Revelation 14 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Revelation 14)
14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb 1 stood on the mount Sion, and with him 2 an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father's 3 name written in their foreheads.

(1) The history of the Church of Christ being finished for more than a 1300 years at which time Boniface the eighth lived as has been said: there remains the rest of the history of the conflicting or militant church, from there to the time of the last victory in three chapters. For first of all, as the foundation of the whole history, is described the standing of the Lamb with his army and retinue in five verses, after his worthy acts which he has done and yet does in most mighty manner, while he overthrows Antichrist with the spirit of his mouth, in the rest of this chapter and in the two following. To the description of the Lamb, are propounded three things: his situation, place and attendance: for the rest are expounded in the former visions, especially in the fifth chapter. (2) Prepared to do his office see (Acts 7:56), in the midst of the church, which mount Zion pictured before. (3) This retinue of the Lamb is described first by divine mark (as before in) (Revelation 7:2) in this verse. Then by divine occupation, in that every one in his retinue most earnestly and sweetly (Revelation 14:2) glorify the Lamb with a special song before God and his elect angels. Flesh and blood cannot hear this song, nor understand, (Revelation 14:3). Lastly by their deeds done before, and their sanctification in that they were virgins, pure from spiritual and bodily fornication, that is, from impiety and unrighteousness. They followed the Lamb as a guide to all goodness, cleaved to him and are holy to him, as by grace redeemed by him. In truth and simplicity of Christ they have exercised all these things, sanctimony of life, the guidance of the Lamb, a thankful remembrance of redemption by him and finally (to conclude in a word) they are blameless before the Lord, (Revelation 14:4,5).

14:6 4 And I saw 5 another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

(4) The other part (as I said in the first verse) See Geneva is of the acts of the Lamb, the manner of which is delivered in two sorts, of his speech and of his facts. His speeches are set forth to (Revelation 14:7-13), and his facts to the sixteenth chapter. In the speech of the Lamb, which is the word of the Gospel, are taught in this place these things: The service of the godly consisting inwardly of reverence towards God, and outwardly of the glorifying of him: the visible sign of which is adoration (Revelation 14:7). The overthrowing of wicked Babylon, (Revelation 14:8) and the fall of every one of the ungodly who worship the beast, (Revelation 14:9,10,11). Finally the state of the holy servants of God both present, (Revelation 14:12) and to come, most blessed, according to the promise of God in (Revelation 14:13). (5) This angel is a type or figure of the good and faithful servants of God, whom God especially from the time of Boniface the eighth has raised up to the proclaiming of the gospel of Christ, both by preaching and by writing. So God first, near the time of the same Boniface, used Peter Cassiodorus an Italian: after, Arnold "de villa nova", a Frenchman, then Occam, dante, Petrarch, after the "Johannes de rupe casa", a Franciscan: after again, John Wycliff an Englishman, and so continually one or another to the restoring of the truth, and enlarging of his Church.

14:7 6 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

(6) That is, Babylon is destroyed by the sentence and judgment of God: the execution of which John describes in chapter 18. This voice of the ministers of Christ has continued since the time that Babylon (which is Rome) has by deliberate counsel and malice questioned the light of the gospel offered from God.

14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the a wrath of her fornication.

(a) Of her fornication, by which God was provoked to wrath.

14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, 7 If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

(7) That is, will not worship God alone, but will transfer his divine honour to this beast, whether he do it with his heart, or counterfeiting in show. "For he (says Christ) that denies me before men, him will I deny before my Father and his angels" (Matthew 10:32). This is the voice of the holy ministry, which at this time is used of the holy and faithful servants of God. For having now sufficiently found out the public obstinacy of Babylon, they no longer work to speak out against the same: but to save some particular members by terror (as Jude speaks) and to pluck them out of the flame: or else lead them away by vehement commiseration of their state, they set before them eternal death into which they rush unaware, unless they return to God in time, but the godly who are of their own flock, they exhort to patience, obedience and faith to others.

14:12 8 Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

(8) The patience, sanctification and justification by faith: the results of which are rest, happiness and eternal glory in the heavenly fellowship of God and his angels.

14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead which die b in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their c works do follow them.

(b) That is, for the Lord.
(c) By works, is meant the reward which follows good works.

14:14 9 And I looked, and behold a 10 white cloud, and upon the cloud [one] sat like unto the Son of man, 11 having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a 12 sharp sickle.

(9) The second part of this chapter as I said See Geneva, of the actions of Christ in overthrowing Antichrist and his church by the Spirit of his divine mouth. Seeing that having been called back by word both publicly and privately to his duty and admonished of his certain ruin, he does not cease to maintain and protect his own adherents, that they may serve him: and to afflict the godly with most barbarous persecutions. Of those things which Christ does, there are two forms: one common or general in the rest of this chapter another specific against that savage and rebellious beast and his worshippers in chapter fifteen and sixteen. The common form is the calamity of wars, spread abroad through the whole earth, and filling all things with blood and without respect of any person. This is figured or shadowed in two types, of the harvest and vintage. Have you seen how since the time that the light of the gospel began to shine out, and since prophecy or preaching by the grace of God was raised up again, horrible wars have been kindled in the world? how much human flesh has been thrown to the earth by this divine reaping? how much blood (alas for woe) has overflown for these 100 years almost? all history cries out, and our age (if ever before) is now in horror by reason of the rage of the sickle which Antichrist calls for. In this place is the first type, that is of the harvest.
(10) Declaring his fierceness by his colour, like that which is in the white or milk circle of heaven
(11) As one that shall reign from God, and occupy the place of Christ in this miserable execution.
(12) That is, a most fit and convenient instrument of execution, destroying all by showing and thrusting through: for who may stand against God?

14:15 13 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

(13) Christ gives a commandment in this verse, and the angel executes it in (Revelation 14:16).

14:17 14 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

(14) The other type (as I said in) See Geneva is the vintage: the manner of which is the same as that which went before, except for this, that the grape gathering is more exact in seeking out everything, then is the harvest labour. This is therefore a more grievous judgment, both because it succeeds the other, and because it is executed with great diligence.

14:20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, 15 and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand [and] six hundred furlongs.

(15) That is, overflowed very deep, and very far and wide: the speech is exaggeration to signify the greatness of the slaughter. These are those pleasant fruits truly, of the contempt of Christ, and desiring of Antichrist rather than him, which the miserable, mad and blind world reaps at this time.