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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 14

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-19

Temple Section-The 144,000

18 All will be obliged to have one of three marks to indicate their worship of the wild beast: either its symbol, its name, or its number. The number, we are told, is the number of humanity. This has nothing to do with its name. The number seven, which is used throughout this scroll, is significant of sufficiency, completion. This is its meaning in Hebrew. The number six comes one short of this. It is significant of insufficiency. This entire era is marked by man's supreme attempt to attain perfection apart from God. All his achievements fall short of the divine standard. He accomplishes the federation of mankind-except a few Jews. He unites all the world under one religion-except a handful in Judea. He conquers all who oppose-except Christ. In everything humanity falls one step short of its goal. Hence its number is 666. This is the summit of all man's efforts.

1 This is the same company of 144,000 who are sealed in the Throne Section ( Rev_7:3-8 ). There they are slaves , here they are worshipers , standing on Mount Zion, where the temple is. The seal on their foreheads ( Rev_7:3 ), the names of the Father and the Lambkin, take the place of the name of the wild beast ( Rev_13:17 ), which the unfaithful receive. This is the time of the harvest and these are the first fruits ( Lev_23:10 ) before the full harvest, which is represented by the vast multitude ( Rev_7:9 ). They will be, literally, celibates, whose worship is in marked contrast to the sensuous ritual which will characterize the worship of the wild beast.

6 The eonian evangel Is not for this day. It is for the hours of judgment. In the midst of wrath He remembers mercy. But it does not call upon them to believe , as the gospel does today, for that is adapted to a time of undiluted grace ( Rom_4:16 ). It is not even repent , for that is the door into the kingdom before the hour of judgment has struck ( Act_2:38 ). It is fear- fear for God in His most elemental character as the Creator. It is a demand that no one be worshiped but the One Who created the universe. This is His answer to the demands of the false prophet that all worship the wild beast and the dragon ( cf . Act_17:24-31 ).

The Temple Section-The Emblem of the Wild Beast

8 This notation fixes the time of Babylon's overthrow, which is greatly expanded in the next division of this section, where God deals particularly with the apostates of the chosen nation. It falls just before the final judgments which usher in the priestly kingdom. This makes it clear that the Harvest and the Vintage follow Babylon's destruction and that, when we take up the next division of the Temple Section we must go back in time to a period prior to these announcements.

10 This so-called "cup of malediction" ( Psa_75:8 ; Psa_60:3 ; Isa_51:17-23 ), was wine fortified with myrrh, frankincense or some other bitter drug. In this case it is not tempered with water ( Rev_18:6 cf Mat_27:34 ; Mar_15:23 ).

11 The torment spoken of in this prophecy is of various lengths and limited to specific classes. All of mankind who have not the seal of God on their foreheads will be tormented five months by the locusts, under the fifth trumpet ( Rev_9:5 ). Satan and the wild beast and the false prophet will be tormented ( Rev_20:10 ). The fumes of the torment of those here spoken of last for the eons of the eons. These are the supreme sinners of mankind, hence shall be tormented until they die ( Rev_16:2 ; Rev_16:8-9 , Rev_18:8 ), some of them by the blade ( Rev_19:21 ).

13 "Happy are the dead who are dying in the Lord henceforth " can only be applied to this particular crisis. The reason is clear. No one, unless especially protected by God, can remain true to Him when they cannot buy or sell, or have any intercourse with their fellow men unless they have the emblem of the wild beast. It will mean certain death to accept the eonian evangel and worship the Creator.


14 The One like a son of mankind is, most probably, Christ Himself, hence the words "son of mankind" do not refer to Him directly but indirectly, for He is like him. The harvest is the result of the eonian evangel. The darnel has been gathered Into bundles; now the wheat is to be gathered into His barn ( Mat_13:30 ). This division of the Temple Section is based on the covenant with Israel, hence ends in the blessing of His people and the destruction of their enemies. These are accomplished in the Harvest and the Vintage.

Verse 20

Temple Section-Harvest-Vintage


20 A stadium was 600 Greek feet, 625 Roman feet, or 125 paces, or one-eighth of a Roman mile. This is about 606 3/4 English feet. The race course at Olympia was this length. From this standard length, it became the usual name for a race course ( 1Co_9:24 ). From Harmageddon down through the valley of Jehoshaphat ( Joe_3:1-2 ; Joe_3:9-16 ) to Bozrah ( Isa_34:6-8 ; Isa_63:1-6 ) is a line about this length. It is likened to an enormous trough for treading grapes such as was found in almost every vineyard in Palestine. The grapes were cast in and trodden with the feet, the juice running into the vat below. The Vintage is referred to again in the next division, when the Rider on the white horse treads the wine trough of the furious indignation of God the Almighty ( Rev_19:15 ). Joel seems to fill in many details of this scene ( Joe_3:9 ; Joe_3:16 ). After a proclamation inviting the nations to battle in the valley of Jehoshaphat, the account proceeds:

"Send forth the sickle, for the harvest is ripe :

Come, descend, for the wine trough Is full,

The vats run over.

For their evil is much.

Throngs, throngs In the vale of decision!

For the day of Jehovah Is near in the vale of decision !"

It is called The Vale of Decision for here the controversy between Jehovah and the nations is finally decided.

Compare also Zep_3:8 ; Isa_34:1 ; Isa_34:8 .


Before the seven bowls are poured out we are given a vision which is the counterpart of the souls under the altar ( Rev_6:9 ). They are bidden to rest until their number is completed. Here we have all those who suffer on account of their loyalty to God standing on a glassy sea. This is the laver. Only the altar and the laver stood in the temple court. Instead of cleansing, the glassy sea speaks of their permanent purity for resisting the worship of the wild beast and its image, and refusing to wear its emblem.

Temple Section-The Bowls

3 That these are saints out of Israel is evident, for they sing the song of Moses ( Deu_32:1-43 ), which rehearses God's dealings with Israel throughout their history, and forms the ground upon which the judgment of the bowls is based. The song testifies against them. It vindicates God in pouring out the judgments upon them. To this they add the song of the Lambkin, which anticipates the results of His just awards.

5 The temple of the tent of the testimony must be carefully distinguished from the temple of God with the covenant in view. The covenant calls upon God to fulfill His obligations, which He does in the judgments of the Harvest and the Vintage. These are directed against the confederation of the nations who oppose the worship of Jehovah and the priesthood of His people. In this section the testimony or law is in view. These judgments are specially directed against the apostates of the nation, especially the city of Babylon.

7 The bowls were shallow basins used in the service of the temple. Before they are poured out those who are faithful in Israel have been killed or are in refuge. While they follow the same general course as the trumpets, being poured out upon the land, the sea, the water and the sun, they differ from them in intensity and character, corresponding to the different objects to be attained. The trumpets are usually limited in their effects to a third; the bowls seem to have no such limitation. The trumpets are a political measure and close with the sovereignty of the earth in the hands of Christ. The bowls are distinctly religions . They are poured out on the worshipers of the wild beast and on those who shed the blood of the saints and His prophets . The seven messengers who trumpet "stand before God" ( Rev_8:2 ). Another messenger is at the altar ( Rev_8:3 ). The seven messengers who have the bowls come out of the temple . A voice out of the temple bids them perform their duty. No worship is possible while these judgments continue. There is no reason why these infliction’s should not be as literal as the plagues of Egypt, which they resemble ( Isa_11:16 ) .

2 Compare Exo_9:8-11 ; Job_2:7 ; Deu_28:27 .

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Revelation 14". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/revelation-14.html. 1968.
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