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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Revelation 14

 

 

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Verse 1

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

In contrast to the beast, false prophet, and apostate church (implied in the healing of the wound that had been inflicted on idolatry by the Sword of the Spirit, Revelation 13:3; Revelation 13:14): introductory to the judgments about to descend on them and the world (Revelation 14:8-11, anticipatory of Revelation 18:2-6; Revelation 19:20) stand the redeemed, 'the divine kernel of humanity' (Auberlen). Revelation 14:1-20; Revelation 15:1-8; Revelation 16:1-21 describe the preparations for Messianic judgment. As Revelation 14:1-20 begins with the 144,000 of Israel (cf. Revelation 7:4-8), no longer exposed to trial as then, but triumphant, 'the first-fruits,' and then follow the general Gentile 'harvest' of redeemed: so Revelation 15:1-8 combines with Israel those who have overcome from among the Gentiles (cf. Revelation 7:9-17, with Revelation 15:1-5): the two classes of elect form together the whole company of transfigured saints who reign with Christ. A. 'Aleph (') A B C, Coptic, Origen, read, 'the Lamb.'

Lamb stood on ... Sion - having left His position "in the midst of the throne," now taking His stand on Sion.

His Father's name. 'Aleph (') A B C read, 'His name and His Father's name.'

In , [ epi (Greek #1909)] - 'upon.' God's and Christ's name here answers to the seal "upon their foreheads" in Revelation 7:3. As the 144,000 of Israel are "the first-fruits" (Revelation 14:4), so "the harvest" (Revelation 14:15) is the general assembly of Gentile saints to be translated by Christ as His first act in assuming His kingdom, prior to judgment (Revelation 16:1-21, the seven last vials) on the anti-christian world, in executing which His saints shall share. As Noah and Lot were taken seasonably out of the judgment, but exposed to the trial until the last moment (DeBurgh), so those who reign with Christ first suffer with Him-delivered out of the judgments, but not out of the trials. True Israelites cannot join in the idolatry of the beast anymore than true Christians. The common affliction will draw closely together, in opposing the beast's worship, the Old Testament and New Testament people of God. Thus the way is paved for Israel's conversion. This last scattering of the holy people's power leads them, under the Spirit, hail Messiah. "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord."


Verse 2

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

From - `out of.'

Voice of many waters. As is the voice of Himself (Revelation 1:15), such also is the voice of His people.

I heard the voice of harpers. 'Aleph (') A B C, Origen, read, 'the voice which I heard (was) as of harpers.'


Verse 3

And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

Sung - `sing.'

As it were , [ hoos (Greek #5613)]. So A C, Vulgate. It is AS IT WERE a new song: for it is, in truth, as old as God's eternal purpose. But 'Aleph (') B, Syriac, Coptic, Origen, Andreas, omit.

New song - (Revelation 5:9-10.) The song is that of victory after conflict with the dragon, beast, and false prophet: never sung before; for such a conflict was never fought before. Until now Christ's kingdom on earth was usurped. They sing the new son in anticipation of His taking possession of His blood-bought kingdom with His saints.

Four beasts - `four living creatures.' The harpers and singers include the 144,000 (cf. Revelation 15:2-3, where the same act is attributed to the general company of saints). Not as Alford, 'the harpers and song are in heaven, the 144,000 on earth.' Still, the 144,000 here are distinguished from the four living creatures, which represent the elect Church: as though the latter had the priority in heaven.

Redeemed , [ eegorasmenoi (Greek #59)] - 'purchased.' Not even the angels can learn that song; for they know not experimentally what it is to have 'come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb' (Revelation 7:14).


Verse 4

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

Virgins - spiritually (Matthew 25:1): in contrast to the apostate church, Babylon (Revelation 14:8), 'a harlot' (Revelation 17:1-5; Isaiah 1:21). Contrast 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27. Their not being defiled with women means they were not led astray from Christian faithfulness by the spiritual 'harlot.'

Follow the Lamb wheresoever he goeth - in glory being especially near His person: the fitting reward of their following Him so fully on earth.

Redeemed - `purchased.'

Being the - rather, 'as a first-fruit.' Not merely in the sense in which all believers are so (James 1:18), but Israel's 144,000 elect are the first-fruit; the Gentile elect, of "every nation, kindred, tongue, and people," who refuse to worship the beast, are the harvest: in a further sense, the whole transfigured and translated Church, which reigns with Christ at His coming, is the first-fruit, and the consequent universal ingathering of Israel and the nations, ending in the last judgment, is the full harvest.


Verse 5

And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. Guile. So Andreas; but 'Aleph (') A B C, Origen, Andreas, in other copies, read, 'falsehood.' Compare Psalms 32:2; Isaiah 53:9; John 1:47.

For. So 'Aleph (') B, Syriac, Coptic, Origen, Andreas; but A C, Vulgate, omit.

Without fault , [ amoomoi (Greek #299)] - 'blameless;' in sincere fidelity to Him. Not in themselves, but on the ground of His righteousness in whom alone they trusted, and whom they faithfully served by His Spirit in them (Psalms 15:1-2 : cf. Revelation 14:1, 'stood on mount Sion').

Before the throne of God. So oldest Vulgate; but 'Aleph (') A B C, Syriac, Coptic, Origen, Andreas, omit.


Verse 6

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

Relating to the Gentile world, as the former verses related to Israel. Before the end the Gospel is to be preached for a WITNESS unto all nations (Matthew 24:14); not that all shall be converted, but all shall have the opportunity given them of deciding whether they will be for Christ or Antichrist. Those thus preached to are 'they that dwell (so A, Coptic, Syriac; but 'Aleph (') B C, Origen, Vulgate Cyprian, 312, 'SIT:' cf. Matthew 4:16; Luke 1:79; having their settled home) on the earth,' being of the earth earthy. This last season of grace is given, if yet they may repent, before "judgment" (Revelation 14:7) descends: if not, they will be left without excuse, as the world which resisted the preaching of Noah in the 120 years, 'while the long-suffering of God waited.' 'So the prophets gave the people a last opportunity of repentance before the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem, and our Lord and His apostles before the Roman destruction of the holy city' (Auberlen). "Unto" [ epi (Greek #1909) in 'Aleph (') A C not in B] - literally, 'upon,' 'over,' or 'in respect to' (Mark 9:12; Hebrews 7:13). So also "TO every nation" [ epi (Greek #1909) in 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, Origen, Andreas, Cyprian]. This hints that the Gospel, though diffused over the globe, shall come savingly only unto the elect. The world will not be evangelized until Christ comes; meanwhile God's purpose is 'to take out of the Gentiles a people for His name' (Acts 15:14), as witnesses of the effectual working of the Spirit during the counter-working of "the mystery of iniquity."

Everlasting gospel - the glad tidings of the everlasting kingdom of Christ, about to ensue immediately after "judgment" on Antichrist, announced as imminent in Revelation 14:7. As the former angel "flying through the midst of heaven" (Revelation 8:13) announced "woe," so this angel "flying in the midst of heaven" announces joy. The three angels making this last Gospel proclamation-the fall of Babylon (Revelation 14:8); the harlot, and judgment on the beastworshippers (Revelation 14:9-11); the voice from heaven respecting the blessed dead (Revelation 14:13); the vision of the Son of man on the cloud (Revelation 14:11); the harvest (Revelation 14:15); and the vintage (Revelation 14:18) - form the summary, amplified in the rest of the book.


Verse 7

Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

Fear God - forerunner to embracing the love of God in the Gospel. Repentance accompanies faith.

Give glory to him - not to the beast (cf. Jeremiah 13:16; Revelation 13:4).

The hour (the definite time) of his Judgment. "Judgment," not general, but that upon Babylon, the beast, anti his worshippers (Revelation 14:8-12).

Worship him that made heaven - not Antichrist, who "sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (cf. Acts 14:15).

Sea ... fountains - distinguished in Revelation 8:8; Revelation 8:10.


Verse 8

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Another. So Vulgate; but 'Aleph (') A B, Syriac, Andreas, 'another, a second angel.'

Babylon - here first: the harlot, the apostate church: distinct from the beast: judged separately.

Is fallen. Anticipation of Revelation 18:2. A, Vulgate, Syriac, Andreas, support the second "is fallen;" B C, Coptic, omit.

That great city. A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, omit "city." 'Babylon the great.' The ulterior fulfillment of Isaiah 21:9.

Because. So Andreas; but A C, Vulgate, Syriac, read, 'which;' B, Coptic, omit. 'Which' gives the reason of her fall.

All nations. A B C, 'all the nations.'

The wine of the wrath of her fornication - the wine of God's wrath, the consequence of her fornication. As she made the nations drunk with her fornication, so she herself shall be made drunk with God's wrath.


Verse 9

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

A B C, Andreas read, 'another, a third angel.' Compare Revelation 13:15-16.


Verse 10

The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

The same - `he also,' as the just, inevitable retribution (Psalms 75:8).

Without mixture. Wine was so commonly mixed with water, that to mix wine is used for to pour out wine. This wine of God's wrath is undiluted: no drop of water to cool its heat. Nought of grace or hope blended with it. God's threat may well raise us above fear of man's threats. This unmixed cup is already mingled for Satan and the beast's followers.

Indignation - wrath [ orgees (Greek #3709)], 'abiding.' But "wrath" above [ thumou (Greek #2372)] is boiling indignation, from [ thuoo (Greek #2380)] a root to boil: temporary ebullition of anger [Ammonius: orgee (Greek #3709)], accompanied with a purpose of vengeance (Origen, 'On Psalms 2:5').

Tormented ... in the presence of the holy angels - (Psalms 49:14; Psalms 58:10; Psalms 139:21; Isaiah 66:24.) God's enemies are regarded by saints as their enemies; and when the day of probation is past, their mind shall be so entirely one with God's, that they shall rejoice in witnessing God's righteousness judicially vindicated in sinners' punishment.


Verse 11

And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Forever and ever - `unto ages of ages.'

No rest day nor night. Contrast the same said of the four living creatures in heaven. "They rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy," etc.: yet they do "rest" in another sense: they rest from sin, sorrow, weariness, weakness, trial, and temptation (Revelation 14:13): the lost have no rest from sin, Satan, terror, torment, and remorse. The mediaeval idea of devils tormenting men, and men blaspheming God forever, is unscriptural. Every word of rebellion shall be eternally silent, every act of evil repressed (cf. Matthew 22:12).


Verse 12

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Here ... Resumed from Revelation 13:10 (note). In the fiery persecution which awaits all who will not worship the beast, the faith and patience of the followers of God and Jesus shall be proved.

Patience , [ hupomonee (Greek #5281)] - persevering endurance. The second "here" is omitted in 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, Primasius. 'Here is the endurance of the saints, who keep,' etc.

The faith of (exercised toward) Jesus.


Verse 13

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

Encouragement to those persecuted under the beast.

Unto me. Omitted in 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic.

Write - on record forever.

Blessed - in resting from their toils, and, in the case of the saints, persecuted by the beast, in resting from persecutions. Their blessedness is now "from henceforth" - i:e., FROM THIS TIME, when judgment on the beast and the harvest-gathering of the elect are imminent. The time so longed for by former martyrs is now all but come: the full number of their fellow-servants is on the verge of completion: they have no longer to "rest (Revelation 6:10-11, as here, anapausis) yet for a little season;" their eternal cessation from toils (2 Thessalonians 1:7 [ anesis (Greek #425)], relaxation after hardships. Hebrews 4:9-10, sabbatism of rest; and God's complete rest [ katapausis (Greek #2663), akin to anapausis (Greek #372)] is at hand now. They are blessed in being called to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9), and having part IN THE first resurrection (Revelation 10:6), and right to the tree of life (Revelation 22:14). In Revelation 14:14-16, follows why they are "blessed" now in particular-namely, the Son of man on the cloud is just coming to gather them in as the harvest ripe for His garner. Yea, saith the Spirit. The Father's words (the "voice from heaven") are echoed back by the Spirit (speaking in the Word, Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:17; and in the saints, 2 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Peter 4:14). All 'God's promises in Christ are yea' (2 Corinthians 1:20).

That they may. 'Aleph (') A B C [ anapausontai (Greek #373)] (future indicative). They are blessed, in that they SHALL rest from their toils (so the Greek).

And , [ de (Greek #1161)]. So B, Andreas; but 'Aleph (') A C, Vulgate, Syriac, read, 'for.' They rest from toils, because their time for toil is past: they enter the blessed rest, because of their faith evinced by works, which 'follow WITH [ meta (Greek #3326)] them.' In the coming judgment every man shall be 'judged according to his works.' His works do not go before the believer, nor even by his side, but follow, at the same time that they go with, him as a proof that he is Christ's.


Verse 14

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

One sat - `one sitting' [ katheemenon (Greek #2521) homoion (Greek #3664) in 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Coptic].

Crown , [ stefanon (Greek #4735)] - garland of victory; not His diadem as King. The victory, is described, Revelation 19:11-21.


Verse 15

And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

Thrust in - `Send.' The angel does not command the "Son of man" (Revelation 14:14), but, as messenger, announces to the Son the will of God the Father, in whose hands are the times and the seasons.

Thy sickle - (Mark 4:29, where also He 'sendeth the sickle.') The Son sends His sickle-bearing angel to reap the righteous.

Harvest. By the harvest-reaping the elect righteous are gathered; by the vintage, the anti-Christian offenders are removed out of the earth-the scene of Christ's coming kingdom (Matthew 13:41-43). The Son of man Himself, with a golden crown, is introduced in the harvest-gathering of the elect, a mere angel in the vintage (Revelation 14:18-20).

Is ripe - `is dried:' all the bitter elements removed. Ripe for glory (Job 5:20). Is ripe - `is dried:' all the bitter elements removed. Ripe for glory (Job 5:20).


Verse 16

And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

Thrust in - `cast.'


Verse 17

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

Out of the temple ... in heaven - (Revelation 11:10.)


Verse 18

And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

From the altar - upon which were offered the incense-accompanied prayers of all saints, which bring down in answer God's fiery judgment on the Church's foes, the fire being taken from the altar and cast upon the earth (Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 8:3-5).

Fully ripe - for punishment [ eekmasan (Greek #187)]: 'come to their acme' (Genesis 15:16).


Verse 19

And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

"The vine" is the subject of judgment, because its grades are not what God looked for after careful culture, "The vine" is the subject of judgment, because its grades are not what God looked for after careful culture, but "wild graves" (Isaiah 5:4). Apostate Christendom, not pagandom, which has not heard of Christ, is the object of judgment. Compare the emblem, Isaiah 63:2-3; Joel 3:12-13; Revelation 19:15.


Verse 20

And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

Without the city - Jerusalem. The scene of blood-shedding of Christ and His people shall be also the scene of God's vengeance on the anti-Christian foe (Revelation 19:14).

Blood - the red wine. The slaughter of apostates is here meant, not their eternal punishment.

Even unto the horse-bridles - of the avenging "armies of heaven" (Revelation 9:16; Revelation 19:14).

By the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs - `1,600 furlongs off' (W. Kelly). 1,600-a square number: 4 by 4 by 100. The four quarters-north, south, east, and west-of the Holy Land, or else of the world (the universality of the worldwide destruction being indicated). It does not exactly answer to the length of Palestine, as given by Jerome-160 Roman miles. Bengel thinks the valley of Kedron, between Jerusalem and the mount of Olives, is meant, its torrent being about to be discoloured with blood for 1,600 furlongs. This accords with Joel's prophecy, that the valley of Jehoshaphat is to be the scene of overthrow of the anti-Christian foes.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 14:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-14.html. 1871-8.

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Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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