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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 14 - Verse 1

 

CHAPTER XIV

ANALYSIS OF THE CHAPTER

IN the previous chapters (12,13) there is a description of the woes and sorrows which, for a long period, would come upon the church, and which would threaten to destroy it. It was proper that this gloomy picture should be relieved, and accordingly this chapter, having much of the aspect of an episode, is thrown in to comfort the hearts of those who should see those troublous times. There were bright scenes beyond, and it was important to direct the eye to them, that the hearts of the sad might be consoled. This chapter, therefore, contains a succession of symbolical representations designed to show the ultimate result of all these things—"to hold out the symbols of ultimate and certain victory."—Prof. Stuart. Those symbols are the following:—

(1.) The vision of the hundred and forty-four thousand on Mount Zion, as emblematic of the final triumph of the redeemed, Re 14:1-5. They have the Father's name in their foreheads, Re 14:1; they sing a song of victory, Re 14:2,3; they are found without fault before God's representatives, in this respect, of all that will be saved, Re 14:4,5.

(2.) The vision of the final triumph of the gospel, Re 14:6,7. An angel is seen flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to all that dwell upon the earth, and announcing that the end is near: a representation designed to show that the gospel will be thus preached among all nations; and when that is done, the time will draw on when the affairs of the world will be wound up.

(3.) The fall of Babylon, the mighty Antichristian power, Re 14:8. An angel is seen going forth announcing the glad tidings that this mighty power is overthrown, and that, therefore, its oppressions are come to an end. This, to the church in trouble and persecution, is one of the most comforting of all the assurances that God makes in regard to the future.

(4.) The certain and final destruction of all the upholders of that Antichristian power, Re 14:9-12. Another angel is seen making proclamation that all the supporters and abettors of this formidable power would drink of the wine of the wrath of God; that they would be tormented with fire and brimstone; and that the smoke of their torment would ascend up for ever and ever.

(5.) The blessedness of all those who die in the Lord; who, amidst the persecutions and trials that were to come upon the church, would be found faithful unto death, Re 14:13. They would rest from their labours; the works of mercy which they had done on the earth would follow them to the future world, securing rich and eternal blessings there.

(6.) The final overthrow of all the enemies of the church, Re 14:14-20. This is the grand completion; to this all things are tending; this will be certainly accomplished in due time. This is represented under various emblems:

(a) The Son of man appears seated on a cloud, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle—emblem of gathering in the great harvest of the earth, and of his own glorious reign in heaven, Re 14:14.

(b) An angel is seen coming out of the temple, announcing that the time had come, and calling on the great Reaper to thrust in his sickle, for the harvest of the world was ripe, Re 14:15.

(c) He that has the sickle thrusts in his sickle to reap the great harvest, Re 14:16.

(d) Another angel is seen representing the final judgment of God on the wicked, Re 16:17-20. He also has a sharp sickle; he is commanded by an angel that has power over fire to thrust in his sickle into the earth; he goes forth and gathers the clusters of the vine of the earth, and casts them into the great wine-press of the wrath of God.

This whole chapter, therefore, is designed to relieve the gloom of the former representations. The action of the grand moving panorama is stayed that the mind may not be overwhelmed with gloomy thoughts, but that it may be cheered with the assurance of the final triumph of truth and righteousness. The chapter, viewed in this light, is introduced with great artistic skill, as well as great beauty of poetic illustration; and, in its place, it is adapted to set forth this great truth, that, to the righteous, and to the church at large, in the darkest times, and with the most threatening prospect of calamity and sorrow, there is the certainty of final victory, and that this should be allowed to cheer and sustain the soul.

Verse 1 And I looked. My attention was drawn to a new vision. The eye was turned away from the beast and his image to the heavenly world—the Mount Zion above.

And, lo, a Lamb. See Barnes on "Re 5:6".

 

Stood on the mount Sion. That is, in heaven. See Barnes "Heb 12:22".

Zion, literally the southern hill in the city of Jerusalem, was a name also given to the whole city; and, as that was the seat of the Divine worship on earth, it became an emblem of heaven—the dwelling-place of God. The scene of the vision here is laid in heaven, for it is a vision of the ultimate triumph of the redeemed, designed to sustain the church in view of the trials that had already come upon it, and of those which were yet to come.

And with him an hundred forty and four thousand. These are evidently the same persons that were seen in the vision recorded in Re 7:3-8, and the representation is made for the same purpose—to sustain the church in trial, with the certainty of its future glory. See Barnes "Re 7:4".

 

Having his Father's name written in their foreheads. Showing that they were his. See Barnes "Re 7:3"; See Barnes "Re 13:16".

In Re 7:3, it is merely said that they were "sealed in their foreheads" The passage here shows how they were sealed. They had the name of God so stamped or marked on their foreheads as to show that they belonged to him. Compare Barnes on "Re 7:3, seq.

{a} "a Lamb" Re 5:12 {b} "one hundred and forty-four thousand" Re 7:4 {c} "Father's name" Re 3:12

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