Revelation of John 14A hundred forty and four thousand; here, as in chap Re 7:4; the representatives of the multitude of the redeemed during the times of trouble and persecution that have been foretold.His Father's name written in their foreheads; in contrast with the worshippers of the beast, who have his mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. Chap Re 13:16. A new song; the song of redemption through the blood of the Lamb. Whatever trials believers may suffer in this world, through the aid of their great High-priest and Intercessor they will all arrive safely in heaven, and their arrival will awaken songs of thanksgiving throughout all the hosts above. Not defiled with women; with spiritual fornication; compare chap Re 17.1-18, where the apostate church is represented as a harlot, and her followers as those who commit fornication with her.Virgins; espoused to Christ as chaste virgins. 2Co 11:2.First-fruits; those who had first been converted, and were the earnest of multitudes who were to follow. Without fault; having been sanctified and presented spotless before God. Jude 24. 6-11. Now follow three visions, representing the rapid and wide spread of the gospel through the whole earth, the fall of the mystic Babylon, and the punishment of her adherents. With the dawn of the Reformation began the fulfilment of these promises, and it is progressing in our day. Worship him; worship God. This is said in contrast with the worship of the beast. The persecution of saints even unto death is often followed by a rapid and extensive spread of the gospel, and the greatest rage of opposers by their speedy and utter ruin. Babylon; compare Isa 21:9. Babylon was the chief seat of persecution against the church of God under the Old Testament; and this name is given to the chief seat of such persecutions under the New Testament.Is fallen; an announcement of the overthrow of this great persecuting power.Drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; Babylon is compared to a harlot holding in her hand a wine-cup of wrath, and making all nations drunk with it. The figure is taken from Jer 25:15-28, where God, through the literal Babylon, administers to the nations the wine-cup of his fury. The meaning is, that the mystic Babylon, by seducing the nations to commit spiritual fornication with her, brings upon them the wrath of God. For this sin her doom is here foretold. Worship the beast and his image; see note to chap Re 13:14. We have here the ecclesiastical uniting with the civil power in killing the saints who refused to submit to him. The wine of the wrath of God; the effect of God's wrath is here, as often elsewhere, compared to a wine-cup, which produces in those who drink of it reeling and madness. Union with opposers of God and his cause, for the sake of avoiding present evil, or obtaining fancied good, is aggravated sin, and will be followed with awful punishment. The patience of the saints; of those who should stand out against all the blandishments, wiles, and threats of the beast and his image, continuing steadfast in the faith of Christ, though it should cost them the sacrifice of life. The words contain a solemn intimation of the severe trials to which God's faithful servants would be subjected during the reign of the beast. 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. 2Co 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. Lu 23:43. 14-20. Now follows a double vision representing the execution of God's vengeance upon the persecutors of his people.A white cloud; the symbol of Christ's presence in power and great glory to take vengeance on the wicked. Compare note to chap Re 10:1.A golden crown; to signify that he is "King of kings, and Lord of lords." Chap Re 17:14; 19:16.A sharp sickle; here, as in Joe 3:13, the ripeness of the harvest and vintage indicates that the measure of man's wickedness is full, and the reaping is a symbol of the execution of God's wrath. Another angel came out of the temple; the dwelling-place of Jehovah, signifying that he was the bearer of a message from Him. Another angel came out of the temple; having a commission immediately from God. The altar; apparently the altar of burnt-offering.Fire; the symbol of God's destroying wrath. Both saints and sinners are continued in this world till they are fully ripe, the one for endless bliss, and the other for endless woe. Wine-press of the wrath of God; the treading of grapes is expressive of his vengeance upon his enemies. Without the city; apparently the holy city Jerusalem, which represents the people of God; signifying that they will be exempted from this awful judgment.Blood--even unto the horse-bridles; showing the greatness of the slaughter, and of the multitudes who perished.A thousand and six hundred furlongs; two hundred Roman miles. Some have supposed an allusion to the length of Palestine; others, to the extent of the pope's dominions in Italy. But all such conjectures are uncertain.
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