ZION WITH THE 144,000.
PROCLAIMED BEFORE THE
DOOM OF THE
WORSHIPPERS, BY A
BLESSEDNESS OF THE
DEAD IN THE
In contrast to the beast, false prophet, and apostate Church
and introductory to the announcement of judgments about to descend on
them and the world
stand here the redeemed, "the divine kernel of humanity, the positive
fruits of the history of the world and the Church"
[AUBERLEN]. The fourteenth through sixteenth
chapters describe the preparations for the Messianic judgment. As the
fourteenth chapter begins with the 144,000 of Israel
no longer exposed to trial as then, but now triumphant), so the
fifteenth chapter begins with those who have overcome from among
the Gentiles (compare
with Re 7:9-17);
the two classes of elect forming together the whole company of
transfigured saints who shall reign with Christ.
1. a--A, B, C, Coptic, and ORIGEN
Lamb . . . on . . . Sion--having left His
position "in the midst of the throne," and now taking His stand on
his Father's name--A, B, and C read, "His name and His
in--Greek, "upon." God's and Christ's name here
answers to the seal "upon their foreheads" in
As the 144,000 of Israel are "the first-fruits"
so "the harvest"
is the general assembly of Gentile saints to be translated by Christ as
His first act in assuming His kingdom, prior to His judgment
the last seven vials) on the Antichristian world, in executing which
His saints shall share. As Noah and Lot were taken seasonably out of
the judgment, but exposed to the trial to the last moment
[DE BURGH], so those who
shall reign with Christ shall first suffer with Him, being delivered
out of the judgments, but not out of the trials. The Jews
are meant by "the saints of the Most High": against them Antichrist
makes war, changing their times and laws; for true Israelites
cannot join in the idolatry of the beast, any more than true
Christians. The common affliction will draw closely together, in
opposing the beast's worship, the Old Testament and New Testament
people of God. Thus the way is paved for Israel's conversion. This last
utter scattering of the holy people's power leads them, under
the Spirit, to seek Messiah, and to cry at His approach, "Blessed is He
that cometh in the name of the Lord."
2. from--Greek, "out of."
voice of many waters--as is the voice of Himself, such also is
the voice of His people.
I heard the voice of harpers--A, B, C, and
ORIGEN read, "the voice which I heard (was) as of
3. sung--Greek, "sing."
as it were--So A, C, and Vulgate read. It is "as it were"
a new song; for it is, in truth, as old as God's eternal
purpose. But B, Syriac, Coptic, ORIGEN, and
ANDREAS omit these words.
(Re 5:9, 10).
The song is that of victory after conflict with the dragon, beast, and
false prophet: never sung before, for such a conflict had never been
fought before; therefore new: till now the kingdom of
Christ on earth had been usurped; they sing the new song in
anticipation of His blood-bought kingdom with His saints.
four beasts--rather, as Greek, "four living creatures."
The harpers and singers evidently include the 144,000: so the parallel
(Re 15:2, 3),
where the same act is attributed to the general company of the
saints, the harvest
from all nations. Not as ALFORD, "the harpers and
song are in heaven, but the 144,000 are on earth."
redeemed--literally, "purchased." Not even the angels can learn
that song, for they know not experimentally what it is to have
"come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes white in the
blood of the Lamb"
in contrast to the apostate Church, Babylon
spiritually "a harlot"
Their not being defiled with women means they were not led
astray from Christian faithfulness by the tempters who jointly
constitute the spiritual "harlot."
follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth--in glory, being
especially near His person; the fitting reward of their following Him
so fully on earth.
being the--rather, "as a first-fruit." Not merely
a "first-fruit" in the sense in which all believers are so, but
Israel's 144,000 elect are the first-fruit, the Jewish and
Gentile elect Church is the harvest; in a further sense, the
whole of the transfigured and translated Church which reigns with
Christ at His coming, is the first-fruit, and the consequent
general ingathering of Israel and the nations, ending in the last
judgment, is the full and final harvest.
5. guile--So ANDREAS in one copy. But A, B,
C, ORIGEN, and ANDREAS in
other copies read, "falsehood." Compare with English Version
for--So B, Syriac, Coptic, ORIGEN,
and ANDREAS read. But A and C omit.
without fault--Greek, "blameless": in respect to the
sincerity of their fidelity to Him. Not absolutely, and in themselves
blameless; but regarded as such on the ground of His
righteousness in whom alone they trusted, and whom they faithfully
served by His Spirit in them. The allusion seems to be to
Ps 15:1, 2.
"stood on Mount Sion."
before the throne of God--A, B, C, Syriac, Coptic,
ORIGEN, and ANDREAS omit
these words. The oldest Vulgate manuscript supports them.
6. Here begins the portion relating to the Gentile world, as the
former portion related to Israel. Before the end the Gospel is
to be preached for a WITNESS unto all
nations: not that all nations shall be converted, but all nations
shall have had the opportunity given them of deciding whether they will
be for, or against, Christ. Those thus preached to are "they
that dwell (so A, Coptic, and Syriac read. But B, C,
ORIGEN, Vulgate, CYPRIAN, 312, read, 'SIT,' compare
having their settled home) on the earth," being of earth earthy:
this last season of grace is given them, if yet they may repent, before
descends: if not, they will be left without excuse, as the world which
resisted the preaching of Noah in the the hundred twenty years "while
the long-suffering of God waited." "So also the prophets gave the
people a last opportunity of repentance before the Babylonian
destruction of Jerusalem, and our Lord and His apostles before the
Roman destruction of the holy city" [AUBERLEN].
The Greek for "unto" (epi, in A and C) means literally,
"upon," or "over," or "in respect to"
So also "TO every nation" (Greek,
"epi," in A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac,
CYPRIAN, and PRIMASIUS).
This, perhaps, implies that the Gospel, though diffused over the
globe, shall not come savingly unto any save the elect. The
world is not to be evangelized till Christ shall come: meanwhile, God's
purpose is "to take out of the Gentiles a people for His name," to be
witnesses of the effectual working of His Spirit during the
counter-working of "the mystery of iniquity."
everlasting gospel--the Gospel which announces the glad
tidings of the everlasting kingdom of Christ, about to ensue
immediately after the "judgment" on Antichrist, announced as imminent
As the former angel "flying through the midst of heaven"
announced "woe," so this angel "flying in the midst of heaven" announced
joy. The three angels making this last proclamation of the Gospel,
the fall of Babylon
the harlot, and the judgment on the beast worshippers
the voice from heaven respecting the blessed dead
the vision of the Son of man on the cloud
and the vintage
form the compendious summary, amplified in detail in the rest of the
7. Fear God--the forerunner to embracing the love of God
manifested in the Gospel. Repentance accompanies faith.
give glory to him--and not to the beast (compare
the hour of his judgment--"The hour" implies the definite
time. "Judgment," not the general judgment, but that up on Babylon,
the beast, and his worshippers
worship him that made heaven--not Antichrist (compare
sea . . . fountains--distinguished also in
Re 8:8, 10.
8. another--So Vulgate. But A, B, Syriac, and
ANDREAS add, "a second"; "another, a second
Babylon--here first mentioned; identical with the harlot,
the apostate Church; distinct from the beast, and judged
is fallen--anticipation of
A, Vulgate, Syriac, and ANDREAS support the
second "is fallen." But B, C, and Coptic omit it.
that great city--A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and
Coptic omit "city." Then translate, "Babylon the great." The
ulterior and exhaustive fulfilment of
because--So ANDREAS. But A, C,
Vulgate, and Syriac read, "which." B and Coptic
omit it. Even reading "which," we must understand it as giving the
reason of her fall.
all nations--A, B and C read, "all the nations."
the wine of the wrath of her fornication--the wine of the
wrath of God, the consequence of her fornication. As she
made the nations drunk with the wine of her fornication, so she herself
shall be made drunk with the wine of God's wrath.
9. A, B, C, and ANDREAS read, "another, a
third angel." Compare with this verse
Re 13:15, 16.
10. The same--Greek, "he also," as the just and
wine of . . . wrath of God--
without mixture--whereas wine was so commonly mixed with
water that to mix wine is used in Greek for to pour
out wine; this wine of God's wrath is