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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Revelation 14

 

 

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Introduction

Revelation 14. Third Interlude.—Three Visions: (a) the Lamb on Mt. Zion (Revelation 14:1-5), (b) the three angels (Revelation 14:6-13), (c) the harvest and vintage of the world (Revelation 14:14-20).


Verses 1-5

Revelation 14:1-5. After the horror and tragedy of the last two chapters, we have another pause in the movement of the drama, a new vision of heaven and the bliss of the redeemed.

Revelation 14:1. the Lamb: this chapter recalls the vision in ch. 5 (cf. Revelation 5:6).—mount Zion: Zion is the Christian Acropolis, but whether the reference here is to the earthly or heavenly Zion cannot be determined. For the 144,000, cf. Revelation 7:4, where possibly the number covers only Jewish Christians. Here there is no suggestion of any such limitation, for in Revelation 14:3 they are described as "they that had been purchased out of the earth."—name . . . on their foreheads: cf. Revelation 7:3 f. and contrast the mark on the foreheads of the worshippers of the beast (Revelation 13:16).

Revelation 14:2. many waters: cf. Revelation 1:15.

Revelation 14:3. a new song: cf. Revelation 5:9.—four . . . elders: Revelation 4:4; Revelation 4:6*.

Revelation 14:4. they are virgins: the term virgin is in the masculine, and should be translated "celibates." Whether it is to be taken literally here is disputed. As Swete says, "No condemnation of marriage, no exclusion of the married from the highest blessings of the Christian life, finds a place in the NT." And if we were to press the meaning of the word "virgin" or "celibate" here, this passage is an exception to the general teaching of the NT. Moreover, the imagery used in chs. 21f. throws a halo of sanctity over marriage. The probability is therefore that the words here describe not celibates but men who had kept the marriage-bond inviolate.


Verses 6-12

Revelation 14:6-12. The Vision of the Three Angels.

Revelation 14:6. an eternal gospel: it is doubtful whether gospel is here used in its technical sense. It probably means a proclamation of good news. The proclamation here is one which urges men to fear and worship God in view of the coming judgment (cf. Mark 1:15).

Revelation 14:8. Babylon: there can be no doubt that Babylon here means Rome. There are traces in other apocalyptic literature of the same usage of the word.—fornication: probably in a metaphorical sense to denote idolatry.

Revelation 14:9. worshippeth the beast: a reference to Emperor-worship. The beast is probably Nero, as in ch. 13.—mark in his forehead: cf. Revelation 13:16.

Revelation 14:10. The description of the punishment of the pagan world is based upon the imagery of Psalms 75:8, Isaiah 30:33; Isaiah 51:22 f.

Revelation 14:13. "a new beatitude which needed a voice from heaven to proclaim it" (Swete). [Yea, saith the Spirit—the response of the inspired seer.—that they may rest: in that they rest. Their labours are over, but not their works, "for their works follow with them."—A. J. G.]


Verses 14-20

Revelation 14:14-20. The Harvest and the Vintage of the World.—The scene culminates in a vision of the Parousia, and an ingathering of the spiritual harvest.

Revelation 14:14. The coming of the Son of Man on the clouds, which was first suggested by a misinterpretation of Daniel 7:13, is one of the most familiar ideas in Christian eschatology (cf. Mark 14:62, Matthew 24:30).—like unto a son of man: Daniel 7:13*. The phrase originally denoted the advent of a new kingdom with human qualities and characteristics in contrast to earlier empires, which could only be described under the figure of beasts. Later on, however, especially in the Book of Enoch, the term "Son of Man" was used to denote the Messiah, and this later usage of the phrase led to a misinterpretation of the passage in Daniel.

Revelation 14:15. send forth thy sickle: for the metaphor, cf. the parable of the harvest in Mark 4:29. Many scholars think that the harvest represents the ingathering of the saints, the vintage the ingathering of the wicked for their doom.

Revelation 14:19. winepress: the metaphor comes from Isaiah 63:1-6.

Revelation 14:20. without the city: winepresses were generally erected outside the walls of a city, but the phrase no doubt suggests the further meaning that capital punishment was inflicted on criminals without the city" (cf. Hebrews 13:12).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Revelation 14:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/revelation-14.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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