Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 19



Revelation 19:1 . ὡς φωνὴν μεγάλην ὄχλου πολλοῦ . So already Beng., Griesb., according to decisive witnesses. So also λεγόντων (Elz.: λέγοντος ). The reading τοῦ θεοῦ ἠμῶν (Elz.: κυρίῳ τῷ θεῷ ἡμ .) is also indisputable (Griesb., Lach., Tisch.).

Revelation 19:5 . τῷ θεῷ . So A, B, C, א , Beng., Lach., Tisch. [W. and H.]. The accus. (Rec.) is a modification.

Revelation 19:6 . The Rec. λεγόντων (Lach., Tisch. IX.) [bracketed by W. and H.] has, indeed A and other witnesses in its favor, but is subject to suspicion as a modification ( א : λεγούσων ). More probable is the reading λέγοντας (2, 12, 16, al., Beng.); but what commends itself to most, just because of its incorrectness, is the nom. λέγοντες (B, 4, 7, 8, Tich., Tisch.); cf. the δώσωμεν in 11 (Wetst.).

Revelation 19:9 . The art. οἱ before ἀληθινοὶ (A, Beng., Lach., Tisch.) is probable; certainly the εἰσιν belongs to the close. א 1 has οὖτ . οἱ λόγ . μον ἀληθ . εἰσ . τ . θ ., but corr. λόγ . τ . θ . ἀλ . εἰς ; so Tisch. IX.

Revelation 19:12 . The ὡς before φλοξ (Elz., Lach.) is indorsed by A, al., Vulg., but may have been interpolated as a modification; cf. Revelation 1:14 . It is wanting in B, א , al. (Beng., Tisch. [W. and H.]).

The addition between ἕχων and ὅνομα of ὀνόματα γεγραμμένα καὶ , adopted by Tisch. 1859, and not by IX., has too little authorization from B, min., Syr. (against A, min., Vulg., Orig., al.). The plural alone also occurs ( א corr.; cf. also Wetst.). Why it has sometimes been regarded more suitable, is to be seen in Andr., who presupposes the sing, ( τὸ ἄγνωστον τοῦ ὀνόματος ), and remarks: Christ has many names if the subject be with respect to his various revelations; but, as to his nature, he is ineffable ( ταῖς γὰρ οἰκονομῖαις ὢν πολυώνυμος , ὡς ἀγαθὸς , ὡς ποιμὴν , ὡς ἤλιος , κ . τ . λ .; τῇ ουσίᾳ ἐστὶν ἀνώνυμος καὶ ἀνέφικτος . [For being in his administrations many-named, as Good, Shepherd, Sun, etc., but in essence without name and beyond reach]).

Revelation 19:13 . Instead of καλεῖται (Elz., Beng.), read κέκληται (A, B, א , al., Lach., Tisch. [W. and H.]).

Revelation 19:19 . Before πόλεμον , the art. τὸν is to be inserted in the Rec. (A, B, א , Lach., Tisch. [W. and H.]).

The judgment over the great harlot, i.e., the great city, is now actually fulfilled. [4021] But just as the casting of the arch-enemy from heaven, the first proof of the Divine victory over antichrist, was celebrated with a loud song of praise, [4022] so now also heavenly hallelujahs resound, since the first act of the final judgment over the antichristian powers in the service of Satan has been accomplished (Revelation 19:1-8 ). A direct reference to the blessed fulfilment of the mystery of God, [4023] the glory prepared for believers, is immediately connected with this (Revelation 19:9 sq., cf. Revelation 19:7 ); for the pre-requisite for the entrance of that glory, the conquest of the antichristian enemies, is comprised already in the fulfilment.

The development of a catastrophe so long prepared, once begun, now, however, proceeds quickly to a still greater extent: the Lord himself, a just Judge and almighty Victor, goes forth with his heavenly hosts to the annihilation of the entire antichristian empire, besides all kings and nations belonging thereto; the beast from the sea, and the false prophet, are cast alive into the lake of fire, and the inhabitants of the earth are slain with the sword which proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord, and serve as food for fowls.

[4021] Cf. the preliminary remarks on ch.18

[4022] Revelation 12:10 .

[4023] Cf. Revelation 10:7 .

Verses 1-2

Revelation 19:1-2 . ἤκουσα ὦς φωνὴν μεγάλην ὄχλου πολλοῦ . “I heard” (something) “like a great voice of a large multitude,” The ὡς , κ . τ . λ ., [4025] states, by way of comparison, that the sound perceived by John became as loud as though a great multitude of men had made their voice sound powerfully (cf. Revelation 19:6 ). Incorrectly, Beng., Hengstenb., etc., who by the ὌΧΛ . ΠΟΛΛ . wish those named in Revelation 18:20 to be recognized. Ew. ii. refers it, just as Revelation 12:10-12 , to the glorified martyrs.

ʼΑΛΛΗΛΟΎΪΑ . The leading tone of this song, resounding repeatedly (Revelation 19:3-4 ; Revelation 19:6 ), is marked from the very beginning as that of an exalted ascription of praise. It is certainly not unintentional, that just here, after the complete judgment upon the enemies of God and of his believers has already begun, the express hallelujah is found, which does not occur elsewhere in the Apoc. [4026] The four fold repetition, however, is not to be pressed, at least in the sense of Hengstenb., [4027] because it is not the victory over the earth, but that over the harlot, that is celebrated.

ΣΩΤΗΡΊΑ , Κ . Τ . Λ . Cf. Revelation 7:10 , Revelation 12:10 .

ὌΤΙ ἈΛΗΘ ., Κ . Τ . Λ . Foundation of the praise in the righteousńess of the Divine judgments in general; [4028] there follows [4029] the concrete foundation in the judgment just fulfilled, whose justice is expressly emphasized. [4030]

[4025] Cf. Revelation 4:6 .

[4026] Nor does it occur in the rest of the N. T.

[4027] With reference to the victory of God over the earth, whose sign is four.

[4028] Cf. Revelation 16:7 .

[4029] Cf. Revelation 18:23 , where there are also two co-ordinated clauses with οτι .

[4030] ἥτις , κ . τ . λ . Cf. Revelation 12:13 . On the subject, cf. Revelation 18:23 sq., also Revelation 11:18 , Revelation 6:10 .

Verses 1-8

Revelation 19:1-8 . The ascription of praise to God on the part of those who dwell in heaven is made in songs, which properly now change to a far richer fulness (Revelation 19:1 sq., Revelation 19:3 , Revelation 19:4 , Revelation 19:5 , Revelation 19:6 sq.) than previously. [4024]

[4024] Cf. Revelation 4:8 sqq., Revelation 5:9 sqq., Revelation 11:15 sqq., Revelation 15:3 , Revelation 16:5 sqq.

Verse 3

Revelation 19:3 . Further raising of the song of praise on the part of those who have sung in Revelation 19:1 sqq., a sort of antistrophe to the preceding strophe. [4031]

ΚΑῚ ΚΆΠΝΟς , Κ . Τ . Λ . The point in the ascription of praise, referring to Revelation 18:8 ( ΚΑΤΑΚΑΥΘ . , cf. Revelation 18:9 ; Revelation 18:18 ), may accordingly enter in the form of the connective ( ΚΑῚ ), because the song, Revelation 19:3 , is an amplification of the ascription of praise, Revelation 19:1 sq.

[4031] De Wette, who is right in rejecting the arbitrary assumption of Ewald, to connect Revelation 19:3 to Revelation 19:2 .

Verse 4

Revelation 19:4 . The twenty-four elders and the four beings, responding first of all by the ʼΑμήν , confirming the ascription of praise just proclaimed, then also, on their part, expressly continue the same: ἀλληλ . [4032]

[4032] Cf. Revelation 5:8 ; Revelation 5:14 , Revelation 4:11 .

Verse 5

Revelation 19:5 . ἀπὸ τοῦ θρόνου . “Out of the throne.” It does not follow that the voice is that of Christ who sits upon the throne. [4033] Beng. writes that it belongs to the four beasts; Züll. and De Wette, to one of them. It may be referred also to the elders, because of the form of the summons ( Τ . Θ . ἩΜῶΝ ). [4034]

Τῷ ΘΕῷ . The dat. with ΑἸΝΕῖΝ , which is regarded as though it were ΔΙΔΌΝΑΙ ΑῚΝΟΝ , [4035] occurs also in the LXX. [4036] Comparison with the Hebrew text shows not only that the expression ΑἸΝΕῖΤΕ Τῷ ΘΕῷ says precisely the same as the ἉΛΛΗΛΟΥΪΆ retained in the Hebrew form, [4037] but also that the construction of αἰνεῖν with the dat. has occurred where the הַלֵּל was combined with כְ . In Jeremiah 20:13 , a clause so construed at any rate precedes.

πἀντες οἱ δοῦλοι αὐτοῦ . Cf. Psalms 135:1 .

οἱ φοβούμενοι , κ . τ . λ . Cf. Psalms 115:13 .

[4033] Against Ewald, Hengstenb.

[4034] Cf. also Revelation 5:9 .

[4035] Luke 18:43 .

[4036] 1 Chronicles 16:36 ; 1 Chronicles 23:5 ; 2 Chronicles 20:19 ; Jeremiah 20:13 .

[4037] Cf. Hesych., who very accurately explains ἀλληλ .: αἶνος τῷ ὅντι θεῷ , αἰνεῖτε τὸν κυριον [“Praise to him that is God, praise ye the Lord”].

Verses 6-8

Revelation 19:6-8 . The final chorus, which is likewise opened with hallelujah, passing by the judgment in which already the adorable glory of God has been occupied, points forward especially to the marriage of the Lamb, and, therefore, to the revelation of the glory of God, whereby after all enemies have been judged believers are to be beatified. Thus, therefore, the point carried to the full end appears in the pause in the Apocalyptic development marked by the ascriptions of praise (Revelation 19:1 sqq.).

ὡς φωνὴν , κ . τ . λ . The explanation given at Revelation 19:1 is here established by the fact that the comparison is satisfied not with the ὄχλ . πολλ ., but introduces still other things in the same sense. [4038]

λέγοντες . The nom. stands still more out of construction than the ace. See Critical Notes, and cf. Revelation 4:1 , Revelation 5:13 .

ὅτι ἐβασίλευσεν . The ὅτι specifying the reason as in Revelation 19:2 . On the conception ἐβασίλ ., cf. Revelation 11:17 .

ὅτι ἧλθενγάμος του ἀρνίου . As the foundation of the present joy, this is likewise to be understood proleptically, like the ἡλθεν , Revelation 11:18 . [4039] So, correctly, De Wette. [4040] Vitr. is mistaken in his opinion of the state of affairs described, as he even states that the expression ὁ γάμος τοῦ ἀρνίου is synonymous with τὸ δεῖπνον τοῦ γάμου τ . ἀρν ., in order that both may in the same way [4041] refer to the glorious state of the Church still to be expected within this temporal life. In the directly opposite interest, Züll. reaches the statement that ὁ γάμος τοῦ ἀρνίου is like τὸ δεῖπν . τ . γάμ . τ . ἀρν ., and that both expressions designate, not the future marriage itself, [4042] but “the preliminary festival of the Messiah’s marriage,” i.e., the one thousand years’ reign. [4043] But the marriage of the Lamb with his bride, i.e., the entire assembly of believers, [4044] is, in fact, nothing else than the distribution of the eternal reward of grace on the part of the coming Lord to his believers, who then enter with Him into the full glory of the heavenly life. [4045] What the final promises of the epistles, chs. 2 and 3, proclaim under various figures with respect to individuals, [4046] is represented as pertaining to the entire Church as the bride of the coming Lord, under the figure of the marriage of the Lamb, and, therefore, as the most intimate and eternally uninterrupted fellowship with Him who has redeemed the Church with his own blood. [4047] An application to individuals follows also in Revelation 19:9 . The proleptical ( ὴλθεν , ἡτοίμασεν , ἐδόθη ) allusion to the blessed fulfilment of the mystery of God, [4048] that has now not yet, in fact, occurred, is here the more suitable in the mouths of the heavenly beings, since, in fact, an act already of the final judgment viz., the destruction of the great harlot has been executed, and, consequently, the actual beginning of that fulfilment has been made.

γννὴ αὐτ . The expression is entirely appropriate to the bride, [4049] so that the alteration ἡ νύμφη αὐτ . [4050] appears groundless.

ἡτοίμασεν ἑαυτήν . As becomes the bride who with joy awaits the coming of her bridegroom. [4051] An important part of her is expressly emphasized in Revelation 19:8 , in conformity with the figure ΚΑῚ ἘΔΌΘΗ ΑὙΤῇ , Κ . Τ . Λ . , and then interpreted by John, ΤῸ ΓᾺΡ ΒΎΣΣΙΝΟΝ , Κ . Τ . Λ .

On ἘΔΌΘΗ ΑὐΤῆ ἽΝΑ , cf. Revelation 6:4 .

ΒΎΣΣ . ΛΑΜΠΡῸΝ ΚΑΘΑΡΌΝ . Excellently, Grot.: “You see here the dignified garb, as that of a matron, not ostentatious, like that of the harlot previously described.” That really distinct references are intended by ΛΑΜΠΡΌΝ and ΚΑΘΑΡΌΝ , [4052] is not to be inferred at all events from the interpretation that follows. Cf. also Revelation 7:14 . Meanwhile, it is in itself correct to distinguish the negative innocency of the life from the positive practice of virtue.

ΤᾺ ΔΙΚΑΙΏΜΑΤΑ ΤῶΝ ἉΓΊΩΝ ἘΣΤΊΝ . Cf. a similar interpretation, Revelation 5:8 . The form of the expression, [4053] and the real parallel, [4054] suggest only just deeds in which the saints have maintained their fidelity. On the contrary, Ew. ii.: declaration of righteousness; also Meyer, on Romans 5:16 : the divine sentence of justification which the saints have received. But the plural form resists this mode of exposition, which, so far as the subject itself is concerned, refers to the writer of the Apocalypse a thought of so peculiarly a Pauline stamp as does not occur elsewhere in the Apoc. Of course, an allusion to the grace bestowed by God, as the ground and source of the δικαιώματα belonging to the saints, is contained in a delicate way in the ἘΔΌΘΗ ΑὐΤῇ ἽΝΑ , Κ . Τ . Λ . ; but just this reference to the Divine giving prevents us, on the other hand, from defining the ΔΙΚΑΙὩΜΑΤΑ as a Divine activity, but allows us to think only of the just deeds of saints . [4055] In this result Gebhardt [4056] and Klief. also harmonize. [See Note LXXXIV., p. 461.]

[4038] Cf. Revelation 1:15 .

[4039] Cf. Revelation 14:7 .

[4040] Cf. also Hengstenb.

[4041] Cf. Revelation 21:9 sqq.

[4042] Revelation 21:9 sqq.

[4043] Revelation 20:4 sqq.

[4044] Revelation 21:9 . Revelation 22:17 . Cf. Revelation 12:1 ; Isaiah 54:1 sqq.; Hosea 2:19 sq.; Ezekiel 16:7 sqq.; Ephesians 5:25 .

[4045] Cf. Revelation 11:18 , Revelation 22:12 .

[4046] Cf. especially Revelation 3:20 .

[4047] Cf. Revelation 5:6 ; Revelation 5:9 , Revelation 7:17 , Revelation 14:1 .

[4048] Cf. Revelation 10:7 .

[4049] Genesis 29:20 ; Deuteronomy 22:24 ; Matthew 1:20 .

[4050] א . Cf. Revelation 21:9 .

[4051] Cf. Revelation 22:17 , Revelation 21:2 ; Matthew 25:10 : αἱ ἔτοιμοι .

[4052] Hengstenb.: “The brilliant glory of a virtuous life, and spotless purity from sins.”

[4053] Cf. Revelation 15:4 .

[4054] Cf. Revelation 14:4 sq.

[4055] Cf. the ἀδικήματα , Revelation 18:5 .

[4056] p. 176.


LXXXIV. Revelation 19:8 . τὰ δικαιώματα τῶν ἁγίων

Some of the older Protestant interpreters explain the plural δικαιώματα , as determined by the fact that it comprises the two righteousnesses of the believer, the imputed righteousness of Christ and his own inherent righteousness. So Forbes in Poole’s Synopsis . Calov. also, upon the ground that the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer will never cease. Others, like Cluverus, maintain that each saint has a δικαίωμα ; and, therefore, there are δικαιώματα , because there are many saints. So Alford: “The plural is probably distributive, implying not many δικαιώματα to each one, as if they were merely good deeds, but one δικαίωμα to each of the saints, enveloping him as in a pure white robe of righteousness.” John Gerhard ( L. C ., viii. 167) also adopts the distributive use of the plural, although referring it to imputed righteousness. Philippi ( Kirch. Glaubenslehre , v. 1, 252), however, concurs with Düsterdieck: “The right deeds of the saints are the robe of fine linen, to be clothed in which is granted them (Revelation 19:8 ).”

Verses 9-10

Revelation 19:9-10 . The significance of the short interlude lies in what the angel says to John (Revelation 19:9 ), by applying in express exhortation, [4057] the reference contained already in the ascription of praise of the heavenly beings, to the goal of all the hopes of believers, and emphatically confirming the consolatory certainty of the hope thus set before believers, by the assurance that this word of God is true. Also to the prophetical declaration of this glorious hope by John, an attestation is given in Revelation 19:10 , which must confirm believers [4058] receiving the testimony of the prophet in the hope and patience upon which their victory depends.

λέγει -g0- μοι -g0- . The one speaking is, at all events, according to Revelation 19:10 , an angel; but not “an interpreting angel,” such as Ewald and Ebrard think was the constant attendant of John, [4059] but the angel who from Revelation 17:1 on serves John as the communicator of the revelation. [4060] To this points also the immediately succeeding declaration of the same angel ( οὖτοι οἱ λόγοι , κ . τ . λ .).

Γράψον μακάριοι , κ . τ . λ .). Cf. Revelation 14:3 .

τὸ δεῖπνον τοῦ γάμ . τ . ἀρν . In a still more concrete way than Revelation 19:7 ( ὁ γάμος τ . ἀρν .) is the final blessed communion with the Lord illustrated. Moreover the paracletic pertinence of the discourse brings with it also the fact that it is not the idea of the Church as the bride of the Lamb, but that of individual believers as wedding guests, which enters here. [4061] By the repetition of the formula καὶ λέγει μοι , the succeeding speech of the angel is especially separated from his preceding words, and thus receives a peculiar importance. If we suppose that the art. is to be read before ἀληθινοὶ , [4062] which certainly does not serve to facilitate the construction, [4063] we must translate with Beng., Ebrard, Bleek, and Ew. ii.: “These are the true words of God.” The ingenious explanation of Hengstenb. (“These words are true, they are words of God”), even apart from the art. before ἀληθ ., is refuted by the fact that the εἰσίν , in any case, belongs not before, but after, the τοῦ θεοῦ . De Wette, who translates: “These words are the true (words) of God,” [4064] appeals, in opposition to Beng., to the parallel, Revelation 21:5 . But there the construction of the sentence is extremely simple, since to the subj. οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι the definition of the predicate is added, πιστοὶ καὶ ἀληθινοί εἰσιν ; but here not only the τοῦ θεοῦ , but especially the art. before ἀληθ ., effects another relation in the entire statement. By means of this art., it becomes far simpler to bring together οἱ λόγοι οἱ ἀληθινοὶ , and to understand these words combined with τοῦ θεοῦ as a predicate to the subject οὖτοι . [4065] But the sense is by no means that which Bengel’s explanation suggests to De Wette, [4066] but after the angel has afforded John the revelation of the judgment upon the harlot, and, from this beginning of the final judgment, has given an intimation concerning the blessed mystery of God, which lies back of the entire judgment, he reviews all the words of revelation, of which he had served as the interpreter to the prophet from Revelation 17:1 on. These, he says, are the true, i.e., the genuine and right, words of God. The ἀληθινοί here mentions not the truth or the correctness of the contents, but the reality of the correlated statement: τοῦ θεοῦ . This explanation is afforded, on the one hand, by the plural οἱ λόγοι alone, which Hengstenb., as well as Klief., refers to 5 8, Ebrard to 6 8 and 9, but the most do not take into further consideration, and, on the other hand, also by what is reported in Revelation 19:10 . Ebrard was on the right track when he alluded to the expression οἱ λόγοι τοῦ θεοῦ , Revelation 17:17 ; but he wanders from it again, when, just as he understands those λόγοι τοῦ θεοῦ as promises concerning the final redemption of the Church, so, in this passage, he limits the λόγοι οἱ ἀληθ . τ . θ . to Revelation 19:6-9 . The latter is not entirely correct; for there is no reason for excluding the songs of Revelation 19:1-5 , which also refer to the goal presented in Revelation 19:9 , in a manner precisely identical with Revelation 19:6-8 . But what is said from Revelation 19:1 on, concerning the now-impending glorification of the Church, has to do with but one side of the subject, with only one part of the λόγοι τοῦ θεοῦ (Revelation 17:17 ), or of the mystery of God, announced by the ancient prophets. [4067] This one point is made prominent also in the songs from Revelation 19:1 on, only upon the ground of the judgment lying before the same, which is now already fulfilled in an act. As now (Revelation 17:17 ) the λόγοι τ . θεοῦ contain both, viz., the proclamation of the Divine judgment against every thing antichristian, the kings of the world, with the beast of the world, are to rule only until the words of God, which proclaim the destruction of these same powers, shall find their fulfilment, i.e., until the dominion of those antichristian powers shall be annihilated according to God’s declaration, and the promise; the λόγοι οἱ ἀληθ . τ . θ ., in this passage, refer to all the revelations which the prophet has received, as the fulfilment of the promise (Revelation 17:1 ) of the angel even now also speaking with him ( δεἰξω σοι τὸ κρίμα τῆς πόρνης τ . μεγ .), i.e., they refer to Revelation 18:1 to Revelation 19:9 . By the expression οὐτοι οἱ λόγοι οἱ ἀληθ ., a review is made of that entire section in which the expressions referring to the glorification of believers, Revelation 19:1-9 , are represented in most immediate combination with judgment upon the antichristian powers already fulfilled in one act in a way precisely analogous to that of Revelation 22:6 , where, at the conclusion of the entire revelation, a confirmatory reference is made to all that was disclosed to the gazing prophet, from Revelation 4:1 on, as about to happen. But in this passage, also, such a conclusion is entirely justified, because here an important part of what was to happen had already happened, viz., the judgment upon the great harlot; and therewith the fulfilment of the words, [4068] or of the mystery, [4069] of God, had already begun. Now also there is given to the prophet the direct pledge of the certainty of what he has beheld; that these words which he has received are the actual and true words of God himself. From this the explanation follows as to why it is that John (Revelation 19:10 ) [4070] falls down before the angel in order “to worship” him. Ebrard is wrong in his attempt to attach a prophetic significance to this occurrence; viz., that the children of God are to be warned against the temptation of worshipping angels, “who have brought about the victory over antichrist.” The last is here entirely foreign. Grot., Vitr., Beng., etc., recognize in the adoring prostration an excessive token of gratitude, and therefore forbidden also by the angel. [4071] De Wette, in accordance with his exposition of 9 b , finds here an expression of joyful astonishment at prophecies so confirmed (?). But partly from what precedes ( λόγ . οἱ ἀληθ . τοῦ θεοῦ ), and partly from the manner in which the angel rejects the adoration as not due him, as a fellow-servant of John, it may be first of all inferred that John regarded the angel thus addressing him, not as a fellow-servant, but as the Lord himself. [4072] At first, [4073] John had a proper estimate of the angel; but just by what was said (Revelation 19:9 b ), John could attain the supposition that the Lord himself spoke to him.

ὅρα μη . The aposiopesis [4074] is self-evident from what precedes: “See that thou dost it not!” Ay, do it not!

σύνδουλος . Because the angel serves the same Lord [4075] as John and all his brethren, “who have the testimony of Jesus,” i.e., all believers. [4076] The Lord is God; [4077] to him, therefore, belongs the adoration which John intended to offer to the angel ( τῷ θεῷ προσκύνησον ). The entire repulse by the angel does not therefore sound “as tender as possible, almost having the tone of intercession,” [4078] but is throughout decided.

The closing words of Revelation 19:10 belong not to the address of the angel, but are a remark of John, whereby he establishes and explains ( γάρ ) what has just been said by the angel. It is incorrect to explain the gen. τοῦ Ἰησοῦ as subjective, “the testimony proceeding from Jesus;” [4079] for if, on the one hand, reference to the expression ἐχόντων τὴν μαρτ . τοῦ Ἰησοῦ require this explanation, [4080] on the other hand the declaration is intelligible only by defining the μαρτυρία τοῦ Ἰησ . as τὸ πνευμα τῆς προφητείας . This cannot mean: “He who confesses Christ as thou dost has also the spirit of prophecy,” [4081] but designates, in the sense of 1 Peter 1:11 , and in thorough agreement with what is indicated in Revelation 1:1 and Revelation 22:6 ; Revelation 22:16 , concerning the nature and the origin of prophecy, that Christ, by himself imparting his testimony of revelation to a man, fills him [4082] with the spirit of prophecy, who now speaks from and through the prophets. [4083] As Christ, the coming One, is the goal of all Christian prophecy, [4084] so is He also its author. From the closing words of the verse, it might be inferred, [4085] that “they who have the testimony of Jesus” are not believers in general, but only the prophets, so that the angel would call himself a fellow-servant only of the prophets; as Hengstenb. also (Revelation 22:6 ) understands by the ΔΟΎΛΟΙς ΑὐΤΟῦ only prophets. But as (Revelation 22:6 ), on the contrary, the servants of God [4086] are distinguished from the prophets, and considered as the believers for whose instruction the prophets receive their revelations, [4087] so also in this passage. [4088] Believers do not have the testimony proceeding from Jesus without the service of the prophets, as John himself is one; but they are prophets because of the testimony communicated to them by the Lord, which testimony in them is the spirit of prophecy. Thus there is in Revelation 19:10 b an attestation to the prophetical book of John, similar to that which was emphatically maintained in the beginning [4089] and at the close. [4090] [Note LXXXV., p. 461.]

[4057] Cf. Revelation 14:13 .

[4058] Cf. Revelation 1:3 , Revelation 22:18 sqq.

[4059] Cf. Revelation 1:1 .

[4060] Beng., Züll., De Wette, Hengstenb.

[4061] Cf. Revelation 3:20 ; Matthew 22:1 sqq., Matthew 25:1 sqq. Beng., Hengstenb.

[4062] See Critical Notes.

[4063] Against Hengstenb.

[4064] Cf. Züll.: “These true words are God’s words.”

[4065] Cf. Revelation 20:5 ; Luke 24:44 .

[4066] Now the truth of God’s word manifests itself, viz., in its immediate results.

[4067] Revelation 10:7 .

[4068] Revelation 17:17 .

[4069] Revelation 10:7 .

[4070] As also Revelation 22:8 .

[4071] Cf. also Hengstenb., who, however, praises the humility of John as well as of the angel.

[4072] Cf. Laun.

[4073] Revelation 17:1 , Revelation 15:6 , Revelation 16:1 sqq.

[4074] Cf. Winer, p. 558.

[4075] Cf. Revelation 6:11 .

[4076] Cf. Revelation 6:9 .

[4077] Revelation 22:6 .

[4078] Züll.

[4079] Against Ewald: “If any one with constancy maintain faith in Christ;” De Wette; Hengstenb., Ebrard, not clear.

[4080] Cf. Revelation 6:9 , Revelation 12:17 .

[4081] De Wette, Ewald.

[4082] Vitr. paraphrases: “The same Spirit who speaks and acts through those who proclaim the testimony of Christ (which the apostles did), is the very one who speaks through me, who am sent by the Lord to declare to thee the things of the time to come. Thy affairs, therefore, are as important as my dignity, and we are accordingly called, as fellow-servants, to offices of not unequal honor.” But it would be impossible for the concluding words of Revelation 19:10 to belong to the angel (cf. Revelation 19:8 ; Revelation 5:8 ); and the explanation of τ . ἐχόντων τὴν μαρτυρίαν τ . Ἰησ ., which forms its basis, is false.

[4083] Cf. Revelation 2:7 ; Revelation 2:11 ; Revelation 2:17 , Revelation 3:22 , with Revelation 2:1 ; Revelation 2:8 ; Revelation 2:12 , Revelation 3:14 .

[4084] Also of that of O. T., Revelation 10:7 .

[4085] Hengstenb.; cf. Vitr.

[4086] Cf. Revelation 1:1 .

[4087] Cf. Revelation 22:16 .

[4088] Cf., besides, Revelation 22:9 .

[4089] Revelation 1:1 sqq.

[4090] Revelation 22:6 sqq.


LXXXV. Revelation 19:10 . ἡ γὰρ μαρτυρία Ἰησοῦ

Luthardt paraphrases this clause: “He who has this testimony of Jesus participates also in the Spirit who works prophecy, and teaches how it is to be understood, because all prophecy has Jesus Christ as its contents; and, therefore, the knowledge and confession of Jesus Christ is the key of the future.” Cremer accordingly infers that ἔχειν τὴν μαρτ . Ἰησοῦ (Revelation 12:17 , Revelation 19:10 , Revelation 6:9 ) is synonymous with ἔχειν τὸ πν . τῆς προφ . Gebhard also insists on the subjective meaning of Ἰησοῦ here, and says that wherever “the testimony of Jesus” occurs, it is synonymous with “the word of God.” Alford, dissenting from Düsterdieck’s construction of Ἰησοῦ as subjective, says: “What the angel says is this: ‘Thou, and I, and our brethren are all ἔχοντες τὴν μαρτυρίαν Ἰησοῦ ; and the way in which we bear this witness, the substance and essence of this testimony, is the spirit of prophecy; ἓν πνεῦμα ἐποτίσθημεν . This spirit, given to me in that I show thee these things, given to thee in that thou seest and art to write them, is the token that we are fellow-servants and brethren.’ ”

Verses 11-16

Revelation 19:11-16 . The going forth of Christ and his followers from heaven to the judgment.

τὸν οὐρανὸν ἠνεῳγμένον , cf. Revelation 4:1 . The seer, at Revelation 17:3 , in spirit was carried to the earth. [4091]

ΚΑῚ ἸΔΟῪ ἼΠΠΟς ΛΕΥΚῸς , cf. Revelation 4:2 .

ΚΑΛΟΎΜΕΝΟς ΠΙΣΤῸς ΚΑῚ ἈΛΗΘΙΝῸς . The construction of the individual expressions is also entirely similar to that of Revelation 6:2 . The ΚΑΛΟΎΜΕΝΟς placed without ἘΣΤΊΝ in a kind of apposition to ΚΑΘΉΜ . ἘΠʼ ΑὐΤΟΝ effects a transition to the description in the finite tense ( ΚΑῚ ἘΝ ΔΙΚ . ΚΡΊΝΕΙ , Κ . Τ . Λ . ). Concerning the idea of ΠΙΣΤΌς and of ἈΛΗΘΙΝΌς , cf. Revelation 3:7 ; Revelation 3:14 . There is a significant prominence given to the circumstance that the one now going forth to most complete final victory is called not only “faithful,” with respect to his promises to his believers now to be fulfilled by himself, but also “true;” for it is just by his present triumphal march against his enemies, that he proves himself to be the Messiah announced from olden time. Hence the entire description is filled with tones harmonizing with the O. T. prophecies; the Lord now manifests himself as the One who was truly meant in all those prophecies.

ΚΑῚ ἘΝ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝῌ ΚΡΊΝΕΙ . Cf. Isaiah 11:3 sqq. The ΚΑῚ ΠΟΛΕΜΕῖ added in this passage expresses the meaning of the ΚΡΊΝΕΙ in a way corresponding to the nature of the description here presented. [4092]

ΟἹ ΔῈ ΟΦΘΑΛΜΟῚ ΑὐΤ ., Κ . Τ . Λ . Cf. Revelation 1:14 .

ΔΙΑΔΉΜΑΤΑ ΠΟΛΛΆ . If the many diadems upon his head are to be regarded trophies of victories already won, [4093] the kings, possibly the ten kings of ch. 17, [4094] must at all events be regarded as vanquished. But the judgment upon these is not yet fulfilled. It might also be said that the Lord, going forth as triumphant victor, who also (Revelation 6:2 ) receives from the very beginning a victor’s garland, appears here already adorned with the crowns of the kings to be judged by him. But the reference to Revelation 19:16 , where Christ is called the ΒΑΣΙΛΕῪς ΒΑΣΙΛΈΩΝ , is more probable. [4095] The explanation of Andr., that the dominion of Christ over all who are in heaven and on earth is indicated, is too indefinite.


ΑὐΤΌς . Either the name mentioned in Revelation 19:13 is meant, [4096] or although it was “written,” possibly on the Lord’s forehead, [4097] but not, indeed, upon his vesture, [4098] or on the many diadems, [4099] and therefore was visible to John, the name remained, nevertheless, unknown to him, because it was inscrutable [4100] To think of any definite name besides that designated (Revelation 19:13 ), and to attempt to conjecture it, is an undertaking in violation of the context. [4101] The second of the two possible views is the more probable; for even if the ΟὐΔΕῚς ΕἸΔΕΝ , Κ . Τ . Λ . , be explained by the mystery lying in the name ΛΌΓΟς ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῪ , [4102] yet the context makes the impression, particularly as the assertion ΚΑῚ ΚΈΚΛΗΤΑΙ ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜΑ ΑὐΤΟῪ , Κ . Τ . Λ . , is separated from Revelation 19:12 by a special item of the description ( Κ . ΠΕΡΙΒ ., Κ . Τ . Λ . ), that a name is intended to be indicated, which is known only to the Lord himself, since He alone has and knows what is designated in the name. [4103] But in accordance with Revelation 3:12 , it may be thought that the complete blessedness of believers in immediate communion with the Lord (Revelation 19:9 ) will disclose also the mystery of this name. [4104]

καὶ περιβεβλημένος ἱμάτιον βεβαμμένον αἵματι . After the manner of the victor, Isaiah 63:1 sqq., [4105] whose prophetic description finds its true fulfilment in the Lord. [4106]

καὶ κέκληται τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦλόγος τοῦ θεοῦ . The form of the expression κέκληται τ . ὄν . αὐτ . shows that here [4107] the definite name, familiar to believers, which the Lord has received as a significant proper name, [4108] and continues to bear, is intended to be designated. The name corresponds to the position of the Lord as Mediator, as described Revelation 1:1 sqq. [4109] Cf. also Introduction, p. 66.

τὰ στρατεύματα , κ . τ . λ . The armies of the Lord [4110] are not only the hosts of angels who appear elsewhere as attendants of the Lord coming to judgment, [4111] but departed believers are also to be regarded as referred to. [4112] This is indicated not only by the comprehensive expression τὰ στρατ . τὰ ἐν τῷ οὐρ ., but also by the vesture ( βύσσ . λευκ . καθ .; cf. Revelation 19:8 ).

ῥομφαία ὀξεῖα . The sharp sword proceeding from the mouth of the Lord designates here, where, besides, it is attached to statements recalling ancient prophetical descriptions ( ἵυα ἐν αὐτ . πατάξτὰ ἔθνη ), [4113] still more clearly than Revelation 1:16 , the Lord thus appearing as the true and real One who is to come (Revelation 19:11 ).

ΚΑῚ ΑὐΤῸς ΠΑΤΕῖ , Κ . Τ . Λ . Cf. also, on this definitive and, therefore, so full-toned description, which gives assurance [4114] of the certainty of the threat by Τ . ΘΩΟῦ Τ . ΠΑΝΤΟΚΡ . , Isaiah 63:2 sq. with Revelation 14:10 ; Revelation 14:19 . The expression ΤῊΝ ΛΗΝῸΝ ΤΟῦ ΟἼΝΟΥ , Hengstenb. explains, not, indeed, accurately, by saying that the wine-press is the wrath of God, and the wine flowing from it is the blood of enemies. The form of the idea in which the two figures of the wine-press [4115] and the cup of wrath [4116] are combined, [4117] affirms, however, that from the wine-press trodden by the Lord, the wine of God’s anger flows, with which his enemies are to be made drunk.

The name, which (Revelation 19:16 ) is written on the vesture and on the thigh, ΒΑΣΙΛΕῪς ΒΑΣΙΛΈΩΝ ΚΑῚ ΚΎΡΙΟς ΚΥΡΊΩΝ , gives as is made prominent at the conclusion of this entire description, Revelation 19:11 sqq. the express pledge of that which is distinctly marked already in the entire appearance of the Lord; viz., that the Lord who now goes forth to the conflict with the kings of the earth, will show himself to be the King of all kings.

ΚΑῚ ἘΠῚ ΤῸΝ ΜΗΡῸΝ ΑὐΤ . The meaning cannot be that the name stood not only on the vesture, but also on the actual thigh, so that, after laying aside the bloody garment, the name could appear in the same place. [4118] But the explanation of Wetst., Eichh., De Wette, Bleek, etc., who allude to the fact that, e.g., sculptors are accustomed to fix the stamp of their name on the body of the statue in the region of the thighs, is opposed by the preceding ἘΠῚ ΤῸ ἹΜΆΤΙΟΝ , in connection with which the ΚΑῚ ἘΠῚ ΤῸΝ ΜΗΡῸΝ ΑὐΤ . has the force, that the name, at all events, must be regarded as on the vesture, and that, too, where the thigh is. The name is, therefore, not to be sought upon an imaginary [4119] sword-handle, [4120] but we must regard it as being upon the girdle, although this, however, does not come into consideration as the sword-belt, [4121] but as a girdle which holds the tucked-up vesture of one advancing to battle. [4122] In violation of the context, Ew. ii.: “From the shoulders to the thighs.”

[4091] De Wette. Cf. Revelation 22:10 .

[4092] Revelation 19:14 : στρατεύματα ; Revelation 19:19 : τ . πόλεμον .

[4093] Cf. 2 Samuel 12:13 ; 1Ma 11:13 . Grot., Wetst., Beng.; cf. also Vitr.

[4094] Züllig.

[4095] Ewald, De Wette, Hengstenb., Bleek, Volkm., Luthardt.

[4096] Calov., Vitr., etc.

[4097] Ewald, Bleek, Hengstenb.

[4098] Calov.

[4099] Eichh.

[4100] Grot., Beng., De Wette, Hengstenb., Ebrard.

[4101] Against Ewald, Volkmar, etc., who understand the name יהוה .

[4102] Vitr.

[4103] Cf. Revelation 2:17 .

[4104] The several names indicated in the at least uncertain reading (see Critical Notes) give no clear idea. Perhaps also the plural διαδ . πολλ . has had much to do with the origin of the reading.

[4105] Beng., Züll., De Wette, Hengstenb., etc.

[4106] Cf. Revelation 19:11 .

[4107] Cf., on the other hand, Revelation 19:12 .

[4108] Cf., on the other hand, the several appellative designations of Revelation 19:11 ; Revelation 19:16 .

[4109] Cf. also Revelation 19:10 , Revelation 3:14 .

[4110] Cf., on the other hand, Revelation 19:19 .

[4111] Matthew 16:27 ; Matthew 25:31 ; 2 Thessalonians 1:7 . De Wette, Hengstenb., Bleek, Luthardt.

[4112] Cf. also Ew. ii. Incorrectly, Volkm.: The earthly.

[4113] Cf. Isaiah 11:4 . λκ . αὐτ . ποιμανεῖ , κ . τ . λ . Cf. Revelation 2:27 , Revelation 12:5 .

[4114] Cf. Revelation 1:8 , Revelation 11:17 , Revelation 15:3 .

[4115] Revelation 14:19 .

[4116] Revelation 14:10 .

[4117] De Wette

[4118] Against Beng.

[4119] And that, too, against Revelation 19:15 .

[4120] Grot.

[4121] Against Vitr., also against Hengstenb., who, on account of Revelation 19:15 , explains that the name appears here in the place of the engirded sword; cf. Psalms 45:4 sq.

[4122] Züll., Volkm.

Verses 11-21

Revelation 19:11-21 . Christ himself, as the already triumphant victor, goes forth with his heavenly hosts to destroy the secular powers still remaining; viz., that of the beast and false prophet (Revelation 19:19 sq.), and the inhabitants of the earth rendering allegiance to the beast (Revelation 19:21 ).

Verses 17-18

Revelation 19:17-18 . An angel standing in the sun summons all fowls to eat the bodies of kings, and of all the inhabitants of the earth, who are to be slain by the Lord. [4123] ἝΝΑ ἌΓΓ . Cf. Revelation 8:13 , Revelation 18:21 .

ἘΝ Τῷ ἩΛΙῷ , “in the sun,” because from this standpoint, and at the same time with the glory suitable to an angel, he can best call to the fowls flying ἘΝ ΜΕΣΟΥΡΑΝΉΜΑΤΙ . [4124]

Δεῦτε συνάχθητε , κ . τ . λ . Cf. Ezekiel 39:17 sqq. The punishment is, as it corresponds to the idea of the final judgment, one that is absolutely relentless; since on the slaying, the consumption of the corpses by all the fowls under the heaven follows.

ΣΆΡΚΑς ΒΑΣΙΛΈΩΝ , Κ . Τ . Λ . The exhaustive specification [4125] expressly declares, what is self-evident also from the connection, that the slain ΛΟΙΠΟΊ (Revelation 19:21 ) are the entire mass of inhabitants of the earth. [4126]

[4123] Cf. Revelation 19:21 .

[4124] Ew. i., De Wette, Hengstenb., Ebrard, Volkm. Incorrectly, Ew. ii., p. 334: “ by the sun.”

[4125] Cf. Revelation 6:15 .

[4126] Cf. Revelation 13:4 ; Revelation 13:8 ; Revelation 13:14 ; Revelation 13:16 .

Verses 19-21

Revelation 19:19-21 . The Lord’s judgment and war are accomplished. This act of judgment John beholds, as it proceeds not only from the καὶ εἰδον (Revelation 19:19 ), but also from the mode of representation itself ( ἐπιάσθη , Revelation 19:20 ; ἐχορτάσθησαν , Revelation 19:21 ). Cf., on the other hand, ch. 18

τὸ θηρίον καὶ τούς βασιλεῖς , κ . τ . λ . With the beast, representing the secular power, [4127] his confederates appear, the kings of the earth, [4128] and their armies, consisting of the entire number of the dwellers on earth, [4129] who now carry into effect the conflict proclaimed already in Revelation 16:14 ; [4130] its result, however, is described in Revelation 19:20 sq., in such a way as to correspond to the significant name of Revelation 16:16 . For the conflict which is to be described is not one that is painful, or as to its issue possibly doubtful, but the result of an unconditional victory over enemies, won by the justice and omnipotence of the Lord.

Κ . ΜΕΤᾺ ΤΟῦ ΣΤΡΑΤΕΎΜΑΤΟς ΑὐΤΟῦ . The sing. is chosen here, [4131] in order to mark the holy unity of the entire army of Christ, in contrast with the rent body of his enemies. [4132] ΚΑῚ ΜΕΤʼ ΑὐΤΟῦ ΨΕΥΔΟΠΡΟΦΉΤΗς . The position of the false prophet as the auxiliary of the beast is designated in harmony with the description (Revelation 13:11 sqq.). The allusion also to the peculiar function of the false prophet ( ΠΟΙΉΣΑς , Κ . Τ . Λ . ) points back to Revelation 13:13 sqq.

The manner in which the judgment is fulfilled is in conformity with the nature of the enemies: [4133] the beast, together with the false prophet, “was taken, and both were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Who does this, is not said; but the act dare not be referred to Christ, for the reason that he does not execute his various acts of judgment by his own hand. [4134] It is evident that the victorious result of the war of judgment [4135] is determined by Christ’s power; but according to the analogy of Revelation 12:7 sqq., we must regard the ΣΤΡΑΤΕΎΜΑΤΑ of the Lord, as the executors of the judgment. [4136]

ΖῶΝΤΕς . For only human enemies could suffer bodily death (Revelation 19:21 ) before the eternally condemning judgment of the world. [4137]

ΤῊΝ ΛΊΜΝΗΝ , Κ . Τ . Λ . Cf. Revelation 20:10 ; Revelation 20:14 sq., Revelation 21:8 .

ΟἹ ΛΟΙΠΟῚ . See on Revelation 19:17 sq.

ἈΠΕΚΤΆΝΘΗΣΑΝ ἘΝ Τῇ ΡΟΜΦΑΊᾼ , Κ . Τ . Λ . To seize the enemies, and thus to cast them into hell (Revelation 19:20 ), is not befitting the Lord himself; but it is something else, when the sword which proceeds from his mouth slays the enemies. This gives the idea of the victory entirely without laborious effort, and presupposing no proper conflict of Him who, according to the prediction of the ancient prophets, destroys his enemies with the breath of his lips. [4138]

Κ . ΠΆΝΤΑ ΤᾺ ὌΡΝΕΑ , Κ . Τ . Λ . Cf. Revelation 19:17 sq.

[4127] Revelation 13:1 sqq.

[4128] Revelation 16:12 sqq., Revelation 17:12 sqq.

[4129] Revelation 13:4 ; Revelation 13:8 ; Revelation 13:16 .

[4130] Notice the art. τὸν πόλεμ .; also the συνηγμένα here repeated.

[4131] Cf., on the other hand, Revelation 19:14 .

[4132] Beng., Hengstenb.

[4133] Cf. Beng., De Wette, Hengstenb.

[4134] Cf. Revelation 20:2 .

[4135] Cf. Revelation 19:11 .

[4136] Cf. Revelation 20:9 sqq., 14 sq.

[4137] Revelation 20:14 sqq.

[4138] Cf. Isaiah 11:4 .

The allegorical exposition, when applied with consistency to ch. 19, must be regarded untenable in the degree that it arrays itself against the context. The fowls (Revelation 19:17 sq., 21) are, according to Hammond, the Goths and Vandals, who desolated the Roman Empire; according to Coccejus, the Turks, who, after the capture of Constantinople, afflicted the Catholic West; according to Hengstenb., the Huns, who prepared grievous calamities for the Germanic nations, the destroyers of the Roman Empire. Wetst. found the prophecy fulfilled in the assassination of Domitian, the last of the Flavians, [4139] and in the conquest of his soldiers (Revelation 19:21 ). Grot. understands by the ΒΑΣΙΛΕῖς (Revelation 19:19 ), “Julian with his nobles,” and remarks on Revelation 19:20 : “Theodosius the Great abolished the public sacrifices of the heathen,” and on Revelation 19:21 : “By the decree of Christ, who used Justinian for this purpose, to punish idolaters with death.” Others, as C. a Lap., have thought that the fulfiment of the prophecy could be shown by the horrible death and burial of many heretics. So C. a Lap. cites authors who report of Luther that he committed suicide, and that at his burial not only a multitude of ravens, but also the Devil, who had come from Holland, appeared.

Luther, gloss on Revelation 19:11 : “The word of God is opposed to the defenders of the Pope, and none of their defence is of any avail.”

[4139] Revelation 19:20 .

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Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 19". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.