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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 14

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

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Verse 1

In chapter 7, we saw these sealed to be kept safe. Now, we see not one of them was lost, for they are with the Lamb on Mount Zion, which is the church, heaven's vestibule. ( Psa_125:1 ; Heb_12:22-24 ) There is a sense in which heaven is ours while we are still on earth. ( 1Jn_2:24-25 ) It is our possession in promise and can only be taken away if we are not faithful. The Father's name written in their foreheads must be the seal of chapter 7.

Verses 2-3

The speaker, or speakers, is not identified but the voice comes from heaven with an awesome sound like a large body of flowing waters and great thunder. It also had a sweet melody like harpers playing their harps. The word "they" here apparently refers to those who make up the voice in heaven. They are singing a new song which cannot be learned by men, save for the 144,000 redeemed. Perhaps the song is of redemption and its joys and benefits which could only be known by the redeemed.

Verses 4-5

These verses seem to describe in symbolic terms the spiritual purity of the men and women who make up the bride of Christ. ( 2Co_11:2 ; Jam_4:4 ) Their purity is in clear contrast to the spiritual fornication others had committed with Babylon the great city. (verse 8) They follow Christ wherever he goes. ( 1Pe_2:21 ; Mat_16:24 ) The firstfruits were consecrated to God in recognition of the fact that the whole harvest and all on earth was his. Christians are likewise consecrated to God in recognition of his ownership and power. Like their Lord, they would not tell an untruth, especially refusing to call Caesar, Lord. ( 1Pe_1:19 ; 1Pe_2:22 ; Isa_53:9 )

Verses 6-7

Hailey says the meaning of "in the midst of heaven" is the highest point the sun reaches. Thus we have an angel in a prominent place proclaiming the gospel in a loud voice to all people of the earth. This may be a symbolic way of portraying the preaching of the gospel to the whole world. The purpose of this gospel proclamation is to get men to reverence God and give him the glory he is due because he created all we know. A sense of urgency is added when one knows the time for God's judgment has come.

Verse 8

God is so sure of victory that he announces it before the battle has begun. Babylon the great city must be Rome and all her pagan vices. The rest of the world had joined her in idolatrous worship, especially of Caesar, and would come to realize the cup of their rebellion would also become the cup of God's wrath.

Verse 9

-11 Those who have worshiped idols will have to drink the cup of God's undiluted wrath. There will be no mercy for those who have spurned the blood of the Lamb and worshiped with Babylon. (Compare Heb_10:26-31 ) Fire and brimstone has been used both literally and figuratively in God's judgments upon wicked people. ( Gen_19:24 ; Isa_30:33 ; Isa_34:9-10 ; Eze_38:22 ) The righteous will worship day and night and the wicked will suffer forever.

Verse 12

The previous three verses have described the judgment of those who oppose the Lord. The patience of the faithful will be rewarded ultimately with victory.

Verse 13

The expressions "in him" and "in Christ" occur repeatedly in the New Testament and are associated with a number of blessings. One must be baptized to be in Christ. ( Gal_3:26-27 ; 1Co_12:13 ) Earlier, the assurance had been given that those already martyred were at rest and those coming out of the great tribulation were worshiping around the throne. ( Rev_6:9-11 ; Rev_7:9-17 ) Here, the promise is made to those from this point forward who die in faithful service. They will be given rest from their earthly works. However, the good effects of those works will continue to work on earth in the lives of those who knew them. This is the message of the Holy Spirit both here and in other passages. ( 1Th_4:13-18 ; 1Co_15:20-23 ; 1Co_15:58 )

Verse 14

John now sees Jesus seated on a white cloud with a golden victory crown upon his head. In his hand is a sickle, so we assume he is preparing for a great harvest.

Verse 15

-16 God dwells in his temple. This angel comes out from the temple shouting the command of the Father. Since he alone knows some seasons, particularly the time of the end, it is appropriate that he should direct Jesus when to begin the harvest. ( Act_1:7 ; Mat_24:36 ) The word "ripe" carries the idea of dried, as when the growing period is over, and ready for harvest. Jesus, of course, does as the Father directs.

Verses 17-18

This angel coming out from the altar with power over fire is likely the same as in Rev_8:3-5 . He, too, is to reap. The clusters are described as fully matured, thus ripe for judgment. It may be that this angel merely helps the Lord in harvesting the whole earth for judgment. However, in light of other descriptions of the order of resurrection, it seems likely Jesus harvested the righteous and this angel harvests the wicked.

Verses 19-20

Since those this angel harvests are cast into the winepress of God's wrath, we believe they are the wicked. The winepress is used as a symbol of judgment in other places. ( Joe_3:13 ; Isa_63:1-6 ) The city the winepress is located outside of may be the new Jerusalem. The wicked thus would be punished out of sight of heaven. Sixteen hundred furlongs, or 200 miles, could be arrived at by multiples of the earth number, four, and a complete number, ten, or it might be the square of 40 since Israel wandered in the wilderness 40 years for their sins and some offenses received 40 lashes. ( Num_24:23 ; Deu_25:3 ) Either way, we come up with a number standing for the complete judgment of the wicked, since it is their blood that flows.

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 14". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/revelation-14.html. 2014.
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