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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 14

 

 

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Verse 1

Revelation 14:1. ἑκατὸν, κ. τ. λ.) They are the same CXLIV. thousands which are mentioned ch. 7, but now in a much more splendid condition; wherefore they are mentioned without the article αἱ: just as in ch. Revelation 17:3, θηρίον, the beast, without the article τὸ, is the same beast as that which is mentioned in ch. Revelation 13:1, but which afterwards became very unlike its former self.— τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ καὶ) This was wanting to the Codex Reuchlinianus,1(152) although it does not seem to have been wanting to the more ancient MS., from which it was copied. For, instead of the subsequent participle γεγρα΄΄ένον, Erasmus, in his 1James , 2 d, and 3d Editions, put καιό΄ενον. And this appears to have been inserted in an improper place from the margin, which in smaller [fainter] character, frequently used in margins, reminded [the reader] that the words καὶ ὄνο΄α were to be supplied; just as shortly afterwards, in Revelation 14:6, at τοὺς καθη΄ένους the same Codex Reuchlinianus introduced from other places the marginal gloss τοὺς κατοικοῦντας. It is more probable, in Wolf’s opinion, that καιόμενον ought to be attributed to a gloss. For it is well known, he says, that marks of this kind were accustomed to be burnt in either on the forehead or hand. And some one wishing to point out this custom, thought fit to explain the word γεγραμμένον by καιόμενον. I reply: If a name, which is being burnt in, can be expressed by καιόμενον, that which has been burnt in cannot thus be expressed. It is a matter of little consequence: it is admitted to be a gloss on both sides; the only question is as to its origin. My own view serves towards vindicating the reading respecting the name of the Lamb. Some one, relying on the reading of Erasmus, which does not contain the name of the Lamb, ventured to hope that the name of the Father, and not that of the Lamb, would hereafter come into favour. That enemy of the Nicene faith, and of the glory of Christ, was deceived. Nay, indeed both the name of the Lamb and the name of His Father are written on the foreheads of the CXLIV. thousands.


Verse 2

Revelation 14:2. καὶ φωνὴ ἣν ἤκουσα ὡς(153)) Thus Comp. Copt. and almost all the copies. But the reading of Erasmus, καὶ φωνὴν ἤκουσα, without ὡς (which particle is however found even in And. 1), is scarcely supported by one or two ancient authorities. I wish the reader to observe my Edition, connected by Wolf more distinctly than by the printer with the Complutensian, and not with the Græco-Anglican. John by degrees more articulately describes the voice which he heard; and the article has the force of a relative, by which the meaning is conveyed, that the same voice was heard first as of many waters and of great thundering, and next as of harpers.(154)


Verse 5

Revelation 14:5. ψεῦδος) δόλος,(155) the text according to Andreas in Cod. Reuchl., which Erasmus follows, and in the Augustan. But the text in Andreas himself, as edited by Sylburgius, and Copt, (according to Wolf, who however defends the word δόλος), together with all the copies, is ψεῦδος. That expression of Peter, οὔτε εὑρέθη δόλος ἐν τῷ στό΄ατι αὐτοῦ, plainly refers to Isaiah 53:9. But the phrase of the Apocalypse, although it supports itself, has something parallel in Malachi 2:6, respecting the priest: νό΄ος ἀληθείας ἦν ἐν τῷ στό΄ατι αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀδικία οὐχ εὐρέθη ἐν χείλεσιν αὐτοῦ. The word ψεῦδος, with its derivatives and compounds, is of very frequent occurrence in all the writings of John.— ἄ΄ω΄οι εἰσὶν) ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου τοῦ θεοῦ(156) was first added by the more recent Latin editions. See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. This interpolation is unsuitable to the passage. For the description of these first-fruits is beautifully fashioned like a canticle; and so these two clauses have a kind of rhythm, πάρθενοι γὰρ εἰσιν· ἄμωμοι εἰσίν· where, as we remark in passing, the particle γὰρ appears to be extended from the preceding to the latter clause. Moreover, they are virgins, with reference to their following the Lamb; they are ἄμωμοι, not with reference to their being before the throne of God, but with reference to the fact, that they are redeemed, as first-fruits to God and the Lamb. Why should I enlarge on this? No one in Greece, Asia, Syria, or Africa, nor do I hesitate to add Italy and ancient Armenia, has in this passage read the clause, before the throne of God. They had not the editions which are in common use at the present day; they had the genuine reading.


Verse 6

Revelation 14:6. ἄγγελον, an angel) Under the name of angels the preachers of the heavenly doctrine come, in Revelation 14:6; Revelation 14:8-9. [They are opposed to him who published the threefold woe, ch. Revelation 8:13.—V. g.] But as to that which G. G. Zeltner has in his Diss, de Chiliasmo præsenti, § 13, p. 22: Nor shall we be opposed, to it, if any one should affirm that the aid of Angels, or of one in particular, was employed here (Revelation 21:1) in animating the Confessors of the Gospel, in the same sense in which an angel is said also to have stood beside Paul, Acts 27:23, comp. with Daniel 10 throughout the whole chapter; and we admit that this explanation is MOST of all approved by us: we think that is more suitable to the three heralds (preachers) here mentioned.— αἰώνιον, existing through eternal ages) αἰὼν, an age, is attributed to the Gospel, or to the office of publishing it, which the angel here has. It is therefore a definite age,(157) which, in accordance with the analogy of the other times, consists of two periods (chroni), and extends from the publishing of this Gospel to the judgment day itself. This length of the age in particular, besides many other things, affords an occasion for considering whether this angel be Arndt. We are not so certain that the second angel is already come; if he is already come, it must be understood of Spener. The third precedes the close of the 42 months by a shorter interval: although the worship of the beast himself, and not only the worship of the image, which is subsequent, is forbidden by him.— εὐαγγελίσαι) There is a similarity of expression in πειρασμοῦπειράσαι, ch. Revelation 3:10, and εὐαγγέλιονεὐαγγελίσαι, in this passage.— τοὺς καθημένους) Several copies read τοὺς κατοικοῦντας,(158) according to the more usual phraseology of the Apocalypse. The Reuchlinian Manuscript has joined both readings: the better part of the copies, together with Lat. Orig. To sit on the earth is something more innocent than to dwell on the earth: the latter is the part of citizens, the former of persons less closely connected with it. They whom the three woes strike are spoken of as dwelling upon the earth: they to whom the everlasting Gospel is preached, as sitting on the earth. The difference between the words plainly appears from Isaiah 18:3, כל ישבי תבל ושכני ארץ .


Verse 7

Revelation 14:7. κρίσεως, of judgment) D. Lange, Epicr. p. 402, refers this preaching to the last times: but this however ought not to be fixed too late. The passage from Matthew 24:14, which he compares, has been considered above, on ch. Revelation 6:2.— πηγὰς, fountains) The article is not added: for fountains are now in some measure contained under the sea; although these, in themselves, also are something great in the universe. See Beemann’s Hist. Geogr. eap. iii. part 4.


Verse 8

Revelation 14:8. ἔπεσεν ἔπεσε) See on ch. Revelation 18:2.— βαβυλὼν μεγάλη) Thus all the MSS.; thus also Copt. Thus ch. Revelation 16:19, Revelation 17:5, Revelation 18:2, and LXX., Daniel 4:27. But πόλις(159) is inserted between by Erasmus, from ch. Revelation 18:10; Revelation 18:21. An epithet is often added to a proper name, without an appellative substantive. Babylon the great, put absolutely, has a somewhat grander sound, than Babylon the great city.— ἐκ, of) Asyndeton.— τοῦ οἴνου) This is the reading of a few, but ancient witnesses, of the Greek and Latins, to whom is added Cassiodorus. Because in those passages, where the wrath of God is treated of, οἶνος τοῦ θυμοῦ is usually said; for that reason here, and in ch. Revelation 18:3, where the fornication of Babylon is treated of, οἶνος τοῦ θυ΄οῦ has also been inserted by the copyists.(160) But see App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. Under the figure of a draught is often described the anger of God, and often the impurity of [spiritual] whoredom. It is in the former draught, and not the latter, that the word τοῦ θυμοῦ is used.— πεπότικε, hath made to drink) Luther says in the preface to Robert Barns’ Lives of the Pontiffs, “I indeed at first, who am not greatly versed or skilled in histories, attacked the Papacy, a priori, as the saying is, that is, from the Sacred Scriptures. Now I wonderfully rejoice, that others do the same a posteriori, that is, from histories. And I seem to myself altogether to triumph, when, as the light appears, I understand that histories are in agreement with the Scriptures.” And thus the history of the affairs of Rome, which is more and more brought forward into the light, serves to confirm the preaching of this second angel. But, laying aside party zeal, it is right that we should here especially weigh the things which were carried on in the East at the beginning of this century, by missions sent from Rome, rather than the Pontiff; and, on the other hand, the things which began to be carried on by evangelical missions. The impure draught given to the nations is followed by a purer draught.


Verse 9

Revelation 14:9. ἄλλος, another) The preaching of the angel with the everlasting Gospel is a good, that of the second and third is also a good: but yet the second and the third angel are distinct from each other. Spener, for instance, properly confined himself within his own limits; see Canstein, in his Life, § 32. But if any one should suppose that the investigation and testimony to the truth of prophecy is to be confined within the same limits on the part of posterity, he would commit an error. There is a variety both in gifts and times. See Erkl. Offenb. pp. 145, 158, 159, 166, 167, 176, etc., 1041, 1042, 1117.— εἴ τις, κ. τ. λ.) If any man shall worship the beast and his image, and shall receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture in the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the angels, and before the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torments shall ascend up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, who have worshipped the beast, and whosoever shall have received the mark of his name. This threatening stands by it self, and is the most dreadful of all contained in the whole of the Scripture. The fear of Him, who is able to destroy both soul and body, banishes the fear of those who slay the body: Luke 12:4-5.


Verse 10

Revelation 14:10. ἐκ τοῦ οἴνου τοῦ θυμοῦἐν τῷ ποτηρίῳ τῆς ὀργῆς, of the wine of wrath—in the cup of indignation) As the wine is to the cup, so is wrath to indignation. A designed difference of words: ch. Revelation 16:19, Revelation 19:15. ὀργὴ leads τὸν θυμὸν into action. Comp. Romans 2:8, note. חמה is θυμὸς, חרן ὀργὴ, in the LXX.— τοῦ κεκερασμένου ἀκράτου, which is poured in without mixture) κεράννυμι, I mix, is used generally for I pour in, even of unmixed wine.— ἄκρατον is unmixed, with which nought of grace or hope is blended. Such an unmixed potion is already mingled and prepared for the worshippers of the beast. There is at hand both a salvation, which awaits the saints, and a punishment, which overhangs the wicked. Psalms 75 (74):9, ποτήριον ἐν χειρὶ κυρίου οἴνου ἀκράτου, πλῆρες κεράσματος.


Verse 11

Revelation 14:11. εἰς αἰῶνα αἰώνων(161)) Thus also ch. Revelation 19:3, Revelation 20:10. We have noticed in the Apparatus traces of this reading, which requires most studious investigation. In other places it is written, εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Each expression is as it were, squared: as a myriad of myriads, the heaven of heavens. The article is emphatic, especially where the discourse is on the subject of the Eternity of God. In these expressions, either the use or the omission of the Greek article is very opportune.— ἀναβαίνει, ascendeth) The present, after a future, has the force of a future, but with emphasis.


Verse 12

Revelation 14:12.(162) οἱ τηροῦντες, that keep) Either the abstract and the concrete, patience and they that keep, are here joined together; or rather the nominative is used for the genitive, τῶν ἁγίων, οἱ τηροῦντες, of the saints who keep: comp. ch. Revelation 1:5, ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, μάρτυς πιστίς.


Verse 13

Revelation 14:13.(163) ἀπάρτι, λέγει τὸ πνεῦμα) That voice which said, Write, Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord, that they may rest, etc., was uttered by one of the inhabitants of heaven, with whose person and condition it particularly agrees to call Jesus Lord. The Spirit Himself, as it were by a parenthesis, interrupts that voice, and at once approves and amplifies it, by the word ἀπάρτι, from now; just as after the words, Write, Blessed, there follows, in ch. Revelation 19:9, an asseveration. From now, that is, they are blessed, saith the Spirit. From now, from this very point of time, when this voice speaks in the series of prophecy. A saying of the Spirit occurs also, ch. Revelation 22:17, Revelation 2:7, etc. Moreover the Spirit speaks in the saints, especially those who are afflicted, 1 Peter 4:14; and seeking their home, 2 Corinthians 5:5. ἵνα depends upon the word ΄ακάριοι, as ch. Revelation 16:15, Revelation 22:14. ναὶ(164) appears first to have occurred in the margin, as in ch. Revelation 22:20, the second ναί: whence some have made it ναὶ λέγει, others, λέγει ναί. The sense is plain without this word.(165) The Latin did not contain this reading, but expressed it in a twofold way, ἀπʼ ἄρτι, a modo jam, as in Galatians 1:6, sic tam. [Comp. App. Crit. Ed. II. P. IV. N. IX. § cxvi. cxviii.] — ἵνα ἀναπαύσωνται) A future, as ἵνα ἔσται, ch. Revelation 22:14.


Verse 14

Revelation 14:14. (166) καὶ, and) The harvest and the vintage, which are here described, precede the last judgment, as Cluver fully demonstrates. Each of them is described also in Joel 3:18, and throughout that passage, as Lange teaches.— καθήμενον ὅμοιον(167)) Some read καθή΄ενος ὅ΄οιος; others differently, for νεφέλη λευκὴ, nubem candidam; so that there might be the same cases. The middle reading [the original starting-point of the other readings] mixes the cases (nor does the word ἔχων, which follows, make any difficulty. Comp. App. p. 778, Ed. II. p. 488). See above on ch. Revelation 4:4, Revelation 7:9, Revelation 13:3, No one is ignorant of the ordinary rules of construction; but it is not without reason that the best manuscripts in so many places agree in so extraordinary a figure of speech. As, after long consideration, I do not think that I shall easily withdraw from the instances of this construction, so I do not obtrude them upon the notice of any one. The sense remains the same in all respects. By means of the harvest a great multitude of the righteous, and by means of the vintage a great multitude of the ungodly, is removed from the world.


Verse 15

Revelation 14:15.(168) τῆς γῆς, of the earth) Thus also Revelation 14:18, in the vintage. The earth is not here used in contradistinction to the sea: but yet the amplitude of this word is restricted in Revelation 14:20 by the city.


Verse 18

Revelation 14:18. καὶ ἄλλος ἄγγελος ἐκ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου, (169) ἔχων ἐξουσίσν ἐπὶ τοῦ πυρὸς, ἐφωνήσε, κ. τ. λ.) See the general remark respecting the Latin Translator in App. Crit. Ed. ii, on this passage. ἐπὶ τοῦ πυρὸς is said in the singular number; but it appears to be the singular for the plural, since the word πῦρ, here used, has no plural. Comp. τῶν ὑδάτων, ch. Revelation 16:5.— τοὺς βότρυας αἰ σταφυλαὶ) βότρυς καὶ σταφυλὴ are often synonymous, but they sometimes differ, in the LXX.: Numbers 13:23, אשכול ענבים, LXX., βότρυν σταφυλῆς; Genesis 40:10, πέπειροι οἱ βότρυες σταφυλῆς. Therefore βότρυς, the whole, a cluster: σταφυλαὶ, the parts, a grape.— τῆς ἀ΄πέλου, of the vine) The plural is not wanting, נפנים, LXX., αἱ ἄμπελοι; and yet in this place it is singular: all the wicked are like one vine; they all cohere in one mass.


Verse 19

Revelation 14:19. (170) ἔβαλεν, cast) By the instrumentality of this angel, therefore, the grapes will be brought from the most ample vine of the earth into one wine-press.— τὴν ληνὸν τὸν μέγαν) Even with the Hebrews גת, ληνὸς, is feminine; but to τὴν ληνὸν there is added a masculine adjective, after the Hebrew custom (see Buxtorf. Thes. pp. 338, 399, 423): and this certainly here tends to an amplification of the sense: as also among the Greeks.(171) See Budæi Comm. L. Gr. col. 1500, 1501. Formerly some thus interpreted it, without perceiving the Hebraism, He cast the great, that is, the haughty, ancient enemy, into the wine-press of the wrath of God. Thus Primasius has it, and Ansbert.


Verse 20

Revelation 14:20. αἷμα, blood) the blood of clusters of grapes, red wine, that is, the blood of the wicked. The Figure Metalepsis. The slaughter of the wicked is intimated, not their eternal torture. Other enemies also afterwards fall into the wine-press: ch. Revelation 19:15.— ἄχρι τῶν χαλινῶν τῶν ἵτπων, ἀπὸ σταδίων χιλίων ἑξακοσίων, unto the bridles of the horses, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs) Each phrase denotes a deep and long torrent of blood. Comp. ch. 11 ἀπὸ σταδίων, κ. τ. λ., is also used of an interval of space, John 11:18. Some followers of the Rabbinical school refer this to the circuit or to the length of Palestine. But its length, even if you include the districts which are lofty and secure from inundation, is much less: its circuit is much greater. What if the valley Kidron, which lies between the city Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12), be meant? For the torrent in that valley, together with its windings, and in the sea itself, as far as it shall be stained with blood, may have a length of 1600 furlongs. Let us take the expression literally. [Comp. Ezekiel 32:6.—V. g.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 14:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-14.html. 1897.

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