The Triumph of Christ.
SUMMARY.--The Lamb and His Saints on Mt. Zion.
The New Song.
The Angel of the Everlasting Gospel.
Blessed Are Those that Die in the Lord.
The Son of Man in the Clouds.
The Harvest of the Earth.
The Elect Gathered.
The Clusters of the Vine of the Earth Cut Off.
Trodden Down in the Wine-Press.
The gloomy picture of the terrible foes of the Church, given in
is calculated to fill the saints with fearful foreboding. A persecuted,
suffering Church, beholding these mighty enemies, their terrible work,
these fearful struggles of the future, these triumphs of the wicked,
might almost be led to despair of the final victory of the Redeemer's
cause. Hence, for the encouragement of the saints, their eyes are
turned, in the fourteenth chapter, upon a brighter vision. The dark
clouds are lifted off the future, and they are enabled to look beyond
and to see the glorious fruition of all the tears and sorrow, the
struggles and trials of the Church. The vision of this chapter cheers
the saints and encourages them to press on in the hour of darkness, by
leading them forward to the final triumph of righteousness at the end
1-5. And I looked, and, behold. This is the usual formula in
Revelation which introduces a new vision.
The Lamb stood on the mount Zion. In
a false lamb has been seen, one that had a voice like a dragon. Here,
in contrast, is seen the Lamb of God, the same as in
taking the book with seven seals.
On the Mount Zion. Here and in
are the only places in the New Testament where this expression occurs.
It is equivalent to the "Jerusalem above" of
Gal. 4:26 and Heb. 12:22.
Mount Zion, the city of the great King, the
seat of the worship of God in Jerusalem, was a type, and is used as a
symbol of the true Church. In
the saints who have entered into the covenant of Christ are said to
have come, not to the mount that could not be touched, but to Mount
Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. It is there
used for the church of the saints, and such is its meaning in this
With him a hundred and forty and four thousand, having his name,
the same number are spoken of as sealed from the twelve tribes of
Israel. It means there, a great, indefinite number. Here, I take that
the meaning is the same. It is a great multitude, a round number, who
are associated with the Lamb.
2. And I heard a voice from heaven. Whose voice is not stated,
but it was a mighty voice,
the voice of harpers harping with their harps. Always when great
triumph are achieved or about to be achieved, heaven rings with the
praises of singers. Compare
5:8, 9; 7:10-12; 11:17.
3. And they sung as it were a new song before the throne. A song
that has some new features. It was sung in the presence of the Father
and the attending princes of heaven.
No man could learn that song but the hundred and forty four
thousand. None could understand the song but them, those who had
4. These are they which were not defiled with women. This
thought is always a symbol of purity of life; of refusing sinful
intercourse with the world. Spiritual adultery or fornication is being
wedded to the world and partaking of its sins.
They are virgins. This term is a symbol, and means that their
lives are not defiled by the world. See
2 Cor. 11:2.
First fruits. First fruits were always dedicated to God. See
These holy ones are set apart and dedicated to God and the Lamb.
5. And in their mouth, etc.
states that their lives were holy and pleasing to God and the Lamb.
The Lamb on Mount Zion in the midst of these saints is a prophetic
picture, and the thought should be, What do these symbols signify?
These saints stand forth as the representatives of a class. "They are
first fruits to God and to the Lamb."
As the first fruits, devoted to God, were representative of the whole
harvest, so these stand forth as the representatives of the harvest of
souls. We are to behold in them as they stand on Mount Zion with the
Lamb in their midst, a picture of the Church in some age of the world.
Let us observe the facts stated of them: 1. The Lamb is in their midst;
a characteristic of the holy saints. 2. They are pure, unspotted,
undefiled, not fornicators, nor sullied with unholy desires. 3. They
follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes. They are sheep that hear
the Shepherd's voice. They are obedient to all his commandments. They
follow his example as well as his words. They live a Christ-like life.
4. In their mouths are found no guile, and they were without fault
before the throne of God. Whenever the Church of God becomes purified,
ceases unholy fornication with the world, these are the marks which it
will exhibit. I believe this to be a picture of the Church, yet to
come, which shall have put on the white robes and have only Christ for
6, 7. I saw another angel flying in mid heaven.
An angel is a messenger. Any agency that does God's work or carries
his message may be an angel. This angel is a symbol. (1) His flying
indicates some movement or change that shall take place with great
rapidity. (2) The fact that he has the
everlasting gospel shows that the movement symbolized is the
evangelization of the world. (3) That the movement will be world wide
is shown in that he speaks to all races. (4) His proclamation shows
that he not only offers the glad tidings, but declares the consequences
of their rejection. This all implies that the purification of the
Church will be followed by a mighty gospel impulse which will sweep
over the world. There is a sublime missionary spirit on the part of the
revived Church. Full of zeal, breathing the spirit of the Master,
permeated with the apostolic spirit, as in the days of old it will go
everywhere preaching the world. The old, old story told by a holy
people, told with a burning zeal and overflowing love, shall exhibit
its divine power in the salvation of the nations.
8-12. There followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen.
As a result of the great
gospel revival shown in
verses 6, 7,
the city of sin, here called Babylon, but called "spiritually Sodom and
Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified"
The wine of wrath of her fornication. This Babylon was a city of
fornication, of unholy alliance with the world, wedded to the prince of
this world instead of to Christ, and made the nations sin with her, or
drink her wine.
Wine of wrath. So called either because her wrath was manifested
in persecution against those who refused to drink, or because the wine
of God's wrath shall be poured on her (see
9. And the third angel followed. This angel proclaims God's
judgment on all that
worship the beast and his image. (See
10. The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God. Those
who received the mark of the beast, worshiped the beast, drank the wine
of Babylon, shall drink the wine of God's wrath. His judgments shall be
poured out on them.
Shall be tormented with fire and brimstone. These are symbols,
just as wine and cup are symbols. The meaning is that they shall suffer
11. And the smoke of their torment. This is also a symbol
suggested by fire and brimstone. The thought of this verse is the
eternal unrest and pain of those who have followed the beast.
12. Here is the patience of the saints. The thought that the
enemies who oppress them and torture them will be finally utterly
overcome gives the saints patience to endure.
BABYLON. What is meant by this city Babylon? The
term only occurs in the New Testament in
1 Pet. 5:13,
and in the Book of Revelation.
It is shown in this passage that Babylon virtually signifies the same
as the "beast and his image," while in
Babylon is shown to be the mystical harlot who sat on the seven-headed
and ten-horned beast. In
the fall of Babylon is again declared, and it is said that all the
kings of the earth have committed fornication with her. Of this
spiritual Babylon the old Babylon on the Euphrates was a type. It was
(1) A wicked world power. (2) It oppressed God's people and led them
captive. (3) It was only when it was overthrown that Jerusalem was
restored. (4) In addition it might be added that it was at or near
Babylon that the confusion of tongues took place. This old Babylon in
some way is a type of the Babylon meant by John. The facts stated of
the spiritual Babylon are that it was (1) identified with the beast;
(2) a mighty oppressor of God's people; (3) that it led them captive;
(4) ruled the earth; (5) is a harlot, or idolatrous church. It has been
found in the
that the beast and its image point to Rome; it will be found in
that the woman who is called "Mystery, Babylon the Great," who sitteth
on the beast, is the great apostate church which has ruled the nations.
This passage shows the means by which this dominion shall be
overthrown. It will be done by a pure and holy Church, filled with
missionary zeal. It is the preaching of the ancient gospel which shall
bring Rome to destruction. When this shall be done is not revealed, but
I am led to cherish the idea that it is not so far distant as some
13. 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
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
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
14-16. I looked, and behold white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat
like unto the Son of Man. Jesus has himself said that the Son of
man shall be seen coming upon the clouds of heaven
John here sees the Son of Man sitting upon a white cloud. The Savior
that his coming shall be with great power and glory. John now sees upon
the head of the Son of man a golden crown. The Savior says
that he will send his angels to gather the elect. John hears an angel
bid him who sat upon the cloud, to reap the earth, for its harvest was
15. Send forth thy sickle and reap.
There is gathered first the ripened harvest of the elect of God. It is
an angel that came out of the temple of God as a messenger of God,
carrying to the Son the Father's command to gather the elect from the
four corners of the earth. Then a longing, waiting Church, "loving the
appearing of the Son of man,"
shall first be gathered into the heavenly garner. The ripe sheaves are
16. The earth was reaped. The harvest of souls is ended forever.
But those who are upon the earth "shall not prevent them that are
At the voice of the archangel the dead shall wake from their long sleep
in the embrace of earth. Death shall be swallowed up in victory.
"Blessed henceforth forever are the dead who died in the Lord. Yea,
saith the Spirit, they do not rest from their labors and their works do
17-20. Another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he
also having a sharp sickle. The ripened harvest of the saints has
been gathered first. That was symbolized in
The gathering of the wicked to judgment is now shown in the symbols.
Another angel comes forth with a sickle in his hand. Christ, by his
angels, was the great reaper of the righteous harvest. They that are
Christ's are gathered by him at his coming, but the wicked are gathered
by another, here presented as an angel reaper.
18. Another angel came out from the altar. The altar of burnt
Which had the power over fire. This angel, one that has power
over fire, comes forth from the altar where fire was kept burning. Fire
is an emblem of punishment, of destruction. He bids the angel who holds
the sickle to begin his work, "to put forth his sickle and cut off
the clusters of the vine of the earth, for they
are ripe." Grapes are chosen as a symbol of the wicked because of their
harmony with the figure that describes the fate of the wicked. "The
vine of the earth" means the world that lieth in sin, "earth" being
used in an unfavorable sense thus far in Revelation.
19. Cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. They
were cast into the wine-press, then trodden under foot, and from the
bruised and bleeding mass ran red juice like blood. The symbol implies
delivery over to punishment and destruction. As the grapes were trodden
and crushed in the wine-press, so the clusters "of the vine of the
are crushed under the wrath of God.
20. And the winepress was trodden without the city. The city,
whenever it is not shown to be a wicked city, is Jerusalem, the
Apocalyptic symbol of the Church. These judgments are without
the church, judgments upon the world.
And blood came out of the winepress. This is what John saw. The
pressed juice of the grapes ran out red like blood, and ran in a mighty
stream, deep as the bridle bits of the horses, 1600 furlongs; about 200
miles. There has been much discussion concerning what this distance
signifies. Some have cited the fact that Palestine is about 200 miles
long, and held that a fearful carnage in that country is predicted.
Others have noted the fact that Italy is about 200 miles wide, and held
that this country is to be the scene of a terrible conflict. In my
opinion, the whole is symbolic of the terrible judgments of the wicked
in that day. The figures, 40x40, or 4x4, multiplied by 10x10, imply the
universality of the judgment. The four quarters, the four
winds, the four corners of the earth are often mentioned, and
four is held to be an Apocalyptical symbol of the earth, while
ten, like seven, is a perfect, or sacred number.