Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 14:13

And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them."
New American Standard Version
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Adam Clarke Commentary

I heard a voice from heaven - As the information now to be given was of the utmost importance, it is solemnly communicated by a voice from heaven; and the apostle is commanded to write or record what is said.

Blessed are the dead - Happy are they. They are happy in two respects:

  1. They do not see the evil that shall come upon the world, and are exempted from any farther sufferings.
  • They actually and conscientiously enjoy happiness in a state of blessedness.
  • In the first sense, Happy are the dead! is a proverb frequently to be met in the Greek and Roman poets. Ex. gr.

    Τρις μακαρες Δαναοι και τετρακις, οἱπ τοτ 'ολοντοπ

    Τροιῃ εν ευρειη, χαριν Ατρειδῃσι φεροντες.

    Ὡς δη εγωγ 'οφελον θανεειν και ποτμον επισπεινπ

    Ηματι τῳ, ὁτε μοι πλειστοι χαλκηρεα δουραπ

    Τρωες επερῥιψαν περι Πηλειωνι θανοντι.

    Odyss., lib. v. ver. 306.

    Happy, thrice happy; who, in battle slain,

    Press'd, in Atrides' cause, the Trojan plain:

    O, had I died before that well fought wall;

    Had some distinguished day renown'd my fall,

    Such as was that when showers of javelins fled,

    From conquering Troy, around Achilles dead.


    Thus imitated by the prince of the Roman poets: -

    Extemplo Aeneae solvuntur frigore membra.

    Ingemit, et, duplices tendens ad sidera palmas,

    Talia voce refert: O terque quaterque beati,

    Queis ante ora patrum Trojae sub moenibus altis

    Contigit oppetere! O Danaum fortissime gentis

    Tydide, mene Iliacis occumbere campis

    Non potuisse? tuaque animam hanc effundere dextra?

    Saevus ubi Aeacidae telo jacet Hector, ubi ingens

    Sarpedon: ubi tot Simois correpta sub undis

    Scuta virum, galeasque, et fortis corpora volvit.

    Virg., Aen. i., ver. 93.

    "In horror fix'd the Trojan hero stands,

    He groans, and spreads to heaven his lifted hands.

    Thrice happy those whose fate it was to fall,

    Exclaims the chief, before the Trojan wall!

    O, 'twas a glorious fate to die in fight!

    To die so bravely in their parents' sight!

    O, had I there, beneath Tydides' hand,

    That bravest hero of the Grecian band,

    Pour'd out this soul, with martial glory fired,

    And in the plain triumphantly expired,

    Where Hector fell, by fierce Achilles' spear,

    And great Sarpedon, the renown'd in war;

    Where Simois' stream, encumber'd with the slain,

    Rolls shields and helms and heroes to the main."


    Which die in the Lord - These are the only glorious dead. They die, not in the field of battle, in either what are called lawful or unlawful wars against their fellow men; but they die in the cause of God, they die under the smile and approbation of God, and they die to live and reign with God for ever and ever.

    From henceforth - Απαρτι· From this time; now; immediately. This word is joined to the following by many MSS. and some versions. It was a maxim among the Jews, that as soon as the souls of the just departed from this life they ascended immediately to heaven.

    Yea, saith the Spirit - The Holy Spirit confirms the declaration from heaven, and assigns the reasons of it.

    That they may rest from their labors - Have no more tribulation and distress.

    And their works do follow there - Εργα αυτων ακολουθει μετ ' αυτων· And their works follow With them. They are in company. Here is an elegant prosopopoeia or personification; their good works, sufferings, etc., are represented as so many companions escorting them on their way to the kingdom of God.

    There are some good and pertinent things in the Jewish writers on this subject. "Rabbi Jonathan taught, If a man perform one righteous action in this life, it goes before him into the world to come. But if a man commit one crime, it cleaves to him, and drags him to the day of judgment." Sota, fol. 3, 2. Avoda Sara, fol. 5, 1.

    "Come and see, If any man observe a precept, that work ascends to God, and says, Such a one performed me. But if a man transgress the law, that sin ascends to the holy blessed God, and says, I came from such a one, who has performed me." Sohar Levit., fol. 34, col. 136. Here the same personification is observed as that in the text.

    "In that hour in which a man passes from this life into eternity, all his works precede him; and there they say unto him, 'This and that thou hast done in such a place on such a day.' This he shall acknowledge. They shall require that he shall subscribe this with his own hand, as it is written, Job 37:7; each man shall subscribe with his own hand; and not only this, but he shall acknowledge that the sentence brought against him is most just." Taanith, fol. 11, 1.

    The following elegant similitude Schoettgen gives from Sepher Hachayim, Part II., fol. 47, 1, 2. "A certain man had three friends, two of whom he loved; but the third he did not highly esteem. On a time the king commanded him to be called before him; and being alarmed, he sought to find an advocate. He went to that friend whom he loved most, but he utterly refused to go with him. The second offered to go with him as far as the door of the king's palace, but refused to speak a word in his behalf. The third, whom he loved least, not only went with him, but pleaded his cause so well before the king that he was cleared from all blame. In like manner, every man has three friends, when he is cited by death to appear before God. The first friend, whom he loved most, viz., his money, cannot accompany him at all. His second, viz., his relations and neighbors, accompanied him only to the grave, and then returned; but could not deliver him from the Judge. The third friend, whom he held but in little esteem, viz., the law and his good works, went with him to the king, and delivered him from judgment." The meaning of this most plainly is, that nothing except the deeds of good and evil men shall accompany them to the judgment-seat of God, and that a man's lot will be in the other world as his conduct has been in this; Their works follow with them.

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    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    And I heard a voice from heaven - A voice that seemed to speak from heaven.

    Saying unto me, Write - Make a record of this truth. We may suppose that John was engaged in making a record of what he saw in vision; he was now instructed to make a record of what he heard. This passage may be referred to as a proof that he wrote this book while in Patmos, or as the heavenly disclosures were made to him, and not afterward from memory.

    Blessed are the dead - That is, the condition of those who die in the manner which is immediately specified, is to be regarded as a blessed or happy one. It is much to be able to say of the dead that they are “blessed.” There is much in death that is sad; we so much dread it by nature; it cuts us off from so much that is dear to us; it blasts so many hopes; and the grave is so cold and cheerless a resting place, that we owe much to a system of religion which will enable us to say and to feel, that it is a blessed thing to die. Assuredly we should be grateful for any system of religion which will enable us thus to speak of those who are dead; which will enable us, with corresponding feeling, to look forward to our own departure from this world.

    Which die in the Lord - Not all the dead; for God never pronounces the condition of the wicked who die, blessed or happy. Religion guards this point, and confines the declaration to those who furnish evidence that they are prepared for heaven. The phrase “to die in the Lord” implies the following things:

    (1)That they who thus die are the friends of the Lord Jesus. The language “to be in the Lord” is often used to denote true attachment to him, or close union with him. Compare John 15:4-7; Romans 16:13, Romans 16:22; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 7:39; Philemon 1:14; Colossians 4:7. The assurance, then, is limited to those who are sincere Christians; for this the language properly implies, and we are authorized to apply it only as there is evidence of true religion.

    (2)to “die in the Lord” would seem also to imply that there should be, at the time, the evidence of his favor and friendship. This would apply:

    (a) to those who die as martyrs, giving their lives as a testimony to the truth of religion, and as an evidence of their love for it; and,

    (b) to those who have the comforting evidence of his presence and favor on the bed of death.

    From henceforth - ἀπάρτι apartiThis word has given no little perplexity to expositors, and it has been variously rendered. Some have connected it with the word “blessed” - “Blessed henceforth are the dead who die in the Lord”; that is, they will be ever-onward blessed: some with the word “die,” referring to the time when the apostle was writing - “Blessed are they who, after this time, die in the Lord”; designing to comfort those who were exposed to death, and who would die as martyrs: some as referring to the times contemplated in these visions - “Blessed will they be who shall die in those future times.” Witsius understands this as meaning that, from the time of their death, they would be blessed, as if it had been said, immediately after their dissolution they would be blessed. Doddridge renders it, “Henceforth blessed are the dead.” The language is evidently not to be construed as implying that they who had died in the faith before were not happy, but that in the times of trial and persecution that were to come, they were to be regarded as especially blessed who should escape from these sorrows by a Christian death. Scenes of woe were indeed to occur, in which many believers would die. But their condition was not to be regarded as one of misfortune, but of blessedness and joy, for:

    (a)they would die in an honorable cause;

    (b)they would emerge from a world of sorrow; and,

    (c)they would rise to eternal life and peace.

    The design, therefore, of the verse is to impart consolation and support to those who would be exposed to a martyr‘s death, and to those who, in times of persecution, would see their friends exposed to such a death. It may be added that the declaration here made is true still, and ever will be. It is a blessed thing to die in the Lord.

    Yea, saith the Spirit - The Holy Spirit; “the Spirit by whose inspiration and command I record this” (Doddridge).

    That they may rest from their labours - The word rendered here “labor” - κόπος kopos- means properly “wailing, grief,” from κόπτω KOPTOO“to beat,” and hence, a beating of the breast as in grief. Then the word denotes “toil, labor, effort,” John 4:38; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Corinthians 6:5; 2 Corinthians 10:15; 2 Corinthians 11:23, 2 Corinthians 11:27. It is used here in the sense of wearisome toil in doing good, in promoting religion, in saving souls, in defending the truth. From such toils the redeemed in heaven will be released; for although there will be employment there, it will be without the sense of fatigue or weariness. And in view of such eternal rest from toil, we may well endure the labors and toils incident to the short period of the present life, for, however arduous or difficult, it will soon be ended.

    And their works do follow them - That is, the rewards or the consequences of their works will follow them to the eternal world, the word works here being used for the rewards or results of their works. In regard to this, considered as an encouragement to labor, and as a support in the trials of life, it may be remarked:

    (a)that all that the righteous do and suffer here will be appropriately recompensed there.

    (b)This is all that can follow a man to eternity. He can take with him none of his gold, his lands, his raiment; none of the honors of this life; none of the means of sensual gratification. All that will go with him will be his character, and the results of his conduct here, and, in this respect, eternity will be but a prolongation of the present life.

    (c)It is one of the highest honors of our nature that we can make the present affect the future for good; that by our conduct on the earth we can lay the foundation for happiness million of ages hence.

    In no other respect does man appear so dignified as in this; nowhere do we so clearly see the grandeur of the soul as in the fact, that what we do today may determine our happiness in that future period, when all the affairs of this world shall which cannot now be numbered shall have rolled by. It is then a glorious thing to live, and will be a glorious thing to die. Compare the notes on 1 Corinthians 15:58.

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

    Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

    And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them.

    This is one of the great doctrinal pronouncements of the whole New Testament. It declares "blessed are those who meet death in spiritual union with Jesus Christ."[58] "Manifestly, all this applies to all who die in the Lord."[59] There is not another verse in the whole New Testament that any more concisely concentrates into so brief a statement the entire theology of redemption than is effected here.

    Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord ... The key words here are "in the Lord," a little phrase which, with its equivalents "in him," "in whom," etc., occurs no less than 169 times in Paul's writings alone,[60] besides dozens of other references. This truth alone emphatically stresses the overriding importance of it. To be "in Christ," of course, is to be in spiritual union with Christ; but the word of the New Testament repeatedly states unequivocally that this union is effected, completed, accomplished, and achieved through the believer's being "baptized into Christ" (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:26,27), there being not the slightest hint in the whole New Testament of anyone's ever having been "in Christ" who was not baptized "into him."

    People are not actually "in Christ" in any other sense than that of being "in" his spiritual body which is the church; and the same manner of being "in the body" is likewise that of being "in Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:13). See fuller discussion of this in my Commentary on Romans, pp. 123-127. Thus the same obedience of faith which unites one with Christ in baptism also unites him with the true spiritual body of Christ.

    Who die in the Lord ... None ever died "in the Lord" who was not "in him" before he died; so what is indicated here is fidelity until death, or even fidelity when physical death is a consequence of it. The crown is never won for Christians until their probation is ended; as Paul expressed it, until they are "found in him" (Philippians 3:9).

    The consequences of the Christian's being "in Christ" are almost unbelievably profound. The one "in Christ" is eternally saved and justified, not for anything that he either believed or did, but through being a partaker of the perfect faith and perfect obedience of Christ himself, which in the state of his being in union with Christ are actually his. This is the way one is "perfect in Christ" (Ephesians 1:4; Colossians 1:28,29). This is the way one "in Christ" is dead to sin, etc. See in my Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, pp. 130-133. The development of this great theological principle has been stressed extensively in this set of commentaries.

    From henceforth ... Beckwith and others unnecessarily see a time-factor in this,[61] as if those dying "in the Lord" after John wrote were particularly the recipients of this beatitude; but, despite this, Beckwith admitted that "this cannot obscure the universal truth of the passage.[62] Beasley-Murray would appear to have the better understanding of what is here meant by "henceforth."

    It is likely that the word translated henceforth should so be punctuated as to produce, the word assuredly, as in the New English Bible (1961) margin.[63]

    The oldest manuscripts were not divided into words. If this is two words, it means henceforth, but if one, it means assuredly. The original Greek may be read either way with equal authority. If any time-factor is meant, it would have to refer to the entire Christian dispensation as contrasted with what went previously. We simply cannot believe that the "henceforth" in this passage limits the meaning in any manner to "the martyrs alone."

    That they may rest from their labors ... When Christians die, they "rest" from the trials, sorrows, temptations, and tribulations of life. Little beyond this is revealed concerning the state of the righteous dead. It would appear to be quite a different case with the wicked, as may be deduced from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). It will be recalled that Lazarus entered not into any conversation and that he appeared totally inactive throughout the narrative. The wicked man, however, was tormented.

    For their works follow with them ... This stresses the importance of good works in the scheme of redemption, a truth downgraded and resented by this generation, but nevertheless true. No! Works do not alone justify; but then, neither does faith alone justify. Rist complained of the plain teaching here:

    The doctrine of works is also given a very prominent place. This is a basic inconsistency which does not seem to have disturbed John, if he was aware of it at all.[64]

    The reason John was not disturbed is that "works" are in no manner inconsistent with what John and all the apostles taught; but it is not only inconsistent with the "faith only" theory of salvation but absolutely contradictory of it. Such a comment seems to indicate a lack of faith in the holy apostle's inspiration, as well as lack of information about what is, or is not, consistent with the teaching of the whole New Testament. Barclay said, "Works here mean character!"[65] That, of course, is a marvelous way to get rid of a troublesome word. Declare that it means something else.

    [58] Robert H. Mounce, op. cit., p. 277.

    [59] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 227.

    [60] John Mackay, God's Order (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1953), p. 59.

    [61] Isbon T. Beckwith, op. cit., p. 659.

    [62] Ibid.

    [63] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 227.

    [64] Martin Rist, op. cit., p. 474.

    [65] William Barclay, op. cit., p. 114.

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    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And I heard a voice from heaven,.... Like that which was heard at Christ's baptism and transfiguration, certifying the truth of what follows, so that that may be depended upon as an undoubted verity:

    saying unto me, write; which is a further confirmation of the following sayings being true and faithful; see Revelation 1:9

    blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; merely to die is not an happiness, for death is common to all, good and bad; it is a disunion of soul and body, and cannot be in itself desirable; it is the fruit of sin, and has something in it awful and terrible; and though it is the privilege of believers, as its sting is removed by Christ, yet not as simply and absolutely considered; but to die in the Lord is a blessedness: some render the words, "which die for the Lord"; so the Arabic version, "which die for the faith of the Lord"; and the Ethiopic version, "which die for God"; and so restrain them to the martyrs of Jesus: to suffer death for the sake of Christ and his Gospel is a gift and an honour, and what glorifies Christ; and there is a glory consequent upon it, which such shall enjoy; but then in the spiritual reign of Christ, to which this passage refers, and after the destruction of antichrist, there will be no more suffering for Christ, no more martyrdoms; wherefore this cannot be the sense of the words: nor do they mean dying in the lively exercise of faith and hope in the Lord; for though it is a happiness so to die, both to persons themselves, and to their friends and relations, yet these are not the only persons that are blessed; there are some who all their lifetime are subject to bondage, and go off in the dark, and yet are happy; but to die in the Lord is to die interested in him, in union to him; which union is not dissolved by death, and which preserves from all condemnation, at death or at judgment, and secures the soul's immediate entrance into happiness, and the resurrection of the body at the last day, and therefore such must be blessed: the phrase, "from henceforth", is differently placed; the Ethiopic version connects it with the word "write", rendering it, "write now"; and the Vulgate Latin version reads it with the next clause, "hereafter, yea, saith the Spirit"; and so the Latin interpreter of the Syriac version, though that itself seems rather to place it as ours does, and which is most correct; and is to be understood not of the time of John's writing, thenceforward to the resurrection; for those that died before his time were as happy as those who died after; nor of the time of death, though it is a truth, that from the time of the saints' death, and from the very moment of their separation, they are blessed, and are in a state of happiness until the resurrection; but of that period of time which the declarations made by the three preceding angels refer to, from thenceforward, and after the destruction of antichrist, and during the spiritual reign of Christ: and the sense is, that happy will those persons be that die in Christ within that time, and before the Laodicean church state takes place; when coldness, lukewarmness, and carnal security will seize upon men, and Christ will come upon them at an unawares; and those sharp and severe times will commence, signified by the harvest and vintage of the earth in the following verses, and which seem to be no other than the end of the world, and the destruction of it; wherefore happy will they be that are going to heaven before that time comes; see Ecclesiastes 4:1

    yea, saith the Spirit; the third witness in heaven, who sets his seal to the truth of what the voice declares, and shows wherein this blessedness will consist:

    that they may rest from their labours; both of body and soul; from all toil of body, and laborious work, from all diseases and distempers of body, and all outward sorrows and calamities men labour under, and are fatigued with in this life; and from all inward troubles, from a body of sin, from the temptations of Satan, and from all doubts and fears, from their present warfare state, and all conflicts with their spiritual enemies:

    and their works do follow them; they do not go before them, to prepare heaven and happiness for them; nor do they take them along with them, and use them as pleas for their admission into the heavenly glory; but they will follow them, and will be found to praise, and honour, and glory, and will be taken notice of by Christ, and graciously rewarded by him, at his appearing and kingdom. This is directly opposite to the notions of the Jews, who say, that when a man departs this life, his works "go before him", and say unto him, thou hast done so and so, in such a place, and on such a dayF23T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 11. 1. ; and that whoever does a good work in this world, it shall "go before him" in the world to comeF24T. Bab. Sota, fol. 3. 2. & Avoda Zara, fol. 5. 1. & Nishmat Chayim, fol. 21. 1. ; and so theyF25Pirke Eliezer, c. 34. & Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 55. 4. represent good works as saying to a man when he is about to die,

    "go in peace; before thou gettest thither, אנו מקדימים אותך, we will go before thee, as it is said, Isaiah 48:8 "thy righteousness shall go before thee".'

    Sometimes they sayF26Pirke Abot, c. 6. sect. 9. , they go along with him at the time of a man's departure: neither gold, nor silver, nor precious stones and pearls accompany him, but the law and good works, as it is said, Proverbs 6:22 "when thou goest it shall lead thee", &c.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

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

    (b) That is, for the Lord.

    (c) By works, is meant the reward which follows good works.

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    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    Encouragement to cheer those persecuted under the beast.

    Write — to put it on record for ever.

    Blessed — in resting from their toils, and, in the case of the saints just before alluded to as persecuted by the beast, in resting from persecutions. Their full blessedness is now “from henceforth,” that is, FROM THIS TIME, when the judgment on the beast and the harvest gatherings of the elect are imminent. The time so earnestly 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 (the same Greek as here, {(anapausis}) yet for a little season,” their eternal rest, or cessation from toils (2 Thessalonians 1:7; Greek, “{(anesis},” relaxation after hardships. Hebrews 4:9, Hebrews 4:10, sabbatism of rest; and Greek, “{(catapausis},” akin to the Greek here) is close at hand now. They are blessed in being about to sit down to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9), and in having part in the first resurrection (Revelation 20:6), and in having right to the tree of life (Revelation 22:14). In Revelation 14:14-16 follows the explanation of why they are pronounced “blessed” now in particular, namely, the Son of man on the cloud is just coming to gather them in as the harvest ripe for garner.

    Yea, saith the Spirit — The words of God the Father (the “voice from heaven”) are echoed back and confirmed 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 “G)od‘s promises in Christ are yea” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

    unto me — omitted in A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and Co)ptic.

    that they may — The Greek includes also the idea, They are blessed, in that they SHALL rest from their toils) (so the Greek).

    and — So B and Andreas read. But A, C, Vulgate, and Syriac read “for.” They rest from their toils because their time for toil is past; they enter on the blessed rest because of their faith evinced by their works which, therefore, “follow WITH (so the Greek) them.” Their works are specified because respect is had to the coming judgment, wherein every man shall be “judged according to his works.” His works do not go before the believer, nor even go by his side, but follow him at the same time that they go with him as a proof that he is Christ‘s.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
    This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
    Bibliographical Information
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

    People's New Testament

    I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write. We are not told whose voice, but it is a voice of authority. The words to be written are next stated.

    Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. Not all the dead, but those dead who die in the Lord. Only those die {in} the Lord who are {in} the Lord when they die. The Christian life, begun by faith and baptism {into Christ} (Romans 6:3), is a life in Christ. To be assured of this blessed death one must live a Christian life.

    From henceforth. Probably from the time of this utterance to John, though some have supposed that the time meant is that of the Lord's coming, which is declared in Revelation 14:14.

    Yea, saith the Spirit. The Spirit confirms the blessing pronounced and states the reason.

    They may rest from their labors. Yet though they rest their labors are not lost; they follow them to eternity to speak for them.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
    Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
    Bibliographical Information
    Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "People's New Testament". 1891.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    Write (ΓραπσονGrapson). First aorist active imperative of γραπωgraphō as in Revelation 1:11. John‘s meditation is broken by this command. This new beatitude (μακαριοιmakarioi Blessed) for the Christian dead goes farther than Paul‘s words (1 Thessalonians 4:14-16; 1 Corinthians 15:18). Probably “from henceforth” (απ αρτιap' arti) goes with “those who die in the Lord,” giving comfort to those facing persecution and death.

    That they may rest (ινα αναπαησονταιhina anapaēsontai). Purpose clause with ιναhina and the second future passive of αναπαυωanapauō their labours (εκ των κοπων αυτωνek tōn kopōn autōn). From the toils, the wearinesses, but not from the activities (εργαerga), for these “follow with them.” There is this to comfort us for all our growth here. Even if cut short, it can be utilized in heaven, which is not a place of idleness, but of the highest form of spiritual service.

    Copyright Statement
    The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
    Bibliographical Information
    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    Blessed ( μακάριοι )

    See on Matthew 5:3.

    From henceforth ( ἀπ ' ἄρτι )

    See on John 13:33. To be joined as in A.V. and Rev., with die in the preceding clause, and not with blessed, nor with the following clause. Not from henceforth saith the Spirit. The meaning is variously explained. Some, from the beginning of the Christian age and onward to the end; others, from the moment of death, connecting henceforth with blessed; others from the time when the harvest of the earth is about to be reaped. Sophocles says: “Show all religious reverence to the gods, for all other things Father Zeus counts secondary; for the reward of piety follows men in death. Whether they live or die it passeth not away” (“Philoctetes,” 1441-1444).

    That they may rest ( ἵνα ἀναπαύσωνται )

    See on Matthew 11:28. The ἵνα thatgives the ground of the blessed.

    Labors ( κόπων )

    From κόπων tostrike. Hence to beat the breast in grief. Κόπος is, therefore, primarily, a smiting as a sign of sorrow, and then sorrow itself. As labor, it is labor which involves weariness and sorrow.

    Follow them ( ἀκολουθεῖ μετ ' αὐτῶν )

    Rather, accompany. Rev., follow with them. Compare Matthew 4:25; Mark 3:7, etc. See on John 1:43.

    Copyright Statement
    The text of this work is public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    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.

    And I heard a voice — This is most seasonably heard when the beast is in his highest power and fury.

    Out of heaven — Probably from a departed saint.

    Write — He was at first commanded to write the whole book. Whenever this is repeated it denotes something peculiarly observable.

    Happy are the dead — From henceforth particularly: 1. Because they escape the approaching calamities: 2. Because they already enjoy so near an approach to glory.

    Who die in the Lord — In the faith of the Lord Jesus.

    For they rest — No pain, no purgatory follows; but pure, unmixed happiness.

    From their labours — And the more laborious their life was, the sweeter is their rest. How different this state from that of those, verse11, Revelation 14:11 who "have no rest day or night!" Reader, which wilt thou choose? Their works - Each one's peculiar works.

    Follow — or accompany them; that is, the fruit of their works. Their works do not go before to procure them admittance into the mansions of joy; but they follow them when admitted.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
    Bibliographical Information
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

    Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

    Their works; the memory and reward of their works.

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    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

    James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


    ‘And I heard a voice from heaven saving 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.’

    Revelation 14:13

    The Bible tells us that those who serve God faithfully here, pass into the presence of God, and are clothed in white robes, and rest from their labours.

    I. First and foremost among these will be the noble army of martyrs, men who in all ages were willing to suffer for the truth; then there will be the Apostles and Prophets, the Prophets of the Old Testament, who saw the day of Christ afar off, and the Apostles of the New, who went forth to bear God’s message of love to all the world. There will be the learned Doctors of the Church, who spent their lives in teaching or expounding or harmonising the great truths of God.

    II. The state of the dead in Christ is invariably spoken of as a blessed state and a state of rest, both of which are impossible if purgatory is true. ‘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’; while of those who worship the beast and his image, it is said that ‘The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever, and they have no rest day nor night.’

    III. They are in God’s presence, and therefore they are blessed. They are in God’s safe keeping, and therefore they are at rest. If we could think more of these two truths which are so plainly stated in the Bible, it would utterly recast some of the heathen notions that linger round us still.

    —Rev. Canon Aubrey Moore.

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    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    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.

    Ver. 13. A voice from heaven] That voice of Christ, John 5:24; John 8:51.

    Write, Blessed are the dead] Though by the pope accursed and pronounced damned heretics.

    Which die in the Lord] Especially if for the Lord; which is (saith Father Latimer) the greatest promotion in the world, such as is not granted to any angel in heaven.

    From henceforth] As well as heretofore in those primitive persecutions. Or, from henceforth, that is, presently from the very time of their death, απαρτι, e vestigio, a mode, ab ipso mortis tempere. This puts out the very fire of purgatory; for if all believers die in Christ, and are blessed, and that presently, then none are to be purged.

    Rest from their labours] The sleep of these labourers, oh, how sweet is it! Quale sopor fessis in gramine -they get the goal, they enter the haven:

    " Italiam socii laeto clamors salutant."

    A Christian here is like quicksilver (which hath in itself a principle of motion, but not of rest), never quiet; but as the ball upon the racket, ship upon the waves, &c. Death brings him to his rest, Isaiah 57:2.

    And their works follow them] They die not with them, as Hortensius’s Orations did. Mors privare potest opibus, non operibus, Death may deprive a man of his wealth, but not of his works.

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    These files are public domain.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

    Sermon Bible Commentary

    Revelation 14:13

    The Immortality of Good Work.

    This is a benediction; it is a benediction, too, falling where we are accustomed to look for anything else but felicitation. "Waste," "decay," "death," are words which usually bring only the most gloomy associations; but in the New Testament, more and more as it goes on toward its consummation, the brightest words, the strongest tokens of joy and of triumph, overhang these desolate places; and where men have been accustomed to set fear as a sentinel, to wet the place with tears, there in Christianity we see banners set up for victory, and we see all cheer and all comfort predicated of that which has been the world's dread and the world's curse.

    I. We regard it as strange when energetic and useful men are cut off. Men cling to their work by that very force which enables them to be useful. We could not be what we are appointed to be in this life if we were so indifferent to our tasks and responsibilities that we could let them go easily; and this very tenacity, this very life adhesion, becomes at last a hindrance. So long as we are bound to this life, we are bound to be interested in the things of this life; and men cling to their work as if that were nature, when it is nature in transitu, or when it is nature partial or relative to one particular period of our age; and when persons are taken out of life in the midst of strength and function, men marvel. They cannot understand why those who are useful should be removed. But do you forget that dying makes but very little void in this world? Indeed, after Christ died He lived more efficaciously than when He was alive. The death of the Apostle stopped nothing, but sped much. No age was ever left without men. We are poor in our conception, but God is rich. He that could raise up seed to Abraham from the very stones need not look about much, nor mourn that men, one and another, drop out from the functions of life; yet it is natural that we should do so. They who have the responsibility, they who supervise the labour, they who must replace the men that are gone, think it strange that those who are well equipped and of the right spirit should be taken out of life.

    II. But the consideration of triumph is that men do not cease their work. They never die. The irksome part of their labour they rest from; but their works go after, go on with, or have gone before them. A man's life is not simply what you see. The effects of a man's life are not simply those things which you can count, measure, or describe. He who lives in earnest, striving to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, or in the spirit of Christ, throws into life elements which never die out even here—elements that are not witnesses; that have no report; that come not with observation; that are immeasurable; but that are more real a thousand times than the things which are visible.

    H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 60.

    I. There seem to be two points to be discussed in the text. (1) What is meant by dying in the Lord, and (2) for what reason or reasons are those who die in the Lord to be pronounced blessed? As to the former of the two, it may be well for us to note that there is a peculiar significance about the expression "in the Lord." The Scriptures of the Old Testament, and even the Scriptures of the New, make much of the lawgiver Moses, and Moses perhaps was the man who more than any other man who ever lived has influenced the fortunes of Israel, and through Israel the fortunes of the human race. But although men may follow Moses and obey the precepts which he gave, you never heard any of them spoken of as being "in Moses." And, again, when we come to the New Testament, we find the Apostle Paul put prominently forward as one of the greatest of the inspired teachers whom God has sent for the instruction and guidance of mankind. Yet neither do you meet with the expression "in Paul" or any conceivable equivalent for it. It is obvious that the expression conveys more than the idea of respecting a teacher, or of imitating an example, or obeying the injunctions of one who has a right to command us. It implies a close and living personal union, which is real, though it may be mysterious, and which shows its existence in certain unmistakable results produced upon our heart and conduct. A Christian is a man who is in Christ, and who abides or remains in Him. The man must die in the Lord as well as live in the Lord, if we are to pronounce him blessed.

    II. The reasons for the proclamation of blessedness. They are two in number: (1) they rest from their labours; (2) their works do follow them. The person of the man is accepted for Christ's sake; his works come afterwards. A man cannot take with him his riches, his honours, his worldly position and successes; these things will drop off him as he enters the cold waters of death. All that will go with him is his character and the results of the influence which he has exerted upon the character of others; and in this respect eternity will be but a continuation and prolongation of the present life.

    G. Calthrop, Penny Pulpit, New Series, No. 1163.

    The Blessed Dead.

    I. The dead that die in the Lord. The term hardly needed much nice definition when to live in the Lord meant almost certainly persecution, and possibly martyrdom. To die in the Lord was the end of those who had lived in the Lord, and few were likely to make that profession who had not taken up the cross and followed Christ in the way. To die in the Lord is to die in possession of all that the Lord, by His incarnation and passion, has won for man; to die in the Lord is to pass up to live with Him. What life do you take through death to that world? Is it a fool's paradise which you are dreaming of there, or the Lord's? It is simply a question of at-homeness. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, who have lived with Him here, talked with Him, wrought for Him, and have pined for more perfect possession of all that makes the holy beauty of His character and glory of His life.

    II. Wherein are they blessed who die in the Lord? What is it which transmutes man's great terror into an angel of benediction, and makes that which nature shudders at a birth into a world of bliss? Here we rise into another region: a region of intense, conscious, joyous vitality; a region of intelligent, responsible, glorious activity, in which nothing that makes the dignity, the grandeur, of the burden of life is laid down, but only the pain. (1) Because death is birth to the believer, and birth is ever blessed. This is not the noon of life, but its struggling dawn; not its summer, but its bleak and wintry spring. Our high life is the seed in the ground which is growing, struggling into form. Blessed are the dead, for they are born, exiled from the body, at home with the Lord. (2) Born out of a life which is a long pain to a life which is a long bliss. "We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened." (3) They pass out of relations and fellowships which are ever changing to those which abide and enlarge their ministries through eternity. (4) Blessed are they, for they are for ever beyond the reach of ail that may imperil the prize.

    J. Baldwin Brown, The Sunday Afternoon, p. 320.

    The Blessedness of the Dead in Christ.

    Some years ago, when worshipping in one of the churches of the canton of Glarus, in Switzerland, I could not but be struck with the truth of the remark that there, as in some other parts of that wonderful country, the mountains look in at the windows. Wherever there was an opening, some part of a giant mountain could be seen looking in, as with a lofty and yet kindly eye; and the effect was all the more striking that in that grey and venerable town where I was more than three and a half centuries before the great Swiss reformer Zwingli had begun that work which was to have such consequences for his country and for the world. I have been impressed with the likeness of the relation of heaven to the Church below in the book of Revelation. Everywhere, so to speak, heaven looks in at the windows; and there are not only looks and sympathies, but voices, reminding those engaged in the earthly worship that a higher company is not far off from any one of them, and that where the shadow now falls the summit is also near. Considering the words of the text as in general descriptive of the heavenly blessedness, I shall endeavour to answer three questions regarding it which are here suggested:—

    I. How is this heavenly blessedness attested? We all profess to believe in heaven. How do we know that there are such a place and such a state? If we cannot give a good answer, the Apostle John could. Could he have written all this, even had he wished it, without inspiration from God? If the Apostles had seen all that they testified, would they not have been less than men if they had doubted it? And shall we be wiser men than they if we disbelieve it? But their testimony, of an outward kind, has an inward voucher to its own authenticity. It bears the stamp of the heaven whence it professes to come. Here is a heaven of holiness and purity, of likeness to God, and fellowship to Christ, and eternal worship, contemplation, and praise. Did this dream come out of the human mind and heart? Then there is a testimony in living epistles, written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. This is our third evidence of there being a heavenly world, what may be called the evidence from Christian character. Had you been in company with the Apostle John, you would have said, "Here is heaven begun." The Christian Church in all its graces and in all its virtues, as it is a preparation for heaven, so is it a prophecy of heaven.

    II. How is this heavenly blessedness gained? (1) Faith is needful to give a title to the heavenly blessedness; (2) holy obedience is necessary.

    III. How is this heavenly blessedness to be enjoyed? (1) There is the rest of the worker; (2) there is the continued influence of the work.

    J. Cairns, Christ the Morning Star, p. 160.

    The Christian's Death.

    I. Death is a curse. My text says, "Blessed are the dead." Still death is a curse. Separate and apart from the consolations of Christian faith, death is a tremendous evil. Nature shrinks from it shuddering. In most cases death presents the unmistakable features of a tremendous curse, being attended with sufferings which, however unpleasant to think of, it is well to anticipate, that we may be prepared for the worst, and, fortified by faith, may withstand the rude shocks of dissolution.

    II. Death is a blessing. The union which is formed between Christ and His people being one of incorporation, and not merely one of co-operation, what the one is, the other is; and where the one is, the other is; and as the one feels, the other feels: and as our bodies and their limbs have all things in common, or the branches and trunk of a tree have sap in common, so Jesus and His people have all things in common. To be in Christ, then, to be in the Lord, implies that we shall infallibly enjoy all the blessings, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, which He shed His blood to purchase, these being secured to us by the great oath of God and the bonds of a covenant which is well ordered in all things and sure.

    III. Death is a blessing as introducing us into a state of rest. (1) At death the believer rests from the toils of life. (2) At death the believer rests from the cares of life. Faith is often weak, and man is fearful; and so our life has many a troubled dream, that fills those with fears and terrors who are all the time safely folded in a Father's arms. (3) At death the believer rests from the griefs of life. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord will deliver him out of them," if never before, at death. Death cures all griefs; and his own best physic and physician, he applies the most healing balm to the wounds his own hands have made. No more true or beautiful way of announcing a good man's death than the old-fashioned phrase, "He is at rest"

    T. Guthrie, The Way to Life, p. 372.

    I. Observe that St. John introduces the subject with a singular solemnity; "Yea," as though it was worthy of some special asseveration;—"Yea, the Spirit saith." He said all that John had written; but He said this with a stronger emphasis: "Yea, the Spirit saith,"—for the exceeding comfort of all the weary ones, who are now fighting through the hard day,—"Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours." From their "labours" they "rest," not from their "works," but from the pain of work, for "their works do follow them." There are two senses in which we may take this last clause: the record of their works follows them to testify to the grace of God, to witness to them in the day of judgment, and to be the measure of their eternal reward; or, more literally, their works themselves do follow them, what they used to do and loved to do for God in this present world. It follows them, to be taken up again in some higher and holier manner there. The tastes they formed, the services in which they delighted, the ministrations which they occupied here—they have not ceased to be, but are sweetly renewed in that higher state. And is it not an animating thought to think that all we now try to do for God is the beginning of something which we are to continue for ever and for ever, and for ever and for ever to continue to improve to do? Is it not very pleasant to realise those we love there carrying on still their loving occupations, which we remembered in them so well when they were with us here? But the struggle, the toil, the distress of work, is past for ever. "They rest from their labours," even though, ay, and because "their works do follow them." Work is never a hurtful thing. Work, in its own essence, is all happiness; it is the worry of work, it is the anxiety of work, it is the disproportionateness of work, it is the unkindness of work, it is the clashing of work, it is the incompleteness of work, it is the disappointment of work, this is the trouble and the discipline. Take away these, and work is heaven. Therefore we have all the elements of perfect joy combined when we say, "They rest from their labours, and their works do follow them."

    II. To this last release, not from "work," but from "labour," we mount up by many steps. The fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews gives the series of steps. There is a rest or release into which we all enter the moment we believe. "We which believe do enter into rest." It is a rest or release from the feeling of condemnation, from that awfully oppressive feeling of unforgiven sin. From that time "labour" continues, perhaps increases. The sin is more violent; and therefore the labour is more severe. But then it is the labour of a lightened heart; it is the labour of love. After that, after forgiveness, gradually another release takes place. The Christian escapes from the dominion of sin. It becomes rather his servant, that sometimes rebels, than his master, that always rules; and that is the release from the thraldom of the tyranny of sin. Nevertheless, after that release, sin is there. It meets him everywhere; he is never safe from it. He is pained by its contact; he is humbled by its force; he is grieved by its outbreak. He sees it; he feels it; he breathes it; he lives in the atmosphere of it, till at last a moment comes that he is released even from the touch, from the sound, from the breath, from the possibility, of it. And so the believer travels up, in a series of releases, step by step, to that grand dismissal at last when he is set free from the whole warfare of the cross of Christ. But what will the release be? You will come down from your watch-tower. How you are obliged to be always going up to that watch-tower! And how your eye is strained to descry the approach of evil, of which you knew it was somewhere, but from what quarter you could never tell how it would come, often from the most unlikely! And so night and day you had to keep your weary guard there. You may sheathe that sword; you may lay down that shield. There is no adverse occurrent now. Every one that rose up against you is laid dead at your feet. It is peace, peace, inviolable peace, and peace that can never be broken. And painful exercises there are now no more, no rushing tides of contending influences, no antagonism of a double nature, no warring of the flesh against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, no wrestling with the evil one, no importunate prayer, no baffling mysteries to the tired intellect, no delicate balancing of truth and error, no efforts failing through their own violence, no sinking of the spirit, no eclipse of faith, no mountains of pride, no valleys of despair. The besetting sin rears its conquered head again and again no more. All those are labours past, and, like all labours past, bitter in the present, pleasant, very pleasant, very humbling, but very glorifying to God, to look back upon. And the very capability of sin is gone. It would be as impossible to have a wrong as it is now impossible to have a right thought. You cannot help but love God intently, and please Him absolutely, for nature and grace run in one channel, in one world; and the whole man is one perfect image of one infinite Creator. Then, as I believe, in token of it all, God will give to every discharged soldier "the white stone, with the new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it," the sign of His approving favour, our dismission from sin, our admission into everlasting glory. So will the release come on; and that will be the Easter joy of our resurrection morn.

    J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 6th series, p. 45.

    Degrees of Glory.

    We are justified casually by God's eternal grace; we are justified effectively by the blood of Jesus Christ; we are justified instrumentally by faith; we are justified evidentially by good works. Or, to put this a little more plainly, we are justified before God—i.e., we are accounted righteous and acceptable—only by the faith in Christ which His Spirit creates and moves in our hearts. But how are we justified to ourselves in believing that we are justified before God? how are we justified to the world in saying that we are justified? By our good works. This harmonises the apparent discrepancy between St. Paul and St. James. We are "justified by our works," as St. James says, in believing that we are "justified" before God, as St. Paul says, "by faith" only. "They rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."

    I. Observe that it does not say, "They rest from their works"—for that would imply that where they are gone they cease from work, which is entirely the contrary to the fact—but, "They rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." Now labour is work's distress. Work itself as such is joy. There is no happiness without work. Every man must work, some with their heads, some with their minds, some with their hands; but all must work. The secret of all the wretchedness that there is in the world is the absence of work. Whoever you are, you can never lead a happy life if you do not work, really work, work hard. If your circumstances do not define your work for you, you must define your work for yourself. You must work. It is God's universal law in His government of this world, "If any man will not work, neither let him eat"—eat of any of the pleasant things which I spread for My children. But then, in this present state, the law of work has its dark shadows: fatigue, infirmity, too great tension, ill-health, disappointments, mistakes, waitings, suspensions, and sins. There is the miserable, depressing sense of inadequacy for the task; there is the perplexity of what is the line of duty and all the entanglements of self on every point; there is the feeling, "After all, all this is but a drop out of the ocean of misery!" I do not wonder that even in His work, Jesus "sighed." Now, all this, and much more, makes the labour. The Greek word has for its root the verb "to cut"—it cuts to the heart. It is like that other word, "Take no thought for the morrow," which is in the original, "Do not cut or split your heart about the morrow." But yet all this that cuts to the quick is necessary now to make work what work was intended to be in this stage of existence. The labour of work is the discipline of work; it is the education, the discipline, the school. It was not the work which was the punishment of Adam and Eve—doubtless they would have worked in paradise—but it was the excess of the work above the power of the being of the worker, work's pressure: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." And therefore, because it is the needful discipline, the rule holds good, whether it be the bread for the body, or whether it be the bread for the mind, or whether it be the bread for the soul, you can never get what is really satisfying but by dint of real, hard fag, hard toil: "in the sweat of thy brow." It is not work only, but it is labour, which is the condition of the peace of life. Therefore it was that Christ chose the word—for He knew how wide it was—"Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

    II. If a man is in Christ, and that man works, and that man casts the labour of his work upon Christ, its vexings and its harassings, then that man has entered into rest so far, for he does the work, and he casts the labour. Absolutely, however, death is the point when the believer perfectly and for ever exchanges labour for work. Death might be defined as going from labour to work. For do not think that those busy minds which were so active and so earnest here when they were among us, who are gone to their prepared places, are leading there a life of mere receptive enjoyment or meditative peace. They have not so unlearned their natures. "His servants shall serve Him." "They rest not day and night," while they glorify God, in His boundless ministrations, still "each upon his wing," while he soars away for activity in his vast circumference. It is tolerably clear, then, what it is the Spirit saith when He saith, "Yea, that they may rest from their labours."

    III. We have now to examine a little further how it is that "their works do follow them." It certainly admits of the interpretation that those works in which Christians are engaged here continue to interest them in the next world. Why should it not be so? Do we not make too much of death if we look upon it as destroying any of the interests of life? For what is death but as if a person should go into some foreign land? He can see no longer what he used to love so well, and what he called home. But do those things which lie beyond the sea become indifferent to him? Are his affections closed to them? Nay, are not those things, in some sense, dearer to him than ever they were before? Surely we may believe that those high and busy enterprises, which had so large a place in the hearts of God's children here, are not forgotten by them in their perfected happiness! The conversion of the Jews, the missions to the heathen, the flock, the schools, things once so near and bound up with their very life-blood—do you think they are passed away? And if not, if the interest lasts, and is imperishable, then may we not say that, in this way, "their works do follow them"? Nay, may we not go a step further, and hold it probable that there is a continuity between the special tastes, and occupations, and habits of thought, which characterised us here, and that which shall stamp our condition and our services in another state? Do not let us make the gulf between the two worlds greater than it is. There are two offices which the works we have done on earth are fulfilling in another world. (1) The one is to be our witnesses in the day of judgment. The matter which will be examined into at that tribunal will not be acts, but character. It will be, Did you love God? What was Christ to you? What were you to Christ? But, to determine the answer to that inquiry, acts will stand out in evidence; words will be an index. Therefore "by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned." Deeds of charity will stand out in evidence: "Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these My brethren, ye did it not to Me"; "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me." Thus, then, just as our justification was justified by our good works when we were here, so there God, though He needs it not, will be justified before the universe, in His final award to all men, by their works, which will be manifest then before men and angels. (2) The second purpose for which our "works will follow us" will be to determine, as I believe, the measure of our glory and our place in heaven, our place, not geographically, but morally, not so as to separate one saint from another—for the communion will be perfect in all saints—but just as Christians here meet in one, but yet are of various capacities and degrees, so there it will be in glory: they are all one, all filled, but the vessels are of different sizes.

    J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 6th series, p. 90.

    References: Revelation 14:13.—S. King, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxii., p. 51; R. Thomas, Ibid., vol. vii., p. 40; H. W. Beecher, Ibid., vol. xviii., p. 92; Bishop Barry, Sermons for Passiontide and Easter, p. 104; R. D. B. Rawnsley, Village Sermons, 1st series, p. 262; Homilist, 3rd series, vol. iv., p. 83: Preacher's Monthly, vol. iii., p. 363. Revelation 14:15.—H. Robjohns, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxi., p. 271; Preacher's Monthly, vol. viii., p. 142.

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    Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

    Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

    These words in their original and primary intention were delivered by the Spirit, and commanded to be written by St. John, for the support and comfort of the church under that severe persecution which should befall it; and to declare the happy condition of martyrs particularly, and such as die for the Lord; but they may be considered in a greater latitude, and be of general use to the church of God in all ages, and under all circumstances, and administer comfort to all believers who die in the Lord, that is, in the faith of the Lord, in the fear of the Lord, and in the favour of the Lord, to all that die sincere Christians, both in faith and practice.

    Here note, 1. A solemn declaration of the blessed state of good men after this life; their death is blessed, and a blessing to them.

    Note, 2. The time from whence their blessedness commences, from henceforth, that is, from the time of their death, then doth their blessedness begin.

    Thence learn, That all good Christians immediately upon their dissolution and departure out of this life are in a blessed and happy condition.

    Note, 3. Wherein the blessedness of the righteous after their departure doth consist:

    1. In resting from their labours, that is, from all the troubles, sorrows, and sufferings, from all the calamities, infirmities, and miseries of this frail, mortal state; no sin shall affect them, no sorrow afflict them, no danger affright them.

    2. In reaping the comfort of all the good works they have done in the world, their works follow them: that is,

    1. A delightful remembrance of their good works is found with them, which if it refreshes their souls with transporting pleasure now, how will it swallow them up with the highest transports of complacency and delight then!

    2. The blessed fruits and happy effects of their good works, and the special reward belonging to them, shall accompany good men into another world, which will render them completely blessed, by procuring for them, through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, an admission into heaven, where they shall drink of those pleasures which are at God's right hand for evermore.

    Note lastly, How this truth concerning the future blessedness of the righteous deserves our most serious and attentive regard and meditation, because delivered by an audible voice from heaven, expressly commanded to be written, and confirmed by the solemn asseveration of the Spirit, I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.

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    Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. 1700-1703.

    Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

    DISCOURSE: 2518

    THE BLESSEDNESS OF DEPARTED SAINTS [Note: Intended for a Funeral Sermon.]

    Revelation 14:13. 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.

    AS connected with the context, these words were intended to comfort and encourage those who should suffer martyrdom for the cause of Christ. The destruction of Antichrist is declared in the preceding verses. But as, in the meantime, the saints would be harassed with grievous persecutions, they are here taught to endure their trials with patience, in an assured expectation of a glorious recompence at the instant of their departure from the body. This will account for the very extraordinary way in which the most simple of all truths is here both announced and attested. The blessedness of departed saints, one would have thought, should not have needed to be promulgated in so solemn a way; especially when Christianity had been for a long period propagated, and, if I may so say, established throughout all the Roman Empire. But the circumstance of its being thus solemnly declared may well lead us to contemplate it with peculiar attention.

    Let us, then, consider the blessedness of departed saints,

    I. As announced from heaven to the Apostle John—

    But who are they who are here pronounced blessed?

    [Some imagine that martyrs alone were referred to: and it is certain that they were primarily in the mind of him who spake; because they are the persons to whom, more particularly, the preceding context belongs. But yet it cannot be said of all martyrs, that they are “blessed:” for we are assured on infallible authority, that persons may go, and probably have gone, from the flames of martyrdom to those more tremendous flames that never can be quenched. St. Paul says, we may even “give our bodies to be burned, and yet want that charity” which is indispensable to our final admission into heaven [Note: 1 Corinthians 1:3.]. We must extend our views to believers: yet even of believers it is not necessarily and universally true, that they are blessed: for we know, that there are some who “for awhile believe, but in time of temptation fall away [Note: Matthew 8:13.].” In truth, it cannot be certainly said of any, whilst they are yet alive, that they shall be happy in the eternal world; because there is no human being of whom it can be infallibly declared, that he shall persevere unto the end. After the fall of David, and Solomon, and Peter, and Demas, who shall venture to say, that he may not, after all his profession, “make shipwreck of the faith?” It is of “the dead” only that it can be affirmed, that they shall certainly be saved: and of those only who “die in the Lord.” They must first be in Christ by a living faith; they must then “abide in him,” bringing forth fruit to his glory; and, lastly, they must “die in him,” humbly “hoping in him even to the end,” and being “faithful unto death.” Persons so living, and so dying, are truly blessed.]

    And why is their blessedness so peculiarly proclaimed?

    [It is announced, by an audible voice from heaven: and the Apostle is commanded to record it, for the benefit of all future generations. Whence was the necessity for such a manifestation of so plain a truth? Had it not been known in the Church as long as any written record of God’s mind and will had existed? True; it was known: but yet it was foreseen that it would be obscured by that corrupt Church that would in due time arise; and a special revelation of it therefore was given, in this extraordinary manner, for the comfort of God’s saints whom that Church would persecute; and for a warning to those who should give way to fear, and turn from the holy commandment committed to them. That persecuting Church would inculcate the doctrine of purgatory, in order to enrich her ministers: but those who should die in defence of the Gospel might rest assured that their felicity would be immediate and complete, as soon as ever they should have sealed their testimony with their blood; as would also he the misery of those who either inflicted those sufferings, or, through fear of suffering, renounced their holy profession. The faithful should “from henceforth,” from the very moment of their death, be happy; but the others, from the instant of their departure from the body, should “drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which should be poured out, without mixture, into the cup of his indignation.” The faithful universally, and the faithful exclusively, might apply to themselves this glorious truth. They should be “blessed;” but they alone: “the fearful and the unbelieving should altogether be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where they should immediately and to all eternity endure the second death [Note: Revelation 21:8.].”]

    Lest, after all, this declaration should not have its due weight on our minds, we are led to contemplate it,

    II. As attested by the Spirit, to every child of man—

    Were the Spirit’s testimony conveyed only in a way of simple asseveration, it would be amply sufficient to engage our fullest confidence: but it is given in such a way as to approve itself to the judgment of every considerate man: for, with the testimony, he makes known the grounds and sources of that very blessedness, to the certainty of which his testimony is borne.

    1. They (the departed saints) “rest from their labours”—

    [The trials of those who are called to suffer martyrdom are greater than we, who enjoy the protection of the civil magistrate, can imagine. I say again, We, of this happy land, have no idea of the horrors of the inquisition, or of the cruelties exercised by the Papal Church. Even in our own land, in former days, multitudes of the most holy men have been burnt alive for their fidelity to Christ. O! what a transition must those holy saints have experienced, from the flames of martyrdom to the bosom of their Lord! But, in truth, the labours of every saint are very great: it is an arduous course that they have to run; a distressing warfare to maintain. Hear the holy Apostle himself groaning under the burthen of his in-dwelling corruptions, and crying, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death [Note: Romans 7:24.]?” Those, indeed, who think but little of eternity, may pass through life without much care or conflict: but they who know the value of the soul, and consider that, by every act, word, and thought, they are treasuring up for themselves an ever—increasing weight, either of misery or of glory, to all eternity; they, I say, feel a burthen upon the mind, a fear of falling into sin, a desire to approve themselves to God, a longing to be dissolved, that they may be with Christ: and to them rest will be sweet, as to a weary traveller, or as the haven after a tempestuous voyage.]

    2. “Their works do follow them”—

    [Their works, however excellent, do not go before them to receive a recompence on the ground of merit; but they follow them as evidences of their integrity, and as proofs of their union with the Lord Jesus Christ. In this view, the very least work they ever performed for Christ, and by virtue derived from him, even “the giving of a cup of cold water to a disciple for his sake, shall in no wise lose its reward.” Every prayer that they ever offered, yea, the very groans by which their feelings found an indistinct utterance; and their tears, which from time to time were treasured up in God’s vial; shall then be brought forth by him as witnesses for them, and as demonstrations, that, in his final decisions, God conducts every thing with perfect equity. Indeed, if God were not to bring forward their works with a view to future retribution, he would account himself unjust: as St. Paul has said; “God is not unrighteous, that he should forget your works and labour of love which ye have shewed towards his name.” Though, as I have already said, our works can challenge nothing at his hand on the ground of merit, they may, and shall, challenge a reward of grace, and actually be the measure of our recompence at that day: for God will deal with every man according to his own works; and “every man shall receive according to his own labour.” How truly blessed then will be the man who “died in the Lord!” Perhaps, at times, he was ready to doubt whether he should find acceptance with God at all, or not: but now, to his unutterable joy, he hears his Saviour say to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Now, then, his utmost desires are all satisfied; and he is completely happy in the bosom of his God.]

    Let me now conclude, with briefly adverting to the text—

    1. In reference to the deceased—

    [— — — — — — [Note: Here may be stated the character of the deceased.

    The character of the person, on occasion of whose death this Sermon was preached, was as near to perfection as could well be expected in the present state of the Church. The Author, in the space of forty years, has seen few that he considers as equal to her, and never one that was superior. She was indeed “a Mother in Israel.” Her name was Jane Chapman. She was one of the first-fruits of the Author’s ministry: and during nearly forty years she maintained so undeviating a course of piety, as to be the admiration of all who knew her. Till about the age of fifty-three, she lived ignorant of God and of his Christ. Her mind was first awakened to a sense of her lost condition by reading Vivian’s Dialogues between a Minister and his Parishioners: and, from the moment that she sought for acceptance with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, her soul was filled with peace and joy in believing. Doubtless there were variations in her frames, as well as in those of others: but the general tenour of her life was remarkably peaceful; and she closed a most honourable career of piety, at the age of ninety-one. What the particular character of her religion was, shall now be stated in few words; but not so much for the purpose of doing honour to her, (though she is worthy to be held in the highest honour,) as for the benefit of those into whose hands this brief memorial may fall.

    Her religion, then, was modest and unassuming: there was nothing of that obtrusive forwardness which is so common amongst the professors of our days, and so justly odious both to God and man. It was also fraught with humility and contrition. A deep sense of her utter unworthiness abode at all times upon her mind: yet there was nothing of gloom about her, nothing of melancholy; for her contrition was tempered with a lively faith, a faith that was remarkably simple. There was no leaning to any thing of her own; nor any doubting of the sufficiency that was in Christ. Her whole life was one act of faith: she “lived entirely by faith in the Son of God, as having loved her, and given himself for her.” At the same time it did not shew itself in a bold unhallowed confidence, but in a meek and humble affiance: and it was operative upon all her tempers, her spirit, her conduct, insomuch that it was really her “meat and her drink to do the will of God;” and so uniform was her deportment that she seemed to have been cast into the very mould of the Gospel, and to possess, as far as the frailty of our fallen nature would admit, “the very mind that was in Christ Jesus.” She was truly a light, not only in the world, but in the Church to which she belonged: and, whilst her graces were extremely diversified, and capable, like the rays of light, of bearing a distinct scrutiny, they were so blended (the sombre with the brilliant), and kept in such proportioned measure and simultaneous motion, as to display a brilliancy which it was impossible to behold and not admire. Her death was such as might be expected: truly it might be said of her, “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.” Her last words were, “Come, Lord Jesus! I long for thee. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!”—May the latter end, both of him who writes this Memorial, and him who reads it, be like hers! Amen, and Amen!]]

    2. In reference to those who are yet living—

    [Inquire, I pray you, whether ye be “in Christ:” for, if ye be not in him, and abide not in him, it is in vain to hope that ye can “die in him” — — — It is in vain also to dream of blessedness in the eternal world. This is the privilege of those only who “live and die in the Lord” — — — O ye who are strangers to a life of faith in the Son of God, think what your feelings will be, when your works shall follow you to the bar of judgment! In what light will they then appear? What judgment will you then form of a life devoted to the concerns of time and sense? Will a neglect of God and of your eternal interests be thought so venial then, as you account it now? Will such a witness benefit you at the bar of judgment? Or will the prize that shall be accorded to the successful racer and the victorious warrior, be held forth to you? No; the “rest” which is here spoken of, is reserved only for the weary traveller, who has walked with God, and “held on his way even to the end.” Let this record then, which was written for your instruction, sink deep into your ears: and cease not to cry mightily to God for his converting grace, that you yourselves may be that character, for whose consolation it was so announced, and for whose encouragement it was so attested.]

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    Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.

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

    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., ΄ακάρ.

    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 ΄ακάριοι

    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 μακα̇ 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.

    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.


    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.

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    Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    Revelation 14:13.(163) ἀπάρτι, λέγει τὸ πνεῦμα) That voice which said, Write, Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord, that they may rest, etc., was uttered by one of the inhabitants of heaven, with whose person and condition it particularly agrees to call Jesus Lord. The Spirit Himself, as it were by a parenthesis, interrupts that voice, and at once approves and amplifies it, by the word ἀπάρτι, from now; just as after the words, Write, Blessed, there follows, in ch. Revelation 19:9, an asseveration. From now, that is, they are blessed, saith the Spirit. From now, from this very point of time, when this voice speaks in the series of prophecy. A saying of the Spirit occurs also, ch. Revelation 22:17, Revelation 2:7, etc. Moreover the Spirit speaks in the saints, especially those who are afflicted, 1 Peter 4:14; and seeking their home, 2 Corinthians 5:5. ἵνα depends upon the word ΄ακάριοι, as ch. Revelation 16:15, Revelation 22:14. ναὶ(164) appears first to have occurred in the margin, as in ch. Revelation 22:20, the second ναί: whence some have made it ναὶ λέγει, others, λέγει ναί. The sense is plain without this word.(165) The Latin did not contain this reading, but expressed it in a twofold way, ἀπʼ ἄρτι, a modo jam, as in Galatians 1:6, sic tam. [Comp. App. Crit. Ed. II. P. IV. N. IX. § cxvi. cxviii.] — ἵνα ἀναπαύσωνται) A future, as ἵνα ἔσται, ch. Revelation 22:14.

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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write: these words denote the excellency of the following saying; it is a voice from heaven, therefore worthy of our attention. John is commanded to write it, to be kept in memory for the comfort and encouragement of God’s people, who might be discouraged at the hearing of those calamitous times which they were like to meet with during the reign of antichrist, in which many of them were like to be put to death.

    Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord: this phrase of dying in the Lord, is applicable to any persons that die united to Christ by a true and lively faith; all such die in the Lord. But if we consider the Scriptural usage of it, it seems rather to signify martyrs, such as die for the Lord; for en often in Scripture signifieth for, Romans 16:2,8,12 1 Peter 4:14, &c. If any shall be put to death for adherence to Christ, they shall be no losers; for they shall be blessed, and that not only upon the account of that glory into which they shall pass, but upon the account of that

    rest which their death will give them from the troubles of the calamitous times before or hereafter mentioned.

    From henceforth: there is some little difference amongst interpreters about the sense of this particle: certain it is, it is not to be understood of the time following this revelation exclusively, as to those who before died to Christ; for they also were blessed, they also rested from their labours, &c.; yet the particle seems to refer to the time to come. The emphasis of the particle seems to be, to obviate the doubts of those who should happen to die under antichrist’s rage, because they died not by the hands of pagans and avowed enemies of the gospel, but of such as should call themselves Christians; such, saith God, die for the Lord, and are blessed, and shall be blessed.

    Yea, saith the Spirit; the Spirit of truth affirms it.

    That they may rest from their labours; they shall be at rest from the troubles of this life.

    And their works do follow them; and their good deeds and patient sufferings shall follow them, as witnesses for them before the Judge of the quick and the dead.

    Here follow two visions, the one of a harvest, the other of a vintage; there is no great difficulty in determining, that they both signify some judicial dispensations of God, that he would bring upon the world, or some part of it, the latter of which should be greater than the former: yet Dr. More and Mr. Mede have another notion of them. But there is some doubt amongst interpreters, whether they signify God’s general judgment in the last day, or some particular judgments before that day, mentioned Revelation 15:1-8 and Revelation 16:1-21, and belong to the vials which we there read of. Those who think that the last judgment is here showed to John, are led to it from the representation of the day of judgment, under the notion of a harvest, Matthew 3:12 13:39. But I rather agree with them who think that the harvest here mentioned, is a representation of some judicial dispensations of God before that time, particularly God’s vengeance upon the beast, more fully expressed, Revelation 16:1-21. For:

    1. The last judgment is fully described afterward, Revelation 19:1-20:15.

    2. To express that, there needed not two types, the one of a harvest, the other of a vintage.

    3. Here is no mention of the resurrection, which must go before the last judgment.

    Mr. Mede hath noted, that there are three things belonging to a harvest;

    (1.) Cutting down of corn.

    (2.) Gathering it into the barn.

    (3.) Threshing it.

    Whence, in Scripture, it signifieth either cutting and destroying, or safety and preserving, which is the end of gathering corn into the barn. We have examples of the former, Isaiah 17:3,5 Jer 51:33; but of the latter we have only examples in the New Testament, Luke 10:2. It is his opinion, that the conversion of the Jews, going before the great slaughter mentioned Revelation 19:1-21, is that which is here meant; but I rather agree with those who think, that by this parable is signified God’s judgments upon antichrist, and that the general scope of both the parables is to declare, that God would grievously punish antichrist, first by lesser, then by greater judgments, as is more particularly expressed in the two next chapters, to which this, to me, seemeth prefatory. Let us now come to the text itself... See Poole on "Revelation 14:14".

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

    Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

    блаженны См. пояснение к 1:3.

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    MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture.

    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

    From henceforth; they entered immediately into rest, and were blessed. Of course there was no purgatory for them to pass through; but when absent from the body, they were present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8. There is, to saints, no state either of insensibility or of suffering after death, but they enter at once into rest. The day they leave the body they are happy with Christ. Luke 23:43.

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    Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    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.

    I would desire permission to consider this verse by itself, for the blessedness and sweetness of it. I do not say but that it might be supposed to have an immediate reference to that age in which it was written. But I do say, that the general, yea, the universal consolations of it, are such, as to suit all ages of the Church of God. Everywhere, and upon all occasions, it must be allowed, that the dead are blessed dead, which die in the Lord. And John, being commanded by a voice to write it down, evidently shows, that God the Holy Ghost will have the Church to know their blessedness in this particular. A few of the more striking features will prove it.

    As first. The blessed dead, which die in the Lord, die in union with Christ. They are, in fact, part of himself; members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. And, in the sight of God, to all intents and purposes, they are one. For as Christ is the head of his body the Church, where the head is, the members must be; so that though dying out of time, they still live to him in eternity. And this is what the Apostle said: For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's, Romans 14:8.

    Secondly. The dead are blessed, which die in the Lord, from henceforth: because, from the moment of their death, and from henceforth, they are God out of the gun-shot of the enemy. No heresy, no powers of darkness, neither men nor devils, can anymore annoy them. Oh! the blessedness of being freed from the malice of the world, and from the powers of darkness. Satan cannot anymore forever, throw his fiery darts, to distress the child of God. Even if this had been all, it would have been sweet, to have heard the voice from heaven, saying, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.

    Thirdly. They are blessed which die in the Lord, because their own body of sin shall no more distress them. No further sorrows shall arise from the out-breakings of sin, or the indwelling of corruption. No tears shall fall anymore from pain. No anguish from heart-distresses. They rest from their labors, and sorrow and sighing are done away.

    And, lastly, to mention no more. Dying in the Lord, they rest in the Lord, their spirits are with the Lord. Hence they are blessed in the Lord. Their works follow them. What works? Not good works, for they have none. Lord saith the Prophet, thou hath wrought all our works in us! Isaiah 26:12. Not their bad works, for the Lord hath washed away all their sins in his blood, 1 John 1:7. What works then are these, which are said to follow the blessed dead? Perhaps their works and labor of love, in seeing the fruit of their prayers answered in the Church's prosperity. The cries of the soul awakened by grace, and therefore the Lord's work in them, answered in mercy, when meeting before the throne the redeemed of the Lord brought home, like themselves, by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

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    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

    Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

    2. 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 labors; and their works do follow them--14:13.

    This passage has been truly named the beatitude of Revelation. It appears to have an identification with chapter 20:6: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power." Both passages referred to the martyrs--and here again the proleptic element of chapter fourteen is seen in verse thirteen, as the scene depicted was ahead of the orderly developments of the apocalypse; in that this benediction on the death of the martyrs chronologically belonged at the end; and was therefore a prolepsis with the other events of chapter fourteen.

    There is a remarkable variation in the form of address in verse thirteen. Instead of the usual form of seeing the vision of events, John was represented in this verse as hearing a command. The commanding voice said, Write. It was a special voice giving an order, not by vision, but by direct command to write it down.

    As stated, this verse along with Revelation 20:6 was a martyr scene: "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth"--meaning from then on in martyrdom. They belonged to the martyred group--the aggregation of the man child "caught up unto God"; the hundred fortyfour thousand "redeemed from the earth." They were the dead who had died in the Lord--in the cause for which they were martyrs.

    The beatitude of the Spirit was: That they may rest from their labors--that is, from the travail of persecution --and their works do follow them. There was a descriptive distinction here in their labors and their works. The labors referred to the parturition of birth--the travail, the pain, of bringing forth the man child; hence, labors had reference to the rigors of the persecution unto death, or martyrdom. The works referred to their righteous acts in the midst of the period of torture and trial. These works, saith the Spirit " . . . do follow them." Their deeds of faith and fidelity in the unfaltering performance of their prime duty followed on after their martyrdom to abide with, comfort and encourage the rest of the seed--the remnant that remained on the earth--as though the martyrs by these righteous acts were yet among them. In that way one's righteous lives and deeds yet follow on among men after they are transported from this earth on which we dwell.

    These blessed dead had been swept from the earth in martyrdom, dying in the cause of the Lord, and though they had been "caught up unto God" and "lived and reigned with Christ" in a state of victory, they nevertheless remained in the spirit of their works with those who were left on the earth to face the next stages of the violent drama of persecution.

    Since the subjects of the Spirit's beatitude were represented as having died in the Lord, manifestly the object of the beatitude was to strengthen, encourage and uphold the living in their darkest hour. In that way it may be appropriately applied to the church today. Loyalty to Christ in any generation requires the full measure of the martyr spirit of courage and endurance, and martyrdom in its worst does not always result in immediate death. We may all possess the soul of a martyr, and in that spirit we live in the Lord, as the blessed dead had died in Him.

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    Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". 1966.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    The blessedness of those who die in Christ14:13

    This "voice" was probably the Lamb"s ( Revelation 1:10-11; Revelation 1:19; cf. Revelation 10:4; Revelation 10:8; Revelation 11:12; Revelation 14:2; Revelation 18:4; Revelation 21:3). The voice told John to record that it would be a blessing for the believers who live during the Great Tribulation to die as martyrs. They will receive a unique blessing reserved for no one else. [Note: Moffatt, 5:439; Robertson, 6:413.] This is the second of seven beatitudes in the book (cf. Revelation 1:3; Revelation 16:15; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:14). Here, as often in Scripture, the blessing assures a future reward for present obedience to God. [Note: Beckwith, p422.]

    "The faithfulness of the martyrs unto death is not a legalistic work which merits eternal bliss, but a manifestation of their devotion to Christ. These works follow them in the sense that there can be no separation between what a man is and what he does." [Note: Mounce, p278.]

    Many believers will die as martyrs for refusing to worship the beast ( Revelation 13:15). They will die "in the Lord" in the sense of dying as their Lord did, namely, for His faithfulness to God. The word order in the Greek text makes this interpretation preferable to the one that takes "in the Lord" as simply a designation of believers who are "in Christ." "From now on" means from this time in the Tribulation on, specifically during the bowl judgments. They will thereby escape the intense persecution of the beast, which they would otherwise experience, if they remained faithful to Christ (cf. Revelation 12:17).

    The Holy Spirit added (cf. Revelation 22:17) that they would also experience blessing because they would be at rest beyond the grave and because God would then reward their faithful deeds (cf. 1 Timothy 5:24-25; Hebrews 6:10). In contrast, the beast-worshippers have no rest ( Revelation 14:11) and receive punishment for their unfaithfulness to God ( Revelation 14:10).

    "God does not save anyone for his works, but He does reward us for our works. Our works (good or bad) are like tin cans tied to a dog"s tail; we cannot get away from them. They will follow us to the bema seat of Christ." [Note: McGee, 5:1011.]

    This is a positive incentive to remain faithful that balances the negative warning previously given ( Revelation 14:9-12).

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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    Revelation 14:13. And I heard a voice out of heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth. Those that ‘die in the Lord’ are obviously in contrast with the followers of the beast spoken of in Revelation 14:11, and the verb used in the original, not ‘fall asleep’ but ‘die,’ seems to imply the thought of the troubles and persecutions in the midst of which they died. The verb is several times used of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel; and the words ‘in the Lord’ here added to it may be intended to denote that the death referred to was such a death as His. The expression therefore does not bear that sense of quiet falling asleep in Jesus which we generally assign to it. It rather brings out the fact that in Him His people meet persecution and death; and that, although they are not all actually martyrs, they have the martyr spirit.—‘From henceforth.’ What is the time to which these words point? Is it the moment when the harvest of the earth is to be reaped? In that case we must connect them with ‘Blessed,’ while they are obviously connected with the verb ‘die.’ Yet we cannot speak of dying after the ‘harvest’ It seems better, therefore, to understand the words as referring to the beginning of the Christian age, and onward to the end (comp. Matthew 26:64). During all that time the 144,000 are being gathered in amidst the temptations of Babylon and the opposition of the beast. To the faithful during all that time, therefore, the consolation of these words is given; and their meaning is, that they who ‘die in the Lord’ are ‘blessed,’ not because at death they enter into the immediate possession of the heavenly reward (a point upon which no direct information is afforded), but because they are set free from the difficulties and trials and sorrows which, were they left here to continue the struggle, they would have to meet. Instead of being longer troubled they enter into rest (comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:7). Hence accordingly the following words.

    Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, for their works follow with them. Those who thus die are blessed because ‘they rest from their labours;’ they have that rest from toil and suffering which they cannot obtain here below. And how comes it that they thus rest? Because their ‘works (an entirely different word from ‘labours’) follow with them.’ Their Christian character and life, giving them a meetness for the rest, follow with them. They enter into heaven fitted for its joys.

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    Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". 1879-90.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    Revelation 14:13. And I heard a voice from heaven — This is most seasonably heard when the beast is in his highest power and fury; saying unto me, Write — He was at first commanded to write the whole book. Whenever this is repeated, it denotes something peculiarly observable. Blessed ΄ακαριοι, happy, are the dead which die in the Lord — In the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ; and, in consequence of that faith, in a state of vital union with him, he being thereby made of God unto them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, and thereby imparting unto them, 1st, A satisfactory knowledge of the nature and greatness of their future felicity, in their illumination; 2d, A title to it, in their justification; 3d, A meetness for it, in their sanctification; and, 4th, Bringing them to the enjoyment of it, in their complete redemption from all the consequences of the fall; from henceforth — Particularly, 1st, Because they escape the approaching calamities, or are taken away from the evil to come, as the expression is, Isaiah 57:1-2, to which passage there seems to be an allusion here; 2d, Because they already enjoy so near an approach to, and indeed an anticipation of, glory — the glory to be conferred at the second coming of Christ, and the resurrection of the dead; for they rest — No pain, no purgatory follows; but pure and unmixed happiness; from their labours — And the more laborious their life was, the sweeter is their rest. How different is this state from that of those (Revelation 14:11) who have no rest day nor night! Reader, which wilt thou choose? And their works — Each one’s peculiar works, done from a principle of faith and love, with a single eye to the glory of God, and in a spirit of humility before God, resignation to his will, and patience under all trials and sufferings; and in meekness, gentleness, and long-suffering toward those who oppose them in their Christian course of cheerfully doing good, and patiently suffering ill; follow them — And will be produced as evidences of their faith and love; or of the genuineness of their religion at the day of judgment. But the words, τα εργα αυτων ακολουθει μεταυτων, properly signify, their works follow with them, or follow them immediately; that is, the fruit of their works; they reap this, in some measure, immediately on their admission into paradise. Observe, reader, their works do not go before, to procure for them admittance into the mansions of joy and glory, but they follow or attend them when admitted. Bishop Newton accounts for the expression, From henceforth, blessed are the dead, &c., by observing, that though from the time of the Reformation, “the blessedness of the dead who die in the Lord hath not been enlarged, yet it hath been much better understood, more clearly written and promulgated than it was before, and the contrary doctrine of purgatory hath been exploded and banished from the belief of all reasonable men. This truth,” adds he, “was moreover one of the leading principles of the Reformation. What first provoked Luther’s spirit was the scandalous sale of indulgences; and the doctrine of indulgences having a close connection with the doctrine of purgatory, the refutation of the one naturally leads to the refutation of the other; and his first work of reformation was his ninety-five theses, or positions, against indulgences, purgatory, and the dependent doctrines. So that he may be said literally to have fulfilled the command from heaven, of writing, Blessed are the dead, &c., and from that time to this, this truth hath been so clearly asserted, and so solemnly established, that it is likely to prevail for ever.” But though what the bishop here states might be one reason of the expression, from henceforth blessed, &c., yet the principal reason of its being used seems evidently to have been that above suggested, namely, to intimate that the sufferings which the people of God would be exposed to at this period, from the persecutions of the antichristian power, would be so great that those individuals who escaped them by being taken out of the world by death before they came, would have reason to think themselves happy.

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    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    Blessed are the dead (all the dead) who die in the Lord, and not the martyrs only, for their works follow every one. (Witham) --- It is understood of the martyrs, who die for the Lord. (Challoner) --- For their works follow them. It is just that they rest at length from their labours, and enjoy for eternity the recompense of their fidelity. They land on the shores of their native country, enriched with the treasures of the good works they have done in this lower world. This is said in express contradiction to those who denied the necessity of good works, and maintained the indifference of actions. This seems to have been the doctrine of the Nicolaites and other heretics of those times. (Calmet) --- The Holy Ghost confirms the sentence of their happiness, not only because at the moment of their departure their hard labours and penitential works cease, but their souls are admitted to a glorious immorality, the recompense of their good works. (Pastorini)

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

    Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

    The expressions "in him" and "in Christ" occur repeatedly in the New Testament and are associated with a number of blessings. One must be baptized to be in Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27; 1 Corinthians 12:13) Earlier, the assurance had been given that those already martyred were at rest and those coming out of the great tribulation were worshiping around the throne. (Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 7:9-17) Here, the promise is made to those from this point forward who die in faithful service. They will be given rest from their earthly works. However, the good effects of those works will continue to work on earth in the lives of those who knew them. This is the message of the Holy Spirit both here and in other passages. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; 1 Corinthians 15:58)

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    Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". 2014.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    unto me. Omit.

    Blessed. See Revelation 1:3.

    the dead. App-139.

    henceforth. Observe the period referred to.

    Spirit. App-101.

    that = in order that. Greek. hina.

    rest. Compare Revelation 6:11.

    labours = toilsome labours. See Revelation 2:2.

    and. The texts read "for".

    works = rewards. Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause). App-6.

    follow. Add "with" (App-104.)

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    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.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (13)And I heard a voice . . .—Translate, And I heard a voice out of the heaven, saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, in that they shall rest from their labours; for their works follow with them. We are not told whose voice speaks, but it proclaims a blessing on (not only martyrs, but) those who die in the Lord, in happy union and fellowship with Him (John 15:2-5; 1 John 1:3); such are happy, for they rest from toil, and their works of faith and labours of love (even if only the giving a cup of cold water in the name of Christ) follow with them into the presence of their Lord (Matthew 10:41-42; Hebrews 6:10). The words “from henceforth” form a difficulty; the reason for their introduction is to be found in the state of trouble which the last verses describe: the righteous are happy in being taken away from the evil to come. Or may it be that the words are designed to console the mourners in an age when dark unbelief robs away the sweet resurrection trust, and writes over its graves, “Farewell for ever”? If the climax of world-power should be bitter scorn of the idea of a life to come, and complacent satisfaction with a portion in this world, then words of faith, proclaiming that the dead are happy and restful, and that their work is not in vain in the Lord, may find new force to sustain a fainting courage or a wavering trust.

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    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.
    a voice
    11:15,19; 16:17; Matthew 3:17
    1:11; 2:1; 10:4; 19:9; 21:5
    20:6; Ecclesiastes 4:1,2; Isaiah 57:1,2; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:21-23
    Romans 14:8; 1 Corinthians 15:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:14,16; 5:10
    from henceforth: Yea saith the Spirit
    or, from henceforth saith the Spirit, Yea. rest.
    6:11; 7:14-17; Job 3:17-19; Isaiah 35:10; 57:2; Luke 16:25; 2 Thessalonians 1:6,7; Hebrews 4:9-11
    and their
    Psalms 19:11; 85:13; Matthew 25:35-40; Luke 16:9; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:7,8; Philippians 2:17; 2 Timothy 4:7,8; Hebrews 6:10,11
    Reciprocal: Numbers 23:10 - the death;  Joshua 24:29 - after these;  Psalm 4:8 - I will;  Psalm 49:15 - God;  Psalm 94:13 - mayest;  Psalm 95:11 - my rest;  Proverbs 14:32 - the righteous;  Proverbs 31:31 - and let;  Ecclesiastes 7:1 - the day;  Song of Solomon 7:9 - those that are asleep;  Daniel 12:13 - rest;  Habakkuk 2:2 - Write;  Mark 4:29 - he putteth;  Luke 2:29 - now;  Luke 12:37 - Blessed;  Luke 16:22 - that;  Romans 8:10 - the body;  1 Corinthians 15:19 - of all;  Philippians 1:23 - with;  Hebrews 4:10 - he that;  Hebrews 6:12 - inherit;  James 1:25 - this;  Revelation 2:7 - let him;  Revelation 22:19 - and from

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

    Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation


    Revelation 14:13. — "And I heard a voice out of the Heaven saying,Write,{*"This command to write is repeated twelve times in the Revelation to indicate that all the things it refers to are matters of importance."} Blessed are the dead who die in (the) Lord from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; for their works follow with them." The voice, but not the name, of the speaker falls upon the ear of the christian Seer. The Authorised Version interpolates unto me. The message was not addressed to John, although he heard it, but it is one for all saints,while it has its own special application to saints in that critical hour preceding the Coming of the Lord in judgment. It is ever true that those who die in the Lord are blessed, but why is the statement reserved for this awful juncture in human history? and why is it added, "from henceforth?" Why from that particular moment? The answer to these questions is a simple and satisfactory one. The word "henceforth" intimates the near end, and that the blessing is just about to be entered upon.

    In Revelation 20:4 we have the complement of the heavenly saints who reign with Christ a thousand years. There are three classes of such: (1) A recognised and well-known company sitting upon thrones. These are the raised dead and changed living at the Coming into the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54). When caught up they arespoken of as "elders" throughout the prophetic part of the Apocalypse. (2) "The souls of those beheaded on account of the testimony of Jesus, and on account of the Word of God." This company forms a class of martyrs by themselves, who were slain before the Beast was in existence as a persecuting power. They are witnesses under the fifth Seal (Revelation 6:9-11). (3) "Those who had not worshipped the Beast, neither his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and hand." There is an interval of some time, probably years, between the martyrdom of the two latter companies. If, therefore, the whole company of reigning saints is embraced in the three classes referred to (Revelation 20:4), in which of them are we to place those who "die in the Lord from henceforth?" Undoubtedly amongst those martyred under the Beast.

    Another and helpful consideration follows. If the two martyred companies named comprehend all who die after the Rapture, then it is evident that no saint during the "crisis week" of seven years dies a natural death. Those who "die in the Lord" are slain; hence the inapplicability of our text engraved on stone and monument in memory of our precious dead. Those who "die in the Lord from henceforth" do so as martyrs. They are about to share in the blessedness of "the first resurrection" (Revelation 20:6). Their blessing in character and fulness greatly exceeds those who survive the Tribulation. The former take a distinguished place in heavenly glory, the latter are accorded the highest place on earth; the former reign with Christ, the latter are reigned over; the former are kings, the latter are subjects.

    The Spirit responds to the voice from Heaven, "Yea," and adds a word of rich consolation, "that they may rest from their labours; for their works follow with them." Probably none amongst "the cloud of witnesses" had so walked in the vigour of faith as these; none so served and suffered under the most appalling circumstances. But now these witnesses of whom "the world was not worthy" are about to enter on their everlasting rest — toil and suffering for ever past. God is not unrighteous to forget their work and labour of love. When these saints are raised and taken up, their works accompany them, not come after them, but "with them." Their works will be appraised at their true value by the righteous Judge, Who will reward every man according to his work. Rest and reward are the immediate portion of those then dying in the Lord.

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    Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation".

    E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

    Blessed are the dead who die in the Lordhad won a victory through faith, and it was fitting that they should have the honor of handing the vials to the angels.

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    Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.

    Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

    Revelation 14:13

    Revelation 14:13 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.

    And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, write, blessed are the dead which die (for the Lord, and) in the Lord.

    See Revelation 13:10 and the exposition thereof- See KNOLLYS: Revelation 13:9 It is not dying for the Lord (only) that makes a blessed martyr, { 1 Corinthians 13:1-3} but dying

    in the Lord

    and for the Lord.

    Yea, saith the spirit, from henceforth,

    that Isaiah, from the time of their suffering death for the cause, gospel, kingdom, and testimony of Christ against Antichrist: They are blessed, that is eternally happy.

    That they may rest from their labours;

    Then no more labour, trouble, sorrow, or suffering, tribulation, persecution, etc.

    And their works do follow them;

    that Isaiah, the reward of grace and glory promised. { Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12; Hebrews 11:26}

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    Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation".

    D.S. Clark's Commentary on Revelation

    V:13. A voice said: "Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth." From henceforth, — yes, though you are thrown to the lions in the amphitheater, though you are daubed with pitch and burned for a torch-light at a garden party, though your head rolls from the block at the stroke of the executioner"s axe, — yes even thus you are blessed a thousand times above your persecutors.

    These scenes and these exhortations evidently had special reference to the persecutions then being endured and further impending, but they come with the same force and applicability to every man in any age who lives his Christian life at the mouth of a fiery furnace.

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    Harold Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation



    "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord--that they may rest from their labours, for their deeds follow them." ( Revelation 14:13). Even Christians get discouraged sometimes and feel that life is wasted, that the good does not last. But here is the assurance that to "die in the Lord" is not only to "rest from their labours" but to have the certainty that all that they have done for Christ will yet bear fruit. Song of Solomon, John strengthens those ringing words of the Apostle Paul"s in 1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain."

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    Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

    Revelation 14:13. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write: Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord, from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, for their works follow with them. In the preceding verse we have the negative reason assigned for patience, in the reference that is had to the heavy judgments of God on the Antichrist, and those who allow themselves to be seduced by him; here is given the positive reason, in the view that is presented of the eternal blessedness of the faithful. Who, that has his eye fixed on it, would not willingly surrender his poor life on earth? Who can hang in doubt, when the alternative is placed before him between having no rest day or night from the torments of hell, and a repose from his toils? The voice from heaven can neither be that of Christ, nor of God, for it speaks of those who die in the Lord. It may well be conceived to be that of one of the just made perfect, testifying, from his own experience, what the true members of the militant church on earth have to expect in heaven, perhaps one of the elders (ch. Revelation 7:13-14). For, the order to write, bespeaks the high importance of the declaration. Berleb. Bible: "This command to write is repeated twelve times in the Revelation, to indicate, that all the things it refers to are matters of importance, which must not be forgotten by the church of Christ. What, then, is it, that John was to write? What is of the greatest moment for us poor, fallen creatures, to know in life and death?

    So then may the Spirit of Jesus Christ himself write these words, which are so true and certain, with his finger on all our hearts, and engrave them on our minds, that they may no more be overlooked or forgotten! They shall indeed be of good service to us, if with all seriousness we lay hold of them, and treasure them up in a really good heart." That the blessedness spoken of does not refer to the great distress of the world, which the persons in question have escaped, as is supposed by some, who, unseasonably, compare Isaiah 57:1-2, but only to the felicity of heaven, appears from what follows, where they are declared to be blessed on account of their resting from their labours. It is the dead that are the subject of the declaration, because the blessedness belongs to the state after death; q.d. Blessed after their death are those, &c. It is not said, they are dead; for it is intended to give courage for death; but it is said: the dead, in order to determine the sphere of blessedness. Some suppose, that the dead are here regarded in the spiritual sense; thus Bengel: "In respect to the heavenly life, we are all dead. Hence our Lord said to a disciple, Let the dead bury their dead. Not only the buried, but also the persons who bury, are alike dead." But the faithful, who alone are spoken of in the context, are never described in Scripture as dead. In Matthew 8:22, the dead are the unbelieving as opposed to the believing. In Romans 8:10, it is said, "But if Christ is in you, the body is dead, indeed, because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness." Comp. on ch. Revelation 3:1.

    The Lord is the Lord Jesus; comp. Revelation 22:20, Revelation 11:8, and the fundamental passage, 2 Thess. 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:18, where the discourse is of the dead and such as sleep in Jesus. A commentary on the expression, in the Lord, by faith incorporated with him, is supplied by John 15:4, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me." Those that die in the Lord are not the martyrs alone; but the blessedness of dying in the Lord is celebrated, in order to excite to martyrdom, to inspire the determination to be faithful even unto death, ch. Revelation 2:10. The connection shews, that we are not to think of the martyrs alone as such. For the blessedness mentioned belongs manifestly to the 144,000, the whole Christian host, in contrast with the worshippers of the beast, who have no rest day and night. Then, the expression itself is against the limitation to the martyrs, as is also the comparison of the fundamental passages. (The brief description in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, "the dead in Christ," is here unfolded). We find the right view given by Bengel, "To die in the Lord. means to depart in the faith of Jesus Christ the Son of God, as a Christian, 1 Peter 4:16; it takes place alike on the death-bed, and through the power of the beast; which last, indeed, at such a time was the common mode."

    The dead, who die in the Lord, are blessed from henceforth. This from henceforth does not form a contrast with an earlier time, during which the dead, who die in the Lord, were not blessed. Not that; for the blessedness is quite as old as the dying in the Lord, and this dates from the death of Christ, which brought life to light also for the intermediate state (2 Timothy 1:10). But the expression forms a contrast in respect to a distant future, in respect to the completion of the kingdom of God. It means substantially, even now; not merely in the new Jerusalem which is one day to be set up on the renovated earth, but from the very moment of their departure to heaven. It is explained by the conversation between Christ and the penitent thief. This person prayed that the Lord would remember him when he should come in his kingdom, viz. at the setting up of his kingdom of glory on the earth. But the Lord grants him more than he sought:" Verily, I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in paradise"(Luke 23:43). When the malefactor called Jesus Lord, he showed that he was one who died in the Lord. For it is to die in the Lord, when one in the immediate prospect of death confesses to him with full confidence as the Lord. In this book a distinction is drawn in ch. Revelation 6:11 between a glorious inheritance which is obtained immediately after departure, and another which is to accrue at some period in the remote future; and the former, the heavenly blessedness which begins immediately when life here has ceased, is portrayed at considerable length in ch. Revelation 7:9-17; comp. also ch. Revelation 14:1-5. The word here: Write, blessed from henceforth, has its proper complement in that recorded in ch. Revelation 19:9, Write, blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb; which bears respect to the second stage of blessedness. The first is referred to, besides our verse, in ch. Revelation 20:6, "Blessed is he and holy, who has part in the first resurrection." This word, from henceforth, is a precious jewel, an antidote against the cheerless doctrine that would make a long night go before the bright day; such, for example, as theirs is, who dream of a sleep of the soul. The real- sting of the comfortless character of this doctrine does not exactly lie in its throwing the full inheritance of salvation so far back. The throwing back is so much at variance with the essential nature of faith, that the matter itself becomes thereby uncertain. If it is true what our Lord says in the gospel of John, John 5:24, "Verily, verily, I say to you, whosoever heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and does not come into condemnation, but is passed from death to life;"then the soul's life in Christ can suffer no interruption; and whenever any interruption is believed to exist, eternal life itself is indirectly denied. The from henceforth is a strong shield to the Christian, which may keep him from falling away under all temptations. If in this now he must die for the faith, he attains from henceforth to a life, in comparison of which the life he surrenders may be regarded as a death.—"Yea, saith the Spirit; this"—as Bengel remarks—"is a very agreeable interpellation in which the Spirit catches up the words that were uttered by the voice from heaven." The Spirit (comp. on ch. Revelation 2:7) is the Spirit by which John was inspired. What is uttered here needs a higher security than can be given to it by "the Christian consciousness." We are not, with Luther, to render: yea, the Spirit saith; but only, yea, saith the Spirit. Hence, we are to supply from the preceding, "blessed are the dead who die in the Lord;"[Note: In like manner is the main statement to be repeated after the ναὶ out of the preceding context in Matthew 11:6 : ναὶ ὁ πατήρ ( ἐ ξομολογου· μαί σοι) ὅτι οὕτως ἐγένετο εὐδοκία ἔμπροσθέν σου, comp. 15:27.] and the following words, "that they may rest from their labours," &c., will then denote more precisely wherein the blessedness consists, or wherein this makes itself to be known.[Note: Exactly corresponding is ch. 22:14, ΄ακάριοι οἱ πλύνοντες τὰς στολὰς αὐτῶν, ἵνα ἔσται ἡ ἐξουσία αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον τῆς ζωῆς, where also ἵνα is used to indicate more precisely the manner of the blessedness; see also for another example of a similar use of ἵνα in ch. 8:12, 9:20.] Along with the resting from labours, goes the not resting from saying, Holy, holy, holy, which it is the highest felicity of the elect to be ever uttering. Berleb. Bible, "Souls, which have become truly soft and weary under the burden of this life and the service of vanity, which have learned to sigh after rest, like a servant and day-labourer, these have much work lying upon their back, and it is a sweet word for them to hear, that they ‘ shall rest." The labours here referred to are those they have had in the service of the Lord; comp. ch. Revelation 2:2; John 4:38; Thess. Revelation 1:3, 1 Thessalonians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 3:8, 1 Corinthians 15:58. He that would rest must work—work, not merely for his own interest, but for him who has bought him. We must the rather think here only of labours in the Lord (in particular of such as were undergone in the conflict with the beast), as the following works are manifestly to be regarded as the product of the labours. "Work (remarks Bengel) elsewhere imports reward, but not here. For reward follows no one out of this world into the next, but is met with in that world. However, the following of the works indicates that there is to be reward." This furnishes a refutation to the remark of De Wette, "By a metonymy deeply seated in the nature of things work is put as identical with the consequence or reward of work, while elsewhere the latter, according to the lower view of barter, is looked upon as different from the former." This "lower view of barter" has place also here, and wherever the living God is truly recognized. If we identify work and reward, placing the latter only in the satisfaction to one's natural feelings, which accompanies virtue,[Note: So Grotius; memoria factorum, unde pax et tranquillitas conscientiae.] we should make man his own rewarder.

    The for has been changed into a but by those who have changed the resting into a simple repose. A resting is not to be thought of, if their works do not follow them.

    When once the idea of resting is rightly conceived, the antithesis introduced by the but, Se, will not appear suitable.

    It is said: not, their works follow after, but they follow with them.[Note: The expression ἀ κολουθεῖ ν μετά is found out of the Revelation only in Luke 9:49, where John also speaks in a remarkable manner.] By this the immediate consequence and accompanying is denoted. The expression" with them," corresponds to the "from henceforth" going before. The works would follow, though they were only rewarded at the last judgment. Bengel: "Whether there may remain a short, and little regard, or even none at all, of their works in the world, this does them no harm, nor do they inquire about it."

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    Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    13.Heard a voice from heaven—The above three menacing angel-voices were from the mid-heaven; but now peals down a voice from the highest heaven in beautiful contrast with the menacing voices. Amid the menaces upon the persecutors it interpolates a benediction upon the faithful dying sufferers.

    Write—Let this blessed assurance be well recorded.

    Blessed are the dead—They are under no malediction, in no torment, in no unconsciousness, for they are blessed, that is, happy and more than happy.

    Die in the Lord—Said on occasion of their martyr-death, yet in such comprehensive terms as to include all the dying faithful in all ages.

    From henceforth—This from henceforth, starts from the death of each individual dying saint. The meaning then is, those dying in the Lord are thenceforth and forever blessed. The end of a holy life is the commencement of an eternal bliss. This assures the unshrinking faithful who refuse the beast, his mark, and his number, and thereby meet death, that their destiny is not torment, but blessedness.

    Yea, saith the Spirit— This appears to be a responding voice ratifying the affirmation of blessedness. John hears this response from the same highest heaven, and knows and tells us that so saith the Spirit. By inspired intuition he knows the voice of the Spirit, and allows us now to infer that the first voice was from the First Person of the Trinity, and the response from the Third.

    That—In order that. Depends upon die. Those dying in the Lord do truly die, in order that they may rest from their labours.

    And—Better reading, For, assigning a reason for their blessed rest, namely, that their works of keeping the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus, (Revelation 14:12,) do follow them, namely, from this world to the next, as witnesses for their justification with God.


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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    Revelation 14:13. The approaching climax of retribution upon pagan Rome affects the dead as well as the living. The latter are encouraged to hold on in hope; the former are brought nearer their reward (cf.Revelation 6:11, Revelation 11:18). goes with (note here and in Clem. Rom. 47. the first application of . to the dead saints) rather than with , and . . (which is timeless, like . . . in Revelation 14:11) denotes all who die in the faith, loyal to their Lord, i.e., primarily martyrs and confessors (cf.Revelation 13:8; Revelation 13:15). They die “in His fellowship, as it were in His arms” (Beyschlag). Like Paul (in 1 Thessalonians 4:15), though on different grounds, the writer is controverting a fear (cf. 4 Esd. 13:24) that at the advent of messiah those who survived on earth would have some advantage over those who had already died. “Yea, saith the Spirit”—ratifying what has been said—“happy to rest from their labours” (i.e., their Christian activities, not the special form of their death for the faith). So far as the sense is concerned, it matters little whether . . . depends on or . Both constructions are grammatically legitimate, though the former is perhaps closer. The point of the passage (note and , as in 1–3., Revelation 22:6 f.) is that the bliss of death for a Christian consists not in mere rest from labour but in a rest which brings the reward of labour. While death brings the rest, the reward cannot be given till the final judgment. Consequently the near prospect of the latter is welcome, among other reasons, because it means the long-deferred recompense (Revelation 11:18) for the faithful dead. So far from being forgotten (Revelation 2:2 f., 19, 23, etc.), their accompany them to judgment and—it is implied—receive their proper reward there (cf. Milton’s fourteenth sonnet). The bliss of the departed therefore depends upon two grounds: their are not to be overlooked, and the interval of waiting is now ( ) brief. The fourth degree of bliss in 4 Ezra 7:[95] is that the departed spirits of the just understand “the rest which, gathered in their chambers [cf.Revelation 6:9-11] they can enjoy now with deep quietness, guarded by angels, as well as the glory which still awaits them in the latter days”. John does not share the current pessimistic belief (cf.Apoc. Bar. xi.–xii. 4, Verg. Aen. i. 94, with Isaiah 57:1 f.) that death was preferable to life, in view of the overwhelming miseries of the age. His thought is not that death is happier than life under the circumstances, but that if death came in the line of religious duty it involved no deprivation. The language reflects Genesis 2:2 (with put for ), but while it is true enough, it is hardly apposite, to think of the dead as resting from works (Hebrews 4:9), no more being needed. The root of the passage lies not in the Iranian belief (Brandt, 423 f., Böklen, 41) that the soul was escorted by its good deeds to bliss in another world (cf. Maas, Orpheus, 217 f.), but in the closer soil of Jewish hope (cf. Bacher’s Agada d. Tannaiten,2 i. 399 f.; Volz 103) as in En. ciii. 2, 3, Apoc. Bar. xiv. 12, 13, and Pirke Aboth vi. 9 (hora discessus hominis non comitantur eum argentum aut aurum aut lapides pretiosi aut margaritae, sed lex et opera bona). In 4 Esd. 7:35 (where, at the resurrection of the dead, “the work shall follow and the reward be disclosed”) opus may be a Hebraism for “recompense” (Psalms 109:20 , cf.1 Timothy 5:25). Contemporary Jewish eschatology also took a despairing view of the world (cf. 4 Esd. 4:26–33). But while the dead are pronounced “blessed,” e.g., in Apoc. Bar. xi. 7, it is because they have not lived to see the ruins of Jerusalem and the downfall of Israel. Better death than that experience! Death is a blessing compared with the life which falls upon times so out of joint (Revelation 10:6 f.). The living may well envy the dead. In John’s Apocalypse, on the other hand, the dead are felicitated because they miss nothing by their martyrdom. Yet life is a boon. No plaintive, weary cry of Weltschmerz rises from the pages of this Apocalypse.— in the papyri means relief from public duties or the “resting” of land in agriculture (cf. U. Wilcken’s Archiv f. Papyrusforschung, i. pp. 157 f.).



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    Bibliographical Information
    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 14:13". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.