II. SECOND SPECIAL END-JUDGMENT. JUDGMENT UPON THE BEAST (ANTICHRIST) AND HIS PROPHET. THE BEAST AND THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB; THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM AS THE ÆON OF TRANSITION FROM THE EARTHLY TO THE HEAVENLY WORLD
Rev_19:1 to Rev_20:10
A. IDEAL HEAVENLY WORLD-PICTURE OF THE VICTORY OVER THE BEAST; AND THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM
1. The Harlot and the Bride (Rev_19:1-10)
1And [om. And] After these things I heard [ins. as] a great voice of much people, [a great throng (
)] in [ins. the] heaven, saying, Alleluia [Hallelujah]; [ins. The] salvation, and [ins. the] glory, and honour [om. and honour], and2[ins. the] power, unto the Lord [om. unto the Lord—ins. of] our God: For true and righteous [just] are his judgments; for he hath [om. hath] judged the great whore [harlot], which did corrupt [that corrupted] the earth with her fornication, and3hath [om. hath—ins. he] avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again [a second time] they said, Alleluia [Hallelujah]. And her smoke rose up4[ascendeth] for ever and ever [into the ages of the ages]. And the four and twenty [twenty-four] elders and the four beasts [living-beings] fell down and worshipped God that sat [who sitteth] on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia [Hallelujah].5And a voice came out of [or forth from] the throne, saying, Praise [Give praise to] our God, all ye [om. ye] his servants, and ye [om. and ye—ins. those] that fear him,both [om. both—ins. the] small and [ins. the] great. 6And I heard as it were [om. it were] the [a] voice of a great multitude [throng], and as the [a] voice of many waters, and as the [a] voice of mighty [strong] thunderings [thunders], saying, Alleluia [Hallelujah]: for the Lord [ins. our] God omnipotent [om. omnipotent—ins. the All-ruler]reigneth [(
)—hath assumed the Kingdom]. 7Let us be glad and rejoice [exult] and [or ins. we will] give honour [the glory] to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come [came], and his wife hath made [om. hath made—ins. prepared]herself ready [om. ready]. 8And to her was granted [given] that she should be arrayed [array herself] in fine linen, clean [bright] and [and]11 white [pure]Revelation 11 : for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteousnesses (
)] of [ins. the]saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which [who] are called unto the marriage [om. marriage] supper [ins. of the marriage] of the Lamb. Andhe saith unto me, These are the true sayings [words] of God. 10And I fell at [before] his feet to worship him. And he said [saith] unto me, See thou do it [om. See thou do it—ins. Take heed] not: I am thy [om. thy—ins. a] fellow servant[ins. of thee], [om.,] and of thy brethren that have the testimony [witness] of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony [witness] of Jesus is the spirit of [ins. the] prophecy.
2. The Bridegroom as the Warrior-Prince, prepared to do battle with the Beast. (Rev_19:11-16).
11And I saw [ins. the] heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was [om. was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth12judge [judgeth] and make war [warreth]. His eyes were as [om. were as] a flame of fire, and on his head were [om. were] many crowns [diadems]; [,] and he had [om. and he had—ins. having] a name written, that no man [one] knew13[knoweth] but he [om. he] himself. [,] and he was [om. he was] clothed with [in] a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is [has become to be] called The Wordof God. 14And the armies which were [om. which were] in [ins. the] heaven followedhim upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean [pure]. 15And out of his mouth goeth [ins. forth] a sharp sword (
), that with it he should smite the nations; and he shall rule [shepherdize] them with a rod of iron [an iron rod] and he treadeth the winepress [ins. of the wine] of the fierceness and [om. fierceness and—ins. anger of the] wrath of Almighty [om. Almighty] God [ins. the All-ruler].16And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
The first great special judgment upon Babylon, or upon Antichristianity in a hypocritical disguise, is now followed by the second great special judgment, the judgment upon the open, bold and specific Antichristianity of the Beast and the false Prophet. After this Antichristianity has accomplished God’s judgment upon Babylon, its hour likewise comes. It comes, because the downfall and disappearance of the Harlot, “the fallen Church,” result in the consummation and appearance of the Bride or the pure Church [Congregation] of God. The alternation of these two womanly forms in their visible appearance, is based both upon ethical and historical laws. When the spirit of idolatry, of deifications—in the form of party and sectarian spirit, as well as in other forms—is destroyed in Christendom; when, consequently, all hierarchism and sectism are thoroughly annihilated, then, and not until then, can the Church of Christ appear as a Virgin without spot or blemish—as His Bride. Until then, moreover, her simple, retired existence had been historically concealed by the gaudy and ostentatious form of the Harlot. Hence, also, the investment of the Bride is prepared by a backward glance at the downfall of the Harlot. But the Virgin Church, having no earthly means of defence, stands, armed only with the weapons of the Spirit, opposed to the terrible power of Antichristianity. The hour of tribulation, therefore, is now come—the hour which occasions the return of Christ. He comes in celestial conquering power—for the rescue and emancipation of His Church. Hence His appearing results first in judgment upon the Beast; this judgment, again, is the preliminary condition of the Marriage of the Lamb, which begins with the Millennial Kingdom.
The heavenly songs of praise, and the pre-celebration of the Marriage, in the description of the Bride and the portrayal of the Bridegroom at the head of His martial train, form the Heaven-picture of the judgment upon the Beast. The heavenly songs of praise are distributed into two choruses. The first chorus, led by the Church Triumphant, finds its lofty finale in the assent of the twenty-four Elders and the four Living-beings; the second chorus takes an opposite direction, starting from a voice from the Throne, and diffusing itself throughout the spirit-realm. The first chorus is a post-celebration of the downfall of the Harlot; the second chorus is the pre-celebration of the glorification of the Bride.
The Seer has separated the celestial triumph over the judgment of the Harlot from the vision of Revelation 17., in which place we should, in accordance with foregoing analogues, have expected it; he has done this for the following excellent reason—that he may constitute this triumph an introduction to the appearance of the Bride and the Bridegroom. The manner in which he has set forth the antithesis of the Harlot and the Bride—each related to the other, each opposed to the other—leads to very definite conclusions. That the Bride of Christ can be only the true Church of Christ, needs no proof. From this very fact, however, it is evident that she has had a present, but, in her heavenly purity, invisible existence, previous to, this—as the invisible Church, therefore. Her false image and counterpart, the Harlot, can, in accordance with this, be only the outward and externalized Church, in the consistency of her fall and decay.
How universal and unceasing is the triumph of all good spirits over the fall of Great Babylon! The hosts in Heaven cry, with the unanimity of one voice: Hallelujah! Their rejoicing has reference, above all, to the fact that the glory of God, which had been increasingly obscured by all idolatry, in minorem dei gloriam, is completely restored. Before, at the establishment of the invisible Church in the Heaven of the spirit, the heavenly voice proclaimed: Now is come [
] the salvation, and the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ (Rev_12:10). Now, however, glory supervenes to these; the Kingdom of
is on the point of appearing (Rev_19:1). Out of the darkness of God’s essence-conformed (veritable) and righteous judgments upon the great Harlot, bursts forth the radiance of His glory. The judgment is a double judgment, as a recompense of the great double sin of the Harlot in corrupting the earth with her fornication, i. e., idolatry, and persecuting and slaying the servants of God; on the one hand, it is a judgment of unmasking, and on the other, it is a judgment of avengement of blood. The decisive character of the heavenly sentence is once more expressed in a repeated Hallelujah, based especially upon the fact that the smoke from the burning of Babylon ascends into the æons of the æons. She shall never arise from her ashes. In conjunction with, the song of praise of the heavenly hosts, the twenty-four Elders and the four Living-beings utter, worshipping, the Hallelujah, together with an Amen. The four Living-beings are especially called upon to say Amen (see Rev_5:14), because they have been the single factors who have brought about the final result of the judgment, or because the fallen Church was thoroughly at variance with each of these ground-forms of the Divine rule: with ideality (the eagle), humanity (the human image), with alacrity in sacrifice and suffering (the bullock), and with true moral bravery (the lion). Heaven has spoken, but God’s servants on earth apparently still forbear to utter their sentiments in regard to the fall of Babylon. In face of the kings of the earth, the merchants or mighty men, the international lords of the sea, who are all still lamenting over Babylon—aye, in view of reminiscences of the apparent holiness, the former merits and proud security of Babylon through many centuries, the servants of God, and the truly pious in general, have become reticent and silent. Therefore must a voice from the throne of God issue the command: Give praise to our God, all His servants [Lange: and] those (in general) that fear Him, the small and the great. For besides believers, the Seer recognizes fearers of God, not only great ones, but also little ones. With this, a storm of praise is loosed on earth also: a voice of a great throng—partly, a voice of many waters or peoples; partly, a voice of strong thunders or prophetic geniuses—repeats the heavenly Hallelujah. But these loosed tongues still seem timidly to pass by the name of the Harlot—and this so much the more since it is the world of the ten horns and the Beast which has destroyed Babylon; they fasten immediately upon the glorious positive result: “For the Lord our God, the All-Ruler, hath assumed the Kingdom.” Thus, not the dominion of Christ merely, but the dominion of the Almighty, in the general acceptation of the term, has been obscured by the pseudo-kingdom of Babylon. Let us be glad and exult, say the pious on earth, and we will give to Him the glory which was so long alienated from Him. And they speak not of foreign things when they introduce the Woman, the Bride of Christ—who, like a Cinderella, if we may venture to make the comparison, has so long been retired from sight and sound—into the field of view, with the announcement: The Marriage of the Lamb is come, and His Wife hath prepared herself.
And now the Seer himself takes up the story, speaking first concerning the Woman, and then, in obedience to an angelic voice, concerning her imminent marriage-feast. The appearance of the Woman forms a highly edifying contrast to the appearance of the Harlot. The latter had decked herself with purple and scarlet, and loaded herself with gold and jewels; to the former it is given by God to array herself in the right adornment, and her vesture is snow-white, shining linen, a byssus-robe. The material of her dress, the Seer adds in explanation of its brilliancy and purity, are the
of the saints, their final, eschatological judicial acquittals (Mat_25:34 sqq.) which are grounded upon the principial justification (Rom_5:1), upon the
of Christ, in the most manifold forms of a now manifestly appearing righteousness of life. For this cause, the Marriage can now begin. The herald of it is an Angel whom the Seer marks, without further explanation, as one already brought upon the scene of action: And he saith unto me. A lack of precision in form which reminds us of similar instances in the Gospel of John. What Angel is meant? This question has been variously answered. Since the reference here is to a personal, and not a symbolical Angel, we do not, with Düsterdieck and others, go back to Rev_17:1, as it is one of the seven Angels of the Vials of Anger who there speaks; nor do we think that the Angel of Rev_18:1 is referred to; but we hold that the reference is to the Angel who, according to Rev_18:21, executed the judgment by a symbolical act, because we here find ourselves in the sphere of the return of Christ, Who is to be surrounded by personal Angels, and also by glorified believers. And such an one [a glorified believer] John here sees in the form of an Angel, according to Rev_19:10; the other world begins to grow visible, in spiritual shapes, in this world. Again is the Seer commanded to write a grand and inviting word of revelation concerning the blessedness of proved believers, as in Rev_14:13. Write: Blessed are they who are called unto the supper of the Marriage of the Lamb. The great beatitude is strengthened by the addition: These are the true (veritable, based deep within the kernel of life) words of God.
John describes the impression which the sublime Gospel of the blessedness of the guests at the imminent Marriage has made upon him: I fell before his feet to worship him. The Seer cannot have erred in his inclination to worship, but he made a mistake in the object of his adoration. It did not seem possible for any but Christ to utter so, confident a declaration of so speedy a blessedness. And the Seer was not mistaken in his feeling that the Lord was near. That nearness, however, was announced by a celestial herald; the dividing wall between the hither and the further world [Diesseits und Jenseits] is beginning to fall. The herald of the Marriage reveals himself to the Seer as a glorified saint in angelic form. Take heed not, might be said by an Angel. And so might, I am thy fellow-servant. But the words, I am one of thy brethren who have the witness of Jesus [the true rendering is: I am a fellow-servant of thee and of thy brethren that have the witness of Jesus. See the text, Rev_19:10.—E. R. C.], could not suitably be uttered by a real Angel in the literal sense of the term. Worship God. This, certainly, is a didactical reprimand and exhortation which is calculated for millions of men; but in the case of John, the words must have reference to something especially calling for worship. And this something is expressed in the words, for the witness of Jesus is the spirit of the prophecy. It might, indeed, likewise be said, The spirit of prophecy witnesses of Jesus; but still something particularly worthy of adoration is here expressed in the idea: The witness of and concerning Jesus in His saints is the spirit of prophecy, which is sure of the imminent Marriage. Living, practical Christianity is prophecy from beginning to end. As a witness concerning Jesus, therefore, the Angel is the bearer of, and voucher for, the glorious promise. Worship God Who has put the certainty of the most glorious future into the kernel of the life of faith.
Did John perhaps think that Peter, his fellow-servant and one of his brethren of the witness of Jesus, would re-appear as the forerunner of the Parousia of the Lord, to execute judgment upon Great Babylon? However this may be, the conversation of the Angel with John is followed by the Parousia itself. We must of course take it for granted that a period intervenes between the judgment upon the Harlot and the judgment upon the Beast—the period of the troubled and waiting Church, the hour of heaviness, depicted Rev_13:15-17. But in the prophetic perspective, the period vanishes, as, Matthew 24., the period between the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world; the second judgment follows quickly after the first.
John sees the Heaven opened. Again the white horse appears, as in Revelation 6., now, however, no longer to dominate the course of the world, but to conclude it. The Rider has now, on the one hand, an open name, proved in the history of the world; whilst, on the other hand, the unnamableness of His personality, His mysterious essence, has attained full recognition. He is called Faithful and True (
), the purest consequence and the innermost kernel of world-history, in personal completion; He is, therefore, entirely the administrator of righteousness in the judgment which He has just executed, and in the war which. He is about to begin. With His righteousness corresponds His all-piercing glance; His eyes are as a flame of fire, illuminating the object to which He directs them; as this was formerly the case with regard to the fanatical Church at Thyatira (Rev_2:18), so it is now the case with regard to the whole world. Issuing from many victories, His head is adorned with many wreaths of victory or diadems, which, in accordance with the textual variation, may be accompanied by many names; but the full import of His essential name is known to Himself alone, in His blissful consciousness. For that which is true of every personality renewed by Christianity—that it has a mysterious, almost anonymous depth (Rev_2:17)—is true in the highest degree of the Crown of all human personalities. His garment, also, is of the color of blood, like that of the Babylonish woman; in His case, however, it is the pure blood-color, not offensively mixed with the hue of royalty; it is the color of His own blood, for He has not yet waged an external war with His foes—least of all, by means of an external sword—hence the sense is not the same as that of Isaiah 43., although the expression is similar, and the bearings of the two passages are kindred. One with this perfected glory of beauteous humanity, the adornment of self-sacrifice in love, is His mysterious Divine essence which the Church has sought fully to express by the name, The Logos of God. John was, doubtless, perfectly aware that He uttered a mystery of unfathomable depth when, in his Gospel, he called Christ the Logos. But now the great Bearer and Forbearer [Dulder] comes as a victorious King for judgment upon the world; He has waited sufficiently long to have destroyed every suspicion of passionate reaction [against His injuries]. The world has even accustomed itself to the thought that His crucial passion will never be completely reckoned for. The universal character of His passion and victory appears in His escort—a host of triumphant believers, seated, like Himself, on white horses, and clothed in white and shining linen [Byssus], the color of righteousness, like the Bride of Christ. His weapons of attack are three-fold: first, the two-edged sharp sword which goeth forth out of His mouth, and which is designed to smite the nations (the modern heathen) (Isa_11:4; 2Th_2:8; Heb_4:12; Rev_1:16). From the spiritual victory which He gains with this sword, the symbolism of the Seer distinguishes the fact that He will, secondly, shepherdize the heathen [nations] with an iron rod (Psalms 2). This, doubtless, refers to the dynamical, strict social government which Christianity will exercise from, the time of the Parousia of Christ. Again, in relation to Antichrist and his company, Christ will, thirdly, manifest Himself as the Treader of the wine-press Who will tread the press of the wine of the anger of the wrath (wrathful indignation) of God, the All-Ruler (Isa_63:1), i. e. execute the actual reprobationary judgment upon Antichristianity in the final catastrophe of the course of the world. It seems enigmatical that He should wear the Name, King of kings, and Lord of lords, on His vesture and on His thigh. The Name is, doubtless, to be apprehended as twice written, not as inscribed simply upon the girdle of the tucked-up garment (as Düsterdieck maintains). We understand this as intimating that the Seer desired doubly to express the idea that it is a small thing for Him to be King of kings; He wears this Name, not on His crown, not on His brow, but, as a passing decoration, upon His garment. In this place, however, it has deep significance, inasmuch as it is with the blood of His vesture that He has achieved His dominion over the kings of the earth. But why does He bear the name upon His thigh also? Because the generality of kings wear their names there, upon the hilt of the sword, as a title based, for the most part, upon the right of the sword; at least, it is thus with the titles of the ten kings, who are from the outset designated as democratic violence-kings. In view of all this, we regard the Name of Christ in this place as expressive of a declaration of war preparatory to the conflict which is now to begin.
[ABSTRACT OF VIEWS, ETC]
By the American Editor
[Elliott: Rev_19:1-4 are connected with the preceding section, and present the heavenly doxology over the fall of Babylon.
Rev_19:5-21 form the concluding portion of the inside-written (see foot-note, p. 281) prophecy of events under the Seventh Vial. The first part of this section contains a hymn of praise, uttered by all God’s servants, whose themes are the approaching establishment of Christ’s Kingdom and His marriage. (By the establishment of the Kingdom, he understands the introduction of the millennial era; by the Bride, the completed number of the saints of the old and present dispensations; by the righteousnesses of the saints, the badges of their justification; [by the marriage, the glorification of the risen saints with Christ?]). The latter part of the chapter describes the glorious personal appearing of Christ and the destruction of Antichrist; which events are subsequent to the utterance of the hymn, but precede the glorious events pre-celebrated therein.
Barnes: “This chapter, as well as the last, is an episode, delaying the final catastrophe, and describing more fully the effect of the destruction of the mystical Babylon.” It consists of four parts: I. A hymn of the heavenly hosts in view of this destruction, Rev_19:1-7. II. The marriage of the Lamb, Rev_19:8-9,—i. e. “the Church is now to triumph and rejoice as if in permanent union with her glorious Head and Lord.” III. The offered worship of the Seer and the rebuke, Rev_19:10. IV. The final conquest over the Beast, etc. “The general idea here is that these great Antichristian powers which had so long resisted the gospel.… would be subdued. The true religion would be as triumphant as if the Son of God should go forth as a warrior in His own might. This destruction … prepares the way for the millennial reign of the Son of God.”
Stuart: Rev_19:1-9, an episode (delaying the main action) of praise, thanksgiving, and anticipated completion of victory.
Rev_19:11-21, the final contest. (This author, in his concluding remarks on chaps. 13–19, writes: “That Nero is mainly characterized in 13, 16, 17, we cannot well doubt. But in chap. 13, when the beast out of the sea is first presented, he has seven heads, and each one of these is itself a king or emperor, Rev_17:10. Of course, the beast, generically considered, represents many kings, not merely one. Yet as the reigning emperor, for the time being, is the actual manifestation of the beast, or the actual development of it, so the word beast is applied, in the chapters named, mainly to Nero, then persecuting the Church. Insensibly almost.… this specific meaning appears to be dropped, and the more generic one to be employed again in chap. 18. sq. … That Nero’s fall was in the eye of the Apocalyptist here (chap. 16), I can hardly doubt. But this was not the end of the Church’s persecutions; although a respite of some twenty years or more was now given. Farther persecutions were to arise; and so, a continued war with the beast, and a still further destruction of great Babylon, are brought in the sequel to our view. … As soon as the writer dismisses the case of Nero from his consideration, he deals no longer with anything but generic representations. Persecutions will revive. The war will still be waged. At last the great Captain of Salvation will come forth, in all His power, and make an end of the long-protracted war. Then, and not till then, will the millennial day of glory dawn upon the Church.… In order to designate the final and certain overthrow of heathenism, as opposed to Christianity, the writer has chosen to represent the whole matter by the symbol of a great contest between the two parties.”)
Wordsworth: This writer regards the whole section as having respect to the blessed condition of the Church after the destruction of Rome. His comments are of the most general and indeterminate kind.
Alford: Rev_19:1-10 form the concluding portion of the general section begun Rev_18:1, entitled, “The Destruction of Babylon;” Rev_19:1-8 present “the Church’s song of triumph at the destruction of Babylon; Rev_19:9 sets forth the Bride as the sum of the guests at the marriage feast. Rev_19:11 begins a general section extending through Rev_22:6, entitled “The End:” the subdivisions of this section are, (1) Rev_19:11-16, “the triumphal coming forth of the Lord (personal and visible) and His saints to victory; (2) Rev_19:17-21, the great defeat and destruction of the beast and false prophet and kings of the earth; (8) Rev_20:1-6, the binding of Satan and the millennial reign; (4) Rev_20:7-10, the great general judgment; (5) chs. Rev_21:1 to Rev_22:5, the vision of the new heavens and earth, and the glories of the new Jerusalem. (See also in loc.)
Lord: Rev_19:1-4, the hymn of the heavenly host on the destruction of Babylon. Rev_19:5-10, the Marriage of the Lamb, i. e. the literal resurrection of departed saints, and their exaltation to the thrones on which they are to serve Christ throughout their endless existence; (the guests, Rev_19:9, “are different persons from the raised and glorified Saints who are denoted by the Bride, and are doubtless the unglorified Saints on Earth”). Rev_19:11-21 describes “a personal and visible advent” of Christ, accompanied by the raised and glorified saints, and the subsequent destruction of all His civil, ecclesiastical and military enemies who are to be arrayed in organized and open hostility to him (see Abstracts under following sections).
Glasgow: Rev_19:1-10 show us what transpires among the Saints of God in immediate connection with Babylon’s fall; they present a vision of the events that are now begun to be developed in the Church and nation. By the “wife,” Rev_19:7, is to be understood the Church, not merely invisible, but visible; henceforward, she, as a whole, will be honorable and pure, acknowledging the sole supremacy of Christ, and altogether Scriptural in her doctrine, discipline and government; by the
is to be understood the marriage festivities. Rev_19:11-16. The opening of the heaven took place only once, and at the beginning of the gospel age,—this scene takes us back to the beginning. In the first seal (Rev_4:2) Christ appears in His sacerdotal character—here is represented as going forth simultaneously in His office as King; the white horse in both appearances is identical and symbolizes the body of Christian teachers; the entire vision represents Him as going on to complete victory and supremacy.—E. R. C.]
EXPLANATIONS IN DETAIL
[Rev_19:1-8.] Earlier songs of praise may be found Rev_4:8; Rev_5:9; Rev_11:15; Rev_15:3; Rev_16:5. [“As each of the great events and judgments in this Book is celebrated by its song of praise in Heaven, so this also; but more solemnly and formally than the others, seeing that this is the great accomplishment of God’s judgment on the enemy of His Church.” (References as above.) Alford.—E. R. C.]
Rev_19:1. I heard as a great voice. It is, certainly, the voice of a great people, but it is also that of a heavenly people, and hence is to be compared with [as] the tumult of voices of an earthly multitude. This throng is to be symbolically defined in general as the heavenly Church of God, without further random conjecture concerning those from whom the praise proceeds. Hallelujah.—With this specific shout of joy, the song begins. It is thus from beginning to end a song of praise. In Heaven there is no regret for the fall of Babylon. “It is certainly not unintentional that just here, after the complete judgment upon the enemies of God and of His faithful ones has begun, we find the express Hallelujah, which does not appear any where else in the Apocalypse” (Footnote: “Nor is it found in all the rest of the New Testament).” Duest. A four-fold Hallelujah appears in the New Testament with reference to the fall of Babylon, and is found nowhere else! (for even the Hallelujah of Rev_19:6 has reference to the fall of Babylon). In the quaternary of the Hallelujah, Hengstenberg discovers God’s victory over the earth, “whose mark is four,” in opposition to which Düsterdieck judiciously remarks that it is not a victory over the earth, but one over the Harlot, that is being celebrated. The salvation.—Comp. Rev_7:10; Rev_12:10.
[Elliott infers from the introduction of the Hebrew Hallelujah that at the time contemplated the Jews will have been converted. Wordsworth regards the introduction of the word as “proving that whatever appertained to the devotion and glory of the Ancient People of God is now become the privilege of the Christian Church.” The idea of Alford is preferable to either, viz.: “The formula must have passed with the Psalter into the Christian Church, being continually found in the LXX.; and its use first here may be quite accounted for by the greatness and finality of this triumph.”—E. R. C.]
Rev_19:2. For true.—The reason assigned becomes more efficient and solemn when both
’s are coördinated, in accordance with De Wette and others (see Rev_18:23; Rev_11:18).
Rev_19:3. And a second time, etc.—We cannot apprehend these words as forming an antistrophe to the foregoing, with De Wette, since a grander antiphone is formed between Rev_19:1; Rev_19:6. Hallelujah.—A Hallelujah based upon the fact that the smoke of Babylon ascends into the æons of the æons! This far surpasses modern sentimentalities. And her smoke, etc.—In Rev_18:9; Rev_18:18, the reference was to the uprising smoke in a historical sense; here the smoke takes a more æonic and metaphorical import, as Rev_14:11. [Into the ages of the ages.—“Another proof that the destruction of the mystical Babylon will be final, and that therefore Babylon cannot be heathen Rome.” Wordsworth.—E. R. C.]
Rev_19:4. And the twenty-four Elders and the four Living-beings fell down, etc.—The four Life-forms are set above the Elders; hence it is here, also, evident that they should not be regarded as types of creature-life. That as ground-forms of the Divine government in the world they, likewise, worship God, occasions no difficulty. The Amen corroborates the truth [Wahrhaftigkeit], the Hallelujah, the Divine authorship of the fact celebrated. [See foot-note †, p. 152, and Add. Note, p. 161 sq.—E. R. C.]
Rev_19:5. A voice came forth from the throne.—The first voice proceeded from the experience and conviction of the spirit-world; it I went from below upwards. The second song is the more developed Amen to the first; it is begun at the Throne of God, and proceeds from above downwards. The expression, Praise our God, gives the voice the appearance of issuing from the centre of the Church Triumphant; it is more natural, therefore, to think of the twenty-four Elders, with Düsterdieck, than to refer the voice to Christ, with Hengstenberg, or to the four Living-beings, with Bengel. Everywhere, however, where one voice is spoken of, stress is thereby laid upon the unison, the one spirit of a company; here it is that of the highest company, the one nearest to the Throne (comp. Rev_5:9). The
áἰíåῖí ôῷ èåῷ
is the development of the foregoing Hebrew Hallelujah. See Düsterdieck. Comp. Psa_115:18; Psa_135:1.
Rev_19:6. As a voice, etc.—Quite unique is the harmony in the antithesis of many waters and strong thunders (see chapter Rev_1:15, Rev_14:2; Eze_1:24; Eze_43:2; Dan_10:6). The song of praise, now beginning, passes from the post-celebration of the judgment upon the Harlot to the pre-celebration of the marriage of the Bride. [“The triumphant song being ended, an epithalamium, or marriage-song, begins.” M. Henry.—E. R. C.] The central point of the song lies in the fact that the Lord our God hath taken to Himself [assumed] the Kingdom, i. e., His Kingdom in the hearts of men (see Rev_11:17, where, however, the manifest appearing of kingly power in the general judgment is referred to). The Harlot deified herself and robbed God of His glory; the purity of the Bride, on the other hand, consists in the fact that she gives the glory altogether to God.
[The All-Ruler.—See additional comment on Rev_1:8, p. 93.—E. R. C.]
Rev_19:7. And we will give the glory to Him.—This is the fountain of the gladness and exultation, aye, it is the preparation for the marriage itself,—which preparation consists in the right fellowship of human souls, in their participation in a faith—ripening to sight—in the glory of God.
) [Rev_19:6].—This grammatical irregularity is based upon the Seer’s intention to give prominence to the individual nature of the song of praise, as founded upon subjective heart-truth. It is not merely the jubilation of a sympathetically excited crowd; that which the voice says as one voice, they all say singly likewise.
For the marriage of the Lamb came.—This is proleptical, according to De Wette, Hengstenberg and Düsterdieck. In the sense of the vision, however, the judgment upon Babylon, from the consummation of which the vision starts, coincides with the preparedness of the Bride, and the two items are not only preliminary conditions of, but also indices for, the beginning of the marriage. That the terms, themarriage and the supper, of the marriage, although distinct in themselves, coincide in point of time, should be understood as a matter of course. Züllig, in contradistinguishing the millennial Kingdom from the marriage, as a fore-feast of the Messianic marriage, overlooks the fact that even in the Parables of the Lord His Parousia is designated as the beginning of the marriage. The spiritual marriage is characterized by the moment when the ideal Christian view and the outward appearance coincide in perfect oneness. Hence the first appearance of Christ was the fore-celebration of the marriage (Mat_9:15). It is taking a contracted view of this marriage, the idea of which runs through the whole of Sacred Writ (Song of Sol., Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, etc.), to understand thereby, “the coming Lord’s distribution of the eternal reward of grace to His faithful ones, who then enter, with Him, into the full glory of the heavenly life” [Düsterdieck]. Three elements, above all things, pertain to the constitution of the idea. First, the personal relation between the Lord and His people. Secondly, perfect oneness on the part of His people. Thirdly, their receptivity, conditioned by homogeneousness. Hence it is also evident that the marriage must be blessedness, in the reciprocal operation of a spiritual fellowship of love. And His Wife.—The Bride—after the espousal, His Wife (Mat_1:20; comp. Gen_29:21). Prepared herself.—That is, adorned herself in a spiritual sense. In active self-appointment, as a free Church, that has attained its majority, she has prepared herself; nevertheless, the material of her readiness is given to her by the grace of God. According to The Shepherd of Hermas, the Church, in the form of a woman, undergoes a process of development which is directly opposed to nature. From an aged matron, she is transformed more and more into a youthful appearance. In the end, therefore, when she is free from all spots and wrinkles, she is the perfected Bride of the Lord (Eph_5:27).
[Additional Note on the Marriage.—Alford most strangely comments in loc.: “This figure of a marriage between the Lord and His people is too frequent and familiar to need explanation.” Rather, for the very reason assigned, should an explanation be given. Matters most frequent in the Scriptures are matters most important; and those most familiar are often, because of their very familiarity, least studied, and therefore least understood. There are few phrases more frequently on the lips of Christians than “The marriage supper of the Lamb,” and it is probable that there are few utterances with which less definite ideas are connected. At first glance, the most natural hypothesis is, that the reference in this verse is to the manifestation of the New Jerusalem, Rev_21:2. This reference, however, necessitates one of two subordinate hypotheses,—either (1) that the visions of chs. 21, 22. are merely supplementary; that they do not refer to events to occur after the millennium, but are descriptive of some event mentioned Rev_19:11 to Rev_20:15; or (2) that the song of triumph now under consideration had respect, not to the immediate, but to the entire future. The former of these hypotheses seems to be forbidden by the phraseology of the chapter mentioned, which manifestly contemplates a new order of things (a new Heaven and new earth), in which there shall be neither sin nor death (see Excursus on the New Jerusalem, pp. 389 sqq.); the latter is hardly admissible in view of the language of the Song, the marriage is come (
)—something in the present, or the immediate future seems to be contemplated; we can hardly suppose that a space of at least a thousand years should be grasped by such an expression. The foregoing considerations lead us to seek for something in the events represented as immediately following the Song as the event contemplated therein, and this the writer thinks is found Rev_20:4-6. Whether the first resurrection mentioned in that passage be literal or spiritual (i. e., whether it be a literal resurrection of departed saints, or a more complete deliverance of living saints from the power of sin), it is undeniable that the entire description contemplates the Church as brought into a new condition—a condition of higher spiritual adornment and of closer relation to Christ—one therefore that may be appropriately figured as her marriage to Christ. It is proper here to remark that the writer regards (1) the resurrection as literal, (2) the Bride as the whole body of the saints (the quick and the dead), at the Second Advent of the Lord, and (3) the marriage as the union of this body with a personally present Christ in glory and government (i. e., as the establishment of the Basileia). As to the truth of the first of these hypotheses, see the Excursus on The First Resurrection, p. 352. The second and third hypotheses best satisfy the elements of the marriage relation so beautifully and justly set forth by Lange in the immediately preceding comment; and they are also in perfect consistency with the normal interpretation of Rev_20:4-6, and of the whole body of Apocalyptic teaching. It should here be distinctly noted, however, that these hypotheses require that the number of those entering into the constitution of the Bride or the New Jerusalem (their identity is admitted) should be complete at the first resurrection, and consequently that the vision of Rev_21:1-2 should refer, not to the marriage, but to a new manifestation of the Bride. For a discussion of this portion of the subject, see the Excursus on the New Jerusalem.—E. R. C.]
Rev_19:8. And to her was given.—Her adornment is simply pure and beautiful [cultus gravis ut matronæ, non pompaticus, qualis meretricis. Grot.). Byssus [fine linen] denotes the most precious of plain, unostentatious, yet elegant, material; a similar character attaches to its hue, as opposed to scarlet and purple. A species of contrast is, doubtless, indicated by
; the negative purity and positive glory of the hew life. For the fine linen [byssus], etc.—Even in describing the simple adornment of the Bride, the Seer is anxious to bring out the spiritual import of the same. The righteousnesses [Lange: Gerechtigkeitsgüter=possessions of righteousness].—
is always a means by which justice is satisfied or acquittal [Gerechtsprechung] is obtained, whether it be the performance of the right, or the explation of the wrong (by undergoing punishment), or atonement, as the concrete unity of the doing and the suffering of that which is right. Reference is not here had “to the white garment of righteousness before God in Christ (as Beza maintained), which garment the Church does not first receive in the last time” (Ebrard). But whether the fulfillment of God’s commandments (De Wette, Ebrard, et al.) or “righteous deeds” (Düsterd.) be intended, is the question. Righteousness of life is itself established by suitable
and consequent acquittals [or justifications]. Such is the verification of faith treated of Jam_2:21 (comp. the Lange Commentary on James, in loc.), which, according to Mat_25:31 sqq., ramifies into a multitude of individual verifications. “A delicate allusion to the grace given by God, as the cause and source of the
peculiar to the saints, is contained in the
ἐäüèç áὐôῇ ἵíá êôë
.” (Düsterdieck). According to Ebrard, it is “thus prophesied that sanctification shall be perfected, that it shall be given to the eschatological Church to put off the last remnant of sin while yet in the flesh.” [“The plural -
is probably distributive, implying not many
to each one, as if they were merely good deeds, but one
to each of the saints, enveloping him as in a pure white robe of righteousness. Observe that here and everywhere the white robe is not Christ’s righteousness imputed or put on, but the Saints’ righteousness, by virtue of being washed in His blood. It is their own; inherent, not imputed; but their own by their part in and union to Him.” Alford.—E. R. C.]
Rev_19:9. An analogue of Rev_14:13. The two superscriptions of the everlasting Gospel correspond. The former characterizes the existence of the faithful of the last time, with reference to this world; the latter characterizes it with reference to the other world. These two beatitudes of the eschatological Gospel correspond to the beatitudes of the principial Gospel, Matthew 5. They are summed up together in the beatitude and superscription, Rev_21:3-5.
And he saith unto me.—What Angel is meant? See Syn. View. They who are called, etc.—The Church in its unitous form is the Bride; in its individual members, it consists of wedding-guests (Mat_22:1; Mat_25:1). These are the true words of God—Since all the words of God are
, the saying can mean only: these are the true [or genuine] words of God in the most special sense; or, to be more definite, in these words are concentrated the true [or genuine] words of promise of God, in analogy with the declaration, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” The highest summit of human consummationbliss has the highest Divine reality. Different explanations of the sentence, by Hengstenberg (“these words are genuine, are words of God”), De Wette, Züllig, Düsterdieck (the words of revelation from Rev_17:1 are intended), see in the latter, p. 537.
Rev_19:10. And I fell, etc.—This action of the Seer must be regarded entirely as a procedure taking place within the vision—not, therefore, as a subject for moral criticism. There is as little reason, therefore, for Hengstenberg’s praising the Seer, on this occasion, for his humility, as for his blaming him elsewhere for visional actions and charging him with faint-heartedness. These, also, are strange words of Hengstenberg’s; “As John here offered (sought to offer) adoration to the Angel, so it befits the Church, that receives this glorious revelation through John, to bow before him [John] because of it, and so, also, it befits John to say to her: Take heed not.” See Ebrard against Hengstenberg, p. 499. It is remarked, not without reason, by Düsterdieck, that it is probable “that John regarded the Angel who was speaking with him, not as a fellow-servant, but as the Lord Himself.” Take heed not.—Properly, Take heed that thou [do it] not. Aposiopesy. The whole deliverance is certainly decisive against all angelolatry. A fellow-servant.—A symbolized Angel could in no case become an object of adoration. But neither could a real, personal Angel. The passage may be so understood that the term
expresses the common characteristic of the angelic and apostolic functions. I, as an Angel, am a fellow-servant of thee and of thy brethren, etc. So De Wette and Düsterdieck. Or
is indicative of the category of believers. I, in angelic form, am a fellow-servant of thee, and one of thy brethren (Eichhorn, Züllig). Against the former apprehension is the consideration that the final sentence, The witness of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, would be idle in this connection. Opposed to the second apprehension is the fact that it would call for the reading:
êáὶ ἐê ôῶí ἀä
. We therefore suppose that the meaning of the Angel is as follows: I, who appear to you as an Angel, am thy fellow-servant, and, as such, a fellow-servant of all who cleave to the witness of Jesus.
Worship God.—This does not mean simply, Worship no creature, but also, Thou hast certainly cause to worship God for the revelation that is made to thee, for it is a glorification of the God who has placed the spirit of the prophecy concerning the great marriage-feast of the consummation, in the witness of [concerning] Jesus. The witness of Jesus.—Since the Angel has commenced to instruct the Seer, we cannot see why he should not speak these words also, especially as they are expressive of the profound unity betwixt historical Christianity and the ideo-dynamical development of the world, and characterize Christianity as absolute prophecy. According to Düsterdieck (in opposition to Vitringa, De Wette, et al.), the concluding sentence belongs to John. The declaration contained therein is entirely different from Rev_19:8. Equally untenable is the assertion of Düsterdieck (in opposition to Vitringa, De Wette, et al.) that the genitive
must be taken only as subjective, signifying the witness proceeding from Jesus. That which constitutes the
is the very fact that Jesus is its object (see Rev_6:9). According to De Wette indeed, the concluding words simply mean: He who, like thee, confesses Christ, has also the spirit of prophecy; according to Düsterdieck, the meaning is: When Christ communicates His revelation-witness to a man, He fills him likewise with the spirit of prophecy! According to this latter commentator, an attestation of the prophetic Book of John is contained in these words (and yet he maintains that the Book was not written by John, and that the prophecy is in part an error which has not been fulfilled).
Rev_19:11-16. The Bridegroom in His warlike Forth-going for the Destruction of the Beast, i. e., also, for the Redemption of the Bride.
Rev_19:11. The Heaven opened.—According to Düsterd. the movement within the visions is very cumbrous. “The Seer was in spirit carried to the earth in Rev_17:3 (De Wette).” But in Rev_4:1 his exaltation to Heaven was identical with his translation into the spirit. A white horse.—As in Rev_6:2. And He that sat upon him, called—
is in apposition [to
.]. Faithful.—The germ and blossom of all Divine life in the history of the world. True.—The fulfillment of all world-historical prophecies, especially promises and threats (see Rev_3:7; Rev_3:14). And in righteousness (Isa_11:3-4) He judgeth and warreth.—He must execute His judgment upon Antichrist in a warlike form.
Rev_19:12. His eyes.—See Rev_1:14. Many diadems.—“If the many royal crowns upon His head are regarded as trophies of victories already won (2Sa_12:30; 1Ma_11:13; Grotius, Wetst., Bengel; comp. also Vitringa), we should necessarily have to conceive of kings as conquered—for instance, the ten kings of Revelation 17. (Züllig). But judgment is not yet executed upon these. It might also be said that the Lord Who goes forth as a triumphant Conqueror, Who, Rev_6:2, receives a victor’s wreath in advance, here appears proleptically decked with the crowns of the kings whom He is to judge. But more obvious is the reference to Rev_19:16, where Christ is called the
(Ewald, De Wette, Hengstenb., Bleek, Volkmar, Luthardt”). Duesterdieck. The antithesis thus set forth is based upon deficient, atomistic conceptions. History testifies that Christ, in dynamical operation, has become the King of kings by a grand succession of victories, not necessarily eschatological in form, as was evidenced by Constantine, and even Julian. A name.—A wondrously beautiful designation of the personality of Christ in accordance with its peculiar Divine-human essential name. On the random conjectures concerning this name see Düsterdieck, p. 542 (it is the name given in Rev_19:13; the name Jehovah; no definite name. It is placed on the forehead—on the vesture; see also De Wette, p. 179). The mystery, however, is sealed only from a worldly understanding, not from the knowledge of love.
Rev_19:13. With a vesture, etc.—The expression of Isa_63:1, but in a New Testament sense. And His name hath become to be called.—The theological name of Christ, that which marks His Divine nature alone, and which John has also introduced in the most significant manner [in his Gospel?], is therefore in itself. more intelligible than the mystery of personal God-manhood. Futile objections to a reference to the Logos, Joh_1:1, see in Düsterd., p. 75. The Logos is indeed here characterized as
; but His historical mission is here also referred to.
Rev_19:14. And the armies in the heaven, etc.—Not Angels simply (Mat_25:31; Hengstenb., Luth.), but also the perfected righteous (Düsterdieck); nay, these pre-eminently, since they are clothed in pure byssus, and since it is not simply the local Heaven that is intended here, but rather the Heaven of perfected spirit-life.—The byssus of their garments is white and pure; they are perfected in innocence and righteousness, and yet their vesture does not shine, like that of Christ.
Rev_19:15. And out of His mouth, etc.—Even in the Old Testament the all-conquering power of the word of Revelation is expressed in figurative forms (Isa_11:4; Jer_23:29; comp. 2Th_2:8; Heb_4:12; Rev_1:16). In the last time, the immediate, spiritually dynamical operations of the word of God coincide with its mediate, physically dynamical operations in a unity which is prefigured Act_5:5. In Psalms 2, also, the iron seeptre has manifestly a symbolical import. And He treadeth the wine-press.—Isa_63:3. The wine of the anger of the wrath [Lange: wrathful indignation] of God is the historic concrete of the wrath of God, on the one hand, and the wrath of the heathen [nations], on the other hand (Rev_11:18). The judgment of God, in the uprising of “the heathen” [nations]. is brought to a decision by Christ by His appearing. Hengstenberg’s explanation—The winepress is the wrath of God; the wine flowing out of it is the blood of His foes—is marvellously amended by Düsterd.: “The form of the statement, in which the two figures of the wine-press (Rev_14:19) and the cup of wrath (Rev_14:10) are combined (De Wette), denotes rather that out of the wine-press trodden by the Lord the wine of the wrathful indignation of God streams, which wine shall be given to His enemies to drink.”
Rev_19:16. On His vesture.—See Syn. View. Comp. Düsterdieck, p. 543.
[ADDITIONAL NOTE ON THE SECTION]
By the American Editor.
[This chapter, beginning with the strong disjunctive,
Ìåôὲ øáῦôá ἤêïõóá
, introduces a new series of visions that flow on in unbroken sequence to the close of the Revelation.
Rev_19:1-8 present the heavenly song of triumph over the destruction of the apostate Church, and in prospect of the immediate establishment of the Basileia; it is the hallelujah that marks the beginning of a new æon—the times of refreshing and restitution (Act_3:19-21). (See foot-note† in the following column.)
Rev_19:11-16 narrate the vision of the Second Advent of Jesus, the Advent contemplated Rev_1:7. (See the following Note.) In the judgment of the majority of interpreters, the Rider here described is the same as the one of the First Seal. For the views of the Am. Ed. on this point see Add. Note, pp. 177–179.—E. R. C.]
[NOTE ON THE FUTURE ADVENT OF CHRIST]
By the American Editor
[It is admitted by all that there is to be a visible Advent of the glorified Messiah. Two views divide the Church as to the time of the Advent—some contending that it is to be Pre-millennial; others, that it is to be synchronous with the Consummation, the, general Resurrection and final Judgment.
The advocates of the former hypothesis rely principally on two classes of passages; 1. Those which seam to connect the future Advent with the restoration of Israel, the destruction of Antichrist, or the establishment of a universal kingdom of righteousness on earth, such as Isaiah 11; Isaiah 12; Isa_59:20 sqq. (comp. with Rom_11:25-27); Jer_23:5-8; Eze_43:2 sqq.; Dan_7:9-27; Joe_3:16-21; Zechariah 14; Rom_11:1-27; 2Th_1:1-8;Act_3:19-21. 2. Those which speak of the coming of the Lord as imminent (in connection with those which declare that there is to be a period of generally diffused peace and righteousness preceding the final consummation), such as Mat_24:42-44; Mar_13:32-37; Luk_12:35-40; 1Th_5:2-3; Tit_2:11-13; Jam_5:7-8.
The upholders of the hypothesis that the Second Advent is not to take place until the final Consummation, base their opinion upon those Scriptures which manifestly connect an Advent with that event. The following is the summation of the argument by Dr. David Brown, one of the most eminent advocates of this view. I. The Church will be absolutely complete at Christ’s Coming; 1Co_15:23; Eph_5:25-27; 2Th_1:10; Jude 24; Col_1:22; 1Th_3:13. II. Christ’s Second Coming will exhaust t
SPECIAL DOCTRINO-ETHICAL AND HOMILETICAL NOTES (ADDENDUM)
Second Special End-Judgment, or the Judgment upon the Beast (Antichrist) and his Prophet. a. Heavenly World-picture of the Victory. (Rev_19:1-16.)
General.—The heavenly post-celebration of the judgment upon the Harlot issues in a pre-celebration of the marriage of the Bride. For the Harlot and the Bride bear toward each other the indissoluble relation of a contradictory antithesis. Heaven, or the Church Triumphant, and not God’s Church on earth, celebrates, pre-eminently, the judgment of the Harlot; for an exalted stand-point is requisite for this celebration, and with lesser spirits, vulgar minds, it might easily degenerate into fanaticism. Even in the Heaven of consummate spiritual life, the positive result of that judgment is the thing which is first rejoiced over. The salvation and the glory and the power are our God’s. Not until after this, is the satisfaction of justice touched upon (Rev_19:2). The perfect fixedness of the judgment is next set forth (Rev_19:3). The whole heavenly post-celebration of the judgment is completed in an antiphony, in which the natural relations seem to be inverted, in that the twenty-four Elders and four Life-forms utter the Amen, which is supplemented by the third Hallelujah. Thus a three-fold heavenly Hallelujah is devoted to the rejoicings over the judgment. The Church of God on earth is now commanded to join in the celebration, and her rejoicing assumes the form of a pre-celebration of the marriage of the Bride. The delineation of the simple, yet august, adornment of the Bride, and the glorification of the imminent marriage, are followed by the appearance of the Bridegroom, coming from Heaven, on His warlike and victorious march against the Beast.
Special.—[Rev_19:1-4.] Three-fold Hallelujah of the Church Triumphant over the fall of Babylon. This feature is the more significant, since it is here only that the Hallelujah appears in the Apocalypse. The Hallelujah is also philologically significant; Jehovah, the Covenant-God, is glorified, because Babylon obscured His glory and power to the uttermost through her idolatry; in that she, on the one hand, corrupted the earth with her idolatry, and, on the other, killed the servants of God, who sought His glory. The rising of the smoke of her torment becomes a Hallelujah as an eternal visible assurance that the salvation and the glory and the power of God, in redeemed souls, are established forever.—[Rev_19:5.] The heavenly order for a general song of praise.—[Rev_19:6-7.] The song of praise: 1. The sound of it; 2. The contents of it.—The marriage of the Lamb. It will essentially consist in the fame of God’s glory.—The beholding of the glory of God constitutes the bliss of the beatified. The bliss of the beatified is the highest glorification of God.—Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.—[Rev_19:8.] The Bride in her adornment.—In antithesis to the Harlot in her gorgeous, but blood-colored, attire.—[Rev_19:9.] Blessedness of those who are called to the marriage of the Lamb.—Every previous beatitude has this for its end and aim. This is true, above all, of the beatitudes in Matthew 5.; and also of that in Rev_14:13.—God’s words, pure essential facts: They will be manifested to be the most real realities.—[Rev_19:10.] Repeated repudiation of the worship offered by John to angelic beings—comp. Rev_22:9.—The measure of inward devotion is the measure of the purity of the worship which we offer to God. This inward devotion, however, is not to be defined simply in accordance with our feeling; least of all, as a mere ecstatic sentiment; but also intellectually, and as an ethical readiness.—The witness of (concerning) Jesus, the real prophecy of this world’s history.—[Rev_19:11-16.] The Bridegroom, in His going forth for the final redemption and emancipation of the Bride: 1. His forth-going from Heaven; 2. His character; 3. His appearance; 4. His title; 5. His army; 6. His power (Rev_19:15); 7. His right.
Starke (Rev_19:1): Hallelujah. There is here, probably, an allusion to the six Psalms, from the 113 to the 118, which were called the great Hallelujah, and were sung at high festivals, especially at the Feast of Tabernacles (Psa_104:35).
Rev_19:2, from Deut. 22:43. Splendor, power, subtlety, adherents—all cannot save when God wills to punish. He fears none of them.
Rev_19:3, from Isa_34:10.
Rev_19:4. The praise of God that issues from a heart that is full of God, fills and kindles other hearts to His praise.
Rev_19:6. (This verse Starke interprets as holding forth the prospect of the conversion of the Jews.) Although there are diverse voices and powers, there is yet one Spirit, one faith, one consonance of the whole Church.
Rev_19:7. The preparation of the Bride consists in her constantly becoming more qualified for the reception of all the treasures of salvation acquired by her Bridegroom.
Rev_19:9. [Write.] The Divine authority of the matter to be recorded and of this entire Book is the more strongly indicated, the more frequent the occurrence of this expression (Rev_1:11; Rev_1:19; Rev_2:1; Rev_2:8; Rev_2:12; Rev_2:18; Rev_3:1; Rev_3:7; Rev_3:14; Rev_14:13).—[Rev_19:10.] John was not mistaken in the person of the Angel, for he well knew that he was no Divine person. (Starke here wrongfully assumes that not worship, but only an humble expression of reverence, is here denoted.)
Rev_19:11. Heaven opens before Christ, both in the condition of His humiliation and in that of His exaltation.
Rev_19:12. Christ has, not one, but many crowns, because He has gained many victories, and is the King of kings.
Rev_19:14. [In heaven] the faithful are resplendent in white linen, though here they may bear the cross.
Rev_19:16. Kings cannot be happier than in yielding themselves subjects of Christ.
Spurgeon, Stimmen aus der Offenb. Joh., p. 132. [Rev_19:12. And on His head many crowns.] The Saviour’s many crowns. Oh, ye well know what a Head that is; its wondrous history ye have not forgotten. A Head that once reclined, lovely and infantine, on the bosom of a woman. A Head that bowed meekly and willingly in obedience to a carpenter. A Head that in later years became a well of weeping and a fountain of tears (Jer_9:1; Heb_5:7). A Head whose sweat was as it were great drops of blood, falling upon the earth (Luk_22:44). A Head that was spit upon, whose hairs were plucked out. A Head which at last, in the fearful death-struggle, wounded by the crown of thorns, gave utterance to the terrific death-cry (Psa_22:1): Lama Sabachthani! (The death-cry was: Father, into Thy hands, etc.) A Head that afterwards slept in the grave; and—to Him Who liveth and was dead, and behold, He is living now forever-more (Rev_1:18), be glory—a Head that rose again from the grave, and looked down, with beaming eyes of love, upon the woman who stood mourning by the sepulchre.
[From M. Henry: Rev_19:10. This fully condemns the practice of the papists in worshipping the elements of bread and wine, and saints, and angels.—From The Comprehensive Commentary: Rev_19:1-4. All heaven resounds with the high praises of God, whenever He executes His “true and righteous judgments” on those who corrupt the earth with pernicious principles and ungodly practices, and when He avenges the blood of His servants on their persecutors. Who then are they that throw out insinuations, or openly speak of cruelty and tyranny, on hearing of these righteous judgments, but rebels who blasphemously take part with the enemies of God and plead against His dealings towards them? (Scott.)
Rev_19:10. If the highest of holy creatures greatly fear and decidedly refuse undue honor, how humbly should we sinful worms of the earth behave ourselves! (Scott.)—From Barnes: Rev_19:1. All that there is of honor, glory, power, in the redemption of the world, belongs to God, and should be ascribed to Him.—From Bonar: Rev_19:10. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. The theme or burden of the Bible is Jesus. Not philosophy, nor science, nor theology, nor metaphysics, nor morality, but Jesus. Not mere history, but history as containing Jesus. Not mere poetry, but poetry embodying Jesus. Not certain future events, dark or bright, presented to the view of the curious or speculative, but Jesus; earthly events and hopes and fears only as linked with Him.]
Second Special End-Judgment. b. Earth-picture of the Victory over the Beast. The Parousia of Christ for Judgment. The Millennial Kingdom. (Rev_19:17 to Rev_20:5.)
General.—We must distinguish here: 1. The premise of the last time, the features of which are to be gathered from other passages; 2. Christ’s war, in His Parousia, with the Beast and the False Prophet, and the judgment upon them and their Antichristian kingdom; 3. The chaining of Satan, and the Millennial Kingdom thus introduced.
The features of the last time, corresponding to its character as here pre-supposed, are visible throughout the eschatology of the Scriptures. See Mat_24:22 sqq.; Mar_13:21 sqq.; Luk_17:26 sqq.; Rev_21:26 sqq.; Romans 11; 2Th_2:7 sqq.; 2Ti_3:1 sqq.; 2 Peter 3.; 1Jn_2:18; Judges 14, 15. Compare especially the terminal points in the cycles of the Apocalypse itself: Rev_3:20; Rev_6:12 sqq.; Rev_10:7; Rev_11:7; Revelation 13,—beginning, particularly, with Rev_19:11; Rev_17:16. These traits are incipiently set forth in the Old Testament; comp. Isaiah 63. sqq.; Eze_36:33; Eze_37:21; Dan_9:2; Hos_14:6; Joe_3:1; Zephaniah; Hag_2:6; Zechariah 12. It should be noted, that in Zechariah as well as in Ezekiel two judgments upon the nations are distinguished: viz. a more special one, followed by the restoration of Israel, and a general one, with which the end-time closes. Comp. Zechariah 12, 14, and also Ezekiel 36 with 38 and 39.
The spiritual situation which superinduces the symptoms of the last time consists in the complete secularization of the Church—the carnal security of Christians, the spiritual luke-warmness of congregations, an extinction of the old foci of Christendom, and a corresponding extension of the Kingdom of God amongst heathen and Jews.
The actual date at which the last time begins corresponds with the fall of Babylon. The consummate Antichristianity of the world has executed judgment upon the wavering Antichristianity in the Church; the former has, however, drawn an apostate of the Church—the False Prophet—into its service, and with his help it obtains a social victory, in that
is taken away (2Th_2:6), or in that the two Sons of Oil (Revelation 11) are killed.
Antichristian pseudo-Christianity, expressing itself not only in hierarchical, but also in sectarian announcements of Here is Christ and There is Christ, has turned into pseudo-Christian Antichristianity; practical atheism, or the negation of all faith, has begotten a lying positivism which prosecutes human deification even to the production of the deified man, the culmination point of the Antichristian tendency. For human deification is at this Juncture no longer a “worship of genius,” but the deification of the masses—nay, more, of the Beast, of the brutal power and carnal self-seeking of the masses, and this fundamentally depraved generalization must necessarily, through the worship of agitators, turn into the worship of the agitator
The actual mark of the last short, but grievous time, is a social terrorism which develops in company with the principles of Antichristianity. The perverted congregation of the Beast seeks to give itself a dogmatical and symbolical shape by its sign of recognition, the mark of the Beast: the faithful fall under the subtile social excommunication of the last time. The characteristics of this grievous time are: a great testing, a great temptation, a great trial of endurance, a great purging, all of which, however, result in a great development of the sealed. The traits of the oppressed Widow thus develop into the traits of the Bride, and the cry of the oppressed forces its way to Heaven (Luk_18:1-7).
The Parousia of Christ for war and victory is here, as in the Gospels, heralded by signs in Heaven and earth. With the cosmical sign of the Angel standing in the sun and proclaiming the approaching judgment, the cosmical signs in the Eschatological Discourse of the Lord correspond. The ethical sign on earth is the consummate conspiracy of the kings, i. e., the supporters of Antichristianity, and their preparation for battle against Christ. Comp. Psalms 2. In respect of the day of rebellion, the following declaration holds good for ever: To-day have I begotten Thee—i. e., set Thee in royal dominion.
As to the battle itself, the Seer intimates that the same turn of affairs takes place here as in the building of the tower of Babel and in the Crucifixion of Christ, and, it might also be said, in the great persecution of the Christians under Diocletian. The point of an external combat is not reached; the Antichristian army seems to be smitten with absolute confusion (Rev_16:10). For the Beast is taken, like an individual malefactor; with him the False Prophet is seized, and both are cast into the lake of fire. That the slaying of the Antichristian army is expressive of a spiritual annihilation, is evident from the fact that they are slain with the sword which proceeds from the mouth of Christ.
In respect to the chaining of Satan and to the Angel who accomplishes it, we refer to the Exeg. Notes. We make the same reference in regard to the Millennial Kingdom. The idea of the coming of this pervades the whole of Sacred Writ (see Psalms 72; Isaiah 65, etc.).
The First Resurrection, as the blossom of the resurrection time, as the result of the resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15.), as the foretoken of the general resurrection, is also a time of great spiritual awakening and resurrection; to this period, doubtless, belongs the prospect of a more general restoration of Israel, for it occurs between the penultimate judgment upon the heathen ([nations] (the
) and the last judgment (upon Gog and Magog).
With the first resurrection, the first new heavenly order of things is connected: the rule of Christ, in the midst of His people, over the world—a spiritual and social governing and judging as a foretoken of the last judgment.
The abyss of the curse shut, the Heaven of blessing wide open: these are the characteristics of the great crisis which makes the
visibly manifest throughout an entire æon.
Special.—The appearing of Christ in its two aspects: 1. The war (Rev_19:17-21); 2. The victory (Rev_20:1-5).—[Rev_19:17-18.] The Angel in the sun, and the meaning of his outcry.—[Rev_19:19.] The Antichristian revolt against the Lord and His army.—The spiritual combat in its form and results. [Rev_20:1-3.] The Angel who chains Satan (see Exeget. Notes).—Satan shall receive his full dues when he shall be let loose again at the end of the thousand years. In other words, evil must live itself out, or completely accomplish its self-annihilation.—[Rev_20:4-6.] Import of the first resurrection.—Traits from the picture of the Millennial Kingdom.
Starke (Rev_19:18): Those who apprehend this mystically, interpret thus: That ye may spoil the goods, etc.
Rev_19:20. Those who apprehend this mystically, explain thus: The others, who were seduced [by the False Prophet], were more gently dealt with; they were either conquered and overcome by the sword of Christ’s mouth, His word, and willingly subjected their life and possessions to Christ, or they lay prostrate, proscribed and despised, as dead bodies. Those who, like birds of prey, have impoverished and devoured others, shall themselves be devoured (2Sa_12:9-11).—Rev_20:3. Marginal note by Luther: The thousand years must have begun at the time when this Book was written. Starke, on the other hand: The thousand years are not past, but to come.—Satan has his certain time to be bound and to be loosed.
Rev_20:4. Those who regard the thousand years as having already expired, apprehend the resurrection spoken of here as a spiritual resurrection. (Starke adduces another explanation, according to which the resurrection is a physical one, but the life of the risen is in Heaven [2Ti_2:11-12]. The difficulty here originates, probably, in a fear of the ill-understood Seventeenth Article of the Augsburg Confession. The Seventeenth Article, however, negatives the assumption of a millennium (a) before the Parousia of Christ and the resurrection of the dead; (b) as a secular kingdom of the righteous, based on the oppression and subjection of the wicked.)
Riemann, Die Lehre der Heiligen Schrift vom tausendjährigen Reiche oder vom zukünftigen Reiche Israel (in opposition to J. Diedrich, Schönebeck, 1858). It is only by caprice that the Millennial Kingdom can here be styled the future kingdom of Israel.—Flörke, Die Lehre vom tausendjährigen Reiche (Marburg, 1859). “Our view (of the Millennium) has its point of departure in a difference with the Augsburg Confession.” (On this misunderstanding, see the remark in the preceding paragraph.) Steffann, in his work entitled: Das Ende der Zeiten, Vorträge über Offenb. des heil. Joh. (Berlin, 1870), also controverts this misunderstanding and Hengstenberg’s interpretation: “Ebrard is right in saying that, in drawing up this Article, the Reformers rejected their own view of the Millennial Kingdom and thereby opened the way for a future correct view, etc. The rôles are changed, therefore; not those who reject the Millennial Kingdom on the basis of this Article, but we, who teach it in accordance with the permission given us in this Article, stand on the platform of the Augsburg Confession” (p. 336). Muenchmeyer, on the other hand, intimates with sufficient plainness, in his Bibelstunden über Offb. Joh. (Hanover, 1870, p. 186), that orthodoxistic exegetical tradition and the ill-understood Seventeenth Article have induced him to place the Millennial Kingdom in the past. He, however, does not reckon the thousand years from the time of John to Gregory VII, with Luther, nor, with others, from the time of Constantine, but from the conversion of Germany—“according to which interpretation the thousand years are now approaching their end, if we have not already entered upon the little lime” (in which view he resembles Hengstenberg).
Hebart, Für den Chiliasmus (Nuremberg, 1859), points to the profitableness of the doctrine of the Millennial Kingdom (p. 24).—Die chiliastische Doktrin und ihr Verhältniss zur christlichen Glaulenslehre, by Dr. Johann Nepomuk Schneider (see p. 73).—Das tausendjährige Reich (in opposition to Hengstenberg), Gütersloh, 1860, p. 98. In Eze_37:1-14 the house of Israel is spoken of in precisely the same manner (as in chap. 36.), and there is nothing in the chapter which could indicate that in this section the house of Israel is not to be apprehended as the natural Israel, but that the prophecy relates to the Church. (See the further remarks on the subject, p. 99. Emphasis is judiciously laid upon the fact that the part which treats of Gog and Magog follows this promise.)
Christiani, Bemerkungen zur Auslegung der Apokalypse (Riga, Bacmeister, p. 28). “Empirical ecclesiasticity must be highly overrated by those who ascribe to such a Church-historical event as the constituting of Christianity the state-religion of the Roman world-kingdom, so high an import in the history of salvation [as to date the Millennial Kingdom therefrom], not. withstanding that the benefits of this event were accompanied by many evils attendant upon the externalization of the Church” (in opposition to Keil).
Rinck, Die Schriftmässigkeit der Lehre vom tausendjährigen Reich (in opposition to Hengstenberg, Elberfeld, 1866, p. 35). This expositor places the transformation of the faithful in this time. He also assigns the fulfillment of the following prophecies to the same period: Mic_4:1-4; Isa_65:17-25; Act_3:19-21; Romans 11; Amo_9:9-15. Rinck likewise places the people of Israel at the head of the nations in the Millennial Kingdom, and makes them the leading missionary people of the earth. The Judaizing anticipations of Baumgarten, et al., do not, however, appear with any greater distinctness than attaches to them in the view just stated. It is in any case as one-sided to drop the symbolic element in favor of the historic, as to surrender the historic in favor of the symbolic element. Can the following words be understood of the Jewish people in the historical sense: “When the multitude of the sea is converted unto him?” Israel has already, in the person of the historic Christ, taken the leading place amongst the nations, and in the persons of the Apostles it has become the principal missionary people on earth—this might suffice. According to Romans 11, all Israel is to be saved, after the fullness [full number] of the Gentiles has come in. In the end, only dynamical distinctions can be of weight, and when Christ comes to earth with all the elect Gentile Christians of all ages, an external preponderance of the newly converted Jewish people is out of the question. The prospect of the more general conversion of Israel is, doubtless, rightly assigned to the Millennial Kingdom. A Christ in glory will remove the last hindrance of faith for all who have failed to accommodate themselves to the offense of the cross, not out of malice, but through weakness and an obedience to Jewish traditions. For the Israelitish view, moreover, the expectation of a time of the glorification of the Theocracy on earth lay at the door, although this did not involve an approximation to the Christian modification of this doctrine. Yet even Isaiah, viewing the power of evil in the light of the Spirit, perceived that a chasm would intervene between the time of the Messiah’s humiliation and sufferings and the time of His glorification. Again, Ezekiel, in distinguishing between the corruption of the central civilized world and that of the remote barbarian world, arrived at the foreview that the victory over anti-Messianism and Israel’s restoration should be followed by a late conflict with Gog and Magog.
Volck, Der Chiliasmus, seiner neuesten Bekämpfung (Keil, Kommentar über Ezechiel) gegenüber Dorpat, 1869). “It may now be seen what importance should be attached to the position of Lünemann, who affirms (commenting on 1Th_4:14) that the idea of an intervening space between the resurrection of believers and that of other men (Revelation 20.) is entirely foreign to the mind of the Apostle Paul. Precisely the contrary is true. That idea is perfectly familiar to him—a fact which is admitted by Meyer, who remarks on 1Co_15:24, that Paul, following the example of Christ Himself, has bound up the doctrine of a two fold resurrection with the Christian faith. Meyer here alludes to the
ἀíÜóôáóéò ôῶí äéêáßùí
, mentioned by the Lord in Luk_14:14.”
Lavater, Aussichten in die Ewigkeit. Our Lord replies to the question of the Sadducees (Luke 20.) in the following terms: “Those who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection of [E. V.: from] the dead, can die no more,” etc. From this it is evident that our Lord, in this passage, speaks of the resurrection of the righteous as a felicity which pertains exclusively to them.
[From M. Henry: Rev_20:1. Christ never wants proper powers and instruments to break the power of Satan, for He has the powers of heaven, and the keys of hell.]