Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
HEAVEN FOR THE
JUDGMENT ON THE
MARRIAGE OF THE
BEAST AND THE
CAST INTO THE
SLAIN BY THE
1. As in the case of the opening of the prophecy,
Re 4:8; 5:9,
&c.; so now, at one of the great closing events seen in vision, the
judgment on the harlot (described in
there is a song of praise in heaven to God: compare
&c., toward the close of the seals, and
at the close of the trumpets:
at the saints' victory over the beast.
And--so ANDREAS. But A, B, C, Vulgate,
Syriac, and Coptic omit.
a great voice--A, B, C, Vulgate, Coptic, and
ANDREAS read, "as it were a great voice."
What a contrast to the lamentations
The great manifestation of God's power in destroying Babylon
calls forth a great voice of praise in heaven.
Alleluia--Hebrew, "Praise ye JAH,"
or JEHOVAH: here first used in Revelation, whence
ELLICOTT infers the Jews bear a prominent
part in this thanksgiving. JAH is not a
contraction of "JEHOVAH," as it sometimes occurs
jointly with the latter. It means "He who Is": whereas Jehovah is "He
who will be, is, and was." It implies God experienced as a
PRESENT help; so that "Hallelujah," says
KIMCHI in BENGEL, is found
first in the Psalms on the destruction of the ungodly.
"Hallelu-Jah" occurs four times in this passage. Compare
which is plainly parallel, and indeed identical in many of the phrases,
as well as the general idea. Israel, especially, will join in the
Hallelujah, when "her warfare is accomplished" and her foe destroyed.
Salvation, &c.--Greek, "The salvation
. . . the glory . . . the power."
and honour--so Coptic. But A, B, C, and Syriac
unto the Lord our God--so ANDREAS. But A,
B, C, and Coptic read, "(Is) of our God," that is, belongs to
2. which did corrupt the earth--Greek, "used to
corrupt" continually. "Instead of opposing and lessening, she promoted
the sinful life and decay of the world by her own earthliness, allowing
the salt to lose its savor" [AUBERLEN].
avenged--Greek, "exacted in retribution." A particular
application of the principle
blood of his servants--literally shed by the Old Testament
adulterous Church, and by the New Testament apostate Church; also
virtually, though not literally, by all who, though called Christians,
hate their brother, or love not the brethren of Christ, but shrink from
the reproach of the cross, and show unkindness towards those who bear
3. again--Greek, "a second time."
rose up--Greek, "goeth up."
for ever and ever--Greek, "to the ages of the ages."
4. beasts--rather, "living creatures."
5. out of--Greek, "out from the throne" in A, B, C.
Praise our God--Compare the solemn act of praise performed by
1Ch 16:36; 23:5,
especially when the house of God was filled with the divine glory
both--omitted in A, B, C, Vulgate, Coptic, and
Syriac. Translate as Greek, "the small and
6. many waters--Contrast the "many waters" on which the whore
This verse is the hearty response to the stirring call, "Alleluia!
Praise our God"
(Re 19:4, 5).
the Lord God omnipotent--Greek, "the Omnipotent."
reigneth--literally, "reigned": hence reigneth once for
all. His reign is a fact already established. Babylon, the harlot,
was one great hindrance to His reign being recognized. Her overthrow
now clears the way for His advent to reign; therefore, not merely Rome,
but the whole of Christendom in so far as it is carnal and compromised
Christ for the world, is comprehended in the term "harlot." The beast
hardly arises when he at once "goeth into perdition": so that Christ is
prophetically considered as already reigning, so soon does His advent
follow the judgment on the harlot.
7. glad . . . rejoice--Greek, "rejoice
. . . exult."
give--so B and ANDREAS. But A reads, "we
glory--Greek, "the glory."
the marriage of the Lamb is come--The full and
final consummation is at
&c. Previously there must be the overthrow of the beast, &c., at the
Lord's coming, the binding of Satan, the millennial reign, the loosing
of Satan and his last overthrow, and the general judgment. The
elect-Church, the heavenly Bride, soon after the destruction of the
harlot, is transfigured at the Lord's coming, and joins with Him in His
triumph over the beast. On the emblem of the heavenly Bridegroom and
Mt 22:2; 25:6, 10;
Perfect union with Him personally, and participation in His holiness;
joy, glory, and kingdom, are included in this symbol of "marriage";
compare Song of Solomon everywhere. Besides the heavenly Bride,
the transfigured, translated, and risen Church, reigning over
the earth with Christ, there is also the earthly bride, Israel,
in the flesh, never yet divorced, though for a time separated,
from her divine husband, who shall then be reunited to the Lord, and be
the mother Church of the millennial earth, Christianized through her.
Note, we ought, as Scripture does, restrict the language drawn from
marriage-love to the Bride, the Church as a whole; not
use it as individuals in our relation to Christ, which Rome does in the
case of her nuns. Individually, believers are effectually-called
guests; collectively, they constitute the bride. The harlot
divides her affections among many lovers: the bride gives hers
exclusively to Christ.
8. granted--Though in one sense she "made herself ready,"
having by the Spirit's work in her put on "the wedding garment," yet in
the fullest sense it is not she, but her Lord, who makes her ready by
"granting to her that she be arrayed in fine linen." It is He
who, by giving Himself for her, presents her to Himself a
glorious Church, not having spot, but holy and without blemish. It
is He also who sanctifies her, naturally vile and without beauty,
with the washing of water by the word, and puts His own comeliness
on her, which thus becomes hers.
clean and white--so ANDREAS. But A and B
transpose. Translate, "bright and pure"; at once brilliantly
splendid and spotless as in the bride herself.
righteousness--Greek, "righteousnesses"; distributively
used. Each saint must have this righteousness: not merely be
justified, as if the righteousness belonged to the Church in the
aggregate; the saints together have righteousnesses; namely,
He is accounted as "the Lord our righteousness" to each saint on
his believing, their robes being made white in the blood of the
Lamb. The righteousness of the saint is not, as
ALFORD erroneously states, inherent, but is
imputed: if it were otherwise, Christ would be merely enabling
the sinner to justify himself.
is decisive on this. Compare Article XI, Church of England. The
justification already given to the saints in title and unseen
possession, is now GIVEN them in manifestation:
they openly walk with Christ in white. To this, rather than
to their primary justification on earth, the reference is here. Their
justification before the apostate world, which had persecuted them,
contrasts with the judgment and condemnation of the harlot. "Now that
the harlot has fallen, the woman triumphs" [AUBERLEN]. Contrast with the pure fine linen
(indicating the simplicity and purity) of the bride, the tawdry
ornamentation of the harlot. Babylon, the apostate Church, is the
antithesis to new Jerusalem, the transfigured Church of God. The woman
are the three leading aspects of the Church.
9. He--God by His angel saith unto me.
called--effectually, not merely externally. The "unto," or
into," seems to express this: not merely invited to
(Greek, "epi"), but called INTO, so
as to be partakers of (Greek, "eis"); compare
marriage supper--Greek, "the supper of the marriage."
Typified by the Lord's Supper.
true--Greek, "genuine"; veritable sayings which shall
surely be fulfilled, namely, all the previous revelations.
10. at--Greek, "before." John's intending to worship the
angel here, as in
on having revealed to him the glory of the new Jerusalem, is the
involuntary impulse of adoring joy at so blessed a prospect. It forms a
marked contrast to the sorrowful wonder with which he had looked
on the Church in her apostasy as the harlot
It exemplifies the corrupt tendencies of our fallen nature that even
John, an apostle, should have all but fallen into "voluntary humility
and worshipping of angels," which Paul warns us against.
and of thy brethren--that is, a fellow servant of thy
have the testimony of Jesus--(See on
the testimony of--that is, respecting Jesus.
is the spirit of prophecy--is the result of the same spirit of
prophecy in you as in myself. We angels, and you apostles, all alike
have the testimony of (bear testimony concerning) Jesus by the
operation of one and the same Spirit, who enables me to show you these
revelations and enables you to record them: wherefore we are fellow
servants, not I your lord to be worshipped by you. Compare
"I am fellow servant of thee and of thy brethren the prophets";
whence the "FOR the testimony," &c., here, may be
explained as giving the reason for his adding "and (fellow servant) of
thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus." I mean, of the
prophets; "for it is of Jesus that thy brethren, the
prophets, testify by the Spirit in them." A clear condemnation of
Romish invocation of saints as if they were our superiors to be
11. behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him--identical
Here as there he comes forth "conquering and to conquer." Compare the
ass-colt on which He rode into Jerusalem
The horse was used for war: and here He is going forth to war
with the beast. The ass is for peace. His riding on it into
Jerusalem is an earnest of His reign in Jerusalem over the earth, as
the Prince of peace, after all hostile powers have been
overthrown. When the security of the world power, and the distress of
the people of God, have reached the highest point, the Lord Jesus shall
appear visibly from heaven to put an end to the whole course of the
world, and establish His kingdom of glory. He comes to judge with
vengeance the world power, and to bring to the Church redemption,
transfiguration, and power over the world. Distinguish between this
(Mt 24:27, 29, 37, 39;
Greek, "parousia") and the end, or final judgment
Powerful natural phenomena shall accompany His advent
12. Identifying Him with the Son of man similarly described,
many crowns--Greek, "diadems": not merely (Greek,
"stephanoi") garlands of victory, but royal crowns, as
KING OF KINGS. Christ's diadem comprises all the
diadems of the earth and of heavenly powers too. Contrast the papal
tiara composed of three diadems. Compare also the little horn
(Antichrist) that overcomes the three horns or kingdoms,
Da 7:8, 24
(Quære, the Papacy? or some three kingdoms that
succeed the papacy, which itself, as a temporal kingdom, was made up at
first of three kingdoms, the exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom
of the Lombards, and the state of Rome, obtained by Pope Zachary and
Stephen II from Pepin, the usurper of the French dominion). Also, the
seven crowns (diadems) on the seven heads of the dragon
and ten diadems on the ten heads of the beast. These usurpers
claim the diadems which belong to Christ alone.
he had a name written--B and Syriac insert, "He had
names written, and a name written," &c., meaning that the
names of the dominion which each diadem indicated were
written on them severally. But A, Vulgate,
ORIGEN, and CYPRIAN omits the
words, as English Version.
name . . . that no man knew but . . .
1Co 2:9, 11;
The same is said of the "new name" of believers. In this, as in all
other respects, the disciple is made like his Lord. The Lord's own "new
name" is to be theirs, and to be "in their foreheads"; whence we may
infer that His as yet unknown name also is written on His
forehead; as the high priest had "Holiness to the Lord" inscribed on
the miter on his brow. John saw it as "written," but knew not
its meaning. It is, therefore, a name which in all its glorious
significancy can be only understood when the union of His saints with
Him, and His and their joint triumph and reign, shall be perfectly
manifested at the final consummation.
13. vesture dipped in blood--
is alluded to here, and in
end. There the blood is not His own, but that of His foes. So
here the blood on His "vesture," reminding us of His own blood
shed for even the ungodly who trample on it, is a premonition of the
shedding of their blood in righteous retribution. He sheds the
blood, not of the godly, as the harlot and beast did, but of the
blood-stained ungodly, including them both.
The Word of God--who made the world, is He also who under the
same character and attributes shall make it anew. His title, Son of
God, is applicable in a lower sense, also to His people; but "the
Word of God" indicates His incommunicable Godhead, joined to His
manhood, which He shall then manifest in glory. "The Bride does not
fear the Bridegroom; her love casteth out fear. She welcomes Him; she
cannot be happy but at His side. The Lamb
the aspect of Christ to His people at His coming] is the symbol of
Christ in His gentleness. Who would be afraid of a lamb? Even a little
child, instead of being scared, desires to caress it. There is nothing
to make us afraid of God but sin, and Jesus is the Lamb of God that
taketh away the sin of the world. What a fearful contrast is the
aspect which He will wear towards His enemies! Not as the Bridegroom
and the Lamb, but as the [avenging] judge and warrior stained in the
blood of His enemies."
14. the armies . . . in heaven--Compare "the horse
The glorified saints whom God "will bring with" Christ at His advent;
"they that are with Him, called, chosen, faithful"; as also "His mighty
white and clean--Greek, "pure." A, B, Vulgate,
Syriac, and CYPRIAN omit "and," which
ORIGEN and ANDREAS retain, as
15. out of his mouth . . . sword--
(Re 1:16; 2:12, 16).
Here in its avenging power,
"consume with the Spirit of His mouth"
to which there is allusion here); not in its convicting and converting
Heb 4:12, 13,
where also the judicial keenness of the sword-like word is included).
The Father commits the judgment to the Son.
he shall rule--The HE is emphatic, He and none other, in
contrast to the usurpers who have misruled on earth. "Rule," literally,
"tend as a shepherd"; but here in a punitive sense. He, who would have
shepherded them with pastoral rod and with the golden scepter of
His love, shall dash them in pieces, as refractory rebels, with "a rod
treadeth . . . wine-press--
of the fierceness and wrath--So ANDREAS
reads. But A, B, Vulgate, Coptic, and
ORIGEN read, "of the fierceness (or boiling
indignation) of the wrath," omitting "and."
Almighty--The fierceness of Christ's wrath against His foes will
be executed with the resources of omnipotence.
16. "His name written on His vesture and on His thigh," was
written partly on the vesture, partly on the thigh itself, at the part
where in an equestrian figure the robe drops from the thigh. The
thigh symbolizes Christ's humanity as having come, after the
flesh, from the loins of David, and now appearing as the
glorified "Son of man." On the other hand, His incommunicable divine
name, "which no man knew," is on His head
KING OF KINGS--Compare
in contrast with
the beast being in attempted usurpation a king of kings, the ten
kings delivering their kingdom to him.
17. an--Greek, "one."
in the sun--so as to be conspicuous in sight of the whole world.
to all the fowls--
and gather yourselves--A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and
ANDREAS read, "be gathered," omitting "and."
of the great God--A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and
ANDREAS read, "the great supper (that is, banquet)
18. Contrast with this "supper,"
Re 19:17, 18,
the marriage supper of the Lamb,
captains--Greek, "captains of thousands," that is,
chief captains. The "kings" are "the ten" who "give their power
unto the beast."
free and bond--specified in
as "receiving the mark of the beast." The repetition of flesh
(in the Greek it is plural: masses of flesh) five times
in this verse, marks the gross carnality of the followers of the
beast. Again, the giving of their flesh to the fowls to eat, is a
righteous retribution for their not suffering the dead bodies of
Christ's witnesses to be put in graves.
19. gathered together--at Armageddon, under the sixth vial. For
"their armies" in B and ANDREAS, there is
found "His armies" in A.
war--so ANDREAS. But A and B read,
"the war," namely, that foretold,
Re 16:14; 17:4.
20. and with him the false prophet--A reads, "and those with
him." B reads, "and he who was with him, the false prophet."
miracles--Greek, "the miracles" (literally,
"signs") recorded already
as wrought by the second beast before (literally, 'in sight of')
the first beast. Hence it follows the second beast is
identical with the false prophet. Many expositors represent the
first beast to be the secular, the second beast to be the
ecclesiastical power of Rome; and account for the change of title for
the latter from the "other beast" to the "false prophet," is because by
the judgment on the harlot, the ecclesiastical power will then retain
nothing of its former character save the power to deceive. I think it
not unlikely that the false prophet will be the successor of the
spiritual pretensions of the papacy; while the beast in its last form
as the fully revealed Antichrist will be the secular representative and
embodiment of the fourth world kingdom, Rome, in its last form of
intensified opposition to God. Compare with this prophecy,
Da 2:34, 35, 44; 11:44, 45; 12:1;
makes no mention of the second beast, or false prophet, but mentions
that "the little horn" has "the eyes of a man," that is, cunning and
intellectual culture; this is not a feature of the first beast in the
thirteenth chapter, but is expressed by the Apocalyptic "false
prophet," the embodiment of man's unsanctified knowledge, and the
subtlety of the old serpent. The first beast is a political power; the
second is a spiritual power--the power of ideas. But both are
beasts, the worldly Antichristian wisdom serving the worldly
Antichristian power. The dragon is both lion and serpent. As the first
law in God's moral government is that "judgment should begin at the
house of God," and be executed on the harlot, the faithless Church, by
the world power with which she had committed spiritual adultery, so it
is a second law that the world power, after having served as God's
instrument of punishment, is itself punished. As the harlot is judged
by the beast and the ten kings, so these are destroyed by the Lord
Himself coming in person. So
And Jeremiah, after denouncing Jerusalem's judgment by Babylon, ends
with denouncing Babylon's own doom. Between the judgment on the harlot
and the Lord's destruction of the beast, will intervene that season in
which earthly-mindedness will reach its culmination, and
Antichristianity triumph for its short three and a half days during
which the two witnesses lie dead. Then shall the Church be ripe for her
glorification, the Antichristian world for destruction. The world at
the highest development of its material and spiritual power is but a
decorated carcass round which the eagles gather. It is characteristic
that Antichrist and his kings, in their blindness, imagine that they
can wage war against the King of heaven with earthly hosts; herein is
shown the extreme folly of Babylonian confusion. The Lord's mere
appearance, without any actual encounter, shows Antichrist his
nothingness; compare the effect of Jesus' appearance even in His
had received--rather as Greek, "received," once for
them; that worshipped--literally, "them worshipping" not an act
once for all done, as the "received" implies, but those
in the habit of "worshipping."
These both were cast . . . into a lake--Greek,
". . . the lake of fire," Gehenna. Satan is subsequently cast
into it, at the close of the outbreak which succeeds the millennium
Then Death and Hell, as well those not found at the general judgment
"written in the book of life"; this constitutes "the second death."
alive--a living death; not mere annihilation. "Their worm dieth
not, their fire is not quenched."
21. the remnant--Greek, "the rest," that is, "the kings
and their armies"
classed together in one indiscriminate mass. A solemn confirmation of
the warning in