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1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
Ver. 1. I heard a great voice ] In obedience to that exhortation, Revelation 18:20 , Rejoice over her, thou heaven, &c.
Saying, Alleluia ] i.e. Praise the Lord. Was not he a wise man that gave this derivation of the word Al altissimus, le levatus est, lu lugebant apostoli, ia iam resurrexit? Acutum sane decompositum. This word is in the Old Testament first used, Psalms 104:35 , where consuming of sinners is mentioned, as in the New Testament here, where the destruction of Antichrist is foretold. Praise is therefore here given to God in the Hebrew tongue, saith Mr Bulkly, because the Hebrews or Jews shall acknowledge the Lord Jesus with us.
Unto the Lord ] Gr. Is the Lord’s, as Psalms 3:8 . He is the true proprietary.
2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
Ver. 2. Which did corrupt the earth ] I read of one, who journeying to Rome, as soon as he came within the city shut his eyes, and so kept them; as resolving to see nothing in that city (which he knew to be very corrupt, and a cotrupter of others) but only the Church of St Peter. (Sphinx Philos. p. 753.) See Trapp on " Rev 18:4 "
3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
Ver. 3. And again they said, Alleluia ] As unsatisfiable in performing so divine a duty. Some think that the Hebrew word is retained to import that after Rome is ruined, the Churches of the Gentiles shall by their incessant praises provoke the Jews to join with them, and concelebrate the mercy; like as the Spouse, by praising her Beloved, stirred up those dull daughters of Jerusalem to seek him with her, Son 5:9-10 cf. Revelation 6:1 .
And her smoke rose up ] Like that of Sodom. Yet wretched Romanists will not be warned, whose judgment therefore is here revealed after that of the sitting of Rome.
4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
Ver. 4. And the four and twenty elders ] The former Alleluiah was more private; every good heart being lifted up with joy and thankfulness, when first they hear the good news of Antichrist’s overthrow. Now is this the joint Alleluiah of the public congregation, praising and magnifying God. This may be a further means to move the Jews to come in.
5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
Ver. 5. And a voice came out ] This is the Lamb’s voice, his all quickening voice, which shall rouse and raise the dead and dedolent Jews; powerfully pulling the veil from their hard hearts, which yet were somewhat moved and mollified by the former Alleluiahs, so that now all the servants of God, small and great, Jew and Gentile, shall praise him with one consent.
6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Ver. 6. And I heard as it were the voice ] See how morigerous the saints are, and ready-hearted to obey God. No sooner are they bidden to praise God, but they are at it, dicto citius. See the like Psalms 27:8 .
Saying, Alleluia ] This was the Hosanna Rabba, as the Jews call it; the victoria Halleluiatica, as the old Britons called their victory over the Saxons. The story is this. Under the conduct of Germanus (here in Britain), who came over from France to subdue the Pelagian heresy (which then prevailed among us), against a mighty army of Saxons and Picts, the Britons prevailed only by the three times pronouncing the word Hallelujah; which voice echoing and redoubling from the acclamation of his followers among the mountains, near to which the enemy had encamped, frightened them and won the conquest, upon which it was called victoria Halleluiatica. (Dr Ussier, de Brit. Eccles. Primord. p. 332.)
Reigneth ] i.e. He now maketh it appear that he reigneth, which Averroes and some other of the world’s wizards doubted, yea, denied; because they saw bad men prosper, good men suffer.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Ver. 7. Hath made herself ready ] Being first made ready by the grace of Christ. Certain est nos facere quod facimus; sed ille facit ut faciamus. (Aug.) The bowls of the candlestick had no oil but that which dropped from the olive branches, Zechariah 4:12 .
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Ver. 8. And to her was granted ] It is here clear (saith Bernard) that there shall be as great difference between the state of God’s Church now, and that which is to come after Rome’s ruin, as between the time of honourable persons only betrothed, and the high, joyful, and glorious day of their public marrying; as between the time of a king coming on to his kingdom, and his actual and powerful reigning as king indeed.
That she should be arrayed ] This also is given her, as well as her rich raiment; which she can no more put on by herself than she can purchase it.
Clean and white ] Or, pure and bright. Pure, saith one, because imputed righteousness is pure indeed, and hath no spot in it; but not bright; you can see no great matter in it; it maketh no great show before men (as inherent righteousness doth, Mat 5:16 ), but before God. A man may be very much defiled and subject to many scandals, and yet be clothed with the garment of imputed righteousness.
The righteousness of saints ] Gr. righteousnesses, that twofold righteousness, imputed and imparted.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Ver. 9. Write ] To wit, this ensuing sentence, for the use of posterity, worthy to be written in letters of gold.
Blessed are they that are called ] So they have hearts to come at Christ’s call, and not show themselves unworthy to taste of his supper by framing excuses, as those recusant guests did, Luke 14:15-24 .
These are the true sayings of God ] q.d. This foregoing sentence is "a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation," 1 Timothy 1:15 .
10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Ver. 10. And I fell at his feet ] So taken he was with the joyful tidings of his countrymen’s (the Jews’) conversion, that he fell down as Abraham did upon the good news of Isaac’s birth, Genesis 17:17 . And it may be he took this angel for Christ, the Angel of the covenant; but that was his error. Triste mortalitatis privilegium est, licere aliquando peccare. (Euphor.)
See thou do it not ] οραμη , an elliptic and concise kind of speech in the Greek, betokening haste and displeasure at what was done. Papists will needs disdain the angels with seeming courtesies and respects; and whereas the Council of Laodicea (cap. 35) saith, it behoveth Christians, αγγελους μη ονομαζειν , not to pray to angels, Surius and Caranza make the words to be, Non oportet Christianos ad angulos congregationes facere; It is not proper for Christians to associate with angels, and the title they make De iis qui angulos colunt, in a clean contrary sense to the Council’s intention.
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Ver. 11. And I saw heaven opened ] i.e. He saw things done before his eyes, as it were; so do not we, but are left to conjectures. Here is showed, saith one, the foil of the beast, bearer up of the whore, and no question but now highly chafed with her fall. This is the last and noblest act of Christ’s riding, for the dragon and his vicars’ utter destruction. Thus he. Here is showed, saith another interpreter, in what state the Church shall be in, upon the ruin of Rome, even as people standing in arms under their General Christ Jesus for a time, till the last battle be fought, and the enemies destroyed.
Behold, a white horse ] Christ riding as an Emperor triumphing, and as a righteous Judge, Psalms 9:8 ; Psalms 96:10 ; Psalms 96:13 .
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
Ver. 12. His eyes were as a flame of fire ] A quick sighted Judge, an intelligent warrior. "Counsel and strength are for the war," 2 Kings 18:20 .
And on his head were many crowns ] Let the triple crowned pope look to himself; Christ outcrowns him by far.
And he had a name written ] His holy and reverend name Jehovah, importing his Godhead; for he is "Jehovah, our righteousness,"Jeremiah 23:6; Jeremiah 23:6 . And as thus, no man knows the Son but the Father,Matthew 11:27; Matthew 11:27 ; for as God he is incomprehensible, Judges 13:18 ; "What is his name, or what is his Son’s name, if thou canst tell?"Proverbs 30:4; Proverbs 30:4 ; "Who shall declare his generation?" Isaiah 53:8 . Or by this unknown name may be meant his dignity of being Head of his Church; which is incommunicable to any other, Philippians 2:9 .
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
Ver. 13. Dipped in blood ] In the blood of his enemies, as a victor returning from a huge slaughter. Caesar is said to have taken prisoner one million of men, and to have slain as many; Mahomet I (emperor of the Turks), to have been the death of 800,000 men; Seanderbeg, to have slain 800 Turks with his own hand. But our Conqueror shall outdo all these; when he shall tread them in his anger, and trample them in his fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon his garments, and he will stain all his raiment, Isaiah 63:3 .
The word of God ] John 1:1 ; John 1:7 . Hereby it appears that this was John the Evangelist that wrote this book. Idiotismus Ioannis. (Pareus.)
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
Ver. 14. And the armies which were in heaven ] The heavenly minded heroes that fight his battles, are all in his livery, horsed and habited as he, in whom they are more than conquerors, because they are sure to conquer before they fight.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Ver. 15. A sharp sword ] The word, Ephesians 6:17 ; the rod wherewith he smiteth the earth, Isaiah 11:4 ; the breath of his mouth, whereby Antichrist shall be overthrown, as by force of arms, so also of arguments.
The nations ] The paganish pa-pagans. See the book entitled Paganopapismus; wherein is proved that papism is flat paganism, and that the Papists do resemble the very pagans in above seven score individual things.
And he treadeth the winepress ] At Armageddon, Revelation 16:16 .
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Ver. 16. And on his thigh ] Where his sword hangs,Psalms 45:3; Psalms 45:3 , to show that he will keep what he hath gained ( Vincere scis Hannibal, victoria uti nescis, said one), a or "on his thigh," qui filiabitur nomine eius, Psalms 72:17 , the name of Christ shall endure for ever; it shall be begotten, as one generation is begotten of another; there shall be a succession of Christ’s name; "he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands," Isaiah 53:10 . ConferGenesis 46:26; Genesis 46:26 . Or, "on his thigh," that is, on his lower parts, his people. Christ "will make the place of his feet glorious," Isaiah 60:13 , that is, the Church in their lowest condition.
Lord of lords ] This title the pope usurps; but what said Miconius in a letter to Calvin upon the view of the Church’s enemies? Gaudeo quod Christus Dominus est; alioqui totus desperassem, I am glad that Christ is Lord of lords, for else I should have been utterly out of hope.
a Non minor est virtus quam quaerere, parta tueri
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
Ver. 17. Standing in the sun ] Where he might best be heard, as a herald. And he well types out such, as by clear light of truth shall make known the certain destruction of the enemies, before the battle be fought.
Unto the supper of the great God ] They that would not come to the supper of the Lamb shall be made a supper to the fowls of heaven.
18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
Ver. 18. That ye may eat ] He alludes to Ezekiel 39:4 ; Ezekiel 39:17 . Gog and Magog were a type of Antichrist: "Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, saith the Lord," Ezekiel 38:3 ; where, if Gog is the Great Turk, and Meshech Cappadocia, where he first settled himself, why should he be called "prince of Tubal," also, that is, of Spain, France, and Italy, as Jerome and Josephus interpret it (neither do Bellarmine and Gretser dissent)? Is it not to show that, after the fall of Babylon, the Antichristians shall call in the Turk and other pagan princes to invade and distress the Church, that they may all perish together, and feed the fowls with their dead carcases?
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
Ver. 19. And I saw the beast ] The Church’s enemies are even ambitious of destruction. Judgments need not go to find them out; they run to meet their bane.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Ver. 20. And the beast was taken ] Taken suddenly, or as he was fleeing, and so thinking to escape. a Dio maketh mention of a notable thief that did much mischief in Italy (afterwards the pope’s seat) in the days of Severus. This emperor used all the means he could to catch him, but could not do it, Quippe qui visus non videbutur, non inveniebatur inventus, deprehensus non capiebatur, saith the historian. But this subtle beast meeteth with his match and more; for he is caught and cast into the lake, &c. Christ is a conqueror so soon as ever he comes into the field, Venit, vidit, vicit. He came, he saw, he couquered. When the enemies are tumultuating, he comes upon them as out of an engine, and hurls them headlong into hell.
And with him the false prophet ] This is the same with the beast; only the pope is called the beast in respect of his civil power, and the false prophet in respect of his spiritual. See Trapp on " Rev 13:12 " I remember, saith Aretius here, that many learned men in the year 1546 interpreted these words of the war that then was, and were confident that the emperor was the beast here mentioned, that should be overcome, and taken in battle by the Protestants; and together with him some false prophet of his (perhaps the pope), but it proved much otherwise, and the event showed that this application of the text was false.
" Fallitur augurio spes bona saepe suo. "
These both were cast alive ] Death shall not end their misery, but they shall suffer most exquisite torments. Potentes potenter torquebuntur.
a επιασθη , proprie dicitur de iis quos fugientes arripimus. Beza.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
Ver. 21. Slain with the sword ] Not so deeply damned, and yet so slain as to be made a prey to the infernal vultures; and then the fattest carcase shall be the finest prey, the greatest sinners the sorest sufferers.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 19". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29