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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 14

Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New TestamentMeyer's Commentary

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Revelation 14:1 . ἑστὸς . So A, C, א , al., Erasm., 1, 3, 4, 5. Ald., al., Lach., Tisch. 1859 and IX. [W. and H.]. Elz.: ἑστηκός , emendation. The ἑστώς (B., Beng., Tisch. 1854) testifies in favor of the correct reading, since only the masc. form expresses the reference to Christ.

ὄνομα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ before ὄνομα τ . πατρ . is omitted in the Rec., in opposition to almost all the witnesses.

Revelation 14:3 . Before ᾠδὴν καιν ., A, C, Vulg., Lach. [W. and H.], have a ὡς , which is lacking in B, א , al., Verss., Elz., Tisch., and may have been carried over from Revelation 14:2 .

Revelation 14:5 . After the ἀμωμοι , the γάρ (B, א , Copt., Syr., Orig., Elz., Tisch.) is possibly to be deleted (A, C, 12, Vulg., Lach. [W. and H.]); cf. Revelation 14:4 : παρθ . γάρ εἰς . Incorrect is the addition at the close in the Rec., ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου τοῦ θεοῦ .

Revelation 14:6 . ἐπὶ τοὺς καθημἐνους . So Lach., Tisch. [W. and H.], because the ἐπὶ , which stands also directly before πᾶν ἕθνος , is supported by A, C, א , al. (it is lacking in B, Elz., Beng.), while the Rec. τ . κατοικοῦντας (A, Lach., small ed.) gives only the more usual expression (Revelation 13:8 ; Revelation 13:12 ; Revelation 13:14 ) against B, C, א , al.

Revelation 14:8 . Instead of ὃτι (Elz.), read ῆ with A, C, Lach., Tisch. Both are lacking in Beng.

Revelation 14:13 . ἀναπαήσονται . So A, C, א , Lach., Tisch. [W. and H.]. The form ἀναπαύσωνται (Elz., B: ἁναπαύσονται ) is a modification.

τὰ δὲ έργα . So Elz., Beng., Tisch., according to B, al., Andr., Areth. The well-attested reading τὰ γὰρ ἔργα (A, C, א , al., Vulg., Lach., Tisch. IX. [W. and H.]) is liable to suspicion as an attempt at interpretation.

Revelation 14:15 . The σοι after ἦλθεν (Elz.) is incorrect (A, B, C, א , Beng., Lach., Tisch. [W. and H.]).

Revelation 14:18 . ὁ ἔχων . So Lach., Tisch., according to A, C. The article causing a difficulty is omitted already in B, א (Elz., Beng., Griesb., Tisch. IX.) [bracketed in W. and H.].

The plural ἤκμασαν αἱ σταφυλαὶ (Elz., Lach., Tisch. IX. [W. and H.]), is of course, easier than the sing. (Tisch., according to B), but is defended as adequate by A, C, א , al.

A, C, א , advocate αὐτῆς (Elz., Lach., Tisch. IX. [W. and H.]), while B offers τῆς γῆς .

Revelation 14:19 . τὸν μἑγαν . So A, B, C, Tisch., Lach. [W. and H.]. The Rec., τὴν μεγάλην ( א ), is purely an emendation.

After the description of the secular power threatening believers (ch. 13, cf. also Revelation 12:12 ; Revelation 12:17 ) has shown how the proper originator of all the calamity, which has been prepared for believers, is no less than Satan himself, there now follows in consolatory contrast to that terrible picture an account which, with its two parts (Revelation 14:1-5 , Revelation 14:6-20 ), serves essentially to give emphatic force to the thoughts that obtruded themselves already in Revelation 13:9-10 , in the midst of the description of the antichristian enemies. This contrast between chs. 14 and 13 lies not only in the contents in itself, but is also expressly marked by the definite retrospective allusions to ch. 13 (cf. especially Revelation 14:8 sqq.).

In like manner, just as in ch. Revelation 7:9 sqq., an inspiriting prospect of the heavenly glory of believers abiding faithful in the great tribulation still impending, is afforded before this trouble itself is stated, so also in the first part of ch. 14 (Revelation 14:1-5 ), a scene, is represented which in a multitude of departed believers (Revelation 14:1 , one hundred and forty-four thousand, Revelation 14:4 , ἀπαρχή ), who appear with the Lamb on Mount Zion, and are described as such as have kept their earthly life free from all defilement of the world, manifests the glorious rewards of the victors. [3418]

In another way the second vision (Revelation 14:6 sqq.) brings the incentive to patience; [3419] viz., by the declaration of the Divine judgment infallibly pertaining to the antichristian secular power. The latter account is presented with such elegance that the outline of the entire Apoc., at least seemingly forgotten, is stated again more definitely. The nearer we come to the final catastrophe, the more clearly is the analogy in the appearance of the vision to be known, as the end is organically developed from the beginning: the seven vials of wrath (Revelation 15:1 sqq.) appear in the same relation to the trumpets (Revelation 8:2 to Revelation 11:19 ) as the latter do to the seven seals (Revelation 5:1 to Revelation 8:1 ), so that from the standpoint to which Revelation 14:6-20 already leads, and which is again expressly adopted in Revelation 15:1 , the apparent chasm between ch. 11 and ch. 12 completely vanishes.

[3418] Cf. Revelation 2:11 , Revelation 3:12 ; Revelation 3:21 .

[3419] Cf. Revelation 14:12 , where the admonition is expressly made prominent.

Verse 1

Revelation 14:1 . καὶ εἰδον , καὶ ἰδού . The formula [3420] marks the unexpected, forcible contrast to the preceding vision. [3421]

τὸ ἀρνίον . Since the Lamb appears as the leader of the glorified, [3422] not only does the contrast between Christ and Satan, with his dragon-form, stand forth in startling relief; but the form of the Lamb also reminds us that the Lord himself has by his sufferings and death attained the victory, [3423] therefore his people must follow him; and that the redemption of believers (Revelation 14:4 ), and their glorification, depend upon the blood of the Lamb. [3424]

ἑστός . With the abbreviated form of the part., [3425] cf. the inf. ἑστάναι , 1 Corinthians 10:12 . [3426]

ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος Σιών . The failure to acknowledge the proper significance of the entire vision is connected no less with the arbitrary presumption that Mount Zion is to be regarded in heaven, [3427] than with the allegorizing interpretation, according to which Mount Zion is regarded as the Christian Church. [3428] Vitringa unites the reference of the whole to the true Church, [3429] with the correct acknowledgment [3430] that the locality represented in the vision is meant properly. Cf. similar local designations within the vision, which are to be understood with absolute literalness, Revelation 14:6 ; Revelation 14:14 ; Revelation 13:1 ; Revelation 13:11 ; Revelation 12:1 ; Revelation 7:1 . The holy place named, the home of the O. T. and, therefore, also of the N. T. [3431]

Church, is adapted like no other place for that which is displayed to the gazing John. With the Lamb there appear one hundred and forty-four thousand who have the name of the Lamb, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads. These one hundred and forty-four thousand are, according to the usual conception, [3432] identical with those mentioned in ch. Revelation 7:4 . The number is the same; the seal there mentioned on the foreheads may be combined with the names of God which the followers of the Lamb have written on their foreheads; also the place, Mount Zion, appears to apply especially to glorified believers from Israel. But there are weighty reasons for the distinction of the one hundred and forty-four thousand in our text from those named in Revelation 7:4 . [3433] [See, for the contrary, Note LIII., p 256, on ch. Revelation 7:4 .] 1. If John had wished here to designate those already mentioned in Revelation 7:4 , he would have expressed this definitely by the article. Cf. similar retrospective allusions in Revelation 14:1 ( τὸ ἀρν .), Revelation 14:3 ( ἐν τοῦ θρ ., τῶν τεσσ . ζ ., τῶν πρεσβ .). This was the more necessary, because here a particular description of the one hundred and forty-four χιλιάδες follows ( ε ͂ χουσαι , κ . τ . λ .), which could lead to an identity with the sealed only in case it be conceived that the seal had as an inscription the twofold names here designated; a conception which in itself has no difficulty, but is remote therefrom, because the sign of the seal has a designation and significance different from this sign of the name: there the fidelity, not to be affected by the impending trouble, is sealed, while here the name of God expresses the eternal and blessed belonging of believers to their heavenly Lord, [3434] in contrast with those who have made themselves bondsmen of the beast. (Revelation 14:9 ; Revelation 14:11 ; Revelation 13:16 sq.) 2. To this must be added the fact, which may be decisive, that the one hundred and forty-four thousand in our passage, which, according to Revelation 14:3 sqq., do not appear at all as from Israel, can be identified with those mentioned in Revelation 7:4 , only in case one of the two false conceptions, with respect to ch. 7, [3435] be sanctioned; viz., either that the one hundred and forty-four thousand (Revelation 7:4 ) be regarded identical with the innumerable multitude (Revelation 7:9 sqq.), or this multitude be regarded as a part of the one hundred and forty-four thousand. But it is rather to be said that in this passage only the schematic number , which as a designation of a mass suits mainly believers out of Israel (cf. Revelation 7:4-8 ), is transferred to such as have completed their course, and designates not only the definite description, Revelation 14:3 sqq., but especially also the antithesis lying in the entire context to the heathen worshippers of the beast, as those springing from the heathen . [3436] This select band (cf. Revelation 14:4 ) appears as such in the holy numerical sign of believers out of Israel; it is contained in the innumerable company, viz., as an ἀπαρχή .

[3420] Cf. Revelation 14:14 ; Revelation 6:2 ; Revelation 6:5 ; Revelation 6:8 .

[3421] Hengstenb.

[3422] Cf. Revelation 7:17 .

[3423] Cf. Revelation 5:5 sqq., Revelation 3:21 .

[3424] Cf. Revelation 5:9 , Revelation 7:14 , Revelation 12:11 .

[3425] Matthew 24:15 .

[3426] Winer, p. 75.

[3427] Grot., Eichh., Stern., Züll., Ew., Hengstenb., Ebrard, etc. Especially does Züllig explain: “The highest mountain-like vault of the firmament, which corresponded to Mount Zion, inasmuch as, according to the Israelitic idea, it lay directly beneath the same.”

[3428] Beda, C. a Lap., Calov., etc.

[3429] In Revelation 14:1-5 it is stated: “That in a false, there is a true Church” (cf. Laun.).

[3430] De Wette.

[3431] Cf. Revelation 12:1 ; Revelation 12:17 .

[3432] Grot., Vitr., Beng., Eichh., Heinr., Ew., Züll., De Wette, Rinck, Hengstenb., Ebrard, Gebhardt, Hilgenf., Kliefoth.

[3433] Areth., Laun., C. a Lap., Marck., Bleek, Beitr ., p. 184 sqq.; Neander, History of the Planting and Training , 3d ed., II., p. 543; Volkm. Vitr., already, is vacillating: “The same, or at least those of the same kind.”

[3434] Cf. Revelation 3:12 .

[3435] See on that verse.

[3436] It is worthy of note, how decidedly this passage contradicts also the pretended anti-Pauline Jewish Christianity of the author of the Apocalypse.

Verses 2-3

Revelation 14:2-3 . ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ . Cf. Revelation 10:4 ; Revelation 10:8 . Many of the expositors who have transferred Mount Zion, Revelation 14:1 , to heaven, have [3437] ascribed the voice from heaven to the one hundred and forty-four thousand themselves. Ew. ii., as in Revelation 12:10 sqq., Revelation 19:1 sqq., understands the voices as those of the martyrs, Revelation 7:9 sqq.

ὡς φων . ὑδύτων πολλ . Cf. Revelation 1:15 .

ὡς φων . βροντῆς μεγ . Cf. Revelation 6:1 . The strength of the heavenly voice does not prevent its sounding at the same time charmingly, like the melody of players on the harp: ὡς κιθαρῳδῶν , κ . τ . λ . [3438] The ἐν , which designates the instrument, is here still easier than in Revelation 6:8 .

ᾠδὴν καινήν . Cf. Revelation 5:9 . The conception καινἡν has nothing to do with the ἀπαρχή , [3439] Revelation 14:4 ; for the one hundred and forty-four thousand do not sing this song. In this passage, also, the relation of the καινήν , as to how this song is to be called because of its contents, is to be understood from the connection. The general reference to the work of redemption is not sufficient; [3440] but the subject has reference to that which is displayed to the gazing prophet, through the vision presented to him, and therefore to the faithfulness of God and the Lamb, whereby believers, upon the ground of the redemption accomplished by Christ, are preserved amid all the enticements or persecutions, on the part of the antichristian secular power, and brought to victory and eternal glory. [3441]

ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου , κ . τ . λ . There the song, according to its most inner relation, belongs, because it describes the blessed goal of God’s ways, whose attainment was of itself pledged by the significant glory of the heavenly scene, ch. 4, upon which the entire arrangement of God’s ways rests.

καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο μαθεῖν τ . ᾀδ ., κ . τ . λ . The one hundred and forty-four thousand, however, could learn this new song, i.e., not merely understand, [3442] but also appropriate it so as to afterwards sing it, [3443] because they alone have the experience of that which is celebrated in the song. [3444]

οἱ ἠγορασμένοι ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς . On the thought, cf. 4, Revelation 5:9 . The construction of the masc., with αἱ χιλιάδες , is according to the sense, as Revelation 5:13 .

[3437] As C. a Lap., Vitr., Beng., Hengstenb.

[3438] Cf. Revelation 5:8 .

[3439] Against Beng.: “A new song suits well these first fruits.”

[3440] De Wette.

[3441] Cf. Hengstenb.

[3442] Grot., who besides evades: “No one could understand the cause of such joy.”

[3443] Ew., De Wette.

[3444] Cf. Revelation 2:17 , also Revelation 19:12 .

Verses 4-5

Revelation 14:4-5 . John describes the one hundred and forty-four thousand as a select number surpassing all other believers in moral perfection. The understanding of this description depends principally upon the proper arrangement and framing of the individual expressions. At the beginning and at the close two special points stand (Revelation 14:4 : οὑτοι εἰσιν οῖ μετὰ γυναικῶν οὐκ ἐμολύνθησαν ; Revelation 14:5 : καὶ ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτῶν οὐχ εὑρέθη ψεῦδος ); here, where the subject pertains to the past earthly life of those who have died, the aor. necessarily stands. In both cases the conclusion is by formulæ framed precisely in like manner (Revelation 14:4 : παρθένοι γάρ εἰσιν ; Revelation 14:5 : ἄμωμοι γάρ εἰσιν ); but here, where an advance is made from the definite actual preservation of the deceased, to their proper nature and permanent condition, the present necessarily occurs. Between the two double-membered sentences, in the beginning and at the close, there are besides two sentences, which are thereby exhibited as independent of one another and the beginning and closing sentences, in that they both commence with the special designation of the subject ( οὖτοι ), and that the first expresses something present ( οὖτ . εἰσιν οἱ ἀκολ .), but the second something past, completed in the earthly life ( οὖτ . ἠγοράσθησαν , cf. Revelation 14:3 ). Hofmann [3445] is the first expositor who keeps in view the disposition of Revelation 14:4-5 ; but he misjudges it by regarding the παρθένοι γάρ εἰσιν as immediately attracted to the succeeding words. The disposition attempted now also by Ew. ii., whereby three members appear (1. οὐτοί εἰσ ., κ . τ . λ .; 2. οὖτ . εἰσ ., κ . τ . λ .; 3. καὶ ἐν τ . στόμ ., κ . τ . λ .), is in violation of the context.

οἱ μετὰ γυναικῶν οὑκ ἐμολύνθησαν . According to Leviticus 15:18 , the sexual union in itself, even that in wedlock, was regarded as defiling. [3446]

ΠΑΡΘΈΝΟΙ . This predicate was not seldom ascribed also to men. [3447] In order to avoid the thoughts forced from the word, and not seldom made the best of by Catholic interpreters in the sense of monastic asceticism, [3448] it is regarded either directly as figurative, [3449] and referring to spiritual purity, especially to abstaining from the worship of idols, [3450] or, if we abide by the proper sense of the words, to sexual purity, as an example of all virtues. [3451] Hofm. attempts to remove the difficulty by saying that the declaration is concerning believers of the last time, [3452] to whom celibacy will become a moral necessity, because of the special circumstances of those times. But nothing is said here concerning Christians of that time. The expedient of Bleek [3453] and De Wette, who regard it as referring to abstinence from all lewdness, as it was ordinarily combined with the worship of idols, is forbidden by the expression μετὰ τ . γυναικῶν , which is altogether general.

Nothing else seems to remain than with Augustine, [3454] Jerome, [3455] Beda, Andr., to explain it in the proper sense, and to acknowledge the idea, to which also other points in the text lead, [3456] that entire abstinence from all sexual intercourse belongs to the distinguished holiness of that one hundred and forty-four thousand, [3457] because of which they enjoy also distinguished blessedness. [See Note LXXV., p. 404.] This is declared by the words immediately following: οὖτοι εἰσιν οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες τῷ ἀρνίῳ ὅπου ἂν ὑπάγει . There is generally found here a description of the obedience of believers who follow the Lamb even to the cross and to death; [3458] but because of the present tense, which here expresses the present condition, while the holy manifestation in the earthly life is designated by the aor., there can be meant only a description of the blessed reward which those who have died are enjoying [3459] with the Lamb. [3460] It is meant that everywhere whither the Lamb goes, there that chosen one hundred and forty-four thousand accompany him; whether it be that a certain space in heaven remain inaccessible to other saints, or that the latter do not form the constant retinue of the Lamb, at least not in the same way as the former.

ΟὙΤΟΙ ἨΓΟΡΆΣΘΗΣΑΝ Ἀ̓ ΠῸ ΤῶΝ ἈΝΘΡΏΠΩΝ ἈΠΑΡΧῊ Τῷ Θ ., Κ . Τ . Λ . What applies to all the redeemed, viz., that they have been bought unto God by the blood of the Lamb, from among men, of the earth (Revelation 14:3 ), or from all nations and kindreds (Revelation 5:9 ), applies in an eminent sense to the one hundred and forty-four thousand: they are bought as an ἈΠΑΡΧΉ . They appear, therefore, not as the select first fruits from the entire world, [3461] but from believers, or, at any rate, from the blessed. The correlate to the ἀπαρχή is afforded by the context: τῶν ἠγορασμένων . As such select first fruits the one hundred and forty-four thousand appear, with respect both to their peculiar holiness ( παρθένοι ), and also their peculiar blessedness ( ἀκολ . τ . ἀρν ., κ . τ . λ .).

Besides distinguished virginity, in Revelation 14:5 another peculiar perfection is mentioned, which that multitude had manifested in their earthly life ( εὑρέθη , aor.); viz., perfect truthfulness never clouded by a lie. The expression ψεῦδος [3462] is to be taken in its general sense, and not to be limited to the lies of idolatry, [3463] heresy, or denial of Christ. [3464] A contrast is easily conceivable to the sphere of falsehood in which the seducing false prophet [3465] moves, with the worshippers of the beast accepting his lies. [3466] Cf. also, in Revelation 9:21 , in an enumeration of the characteristic sins of the inhabitants of the earth, the juxtaposition of πορνεία and κλέμματα . [3467]

ἄμωμοι γάρ εἰσιν . The conclusion which stands especially in analogous relation to the immediately preceding special point, as the παρθ . γ . εἰσ ., Revelation 14:4 , to the immediately preceding clause, [3468] is, nevertheless, because of the comprehensive meaning of the predicate ἄμωμοι , [3469] especially suitable for rounding the entire description (Revelation 14:4-5 ).

[3445] Schriftbew , II. 2, p. 392.

[3446] On the expression ἐμολυνθ ., cf. Isaiah 59:3 ; 1Co 8:7 ; 2 Corinthians 7:1 .

[3447] Cf. Fabricius, Cod. apocr. Vet. Test ., II., pp. 92, 98 (where Joseph is called an ἀνήρ παρθένος ); Kypke, Observ. sacr. ad h. l. ( παρθένοννἰα from Nonnus, on John 19:26 ); Suidas, see on Αβελ .

[3448] N. de Lyra, Stern.

[3449] Cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2 .

[3450] Victorin., Zeger, Coccejus, Grot., Vitr., Wolf; cf. also Züll.

[3451] Eichh., Beng., Hengstenb., who says that sexual intercourse, as legally defiling, is a figurative designation of sinful defilement in general.

[3452] Cf. also C. a Lap.

[3453] Beitr ., p. 185.

[3454] De s. virg ., c. 27. Opp. Antw ., 1701, T. VI., p. 258.

[3455] Adv. Jovin ., I. c. 40. Opp. Franeof , 1684, T. II., p. 34.

[3456] See above.

[3457] So also Neander, p. 543, who, from this mode of contemplation, properly recognizes a mark that the writer of the Apoc. is not identical with the Evangelist John. If the exposition above given be acknowledged, it must also be maintained (against Ew. ii.) that the view, which, to the writer of the Apoc., is fundamental, of the impurity of all sexual intercourse, is significantly distinguished from what is said in Matthew 19:11 sqq., 1 Corinthians 7:32 ; 1 Corinthians 7:34 , since here, under the express presumption that sexual intercourse in marriage is an ordinance which is divine, and by no means in itself impure, it is asserted that certain circumstances can make a complete abstinence from marriage possible and necessary. Possibly the too far-reaching statement of the writer of the Apocalypse is occasioned by the fact that he wishes to emphasize in the highest degree the contrast with the worshippers of the beast, i.e., the Gentiles, with their sexual abominations.

[3458] Cf. Matthew 10:38 . Coccej., Grot., Vitr., Wolf, who recall the fact that the soldiers were accustomed to swear: ἀκολουθεῖν τοῖς στρατηγοῖς ὅποι ποτʼ ἅν ἅγωσιν [“to follow the generals whithersoever they would go”]. Beng., De Wette, Hengstenb., Ebrard, Ew. ii.

[3459] Cf. Revelation 7:17 .

[3460] Augustine, l. c., but he is not consistent; Andr., Züll., Stern.

[3461] Against De Wette, Hengstenb., who improperly appeal to James 1:18 , where the express designation ἀπαρχ . τῶν αὐτοῦ κτισμάτων is given; cf. also Jeremiah 2:3 .

[3462] Cf. Revelation 21:27 .

[3463] Grot.: “They did not invoke the gods, which are not gods;” Beng.

[3464] Cf. Hengstenb.

[3465] Revelation 13:14 .

[3466] Cf. Ewald, Ebrard.

[3467] Cf., besides, 1 Thessalonians 4:4 sq., and Revelation 14:6 .

[3468] See above.

[3469] Cf. Ephesians 1:4 ; Ephesians 5:27 ; Colossians 1:22 .

The purpose of the entire vision (Revelation 14:1-5 ), in connection with ch. 13, i.e., in contrast with what is there reported, is, as the exposition of the details proves, not that of showing how the Church abides in invincible glory opposed to the dragon, [3470] or how in the midst of the corrupt Church (ch. 13) the true Church still continues, [3471] or how the Lamb with his hosts stands ready to help by the side of the oppressed Church; [3472] but [3473] the manifestation of the blessed with the Lamb in eternal glory is intended to give believers who are on earth, and exposed to persecution on the part of the dragon, a pledge inspiring courage and patience (cf. Revelation 14:11 ), that if they remain faithful they shall also attain to that glory.

[3470] Primas, Beda “The Church, rejoicing in her usual glory and number, encouraged for the conquest of the burdens of her oppression, with sublime joy of contemplation, celebrates at once, both with joy and invitation the conflicts of her King.” Cf. Calov., C. a Lap., etc.

[3471] Vitr.

[3472] Ewald: “The Messiah with his select saints prepared for war.”

[3473] Revelation 7:9 sqq.

In every respect preposterous are the historical explanations in Coccejus, [3474] Vitr., [3475] etc., according to which, especially, the one hundred and forty-four thousand are regarded as the Waldenses.

Christiani has interpreted the one hundred and forty-four thousand even as the woman preserved in the wilderness, [3476] and thus as the Church of the last times. The final Israelitic church is also understood [3477] by Luthardt.

[3474] Revelation 14:4 : Voices against the worship of images, as the Council of Frankfort in the year 800, and other protests against papal errors.

[3475] The players on the harp are Wiclif, Hus, etc. The ῷδ . καιν ., Revelation 14:3 , is a confession of seemingly new contents, viz., the evangelical confession of the Bohemian brethren.

[3476] Revelation 12:14 .

[3477] Cf. Revelation 7:4 sqq.


LXXV. Revelation 14:4 . οἱ μετὰ γυναικῶν , κ . τ . λ .

Any interpretation of this passage that teaches a superior holiness and blessedness as belonging to the unmarried estate, or attaches any defilement to marriage, is inconsistent with Hebrews 13:4 . See this passage defended from such view at some length by Chemnitz already ( Examen Concilii Tridentini , Schlawitz ed., 1861, p. 535). Hence all such attempts at mediation between maintaining the sanctity of marriage and the peculiar sanctity of celibacy, like those of Alford and Luthardt, are ineffectual. The former says: “In them that fountain of carnal desire has never been opened, which is so apt to be a channel for unholy thoughts, and an access for the tempter.” [Cf., however, 1 Corinthians 7:2 .] “The virgins may thus have missed the victory over the lusts of the flesh; but they have also, in great part, escaped the conflict. We are, perhaps, more like that which the Lord intended us to be; but they are more like the Lord himself.” Luthardt proposes another mode of mediation, by affirming that no special holiness of celibacy is taught, but that under the peculiar circumstances of the last times it would be the duty of Christians to remain unmarried, and marriage intercourse would then be only a yielding to sinful lusts. Gebhardt, on the contrary: “They have, in the most marked contrast to the world, with its fornications, or idolatrous worship and service of sin, not defiled themselves with women; that is, in the strongest and fullest sense, they have not committed fornication, have not been unfaithful to God; they have not allowed themselves to be tempted by the world, and have not sinned, ‘for they are virgins;’ that is, what they are according to their nature as Christians, pure, holy, chaste, has, in their lives, simply perfected itself in gradual development, or, in the particular case, maintained itself. Certainly many expositors take the words just explained in a peculiar sense, and determine the representation of the seer to be that perfect abstinence from sexual intercourse belongs to the distinguished sanctity of the one hundred and forty-four thousand, and that, on this account, they enjoy peculiar blessedness; which, as Köstlin observes, is not merely in the spirit of the O. T., but is Esseno-Ebionitish. The one hundred and forty-four thousand are neither distinguished Christians, nor do they enjoy peculiar happiness; even on this supposition, it would be wholly inconceivable that the seer should have imagined one hundred and forty-four thousand unmarried Christians, and, according to the literal sense, Christians of the male sex; still less would he have regarded as Christians only those who had not been married.… I find that John has spoken of the idolatry and the sin of the world as fornication with sufficient frequency, and strength, and clearness, to enable us to see in it the true interpretation of this imagery. The true sense more decidedly presents itself if we begin, not with the first, but with the second member of the sentence, ‘they are virgins,’ which is evidently symbolical.”

Verse 6

Revelation 14:6 sq. ἄλλον ἄγγ ., as Revelation 10:1 , in distinction from those that appeared in former scenes. Against the idea and phraseology of the Apoc., Hilgenf. [3478] refers the ἌΛΛΟΝ ἌΓΓ . to the Messiah, designated in Revelation 14:1 , whom he regards the first with respect to the angel here mentioned (Revelation 14:6 ; Revelation 14:8-9 ).

ΠΕΤΌΜΕΝΟΝ ἘΝ ΜΕΣΟΥΡΑΝΉΜΑΤΙ . Like the eagle which (Revelation 8:13 ) flies in the zenith, this angel is to reach the whole earth with its cry.

ἜΧΟΝΤΑ . Cf. Revelation 10:2 , Revelation 1:16 .

ΕὐΑΓΓΈΛΙΟΝ ΑἸΏΝΙΟΝ . As the article is lacking, the gospel of God’s eternal counsel of salvation cannot be meant. [3479] Too generally, and missing the idea ΑἸΏΝΙΟΝ , C. a Lap. also explains: A message which promises eternal blessings in heaven. This reference De Wette combines, without proper clearness, with that which is alone correct, to the decree of God from eternity with respect to the things proclaimed in the gospel which the angel has. It is not, however, the summons to repentance sounded forth in Revelation 14:7 , that forms the contents of the message, which is a gospel because of a term being afforded even enemies for repentance; [3480] but the authentic explanation is to be derived from Revelation 10:7 , [3481] where by the same expression ( ΕὐΗΓΓΈΛΙΣΕ ) reference is made directly to the eternal counsel of God, with respect to the glorious end at the coming of the Lord. As all patience and victorious fidelity of believers depend upon this message, it also contains the ground for the succeeding call to repentance in Revelation 14:7 .

ΕὐΑΓΓΕΛΊΣΑΙ ἘΠῖ ΤΟῪς ΚΑΘΗΜΈΝΟΥς , Κ . Τ . Γ . The infin., which explains the idea ΕὐΑΓΓΈΛΙΟΝ , is in its formal dependence upon ἜΧΟΝΤΑ to be explained indeed from expressions like Luke 12:50 ; Luke 7:40 , John 16:12 : [3482] yet the distinction is to be observed, that in this passage the ΕὐΑΓΓ . ΑἸΏΝ . appears chiefly as the visible object which the angel has ( ἜΧ . , see above) in his hand possibly in the form of a little book. [3483] The ἘΠῚ with the acc. following ΕὐΑΓΓΕΛΊΣΑΙ , which does not occur elsewhere in such combination, has a meaning analogous to that of the ἘΠΊ with the dative occurring with ΠΡΟΦΗΤΕῦΣΑΙ . Not without violence is Ewald’s explanation: “Above because the angel flies above all lands.”

To the dwellers on earth goes forth the evangelical message of the angel in the same sense as in Revelation 10:11 , the προφητεῦσαι of John, which has indeed also an evangelical import (Revelation 10:7 ). [See Note LXXVI., p. 000.] To the ungodly dwellers on earth, there proceeds from the message which is to all believers, a true ΕὐΑΓΓΈΛΙΟΝ , but threatens the Lord’s enemies with his coming to judgment, the strongest admonition to repentance. In Revelation 14:7 , therefore, there follows: ΦΟΒΉΘΗΤΕ ΤῸΝ ΘΕῸΝ ΚΑῚ ΔΌΤΕ ΑὐΤῷ ΔΌΞΑΝ , [3484] with the express emphasis of the reason just indicated: ὍΤΙ ἩΛΘΕΝ , Κ . Τ . Λ . [3485]

ΚΑῚ ΠΡΟΣΚΥΝΉΣΑΤΕ Τῷ ΠΟΙΉΣΑΝΤΙ , Κ . Τ . Λ . They are to worship, not the beast, but Him who has manifested himself by his work of creation as the sole true God and Lord of the world, who also will punish his despisers. [3486]

[3478] p. 438.

[3479] This is the same as the opinion of the old Protestant expositors, who understand, by the angel, Luther. See also Ebrard.

[3480] Hengstenb.; cf. against him, Ebrard.

[3481] Cf. Züll.

[3482] De Wette.

[3483] Revelation 10:2 .

[3484] Cf. Revelation 11:13 .

[3485] Cf. Revelation 11:18 , Revelation 6:7 .

[3486] Cf. Revelation 4:11 ; lsa. Isaiah 40:12 sqq., Isaiah 41:1 sqq.


LXXVI. Revelation 14:7 . εὐγγέλιον αἰώνιον

Alford says briefly on Düsterdieck’s interpretation: “I should have thought that such a rendering only needed mentioning to be repudiated. Ch. Revelation 10:7 , which is adduced to justify it, is quite beside the purpose.” Ebrard really anticipates every objection to the older interpretation here urged: “The older exegetes, together with Lücke, are probably right when they understand the contents of the message in general as the message of the salvation in Christ. ‘An eternal message of joy’ that is, indeed, which the angel here brings; he brings a message which is eternal as to its contents, and, therefore, is eternal also, according to its announcement, as since the foundation of the world there has been no other message of joy and salvation, and in eternity there will be no other. That the definite article does not stand here, is owing to the fact that the message is to be described, as it appears to the ἔθνεσι , κ . τ . λ ., viz., as one new to them. The angel has ‘an eternal message of salvation to bring them.’ ” So also Gebhardt, who refers, besides, to the error of our author in conceiving of something being intended by this proclamation for the ungodly inhabitants of the earth, that is different from the real contents of the message. Gebhardt regards the angel only “an Apocalyptic art-device” to describe vividly “the publication of Christianity in ever-widening circles,” which “is in reality accomplished by the apostles and other preachers,” and coinciding in meaning with Matthew 24:14 .

Verses 6-20

Revelation 14:6-20 . Two visions, whose beginning in each case is marked by the formula καὶ εἱδον (Revelation 14:6 ; Revelation 14:14 ), bringing the declarations of the judgment upon the world paying homage to the beast (ch. 13), stand therefore in inner connection with the vision (Revelation 14:1-5 ), because they serve in their way for the encouragement of believers oppressed by the beast and his worshippers. The first vision (Revelation 14:6-13 ). The first vision is concluded with an express reference to the foundation of the patience for believers lying here (Revelation 14:12 ), since a heavenly voice proclaims a glorious promise for those who are faithful, and expressly enjoins that John should write down this assurance that is so important (Revelation 14:13 ).

Verse 8

Revelation 14:8 . It is a characteristic of the dramatic vividness of the scene, that every new point, which is to be proclaimed, is committed to a special angel. [3487] The angel now coming forward is distinguished by the compound formula ἌΛΛΟς ΔΕΎΤΕΡΟς from the ἌΛΛΟς ἌΓΓ . mentioned in Revelation 14:6 . [3488]

ἜΠΕΣΕΝ , ἜΠΕΣΕΝ ΒΑΒΥΛΏΝ ΜΕΓΆΛΗ . The cry, [3489] in a prophetical way, represents the sure and near impending judgment as already fulfilled. [3490] The name of the O. T. secular power is transferred to that of the N. T., [3491] i.e., to Rome, [3492] by not only indicating by means of this name its ungodly nature, [3493] but also by the adjective ΜΕΓΆΛΗ , especially emphasizing how extent and fulness of power [3494] are powerless for the protection of the vain foundation of self-assertion [3495] from complete overthrow. [3496]

ἘΚ ΤΟῦ ΟἽΝΟΥ , Κ . Τ . Λ . As in the ancient prophets, alongside of the threatenings of punishment, the precise charges on which those threats rest are generally presented, so also here the guilt of great Babylon is established. The view portrayed in Revelation 17:2 ; Revelation 17:4 , Revelation 18:3 , lies here already at the foundation. Babylon-Rome appears as a harlot who has seduced all the dwellers on earth to commit fornication with her: “ She made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication .” The expression in Revelation 18:3 is incorrectly explained, if the θυμοῦ be regarded otherwise than in the firmly established sense of “ wrath ,” Revelation 14:10 . [3497] According to the linguistic usage of the Apoc., it is the glow and rage of wrath , [3498] and not any other passion, which is designated by θυμός . But it is impossible to seek this wrath in the harlot Babylon herself, and then to understand the πορνεία of cunning arts, dissembling love, with which wrathful Babylon destroys the nations. [3499] With perfect correctness, De Wette says that the entire expression depends upon a combination of two ideas: the wine of fornication, [3500] wherewith Babylon has intoxicated the nations, is at the same time characterized as a οἰνος τοῦ θυμοῦ (viz., of the Divine wrath), and it is, consequently, represented [3501] how the wine offered by the harlot Babylon to the nations, with which she has intoxicated them and led them to fornication with her, is also a wine which, because of the Divine wrath, has caused that drunkenness in the nations. It is analogous to what is instructively said in Romans 1:21 . The πορνεία is the idolatry practised with great Babylon, the all-ruling secular power. [3502]

[3487] “Quot res nunciandæ, totidem nuncii” (Grot.).

[3488] Cf. examples in Wetst.

[3489] Revelation 18:2 ; Isaiah 21:9 ; cf. Jeremiah 50:2 ; Jeremiah 51:8 .

[3490] Cf. Revelation 11:18 .

[3491] Revelation 13:1 sqq., Revelation 18:10 .

[3492] So remarks on ch. Revelation 13:17 .

[3493] Cf. Revelation 11:8 .

[3494] Cf. Revelation 13:2 ; Revelation 13:4 .

[3495] Daniel 4:27 .

[3496] Klief. understands “the metropolis of the last heathen secular power.”

[3497] Against Wetst., Grot., who make θυμ ., “poison;” cf. also Eichh.; and against Ewald, Züll.: “Burning wine, intoxicating wine.”

[3498] Revelation 16:19 , Revelation 19:15 . Cf. Revelation 15:7 , Revelation 16:1 ; also Revelation 13:2 .

[3499] Hengstenb.

[3500] Cf. Revelation 17:2 ; Revelation 17:4 ; Jeremiah 51:7 .

[3501] Cf. Jeremiah 25:15 sqq., 27. sqq.

[3502] Revelation 14:9 ; Revelation 13:4 ; Revelation 13:12 . Grot., Ew., De Wette, etc.

Verses 9-11

Revelation 14:9-11 . That the wine of fornication is at the same time a wine of Divine wrath (Revelation 14:8 ), follows from the message of the third angel, inasmuch as this expressly announces to the worshippers of the beast the impending Divine retribution: καὶ αὐτὸς πίεται ἐκ τοῦ οἰνου τοῦ θυμοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ , κ . τ . λ ., for the words εἴ τις προσκυνεὶ , κ . τ . λ ., describe, according to the measure of ch. 13, [3503] the meaning of the figurative expression πορνεία , Revelation 14:8 .

[3503] It really makes no difference that in Revelation 13:16 the ἐπι τ . χειρ . precedes, and in this passage the ἐπὶ τ . μετώπ . But with respect to change of case (cf. Winer, p. 382), it cannot be disregarded that in both places (cf. also Revelation 13:1 ) the genitive precedes. Cf. Revelation 7:1 , where, however, a modification of the idea is recognizable in ἐπὶ τῆς γ ., τῆς θ . (on the earth, the sea) and ἑπι τι δενδρον (on any tree, against any tree). The accus. occurs twice, Revelation 20:4 .

Verse 10

Revelation 14:10 . The καὶ αὐτός [3504] represents the details, as well as likewise the harlot herself, incurring the judgment. [3505]

πίεται (fut.). Winer, p. 84.

The οἶνος τοῦ θυμοῦ τ . θ . is represented in the ποτήριον τῆς ὀργῆς αὐτου ; but the dreadful power of this wine of wrath is rendered conspicuous, since it is itself designated: τοῦ κεκερασμένου ἀκράτου . It is meant that in the cup of indignation there is found unmixed wine ( ἀκρατος , Psalms 74:9 , LXX.), i.e., not tempered with water, and hence that the wine of wrath, thus set forth, works with its entire force. The contradiction in the words occurring in the connection of κεκερασμ . and ἀκράτ . is without difficulty, because [3506] the custom of adapting the wine for ordinary use, by mixing it with water, has brought with it a usage of words in which the κερᾷν , without giving prominence to its special signification, attains the further sense of ἐγχέειν εἰς κέρας , διδόναι πιεῖν , etc. [3507] So Ewald: “I have drunken wine so prepared (mixed) as to be pure;” De Wette, Ebrard, etc. According to Züll., the ἀκράτου is regarded not as undiluted wine , but as designating the “compounded,” i.e., with additions, as spices, myrrh, opiates, etc., whereby the Orientals make their wine still stronger; and thus it is indicated that the Divine cup of indignation contains no wine but a pure mixture, “pure essence of mixtures.” Hengstenb. interprets artificially, in a still different way.

καὶ βασανισθήσονται . Cf. Revelation 9:5 . The punishment of hell here described ( ἐν πυρὶ κ . θείῳ , Revelation 9:17 , Revelation 20:10 ) is not, with Grotius, to be resolved into pangs of conscience.

ἐνώπιον τῶν ἁγίων ἀγγ . κ . ἐν τ . ἀρνίον . Incorrectly, De Wette: According to the judgment. Rather, they suffer this their pain before the eyes of the holy angels, and of the Lamb despised and persecuted by the worshippers of the beast, which appears just on this account to render it the more bitter. [3508]

καὶ ὁ καπνὸς τοῦ βασανισμοῦ αὐτῶν , κ . τ . λ ., according to Isaiah 34:10 . Cf. Isaiah 19:3 . It is to be observed, that in this passage βασανισμός is passive, in the sense of βάσανος . Cf., on the other hand, Isaiah 9:5 .

ούκ ἔχουσιν ἀνάπαυσιν , κ . τ . λ ., viz., in their βασανιαμός . [3509] The expression as Revelation 4:8 .

καὶ εἴ τις λαμβ . With grave emphasis this expression, individualizing the general conception, οί προσκυνοῦντες , affirms that every one who in any way resigns himself to the beast [3510] incurs that eternal torment.

[3504] Cf. Revelation 14:17 .

[3505] Cf. Ewald.

[3506] Cf. Wetst.

[3507] Revelation 18:6 .

[3508] Cf. Revelation 11:12 ; Luke 16:23 sqq. Hengstenb.

[3509] Revelation 20:10 .

[3510] De Wette.

Verse 12

Revelation 14:12 . Here where the declaration of the judgment impending the worshippers of the beast occurs so definitely and solemnly (Revelation 14:6-11 ), the encouraging reference to the sources opened thereby to believers for the patience required of them ( ἡ υπομ .) is still easier than in a similar connection, Revelation 13:10 .

οἱ τηροῦντες . The construction is formless, as Revelation 1:5 , Revelation 2:20 . On the thought, cf. Revelation 12:17 , Revelation 3:10 . τὴν πίστιν Ἰησοῦ . “The faith in Jesus.” This, in fact, is parallel with the μαρτυρία Ἰησοῦ , Revelation 12:17 , because faith on him ( Ἰησ ., gen. obj.) depends upon the testimony proceeding from Jesus ( Ἰησ ., gen. subj.).

Verse 13

Revelation 14:13 . A heavenly voice, [3511] concerning which it is in no way said to what person it belongs, [3512] commands John to write down what was itself just proclaimed as a word of revelation of his spirit (viz., Μακάρ .

μετʼ αὐτῶν ), because [3513] this word of revelation contains the most effectual consolation for believers who are oppressed by the secular power, and even threatened with death. [3514] Züll. is wrong in considering that there are two voices, for the voice of the Spirit ( ναὶ , λεγ . τ . πν ., ἳνα , κ . τ . λ .) is distinguished here as little from the “voice from heaven,” as in the epistles, chs. 2 and 3, what the Spirit says is to be distinguished from what the Lord commands to be written. The voice from heaven belongs to a heavenly person, who, as interpreter of the Spirit, communicates his revelation to the prophet in intelligible words. The first sentence, which concludes with ἀπʼ ἄρτι , contains what is properly the main point of the consolatory declaration, and, as it were, the theme, whose meaning ( μακάριοι ) is more fully explained in the following sentence. Not only by the formal plan, but also in a still more inward way, is this latter part of the heavenly discourse to be distinguished from the former; the ναὶ already shows us the beginning of a new declaration, and a new declaration is also actually presented, since as the parenthetical words λέγει τὸ πνεῦμα affirm this confirmation and exposition ( ναὶ

ἴνα ἀναπαήσονται , κ . τ . λ .), added to the first words Μακάριοι

ἀπʼ ἄρτι , appear in a definite way as a revelation of the Spirit. It is, therefore, incorrect to refer the ἀπʼ ἄρτι to the latter sentence, whether in the sense of Vitr., who combines the ἀπʼ ἄρτι with ἀναπαήσ ., or in that of Lamb., Bos., who [3515] writes ἀπαρτί (i.e., ἀπηρτισμένως ), and tries to explain the wonderfully composed formula of assurance ἀπαρτὶ ναὶ by the absolute plane profecto . [3516] The reference of the ἀπʼ ἄρτι [3517] to the emphatically prefixed conception of μακάριοι is shown by the relation of the thought. [3518] By a combination with ἀποθνήσκ ., Züll. reaches the incorrect interpretation: “Better on this account than those who experience the impending time of distress, are the martyrs dying just at the beginning of this time;” [3519] but the conception μακάριοι means much more and differently from what Züll. expresses, and to refer it alone to martyrs is as certainly incorrect as ἀποθνήσκειν ἐν κυρίῳ is not “to die for the sake of the Lord.” [3520]

The dead “who die [3521] in the Lord ,” i.e., bound with him by faith, and kept in fellowship with him [3522] by fidelity to the faith even unto death, [3523] are “blessed from henceforth,” because, viz., now the glorious end, which will bring condemnation to enemies [3524] and complete blessedness to all believers, [3525] immediately impends. This is the eschatological reference of the ἀπʼ ἄρτι [3526] presented in the connection, in its combination with the idea μακάριοι , which in itself points already to the goal of the Christian hope.

Incorrect is the explanation of Stern, who, in uncertainty, refers the απʼ ἄρτι to the entire sentence μακάρ .

ἀποθν ., and incorrectly tries to apply what is said only of the end of time in such sense that then they who die in Christ immediately enter paradise with intermission of purgatory, which is, therefore, indirectly fixed for the dying prior to that final time; while just as incorrectly, in order to escape the doctrine of purgatory, Calov., etc., explain the ἀπʼ ἄρτι by “from the death of every one.” [See Note LXXVII., p. 405.] ἵνα ἀναπαήσονται ἐκ τῶν κόπων αὐτῶν . The future is formed from ἀναπαύω , just as κατακαήσομαι from κατακαίω . [3527] The ἵνα here can depend as little upon the parenthetical λέγει τ . πν . [3528] as the ἵνα in 2 Corinthians 8:7 upon the succeeding λέγω . But this passage is not, with Ewald and De Wette, to be explained from 2 Cor. (above cited) and Ephesians 5:33 , as an idea lying at the foundation of a purposive command; but the close analogy of Revelation 22:14 shows that the clause ἵνα , κ . τ . λ ., is to be elucidated after the manner of the restrictive idea of μακα ̇ ριοι , [3529] that it is expressed at the same time how the goal of blessedness ( μακάρ .), held forth by the promise, includes that heavenly ἁνάπαυσις , and is to be afforded those dying in the Lord. [3530] The solemn expression [3531] which designates the blessed rest from all troubles of the earthly life of conflict [3532] is the more significant, because it sets forth a peculiar opposition to the lot of the damned, Revelation 14:11 .

τὰ δὲ ἔργα αὐτῶν ἀκολουθεῖ μετʼ αὐτῶν . The δὲ marks excellently the contrast between the just-mentioned ἀνάπαυσις ἐκ τῶν κόπων and the ἔργα , to which the κόποι themselves belong. [3533] This significant contrast becomes uncertain if the idea of the “works” [3534] be resolved into that of the reward itself. [3535] The thought, which occurs in like manner both in the classics and in the rabbins, [3536] is the profound view that the works wrought by believers in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58 ) are themselves an eternal good.

[3511] Revelation 10:4 .

[3512] Against Hengstenb., who wants to refer it to a departed saint, or one of the elders.

[3513] Cf. Revelation 19:9 , Revelation 21:5 .

[3514] Cf. Revelation 13:7 , Revelation 10:1-6 .

[3515] Exercit. phil. Francq ., 1713, p. 299 sq.

[3516] i.e., with unconditional certainty.

[3517] Matthew 26:64 ; John 11:52 .

[3518] Beda, C. a Lap., Calov., Wolf, Ew., De Wette, Hengstenb., Ebrard.

[3519] Isaiah 57:1 . Cf. Coccejus: “The time is impending, in which it will be better to die than to live.” Hammond.

[3520] Also against Grot., Laun., Vitr., etc.

[3521] The part. pres. marks the words οἱ ἐν κυρ . ἀποθν . in relation to the idea οἱ νεκροί (Züll., incorrectly: “Those exposed to death”), as a designation given more accurately than in a mode having no regard to time.

[3522] 1 Corinthians 15:18 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:16 .

[3523] Revelation 2:10 .

[3524] Revelation 6:10 , Revelation 8:3 sqq.

[3525] Revelation 7:9 sqq., Revelation 11:16 sqq., Revelation 14:1 sqq., Revelation 21:1 . sqq.

[3526] Cf. Matthew 26:64 .

[3527] Winer, p. 83.

[3528] Ebrard.

[3529] (Hengstenb.) Not αποθν ., as Winer, p. 297, attempts, who by the partic. understands the temp. fin. ἀποθνήσκουσι .

[3530] Cf. Revelation 9:20 .

[3531] Cf. Hebrews 4:9 : κατάπαυσις .

[3532] κοπ ., Revelation 2:3 . Cf. Revelation 21:4 .

[3533] Revelation 2:2 .

[3534] Cf. Revelation 2:5 ; Revelation 2:19 , Revelation 3:8 .

[3535] De Wette; cf. Grot.: “The memory of deeds.”

[3536] Sophael., Philact ., 1420: ἀθάνατον ἀρετήν [“immortal virtue”]; v. 1443: οὐ γάρ ἡ εὐσέβεια συνθνήσκει βροτοῖς [“Piety does not die with mortals”]. Aboth., Revelation 6:9 : “At the hour of man’s departure, gold and silver do not accompany him, but the law and good works.”

The entire section, Revelation 14:6-13 , Hammond refers to the times from Domitian to Constantine.

The old Lutheran exposition [3537] understood by the angel with the eternal gospel, Luther. Such an interpretation was made already by Michael Stifel, in the year 1522. Bugenhagen took Revelation 14:6 sqq. as the text for his funeral sermon on Luther. [3538] A Catholic compositor, who was engaged in setting up the Lutheran Bible, Wittenberg, 1623, committed great offence by substituting “ neu ” (new) for “ ewig ” ( everlasting ). [3539] Calov. understood by the angel (Revelation 14:8 ), the second Martin, viz., Chemnitz with his Examen Trid. Conc . ( ἔπεσεν Βαβ .); by the angel (Revelation 14:9 ), the antagonists of the Calixtines, among whom he reckons also himself.

Bengel preferred to refer the angel (Revelation 14:6 ) to John Arnd; the μεσουράνημα is

Germany. The angel (Revelation 14:8 ) is probably Spener.

[3537] “Almost all of our writers” (Wolf). Cf. also Vitr.

[3538] Cf. Bengel, Erkl. Off ., p. 758.

[3539] Cf. Wolf on Revelation 14:6 .


LXXVII. Revelation 14:13 . ἀπʼ ἄρτι

The interpretation referred to is not peculiar to Calov. and the school of exegetes which he represents; e.g., Ebrard: “ ἀπʼ ἀρτι μακάριοι εἰσι says rather simply this (De Wette, etc.), that they who die in Christ need not wait for blessedness and compensation until, by the return of Christ to earth, an end is made to the power of the beast hostile to Christ, but, that, immediately after their deaths, they shall find the most glorious compensation by resting from their labors, and not losing the fruit of their works accompanying them. Nothing whatever is said concerning any merit of their works before God as Judge; for they are the regenerate ‘who die in the Lord,’ because they have lived in Him, and He in them.” Hengstenberg: “The dead who die in the Lord are blessed from now on. This is not contrasted with any former time in which the dead who died in the Lord were not blessed. The blessedness is as old as the dying in the Lord, and this dates from the time of Christ’s death, who also already, for the intermediate state, has brought life to light (2 Timothy 1:10 ), but with a remote future with respect to the completion of the kingdom of God; not first in the new Jerusalem that is hereafter to be established on the renewed earth, but already from the moment of their departure into heaven. This is explained by the conversation between Christ and the penitent thief. The latter prayed the Lord to remember him when he came into his kingdom at the establishment of the kingdom of glory on earth. But the Lord assured him of more than that for which he prayed (Luke 23:43 ). By saying, ‘ Lord , remember me,’ the thief shows that he is one who is dying in the Lord. For to die in the Lord, is when one, in the face of death, with complete confidence confesses Him to be Lord.” Luthardt: “It was expressly revealed to John, in order that Christians of all times may know that from now on, i.e., now already, blessed are they who die in the Lord, i.e., in fellowship with him, for with their death they enter into a blessed state; in order, also, that they may be consoled in that they die before the second coming of Christ.… This toilsome life is now at an end, and a blessed peaceful rest in the bosom of Christ follows, while the unblessed have no rest day or night (Revelation 14:11 ).”

Observe the force of the ἐκ τῶν κοπῶν , as in note on ch. Revelation 2:2 . The promise ἀναπαήσονται belongs here only where there have been previously κόποι , viz., toilsome exhaustive labors, not for self, but for the Lord.

Verses 14-16

Revelation 14:14-16 . In the first picture of the ripeness of the earth for judgment, [3541] it is the coming Judge himself who appears on a white cloud, with a sharp sickle in his hand. It is of like significance, when, from the first of the seals, [3542] the victorious form of the Lord himself proceeds.

The description (Revelation 14:14 ) allows us to think only of Christ himself, [3543] but could not mean an angel, [3544] who possibly represented Christ, [3545] or “the heroes and chiefs who, armed with zeal for the truth, plead the cause of the Church, and executed the judgments of God.” [3546] Decisive is the solemn designation ὅμοιον υἱῷ ἀνθρώπου ; [3547] also the appearance on the cloud, [3548] and the golden crown indicating a special glory as victor, [3549] make the reference to Christ himself still more certain. The expression ἄλλος ἄγγ . (Revelation 14:15 ), besides, does not compel us here [3550] to understand an angel also in Revelation 14:14 , because the ἄλλος alludes to the angels mentioned in Revelation 14:6 sqq, [3551] and the objection that Christ himself could not have received a command [3552] from an angel, is settled by the fact that the angel is only the bearer of the command coming from God. [3553] See, also, on Revelation 14:17

καθήμενον . The accus., as Revelation 4:4 .

ἔχων . Cf. Revelation 14:12 , Revelation 14:7 ; Revelation 10:2 .

δρέπ . ὀξύ . Therefore serviceable for use in such a way that this sickle allows nothing to stand which is ripe for cutting.

ἐκ τοὺ ναοῦ , Revelation 14:15 ; cf. Revelation 11:19 . The angel appears as one immediately sent from God. πέμψον , cf. Joel 3:13 ; Mark 4:29 . The expression is here especially significant, because the idea is presented that the sickle thrust forth on the earth (Revelation 14:16 ) is to cut down there.

ἡ ὥρα θερίσα ; construed as Revelation 9:10 , Revelation 11:16 .

ἐξηράνθη . The sign of the ripeness, since the figure of a field of corn is here [3554] presented.

ὁ θερισμὸς τῆς γῆς . The authentic explanation follows (Revelation 14:16 ): ἐθερίσθη ἡ γῆ . The whole earth is the harvest-field; the ripe stalks are those καθήμενοι ἐπι τ . γ ., Revelation 14:6 .

[3541] Joel 3:13 . Cf. Knobel, Proph ., I. 369 sqq.

[3542] Revelation 6:2 .

[3543] Beda, Andr., Eichh., Calov., Ew. i., Hengstenb., Ebrard, Volkm.

[3544] Grot., Vitr., Beng., Züll., De Wette.

[3545] Grot., De Wette, Ew. ii.

[3546] Vitr.

[3547] Cf. Revelation 1:13 ; Daniel 7:13 .

[3548] Cf. Revelation 1:7 ; Dan., I. c.

[3549] Cf. Revelation 6:2 , Revelation 19:12 .

[3550] Cf., on the contrary, Revelation 10:1 , Revelation 7:2 .

[3551] In Revelation 14:6 . also, the ἄλλος does not have its reference in what immediately precedes.

[3552] Revelation 14:15 : Πἐμψον , κ . τ . λ .

[3553] Cf. Mark 13:32 .

[3554] Cf., on the other hand, Revelation 14:18 sqq.

Verses 14-20

Revelation 14:14-20 . After the paracletic episode (Revelation 14:12 sq.), there follow again, in a new vision (Revelation 14:14 : καὶ εἰδον καὶ ἰδού , cf. Revelation 14:1 ), symbolical declarations of the judgment now impending over the earth. [3540] Cf. Revelation 14:6 sqq.

[3540] Doing homage to the beast, ch. 13

Verses 17-20

Revelation 14:17-20 . Another angel, [3555] likewise coming from the heavenly temple, and therefore from God himself, intrusted with a work symbolizing the final judgment, has, as one like the Son of man (Revelation 14:14 ), a sharp sickle, by which the ripened clusters in the vineyard of the earth are to be harvested. Not only does this occur at the command brought again by another angel, but the clusters are also pressed.

[3555] Cf. Revelation 14:15 .

καὶ αὐτός . The formula [3556] marks only that the same thing is said by this person as by the person designated in Revelation 14:14 ; but in other respects the persons are by no means “put on the same level,” [3557] so that it does not follow from Revelation 14:17 that the one like the Son of man is an angel. Still less, however, can it be inferred to the contrary, from Revelation 14:14 , that the ἄγγελος (Revelation 14:17 ) is not an angel, but the Lord himself. [3558]

The other angel (Revelation 14:18 ), who brings to the one mentioned in Revelation 14:17 the command for harvesting the vineyard of the earth, is in a twofold respect significantly characterized, according to his place of starting: ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου , and according to his peculiar power: ὁ ἔχων ἐξουσίαν ἐπὶ τοῦ πυρός . He came forth “out of the altar.” [3559] This idea is derived from the ἐκ , which is to be rendered here “from,” [3560] as little as the ἀπό in Revelation 9:13 . Its meaning is to be derived from the description (Revelation 8:3 sqq.), [3561] in connection with the designation of the ἐξουσία which the angel has over fire. [3562] The same altar beneath which the souls of the martyrs lie, crying for vengeance, and from which not only the fire is taken which, cast upon the earth, gives the signal in general for the trumpet-visions announcing the beginning of the vengeance, but whence, also, in the sixth trumpet-vision especially, the voice sounds that calls forth a destructive army upon the earth, appears significantly in this passage as the proper place of an angel who transmits the command for the execution of judgment, and who, since he has power over fire, [3563] manifests himself as one whose sending brings an answer to the prayers of the martyrs, and thus, by his entire manner and appearance, recalls the blood-guilt of the enemies whose blood is now to cover the earth (Revelation 14:20 ).

ΤΡΎΓΗΣΟΝ . Luke 6:44 .

ΚΑῚ ἜΒΑΛΕΝ , Κ . Τ . Λ . , Revelation 14:19 . Cf. Revelation 14:16 . Here, however, the figure is not limited to the mere cutting-off of the clusters, but the pressing also follows: ΚΑῚ ἜΒΑΛΕΝ ΕἸς ΤῊΝ ΛΗΝῸΝ Τ . ΘΥΜ . Τ . Θ . ΤῸΝ ΜΕΓ . In reference to the remarkable combination of the masc. ΤῸΝ ΜΕΓ . with the fem. ΤῊΝ ΛΗΝ , [3564] cf. Winer, p. 490, who explains the masc. by the fact that ὁ λην . also occurs. But a reason why this change of the gen. has happened is scarcely to be found. At all events, Proverbs 18:14 should be recalled, where the word רוּח occurs first as masc. because the spirit appears in more forcible activity, and afterwards as fem., because, since it suffers from disease, it is represented in feminine weakness. So, too, the masc. τόν μέγ . could be attached to the ordinary feminine form τὴν λην ., because this form appears appropriate to the representation of the wrath of God as active in the pressing.

καὶ ἐπατήθη ἡ λην . The standing expression: cf. Joel 3:13 ; Isaiah 63:2 sq.

ἔξωθεν τῆς πόλεως . “The city,” without further designation, cannot be Rome, [3565] but only Jerusalem; yet not the heavenly Jerusalem, [3566] also not Jerusalem so far as the holy city represents the Church, [3567] but the real, earthly Jerusalem, against which, as is stated in Revelation 20:9 , the hosts of the world rush, but will be annihilated there before the holy city. [3568] Incorrectly, Grotius: “This did not occur in the city, because there were no Jews there.” [3569]

αἰμα . In Isaiah 63:3 , LXX., the blood is also expressly mentioned, which is properly meant by the figure of the juice of grapes.

ἄχρι τῶν χαλινῶν τῶν ἰππων , κ . τ . λ . How fearful the bloodshed is, is illustrated by designating it as a stream of blood which is so deep as to reach to the reins of the horses wading therein, while its extent is given as sixteen hundred furlongs. [3570] In this sense, the first expression, ἄχρι τ . χαλ . τ . ἵππ ., is understood by almost all expositors; [3571] but the reference to the extent of the stream of blood is not without difficulty. Passing by purely arbitrary explanations, [3572] only two possibilities are offered: either the designation of the measure must be regarded as schematical, whether it depend upon the adoption of an hyperbole not to be urged with respect to details, [3573] or the number four [3574] be considered as a root, and then the number 1,600 reduced to 4 × 4 × 100, [3575] or 40 × 40, [3576] or 4 × 400, [3577] be taken in the sense which Victorin. [3578] and Beda already have; or the sixteen hundred furlongs must be understood accurately and properly, so that the length of Palestine is designated, according to the statement of Jerome, who [3579] says: “From Dan to Beersheba, which is extended scarcely to the distance of clx. miles.” In accordance with this are the explanations not only of Eichh., Heinr., Züll., Ewald, etc., who [3580] maintained that the scene of Revelation 14:20 is in the Holy Land, but also of C. a Lap., etc., who understand by the Holy Land the Church; and of Grot. and Beng., who, in a different respect, wanted to reach the meaning that the bloodshed occurred even beyond the boundaries of Palestine. [3581] But the entire explanation, based upon the statement of Jerome, is hardly tenable, because, if John had wished, by means of a geographical designation of length, to refer to the Holy Land, the number must have been accurate. But this is not the case; for, as a Roman mile contained eight furlongs, [3582] the one hundred and sixty Roman miles of Jerome would correspond to twelve hundred and eighty, but not to sixteen hundred stadia. [3583] It is highly probable, therefore, that the schematic number, which is intended to represent the vast extent of the stream of blood proceeding from the horns of the altar, has grown in a similar way from the number four, which refers to all four ends of the earth, [3584] to that in which, in Revelation 7:4 , Revelation 14:1 , the number one hundred and forty-four thousand has been developed from the holy radical twelve.

[3556] Cf. Revelation 14:10 .

[3557] De Wette.

[3558] Against Hengstenb.

[3559] Mentioned in Revelation 8:3 sqq., Revelation 16:7 .

[3560] Ew. i., De Wette, Ebrard.

[3561] Cf. Revelation 6:9 , Revelation 9:13 , Revelation 16:7 .

[3562] ἐπὶ τ . πυρ ., as Revelation 11:6 ; cf. Revelation 6:8 .

[3563] Viz., of that altar; cf. Grot., Vitr., Ewald; but not over fire in general (cf. Revelation 16:5 ), for this general reference is here entirely out of place.

[3564] The MSS. allow neither τὸν λην .

τὸν μέγ ., nor τὴν λην .

την μεγ . ἡ λην . occurs also in Revelation 14:20 ; Revelation 19:15 . Lücke ( Einl ., II., p. 464) regards it possible, even though very harsh, for the τον μἐγαν , by a construction according to the sense, to refer to τοῦ θυμοῦ τ . θ ., and to have the meaning of τοῦ μεγάλου . Yet he also recurs to Winer’s explanation.

[3565] Hammond, Wetst., Calov., Hilgenf., Kienlen, etc.

[3566] Beda, Marlorat., who recall that the lost shall suffer pain outside of heaven, viz., in hell.

[3567] Hengstenb.: “It is declared that not the members of the Church, but the world outside the Church, shall be judged.”

[3568] Cf. Eichh., Züll., Ew., De Wette, etc.

[3569] Cf. the close of the verse.

[3570] On the ἀπὸ before σταδ ., cf. Meyer on John 11:18 .

[3571] Nevertheless, many of the older commentators have allegorized also here. Thus Victorin. found it indicated that also “the princes,” Beda that even the devil, would not be exempt. Hengstenb., incorrectly, brings in the horsemen of Revelation 19:14 . Cf. Ebrard.

[3572] e.g., Wetst., who referred it to the vastness of Otho’s camp on the Po.

[3573] Zeger.

[3574] Cf. Revelation 7:1 .

[3575] Hengstenb.

[3576] Ebrard.

[3577] Marlorat., Vitr., etc.

[3578] “Throughout all the four parts of the world.”

[3579] Ep. ad Dard. Opp. , T. III., p. 46.

[3580] Cf. the ἐξ τ . πὁλεως .

[3581] Grot. refers to the fact that Trajan put to death Jews in Syria, Egypt, etc.

[3582] Cf. Winer, Rwb. , II. 588. Stadium.

[3583] Another circumstance is, that the length of the Holy Land is not sixteen hundred stadia, i.e., forty German miles, but, as Jerome correctly says, scarcely one hundred and sixty Roman miles, i.e., thirty-two German miles. Ew. ii., indeed, tries to find in the text only a large round number, by mentioning at the same time, that clusters of grapes appear, e.g., on coins, as a symbol of the Holy Land. But he errs in finding a devastation of the Holy Land here set forth, while the subject has really to do with the inhabitants of the earth, whose place of execution, as in Revelation 20:9 , is outside the city, and, therefore, in the Holy Land, and in urging the special reference of the “cluster of grapes “to the Holy Land; and thereby injures the parallelism between the “harvest,” Revelation 14:15 sqq., and the “wine harvest,” Revelation 14:18 sqq., which then affords only a more general significance.

[3584] Cf. Revelation 4:6 .

In the systematic connection of the entire Apocalyptic development, the vision (Revelation 14:14-20 ) has the same relation to the express description of the actual final judgment (ch. 17 sqq.), as the sixth seal-vision (Revelation 6:12 sqq.) has already to the fulfilment of the mystery of God, [3585] which does not occur until in the seventh seal. Both the sense and the expression [3586] show that the judgment portrayed in Revelation 14:14 sqq. is the final judgment itself; this is indicated also by the appearance on the cloud of one like the Son of man (Revelation 14:14 ), and therefore of the coming Judge himself, besides the special point in Revelation 14:20 ( ἔξ . τ . πολ .) comprised in the account of Revelation 20:9 . But, on the other hand, it is to be observed that a complete account of the catastrophe is not yet given; in what way the various enemies (the secular power, the false prophet, even the dragon himself) are judged, is not at all described here; add to this, that the manifestation of the Judge (Revelation 14:14-17 ) does not at all correspond with what is to be expected according to Revelation 1:7 , [3587] and that immediately afterwards, in Revelation 14:19 sqq., it is an angel, and not the Lord himself, who appears as executor of the vengeance. From all this, it is to be inferred that the vision (Revelation 14:14-20 ) [3588] brings, it is true, a preliminary representation of the final judgment, but, nevertheless, that the systematic introduction of the complete account is not disturbed; because of its proleptical character, the scheme of the prophetical development does not become apparent, and especially the actual end is not set before us in Revelation 14:20 , in the sense, as though by “recapitulating” in some way with Revelation 15:1 , [3589] it were again retraced. [3590]

Vitr. interprets Revelation 14:14-20 of the judgment of the false (i.e., the Papal) Church.

[3585] Cf. Revelation 10:7 .

[3586] Revelation 14:16 : ἐθερίσθη ; Revelation 14:19 : ἐτρύγησε , ἔβαλεν ; Revelation 14:20 : ἐπατηθη .

[3587] Cf. Revelation 6:2 ; Revelation 6:12 sqq., Revelation 11:15 sqq.

[3588] Cf. also Revelation 14:1-6 .

[3589] Cf. Introduction, p. 13 sq.

[3590] Against Beda, etc.

Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 14". Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hmc/revelation-14.html. 1832.
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