine of the wrath of God; that they would be tormented with fire and brimstone; and that the smoke of their torment would ascend up for ever and ever.
(5.) The blessedness of all those who die in the Lord; who, amidst the persecutions and trials that were to come upon the church, would be found faithful unto death, Rev. 14:13. They would rest from their labours; the works of mercy which they had done on the earth would follow them to the future world, securing rich and eternal blessings there.
(6.) The final overthrow of all the enemies of the church, Rev. 14:14-20. This is the grand completion; to this all things are tending; this will be certainly accomplished in due time. This is represented under various emblems:
(a) The Son of man appears seated on a cloud, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickleemblem of gathering in the great harvest of the earth, and of his own glorious reign in heaven, Rev. 14:14.
(b) An angel is seen coming out of the temple, announcing that the time had come, and calling on the great Reaper to thrust in his sickle, for the harvest of the world was ripe, Rev. 14:15.
(c) He that has the sickle thrusts in his sickle to reap the great harvest, Rev. 14:16.
(d) Another angel is seen representing the final judgment of God on the wicked, Rev. 16:17-20. He also has a sharp sickle; he is commanded by an angel that has power over fire to thrust in his sickle into the earth; he goes forth and gathers the clusters of the vine of the earth, and casts them into the great wine-press of the wrath of God.
This whole chapter, therefore, is designed to relieve the gloom of the former representations. The action of the grand moving panorama is stayed that the mind may not be overwhelmed with gloomy thoughts, but that it may be cheered with the assurance of the final triumph of truth and righteousness. The chapter, viewed in this light, is introduced with great artistic skill, as well as great beauty of poetic illustration; and, in its place, it is adapted to set forth this great truth, that, to the righteous, and to the church at large, in the darkest times, and with the most threatening prospect of calamity and sorrow, there is the certainty of final victory, and that this should be allowed to cheer and sustain the soul.
1 And I looked. My attention was drawn to a new vision. The eye was turned away from the beast and his image to the heavenly worldthe Mount Zion above.
And, lo, a Lamb. See Note on Rev. 5:6.
Stood on the mount Sion. That is, in heaven. See Note on Heb. 12:22.
Zion, literally the southern hill in the city of Jerusalem, was a name also given to the whole city; and, as that was the seat of the Divine worship on earth, it became an emblem of heaventhe dwelling-place of God. The scene of the vision here is laid in heaven, for it is a vision of the ultimate triumph of the redeemed, designed to sustain the church in view of the trials that had already come upon it, and of those which were yet to come.
And with him an hundred forty and four thousand. These are evidently the same persons that were seen in the vision recorded in Rev. 7:3-8, and the representation is made for the same purposeto sustain the church in trial, with the certainty of its future glory. See Note on Rev. 7:4.
Having his Father's name written in their foreheads. Showing that they were his. See Notes on Rev. 7:3; Rev. 13:16.
In Rev. 7:3, it is merely said that they were "sealed in their foreheads" The passage here shows how they were sealed. They had the name of God so stamped or marked on their foreheads as to show that they belonged to him. Compare Note on Rev. 7:3, seq.
2. And I heard a voice from heaven. Showing that the scene is laid in heaven, but that John in the vision was on the earth.
As the voice of many waters. As the sound of the ocean, or of a mighty cataract. That is, it was so loud that it could be heard from heaven to earth. No comparison could express this more sublimely than to say that it was like the roar of the ocean.
As the voice of a great thunder. As the loud sound of thunder.
And I heard the voice of harpers. In heaven: the song of redemption accompanied with strains of sweet instrumental music. For a description of the harp. See Note on Isa. 5:12.
Harping with their harps. Playing on their harps. This image gives new beauty to the description. Though the sound was loud and swelling, so loud that it could be heard on the earth, yet it was not mere shouting, or merely a tumultuous cry. "It was like the sweetness of symphonious harps." The music of heaven, though elevated and joyous, is sweet and harmonious; and perhaps one of the best representations of heaven on earth is the effect produced on the soul by strains of sweet and solemn music.
3. And they sung as it were a new song. See Note on Rev. 5:9.
It was proper to call this "new," because it was on a new occasion, or pertained to a new object. The song here was in celebration of the complete redemption of the church, and was the song to be sung in view of its final triumph over all its foes. Compare Notes on Rev. 7:9; Rev. 7:10.
Before the throne. The throne of God in heaven. See Note on Rev. 4:2.
And before the four beasts. See Note on Rev. 4:6-8.
And the elders. See Note on Rev. 4:4.
And no man could learn that song, etc. None could understand it but the redeemed. That is, none who had not been redeemed could enter fully into the feelings and sympathies of those who were. A great truth is taught here. To appreciate fully the songs of Zion; to understand the language of praise; to enter into the spirit of the truths which pertain to redemption; one must himself have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. He must have known what it is to be a sinner under the condemnation of a holy law; he must have known what it is to be in danger of eternal death; he must have experienced the joys of pardon, or he can never understand, in its true import, the language used by the redeemed. And this is only saying what we are familiar with in other things. He who is saved from peril; he who is rescued from long captivity; he who is pardoned at the foot of the scaffold; he who is recovered from dangerous illness; he who presses to his bosom a beloved child just rescued from a watery grave, will have an appreciation of the language of joy and triumph which he can never understand who has not been placed in such circumstances: but of all the joy ever experienced in the universe, so far as we can see, that must be the most sublime and transporting which will be experienced when the redeemed shall stand on Mount Zion above, and shall realize that they are saved.
4. These are they. In this verse, and in the following verse, the writer states the leading characteristics of those who are saved. The general idea is, that they are chaste; that they are the followers of the Lamb; that they are redeemed from among men; and that they are without guile.
Which were not defiled with women. Who were chaste. The word defiled here determines the meaning of the passage, as denoting that they were not guilty of illicit intercourse with women. It is unnecessary to show that this is a virtue everywhere required in the Bible, and everywhere stated as among the characteristics of the redeemed. On no point are there more frequent exhortations in the Scriptures than on this; on no point is there more solicitude manifested that the professed friends of the Saviour should be without blame. Compare Notes on Acts 15:20; Rom. 1:24-32; 1 Cor. 6:18; Heb. 13:4.
See also 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:13; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 4:3, This passage cannot be adduced in favour of celibacy, whether among the clergy or laity, or in favour of monastic principles in any form; for the thing that is specified is that they were not "defiled with women," and a lawful connexion of the sexes, such as marriage, is not defilement. See Note on Heb. 13:4.
The word here rendered defiledemolunqhsan, from molunwis a word that cannot be applied to the marriage relation. It means properly to soil, to stain, to defile. 1 Cor. 8:7: "Their conscience being weak, is defiled." Rev. 3:4: "Which have not defiled their garments." The word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament, except in the passage before us, and it will be seen at once that it cannot be applied to that which is lawful and proper, and consequently that it cannot be construed as an expression against marriage and in favour of celibacy. It is a word that is properly expressive of illicit intercourseof impurity and unchastity of lifeand the statement is, that they who are saved are not impure and unchaste.
For they are virgins. parqenoi. This is the masculine form, but this form is found in the later Greek and in the Christian fathers. See Suidas and Suicer, Thes. The meaning of the word, when found in the feminine form, is well understood. It denotes a virgin, a maiden, and thence it is used to denote that which is chaste and pure: virgin modesty; virgin gold; virgin soil; virgin blush; virgin shame. The word in the masculine form must have a similar meaning as applied to men, and may denote
(a) those who are unmarried;
(b) those who are chaste and pure in general. The word is applied by Suidas to Abel and Melchizedek. "The sense," says De Wette, in loc., "cannot be that all these 144,000 had lived an unmarried life; for how could the apostle Peter, and others who were married, have been excluded? But the reference must be to those who held themselves from all impurityunkeuschheit und hurereiwhich, in the view of the apostles, was closely connected with idolatry." Compare Bleek, Beitr. i. 185. Prof. Stuart supposes that the main reference here is to those who had kept themselves from idolatry, and who were thus pure. It seems to me, however, that the most obvious meaning is the correct one, that it refers to the redeemed as chaste, and thus brings into view one of the prominent things in which Christians are distinguished from the devotees of nearly every other form of religion, and, indeed, exclusively from the world at large. This passage, also, cannot be adduced in favour of the monastic system, because
(a) whatever may be said anywhere of the purity of virgins, there is no such commendation of it as to imply that the married life is impure;
(b) it cannot be supposed that God meant in any way to reflect on the married life as in itself impure or dishonourable;
(c) the language does not demand such an interpretation; and
(d) the facts in regard to the monastic life have shown that it has had very little pretensions to a claim of virgin purity.
These are they which follow the Lamb. This is another characteristic of those who are redeemedthat they are followers of the Lamb of God. That is, they are his disciples; they imitate his example; they obey his instructions; they yield to his laws; they receive him as their counsellor and their guide. See Notes on John 10:3, John 3:27.
Whithersoever he goeth. As sheep follow the shepherd. Compare Psa. 23:1-2. It is one characteristic of true Christians that they follow the Saviour wherever he leads them. Be it into trouble, into danger, into difficult duty; be it in Christian or heathen lands; be it in pleasant paths, or in roads rough and difficult, they commit themselves wholly to his guidance, and submit themselves wholly to his will.
These were redeemed from among men. This is another characteristic of those who are seen on Mount Zion. They are there because they are redeemed, and they have the character of the redeemed. They are not there in virtue of rank or blood, (John 1:13;) not on the ground of their own works, (Tit. 3:5;) but because they are redeemed unto God by the blood of his Son. See Notes on Rev. 5:9; Rev. 5:10.
None will be there of whom it cannot be said that they are "redeemed;" none will be absent who have been truly redeemed from sin.
Being the first-fruits unto God. On the meaning of the word first-fruits, See Note on 1 Cor. 15:20.
The meaning here would seem to be, that the hundred and forty-four thousand were not to be regarded as the whole of the number that was saved, but that they were representatives of the redeemed. They had the same characteristics which all the redeemed must have; they were a pledge that all the redeemed would be there. Prof. Stuart supposes that the sense is, that they were, as it were, "an offering peculiarly acceptable to God." The former explanation, however, meets all the circumstances of the case, and is more in accordance with the usual meaning of the word.
And to the Lamb. They stood there as redeemed by him, thus honouring him as their Redeemer, and showing forth his glory.
5. And in their mouth was found no guile. No deceit, fraud, hypocrisy. They were sincerely and truly what they professed to bethe children of God. This is the last characteristic which is given of them as redeemed, and it is not necessary to say that this is always represented as one of the characteristics of the true children of God. See Note on John 1:47.
For they are without fault before the throne of God. The word here rendered without faultamwmoimeans, properly, spotless, without blemish, 1 Pet. 1:19. See Note on Col. 1:22.
This cannot be construed as meaning that they were by nature pure and holy, but only that they were pure as they stood before the throne of God in heaven"having washed their robes, and made them pure in the blood of the Lamb." See Note on Rev. 7:14.
It will be certainly true that all who stand there will be, in fact, pure, for nothing impure or unholy shall enter there, Rev. 21:27.
The design of this portion of the chapter was evidently to comfort those to whom the book, was addressed, and, in the same way, to comfort all the children of God in times of persecution and trial. Those living in the time of John were suffering persecution, and, in the previous chapters, he had described more fearful trials yet to come on the church. In these trials, therefore, present and prospective, there was a propriety in fixing the thoughts on the final triumph of the redeemedthat glorious state in heaven where all persecution shall cease, and where all the ransomed of the Lord shall stand before his throne. What could be better fitted than this view to sustain the souls of the persecuted and the sorrowful? And how often since in the history of the churchin the dark times of religious declension and of persecutionhas there been occasion to seek consolation in this bright view of heaven! How often in the life of each believer, when sorrows come upon him like a flood, and earthly consolation is gone, is there occasion to look to that blessed world where all the redeemed shall stand before God; where all tears shall be wiped away from every face; and where there shall be the assurance that the last pang has been endured, and that the soul is to be happy for ever!
6. And I saw another angel. This must, of course, mean a different one from some one mentioned before; but no such angel is referred to in the previous chapters, unless we go back to Rev. 12:7. It is not necessary, however, to suppose that John refers to a particular angel immediately preceding this. In the course of these visions he had seen many angels; and now, accustomed to these visions, he says that he saw "another" one employed in a remarkable embassy, whose message was fitted to cheer the hearts of the desponding, and to support the souls of the persecuted and the sadfor his appearing was the pledge that the gospel would be ultimately preached to all that dwell upon the earth. The design of this vision is, therefore, substantially the same as the formerto cheer the heart, and to sustain the courage and the faith of the church, in the persecutions and trials which were yet to come, by the assurance that the gospel would be ultimately triumphant.
Fly in the midst of heaven. In the air; so as to appear to be moving along the face of the sky. The scene cannot be in heaven, as the gospel is not to be preached there; but the word must denote heaven as it appears to usthe sky. Prof. Stuart renders it correctly, "mid-air." He is represented as flying, to denote the rapidity with which the gospel would spread through the world in that future period referred to. Compare Note on Isa. 6:2.
Having the everlasting gospel. The gospel is here called everlasting or eternal,
(a) because its great truths have always existed, or it is conformed to eternal truth;
(b) because it will for ever remain unchangednot being liable to fluctuation like the opinions held by men;
(c) because its effects will be everlastingin the redemption of the soul and the joys of heaven. In all the glorious eternity before the redeemed, they will be but developing the effects of that gospel on their own hearts, and enjoying the results of it in the presence of God.
To preach unto them that dwell on the earth. To all menas is immediately specified. Compare Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15.
And to every nation, and kindred, etc. To all classes and conditions of men; to all men, without any distinction or exception. See Note on Rev. 7:9.
The truth here taught is, that the gospel is to be preached to all men as on an equality, without any reference to their rank, their character, or their complexion; and it is implied also, that at the time referred to this will be done. When that time will be the writer does not intimate farther than that it would be after the beast and his adherents had attempted to stay its progress; and for the fulfilment of this, therefore, we are to look to a period subsequent to the rise and fall of that great Antichristian power symbolized by the beast and his image. This is in entire accordance with the prediction in Daniel. See Note on Dan. 7:19, seq.
7. Saying with a loud voice. As if all the nations were summoned to hear.
Fear God. That is, reverence, honour, obey God. Render homage not to the beast, to his image, or to any idol, but to the only true God. This is the substance of the gospelits end and designto turn men from all forms of idol worship and superstition, to the worship of the only true God.
And give glory to him. To give glory to him is to acknowledge him as the only true God; to set up his pure worship in the heart; and to praise him as the great Ruler of heaven and earth.
For the hour of his judgment is come. His judgment on the beast and on those who worship him. The imagery here is substantially the same as in Dan. 7:9-10, 14, 26-27, and there can be no doubt that there is reference to the same subject. See Note on Dan. 7:9, seq. The main idea is, that when God shall be about to cause his gospel to spread through the world, there will be, as it were, a solemn judgment on that Antichristian power which had so long resisted his truth and persecuted his saints, and that on the fall of that power his own kingdom will be set up on the earth; that is, in the language of Daniel, "the kingdom, and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High."
And worship him that made heaven, and earth, etc. The true God, the Creator of all things. As already remarked, this is the ultimate design of the gospel, and, when this is accomplished, the great end for which it was revealed will be reached.
The design of this portion of the chapter, (Rev. 14:6-7,) also, was to comfort those to whom the book was addressed, and in the same way to comfort the church in all the persecution and opposition Which the truth would encounter. The ground of consolation then was, that a time was predicted when the "everlasting gospel" would be made to fly speedily through the earth, and when it would be announced that a final judgment had come upon the Antichristian power which had prevented its being before diffused over the face of the world. The same ground of encouragement and consolation exists now, and the more so as we see the day approaching; and in all times of despondency we should allow our hearts to be cheered as we see that great Antichristian power waning, and as we see evidence that the way is thus preparing for the rapid and universal diffusion of the pure gospel of Christ.
8. And there followed another angel. That is, in the vision. It is not necessary to suppose that this would, in the fulfilment, succeed the other in time. The chapter is made up of a number of representations, all designed to illustrate the same general thing, and to produce the same general effect on the mindthat the gospel would be finally triumphant, and that, therefore, the hearts of the troubled and the afflicted should be comforted. The representation in this verse, bearing on this point, is, that Babylon, the great enemy, would fall to rise no more.
Babylon. This is the first time that the word Babylon occurs in this book, though it is repeatedly mentioned afterwards, Rev. 16:19; 17:5; 18:2, 10, 21.
In reference to the literal Babylon, the word is used, in the New Testament, in, Matt. 1:11-13; Acts 7:43; 1 Pet. 5:13.
Babylon was a well-known city on the Euphrates, and was, in the days of its pride and glory, the head of the heathen world. In reference to the meaning of the word in this place, it may be remarked.
(1) that the general characteristics of Babylon were, that it was proud, haughty, insolent, oppressive. It was chiefly known and remembered by the Hebrew people as a power that had invaded the Holy Land; that had reduced its capital and temple to ruins; that had destroyed the independence of their country, subjecting it to the condition of a province, and that had carried away the inhabitants into a long and painful captivity. It became, therefore, the emblem of all that was haughty and oppressive, and especially of all that persecuted the church of God.
(2.) The word must be used here to denote some power that resembled the ancient and literal Babylon in these characteristics. The literal Babylon was no more; but the name might be properly used to denote a similar power. We are to seek, therefore, in the application of this, for some power that had the same general characteristics which the literal Babylon had.
(3.) In inquiring, then, what is referred to here by the word Babylon, we may remark
(a) that it could not be the literal Babylon on the Euphrates, for the whole representation here is of something future, and the literal Babylon had long since disappeared, never, according to the prophecies, to be rebuilt. See Note on Isa. 13:20, seq.
(b) All the circumstances require us to understand this of Romeat some period of its history: for Rome, like Babylon, was the seat of empire, and the head of the heathen world; Rome was characterized by many of the same attributes as Babylon, being arrogant, proud, oppressive; Rome, like Babylon, was distinguished for its conquests, and for the fact that it made all other nations subject to its control; Rome had been, like Babylon, a desolating power, having destroyed the capital of the Holy Land, and burnt its beautiful temple, and reduced the country to a province. Rome, like Babylon of old, was the most formidable power with which the church had to contend. Yet
(c) it is not, I suppose, Rome considered as Pagan that is here meant; but Rome considered as the prolongation of the ancient power in the Papal form. Alike in this book and in Daniel, Rome, Pagan and Papal, is regarded as one power, standing in direct opposition to the gospel of Christ; resisting its progress in the world; and preventing its final prevalence. See Notes on Daniel 7. When that falls, the last enemy of the church will be destroyed, and the final triumph of the true religion will be speedy and complete. See Dan. 7:26-27.
(d) So it was understood among the early Christians. Mr. Gibbon, speaking of the expectations of the early Christians about the end of the world, and the glory of the literal reign of the Messiah, says, "While the happiness and glory of a temporal reign were promised to the disciples of Christ, the most dreadful calamities were denounced against an unbelieving world. The edification of the New Jerusalem was to advance by equal steps with the destruction of the mystic Babylon; and as long as the emperors who reigned before Constantine persisted in the profession of idolatry, the epithet of Babylon was applied to the city and to the empire of Rome," i. p. 263.
Is fallen. That is, an event appeared in vision, as if a mighty city fell to rise no more.
Is fallen. This is repeated to give emphasis to the declaration, and to express the joyousness of that event.
That great city. Babylon in its glory was the largest city of the world; Rome, in its turn, also became the largest; and the expression used here denotes that the power here referred to would be properly represented by cities of their magnitude.
Because she made all nation, drink of the wine. This language is probably taken from Jer. 51:7: "Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunk of the wine, therefore the nations are mad." Babylon here, in accordance with the usual custom of the sacred writers when speaking of cities, (See Note on Isa. 1:8) is represented as a female-here a female of abandoned character, holding in her hand a cup of wine to attract her lovers; that is, she allures and intoxicates them. This a beautiful image to denote the influence of a great and corrupt city, and especially a city corrupt in its religion, and devoted to idolatry and superstitionand may well be applied either to Babylon or Rome, literal or mystical.
Of the wrath. There seems an incongruity in the use of this word here, and Prof. Stuart proposes to render it "the inflammatory wine of her fornication;" that is, inebriating wine; wine that excited the passions and that led to uncleanness. He supposes that the word here usedqumoßmeans heat, inflammation, corresponding to the Hebrew, ?. There are no instances, however, in the New Testament, in which the word is used in this sense. The common and proper meaning is mind, soul; then mind agitated with passion, or under the influence of desirea violent commotion of mind, as wrath, anger, indignation.Rob. Lex. The ground of the representation here seems to be, that Jehovah is often described as giving to the nations in his wrath an intoxicating cup, so that they should reel and stagger to their destruction. Compare Jer. 25:15; 51:7. The meaning here is, that the nations had drunk of that cup, which brought on the wrath of God on account of her "fornication." Babylon is represented as a harlot, with a cup of wine in her hand, and the effect of drinking that cup was to expose them to the wrath of God, hence called "the wine of the wrath of her fornication:" the alluring cup that was followed by wrath on account of her fornication.
Of her fornication. Due to her fornication. The word "fornication" here is used to denote spiritual uncleanness; that is, heathen and superstitious rites and observances. The term is often used in the Scriptures as applicable to idolatry and superstition. The general meaning here is, that RomePapal Romewould employ all forms of voluptuous allurements to bring the nations to the worship of the beast and his image, and that the "wrath" of God would be poured out on account of these abominations. The design of this verse, also, is to impart consolation by the assurance that this great enemythis mighty, formidable, persecuting powerwould be entirely overthrown. This is everywhere held up as the brightest hope of the church; for with this will fall its last great enemy, and the grand obstruction to the final triumph of the gospel on earth will be removed.
9. And the third angel followed them. This was a new vision designed to represent the removal of all the obstructions to the final prevalence of the gospel. We are not necessarily to suppose that this event would succeed those mentioned before, in the order of time, though this would be the natural construction. The design of this is to show that the worshippers of the beast and his image would be certainly and finally destroyed.
Saying with a loud voice. Making a loud proclamation. Rev. 14:7.
If any man worship the beast and his image. See Note on Rev. 13:4, seq. This declaration is universal, affirming of all who thus render idolatrous reverence to the power represented by the beast and his image, that they should drink of the wine of the wrath of God. The general meaning is, that they were guilty of idolatry of a gross form; and wherever this existed, they who were guilty of it would come under the denunciations in the Scriptures against idolaters. And why should not such denunciations fall on idolaters under the Papacy as well as on others? Is it not true that there is as real idolatry there as in the heathen world? Is not the idolatry as gross and debasing? Is it not attended with as real corruption in the heart and the life? Is it not encompassed with as many things to inflame the passions, corrupt the morals, and alienate the soul from God? And is it not all the worse for being a perversion of Christianity, and practised under the forms of the religion of the Saviour? On what principle should idolatry be denounced and condemned anywhere, if it is not in Papal Rome? Compare Note on 2 Thess. 2:4.
And receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand. See Note on Rev. 13:16.
The word "receive" here implies that there was, on their part, some degree of voluntariness: it was not a mark impressed by force, but a mark received. This is true in respect to all idolatry; and this lays the ground for condemnation. Whatever art is used to induce men to worship the beast and his image, it is still true that the worshippers are voluntary, and that, being voluntary, it is right that they should be treated as such. It is on this ground only that any idolaters, or any sinners of any kind, can be, in the proper sense of that term, punished.
10. The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God. See Note on Rev. 14:8.
The "wine of the wrath of God" is the cup in the hand of the Lord, which when drunk makes them reel and fall. The image would seem to have been taken from the act of holding out a cup of poison to a condemned man that he might drink and die. See the sentiment here expressed illustrated in See Note on Isa. 51:17.
Which is poured out without mixture. Without being diluted with water; that is, in its full strength. In other words, there would be no mitigation of the punishment.
Into the cup of his indignation. The cup held in his hand and given them to drink. This is expressive of his indignation, as it causes them to reel and fall. The sentiment here is substantially the same, though in another form, as that which is expressed in 2 Thess. 2:12. See Note on 2 Thess. 2:12.
And he shall be tormented. Shall be punished in a manner that would be well represented by being burned with fire and brimstone. On the meaning of this word, See Notes on Rev. 9:5, Rev. 11:10.
Compare also Rev. 18:7, 10, 15; 20:10; Matt. 8:29
Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28. The word commonly denotes severe torture.
With fire and brimstone. As if with burning sulphur. See Note on Luke 17:28, seq. Compare Psa. 11:6 Job 18:15; Isa. 30:33; Ezek. 38:22. The imagery is taken from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Gen. 19:24. The common representation of the punishment of the wicked is, that it will be in the manner here represented, Matt. 5:22; 13:42; 18:9; 25:41; Mark 9:44-48; 2 Pet. 3:7; Jude 1:7
Rev. 20:14. Compare Notes on Matt. 5:22; Mark 9:44.
In the presence of the holy angels. This may mean either
(a) that the angels will be present at their condemnation, (Matt. 25:31,) or
(b) that the punishment will be actually witnessed by the angelsas it is most probable it will be. Compare Isa. 66:24; Luke 16:23-26.
And in the presence of the Lamb. The Lamb of Godthe final Judge. This also may mean either that the condemnation will occur in his presence, or that the punishment will be under his eye. Both of these things will be true in regard to him; and it will be no small aggravation of the punishment of the wicked that it will occur in the very presence of their slighted and rejected Saviour.
11. And the smoke of their torment. The smoke proceeding from their place of torment. This language is probably derived from the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Gen. 19:28: "And he [Abraham] looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace." The destruction of these cities is regarded as an emblem of the destruction of the wicked, and the smoke that ascended from them as a representation of that which ascends from the place where the wicked suffer for ever. See Note on Jude 1:7.
Ascendeth up. Continually rises from that world of woe.
For ever and ever. See Note on Jude 1:7.
This does not indeed affirm that their individual sufferings would be eternalsince it is only a declaration that "the smoke of their torment ascends;" but it is such language as would be used on the supposition that they would suffer for ever, and as can be explained only on that supposition. It implies that their torments continued, and were the cause of that ascending smoke; that is, that they were tormented while it ascended, and as this is declared to be "for ever and ever," it implies that the sufferings of the wicked will be eternal: and this is such language as would not and could not have been used in a revelation from God, unless the punishment of the wicked is eternal. Compare Note on Matt. 25:46.
And they have no rest day nor night. "Day and night" include all time; and hence the phrase is used to denote perpetuityalways. The meaning here is, that they never have any restany interval of pain. This is stated as a circumstance strongly expressive of the severity of their torment, Here, rest comes to the sufferer. The prisoner in his cell lies down on his bed, though hard, and sleeps; the over-worked slave has also intervals of sleep; the eyes of the mourner are locked in repose, and for moments, if not hours, he forgets his sorrows; no pain that we endure on earth can be so certain and prolonged that nature will not, sooner or later, find the luxury of sleep, or will find rest in the grave. But it will be one of the bitterest ingredients in the cup of woe, in the world of despair, that this luxury will be denied for ever, and that they who enter that gloomy prison sleep no more; never know the respite of a momentnever even lose the consciousness of their heavy doom. Oh, how different from the condition of sufferers here! And oh, how sad and strange that any of our race will persevere in sin, and go down to those unmitigated and unending sorrows!
Who worship the beast and his image. See Notes on Rev. 13:4, 15.
And whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. See Note on Rev. 13:17.
The meaning here is, that such worshippers will receive the punishment which other idolaters and sinners do. No exception will be made in favour of an idolater, though he worships idols under the forms of an abused Christianity; none will be made in favour of a sinner because he practised iniquity under the garb of religion.
12. Here is the patience of the saints. See Note on Rev. 13:10.
Here are they that keep the commandments of God. That is, in exercising such patience. Those who exercise that "patience" in these long-continued persecutions and trials, will show that they belong to those who keep the commandments of God, and are his true children. Or perhaps the meaning may be, "Here is a disclosure respecting the final destiny of these persecutors, which is adapted to comfort and sustain the saints in the trials which they will endure; an encouragement to constancy in obeying the commands of God, and in evincing the meek faith of the gospel."
And the faith of Jesus. To encourage persevering faith in the Saviour. In these times of trial it will be shown who are the friends of the Saviour; and in the prospect of the certain overthrow of all the enemies of God and his cause, there is a ground of encouragement for continued attachment to him.
The design of this portion of the chapter (Rev. 14:9-12) is to encourage Christians in their trials by the assurance that this formidable Antichristian power would be overthrown, and that all the enemies of God would receive their just doom in the world of despair. Fearful as that doctrine is, and terrible as is the idea of the everlasting suffering of any of the creatures of God, yet the final overthrow of the wicked is necessary to the triumph of truth and holiness, and there is consolation in the belief that religion will ultimately triumph. The desire for its triumph necessarily supposes that the wicked will be overthrown and punished; and indeed it is the aim of all governments, and of all administrations of law, that the wicked shall be overthrown, and that truth and justice shall prevail. What would be more consolatory in a human government than the idea that all the wicked would be arrested and punished as they deserve? For what else is government instituted? For what else do magistrates and police-officers discharge the functions of their office?
13. And I heard a voice from heaven. A voice that seemed to speak from heaven.
Saying unto me, Write. Make a record of this truth. We may suppose that John was engaged in making a record of what he saw in vision; he was now instructed to make a record of what he heard. This passage may be referred to as a proof that he wrote this book while in Patmos, or as the heavenly disclosures were made to him, and not afterwards from memory.
Blessed are the dead. That is, the condition of those who die in the manner which is immediately specified is to be regarded as a blessed or happy one. It is much to be able to say of the dead that they are "blessed." There is much in death that is sad; we so much dread it by nature; it cut us off from so much that is dear to us; it blasts so many hopes; and the grave is so cold and cheerless a resting-place, that we owe much to a system of religion which will enable us to say and to feel that it is a blessed thing to die. Assuredly we should be grateful for any system of religion which will enable us thus to speak of those who are dead; which will enable us, with corresponding feeling, to look forward to our own departure from this world.
Which die in the Lord. Not all the dead; for God never pronounces the condition of the wicked who die, blessed or happy. Religion guards this point, and confines the declaration to those who furnish evidence that they are prepared for heaven. The phrase "to die in the Lord" implies the following things:
(1.) That they who thus die are the friends of the Lord Jesus. The language "to be in the Lord" is often used to denote true attachment to him, or close union with him. Compare John 15:4-7; Rom. 16:13, 22; 1 Cor. 4:17; 7:39; Phil. 1:14; Col. 4:7.
The assurance, then, is limited to those who are sincere Christians; for this the language properly implies, and we are authorized to apply it only as there is evidence of true religion.
(2.) To "die in the Lord" would seem also to imply that there should be, at the time, the evidence of his favour and friendship. This would apply
(a) to those who die as martyrs, giving their lives as a testimony to the truth of religion, and as an evidence of their love for it; and
(b) to those who have the comforting evidence of his presence and favour on the bed of death.
From henceforth. aparti. This word has given no little perplexity to expositors, and it has been variously rendered. Some have connected it with the word blessed"blessed henceforth are the dead who die in the Lord;" that is, they will be ever-onward blessed: some with the word die, referring to the time when the apostle was writing"blessed are they who after this time die in the Lord;" designing to comfort those who were exposed to death, and who would die as martyrs: some as referring to the times contemplated in these visions"blessed will they be who shall die in those future times." Witsius understands this as meaning that from the time of their death they would be blessed, as if it had been said, immediately after their dissolution they would be blessed. Doddridge renders it, "henceforth blessed are the dead." The language is evidently not to be construed as implying that they who had died in the faith before were not happy, but that in the times of trial and persecution that were to come, they were to be regarded as peculiarly blessed who should escape from these sorrows by a Christian death. Scenes of woe were indeed to occur, in which many believers would die. But their condition was not to be regarded as one of misfortune, but of blessedness and joy, for
(a) they would die in an honourable cause;
(b) they would emerge from a world of sorrow; and
(c) they would rise to eternal life and peace. The design, therefore, of the verse is to impart consolation and support to those who would be exposed to a martyr's death, and to those who, in times of persecution, would see their friends exposed to such a death. It may be added that the declaration here made is true still, and ever will be. It is a blessed thing to die in the Lord.
Yea, saith the Spirit. The Holy Spirit; "the Spirit by whose inspiration and command I record this."Doddridge.
That they may rest from their labours. The word here rendered labourkopoßmeans properly wailing, grief, from koptw, to beat, and hence a beating of the breast as in grief. Then the word denotes toil, labour, effort, John 4:38; 1 Cor. 3:8; 15:58
2 Cor. 6:5; 10:15; 2 Cor. 11:23, 27.
It is here used in the sense of wearisome toil in doing good, in promoting religion, in saving souls, in defending the truth. From such toils the redeemed in heaven will be released; for although there will be employment there, it will be without the sense of fatigue or weariness. And in view of such eternal rest from toil, we may well endure the labours and toils incident to the short period of the present life, for, however arduous or difficult, it will soon be ended.
And their works do follow them. That is, the rewards or the consequences of their works will follow them to the eternal world, the word works here being used for the rewards or results of their works. In regard to this, considered as an encouragement to labour, and as a support in the trials of life, it may be remarked,
(a) that all that the righteous do and suffer here will be appropriately recompensed there.
(b) This is all that can follow a man to eternity. He can take with him none of his gold, his lands, his raiment; none of the honours of this life; none of the means of sensual gratification. All that will go with him will be his character, and the results of his conduct here, and, in this respect, eternity will be but a prolongation of the present life.
(c) It is one of the highest honours of our nature that we can make the present affect the future for good; that by our conduct on the earth we can lay the foundation for happiness millions of ages hence. In no other respect does man appear so dignified as in this; nowhere do we so clearly see the grandeur of the soul as in the fact that what we do today may determine our happiness in that future period, when all the affairs of this world shall have been wound up, and when ages which cannot now be numbered shall have rolled by. It is then a glorious thing to live, and will be a glorious thing to die. Compare Note on 1 Cor. 15:58.
14. And I looked. See Note on Rev. 14:1.
His attention is arrested by a new vision. The Son of man himself comes forth to close the scene, and to wind up the affairs of the world. This, too, is of the nature of an episode, and the design is the same as the previous visionsto support the mind in the prospect of the trials that the church was to experience, by the assurance that it would be finally triumphant, and that every enemy would be destroyed.
And behold a white cloud. Bright, splendid, dazzlingappropriate to be the seat of the Son of God. Compare Notes on Matt. 17:5; Rev. 1:7.
See also Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Luke 20:27; Acts 1:9
1 Thess. 4:17; Rev. 10:1.
And upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man. Compare Notes on Rev. 1:13; Dan. 7:13.
It is probable that there is here a designed reference to the passage in Daniel (Dan. 7:13). The meaning is, that one appeared on the cloud in a human form, whom John at once recognised as he to whom the appellation of "the Son of man" peculiarly belongedthe Lord Jesus. The meaning of that term had not been fixed in the time of Daniel, (Dan. 7:13;) subsequently it was appropriated by the Saviour, and was the favourite term by which he chose to speak of himself, Matt. 8:20; 9:6; 10:23; 11:19; 12:8, 32, 40, et al.
Having on his head a golden crown. Appropriate to him as king. It was mainly in virtue of his kingly power and office that the work was to be done which John is now about to describe.
And in his hand a sharp sickle. The word sickle heredrepanonmeans a crooked knife or scythe for gathering the harvest, or vintage, by cutting off the clusters of grapes. See Rev. 14:17. The image of a harvest is often employed in the New Testament to describe moral subjects, Matt. 9:37-38; 13:30, 39; Mark 4:29
Luke 10:2; John 4:35. Here the reference is to the consummation of all things, when the great harvest of the world will be reaped, and when all the enemies of the church will be cut offfor that is the grand idea which is kept before the mind in this chapter. In various forms, and by various images, that idea had already been presented to the mind, but here it is introduced in a grand closing image, as if the grain of the harvest-field were gathered inillustrating the reception of the righteous into the kingdomand the fruit of the vineyard were thrown into the wine-press, representing the manner in which the wicked would be crushed, Rev. 14:19-20.
15. And another angel. The fourth in order, Rev. 14:6, 8-9.
Came out of the temple. See Note on Rev. 11:19.
Came, as it were, from the immediate presence of God; for the temple was regarded as his peculiar dwelling-place.
Crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud. To the Messiah, Rev. 14:14. That is, the command was borne directly from God by the angel to the Messiah, to go forth and reap the great harvest of the world. It is not a command of the angel, but a command from God the Father to the Son. This is in accordance with all the representations in the New Testament, that the Son as Messiah or Redeemer is subordinate to the Father, and performs the work which has been given him to do. See John 3:16-17; 5:19; 10:18; John 12:49; 14:31.
Compare Note on Rev. 1:1.
Thrust in thy sickle, and reap. Into the great harvest of the world.
For the time is come for thee to reap. That is, "the harvest which thou art to reap is ripe; the seed which thou hast sown has grown up; the earth which thou hast cultivated has produced this golden grain, and it is fit that thou shouldst now gather it in." This language is appropriately addressed to the Son of God, for all the fruits of righteousness on the earth may be regarded as the result of his culture.
For the harvest of the earth is ripe. The "harvest" in reference to the righteousthe fruit of the good seed sown by the Saviour and his apostles and ministers. The time alluded to here is the end of the world, when the affairs of earth shall be about to be wound up. The design is to state that the Redeemer will then gather in a great and glorious harvest, and by this assurance to sustain the hearts of his people in times of trial and persecution.
16. And he that sat on the cloud. The Saviour, Rev. 14:14.
Thrust in his sickle on the earth. To cut down the harvest; that is, to gather his people to himself.
And the earth was reaped. So far as the righteous were concerned. The end had come; the church was redeemed; the work contemplated was accomplished; and the results of the work of the Saviour were like a glorious harvest.
17. And another angel. The fifth in order. This angel came for a different purposewith reference to the cutting off of the enemies of God, represented by the gathering of a vintage. Compare Matt. 13:41; 24:31.
Came out of the temple which is in heaven. Sent or commissioned by God. See Note on Rev. 14:15.
He also having a sharp sickle. On the word sickle, See Note on Rev. 14:14.
18. And another angel. The sixth in order. He came, like the angel in Rev. 14:15, with a command to him who had the sickle to go forth and execute his commission.
Came out from the altar. This stood in the front of the temple, (See Notes on Matt. 21:12; Matt. 5:23-24,) and was the place where burnt-sacrifices were made. As the work now to be done was a work of destruction, this was an appropriate place in the representation.
Which had power over fire. As if he kept the fire on the altar. Fire is the usual emblem of destruction; and as the work now to be done was such, it was proper to represent this angel as engaged in it.
And cried with a loud cry, etc. See Rev. 14:15. That is, he came forth as with a command from God, to call on him who was appointed to do the work of destruction, now to engage in performing it. The time had fully come.
Thrust in thy sharp sickle. Rev. 14:15.
And gather the clusters of the vine of the earth. That portion of the earth which might be represented by a vineyard in which the grapes were to be gathered and crushed. The image here employed occurs elsewhere to denote the destruction of the wicked. See the very beautiful description in Isa. 63:1-6, respecting the destruction of Edom and See Note on Isa. 63:1-6.
For her grapes are fully ripe. That is, the time has come for the ingathering; or, to apply the image, for the winding up of human affairs by the destruction of the wicked. The time here, as in the previous representation, is the end of the world; and the design is to comfort the church in its trials and persecutions, by the assurance that all its enemies will be cut off.
19. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth. That is, into that part of the earth which might be represented by a vineyard; or the earth considered as having been the abode of wicked men.
And cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God. See Isa. 63:1-6. That is, the wine-press where the grapes are crushed, and where the juice, resembling blood, flows out, may be used as a symbol to denote the destruction of the wicked in the last day; and as the numbers will be immensely great, it is called the "great wine-press of Divine wrath." The symbol appears to be used here alike with reference to the colour of the wine resembling blood, and the pressure necessary to force it out; and thus employed it is one of the most striking emblems conceivable to denote the final destruction of the wicked.
20. And the wine-press was trodden without the city. The representation was made as if it were outside of the city; that is, the city of Jerusalem, for that is represented as the abode of the holy. The word trodden refers to the manner in which wine was usually prepared, by being trodden by the feet of men. See Note on Isa. 63:2.
The wine-press was usually in the vineyardnot in a cityand this is the representation here. As appearing to the eye of John, it was not within the walls of any city, but standing without. And blood came out of the wine-press. The representation is, that there would be a great destruction which would be well represented by the juice flowing from a wine-press.
Even unto the horse-bridles. Deepas blood would be in a field of slaughter where it would come up to the very bridles of the horses. The idea is, that there would be a great slaughter.
By the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. That is, two hundred miles; covering a space of two hundred miles squarea lake of blood. This is designed to represent a great slaughter; but why the space here employed to describe it was chosen is unknown. Some have supposed it was in allusion to the length of Palestine. Prof. Stuart supposes that it refers to the breadth of Italy, and that the allusion is to the attack made on the city of the beast. But it is impossible to determine why this space was chosen, and it is unnecessary. The idea is, that there would be a slaughter so great, as it were, as to produce a lake or sea of blood; that the enemies of the church would be completely and finally overthrown, and that the church, therefore, delivered from all its enemies, would be triumphant.
The design of this, as of the previous representations in this chapter, is to show that all the enemies of God will be destroyed, and that, therefore, the hearts of the friends of religion should be cheered and consoled in the trials and persecutions which were to come upon it. What could be better fitted to sustain the church in the time of trial, than the assurance that every foe will be ultimately cut off? What is better fitted to sustain the heart of the individual believer than the assurance that all his foes will be quelled, and that he will be ere long safe in heaven?
Jewish New Testament Commentary
In this chapter God is shown working behind the scenes of history, preparing rewards for his people and punishments for those who disobey him. Believers are warned against falling away and encouraged to remain faithful.
The slain Lamb (5:6 &N) is seen on Mount Tziyon (Mount Zion), the highest point in Jerusalem. In 4 Ezra the seer is told that he
"whom the Most High is keeping many ages and through whom he will deliver his creation [i.e., the Messiah] will stand on the summit of Mount Zion. Yes, Zion shall come and be seen by everyone, prepared and built, just as you saw the mountain cut out without hands. But he, my Son, will reprove the nations who have come for their ungodliness." (4 (Ezra 13:26, 36-37).
Here "Zion" refers to the heavenly Jerusalem; see MJ 12:22&N.
The 144,000 are the Messianic Jews of 7:4&N. Their foreheads are "sealed" (7:2-3 &N, 9:4) with both the Lamb's name and his Father's name (contrast 13:16-17). One of the two t'fillin is worn on the forehead and contains the Father's name, YHVH (see 13:16-17aN); it symbolizes complete devotion and open profession. These 144,000 will be equally open and devoted about proclaiming the name of the Lamb, Yeshua.
The ones who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. These are not male celibates, despite the explicit mention of women. Rather, they are people of both sexes who are faithful to God and his Son, as the rest of vv. 4-5 makes clear. Fornication is a common biblical metaphor for idolatry for several examples from the Tanakh see Ezekiel 16, 23 and Hosea 1-5. Here in the book of Revelation, misdirected worship is explicitly called whoring at v. 8 below, as well as at 17:2, 4; 18:3, 9; 19:2.
On celibacy itself, R. H. Charles writes, "The superiority of the celibate life, though un-Jewish and un-Christian, was early adopted from the Gnostics and other Christian heretics," such as Marcion, the religions of Isis and Mithra and the Vestal Virgins in Rome (Revelation, Volume 2, p. 9). For more concerning this subject see 1C 7:1-9&NN.
On their lips no lie was found. This is prophesied of Yeshua at Isaiah 53:9 and of Israel's remnant at Zephaniah 3:13.
The three angels exhort God's people to remain faithful (vv. 6-7, 12; compare 13:9b, 10b), so as to avoid the judgment against Babylon the Great (vv. 8-11, v. 8N). They must persevere, observe God's mitzvot and exercise Yeshua's faithfulness (v.12), the same faithfulness Yeshua had (see Ro 3:22&N, Ga 2:16c&N). Note that works and faith go hand in hand (Ro 3:27-28&N, Ep 2:8-10&N, Ya 2:14-26&NN), and that the works of the righteous go with them for reward (v. 13; compare Ro 2:6-16, 1C 3:8-15). Verse 13 is a reassurance when any believer dies.
The Good News of v. 6 is what the angel says in v. 7. It is not the whole of the Gospel but the aspect relevant here.
She has fallen! She has fallen! Babylon the Great! This cry, combining Isaiah 21:9 with Daniel 4:21, is repeated at 18:2, when the destruction of Babylon is being detailed (Chapters 17-18). In the Tanakh Babylon epitomizes evil. Already in Genesis 11 it is the site of the Tower of Babel. In Isaiah 14 the king of Babylon is a thinly veiled stand-in for Satan (especially Isaiah 14:12-16). Following are discussions of four possible meanings for "Babylon" here and at 16:19; 17:5; 18:2, 10, 21.
(1) Literal Babylon. Babylon was located on the Euphrates River (16:12) and was crisscrossed by canals ("sitting on many waters," 17:1, alluding to Jeremiah 51:13, "O you who dwell on many waters, abundant in treasures, your end has come, and the measure of your greed."). But against a literal interpretation is 17:15, which interprets the "waters" figuratively, and Jeremiah's prophecy that Babylon's "desolation" would be "everlasting" (Jeremiah 25:12; also Isaiah 13:19-22 and most extensively Jeremiah 50:1-51:64), along with the fact that Babylon in the first century C.E. was hardly worthy of the attention Yochanan gives it, since it was neither a center of Gospel activity (see 1 Ke 5:13&N) nor the major world power center it had once been.
(2) Rome. The arguments in favor of Babylon as a codeword for Rome are weighty. Rome was widely known as the city set on seven hills (17:9). Caution militated against portraying the evils of Rome's oppressive rule too directly. "Babylon" was a common euphemism for "Rome" in the Pseudepigrapha (2 Baruch 11:1, 67:7; Sibylline Oracles 5:143, 159) and in rabbinic writings. Midrash Rabbah on Song of Songs 1:6.4 states directly, "One calls Rome Babylon.'"Yechiel Lichtenstein on 1 Ke 5:13 remarks that "Rome is called Babylon' since it is always described as the worst kingdom." Because Rome's political power has declined since the book of Revelation was written, making the literal understanding of Rome less relevant, there are Protestants who equate Babylon with Rome and Rome with Roman Catholicism, turning the passage into an anti-Catholic polemic.
(3) The wicked world-system, ruled in the spiritual realm by Satan and ultimately in the physical world by the anti-Messiah. Viewing Babylon allegorically as the evil world-system accords with the extensive description of the rule of the anti-Messiah in Chapters 12-13 and the return of this imagery in the immediate context (vv. 9-11).
(4) The ungodly in general. This less specific understanding of Babylon the Great as the ungodly in general as over against the godly would derive from a hermeneutic that interprets the whole book along such figurative lines (see 1:1N).
The wine of God's fury, here and at v. 10: see vv. 14-20N below.
Fire and sulfur, which KJV renders "fire and brimstone." Because this expression is used to describe Christian preachers who vividly portray the tortures of hell, it is sometimes thought foreign to Judaism. Actually the destiny of evildoers is described in this way throughout the Tanakh. Four examples: Genesis 19:24 (God's destruction of Sodom), Isaiah 34:8-10 (the coming "day of vengeance" against Edom), Ezekiel 38:22 (prophecy against Gog) and Psalm 11:6 (the fate of the wicked). The phrase is found in Revelation also at 9:17-18, 19:20, 20:10, 21:8. See 19:20N.
Before the holy angels... forever. The idea that the judgment of the wicked is eternally on display before the righteous is found in a Pseudipegraphic Jewish work:
"This cursed valley [Gey-Hinnom (Gehenna, hell; see Mt 5:22N)] is for those who are cursed forever.... Here they will be gathered together and here will be their place of judgment. In the last days there will be upon them the spectacle of righteous judgment in the presence of the righteous forever." (1 Enoch 27:1-3)
What they have accomplished follows along with them. The Mishna puts it this way:
"In the hour of a person's departure, neither silver nor gold nor precious stones nor pearls accompany him, only Torah and good works." (Avot 6:9)
As a whole, the passage echoes Joel 4:9-13(3:9-13), in which grape harvesting and wine pressing are used as a metaphor for judgment in the context of the eschatological war, and Isaiah 63:1-6, in which God treads the winevat in his fury, pressing out the lifeblood of the peoples. The same metaphor is found at Jeremiah 25:15, 28-31.
Judgment is also symbolized by the harvest at Jeremiah 61:33 and Hosea 6:11. Also see Yeshua's own parable of the wheat and the weeds, especially Mk 4:29 and Mt 13:39-42; both there and here the Messiah is the reaper at the final judgment, using angels as his instruments. Moreover, here it is the Messiah who treads the winepress (see below, 19:15).
On the cloud was someone like a Son of Man. The prophecy of Daniel 7:13 is made to refer to Yeshua; compare Mt 24:30-31&NN, Mk 14:61-62&N.
Outside the city of Jerusalem, in the valley of Y'hoshafat (the name means "God judges"), mentioned in Joel 4:2, 12 3:2, 12). Jewish authorities understand this as Kidron Valley (Yn 18:1) or the Hinnom Valley (see 10b-11N, Mt 5:22N).
Blood flowed... as high as the horses' bridles for two hundred miles. Compare the Midrash Rabbah:
"They [the Romans under Hadrian] slew the inhabitants [of Betar, after Bar- Kosiba, its defender, had been killed] until the horses waded in blood up to the nostrils, and the blood rolled along stones of the size of forty se'ah and flowed into the sea a distance of four miles." Lamentations Rabbah 2:4.
Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament
1. A lamb. Read "the lamb." See ch. 5:6.
Stood (esthko\ß). The participle, standing, as Rev.
His Father's name. Add aujtouv kai« to\ o¡noma His and the name, and render as Rev., His name and the name of His Father.
The Adoration of the Lamb is the subject of the great altar piece in the church of St. Bavon at Ghent, by John and Hubert Van Eyck. The scene is laid in a landscape. The background is formed by a Flemish city, probably intended to represent Jerusalem, and by churches and monasteries in the early Netherland style. The middle ground is occupied by trees, meadows, and green slopes. In the very center of the picture a square altar is hung With red damask and covered with a white cloth. Here stands a lamb, from whose breast a stream of blood issues into a crystal glass. Angels kneel round the altar with parti-colored wings and variegated dresses, many of them praying with joined hands, others holding aloft the emblems of the passion, two in front waving censers. From the right, behind the altar, issues a numerous band of female saints, all in rich and varied costumes, fair hair floating over their shoulders, and palms in their hands. Foremost may be noticed Sta. Barbara and Sta. Agnes. From the left advance popes, cardinals, bishops, monks, and minor clergy, with crosiers, crosses, and palms. In the center, near the base, a. small octagonal fountain of stone projects a stream into a clear rill. Two groups are in adoration on each side of the fountain, on the right, the twelve apostles kneeling barefoot, and an array of popes, cardinals, and bishops, with a miscellaneous crowd of church-people; on the left, kings and princes in various costumes. They are surrounded by a wilderness of flowering shrubs, lilies, and other plants. on the wings of the picture numerous worshippers move toward the place of worship, crusaders, knights, kings, and princes, including the figures of the two artists on horseback. "Here, approaching from all sides, are seen that great multitude of all nations and hundreds and people and tongues' the holy warriors and the holy pilgrims, coming in solemn processions from afar with other throngs already arrived in the celestial plain, clothed in white robes, and holding palms in their hands. Their forms are like unto ours; the landscape around them is a mere transcript of the sweet face of our outer nature; the graceful wrought-iron fountain in the midst is such an one as still sends forth its streams in an ancient Flemish city; yet we feel these creatures to be beings from whose eyes God has wiped away all tears who will hunger and thirst no more; our imagination invests these flowery meads with the peace and radiance of celestial precincts, while the streams of the fountain are converted into living waters, to which the Lamb Himself will lead His redeemed. Here, in short, where all is human and natural in form, the spiritual depths of our nature are stirred" (Mrs. Jameson, "History of Our Lord," ii., 339).
2. And I heard the voice of harpers (kai« fwnh\n h¡kousa kiqarwdw×n). The correct reading is, kai« hj fwnh\ h§n h¡kousa wÓß kiqarwdw×n and the voice which I heard (was) as (the voice) of harpers. Kiqarwdo/ß is from kiqa¿ra a harp (see on ch. 5:8) and wÓdo/ß a singer. Properly, one who sings, accompanying himself on the harp.
3. Beasts (zw¿wn). Rev., living creatures. See on ch. 4:6.
Redeemed (hjgorasme÷noi). Rev., correctly, purchased.
4. Were not defiled (oujk emolu/nqhsan). The verb means properly to besmear or besmirch, and is never used in a good sense, as miai÷nein (John 18:28; Jude 8), which in classical Greek is sometimes applied to staining with color. See on 1 Peter 1:4.
Virgins (parqe÷noi). Either celibate or living in chastity whether in married or single life. See 1 Corinthians 7:17, 29; 2 Corinthians 11:2.
First-fruits (aÓparch\). See on James 1:18.
5. Guile (do/loß). Read yeuvdoß lie.
Without fault (aýmwmoi). Rev., blemish. See on 1 Peter 1:19.
Before the throne of God. Omit.
6. In the midst of heaven (en mesouranh/mati). Rev., in mid-heaven. See on ch. 8:13.
The everlasting Gospel (eujagge÷lion aiw¿nion). No article. Hence Rev., an eternal Gospel. Milligan thinks this is to be understood in the same sense as prophesying (ch. 10:11). Aiw¿nion includes more than mere duration in time. It is applied to that of which time is not a measure. As applied to the Gospel it marks its likeness to Him whose being is not bounded by time.
To preach unto (eujaggeli÷sai epi«). Rev., proclaim, which is better, because more general and wider in meaning. Epi÷ which is omitted from the Rec. Tex. is over, throughout the extent of. Compare Matthew 24:14.
That dwell (katoikouvntaß). Read kaqhme÷nouß that sit. So Rev., in margin. Compare Matthew 4:16; Luke 1:79.
8. Another. Add deu/teroß a second.
Is fallen (e¶pesen). Lit., fell. The prophetic aorist expressing the certainty of the fall. Compare Isaiah 21:9; Jeremiah 51:7, 8.
9. The third angel (tri÷toß aýggeloß). Add aýlloß another. Rev., another angel, a third.
10. Poured out without mixture (kekerasme÷nou aÓkra¿tou). Lit., which is mingled unmixed. From the universal custom of mixing wine with water for drinking, the word mingle came to be used in the general sense of prepare by putting into the cup. Hence, to pour out.
Cup of His anger. Compare Psalm 75:8.
Brimstone (qei÷w). Commonly taken as the neuter of qeioß divine; that is, divine incense, since burning brimstone was regarded as having power to purify and to avert contagion. By others it is referred to qu/w to burn, and hence to sacrifice.
11. Torment (basanismouv). See on Matthew 4:23, 24; see vexed, 2 Peter 2:8.
Goeth up. See Isaiah 34:9, 10; Genesis 19:28.
Rest (aÓna¿pausin). See on give rest. Matthew 11:28, and resteth, 1 Peter 4:14.
12. Here are they. Omit here are, and read, are, Rev., the patience of the saints, they that keep.
The faith of Jesus. Which has Jesus for its object.
13. Blessed (maka¿rioi). See on Matthew 5:3.
From henceforth (aÓp aýrti). See on John 13:33. To be joined as in A.V. and Rev., with die in the preceding clause, and not with blessed, nor with the following clause. Not from henceforth saith the Spirit. The meaning is variously explained. Some, from the beginning of the Christian age and onward to the end; others, from the moment of death, connecting henceforth with blessed; others from the time when the harvest of the earth is about to be reaped. Sophocles says: "Show all religious reverence to the gods, for all other things Father Zeus counts secondary; for the reward of piety follows men in death. Whether they live or die it passeth not away" ("Philoctetes," 14411444).
That they may rest (iºna aÓnapau/swntai). See on Matthew 11:28. The iºna that gives the ground of the blessed.
Labors (ko/pwn). From ko/ptw to strike. Hence to beat the breast in grief. Ko/poß is, therefore, primarily, a smiting as a sign of sorrow, and then sorrow itself. As labor, it is labor which involves weariness and sorrow.
Follow them (aÓkolouqei met aujtw×n). Rather, accompany. Rev., follow with them. Compare Matthew 4:25; Mark 3:7, etc. See on John 1:43.
15. Thrust in (pe÷myon). Lit., send. Rev., send forth.
Harvest (qerismo\ß). See on Luke 10:2.
Is ripe (exhra¿nqh). Lit., was dried. Compare Mark 11:20; John 15:6. Rev., is over-ripe.
16. Thrust in (e¶balen). Lit., cast.
17. Temple (naouv). Properly, sanctuary. See on Matthew 4:5.
18. Altar (qusiasthri÷ou). See on Acts 17:23.
Which has power (e¶cwn exousi÷an). Lit., having power. Some texts add the article oj. So Rev., "he that hath power."
Fire. In the Greek with the article, the fire.
Cry (kraughvØ). See on Luke 1:42.
Thy sharp sickle. Lit., thy sickle, the sharp.
Gather (tru/ghson). From tru/gh dryness, included in the notion of ripeness, and hence the vintage, harvest. The verb means therefore to gather ripe fruit. It occurs only in this chapter and in Luke 6:44.
Grapes (stafulai«). The noun in the singular means also a bunch of grapes.
Are fully ripe (h¡kmasan). Only here in the New Testament. From aÓkmh/, transcribed in acme, the highest point. Hence the verb means to reach the height of growth, to be ripe.
19. The great wine-press (th\n lhno\n to\n me÷gan). The Greek student will note the masculine adjective with the feminine noun, possibly because the gender of the noun is doubtful. The Rev., in rendering more literally, is more forcible: the wine-press, the great wine-press. See on Matthew 21:33.
20. Furlong (stadi÷wn). The furlong or stadium was 606 3/4 English feet.
Word Biblical Commentary: Volume 52a: Revelation 1-5, Volume 52b: Revelation 6-16 & Volume 52c: Revelation 17-22, David E. Aune
Barnes' Notes on the New Testament: Revelation of St. John the Divine, Albert Barnes
An Introduction to the New Testament, D. A. Carson & Douglas J. Moo
Dr. Constable's Notes on Revelation, Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Dallas Theological Seminary (his class notes)
Revelation: Four Views. A Parallel Commentary, Steve Gregg
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, 1871 Edition, Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown
Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation, Dennis E. Johnson
Revelation Unveiled, Tim LaHaye
Macarthur New Testament Commentary Series: Revelation 1-11, Revelation 12-22, John MacArthur
The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Book of Revelation, Robert H. Mounce
The Preacher's Commentary: 1,2 & 3 John/Revelation, Earl F. Palmer
Exploring Revelation: Am Expository Commentary, John Phillips
The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation, Vern S. Poythress
"Behold, He Cometh": A Verse-by-Verse Commentary on the Book of Revelation, John R. Rice
Jewish New Testament Commentary, David H. Stern
Revelation 1-7: An Exegetical Commentary and Revelation 8-22: An Exegetical Commentary, Robert L. Thomas,
Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Marvin R. Vincent
The Bible Speaks Today: The Message of Revelation, Michael Wilcock
IVP Pocket Dictionaries:
Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms, Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzke and Cherith Fee
Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies, Arthur G. Patzia and Anthony J. Petrotta -
Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics and Philosophy of
Religion, Stephen Evans -
Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament
Greek, Matthew S. DeMoss Intervarsity Press' New Testament Commentary Intervarsity Press' New Bible Commentary Intervarsity Press' Hard Sayings of the Bible
IVP Pocket Dictionaries:
- Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms, Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzke and Cherith Fee Nordling
- Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies, Arthur G. Patzia and Anthony J. Petrotta
- Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics and Philosophy of Religion, Stephen Evans
- Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek, Matthew S. DeMoss
Intervarsity Press' New Testament Commentary
Intervarsity Press' New Bible Commentary
Intervarsity Press' Hard Sayings of the Bible
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