Revelation Chapter 14 [KJVwc]

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1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. A lamb – Christ. R155:5*

On the mount Sion – Sinai was the Mount of God in the legal and typical dispensation. Zion is the Mount of God in the Gospel age and onward; and we learn, too, that it is an heavenly and an earthly mountain. R155:5*

With him – As Moses and Aaron met in the mount. R170:4*, 168:5*

These went up to meet Christ, their brother, in Zion--the Mountain and City of God. (Heb. 12:22, Diaglott) R155:5*

An hundred forty and four thousand – God ordained that a certain specific number should be chosen from amongst men to be joint-heirs in the Kingdom. F179

The called, chosen and faithful. (Rev. 17:14) A295

The whole number of the elect company. CR156:3

The elect Church--the very elect, the saintly few, the Little Flock. R5231:5[5231:19], 5493:2

The twelve tribes of spiritual Israel, whose entire number was to be 144,000--twelve thousand from each tribe. R5964:6[R5964:16]

The faithful remnant of natural Israel, who were gathered at the beginning of this Gospel age, and the faithful remnant from the Gentile Church of this age. R5548:6[5548:14], 5964:6[R5964:16]; Q756:2

The Priesthood would have been completely made up from the twelve tribes of Israel had there been a sufficient number of faithful obedient ones to make up the predestinated number of 144,000. Q756:2

When the message was proclaimed by the twelve Apostles, approximately 16,000 Jews became footstep followers. But this number was short of the 144,000. Hence, in due time, the privilege was extended to one nation after another. SM175:T[SM175]

The complete Church. Hence, the resurrected saints as well as the changed living saints. R170:3*

Numbered and limited--a Little Flock--the very reverse of innumerable. It is another class altogether that is described as "a great multitude which no man could number." (Rev. 7:9) R3026:1[R3026:1]

The inhabitants of a spiritual mountain will themselves be spiritual. R155:5*

If the whole world were to keep the Law they would not belong to the spiritual seed, for God wants only 144,000. R5837:1[5837:3]

If all the Jews living in Jesus' day had loved God and had made a full consecration, God might have increased the number of the elect. R5837:5[R5837:10], 5640:6

In their foreheads – Their advantage is largely in the divine wisdom and knowledge granted them because of their obedience to their consecration. Sealed intellectually, that they may not be in darkness with the world. R1470:5[R1470:6]

I – The John class, the church in the flesh during the time of our Lord's second advent.

Looked – This is one of the characteristics of the John class. They followed the Lord's instruction to look, to watch for the signs of His presence. Mark 13:35-37

Lamb – Our Lord Jesus.

Stood – Compare Dan. 12:1.

On the mount Sion – The Kingdom of God.

This clearly pictures our Lord at His Second Advent.

With him – The saints are here shown as being with Jesus in Glory. This indicates that three things must have taken place.
1Return of Jesus as King.
2Resurrection of the saints who slept – 1 Cor. 15:51,52; 1 Thess. 4:16,17
3Full number (144,000) must be reached, i.e., this cannot occur prior to 1881.

144,000 – The full number of the body of Christ – see Rev. 7:3-8.

Their Father's name – His characteristics. These are conformed to the image of His son – Rom. 8:29. To see what God says this is see Exo. 34:5-7

Written in their foreheads – This corresponds to Rev. 7:2,3 where the saints are "sealed in their foreheads." Please note, the sealing in the forehead takes place on this side of the veil.

Please notice the last of the Expanded Bible Comments (R1470) where Br. Russell applies this to the saints who "pass through much of the trouble with a happiness based upon this knowledge."
2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: With their harps – The symbolic harp symbolizes the Word of God, which is the source and accompaniment of this song. NS634:5

"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down; yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof." (Psa. 137:1-3) NS634:1

Like those on the sea of glass. R170:3*, 168:5*

I heard a voice from heaven – From the symbolic heaven. It figures to be the symbolic heavens because this is a book of symbolsRev. 1:1.

As the voice of many waters – See Voice of many waters.

Compare Eze. 1:24.

And as the voice of a great thunder – Thunder is symbolic of controversy. [R511, R576] When the 144,000 are shown in Mount Zion there is "great" controversy.

And I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps – By comparing this phrase with Rev. 15:2,3 we see this has reference also to the saints, those who sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. The harps are the bible.

Compare Psa. 137:1-7.
3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. And they sung – Declared before men the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the goodness and grace of the divine plan. R2570:1[R2570:4]

All who receive this "new song" into good and honest hearts are prompt to give utterance to it; and are singing it daily, as they find opportunity, to those who have ears to hear. R2432:5[R2432:10]

The song sung is after they are seen on Mount Zion with the Lamb, and this is in harmony with the type. After Moses and Aaron met in the Mount, Aaron did his work. R170:5*

"How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" (Psa. 137:4) NS634:2

Here and there, in a very humble manner, the saints did hum the song of Zion, though ultimately many of its joyful notes were lost, forgotten. NS634:2

As it were – It is not a new song, for it is the "Song of Moses and the Lamb." (Rev. 15:3) It is the old, old story of the "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29) NS634:2

A new song – A new theme, a new message has been received into the heart and it is so happifying that it continually overflows through the lips--the Scriptures' joyful message, harmonious, metrical. NS633:3

"He giveth songs in the night." (Job 35:10) NS635:2

Before the throne – Before the exaltation to the glory of power. R170:5*, 168:5*

Not on it. This is likely the position referred to in Luke 21:36, viz. "that ye may be accounted worthy to escape." R168:5*

No man – It is necessary to be somewhat of an "overcomer" of the world ere any would have the courage to sing this song. R2570:1[R2570:4]

Only the "saints," and not the worldly. NS634:4

How is it possible for those who are under the delusions of error to honor God in their hearts or to sing this song? NS635:2

The new song can be appreciated and sung only from the standpoint of "The Divine Plan of the Ages." NS635:3

We need not imply that those able to sing the song could not fall from their steadfastness and become castaways, and lose the privilege of singing it. R2570:2[R2570:5]

Whoever leaves the way of humble faith and consecrated obedience, loses his power to sing "the song of Moses and the Lamb" harmoniously, properly. R2432:5[R2432:10]

The Great Company, not being overcomers, cannot be of the Bride or sit with him on the throne of his highly exalted dominion. R828:4[R828:6]

"But the people that do know their God [his character and plan] shall be valiant and do exploits." (Dan. 11:32) R2570:1[R2570:4]

Could learn – Clearly and harmoniously. R2432:5[R2432:10]

But the – Such as are "taught of God"--only such as have been called to the high calling, and have accepted the call, and are in the way of obedience. R2432:5[R2432:10]

Redeemed – Greek, agorazo. The thought is that of public purchase. E430

They – The 144,000.

Sung – See Isa. 52:8; Rev. 15:2-4.

As it were – It is not actually a new song but it seems to be a new song. How can this be? Because this song was being sung in the days of the Apostles but many of the truths were lost sight of during the dark ages. Now the original song is being sung again. It is not really a new song, but it seems to be because it has not been heard for so many centuries.

A new song – The Song of Moses and the Lamb (Rev. 15:2-4).

"This song belongs to the early morning." NS635:4

Before the throne – See Before the Throne. This shows a connection with the throne while in an earthly condition.

The four beasts – The four attributes of God. Rev. 4:7

The elders – see Rev. 4:4,10

No man – The fact that it indicates men cannot sing this song unless they be of the 144,000 implies this song is being sung while some of the church class is still in the flesh. See R2570:5

Learn that song – The song of Moses and the Lamb (Rev. 15:2-4).

The 144,000 – The Little Flock are the only ones who can sing this song, not even the Great Company can sing this song. – This should emphasize to us the importance of learning this song. Note, this song is being learned and sung while the saints are still in the flesh.

Redeemed from the earth – "Ye are bought with a price." 1 Cor. 6:20.

The fact that this class is redeemed from the earth (organized society under religious restraint) reminds us that the saints are never included in the sea class (the irreligious restless masses of mankind) because they trust in the Lord.
4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. Not defiled – As his Bride, we are to be separate from the world, pure in heart, undefiled by wrong union with Babylon. R3031:4[R3031:3]

Whoever, for social, financial or other mercenary reasons, holds to that which he sees is built upon a wrong principle, and upholds wrong theories, is defiling his conscience. R3600:2[R3600:3]

Not that one is necessarily defiled by having become a member of the Methodist or other churches. There are saintly and pure people in all those churches. They are in her, but not of her. Q63:1

Some are in Babylon and not of Babylon, just the same as the children of Israel were carried captive into Babylon, but they were not Babylonians. Q63:1

The blame comes to the person who, after seeing the real facts of the case, stands in and indorses these systems and upholds them--then his whole conscience is defiled. Q65:T

The point where defilement begins is after the light of truth has opened the eyes of understanding to see the difference between the Church and human organizations. R3600:1[R3600:3]

Those who fail to lift up heart and pen and voice and every talent possessed on the Lord's side of the question, will not be reckoned among the overcomers. R1257:4[R1257:5]

With women – Churches. Only corrupt churches would defile. R155:5*

No reference to the female sex, but it refers to the ecclesiastical women mentioned in Revelation. Q61:4

Earthly systems, in contrast to the heavenly system. Q64:1

They are virgins – The Church is a virgin Church, not united to the world at all. The early Church, in leaving Christ as the prospective Bridegroom, and becoming united with the nation of Rome, constituted an illicit union. Q61:4; SM406:2

Compare Rev. 21:9. R454:4

Follow the Lamb – As Moses and Aaron went together in their work. R155:5*

Whithersoever he goeth – Whithersoever he leadeth. NS554:1

Through evil as well as good report--those who follow his teachings and example. R2418:5[R2418:7]; SM346:2

Full discipleship. NS592:2

Laying down their lives, not instantly, but daily, hourly, throughout life, seeking to spend and be spent in the service of the Lord, his cause, the truth, the brethren, the Church. NS236:4

Who put far away everything akin to wrath, anger, evil speaking and bitterness. R5765:6[R5765:18]

They must not faint before they reach the end of the journey. R5914:1[R5914:1]

Some, especially in civilized lands, still maintain a partial ear and partial appreciation of righteousness, though they have not the full hearing of faith. NS14:1

The firstfruits – An "elect" sample. NS787:1

The Church of Christ. R5640:6[R5640:13], 4645:3[4645:7], 170:3*

Implying that ultimately there will be others of God's family later born--after-fruits. R5870:1[R5870:1], 5640:6[5640:13], 4702:4[4702:6], 4645:3, 2490:2, 33:6*

This implies an after-fruit much more numerous. R4702:4

As in the type, after the firstfruits were taken out, the field of grain was not destroyed, but harvested. The chaff was thrown away in both cases. R33:6*

The completion of the specially elect Church will therefore be but the beginning, and not the ending, of the great plan of salvation which God had purposed. R2490:2[R2490:2]

The Church's resurrection means, indirectly, the uplifting of mankind, the opening of the grave to every member of the human family. R4645:3[R4645:7]

The King and priest company are the first ripe, and therefore the throne of the heavenly city is established first. R156:3*

Israel is not first in this sense, but is to be the firstfruits unto God of the nations. R1405:5*

Overcomers. R170:3*

"If the firstfruits be holy, the lump is also holy." (Rom. 11:16) R33:6*

These – The 144,000, the true church.

Are they which were not defiled with women – A woman pictures a church (consider Rev. 12:1.) The 144,000 have not been defiled by the nominal churches (women). This does not mean these did not come from the nominal churches but rather when they heard the Truth they followed the Lord's command to "come out of her my people."

For they are virgins – This is what the Bride of Christ is supposed to be. Those symbolic women (churches) that did not remain pure but instead united with the kings of the earth to become Christendom (Christ's Kingdom – falsely so-called) and are not included in the Little Flock. Of those who remain virgins there are two classes. The Church is styled "wise virgins" and "the king's daughter" while the Great Company is styled "foolish virgins" and "the virgins her (king's daughter) companions." Matt. 25:1,7,11; Psa. 45:13-14

These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth – 1 Pet. 2:21

See R1257:5

These were redeemed from among men – Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:18,19

Being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb – 1 Cor. 15:20,23; Jas. 1:18
5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. Without fault – They did not walk perfectly, without a blemish; but they were careful to keep their garments by going often to the Lord. R5924:4[R5924:11]

In their mouth was found no guile – Just like our Lord Jesus. 1 Pet. 2:22; Isa. 53:9

This is also true of the church in the flesh. Psa. 32:2

Their mouth is filled with the message of Present Truth and they are singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. This is a message that is without guile. We are to remember, it is not as members of the fallen race that we stand before the throne but as new creatures.

They are without fault – As new creatures. 1 John 3:9; Psa. 32:2

Before the throne of God – See Before the Throne.

Omitted by the Sinaitic Manuscript. – They (144,000) are before the throne as indicated in vs. 3 but this verse by itself does not prove it.

6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Another angel – Partly fulfilled by colporteurs and their work. CR63:5

Of heaven – In the Church. R474:5, 304:1

The ecclesiastical powers. CR340:2

The everlasting gospel – The restitution from Adam's sin was the good news to Abraham, to us of the Gospel age, and is to be good news to the whole world in the Millennial age. R217:3

The message which God has sent us, preaching peace and life by the blood of the cross, to every one that believeth. R924:3

Together with the judgments, the everlasting Gospel will be preached. R60:5*

To preach – It is already being sounded forth, and must, during the Millennial age now dawning, reach every nation. R924:3

During the coming age. R217:3

I saw another angel – Other than the Lamb standing on Mt. Zion. This angel is Pastor Russell, or rather it is part of the message he proclaimed.

In CR63 Br. Russell applied this to the colporteurs.

Fly in the midst of heaven – The nominal heaven, still, at the time of the fulfillment of this prophecy, including both the wheat and the tares.

Having the everlasting gospel – This could have reference primarily to 'The Divine Plan of the Ages' (or rather, its message). It may include earlier publications, especially 'Food For Thinking Christians' which had basically the same message.

This Gospel is primarily the Gospel of the Kingdom. Gal. 3:8

To preach unto them that dwell on the earth – The message of the First Volume was aimed primarily at this class. A11:1

And to every nation – All the governments (not just the people of the nations).

And kindred and tongue and people – The Divine Plan of the Ages was sent out world-wide and translated into a variety of languages. It's message has been spread to all nations and people of earth, though not necessarily received or appreciated. By the end of 1916 nearly 5,000,000 copies of 'The Divine Plan of the Ages' had been circulated in twenty different languages.
"The first edition in its present form was issued in 1886. Since then, one edition has followed another in rapid succession and in twenty different languages, until now there are nearly five million copies of it in the hands of the people all the world over." A FWD i
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. Saying – After the exaltation of the Little Flock, and contemporary with the judgment scene. R155:6*

This language seems to be addressed to the Great Multitude who, at the time the Little Flock are exalted, are found in adulterous union with the world, and therefore defiled with corrupt churches. R155:6*

Proclaiming to all Christians--the Great Company and the world, during the three plagues which precede the "seven last." R172:4

The object of this message and the attending judgments is to cause the downfall of Babylon by producing a complete separation between Christians and the world with whom they have been united. R156:1*

As the people of Israel were separated from the people of Pharaoh by the three first plagues, while Aaron was a prophet and they believed his words; so here God's people will come out of Babylon by this proclamation made manifest by the veiled saints. R171:5*

Fear God – Never did the Israelites serve the Egyptians more slavishly than is the nominal church serving the world. R156:1*

The hour – Not only the age-lasting good news (Gospel) but also the time element. R474:5

We are in this hour of judgment. HG488:5

His judgment – Greek, krisis. Question and answer analyzing this word with related Greek words. R2425-2426

This overthrow of the kingdoms by the strong hand of judgment is what will break the proud spirit of the nations. R60:5*

Is come – That the "harvest," or time of trial (judgment) commenced with 1874, and would last for forty years. R474:5, 304:1

Saying with a loud voice – As the voice of a multitude – Eze. 1:24. This indicates he is speaking with divine authority, i.e., the message he is delivering is from God and not from man.

Please see topic "Loud Voice."

Fear God, and give glory to him – As we should do, especially since we now can see His overall plan. This too is contained in the First Volume.

For the hour of his judgment is come – This is also contained in Volume One. We have chapters on "The Day of Judgment" "The Kingdoms of this World" "The Kingdom of God" and in "Concluding Thoughts" we are urged to be zealous because these things are right at hand.

This lets us know the timing for this verse. It is during the time of our Lord's second Presence, the time when He judges the earth (beginning with the nominal church.)

And worship him that made heaven – Power of spiritual control.

And earth – Organized society under religious restraint. R498

And the sea – Irreligious, restless masses of mankind. R498

And the fountains of waters – Sources of Truth. 2 Tim. 3:15; Eph. 4:11-12

8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. Babylon is fallen – Babylon is the religious element of the fourth empire, Papal Rome. It embraces all the church-state organizations of the Christian nations. HG90:2

Unhealed Babylon is now sentenced to destruction. The whole system--a system of systems--is rejected. C156

Babylon means confusion, mixture and improper relationship. Q63:1; C153; R5092:3

Babylon--the confused, mixed condition of worldly-mindedness and lukewarm Christianity. R474:6, 304:2, 171:5*

Because of the confusion they are called Babylon. R156:1*

Mother and daughters. NS377:2

It was in the spring of 1879 that, through the parallels, we saw that the nominal Gospel church was rejected and spewed out in 1878. R474:6, 304:1; Q150:5

Evidently now being fulfilled in the demoralized condition of the nominal church, and in her culpable negligence and willful ignorance of the character of God, and the plan of redemption. R717:3

In contrast with Jerusalem, Babylon's unrighteous character is described, and its violent and sudden overthrow predicted. R1352:5

Compare Jer. 51:7-9. R1371:6, 436:5

Is fallen – She is falling, but not fallen. When the civil power refuses any longer to carry the church, Babylon will have fallen. The fall of Babylon and the "division of that great city" is one and the same. HG90:3

The wine – False doctrine. R3112:6[R3112:18]

Antichrist "intoxicated with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus," and with its phenomenal success, continuing to intoxicate and deceive the nations. (Rev. 17:6) C104

Intoxicating errors which have misled the so-called Christian world. R3104:3; C156

Intoxicated with the spirit of the world, or of Babylon. R3055:4

Fornication – Any illicit fellowship with the world on the part of those who have betrothed themselves to be God's consecrated people. R2300:1; C164

Union between church and state constituted figuratively the Roman Catholic, German, English and other national churches a harlot system, living not in pure conformity with her vow to the Lord. Q62:T

Fornication here means the union of church and state, and the fall of Babylon is the dissolution of that union. In other words, it is "the woman" being thrown from the beast. HG90:3

Another angel – Another messenger. Several translations (supported by the Greek) indicate "A Second Angel." This is the second of six "messenger's" given in this chapter (vss 6, 8, 9, 15, 17, 18)

It would appear that the 'angels' or 'messengers' used in this chapter indicate special messages of truth from the Lord delivered by the Lord's people (primarily through the seventh messenger) during the time of His second presence.

Babylon is fallen, is fallen – This message is delivered by our Lord in Rev. 18:1-2. This is how we know that this particular angel is our Lord in this passage.

This seems to be the primary message of volume 3, "Thy Kingdom Come."

Compare Isa. 21:9; 47:5-9; Jer. 51:6-9; Rev. 18:2.

Question: Why does the Lord here say Babylon "is fallen is fallen," why twice? Why not simply say "Babylon is fallen" and leave it at that?
See R2553. See also Additional Comments on Rev. 18:2.

That great city – A city is always pictures a government and often a kingdom (C258:1). Compare with Rev. 16:19.

She – Here emphasizing that it is the ecclesiastical portion that is the most guilty part of this confused church-state arrangement. If this were speaking of the Man of Sin it would not be rendered as 'she.'

Made all nations – The nations of Europe, the Gentile nations.

Drink of the wine – The false doctrine of church and state. Especially the 'Divine Right of Kings,' the 'Divine Authority of the Clergy,' and the responsibility of the people to be obedient to that arrangement.

Her fornication – Of her uniting with the kings of the earth instead of waiting, as the true virgin church, for the return of her heavenly bridegroom, our Lord.

R1444 Isa. 5:11,22 Matt. 9:15-17, Isa. 5


9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, And the third – As with the preceding two, so with this third message, it could not have been more accurately fulfilled than it was by repeating truth due to the Lord's children. R475:1[R475:2], 304:3

Beast and his image – The beast and his image represent great religious systems which already exist, and have millions of devotees among Christian peoples. HG305:3; Q225:5

The image will yet, by closer federation of smaller religious systems, become much more influential and arbitrary. HG305:3

Showing the nominal church in the colors which the Word of God paints it. R475:1, 304:2

Receive his mark – See comments on Rev. 13:16.

Followed them, saying with a loud voice – With the voice of Divine Authority. See additional comments vs. 7.

If any man worship – We are supposed to worship God. This group has placed the beast and his image above God. They do this by paying more attention to the utterances and dictates of the beast and his image than they do to the Scriptures, the word of God. Instead of being obedient to God, these are obedient to the beast and his image.

The beast and his image – Beast – Papacy.
Image – Protestantism.
This says "If any man has more respect for both these false institutions of men (both claiming to be the institutions of God)..."

And receive his mark in his forehead – His intellectual understanding. This mark is in direct contrast to the mark in the forehead received by the 144,000. This mark of the beast appears to be primarily belief in the trinity (see Rev. 13:17-18.)

Or in his hand – His strength, indicating where he puts his activity, his support. Ecc. 9:10
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: The same shall drink – All who remain in her will be subject to torment and vexation as long as they are worshipping creeds and doctrines and organizations of men. R475:1, 304:2

Tormented – That system is to have torment, and it is to collapse--not the people. Q226:T[Q225:3]

Fire and brimstone – Fire and brimstone signify destruction. The fumes of brimstone are destructive to life. It is frequently used as a disinfectant. The mention of it here is positive proof of utter destruction. R487:1*

If a literal worshipping of a beast and image were meant, few in civilized lands are liable to the penalty. If the beast and his image are symbols, so also are the torments, smoke, fire and brimstone. R2609:6, 1040:5

The same – Whoever does the above.

Shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God – Shall receive the seven last plagues – "for in them is filled up the wrath of God." – Rev. 15:1

Which is poured out without mixture – Unlike the twisted mixture coming from the Babylonish systems. The Lord's wrath is coming out in full measure, designed to accomplish exactly what is needed for His purposes.

Into the cup of his indignation – Unlike the seven vials (smaller containers than a cup) God's wrath is to be full and the destruction of mystical Babylon will be complete.

In other words, the one full cup of the Lord's wrath is distributed among the seven vials. 7 vials = 1 cup of God's wrath.

He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone – See R2609:16 – Brimstone = sulfur.

In the presence of the holy angels – This likely refers to the saints. It does not seem likely that this would refer to literal angels since the remainder is all symbolic.

And in the presence of the Lamb – This indicates that the Lord (the Lamb) is present, i.e., this is a post 1874 A.D. picture.
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Smoke of their torment – The confusion already existing in and among these systems and individuals is well symbolized by smoke, which will become more and more dense. R487:4*

Anything annoying is tormenting. Individuals with a desire to cling to the "traditions of elders" are today annoyed by unfolding truth. R487:4*

For ever and ever – The remembrance of Babylon's distress will never be forgotten. R475:1, 304:2

All those who are finally brought out of those systems will forever remember how the systems--(beast, etc.) were tormented. R487:4*

The smoke of their torment – Remembrance. "Where there's smoke, there's fire." see R2609:15

Ascendeth up – "Babylon came in remembrance before God" – Rev. 16:19

For ever and ever – Strong's 1519, 165, 165. This is the Greek way of saying forever.

And they have no rest day nor night – These cannot rest because their system of belief is much too constrained by the narrow traditions of men and corrupted by the influence of the Adversary. – Contrast with Matt. 11:28 ("Come unto me .. I will give you rest.")

Who worship the beast and his image – see Additional Comments vs. 9.

Whosoever receiveth the mark of his name – see Additional Comments Rev. 13:17-18.
12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. The patience – Possibly some may live on, far into the dark night of trouble--though our expectation is to the contrary. C212

The following is the GNT-WH+ from e-sword (we have supplied the English based on Strong's definitions):
ωδε G5602 ADV Here
η G3588 T-NSF the
υπομονη G5281 N-NSF patience
των G3588 T-GPM the
αγιων G40 A-GPM saints
εστιν G1510 V-PAI-3S exist
οι G3588 T-NPM the
τηρουντες G5083 V-PAP-NPM keep (observe)
τας G3588 T-APF the
εντολας G1785 N-APF commandment
του G3588 T-GSM the
θεου G2316 N-GSM God
και G2532 CONJ and
την G3588 T-ASF the
πιστιν G4102 N-ASF faith
ιησου G2424 N-GSM Jesus

This is then better translated as:
"Here is the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."

Here is the patience of the saints – Why here? This is the time of judgment upon Babylon as described in the preceding verses. But the churches still remain. The saints are then subject to questions. If the judgment began in 1878, why are the churches still (130+ years later) here?

Here are they that keep the commandments of God – Do not lose patience, do not fall into the ways of the world, do not let go the anchor of faith. All that God has promised is indeed working out exactly as planned. While being observant of God's working out His plan, focus on your own character development.

One of the commandments of God was "Come out of her my people.."

And the faith of Jesus – Jesus always said "Not my will be done, but thine." He had such complete faith in the Father that He withstood all the jeering and all the cruel mockings of his (so-called) trial and crucifixion. He did not loose faith in the Fathers time arrangements and neither will his followers.

This may be thought of in a similar manner as Hab. 2:2,3.

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. Blessed – Uniformly throughout the Bible, except in this one instance, death is represented as a dreadful disaster. R474:3, 303:3; C240

In was in the fall of 1881 that, for the first time, we were able to read understandingly these words. R475:2, 304:4

Because they may now be "clothed upon with their house which is from heaven." (2 Cor. 5:2) R344:5

The dead – Those dead to the world--crucified with Christ--"Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. 3:3) R474:5, 2982:5, 303:6; Q760:2, 764:4

Reckoned dead, but alive as new creatures in Christ. Q760:2; R2982:5, 2123:2; C241

Faithful ones who die during the presence of the Lord. R6015:2*

As one by one the number beyond the veil increases and the members this side correspondingly decrease, this great privilege looms larger and larger before our mental vision. R5930:3

Along with verse 4, misapplied by some ministers to honor those who died in fighting for their country. R5755:1

Which die – Not fall "asleep," but be "changed" in the moment of death, resurrected as part of the blessed and holy first resurrection. D622

There are three kinds of death mentioned in the Scriptures--the Adamic death; the sacrificial death, or death of Christ; and the second death. Q764:3

All who become sacrifices must die. R514:6

Theirs is a sacrificial death, and they die daily (1 Cor. 15:31) until they have finished the dying process in actual death. Q760:2, 764:4

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." (Psa. 116:15) R2290:6

The Lord Jesus died, not as a convict, but as a sacrifice for the sin of the world. Q764:4

Each member of the Body of Christ must finish his sacrifice in actual death. C241

The human must be entirely sacrificed before the divine is perfected. R304:6

Sanctified believers, when they die, are not counted as dying in Adam. They are reckoned as dying with Christ, their Redeemer. R1454:4

It is a dying daily to the spirit, hopes, aims and ambitions of the world which control other men and women. R2123:2

In the Lord – It will not henceforth be a blessing to all mankind, but only to those "in the Lord." For all others death will continue to be an enemy until its final destruction. R474:4, 303:6

From henceforth – The application is limited by the word "henceforth"--not always, but henceforth death may be a blessing. R303:6

Marking a particular time--1878--before which it would not be a blessing to die, but after which it would be a blessing. R5566:4, 4914:5, 2982:4, 2154:1, 475:4, 344:5; Q117:1

The seven preceding verses give three specific messages which must be proclaimed in the church, which, we believe, have been in process from 1874 to 1881. R474:5, 304:1

The proclamations of Rev. 14:6-11 having been given; Paul's mystery, "we shall not all sleep," is now due. R328:5*

"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump." (1 Cor. 15:51, 52) R5566:5, 4914:5, 2982:4[2982:7], 475:4, 328:5*

1878 marked the time for the beginning of the glorification. The "change" is to occur at the moment of dying, to all the living members from that date through the harvest period. R3823:2, 1379:5

Since 1878 those of the church now alive need not sleep even a moment; but in the instant of dying are changed to spiritual beings. R665:6, 2982:4, 558:1, 515:1, 475:2, 344:5, 304:4; Q760:2

From the time of the beginning of the reaping of the "harvest" of this age by the crowned reaper (the spring of 1878). R2982:3

The favored time of the Lord's presence. R474:3

The time of the Lord's second presence for the setting up of his kingdom. R3314:1

Rest from their labours – Toil and weariness. R3314:1, 2982:4, 2154:4, 665:1; C238

The labor and toil incident to the mortal body--the frail "earthen vessel." R475:4, 304:5

Meantime it is ours to press on with renewed zeal until the work be done and we at last receive the crown. R6018:2*

Their labors shall cease, but their work shall continue. R845:6*

Their works – Instead of the Kingdom waiting for the living members to finish their course, the Kingdom work began at once, and the living ones on this side of the veil are privileged to engage in Kingdom work before their "change." D622

As soon as they are changed, they are with the Lord, and like him are present but unseen, and engaged with him in the present work. R631:4

Their work will not cease with this change; for all those who shall be counted worthy of the change to glory will be already enlisted in the service of the Kingdom on this side the veil. C238

We are not Scripturally informed what is the character of the work of the Church beyond the veil, but we may be certain that it in some way pertains to the "harvesting of the wheat" and the binding of the "tares." R3314:4

Follow them – Follow with them. (Diaglott) R631:4, 474:3

Their death will not interrupt their works, which will continue under more glorious and more favorable conditions. R2982:4, 475:4, 304:5

That is, they will continue their work untrammeled by earthly hindrance. R631:4

Without interruption or hindrance. R665:1

Beyond the veil. R3314:4

It is now the privilege of the saints to be ushered into the presence of the Lord as soon as the earthly body is laid down. R702:4*

Our labors are not in vain in the Lord. R845:6*

Beyond the veil of the flesh the anointed company will enter into the glorious reign prefigured by the reign of Solomon. R1901:6

When Dorcas was dying she was surrounded by the Lord's people. And when she was restored to life, these were there to bid her welcome. How suggestive this thought! R1451:4

I heard a voice from heaven – See Voice From Heaven

Write – Publish the following message. This is exactly what Pastor Russell did.

unto me – These words are not in the original text (although they may be implied.)

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord – This is the only place in the Bible where death is called "blessed."

The dead are those already counted as dead of the world of mankind (Matt. 8:22) and have given themselves in sacrifice to the Lord. Col. 3:3. When these die they "die in the Lord." It is to this class only that death is described as being "blessed."

Note also that of this group it says they "die." It does not say they "sleep." 1 Cor. 15:51,52

From henceforth – From 1878 onward. See The Time is at Hand Chapter 7 and especially the diagram on page 219.

That they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them – In other words, they have been working for the Lord and that work has been laborious. However, once they die they are instantly raised to life and given glorious spiritual bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-53). Their work for the Lord now continues ("their works do follow them") but that work is no longer laborious.

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. Upon the cloud – "In like manner" as he departed (Acts 1:11), unknown alike to the world and the lukewarm, or Laodicean Church. R773:2*

The Son of man – The Lord of the harvest. R1362:1

The harvest of the Gospel age, like that of the Jewish age, is under the supervision of the chief reaper, our Lord Jesus, who must then be present. A238

As the harvest of the first advent did not begin until Christ came, so this harvest begins with Christ's personal presence. HG71:1

His glorious presence as a reaper of his ripening harvest. R547:4

Recognition of the harvest work in actual process is proof of the Lord's presence. B150

Our Lord came for his Bride in 1874, and has an unseen work as Reaper of the firstfruits of this Gospel age, separating wheat and tares, and gathering the living into a condition of readiness for their change. R152:6

To the Jewish house Jesus presented himself in three characters--as Bridegroom, Reaper and King. To the Christian house he presents himself in the same three characters. B238; R2982:3

A golden crown – 1878 clearly marks the time for the actual assuming power as King of kings by our present, invisible Lord--the time of his taking to himself his great power to reign. (Rev. 11:17, 18) B239

Identifying himself with the prophecy of Dan. 7:13. E151

Divine authority. R1362:1

Immediately after taking the crown in the Spring of 1878, our Lord gathered to himself those of his saints who slept, awaiting the time for the establishment of the Kingdom. R2982:5

Christ comes as King before the end of the harvest. R116:2*

In his hand – In his power. R1362:1

A sharp sickle – The Reaper of the harvest of the Gospel age. E151

That which tried fleshly Israel in the beginning of their age was the truth then presented to them. The truth then due was the sickle. So also is the harvest of this age. A238

The sickle of Present Truth, the clear unfolding of the Word of God, which is "sharper than any two-edged sword." (Heb. 4:12) R1362:2, 547:4; NS94:1

I looked, and behold a white cloud – Cloud = trouble (Matt. 24:30; Rev. 1:7). This is a white cloud, indicating that the purpose of the trouble is a righteous one. The Lord is bringing the trouble upon the old system of things in order to bring about its destruction and prepare the world for the righteousness to be manifested under the new covenant.

Upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man – The Lord is here described as sitting upon this white cloud. This is reminiscent of his sitting on the colt and riding into Jerusalem, presenting himself as King.

Having on his head a golden crown – Dan. 7:13,14. Jesus is clearly presenting himself here as being the King over the earth. This ties back to 1878.

And in his hand a sharp sickle – Present Truth (Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16).
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 temple – The 144,000 being the firstfruits to the spiritual life, are God's Temple in heaven. R155:6*

Thrust in thy sickle – The thrusting in of the sickle of truth and the gathering in of the ripe grain has been progressing since October, 1914, as never before. Ci

He is sending forth such "laborers" into this harvest as he sent forth into the harvest of the Jewish age--his consecrated and faithful disciples, bearing the harvest message. R1362:2

The sickle of truth the Lord is now thrusting here, there, everywhere, for the purpose of gathering, not the tares, but the wheat. (See Psa. 50:5; Mal. 3:17) NS94:1

Truth, like a magnet, gathers to itself all who have an infinity for it. Thrust it in wherever you will. It will invariably accomplish its work of finding the loyal and faithful. R1362:2

Beginning the work of reaping the harvest of this age. R2982:3

The harvest will go on without outward demonstration, the chief and under-reapers being present but unseen. R264:2, 20:2

An invisible work by invisible, because spiritual, beings--Jesus, the chief reaper and angels the under-reapers, quietly and invisibly separating wheat from tares. R189:4

We are in the harvest of this age, and the errors must fall before the "sharp sickle" of truth, which the Lord is now thrusting in. R1002:6

The time is come – Due to begin in 1874. R189:4; HG71:3

Compare Jer. 51:33. R1371:6

The harvest – The harvest work will occupy forty years for its full accomplishment, ending with AD 1914. B150

The Jewish age ended with a harvest in which Jesus in the flesh was the reaper, the disciples being the assistant reapers. Our age is also to end with a harvest of the spiritual house in which Jesus, a spiritual body, is the reaper; while the angels, also invisible spiritual bodies, are the assistants. R175:4

Greek, Therismos, reaping harvest. R223:1*

Another angel – Another part of the Harvest Message. This message seems to include parts of Volume 2 ("the time is come for thee to reap") and especially Volume 3 ("The Time of Harvest," "The Work of Harvest.")

Came out of the temple – The temple is similar to saying "Zion." It refers to the Lord's people. It sometimes refers to the Little Flock and sometimes to the nominal temple, the nominal church. The context determines the correct understanding. In this case it would appear this has reference to the true church. It is certain that no such message has come from Babylon.

Crying with a loud voice – The voice of Divine Authority. See Loud Voice

To him that sat on the cloud – To our Returned Lord who sits on (is in control of) the cloud (trouble) of this day.

Thrust in thy sickle, and reap – This is not a command by Pastor Russell to the Lord but rather it is simply Pastor Russell recognizing that it is the time for this harvest of the vine of the earth and that it is the Returned Lord who does the Harvesting. The sickle here is Present Truth.

For the time is come for thee to reap – From the prospective of this picture, it is for the Lord to do the reaping. Elsewhere it is the saints who are shown to be reaping (Matt. 24:31). The reality is that we have the privilege of doing work for and with Him. By ourselves we are nothing and can accomplish nothing. This picture is simply reminding us of that arrangement. "The glory, Lord, be thine."

For the harvest of the earth is ripe – This refers to the fact that a large part of the Harvest Work was to be done amongst the order-loving people of society. Earth represents organized society under religious restraint (R498). In Eze. 9 the work of marking (sealing) in the forehead being done by "the man clothed in linen with the writer's inkhorn by his side" is done in "the city," (symbolic Jerusalem.) This corresponds to the angels gathering together the Lord's elect in Matt. 24:31. Compare Rev. 7:1-4.

What this phrase seems to be saying is: Another message comes out from the true church and says to our returned Lord (who is in control of the time of trouble), 'We recognize from our study of the Bible that it is the time for the Harvest of the Gospel Age, therefore, go ahead with your work of harvest (thrust in your sickle) and we will watch with anticipation, (ready to do our part whenever possible) for the result.
16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. Thrust in his sickle – The first work of our Lord in the harvest of this age will be to separate the true from the false. Wheat will be separated from tares, ripe wheat from unripe, etc. A238

Now separating the true from the false, the matured from the immature wheat. R547:4

He that sat on the cloud – Our returned Lord Jesus.

Thrust in his sickle on the earth – Thrust the truth into organized society.

And the earth – Organized society under religious restraint. R498

Was reaped – The message of Present Truth caused a great separation of those order-loving people who had greater love for the Lord and His Truth than they did for the various organizations to which they had been attached. Therefore they obeyed the voice of the Lord and came out of Babylon. Rev. 18:4.

17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. Another angel – Before "we who are alive and remain" are taken, the "vine of the earth" is gathered, to be cast into the winepress of wrath--"Gather ye first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn." (1 Thes. 4:15; Matt. 13:30) HG71:3

Also having – There would be two harvests--a gathering of the fruit of the true Vine, and subsequently a gathering of the clusters of the "vine of the earth." R2464:6

Two harvests, or two parts of one harvest, are shown. R264:2, 230:4, 20:2

First of all, it is a harvest of the saints. Secondly, it is a time for the world to reap its whirlwind harvest. B171

Both of these ripenings will be completed in a period of forty years, ending with the year AD 1915. B171

The first seven years of gathering the "first fruits of the wheat" and a succeeding period of 33 years harvesting the "vine of the earth." The first a time of favor, the latter a "time of trouble." R230:4

Speaking of the two harvests: first for the Little Flock; and afterward for the Great Multitude. R223:1*

Another angel came out of the temple – A message of truth coming out from the true church.

Which is in heaven – We here need to remember the times. This was during the ministry of the seventh messenger, Pastor Russell. He is part of the temple class and the messages from the Lord came to the temple class through him. The Towers went to many of the Lord's people who were still in the nominal system (heaven) and had the effect of separating them out. But this did not happen at once. Indeed, as Br. Russell said in C166:1 these "must be well sealed in their forehead before they can obey this command" (to "'come out,' based on that knowledge.")

He also having a sharp sickle – This seems to refer, as previously in this chapter, to a particular segment of the Harvest Message.
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. Thrust in – The "ten thousand" (Psa. 91:7), the Great Company, will be partakers with Babylon in her sins and have part in her great fall. R4926:4

And gather – At the second coming of the Master. R5505:5

The law of cause and effect is nowhere more prominently marked than on the pages of history. Seeds of past sowing must of necessity germinate, develop and bring forth fruitage; and a harvest at some time is therefore inevitable. D51

Love is not the controlling motive amongst men. Selfishness is the controlling principle, and is bearing its own bitter fruit and ripening rapidly for this great vintage. D311

Joel 3:18 and onward refers to the same harvest, though perhaps first to the Jewish harvest. R223:1*; NS59:1

The clusters – The matured fruits of the false vine--Babylon. D51

There is a difference between the fruits of the true vine and the fruits of the vine of the earth. The branches of the vine of the earth bear fruitage which has the form of godliness without its real spirit or power. NS377:1

How different are these fruits than the kind commended by the Apostle and produced by the holy Spirit of the Lord operating in the heart, transforming the mind and cleansing and sanctifying words, thoughts and deeds. NS377:2

The iniquitous clusters. D18

The fruitage of the True Vine is Love, and is precious to the Father; but the fruitage of the vine of the earth is selfishness in various forms. F207

The vine of the earth – Nominal Christendom. NS59:1; R3104:5

Sectarianism, with its various branches--which in the end of this age will appear in a confederate form as the one great vine of the earth. NS376:5

A false church, not of the Father's planting, which shall be rooted up. F207

The Lord never authorized the formation of denominational systems. They are of the "vine of the earth" for they are of earthly, or human, origin. Q810:3

The false vine which has misappropriated the name Christian and Christ's Kingdom. D18

The great and prosperous human institutions which are more or less duplicating the Lord's Kingdom all over the world. OV126:3

The vine of the earth has spread its branches in every direction. It glories in numbers, boasting 400,000,000 Christians, many of these, alas, in prisons and penitentiaries. NS377:2; R3544:3

A counterfeit of the true vine. (John 15:1) R3544:2, 2464:6; NS59:1

As the true Vine represents the true Church, so the vine of the earth represents a false church, an untrue, ungenuine one. R2464:6, 3544:2

The fruitage is manifested in boastfulness, pride, show--a form of godliness without the power thereof. R5505:5

Not composed of murderous thugs, but composed of very intelligent, refined, cultivated people, unwittingly representing the "prince of this world" in that they are propagating false doctrines and misrepresenting the Lord and his cause. NS377:3

Fully ripe – See Joel 3:9-16. R3327:5 Revelation 14:19

Gathered the vine – Though branches of the true Vine may be in the different denominations, the earthly institutions themselves the Scriptures designate "the vine of the earth." R4873:1

Cast it – The fruitage. R4873:1

The great winepress – We are now fast nearing the latter end of the harvest period, when the burning of the tares and the gathering and treading of the fully ripe clusters of the "vine of the earth" are due. D51

The treading of the winepress is the last feature of harvest work. The reaping and gathering is all done first. D18

It pictures to our minds the last features of the great time of trouble which shall involve all nations. D18, D51; F207

The time of trouble with which this age will close. F207; R5055:5, 3544:3, 264:2

The great time of anarchy with which this age will close and the new dispensation be ushered in. NS377:3

By that time the true vine will have been glorified. R3544:4, 2464:6

Another angel – Possibly a reference to that part of Present Truth contained in Volume 3 and largely in Volume 4. It was "The Day of Vengeance" (later changed to "The Battle of Armageddon") which spoke of how Christendom was held up before the entire world in its true light. It clearly demonstrated that Christendom was not what it claimed to be, i.e., it was not Christ's Kingdom but was in fact merely the kingdoms of this world united with the false church systems, the "vine of the earth". This fits very well with the message later in this verse about gathering the clusters of the vine of the earth.

In verse 16 it was the earth (organized society) itself that was reaped. Here it is a different group. It is the ripe clusters of the fruitage of the vine of the earth.

Came out from the altar – The brazen altar in the court. This is the place of sacrifice. Please see additional comments on Eze. 9:2.

Which had power over fire – We indeed have fiery trials of our faith. Remember those sacrifices placed on the brazen altar were burned (fire).

We need to remember that "the man clothed in linen" took coals (representing the plagues) from off the altar and, at the Lord's command, scattered them over the city (over nominal Jerusalem, Christendom). – Eze. 10:2, 6-7 These "coals of fire" represent the plagues, the hard truths of God's Word. (Psa. 18:13) Thus he may be said to "have power over fire."

And cried with a loud cry – With divine authority.

To him that had the sharp sickle – The one who has the sharp sickle (of Truth) is always our returned Lord Jesus. However, Jesus is often pleased to accomplish His work through His saints.

The fact that it is a sharp sickle indicates that it is in good working order. The user of this sharp sickle is ready to use it. Heb. 4:12

Thrust in thy sharp sickle – Let these truths go with force into the symbolic earth.

Gather the clusters – The fruitage. Hos. 8:7

The mention of clusters suggests the various denominations of Christendom. Matt. 13:30.

Vine of the earth – The fruitage of an earthly vine. Our Lord said "I am the vine and ye are the branches." That is the heavenly or true vine, i.e., the Christ – Head and body. This "vine of the earth," this union of church and state, is the false vine and it has produced an earthly fruit.

For her grapes are fully ripe – The fruitage of this belief that the church and the state are supposed to be united (Christendom, Christ's Kingdom – falsely so-called) has produced all kinds of earthly ideas. All of which are based on the thought that there is no coming Kingdom of God on Earth. There cannot be because (say they) it is already here in this church-state union.

We also take note that the reference here is to her grapes. This reminds us of Jezebel and her daughters. Rev. 17:5.
19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. The angel – The angel here may be viewed from two standpoints. Primarily it refers to our Lord Jesus. Secondarily it may also refer to the seventh angel who is the earthly agent used by our returned Lord to send out the message of present truth.

Thrust in his sickle – The message of Present Truth.

A sickle is not normally the instrument used to collect something as small as clusters from off a vine. A sickle is used to cut a large portion at one time, as, for example, wheat. To use a sickle on a grape vine would indicate that the vine is going to be destroyed in the process. This is not what would be done if the vine was going to produce fruitage again. This vine of the earth is never again to produce fruitage.

Into the earth – Organized society under religious restraint (R498).

And gathered the vine of the earth – Christendom. D18:2

Since this is done by the use of the sickle it indicates the vine is to be uprooted. See Mal. 4:1

And cast it into the great winepress – A winepress is for making new wine. This wine has not yet had a chance to ferment. New wine indicates new doctrines (C160:2.) The result of treading the winepress will be the ruin of Babylon, Christendom and out of that destruction the world will be ready to receive the new wine (doctrines) of the Kingdom.

Joel 3:13 – Note the context.

Winepress of ancient Israel; Winepress cluster from the Byzantine Empire

Of the wrath of God – The fullness of God's wrath being shown in the seven last plagues – Rev. 15:1.
20 And the winepress was trodden outside of the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. The winepress – The time of trouble. R5505:13.

Was Trodden – By our Lord Jesus. Isa. 63:1-6

Treading of any winepress is simply describing the first part of the process that was used to make wine. The ripe grapes were tossed into the wine-press and the grapes were then crushed by people with their feet. This is the "treading" part.

Do not mis-understand here. The normal pattern was for the people to do this treading of the grapes. However, in this case, it is not the people doing the treading, it is the Lord. – Isa. 63:3.

The juice from the grapes would then travel through a channel through a filter (made of bushes) and into another chamber which held the juice. The juice was then taken from this lower chamber and put into jars for fermentation.

Without the city – From outside Christendom.

Primary thought: The three unclean spirits like frogs (Rev. 16:12-14,16) gathered the nations of Christendom together. If it were within the city we might think it was from the people who still believed that this was Christ's Kingdom. At the time of the seventh plague, the Euphrates has been dried up (at least as it appears to those living within the walls of Babylon). The antitypical Cyrus has diverted the waters of the Euphrates (peoples, nations, tongues) so that the waters no longer flow into the city but are now outside it, i.e., "without the city."

Secondary thought: If this is referring to the literal city of Jerusalem as possibly being a picture of Christendom (remember, Jerusalem represented Israel and the Jewish people who were also a church-nation) then when we look outside the city we find the valley of Hinnom – the garbage dump where they burned the refuse of the city and which pictures the second death.

This is along the same line as gathering the fruit of the vine of the earth. They are cast into the winepress in 1914. However this is only the beginning of the "treading." The winepress feature is not "The Great War" (a.k.a. World War I) but rather the war is the beginning of the treading of the winepress.

Blood – Life.

Came out of the winepress – Out of the Time of Trouble comes the life of Christendom, i.e., Christendom loses all life. Not only does Christendom (Christ's Kingdom, falsely so-called) cease to exist but also all who had any measure of spiritual life while in her must also come out or they will lose that life.

The horse bridles – Horses are symbolic of doctrines. A bridle is that which the rider uses to control the direction of a horse. This vivid picture seems to be describing the death of the doctrines that were being used to control the people of Christendom. This likely has reference to the same thing as the three unclean spirits like frogs in Rev. 16:12-16, namely, the divine right of kings, the divine authority of the clergy and the responsibility of the people to be subservient to these as being from God.

By the space of – Strong's 575. This should read "of" or "from." Thus it should read "..even unto the horse bridles, from a thousand six hundred furlongs."

1600 furlongs – This has a double significance.

1) Many have noted that 1600 is 40 squared (40 x 40 = 1600). The number 40 seems to be associated with God's judgment. Therefore this would represent God's final judgment upon that false system of Christendom.

2) This is a very specific measurement and yet it is different from the normal time measurements given in Revelation. Those usually indicate days and are understood as representing years (a day for a year – Eze. 4:6). This indicates not a future event but the full treading out of all that was built up over the 1600 year period.

In order to understand just how accurate the Lord is in His timing as well as His symbology, we need to examine the beginning of this period. First the text states that it is the vine of the earth that is cast into the winepress. Our Lord said that He is the vine, we are the branches. The indication is clear. There is a heavenly vine and an earthly one. So what is the vine of the earth?

We suggest the vine of the earth is the union between church and state. [see D18:2] The true church is described as a virgin, waiting for the return of her bridegroom. But the false church became tired of waiting and decided to play the harlot by uniting with the kings of the earth. This has produced many false doctrines (trinity, divine right of kings, etc.) which in turn has produced the large outcrop of tares. It is this fruitage which is cast into the winepress.

When did this false vine (church and state united) begin? The historical account of the persecution of Christians under the order of emperor Diocletian beginning with the year 303 and continued for 10 years (see Rev. 2:10) followed by Constantine's Edict of Milan (313 A.D.) demonstrate a radical change in church state relations. Within about one year the Roman state went from persecution of the church to calling a church council.

In 314 A.D. Constantine (head of the state) called the church counsel of Arles to discuss the controversy over the Donatists – a group of believers who claimed the true church should have nothing to do with the affairs of the state – not unlike Bible students of today.

Consider what a major point in history this is. The head of the civil power (Constantine, the Roman Emperor) called a church counsel! This is the beginning of the vine of the earth.

How accurate is this? The counsel of Arles was convened August 1, 314 – 1600 years from this beginning of the vine of the earth, to the very day World War I began – August 1, 1914!

We need to remember here that this marks the exact date when the vine of the earth is cast into the winepress. It gives no indication whatsoever as to how long it will take to completely tread out all this fruitage.

This date also marks the exact terminus, to the day, of the Times of the Gentiles. The Gentile Times began on the 9th day of the 5th month (AV) 2,520 years earlier. Aug. 1, 1914 is also the 9th day of the 5th month (AV).

In other words, two separate long-term prophetic events (2520 years and 1600 years) reach their terminus on "the selfsame day!"
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