Chapter 14 is a complete change. Verse 1 - A lamb on Mt. Zion with 144,000 redeemed-Christ and the glorified saints. (We are going back briefly to the inside of the scroll, although we are now coming to a point where the inside and the outside converge.) This chapter deals with the final judgments of the earth - that which was hidden in the seven thunders which John saw - after the overthrow of Gog and the establishment of Christ in Jerusalem.
There is much exhortation in verses 4 and 5. The 144,000 are a very exalted and select multitude - those who in this life have overcome the flesh and given themselves wholly to God. They are, we are told, virgins - that is, no defilement with any thing to do with the apostate woman. That is their important identification.
They follow the Lamb in everything they do. They have no guile; they are perfectly pure in heart. They are all without fault before the throne of God, because they have remained in Christ and are completely covered by his righteousness and repeatedly purified by prayer and repentance, so that they continually stand before God perfect, as they must if they are to be accepted. How dimly we realize the tremendous height of our calling!
Verses 6 and 7 give the proclamation to all the earth of the everlasting Gospel. "Fear God...the hour of his judgment is come." Before pouring out worldwide destruction, Christ and the saints call on all the earth to submit. The besotted earth is today so drunken with the Babylonian wine that a considerable time will be needed for all to awake out of their stupor and find out what is happening and decide what side they are on.
There is much in Scripture to study. We shall never know a fraction of it, but we are required to learn as much as we can in the opportunity given us. We shall be judged for what we could have done with our time and opportunity. We shall be called to account, and we shall be rejected if we have not tried our best to do what is required.
"Blessed is he that readeth." We have no time to waste on worldly things. Only the faithful stewards of time and goods will be accepted. And let us make sure we are among that very, very few.
Bro. G.V. Growcott - Review of the Apocalypse
1 And I looked, and <behold> a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with him 144 000s, having <the name of his Father, which had been> written <upon> their foreheads.
"Ye who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit upon the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matt. 19:27,28).
Among these also will be Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets; and worthies from the east, and west, and north, and south; a great multitude, which no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues - all these stand before the throne and the Lamb, as the glorified 144,000, clothed with white robes; and when they rest from their labours, "with palms," instead of a two-edged sword, "in their hands" (Luke 13:28,29; Apoc. 7:9; Psa. 149:6).
In this the primordial statement is contained in the first verse. It specifies a great predetermined end - the occupation of Mount Zion by the son of the Divine Father, together with those upon whom he has previously written the name of his Deity (Ch. 3:12).
But this predetermined end is not the first thing executed. On the contrary, it is the last. The redeemed get possession of Mount Zion consequent upon the effect of the
"voice out of the heaven"
indicated in verse 2 the voice of a belligerent multitude, even the roaring voice of the Rainbowed and Cloud-invested Angel, who takes victorious possession of the City where David dwelt.
Thus, the end, first in purpose, is the last developed, but first revealed in the prophecy.
The 144 000
... Though scattered and dispersed, and natives of divers remote places, when viewed collectively they are regarded as being born in Zion; and constituting the Holy City,
"Glorious things are spoken concerning Zion, the city of the Elohim" - ir hah-Elohim.
The Lamb on the mount
All the events represented in this fourteenth chapter are in the future; for nothing having the least resemblance to them has ever been transacted upon the earth since the Deity gave the Apocalypse to Jesus Christ, who sent and signified it by his angel to John in Patmos.
...the Lamb and his 144,000 virgin-companions (Psa. 45:14), are represented in the first chapter by the Son of Man clothed with a garment of linen (Dan. 10:5) whose voice is as the sound of many waters, or the voice of a multitude (Dan. 10:6). They are the One sitting upon the throne, the New Throne in the opened heavens; and the four and twenty Elders in white raiment and golden stephans; and the Four Living Ones full of eyes, in the midst of the throne, and around it, exhibited in the fourth chapter.
The 144,000 are exegetical of the symbolic Lamb whose personal chieftain, or Head, is Jesus Christ, "the Captain of their salvation," or the Deity manifested in flesh, justified by spirit (1 Tim. 3:16). He is the Lamb slain, and they are in him; and therefore constituents of the symbolic and mystical Lamb; an idea emblematically signified,by the phrase, "with him 144,000".
In other words, JESUS AND HIS BRETHREN "glorified together" (Rom. 8: 17), are the Seven Lamps of Fire burning before the throne, or the Seven Spirits of the Deity sent forth into all the earth, represented by a Lamb with Seven Horns and Seven Eyes; that is, they are the Omnipotent and Omniscient Power in substantial and glorious manifestation, styled YAHWEH AIL-SHADDAI,
"He who shall be the strength of the Mighty Ones, who was, and is, and is to come,"
and is superlatively holy - Ch. 4:5,8; 5:6; Psa. 50: 1-6.
The wool with which the Lamb is clothed is of snowy whiteness Isa. 1:18; Apoc. 1:14. Standing in the midst of 144,000, invested with "fine linen, clean and white," he is clothed with a pure and faultless multitude; which is his snowy fleece, washed and made white in the blood of the individual Lamb, Jesus-ch. 1:5; 7:14.
This Seven Horned and Seven Eyed Lamb-Multitude is the Mighty Angel descended from the heaven, clothed with a cloud; and holding in his hand a LITILE OPEN SCROLL- Ch. 10:1.
One thing, however, is particularly to be observed here, namely, that, though this cloud-invested angel, and the Lamb with the 144,000, symbolize the same multitude, they represent this multitude in different positions and stages of its career.
In this fourteenth chapter, while on Mount Zion, the multitude is "in the heaven," having opened the door, entered therein, and set up the throne (ch. 4:1,2; Psa. 24:7; Dan. 2:44): but, in the tenth chapter (though without abandoning the seat of government) the almighty, cloud-invested, angel-Lamb and his companions, "come down from the heaven," and take up a position upon the earth and sea - verses 1,2,5,8.
In other words, war has been declared against the Beast of the Earth, the Beast of the Sea, the Image of the Beast, and the False Prophet; that is, against all Europe, for the utter destruction of all its institutions, civil and ecclesiastical; and the subjugation of all its peoples, nations, tongues, and rulers, to the absolute sovereignty of David's Son and Lord (Psa. 110:1).
The Lamb and his 144,000, "who follow him whithersoever he goes," engaged in this,
"the war of that great day of the all-powerful Deity" (ch. 16: 14),
are the cloud-invested angel in the territories of the enemy which they have invaded, and in which they are progressing as pillars offire." In this warfare they are giving practical expression to the unwritten utterances of the Seven Thunders - unwritten in the tenth chapter; but illustrated in the fourteenth, from the eighth verse to the end.
The name of his Father, which had been written upon their foreheads
With this New Name of the Spirit, styled the Father's Name, the 144,000 will stand on Mount Zion. It is written upon them before they appear there. This is evident from the word gegrammenon, having been written. When was it written? Doctrinally, when sealed in their foreheads (ch. 7:3) in the great tribulation (verse 14); and corporeally, when "the dead, small and great," stand in the presence of the Deity, and are judged by what has been written, according to their works.
Those who are found written in the Book of Life, receive their reward in the inscription of the New Name, which makes them like what Jesus Christ now is.
The glorified saints (144,000) stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion, having moved up from Sinai (Pslm.68.17 angels = changed ones, from Sinai into the Holy). They have the Father's Name written in their foreheads. This shows their godly character developed in their probation, as part of that Yahweh Name or He who will be armies Yahweh Sabaoth (Pslm.24.I0). Those who constitute this glorious assembly, have come through much tribulation, purged out sin and pride from their lives, humbling themselves before God.*
The word used in the Revelation is different from that in the rest of the New Testament. It is a diminutive form and means "little lamb "-arnion. It is a gentle term of affection, just as we would use "little lamb."
Here is emphasized that all power is of God-all power is of love-and God's strength is made perfect in weakness and gentleness. A "little lamb" accomplished the great work foretold from the beginning which none of the mighty wild- beast nations have been able to do-the complete and permanent subduing of the earth, even to the subduing and eventual abolishing of sin itself-the root of all evil and rebellion. This is the only subduing that is worthwhile. *
"And with him 144,000. "
These are the redeemed. In chapter 7 they are sealed in tribulation-twelve thousand from each tribe of Israel. Here they are manifested in glory. The one hundred and forty- four-the square of twelve- marks the connection with Israel, the foundation of God's purpose- "Salvation is of the Jews" (Jn. 4:22).
On the framework of Jacob's twelve sons, the whole national organization was built. Twelve is four times three. Four appears to indicate universal dominion-"to the four winds"-"the four corners of the earth" -the four world empires of man. And three appears to indicate resurrection, fulfilment, completion.
The camp of Israel was arranged in four groups of three. The breastplate had four rows of three stones each. The new Jerusalem has four sides with three gates on each side. The twenty-four priestly courses of David's kingdom, and the twenty-four elders of the Revelation point to a doubling of the twelve, foreshadowing the union of Jew and Gentile-
"Other sheep have I which are not of this fold."
Twelve is the pattern of the ruling subdivisions of the Kingdom of God, past and future. There were twelve princes of the tribes, heads of their father's houses under the king; the
twelve apostles will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel under the King of kings (Matt. 19:28).
The year, which is measured by the sun, is divided into twelve months, each ruled by the moon, the secondary light-four seasons of three months each. The day, again measured by the sun, is divided into twelve hours. So those Kings and Priests who reign subordinate with
Christ are twelve times twelve times one thousand.
Twelve squared is twelve intensified-given body and reality.There are no hidden inner chambers in the Ezekiel temple of the Age to come-its heart and center is a twelve times twelve altar high up on the holy hill of Zion-the Lamb and the one hundred and forty-four thousand manifested in glory for all the world to see. How beautifully Bro.Sulley's conception of the Temple brings out this glorious picture!
The one thousand symbol illustrates multitudinousness - a large number - One shall chase a thousand, "One among a thousand," "The cattle upon a thousand hills, "A little one shall become a thousand."
The one hundred and forty-four thousand figure teaches us that the multitude of the redeemed are the "Israel of God."**Bro Growcott - The 144 000 on Mount Zion
Having his Father's Name written in their foreheads.
The Father's Name is His character and purpose. Having the Father's Name in the forehead involves a MIGHTY TRANSFORMATION OF BOTH CHARACTER AND PURPOSE which but few
ever attain to. Our greatest danger is underestimating, failing to even comprehend, the depth and extent of the transformation of life that is demanded.
To have a purpose is to consciously shape all life's activities in relation to a determined end. It is to eliminate all that interferes with, or has no value, in attaining that end.Unless we consciously and continually subject our daily activities to this test, we have no purpose, we have not the Name in our forehead.
The forehead stands for the mind, the consciousness, the will, the desires and interests. If God's Name is truly in our forehead, we shall be continually anxious to learn more about
Him and His Word. Our thoughts will ever gravitate toward Him with joy and interest and love.
When we read, it will be things that have to do with Him and His purpose. The motives behind all our actions will be to please Him and serve His interests and glorify His Name.
We shall realize with dismay our natural subjection to the deceptive mind of the flesh, and we shall pray and study earnestly to acquire more and more of the safety and peace of
the mind of the Spirit-the Name in the forehead.
The High Priest was the center and apex of the worship of the Mosaic Law-the heart and embodiment of all its shadows and significances. He was a man of sign. On his forehead he wore a pure gold plate engraved with the words-"Holiness to the Lord."
To bear the Father's Name in the forehead requires strength and determination. The strength is freely offered by God to those that seek it-
"My strength is made perfect in weakness . . ."
"Seek and ye shall find; ask and it shall be given you."
God said to Ezekiel (3:8, 9)-
"I have made thy forehead strong against their foreheads. As adamant harder thanfiint have I made thy forehead."
We must be unchanging and unflinching in the bearing of the
2 And I heard a <sound from the> heaven, as <a sound> of many waters [the "great multitude "in the heaven," ...victorious palm bearers 7: 9], and as <a sound> of <loud> thunder [the beast and his image and name are no more] : and I heard <a> voice of harpers harping with their harps:
The sound of the many waters cannot proceed from the heaven, unless they be first in the heaven. The many waters of the heaven are the 144,000, giving utterance to their joy. Standing on Mount Zion with the Lamb, they are "in the place of Yahweh's holiness," which is "the heaven."
John does not record, in this verse, what the many waters said. It was not necessary; for he had already made the record in ch. 7:10-12. The white robed multitude, having exchanged the sword of judgment for the palm of victory, shouted with a loud voice, saying,
"The salvation be ascribed to him that sitteth upon the throne of our Deity, and to the Lamb! And all the angels stood in the circle of the throne (kuklo tou thronou) and of the elders, and of the four living ones, and they fell before the throne upon their face, and worshipped the Deity, saying, Amen! The blessing and the glory', and the wisdom, and the thanksgiving, and the honour, and the power, and the might, be to our Deity for the aeons of the aeons. Amen!"
The sound from the heaven was the voice of the 144,000 after they had got the victory over "the Beast," and over his "Image," and over his "sign," and over the "Number" of his Name; in other words, after they had conquered all Greek, Papal, and Protestant, Antichristendom.
Their victorious attitude is indicated by their being palm-bearers -"they had palms in their hands". "Branches of palm-trees," says Daubuz, "are the symbol of joy after victory', attended with antecedent sufferings. By the Mosaical law, Lev. 23:40, they were used as a token of joy at the Feast of Tabernacles. And they were used upon any solemn occasion of joy, as after a victory or deliverance."
A sound of Loud thunder
The thunder is styled "loud," because it consists of more than a single clap. It is a series of booming and crashing thunderstorms, which, with the sound of the roaring hurricane, prostrate all the towering dominions of the earth.
This "loud thunder" overthrows Babylon, torments the worshippers of the Beast with fire and brimstone, cuts down the harvest of the earth, and lops off the clusters of its vine.
When all this is accomplished, the Dragon bound, the kingdom restored to Israel, and Jerusalem made a praise in the earth, the thronal lightnings will cease to flash, and the thunder to roll. The time will have then arrived, and not till then, for the going forth from heaven of
"the sound as the sound of many waters, and as a sound of loud thunder."
A voice of harpers harping with their harps
Mount Zion is still the scene of the vision...As the Spirit predicted in Psa. 87:7,...
"as well the singers as the players upon instruments are there." "Every' one of them"
has his harp; for he is himself a "harp of the Deity," and therefore an instrument of joy (Apoc. 5:8; 15:2). The harp is an instrument used in giving thanks, in rejoicing, and in praising.
...A harper harping with his harp is a saint... The first thing he does when he finds himself on the mount of Yahweh's holiness, is ...to show forth the praises, the worthiness, and loving kindness of Him, who called him out
...The Four Living Ones, and twenty four stephaned Elders, are all harpers who harp with their harps. This is positively affirmed in ch. 5:8. In symbolic style, put harps, and golden vials full of odours, into men's hands, and say, that "the odours are the prayers of the saints;" and it is equivalent to saying that the harps and golden vials are representative of the saints themselves.
The Angels ...in Psa. 97:7, worship David's Son and Lord.... They join with the harpers in myriads in the ascription of
"worthiness to the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory', and blessing" (ch. 5:12):
but they could take no part in singing the harpers' new song which they accompanied with their harps; for they have never learned it, and were they to study it ten thousand years, could never sing it truthfully.
...How gratified they will be in beholding the Royal Child, whose birth they celebrated over eighteen centuries before, enthroned by the Eternal Power, according to the words of Gabriel, in his father David's seat; and instead of a vile clamor for his crucifixion, in the very' place where he was condemned and put to death, songs of thanksgiving and praise, ascending in immortal strains to the Diety, from the innumerable multitude of the redeemed.
There were three aspects to the voice from heaven. It was-
1. Like many waters;
2. Like great thunder, and
3. It was the voice of harpers harping with their harps.
The "Voice of many waters is the triumphant voice of a mighty multitude. "Waters" are defined in apocalyptic symbol as "peoples, multitudes, nations, tongues" (Rev. 17:15).
Isa. 17:12 speaks of the noise of the rushing nations as the noise of rushing waters. The rushing of the wings of Ezekiel's cherubim was like the noise of great waters, and the Multitudinous Son of Man of Revelation 1 had a voice like the sound of many waters.
The picture we get is the sweeping, irresistible force of a mighty river in flood, or the pouring of the seas over the land.
"And like great thunder."
Thunder is the audible manifestation of the power of God, particularly, but not always, in
judgment and destruction. The first Scriptural mention of thunder is in connection with
the plagues of Egypt; the second with the mighty and terrible manifestations at Mount Sinai. Paul contrasts the scenes at Mount Sinai with those at Mount Zion.
There the host of mortal natural Israel was fearful and terrified, and Moses went alone up the mount. Here the multitude of spiritual Israel are joyful and triumphant, united
with the greater than Moses upon the mount, themselves the agents by which the thunder-judgments are administered. These are the seven thunders-the seven last plagues.
But though they are like rushing waters and like thunders in their passing manifestations of fearful judgment, they are actually in their permanent inward reality-
"Harpers harping with their harps."
Surely there is intended to be power and significance in this three-fold repetition of this joyful, worshipful word! A harp is an instrument of praise and thanksgiving and joy. The harp was the comfort, inspiration and instrument of expression of David, the man after God's own heart. The Psalms are not mere poems, but songs. There is infinitely more feeling, depth and expression in song than in mere recitation.
Psa. 81 speaks of the "pleasant harp "and Isa. 24 of the "joy of the harp." Conversely the symbol of mourning is to refrain from the harp's use and hang it on the weeping willows (Psa.137:2).
In 1 Chr. 16, we read of David's arrangements for singing in the worship of God. We read there of "the musical instruments of God" (v. 42), and of the first Psalm David delivered into the hands of Asaph, the chief of the singers-
"Sing unto the Lord, all the earth: Show forth from day to day His salvation . . .
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness . . .Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice."
What are the "musical instruments of God?"
In Rev. 15:2 the redeemed standing on the glassy sea have the "harps of God." What do these harps signify, for clearly they symbolize a much deeper and living reality-"The harps of God. Musical instruments are inanimate objects giving voice-like sounds of worship and praise. Their appeal and acceptability to God can only lie in their representation and symbolization and manifestation of the true heart-condition of the living worshipper himself. This was Bro. Thomas' conclusion. He says:
"Every one of them has his harp, for he is himself a 'harp of the Deity,' and therefore an INSTRUMENT OF JOY."
Bro Growcott - The 144 000 on Mount Zion
3 And they <sing> as it were a new song <in the presence of> the throne, and <in the presence of> the four <living ones>, and <of > the elders: and no <one was able to> learn that song <except> the 144 000s, <who had been> redeemed from the earth.
The personal redemption of these thousands had been completed before they appeared on Mount Zion. They had recently emerged from the dust of death; and had passed through the ordeal of judgment; and being afterwards transformed, and made like to the King of Glory' by the quickening energy of his power, they were prepared truthfully to describe themselves in a song, which no one could possibly sing, who had not been the subject of the like condition.
The song they will sing on Zion is recorded in ch. 5:9. In this place, it says,
"They sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the scroll, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain; and hast redeemed us for the Deity by thy blood out of every' kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us (the Four Living Ones full of eyes, and the twenty four elders) for our Deity kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."
The Angels cannot sing this song. How could they address Jesus, and say to him, "thou hast redeemed us?" Neither can they sing, that they shall "reign upon the earth," for they assuredly never will.
They have ... been taught it by the Father...
"except the Father who hath sent me draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of the Deity. Every' man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me" (John 6:44).
These can learn the song; for the Father teaches it to all His true disciples, when He writes His new name upon them; and they Sing it, when He plays upon them as His harps.
...After he has developed them corporeally from the dust, he flashes upon them the knowledge of a previous state, together with the knowledge of what shall be hereafter. Thus they are taught and made conscious of a previous existence. But for the operation of the Eternal Spirit in writing his name upon their new cerebral organization, they would have no more consciousness of the past, or of any antecedents therein, than Adam when he first opened his eyes upon the light.
Unless the Spirit impress upon them the knowledge, they would be conscious only of what present sensation could impart - of this, and no more.
...What provision, then, has been provided by the Creator for the reproduction of the non-existent Paul and his companions in nothingness? The creation of 144,000 (not less, but number-less more) living bodies from the dust; and stamping upon their foreheads, as with a seal, what is already on record, not in the memory of disembodied souls, but in the mind of the Eternal Father.
This is where the personal consciousness of the past comes from, the Father's Name written in the forehead, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God in fleshy tables of the heart (2 Cor. 3:3): that whosoever is so written upon after creation from dust, is, in the creative operation, taught to sing the song of redemption by inspiration.
The apostles who listened to the discourses of Jesus remembered little, and understood less; but the Eternal Spirit, who discoursed through Jesus, remedied this defect by afterwards bringing all things to their remembrance, opening their understandings and guiding them into all the truth (Luke 24:45; John 14:26; 16:13).
In this operation, their consciousness of what Jesus really taught, was stamped or written upon the fleshy tablets of their hearts. What they had forgotten and did not understand, was not lost. It was retained in the Spirit's, in the Father's own mind, Who afterwards photographed in their foreheads what he had said.
These verses are expressive of the New Song or song of the Redeemed sung by the saints on Mount Zion, which only they can sing. John hears this as the voice of many waters ( a multitude called out of the miry sea of nations), as thunder (warrior priests), and as harpers harping with their harps (symbolic of their joy, praise and thanksgiving to the Lord). Here is no brassy, self righteous outpouring of the flesh, but sweet harmony and joy of a united multitude in which there is no discord, true friends, united in their common appreciation of divine Truth and repudiation of error (Pslm. I. 50, Pslm.33).*
4 These are they < who had not been contaminated> with women [Prov 7]; for they are virgins. These are <the attendants upon> the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These <had been> redeemed from among men, < an offering of> first fruits <for the Deity and for the Lamb>.
There is a striking contrast throughout Revelation between the Father's Name and the Beast's Name-the Father's Mark and the Beast's Mark.
The end of chapter 13, just preceding, speaks of those who have the Beast's mark, number, or name in the forehead. The Beast is the Babylonian-Grecian-Roman apostasy, centered
in Rome, and it has set its mark on nearly every aspect of the world's life and activities.
All nations are drunk with the wine of her fornication. Let us try to discern all the ramifications of the Beast's mark in the customs and festivities of the world and shun them like the plague.
We cannot bear the Name of both God and the Beast together-
"COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE!" (Rev. 18:4).
Bro Growcott - The 144 000 on Mount Zion
Not been contaminated with women
...they are the women of the Apocalypse. The worst kind of women - the Harlot daughters and Harlot Abominations of the Great Drunken Murderess, whom they style
"the Mother of All Churches."
The "Holy Apostolic Catholic Church", is the Harlot in chief; "with whom the kings of the earth," the Secular Rulers of European and American Antichristendom,
"have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication".
This is the Mother of the Harlot Family. Her daughters are the Churches of Europe "by law established;" such as, the Lutheran Harlot, the Anglo-Hibernian Harlot, the Caledonian Harlot, and the Helvetian Harlot' all of them, bearing "the Sign of the Beast," indicating their utter destitution of the faith and its obedience.
Besides these principal harlots is an innumerable fry of Harlot abominations, all of them distinguished as the relations of the Roman Mother by the livery they wear. The sign of the Beast is upon them all. In the aggregate, they are an unbaptized ecclesiastical community, distinguished in its subdivisions by various 'names," Apocalyptically styled,
"Names of Blasphemy,"
These dilutions of the Latin superstition have been very useful in crippling the absolutism of the Romish Hierarchy. The world has been greatly benefited by the Protestant Rebellion; and by the multiplication and rivalries of the sects. But, though promotive of civil and religious liberty, their dogmas are God-dishonoring and gospel-nullifying blasphemies.
Attendants upon the Lamb
The Lamb-Power invades the territories of the Beast and his Image: for their worshippers are said to be tormented in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; hence, as the 144,000 are his attendants, they are there also (verse 9,10).
This is, if possible, still more evident from ch. 17:14,12; and 19:19; where the Beast and kings of the earth and their armies gather together to make war against the Lamb, and against his army, which is marshalled by "the called, the chosen, and faithful" 144,000, with him.
The conflict, however terrible, is not doubtful. The Seven-Horned Lamb overcomes them in spite of all their improvements in artillery and the art of war; for he is the Almighty King of kings and Lord of lords, who smites the nations with the sword of his mouth, and rules them with a rod of iron.
... The 144,000 firstfruits are themselves "spirit", on the principle laid down by Jesus, that that is spirit which is born of the Spirit. Being spirit, they are in the shadow of the Spirit's power - a polished shaft in His quiver, like the great Captain of their salvation. No projectile can reach them to hurt them.
...The artillery of the Beast's armies being thus rendered powerless, they have no defence against the tormenting fire and brimstone of the 144,000 of the Lamb. The Beast and deceiving False Prophet become captives; and those who sustained them by the sword, are made a sacrifice of with great slaughter (ch. 13:10) in the great Day of Retribution, when the Seven-Horned Lamb, with his invincible attendants, shall go forth into all the earth.
Three further attributes are noted by John pertaining to this glorious multitude-
1. Not defiled with women 2. Virgins 3. They follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth,
1. The women are the false woman of Apostasy. They are undefiled by Apostasy, keep separate, not cohabit, testify against it.
They follow the Lamb (Jhn.l0). The Lamb represents the Truth. They follow the Truth, not adulterated unions. This requires faith, courage, and discernment, not simply accepting the status quo, but having the courage of our own convictions to take action where necessary. These attributes of v.4 are not just 'after thoughts,' they are essential, and no one who does not manifest these attributes will be present on Mount Zion. They characterise the true saints, who are styled the firstfruits of the Lamb (the Pentecostian firstfruits).*
5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Virgins - this is the true woman of purity of doctrine and life (see Proverbs 1-9). The theme of the false woman and true woman goes all the way through the Word. The Truth is so easily defiled, harlotised, gentilised, heathenised, corrupted, adulterated into spiritual whoredoms (Jer.3, Jer. 7, Is.I, Ezk.8, 9) Which are we?
They also are without guile and faultless before the throne of God (Jde 24,25). They are not hypocrites, but genuine lovers of the Truth and Hope of Israel, their mouths not full of deceit, and craftiness, self justifications.
Faultless - no one is without sin (Rom.2,3), so this must be a state granted them because of their faith under severe trial, whereby they have come forth like gold from the refiners fire (I Pet. I. 7) .*
6 And I saw another angel <flying> in midheaven, having <aionian news> to <proclaim to> them <who> dwell <upon> the earth, <even> every nation, and <tribe>, and tongue, and people,
The Angel-Proclamation in Midheaven
[The Midheaven is the political firmament occupied by all the ranks, orders, and degrees, of the world rulers - the supreme and subordinate governors of those "many people, nations, and tongues" before whom John is to prophesy again].
"must prophesy again before many peoples and nations and tongues, and kings".
To do this he must rise from the dead, be judged, and quickened, when he will be fitted for the work. But it is too much for one man to accomplish in the short space allotted for the proclamation. Others of like qualifications wll therefore be associated with him in the work; so that it may be carried on in different countries at the same time.
The apostles had their colaboring attendants and subordinates when they sounded the gospel trumpet in old time. In the new proclamation the same condition may obtain. Be this as it may, it is "those that escape," or the saved remnant, that are sent, as sounders of the Truth, to the nations that have not heard the fame nor seen the glory of Yahweh; and they shall declare His glory to the Gentiles (Isa. 66:19).
This is the plurality represented by the Angel - one messenger emblematic of a multitude; as it is written in Psa. 68:11,
"Adonai will give the word; those who bear the tidings are a great host."
The proclamation is to be made through "midheaven." This is "the Air" into which the judgments of the Seventh Vial are to be poured after the proclamation of the message, or word given, is finished. It is the political aerial of Babylon the Great, which, instead of being as now the highest heaven of the political world, will occupy a middle station between the worshippers of the Beast, and the new throne established on Mount Zion.
...The situation is illustrated by 1 Chron. 21:16, where it is stated that David saw the Angel of Yahweh standing between the earth and the heaven - in midheaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out, as he was just going to afflict Jerusalem with an impending judicial visitation.
His position there was exhibited to David, that he might have time and occasion for obtaining the deliverance of the city from the wrath to come; so that the hovering of the Angel was to show, that there was room for escape on terms to be proposed, just as the Deity was going to inflict the punishment.
So with the great host in midheaven on their proclamation of the good . The destruction of Babylon, and the overthrow of the governments of the world, are decreed. Nothing can save them from abrogation and obliteration. The proclamation invites mankind to abandon these spiritual and temporal institutions, in commanding them to
"Fear the Deity, and give glory to Him".
It affords them time and opportunity for saving themselves from the impending calamities of the Hour of Divine judgment. If any transfer their allegiance from their clerical and civil rulers to the Lamb-Power, they will doubtless be exempted from the fire and brimstone torment, which is to destroy the Beast and his False Prophet (ch. 19:20; 14:9,10): but if they refuse to abjure these authorities, the plagues written in this prophecy for their destruction will assuredly consume the rebellious.
This good is styled aionion, a word which I have not translated but only transferred. The Angel-Host has "aionian good to proclaim". It is styled aionian, I conceive, because it announces "things not seen" pertaining to the aion, or COURSE, during which all nations will be "blessed in Abraham and his Seed."
This course is not to last for ever, but for a thousand years, styled in Dan. 7:12,
"a season and a time".
...The proclamation is the announcement of MILLENNIAL GOOD ; namely, that the resurrection, immortalization, and inauguration, of the called, and chosen, and faithful firstfruits, have been accomplished by Jesus Christ; who, having returned in power and great glory, has set up the ancient throne of his father David... he invites the allegiance of all nations to himself, as King of the whole earth by the grace of his Eternal Father
...That his purpose is to change the face of the world; and to enlighten mankind with the true knowledge from the rising to the setting sun. That, as mankind have been for a long series of ages in the bottomless abyss of ignorance and superstition, in commiseration of their helplessness, he invites them to hearken diligently unto him; and to come and buy wine and milk of him, without money and without price.
...A proclamation of this kind, made by such "ambassadors of Jesus Christ," and attested by signs and wonders of a character to establish their claims to the confidence and respect of the nations and their rulers, cannot fail of arresting attention as the all-absorbing topic of the day.
The message itself, and the reception it meets with by the world-rulers of church and state, will doubtless eclipse and supersede all other . The "leading journals" of Europe and America will be confounded; and seeing that the editorial staff of the world, like, "the spirituals" of the clerical kingdom, have no oil in their vessels, their leading articles upon this wonderful topic can only be the reflex of the darkness that covers the earth, and the gross darkness of the people.
As folly and falsehood are their stock in trade, they will doubtless counsel rejection of the message, and hostility to all claims emanating from such questionable authority. ... the civil rulers, of the midheaven will be the ruin of society: so that under the guidance of their policy the armies of the nations will go forth as a whirlwind to scatter him (Hab. 3:14).
It is not in human nature, much less in its political organization, to surrender power, wealth, and honour, at discretion.
...We know certainly that they will not; for it is testified that all nations shall compass him about like bees; but they shall be quenched as the fire of thorns; for in the name of Yahweh he will destroy them (Psa. 118:10-12; Apoc. 19:19-21).
The period of proclamation
As to how long the period of proclamation will continue, it is not possible to speak with certainty. The work to be done indicates that it will not be an instantaneous operation. It is a work of
"prophesying before many peoples and nations, and tongues, and kings."
This will take time, and possibly years. The Deity is never in a hurry, but deliberate, effective, sure. We need not be surprised if ten years were consumed in the proclamation and the development of its results.
Between the "memorial of blowing of trumpets" on the first day of the seventh month, and the Day of Atonement, there was an interval of ten days; after this pattern it may, therefore, be, that between the beginning of the proclamation in midheaven and the commencement of the Second Angel judgment upon Babylon (Ch. 14:3), there will be an interval of ten years.
This would leave an "Hour," or month of years, that is, thirty years, for the judgment to sit in slaying the fourth beast of Daniel, and destroying his body-politic in the burning flame (ch. 7:11). These forty years after the manifestation of the Son of David and his mighty ones on Mount Zion, are the period of "the building again of the tabernacle of David, and of the setting up of its ruins, as it was in the days of old (Acts 15:16; Amos 9:11) the exodal period of the gathering together under one king of all the tribes of the House of Jacob (Mic. 7:15).
These forty years will be the most important and terrible of the world's history. They are the period of the world's transition from what it calls "self-government," to the government of Christ and his Brethren.
The most noteworthy developments of this transition period are depicted in the fourteenth, part of the sixteenth and seventeenth, the eighteenth, nineteenth, and part of the twentieth chapters of the Apocalypse. They exhibit the setting up of the Kingdom of David by the Eloahh of the Heavens (Dan. 2:44): by which the kingdom is restored again to Israel (Acts 1:6).
The work of these forty years was foreshadowed in the reign of David. His forty years' reign was to that of Solomon's peaceful administration over Israel and the Gentiles, as a judicial preparation; for before he could
"reign over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt,"
these kingdoms had to be subdued by his father David. After the same pattern it will be with the greater than Solomon. Forty years of judgment are consumed in preparing the millennial reign of peace and righteousness; which, as the chapters indicated show, will not be introduced and established by clerical preaching, nor by "the benevolent institutions of the day," but by "judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries".
7 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.
The First Angel mission. This is the everlasting or Aionian gospel preached to all nations, tongues and people, following the ascent of the Rainbowed Angel to Mount Zion; following the great earthquake of Olivet (Zech,.4), following the Armageddon conflict. It is a message of warning of further more terrible judgements. The nations are called on to fear God, give glory to him and Worship him who made heaven and earth, and the sea and fountains of waters, for the hour (30yrs) of judgement is come. It seems from this that the saints going forth to the nations (ls.66.19), will occupy about 10 years.
*The Apocalyptic Messenger, July 2016
Bro Richard Lister
"Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews"
...will send ambassadors from Jerusalem to the British Government and people, announcing his purposes with respect to them, and demanding their entire and unreserved submission to his authority and will.
This will be in conformity with the divine custom at the epoch of all past great retributive crises of the world-proclamations of repentance, divinely attested, precede the judgments of God.
Take the overthrow of the amediluvian world, the punishment of Egypt, the destruction of Jerusalem and the fall of Pagan Rome for examples. Yahweh commissioned Noah to the first, Moses to the second, John, Jesus and his apostles to the third, and the apostles and their colaborers to the fourth, for a witness to all the nations of the habitable.
And shall final destruction fall upon the myriads of Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Australasia, "who cannot discern their right hand from their left, and the much cattle they contain," unpreceded by a proclamation warning them of the evil at hand, ready for the destruction of the refractory and contumacious?
We answer, No.
Proclamation will be made by the First Angel Company to the dwellers upon earth
...Fair warning will be given that the time is come for Yahweh Elohim, the Holy One of Israel, to show strength with his arm, to scatter the proud in the imagination of their hearts, to put down the mighty from their thrones, to exalt them of low degree, to fill the hungry with good things, to send the rich empty away, and to help his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy, as he spake to their fathers, to Abraham and his seed, for the Aion-εις του αιωυα.-Luke 1:55
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, April 1858
8 And <another angel> [2nd] followed another angel, saying, <Fallen, fallen hath Babylon the> great city, because she <hath> made all nations drink of the wine of the <raging> of her fornication.
I have styled this angel "the Second," because the one that succeeds it is called "a third". The first angel, which must, of course, precede the second, is the messengerhood engaged in "drawing the bow," or sounding the good of the aeon (aion) in mid-heaven, after the manifestation of the Son of Deity upon Mount Zion. The second angel is constituted of the party of action by which the Roman Question can alone be solved.
The purpose of their mission is the overthrow of Babylon, whose fall is proclaimed in the aorist, or indefinite tense, epesen, epese, which declares the event without specifying the exact time. This, however, is certain, that the Roman Babylon will not fall until the proclamation in mid-heaven shall have been announced, saying,
"Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached until the heaven (achri tou ouranou), and the Deity remembers her iniquities" (ch. 18:5).
The people here addressed are the eight thousand Jews in Rome, and the tens of thousands in the kingdoms of the Beast; who, if they remain in her, are warned, that they will be treated as the enemies of the Great Shepherd of the Sheep.
The initiation of the second angel judgment is synchronous with the Seventh Vial, in the Outpouring of which "great Babylon comes in remembrance before the Deity, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath" (ch. 16:19). The effect of this is the fall from which she never recovers; and which is proclaimed by the second angel.
I have said, that the second angelhood is constituted of the party of action. This party solves all questions beyond the ability of human govemments to settle. It consists of the Spirit in co-operation with the Saints, who in ch. 18:8, is styled "the Lord God," or Yahweh Elohim; in ver. 20, "the Heaven," or "holy apostles and prophets;" and in ver. 4,6,7, "my people".
The Saints, to whom judgment is given under the whole heaven, in command of the hosts of Judah and their allies, are the constituents of the second angel power. It is their mission to give torment and sorrow to Babylon in a double proportion to the cruelties she has inflicted upon them; and not to withdraw their hand until they have destroyed her from the earth.
The Babylon whose fall is proclaimed by the second angel, is the city consisting of ten parts, or kingdoms (ch. 11:13); whose Queen, as yet unwidowed, is the Mother of Harlots enthroned in Rome (ch. 17:5,18).
9 And < a > third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any <one> worship the Beast and his Image, and receive <a sign upon> his forehead, or <upon> his hand,
..This third angel judgment, which, like the second, belongs to the plagues of the Seventh Vial, slays Daniel's fourth Beast, destroys its body politic, and gives him to the burning flame (ch. 7:11).
...The smoke of third angel "torment" continues to ascend to the "establishment of the economy of the fulness of the times"
And a third angel followed the first and second angels
His following them indicates, that Babylon the great city has fallen before the third angel-power proceeds to finish the plagues of the last stage of "the Hour of Judgment". In other words, the terrible overthrow predicted in the eighteenth chapter will be complete. Rome will be where Sodom and Gomorrah are, and for a like reason because of the filthy conversation and unlawful deeds of the spirituals of wickedness in the heavenlies, who are reserved unto a day of judgment to be punished (2 Pet. 2:6-9).
...This glorious and complete destruction of the temporal and spiritual papal power will have been consummated by the Second Angel which proclaims the fall of Babylon.
But something more is necessary than the destruction of the Papacy to the complete enlightening of the earth with the glory of the angel, who descends out of the heaven having great power (ch. 18:1). There still remain
"the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her;" and "the merchants of the earth,"
who trade in the dainty and goodly things peculiar to the bazaars, dedicated by them to guardian saints, and which they call "churches". These kings and priests survive the Sodom over-throw of "the Eternal City". They still occupy their position "afar off" in the ten streets of the Great City; for after Rome has been "utterly burned with fire" by the power of the Lord God who judgeth her, they are said to stand afar off for fear of her torment, and to bewail and lament for her.
"Alas, alas," they exclaim, "that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come" (18v.4,10, 11-19).
But the lamentations of her ecclesiastics are the most mournful and grievous, because the fall of the Papacy by the power of the Lamb, ruins their imposture and thievery throughout the world
"the merchants, or great men, of the earth, by whose sorceries all the nations are deceived, shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise anymore" (18v.11,23).
... they weep and mourn, not because they discover that the Catholic superstition is a bald and wicked humbug; but because they can no longer utilize it to their own aggrandizement in wealth and power - "for no man buyeth their merchandise any more". This is the secret of their grief!
The Drunken Harlot priesthood, the Eighth Head of the scarlet-coloured Beast, and the Ten Horns,
"have one mind, and give their power and strength unto the beast"
in aid of the common cause.
The Eighth Head is the Dictator of the confederacy, styled in ch. 20:2, "the Dragon, that old Serpent, which is the Devil and Satan". The Harlot Priesthood is the False Prophet of the situation, that works miracles before the Beast, and deceives them that had received the sign of the Beast, and them that worshipped his Image before it was destroyed by the judgments of the Second Angel (ch. 19:20).
When '"christian nations" go to war, the clergy are always there to prophesy success; and to assure the combatants that the God of battles, who gives the victory, is on their side. True to their calling and character they will be the chaplains of the military establishments of the Beast in the field; and praying to their god of battles, and prophesying victory from their "sacred desks" and "altars" over the Israelitish Antichrist!
As usual, they deceive the governments, and all who trust them. By their prophesyings they deceive the worshippers of the Beast, and harden their hearts for the capture and destruction to be inflicted on them by the Third Angel-power.
The Beast and kings of the Goat-nations determine to make war against the King of the Jews, and to meet his forces in the field. It is not likely that they will attribute the recent overthrow of "the Eternal City" to power exerted by his will. They will no doubt consider it accidental, and but another phenomenon to be added to the overthrow of Pompeii and Herculaneum . The terrible catastrophe only inflames their wrath, and causes them to
"make war upon the Lamb".
The Napoleons, the Victor Emmanuels, the Francis Josephs, and the Alexanders, of the day, gather together their armies like swarms of bees, intending to scatter his troops with the whirlwind of their host
"they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me; their rejoicing is as to devour the poor secretly" (Hab. 3:14).
They will think to take him by surprise. But the Eternal Father is on his side; there will therefore be to him no cause of fear. Let the reader study Psa. 118, which treats of
"the Stone which the builders refused",
and he will find the nature of the situation under the third angel manifestation.
"All nations compassed me about like bees;"
but, as he inquires in the sixth verse,
"what can man do unto me?"
These armies will rush like the rushing of mighty waters, but
"the Lamb shall overcome them" (Apoc. 17:14).
"They shall be quenched as the fire of thorns; for by the name of Yahweh will I destroy them."
By this Name they are "rebuked, and chased as the chaff of the mountains" before the wind, and like thistle-down before the whirlwind - by this Name, "the King of kings and Lord of lords," the ten horns are overcome. They are conquered by the Lamb with Seven Horns and Seven Eyes; because he is the King Almighty; "and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful". Such disaster as this, saith the prophet,
"is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that scatter us" (Isa. 17:12-14).
..This third angel judgment, which, like the second, belongs to the plagues of the Seventh Vial, slays Daniel's fourth Beast, destroys its body politic, and gives him to the burning flame (ch. 7:11).
...The smoke of third angel "torment" continues to ascend to the "establishment of the economy of the fulness of the times"
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth < until the aeons of aeons:> and they have no rest day <and > night, who worship the Beast and his Image, and whosoever receiveth the <sign> of his name.
The "smoke" of verse 11 which ascends, is the symbol of the glory and power of Deity in burning operation against the worshippers of the Beast. In ch. 15:8, it is styled "smoke from the glory of Deity, and from His power". In this place, "the temple" is said to be "filled with" this smoke. The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple (ch. 21:22). The smoke is, therefore, His wrath; and while it flames,
"no one is able to enter into the nave;"
for the nave is the Most Holy Heavenly State, in which the nations hang the trumpet in the hall, and practise war no more.
12 Here is the patience of the saints: here they <who> keep the commandments of <the Deity>, and the faith of Jesus.
...in the third angel-judgment, "the Beast is taken, and with him the Pseudo prophet" (ch. 19:20). The things represented by these symbols constitute a power that has led the saints and witnesses captive, and killed them with the sword. Therefore, the power "that killeth with the sword, by the sword must be killed;" and that, too, by the sword wielded by the saints (Psa. 149:6-9).
Hence, also, in that section of the third angel -judgment represented in the eleventh verse, and further illustrated in the sickle scenes from the fourteenth to the twentieth verses inclusive, the remnant of the hostile power of the blasphemers (ch. 16:21) is slain with the sword of the "Faithful and True One," the Commander-in-Chief,
"who judges and makes war in righteousness" (ch. 19:11).
What, then, are the saints waiting for, and what do they believe in? In other words, what is their patience and faith as the Brethren of Christ? The answer is, that they believe in and are waiting for the slaying of Daniel's fourth Beast, the destruction of his body politic, and the giving of it to the burning flame; and for the giving of the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, to the people consisting of the saints of the Most High Ones (Dan. 7:11,27)
13 And I heard a 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.
It is the Father, the Eternal Power, by the Spirit, who doeth the works: as he said to Zechariah,
"Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith YAHWEH Tz'vaoth" (iv. 6).
Of their own selves Jesus and his Brethren can do nothing. Their almightiness is of the Father-Spirit,
"Whithersoever the Spirit was to go they went" (Ezek. i. 12,20);
and where they went, there the Spirit of their Father worked. Hence the peculiarity of the sentence, ta de erga auton akolouthei met'auton --
"and their works He goes with them."
He attends upon them as akolouthos, a camp-follower.
He is present in all their encampments; and all the defeats they give their enemies are by his power. How could it be otherwise? For, having been begotten and born of the Spirit, they are as much Spirit as that which has been begotten and born of the flesh is flesh (John iii. 6). Therefore, what they do must of necessity be done by the Spirit -- "he goes with them;" and "their works," the works of the Angel of the Covenant, signified in his roaring, in the little scroll, and in the seven thunders, He does with almighty and invincible power.
14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one <sitting> like to <a> Son of man [144 000 spiritually minded redeemed from the earth], having <upon> his head a golden <stephan>, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
"And I looked," saith John. Previous to this his ears, not his eyes, had been addressed. He had just been listening to the "voice from the heaven," and the comment of the Spirit upon it. Having finished the writing of it in the book before him, he very naturally looked up, and thereupon perceived, that the scene had been changed.
When he last wrote the words "I looked, and, behold," he introduced us to a scene upon Mount Zion, where the Lamb with the 144,000 are seen standing. This is a Pentecostian scene, an exhibition of First fruit. But, before Pentecost, comes the Passover in its fulfillment in the kingdom of the Deity (Luke 22:15-18).
...Before the Lamb can enter Zion with the 144,000, it will be necessary for him to expel the enemy. He comes to redeem Zion from the power of the foreigners, who have "come in like a flood", and afflicted her with
"desolation and destruction, and the famine, and the sword".
At this crisis of Zion's history, coeval with "darkness covering the earth, and gross darkness the people," Yahweh inquires through the prophet,
"What have I here that My people is taken away for naught? They who rule over them make them to howl, saith Yahweh; and My Name continually every day is blasphemed". "They have scattered Israel among the nations, and they have parted My land;"
and "the king of the north hath planted the tents of his entrenched camp between the seas to the mountain of the glory of the Holy One" (Isa. 59:19; 52:5; Joel 3:2; Dan. 11:45).
Such are Zion's relations, domestic and foreign, social, civil, and spiritual, at the crisis immediately preceding the appearance of the Lamb and his company within her walls. Being assembled in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and having laid successful siege to Jerusalem, they rifle its houses, ravish its women, and send half of its population into captivity, many of whom they sell to the Greeks for slaves at the vilest prices (Zech. 14:2; Joel 3:3).
This prostrates Jerusalem in the dust, and fastens bands around the neck of the captive daughter of Zion. The uncircumcised and the unclean, then in possession of Tyre and Zidon, and the coasts of Palestine, are in high feather over their success. This will be truly the day of Jacob's trouble, in which there will be none to help, nor any to uphold (Isa. 63:5; Jer. 30:7). But, Zion's extremity is her Redeemer's opportunity. "When," saith Moses,
"he seeth that their power is gone, he will repent himself for his servants;"
and saith Joel,
"He will then be jealous for his land, and pity his people, who shall no more be made a reproach among the nations" (ch. 2:18,19; Deut. 32:36).
A white cloud
A cloud indicates a multitude; and such a cloud, when looked upon in reference to its intrinsic excellence, would look white to the eye of faith. "All the Saints with Yahweh Elohim" are "Yahweh's mighty ones," numerically represented by 144,000; these are the white cloud, or Cherub, upon which the Spirit rides (Psa. 18:10); or, in the language of the Apocalypse, "upon which one like to a Son of Man is sitting".
Here the Spirit sits upon the white cloud; while, in ch. 10, he is "clothed with a cloud". This tenth chapter is introductory to the fourteenth.
The golden stephanos
The "one like the Son of Man" sits upon the cloud, "having upon his head a golden stephanos," rendered crown, but not a diadem. This indicates that he is the Generalissimo of the cloud of mighty ones; but not yet in possession of David's diadem, removed from David's house, when Zedekiah , the profane, wicked prince of Israel, was abased by Nebuchadnezzar (Ezek 21:26).
The stephan indicates that he is going to compete for a prize, which he has not as yet acquired. If he had been seen with a diadem upon his head, it would have implied that he was the ruling monarch of one kingdom at least; or that such was his destiny. On the contrary, the scene before us exhibits him in the outset of his military career, whose course will be that of a strong man to run and win a race (Psa. 19:5).
The prize set before him is, not one, but diademata polla, many diadems (ch. 19:12): and these he acquires by "the energy whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself". He transfers the diadem from the ten horns to his own head, when their kingdoms have become his by right of conquest. He is then seen sitting no longer on a cloud, but "upon a throne set in the heaven," the throne of his father David, which Yahweh Elohim hath given him (Ch. 4:2; Luke 1:31-33).
The Similitude of the Son of Man is ,seen sitting upon or invested with a white cloud, a golden crown upon his head; and 'holding a sharp sickle. The white cloud is the glorified company of the saints, a great cloud of witnesses of whom this world is not worthy, who are white because of their righteousness and because of their conquest (Rev .2.26), as the Bride of Christ (Rev .19:7,8).
They have been elevated above the flesh, by the power .of the Sun of Righteousness, and as the similitude of the son of man or multitudinous Christ, prepare for battle. This takes place at Sinai. They wear a,golden crown (stephanos) to signify their mind attuned to God,manifestation ~Rev.14.l Rev'.7.13-l1). and that they are a body politic of kings who shall reign over the earth Rev.5.10). **
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.
The similitude of the Son of Man is instructed to thrust in the sickle and reap, for the time has come to reap, "for the harvest of the earth is ripe." The time of judicial wrath of Deity has arrived. This is after the judgement - and preparation of the saints at Sinai.Bro Richard Lister
The Apocalyptic Messenger, March 2016
16 And he that <is sitting upon> the cloud <cast> his sickle <upon> the earth; and the earth was reaped.
The sharp sickle
in his hand is symbolical of his power to reap down the multitudes which have assembled on the valley or plain of their destruction. The sword called for throughout the mountains of Israel, their mutual slaughter, the pestilence, overflowing rain of hailstones, fire, and brimstone, the panic and blindness of the horses, and the madness of their riders (Zech. 12:4; 14:12-15) - all illustrate the sharp sickle cast upon the earth for its reaping at the appointed hour.
"And the earth was reaped" - the "Little Horn of the Goat; the King of Fierce Countenance is broken without hand; the Image of Nebuchadnezzar is smitten by the stone; the Gog Multitude is prostrate upon the mountains of Israel; the King of the North hath come to his end without anyone to help him; and Judah is delivered from the Assyrian by the Bethlehem-born Ruler of Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2-7; Dan. 11:45; 8:9,23,25; 2:34).
This confederacy against the East is shivered to pieces as a potter's vessel, and Jerusalem is delivered. From henceforth she will be no more trodden under-foot of the Gentiles; nor will the uncircumcised and unclean be permitted to enter. Zion hath now put on her strength; and Jerusalem her beautiful garments.
She is no longer rebellious against her King, but blesses him as her Redeemer who hath come in the name of Yahweh. She had thrown open wide her gates, that the King of Glory, Yahweh Tz'vaoth, strong and mighty in battle, might enter in. Standing with his feet upon the Mount of Olives, he beholds the Pass over fill fllled in the kingdom - the Assyrian is slain, Zion is redeemed, and the Lamb with the 144,000 stand upon her holy mount:
"Henceforth Jerusalem shall be holy, and no strangers shall pass through her any more" (Joel 3:17).
The similitude of the son of man that sat on the cloud thrusts in the sickle and reaps the earth. Bro Thomas equates this with the Pentecostian harvest of Armageddon which commences with the march of the Rainbowed Angel, at Bozrah (Is.63,I, 1s.34), and concludes at Jerusalem (Pslm.68). with the decimation of the Gogian hordes of the Prince of Rosh or Autocrat of all the Russias, who takes the Holy City, and enslaves and depopulates terribly, but his claims to universal dominion are interrupted by the Mighty judgements of the sickle Reaper (Zech.l4, Joe13, Ezk.38,39). Two thirds of Israel perish (Zech.l3). but a remnant is spared, and constitute the armies of Yahweh as a sharp threshing instrument, after their repentence (Zech.l2, Zech.9,I0,ll).
**Bro Richard Lister
The Apocalyptic Messenger, March 2016
17 And another angel came out of the <Nave> which is in <the> heaven, he having <also> a sharp sickle.
..Jesus and his Brethren in command of the twelve tribes of Israel, are the Sickle of the Spirit by which he cuts off the vine of the earth, and treads its clusters in the great winepress of Divine wrath.
The sickle he handles in the sanguinary vintage of the earth, is "the Remnant of Jacob" who are then
"among the Gentiles in the midst of many peoples as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep; who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the nations, such as they have not heard" (Micah 5:8,15).
Such is the instrumentality of the Spirit in the down-treading of the wine press. Judah and Israel in their dispersion are handled by the King of the Jews as his sword, bow, arrow, battle-axe, sickle, fan, and so forth. "Behold," saith the Spirit in Isaiah 41:15,
"I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth; thou, worm Jacob, shalt thresh the mountains (empires), and beat them small, and shalt make the hills (lesser states) as chaff. And thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; and thou shalt rejoice in Yahweh, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel".
This has never come to pass since it was written. It will, however, assuredly be fulfilled, when He who hath been raised up "shall come upon princes as upon mortar, and as the potter treadeth clay" (v.25). And in Psa. 44 they say,
"Thou art He, 0 Elohim, my King: command thou deliverances for Jacob. Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy Name will we tread them under that rise up against us".
18 And another angel came out from the altar, <having> power over <the> fire; and <he shouted with a great outcry> [multitudinous entreaty] to him [the commander in chief] <having> the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and <cut off> the clusters of the earth [assembled armies of christendom]; for her grapes are fully ripe.
The angel is said to come out "from the altar"
He issues thence as the avenger of those whose blood had been poured out beneath it. Hence, the altar is symbolical of the apostles, prophets, and saints, and of all slain upon the earth, for the witness of Jesus, and the word of the Deity (ch. 17:6; 18:20,24;6:9,10; 20:4).
All of these, accepted at the tribunal, are constituents of the avenging minister. They live again; and judgment being given unto them, they have "power over fire" - over that fire with which Babylon is utterly burned (ch. 18:8); that, into which the Beast and the False Prophet are cast alive (ch. 19:20); that, with which the worshippers of the Beast and his Image are tormented (ch. 14:10): that, which is mingled with the crystal sea; and that, the smoke of which ascendeth to the end of the "sixteen hundred furlongs".
This is the "fire," or "wrath of the Deity poured out unmixed in the cup of His indignation," at their command. Their tribulations, sufferings and down-treading. have continued and accumulated for ages and generations; so that the cry for vengeance in the day when the Deity avenges his elect, is truthfully represented as the shout of a great outcry.
The cry of Abel's blood, though faint as that of one man, was loud enough to reach the ear of Deity; hence the loudness of the cry proceeding from the angel of the altar, is not because the avenger is hard of hearing, but symbolical of the multitudes to be avenged -
"a great multitude which no man can number;" "a great cloud of witnesses," of whom the world is not worthy (ch. 7:9; Heb. 12:1; 11:38).
But the Angelhood of the Altar, though possessing power over the fire, does not apply it to judicial purposes of its own accord. It appeals to the Angel of the Sickle, the Head of which is Christ the Lord. He being the Commander-in-Chief, all things await his mandate.
Hence, the loud outcry must be understood, not as a command, but as an entreaty, that he would now "thrust in his sharp sickle, and "gather the clusters of the vine of the earth".
Remembering their former sufferings in the flesh, which they endured without retaliation; and seeing that the day of vengeance has come, and that they are now in power, they long to begin the work of vindicating the truth, which cost many of them their lives, by overthrowing Babylon, destroying the Beast, and grinding to powder the broken fragments of the Image, so that these evil and accursed powers being abolished, they may enter upon
"the rest that remaineth for the people of God",
in which there is abundant peace so long as the sun and moon endure.
The Vine of the Earth
is a phrase representative of the civil, military, and ecclesiastical, constitution of what is called "Christendom". The grapes of this vine are the nations clustered together into empires and kingdoms upon it.
To gather the clusters of the vine is to cause the armies of the nations to assemble together for war, so that they may be cut off and trodden down. Wherever the trampling of them occurs, there is the winepress into which they are cast -
"the great winepress of the wrath of the Deity".
19 And the angel <cast> his sickle into the earth, and <cut off> the vine of the earth [chistendom - civil, military, and ecclesiastical, constitution], and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of <the Deity>.
...the symbolic Son of Man, "whose voice is as the sound of many waters" (ch. 1:13-16), sickled the harvest for the purpose of "opening a door," through which the mighty ones of the Spirit, the Elohim of Israel, might enter in the heaven, and set up a throne therein ch. 4:1-2.
In this work, or labour, they succeeded gloriously. They opened a door, entered amid the acclamations of the people, planted themselves on Mount Zion, and established the throne of the Deity, before and around which they circle in faultless myriads (ch. 14:1,5).
But, the other angel that sickles the vine of the earth comes out of the Nave "which is in the heaven". The angel power of the harvest and vintage belongs to the Nave, or temple, in most holy manifestation; but between the advent and the harvest, it is the Nave "which is not in the heaven;" while after the harvest and before the vintage it is "the Nave which is in the heaven", or "Air," where it will continue evermore.
The reaping of the harvest of the earth, which puts the saints in possession of "the City of the Great King," is only the beginning of national judgment. It is the smiting of the Babylonian Image upon its Russo-Gogian clayey feet by the stone-power. This shatters its homogeneity as a political organization under one imperial ruler.
But though the continuity of its political elements is broken, the dynasties represented by the gold and the silver, the brass, the iron and the clay, of the image, do still exist; so that the work remaining for the mighty ones of the Spirit is that of reducing the broken fragments of the Image to the condition represented by the chaff of the summer threshing floors, which the wind carries away into nonentity (Dan. 2:35).
This is the work of the vintage in its simplest illustration.
20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out <from> the winepress unto the <bridles of the horses, for>, 1 600 furlongs.
Without the city
That is, the fearful judgments to be manifested will not be confined to the Ten-Streeted Babylon, which is geographically bounded by the Rhine, the Danube, and the Euphrates, the English Channel, and the Atlantic. There are extensive regions beyond, or "without," these limits, equally obnoxious to the "fierceness and wrath of Almighty God". "Without the City" there is Germany, in its largest sense, styled by Ezekiel "Magog", upon which, saith Adonai Yahweh, "I will send a fire".
This Magog, or land of Gog, will include Prussia, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Russia, and Poland. "Without the City" also are "them that dwell carelessly in the isles", among whom the fire is to be sent also.
These isles will include the dorninions of Great Britain, that may not obey the proclamation in midheaven commanding obedience to the King of Israel. "Without the City" also there are Canada and its sister provinces the United States, Mexico, all South America, the Chinese Empire, Central Asia, Persia, Arabia, Abyssinia, and Egypt.
All these countries, which include what Daniel styles, "the Rest of the Beasts," in ch. 7:12, the Lion, the Bear, and the Leopard, are all to be visited with "the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God;" which results in "taking away their dominion," though not in extinguishing their political existence, which continues "for a season and a time," or 1000 years.
All these are "cast into the great winepress of the wrath of God," when, having destroyed the Great City of Ten Kingdoms, in its threefold dominion of the Seventh Vial, they are trodden in the judgments of the winepress "without the City"
1 600 furlongs
The reader may easily conceive what an immense shedding of blood is implied by such a vintage as this. It is "the supper of the great God" prepared for the fowls of the heaven, who fill themselves with "the flesh of horses, and of them that sit upon them". The phrase "oceans of blood;" as expressive of the quantity shed in these extensive warlike operations of the Saints, or Angel of the Sickle, would hardly be an exaggeration. The blood which flows from the down-trodden armies of the nations, is represented as ascending to
"the bridles of the horses for a thousand six hundred furlongs".
This taken literally, would be about five feet deep, and two hundred miles long; but how broad we are left to imagine.
But, as the literal is only symbolical of the real in this most ingeniously~devised prophecy, we need only inquire, what is signified by the phrase "came Out of the winepress even unto the bridles of their horses".
The winepress judgments being identical with "the Supper of the Great God," which consummates the binding of the Dragon in the abyss, the terms of the one are expletive of the terms of the other. Hence, the more concise phrase, "the bridles of the horses," is interpreted by the words in ch. 19:18, "the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them" - of them that hold the bridle.
Thus the word bridle comes to represent the rider of the horse. Blood does not flow from the horses only; but the fierceness of the wrath falls also upon the bridle-men, or "bridles," who govern and maneuver them in battle; it comes even unto them.
The winepress is not a locality sixteen hundred furlongs in length; but the aggregate of the wrath of the Deity, affecting all the nations "without the city".
Wherever there is a nation, kingdom, or republic, beyond the limits of "the Great Babylon," to be trodden down, there is the winepress, though it may be ten thousand furlongs from Jerusalem.
The question, then, in relation to the treading of the winepress is not where, but how long?
... It is to continue till the commencement of
"the Economy of the fullness of times,"
commonly styled the Millennium: but still the question remains to be solved, How long from the reaping of the harvest of the earth by the Son of Man upon the white cloud, which puts the saints in possession of Mount Zion, and the end of the judgments when the Millennial Economy begins?
The answer before us is "a thousand six hundred furlongs" off; that is,. a time of this length is the square of the time to be occupied in the execution of the judgment given, or committed, to the saints.
This principle of the square, traditionally incorporated in Masonry, is a specialty of revelation, from the Aaronic breastplate of judgment, to "the city that lieth foursquare".
...the division of 1600 ...40 x 40 1600. Here, then, is the answer in figures. The treading of the winepress by the saints in command of the armies of Israel will continue by the space of forty years, at the end of which will be reached the fulfilment of the Jubilee in the kingdom of the Deity, when every Israelite shall return to his possession and to his family (Lev. 25:9,10).This forty years is the period of Israel's Second Exodus, in which
"it shall come to pass that the Adon (Lord) shall add his hand to redeem a second time the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
They shall fly (as a bird of prey) upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; and they shall spoil them of the east ("without the city") together; they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. And there shall be a highway for the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt" (Isa.11:11,14,16).