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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Revelation 14



Other Authors
Verse 1

The Lamb (το αρνιονto arnion). See Revelation 5:6; Revelation 7:17; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 13:8 and is in contrast with the anarthrous αρνιονarnion in Revelation 13:11. This proleptic vision of the Lamb “standing on the mount Zion” (εστος επι το ορος Σιωνhestos epi to oros Siōn second perfect active participle neuter of ιστημιhistēmi with επιepi and accusative) is reasoning after the visions of the two beasts. Mount Zion is the site of the new city of God (Hebrews 12:22), the Jerusalem above (Galatians 4:26), the seat of the Messianic Kingdom whether heaven or the new earth (Rev 21; 22). These victors have the name of the Lamb and God upon their foreheads as in Revelation 3:12; Revelation 22:4, in place of the mark of the beast above (Revelation 13:16; Revelation 14:11). This seal protects them (Revelation 9:4).

A hundred and forty and four thousand (εκατον τεσσερακοντα τεσσαρες χιλιαδεςhekaton tesserakonta tessares chiliades). “Thousands” literally (χιλιαςchilias feminine word for a thousand and so εχουσαιechousai feminine plural). For the 144,000 see Revelation 7:5, Revelation 7:8, though some scholars seek a distinction somehow.

Verse 2

As a voice of many waters (ως πωνην υδατων πολλωνhōs phōnēn hudatōn pollōn). For which see Revelation 1:15.

Of a great thunder (βροντης μεγαληςbrontēs megalēs). For which see Revelation 6:1; Revelation 19:6. For this voice out of heaven see Revelation 10:4; Revelation 14:15; Revelation 18:4 and note accusative with ηκουσαēkousa the voice of harpers harping with their harps (ως κιταρωιδων κιταριζοντων εν ταις κιταραις αυτωνhōs kitharōidōn kitharizontōn en tais kitharais autōn). Triple use of κιταραkithara (Revelation 5:8), κιταρωιδωνkitharōidōn (Revelation 18:22), κιταριζοντωνkitharizontōn (old verb κιταριζωkitharizō in N.T. only here and 1 Corinthians 14:7). Wonderful melody in this chorus by the angels, not by the 144,000.

Verse 3

They sing as it were a new song (αιδουσιν ως ωιδην καινηνaidousin hōs ōidēn kainēn). See Revelation 5:9 for this phrase (cognate accusative) save that here ωςhōs (as if) is added. There the new song was sung by the four living creatures and the elders, but here “before” (ενωπιονenōpion) them and so apparently by the throng who were themselves redeemed by the Lamb.

No man could learn the song save (ουδεις εδυνατο ματειν την ωιδην ει μηoudeis edunato mathein tēn ōidēn ei mē). Imperfect (εδυνατοedunato) of δυναμαιdunamai and second aorist (ingressive) active infinitive of μαντανωmanthanō In Revelation 5:9-12 the angels join in the song. In Revelation 15:3 it is the Song of Moses and the Lamb.

Even they that had been purchased out of the earth (οι ηγορασμενοι απο της γηςhoi ēgorasmenoi apo tēs gēs). Perfect passive articular participle of αγοραζωagorazō purchased by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 5:9), masculine plural in apposition with χιλιαδεςchiliades (thousands) feminine plural (Revelation 7:5, Revelation 7:8; Revelation 14:1). ΑποApo (from) here, though εκek (out of) in Revelation 5:9. The 144,000 are not yet separated from the earth (John 17:15). Whether the 144,000 here are identical with that number in Revelation 7:4-8 or not, they must embrace both men and women.

Verse 4

Were not defiled with women (μετα γυναικων ουκ εμολυντησανmeta gunaikōn ouk emolunthēsan). First aorist passive indicative of μολυνωmolunō old verb, to stain, already in Revelation 3:4, which see. The use of this word rules out marriage, which was not considered sinful.

For they are virgins (παρτενοι γαρ εισινparthenoi gar eisin). ΠαρτενοςParthenos can be applied to men as well as women. Swete takes this language “metaphorically, as the symbolical character of the Book suggests.” Charles considers it an interpolation in the interest of celibacy for both men and women. If taken literally, the words can refer only to adultery or fornication (Beckwith). Jesus recognised abstinence only for those able to receive it (Matthew 19:12), as did Paul (1 Corinthians 7:1, 1 Corinthians 7:8, 1 Corinthians 7:32, 1 Corinthians 7:36). Marriage is approved by Paul in 1 Timothy 4:3 and by Hebrews 13:4. The New Testament exalts marriage and this passage should not be construed as degrading it.

Whithersoever he goeth (οπου αν υπαγειhopou an hupagei). Indefinite local clause with modal ανan and the present active indicative of υπαγωhupagō The Christian life is following the Lamb of God as Jesus taught (Mark 2:14; Mark 10:21; Luke 9:59; John 1:43; John 21:19, etc.) and as Peter taught (1 Peter 2:21) and John (1 John 2:6).

Were purchased from among men (ηγοραστησαν απο των αντρωπωνēgorasthēsan apo tōn anthrōpōn). First aorist passive indicative of αγοραζωagorazō repeating the close of Revelation 14:3.

First fruits (απαρχηaparchē). See for this word 1 Corinthians 16:15; Romans 11:16; Romans 16:5. This seems to mean that the 144,000 represent not the whole, but only a portion of the great harvest to come (Matthew 9:37), not only the first installment, but those marked by high spiritual service to God and the Lamb (Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15; 1 Peter 2:5).

Verse 5

Was found no lie (ουχ ευρετη πσευδοςouch heurethē pseudos). First aorist passive indicative of ευρισκωheuriskō In 1 Peter 2:23 this passage (Isaiah 53:9) is quoted with δολοςdolos (deceit, guile) instead of πσευδοςpseudos (lie), but the difference is not great.

Without blemish (αμωμοιamōmoi). Alpha privative and μωμοςmōmos (blemish, spot). As Christ the Paschal Lamb is (1 Peter 1:19; Hebrews 9:14), so the followers of the Lamb are to be in the end (Philemon 2:15).

Verse 6

Another angel (αλλον αγγελονallon aggelon). A new turn in the drama comes with each angel (Revelation 7:2; Revelation 8:3, Revelation 8:13; Revelation 10:1). Here the angel is seen “flying in mid heaven” (πετομενον εν μεσουρανηματιpetomenon en mesouranēmati), while in Revelation 8:13 John heard him “flying in mid heaven” (genitive case of same participle, which see). This one is in the sight and hearing of all.

Having (εχονταechonta). Accusative singular agreeing with αγγελονaggelon like πετομενονpetomenon (flying), but λεγωνlegōn in Revelation 14:7 is nominative, as if a new sentence like λεγωνlegōn in Revelation 4:1.

An eternal gospel (ευαγγελιον αιωνιονeuaggelion aiōnion). The only use of ευαγγελιονeuaggelion in John‘s writings, though the verb ευαγγελισαιeuaggelisai (first aorist active infinitive epexegetical with εχονταechonta like John 16:12) occurs here and in Revelation 10:7. Here it is not το ευαγγελιονto euaggelion (the gospel), but merely a proclamation of God‘s eternal (αιωνιοςaiōnios here alone in the Apocalypse, though common in the Fourth Gospel and 1 John) purpose. Origen even took this “eternal gospel” to be another book to be written! Note the double use of επιepi (with accusative after ευαγγελισαιeuaggelisai and the genitive with γηςgēs). See Revelation 5:9 for the races, etc.

Verse 7

And he saith (λεγωνlegōn). See above.

Fear God (ποβητητε τον τεονphobēthēte ton theon). First aorist passive (deponent) imperative of ποβεομαιphobeomai here transitive with the accusative as in Luke 12:5. It is a call to judgment with no hope offered except by implication (Acts 14:15.).

Give him glory (δοτε αυτωι δοχανdote autōi doxan). Second aorist active indicative of διδωμιdidōmi For the phrase see Revelation 11:13.

The hour is come (η ωρα ηλτενhē hōra ēlthen). Second aorist (prophetic use) active indicative of ερχομαιerchomai Common idiom in John‘s Gospel (John 2:4; John 4:21, John 4:23; John 5:25, John 5:28; John 7:30, etc.).

Worship (προσκυνησατεproskunēsate). First aorist active imperative of προσκυνεωproskuneō with the dative case. Solemn call to the pagan world to worship God as Creator (Revelation 4:11; Revelation 10:6), as in Psalm 96:6; Acts 14:15. For “the fountains of waters” see Revelation 8:10.

Verse 8

Another, a second angel (αλλος δευτερος αγγελοςallos deuteros aggelos). This second angel “followed” (ηκολουτησενēkolouthēsen first aorist active indicative of ακολουτεωakoloutheō) and interpreted in part the first one.

Fallen, fallen (επεσεν επεσενepesenπιπτωepesen). Prophetic aorist active indicative of πεπτωκεν πεπτωκενpiptō repeated as a solemn dirge announcing the certainty of the fall. The English participle “fallen, fallen” is more musical and rhythmical than the literal rendering “fell, fell.” The language is an echo of Isaiah 21:9, though B in the lxx has αβυλων η μαγαληpeptōkenμεγαληpeptōken (perfect).

Babylon the great (αβυλωνBabulōn hē magalē). The adjective πεποτικενmegalē occurs with ποτιζωBabulōn each time in the Apocalypse (Revelation 14:8; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 17:5; Revelation 18:2, Revelation 18:10, Revelation 18:21) as a reminder of Nebuchadrezzar. There is no doubt that Rome is meant by Babylon, as is probably seen already in 1 Peter 5:13. As a prisoner in Patmos John can speak his mind by this symbolism.

Hath made to drink (ποτοςpepotiken). Perfect active indicative of potizō old causative verb (from potos drinking, 1 Peter 4:3), as in Matthew 25:35. The remarkable phrase that follows seems based on Jeremiah 51:8 (Jeremiah 25:15). It is a combination also of Revelation 14:10 (the wine of God‘s wrath, also in Revelation 16:19; Revelation 19:15) and Revelation 17:2. There is no doubt of the dissoluteness of the old Babylon of Jeremiah‘s day as of the Rome of John‘s time. Rome is pictured as the great courtesan who intoxicates and beguiles the nations to fornication (Revelation 17:2, Revelation 17:4, Revelation 17:6), but the cup of God‘s wrath for her and her paramours is full (Revelation 14:10; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 18:2).

Verse 9

A third (τριτοςtritos). “The third of this succession of herald angels denounces the Caesar-worshippers” (Swete). Cf. Revelation 13:12. This counter proclamation (Revelation 14:9-12) warns those tempted to yield to the threats of the second beast about boycott and death (Revelation 13:11-17).

If any man worshippeth the beast and his image (ει τις προσκυνει το τηριον και την εικονα αυτουei tis proskunei to thērion kai tēn eikona autou). Condition of first class challenging those afraid of the beast. Note accusative (τηριονthērion) after προσκυνειproskunei not dative as in Revelation 14:7.

And receiveth a mark (και λαμβανει χαραγμαkai lambanei charagma). Carries on the same condition and picks up the very language of Revelation 13:16. These Caesar-worshippers are guilty of an “eternal sin” (Mark 3:29).

Verse 10

He also shall drink (και αυτος πιεταιkai autos pietai). Future middle of πινωpinō Certainty for him as for Babylon and her paramours (Revelation 16:17).

Of the wine of the wrath of God (εκ του οινου του τυμου του τεουek tou oinou tou thumou tou theou). Note εκek (partitive) after πιεταιpietai In Revelation 16:19; Revelation 19:15 we have both τυμουthumou and οργηςorgēs (wrath of the anger of God). The white heat of God‘s anger, held back through the ages, will be turned loose.

Prepared unmixed (του κεκερασμενου ακρατουtou kekerasmenou akratou). A bold and powerful oxymoron, “the mixed unmixed.” ΑκρατοςAkratos is an old adjective (alpha privative and κεραννυμιkerannumi to mix) used of wine unmixed with water (usually so mixed), here only in N.T. So it is strong wine mixed (perfect passive participle of κεραννυμιkerannumi) with spices to make it still stronger (cf. Psalm 75:9).

In the cup of his anger (εν τωι ποτηριωι της οργης αυτουen tōi potēriōi tēs orgēs autou). Both τυμοςthumos (vehement fury) and οργηorgē (settled indignation).

He shall be tormented (βασανιστησεταιbasanisthēsetai). Future passive of βασανιζωbasanizō See Revelation 9:5; Revelation 11:10.

With fire and brimstone (εν πυρι και τειωιen puri kai theiōi). See Revelation 9:17 for fire and brimstone and also Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10; Revelation 21:8. The imagery is already in Genesis 19:24; Isaiah 30:33; Ezekiel 38:22.

In the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb (ενωπιον αγγελων αγιων και ενωπιον του αρνιουenōpion aggelōn hagiōn kai enōpion tou arniou). This holy environment adds to the punishment.

Verse 11

The smoke of their torment (ο καπνος του βασανισμου αυτωνho kapnos tou basanismou autōn). See Revelation 9:5 for βασανισμοςbasanismos only there it was a limited penalty, here it is “for ever and ever” (εις αιωνας αιωνωνeis aiōnas aiōnōn unto ages of ages). See also Revelation 18:9; Revelation 19:3; Revelation 20:10.

They have no rest (ουκ εχουσιν αναπαυσινouk echousin anapausin). The very language used in Revelation 4:8 of the four living creatures in praising God. “Those who desert Christ for Caesar will be the victims of a remorse that never dies or sleeps” (Swete). The rest of the verse repeats the solemn challenge of Revelation 14:9.

Verse 12

Here is the patience of the saints (ωδε η υπομονη των αγιων εστινHōde hē hupomonē tōn hagiōn estin). John‘s own comment as in Revelation 13:10; Revelation 17:9. In this struggle against emperor worship lay their opportunity (Romans 5:3). It was a test of loyalty to Christ.

They that keep (οι τηρουντεςhoi tērountes). In apposition with των αγιωνtōn hagiōn (genitive), though nominative, a frequent anacoluthon in this book (Revelation 2:20, etc.). Cf. Revelation 12:17.

The faith of Jesus (την πιστιν Ιησουtēn pistin Iēsou). “The faith in Jesus” (objective genitive) as in Revelation 2:13; Mark 11:22; James 2:1.

Verse 13

Write (ΓραπσονGrapson). First aorist active imperative of γραπωgraphō as in Revelation 1:11. John‘s meditation is broken by this command. This new beatitude (μακαριοιmakarioi Blessed) for the Christian dead goes farther than Paul‘s words (1 Thessalonians 4:14-16; 1 Corinthians 15:18). Probably “from henceforth” (απ αρτιap' arti) goes with “those who die in the Lord,” giving comfort to those facing persecution and death.

That they may rest (ινα αναπαησονταιhina anapaēsontai). Purpose clause with ιναhina and the second future passive of αναπαυωanapauō their labours (εκ των κοπων αυτωνek tōn kopōn autōn). From the toils, the wearinesses, but not from the activities (εργαerga), for these “follow with them.” There is this to comfort us for all our growth here. Even if cut short, it can be utilized in heaven, which is not a place of idleness, but of the highest form of spiritual service.

Verse 14

A white cloud (νεπελη λευκηnephelē leukē). Like the “bright cloud” of Matthew 17:5 (Transfiguration), a familiar object in the Mediterranean lands. See Daniel 7:13; Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Acts 1:9, Acts 1:11 for the picture of Christ‘s return.

I saw one sitting (κατημενονkathēmenon). No ειδονeidon here, but the accusative follows the ειδονeidon at the beginning, as νεπεληnephelē is nominative after ιδουidou as in Revelation 4:1, Revelation 4:4.

Like unto a son of man (ομοιον υιον αντρωπουhomoion huion anthrōpou). Accusative here after ομοιονhomoion as in Revelation 1:13, instead of the usual associative instrumental (Revelation 13:4).

Having (εχωνechōn). Nominative again after the ιδουidou construction, just before, not after, ειδονeidon golden crown (στεπανον χρυσουνstephanon chrusoun). Here a golden wreath, not the diadems of Revelation 19:12.

A sharp sickle (δρεπανον οχυdrepanon oxu). Old form δρεπανηdrepanē (from δρεπωdrepō to pluck), pruning-hook, in N.T. only in this chapter and Mark 4:29. Christ is come for reaping this time (Hebrews 9:28) for the harvesting of earth (Revelation 14:15-17). The priesthood of Christ is the chief idea in Revelation 1:12-20 and “as the true Imperator ” (Swete) in chapter Rev 19.

Verse 15

Send forth (πεμπσονpempson). First aorist (urgency) active imperative of πεμπωpempō “Thrust in thy sickle now,” this angel urges Christ.

And reap (και τερισονkai therison). First aorist (urgency) active imperative of τεριζωtherizō old verb (from τεροςtheros summer), as in Matthew 6:26. See Revelation 14:7 for “the hour is come.” ΤερισαιTherisai (to reap) is epexegetical infinitive (first aorist active of τεριζωtherizō).

The harvest (ο τερισμοςho therismos). Old, but rare word (from τεριζωtherizō to harvest), as in Matthew 13:30; John 4:35, here only in Revelation.

Is over-ripe (εχηραντηexēranthē). First aorist (prophetic as in Revelation 10:7; Revelation 15:1) passive of χηραινωxērainō (cf. James 1:11), to wither, to dry up. Perhaps just “ripe,” not “over-ripe.” Cf. Joel 1:17.

Verse 16

Cast (εβαλενebalen). Second aorist active indicative of βαλλωballō No violence by the use of εβαλενebalen as is seen in Matthew 10:34 (βαλειν ειρηνηνbalein eirēnēn to bring peace).

Was reaped (ετεριστηetheristhē). First aorist passive indicative of τεριζωtherizō Both prophetic aorists again. Christ puts in the sickle as he wills with his own agents (Matthew 9:37.; Matthew 13:39, Matthew 13:41).

Verse 17

He also (και αυτοςkai autos). As well as the Reaper on the cloud. This is the fifth angel who is God‘s messenger from heaven (temple where God dwells). This fifth angel with his sharp sickle is to gather the vintage (Revelation 14:18-20) as Christ did the wheat.

Verse 18

Another angel (αλλος αγγελοςallos aggelos). The fifth angel above Swete terms “the Angel of vengeance.” He responds to the call of the sixth angel here as Christ does to the call of the fourth angel in Revelation 14:15.

Out from the altar (εκ του τυσιαστηριουek tou thusiastēriou). From the altar of incense where he is in charge of the fire (εχουσιαν επι του πυροςexousian epi tou puros). If it is the altar of burnt offering (Revelation 6:9; Revelation 11:1), we are reminded of the blood of the martyrs (Swete), but if the altar of incense (Revelation 8:3, Revelation 8:5; Revelation 9:13; Revelation 16:7), then of the prayers of the saints.

The sharp sickle (το δρεπανον το οχυto drepanon to oxu). Useful for vintage as for harvesting. So “send forth” (πεμπσονpempson) as in Revelation 14:15.

Gather (τρυγησονtrugēson). First aorist active imperative of τρυγαωtrugaō old verb (from τρυγηtrugē dryness, ripeness), in N.T. only Revelation 14:18. and Luke 6:44.

The clusters (τους βοτρυαςtous botruas). Old word βοτρυςbotrus here only in N.T. (Genesis 40:10).

Her grapes (αι σταπυλαι αυτηςhai staphulai autēs). Old word again for grapes, bunch of grapes, in N.T. only here, Matthew 7:16; Luke 6:44.

Are fully ripe (ηκμασανēkmasan). Old and common verb (from ακμηakmē Matthew 15:16), to come to maturity, to reach its acme, here only in N.T.

Verse 19

Cast (εβαλενebalen). As in Revelation 14:16.

Gathered (ετρυγησενetrugēsen). Like ετεριστηetheristhē in Revelation 14:16, in obedience to the instructions in Revelation 14:18 (τρυγησονtrugēson).

The vintage of the earth (την αμπελον της γηςtēn ampelon tēs gēs). “The vine of the earth.” Here αμπελοςampelos is used for the enemies of Christ collectively pictured.

And cast it (εβαλενebalen). Repeating εβαλενebalen and referring to αμπελονampelon (vintage) just before.

Into the winepress the great winepress (εις την ληνον τον μεγανeis tēn lēnon ton megan). ΛηνοςLēnos is either feminine as in Revelation 14:20; Revelation 19:15, or masculine sometimes in ancient Greek. Here we have both genders, a solecism frequent in the Apocalypse (Revelation 21:14 το τειχος εχωνto teichos echōn). See Matthew 21:33. For this metaphor of God s wrath see Revelation 14:10; Revelation 15:1, Revelation 15:7; Revelation 16:1, Revelation 16:19; Revelation 19:15.

Verse 20

Was trodden (επατητηepatēthē). First aorist passive indicative of πατεωpateō to tread. The image of treading out the grapes is a familiar one in the East. Perhaps Isaiah 63:3 is in mind.

Without the city (εχωτεν της πολεωςexōthen tēs poleōs). Ablative case with εχωτενexōthen (like εχωexō). This was the usual place (Hebrews 13:12). See εχωτενexōthen in Revelation 11:2. Joel (Joel 3:12) pictures the valley of Jehoshaphat as the place of the slaughter of God‘s enemies. Cf. Zechariah 14:4.

Blood from the winepress (αιμα εκ της ληνουhaima ek tēs lēnou). Bold imagery suggested by the colour of the grapes.

Unto the bridles (αχρι των χαλινωνachri tōn chalinōn). Old word (from χαλαωchalaō to slacken), in N.T. only here and James 3:3. Bold picture.

As far as a thousand and six hundred furlongs (απο σταδιων χιλιων εχακοσιωνapo stadiōn chiliōn hexakosiōn). A peculiar use of αποapo for “distance from (of)” as also in John 11:18; John 21:8, somewhat like the use of προpro in John 12:1. The distance itself covers the length of Palestine, but it is more likely that “the metaphor is worked out with the exuberance of apocalyptic symbolism” (Swete) for the whole earth.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 14:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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