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The blessedness of those who die in the Lord,
CHAP. xiv. ver. 13.
13 And I heard à voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth : Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
The voices of the angels had pronounced the punishments of those who, for worldly purposes receiving the antichristian mark, deny their Lord. A voice from heaven, from the throne itself, confirms their denunciations, adding thereto this consolation; that if the fiery trial proceed to its last stage, even to temporal death, this death shall be blessed; shall introduce the martyr to an eternal freedom from pain and trouble ; his sufferings on earth shall be recompensed with everlasting rest and glory. Their good works have been acceptable to God through the Redeemer, and will not be forgotten in the day of judgment, for they "o follow with them :" for so should be translated ακολουθει μετ' αυτών.
These four proclamation are plain in their meaning, and of easy solution to those who are versed in scriptural language. They seem intended to be so, in order that all Christians may be encouraged in time of trial to preserve their allegiance to their Lord, the Lamb, whose banner is unfolded in this chapter.
SECTION V I.
The Vision of the Harvest and of the Vintage.
CHAP. xiv. ver. 14 to the end.
14 And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat, like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
15 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.
16 And he that sat on the cloud, thrust in his sickle on the earth ; and the earth was reaped.
17 And another angel came out of the temple, which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth ; for her grapes are fully ripe.
19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God.
20 And the wine-press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the wine-press, even unto the horse-bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
Times of persecution, such as have been now represented under the antichristian powers, are times when the faith and virtue of Christians are tried by the severest tests. Many are they, “who gladly receive the word, but in time of persecution fall away." Now such methods of God's Providence
“ Put ye in
separate the good seed from the tares. But the time of harvest and vintage, represented also in the Old Testament, (Jer. li. 33; Joel iii. 13; Isa. lxiji. 147,) is a time not only of separation of the good from the wicked, but also of the final punishment or destruction of the latter, expressed by the act of burning the tares and chaff; and also by the bloody and furious appearance of him who, stained with the juice of grapes, treadeth the wine-press, (Gen. xlix. 11 ; Psa. Ixiii. 1–7; Lam. i. 15. Anvov étatnde.) The imagery of both harvest and vintage are brought together in the prophecy of Joel; which seems to give, in a short and abstracted form, the same picture as this passage in the Revelation. the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, get you down, for the press is full, the fats overflow :—for, their wickedness is great,” (Joel iii. 13.) This final vengeance of the Almighty upon his enemies, is evidently not yet accomplished. But such a general view of “God's righteous judgments” was proper to accompany the warnings and encouragements delivered in this chapter; in which is also generally displayed the successful warfare of the Lamb and his followers. “What particular events are signified by this harvest and vintage, it appears impossible for any man to determine; time alone can with certainty discover : for, these things are yet in futurity; only it may be observed, that these two signal judgments will certainly come, as harvest and vintage succeed in their season, and, in the course of Providence the one will precede the other, as, in the course of nature, the harvest is before the vintage; and the latter will greatly surpass the former, and
1 Which our Lord and his angels are represented as doing, in Matt. xiii. 41, 42; Mark iv. 29; where the word dpetavov is also used.
be attended with a more terrible destruction of God's enemies. It is said, ver 20, that the blood came even unto the horses' bridles;' which is a strong hyperbolical way of speaking, to express vast slaughter, and effusion of blood ; a way of speaking not unknown to the Jews; for the Jerusalem Talmud, describing the woeful slaughter which the Roman emperor Adrian made of the Jews at the destruction of the city of Bitter, saith, that the horses waded in blood up to the nostrils. Nor are similar examples wanting even in classic authors; for Silius Italicus, speaking of Annibal's descent into Italy, useth the like expression : the bridles flowing with much blood.” 1
i Bishop Newton, Dissert. iii. p. 267, 8vo. edit.
The Vision preparatory to the Seven Vials.
CHAP. XV.; and CHAP. xvi. ver. 1.
1 And I saw another sign in heaven great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
5 And after that I looked, and behold the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened :
6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.
7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels, seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.
8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon
Ver. 1. Another sign in heaven, seven angels, &c.] The scene of the vision continues the same, heaven