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Revelation 14

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An Interlude: The Song of the 144,000

14:1 Then 1  I looked, and here was 2  the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were one hundred and forty-four thousand, who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 14:2 I also heard a sound 3  coming out of heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. Now 4  the sound I heard was like that made by harpists playing their harps, 14:3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No 5  one was able to learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth.

14:4 These are the ones who have not defiled themselves 6  with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from humanity as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb, 14:5 and no lie was found on their lips; 7  they 8  are blameless.

Three Angels and Three Messages

14:6 Then 9  I saw another 10  angel flying directly overhead, 11  and he had 12  an eternal gospel to proclaim 13  to those who live 14  on the earth – to every nation, tribe, 15  language, and people. 14:7 He declared 16  in a loud voice: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has arrived, and worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water!”

14:8 A 17  second 18  angel 19  followed the first, 20  declaring: 21  “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great city! 22  She made all the nations 23  drink of the wine of her immoral passion.” 24 

14:9 A 25  third angel 26  followed the first two, 27  declaring 28  in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and takes the mark on his forehead or his hand, 14:10 that person 29  will also drink of the wine of God’s anger 30  that has been mixed undiluted in the cup of his wrath, and he will be tortured with fire and sulfur 31  in front of the holy angels and in front of the Lamb. 14:11 And the smoke from their 32  torture will go up 33  forever and ever, and those who worship the beast and his image will have 34  no rest day or night, along with 35  anyone who receives the mark of his name.” 14:12 This requires 36  the steadfast endurance 37  of the saints – those who obey 38  God’s commandments and hold to 39  their faith in Jesus. 40 

14:13 Then 41  I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this:

‘Blessed are the dead,

those who die in the Lord from this moment on!’”

“Yes,” says the Spirit, “so they can rest from their hard work, 42  because their deeds will follow them.” 43 

14:14 Then 44  I looked, and a white cloud appeared, 45  and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man! 46  He had 47  a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 14:15 Then 48  another angel came out of the temple, shouting in a loud voice to the one seated on the cloud, “Use 49  your sickle and start to reap, 50  because the time to reap has come, since the earth’s harvest is ripe!” 14:16 So 51  the one seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.

14:17 Then 52  another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 14:18 Another 53  angel, who was in charge of 54  the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to the angel 55  who had the sharp sickle, “Use 56  your sharp sickle and gather 57  the clusters of grapes 58  off the vine of the earth, 59  because its grapes 60  are now ripe.” 61  14:19 So 62  the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered the grapes from the vineyard 63  of the earth and tossed them into the great 64  winepress of the wrath of God. 14:20 Then 65  the winepress was stomped 66  outside the city, and blood poured out of the winepress up to the height of horses’ bridles 67  for a distance of almost two hundred miles. 68 

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1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.

2 tn The phrase “and here was” expresses the sense of καὶ ἰδού (kai idou).

3 tn Or “a voice” (cf. Rev 1:15), but since in this context nothing is mentioned as the content of the voice, it is preferable to translate φωνή (fwnh) as “sound” here.

4 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the introduction of a new topic.

5 tn Grk “elders, and no one.” This is a continuation of the previous sentence in the Greek text, but because of the length and complexity of the sentence a new sentence was started here in the translation.

6 tn The aorist passive verb is rendered as a reflexive (“defiled themselves”) by BDAG 657 s.v. μολύνω 2.

7 tn Grk “in their mouth was not found a lie.”

8 tc Several mss (Ì47 א 1 1006 1611 2351 ÏK pc) have the conjunction “for” (γάρ, gar) here so that the phrase reads: “for they are blameless.” Other important mss (A C P 1854 2053 al lat) lack the word. The shorter reading is to be preferred since the scribes were more likely to make the connection explicit through the addition of “for” than they would have been to omit the conjunction. As it is, the passage without the conjunction makes good sense and evokes a very somber tone.

9 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.

10 tc Most mss (Ì47 א* Ï sa) lack ἄλλον (allon, “another”) here, but the support for it is stronger (Ì115vid א2 A C P 051 1006 1611 1841 2053 2329 al latt sy bo). The problem that its inclusion represents is that there is no reference to any other angel in the immediate context (the last mention was in 11:15). In this instance, the longer reading is harder. The word was probably intentionally omitted in order to resolve the tension; less likely, it might have been accidentally omitted since its spelling is similar to “angel” (ἄγγελος, angelos).

11 tn L&N 1.10 states, “a point or region of the sky directly above the earth – ‘high in the sky, midpoint in the sky, directly overhead, straight above in the sky.’”

12 tn Grk “having.”

13 tn Or “an eternal gospel to announce as good news.”

14 tn Grk “to those seated on the earth.”

15 tn Grk “and tribe,” but καί (kai) has not been translated here or before the following term since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

16 tn Grk “people, saying.” In the Greek text this is a continuation of the previous sentence. For the translation of λέγω (legw) as “declare,” see BDAG 590 s.v. 2.e.

17 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

18 tc There are several different variants comprising a textual problem involving “second” (δεύτερος, deuteros). First, several mss (A 1 2329 ÏK) read “another, a second angel” (ἄλλος δεύτερος ἄγγελος, allo" deutero" angelo"). Second, other mss (Ì47 א* 1006 1841 1854 pc) read just “another, a second” (ἄλλος δεύτερος). Third, the reading “another angel” (ἄλλος ἄγγελος) is supported by a few Greek mss and some versional evidence (69 pc ar vg). Fourth, several mss (א2 [C reads δεύτερον instead of δεύτερος] 051 1611 2053 2344 ÏA) support the reading “another, a second angel” (ἄλλος ἄγγελος δεύτερος). The reading that most likely gave rise to the others is the fourth. The first reading attempts to smooth out the grammar by placing the adjective in front of the noun. The second reading may have dropped out the “angel” on the basis of its similarity to “another” (ἄλλος). The third reading either intentionally or accidentally left out the word “second.” In any event, this is weakly attested and should not be given much consideration. (If, however, this reading had had good support, with “second” floating, and with “third” in the text in 14:9, one could possibly see δεύτερος as a motivated reading. But without sufficient support for the third reading, the one thing that is most certain is that δεύτερος was part of the original text here.) It is difficult to account for the rise of the other readings if “second” is not original. And the undisputed use of “third” (τρίτος, tritos) in 14:9 may be another indicator that the adjective “second” was in the original text. Finally, the fourth reading is the more difficult and therefore, in this case, to be accepted as the progenitor of the others.

19 tn Grk “And another angel, a second.”

20 tn The words “the first” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

21 tn For the translation of λέγω (legw) as “declare,” see BDAG 590 s.v. 2.e.

22 sn The fall of Babylon the great city is described in detail in Rev 18:2-24.

23 tn Or “all the Gentiles” (the same Greek word may be translated “Gentiles” or “nations”).

24 tn Grk “of the wine of the passion of the sexual immorality of her.” Here τῆς πορνείας (th" porneia") has been translated as an attributive genitive. In an ironic twist of fate, God will make Babylon drink her own mixture, but it will become the wine of his wrath in retribution for her immoral deeds (see the note on the word “wrath” in 16:19).

25 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

26 tn Grk “And another angel, a third.”

27 tn Grk “followed them.”

28 tn For the translation of λέγω (legw) as “declare,” see BDAG 590 s.v. 2.e.

29 tn Grk “he himself.”

30 tn The Greek word for “anger” here is θυμός (qumos), a wordplay on the “passion” (θυμός) of the personified city of Babylon in 14:8.

31 tn Traditionally, “brimstone.”

32 tn The Greek pronoun is plural here even though the verbs in the previous verse are singular.

33 tn The present tense ἀναβαίνει (anabainei) has been translated as a futuristic present (ExSyn 535-36). This is also consistent with the future passive βασανισθήσεται (basanisqhsetai) in v. 10.

34 tn The present tense ἔχουσιν (ecousin) has been translated as a futuristic present to keep the English tense consistent with the previous verb (see note on “will go up” earlier in this verse).

35 tn Grk “and.”

36 tn Grk “Here is.”

37 tn Or “the perseverance.”

38 tn Grk “who keep.”

39 tn The words “hold to” are implied as a repetition of the participle translated “keep” (οἱ τηροῦντες, Joi throunte").

40 tn Grk “faith of Jesus.” The construction may mean either “faith in Jesus” or “faithful to Jesus.” Either translation implies that ᾿Ιησοῦ (Ihsou) is to be taken as an objective genitive; the difference is more lexical than grammatical because πίστις (pistis) can mean either “faith” or “faithfulness.”

41 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.

42 tn Or “from their trouble” (L&N 22.7).

43 tn Grk “their deeds will follow with them.”

44 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.

45 tn Grk “and behold, a white cloud.”

46 tn This phrase constitutes an allusion to Dan 7:13. Concerning υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (Juio" tou anqrwpou), BDAG 1026 s.v. υἱός 2.d.γ says: “ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου lit. ‘the son of the man’…‘the human being, the human one, the man’…On Israelite thought contemporary w. Jesus and alleged knowledge of a heavenly being looked upon as a ‘Son of Man’ or ‘Man’, who exercises Messianic functions such as judging the world (metaph., pictorial passages in En 46-48; 4 Esdr 13:3, 51f)…Outside the gospels: Ac 7:56Rv 1:13; 14:14 (both after Da 7:13…).” The term “son” here in this expression is anarthrous and as such lacks specificity. Some commentators and translations take the expression as an allusion to Daniel 7:13 and not to “the son of man” found in gospel traditions (e.g., Mark 8:31; 9:12; cf. D. E. Aune, Revelation [WBC], 2:800-801; cf. also NIV). Other commentators and versions, however, take the phrase “son of man” as definite, involving allusions to Dan 7:13 and “the son of man” gospel traditions (see G. K. Beale, Revelation [NIGTC], 771-72; NRSV).

47 tn Grk “like a son of man, having.” In the Greek text this is a continuation of the previous sentence.

48 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

49 tn Grk “Send out.”

50 tn The aorist θέρισον (qerison) has been translated ingressively.

51 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the angel’s directions.

52 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.

53 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

54 tn Grk “who had authority over.” This appears to be the angel who tended the fire on the altar.

55 tn Grk “to the one having the sharp sickle”; the referent (the angel in v. 17) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

56 tn Grk “Send.”

57 tn On this term BDAG 1018 s.v. τρυγάω states: “‘gather in’ ripe fruit, esp. harvest (grapes) w. acc. of the fruit (POslo. 21, 13 [71 ad]; Jos., Ant. 4, 227) Lk 6:44; Rv 14:18 (in imagery, as in the foll. places)…W. acc. of that which bears the fruit gather the fruit of the vine…or the vineyard (s. ἄμπελος a) Rv 14:19.”

58 tn On this term BDAG 181 s.v. βότρυς states, “bunch of grapes Rv 14:18…The word is also found in the Phrygian Papias of Hierapolis, in a passage in which he speaks of the enormous size of the grapes in the new aeon (in the Lat. transl. in Irenaeus 5, 33, 2f.): dena millia botruum Papias (1:2). On this see Stephan. Byz. s.v. Εὐκαρπία: Metrophanes says that in the district of Εὐκαρπία in Phrygia Minor the grapes were said to be so large that one bunch of them caused a wagon to break down in the middle.”

59 tn The genitive τῆς γῆς (ths ghs), taken symbolically, could be considered a genitive of apposition.

60 tn Or perhaps, “its bunches of grapes” (a different Greek word from the previous clause). L&N 3.38 states, “the fruit of grapevines (see 3.27) – ‘grape, bunch of grapes.’ τρύγησον τοὺς βότρυας τῆς ἀμπέλου τῆς γῆς, ὅτι ἤκμασαν αἱ σταφυλαὶ αὐτῆς ‘cut the grapes from the vineyard of the earth because its grapes are ripe’ Re 14:18. Some scholars have contended that βότρυς means primarily a bunch of grapes, while σταφυλή designates individual grapes. In Re 14:18 this difference might seem plausible, but there is scarcely any evidence for such a distinction, since both words may signify grapes as well as bunches of grapes.”

61 tn On the use of ἥκμασαν (hkmasan) BDAG 36 s.v. ἀκμάζω states, “to bloom…of grapes…Rv 14:18.”

62 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the angel’s directions.

63 tn Or “vine.” BDAG 54 s.v. ἄμπελος a states, “τρυγᾶν τοὺς βότρυας τῆς ἀ. τῆς γῆς to harvest the grapes fr. the vine of the earth (i.e. fr. the earth, symbol. repr. as a grapevine) Rv 14:18f; but may be taking on the meaning of ἀμπελών, as oft. in pap., possibly PHib. 70b, 2 [III bc].” The latter alternative has been followed in the translation (ἀμπελών = “vineyard”).

64 tn Although the gender of μέγαν (megan, masc.) does not match the gender of ληνόν (lhnon, fem.) it has been taken to modify that word (as do most English translations).

65 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

66 sn The winepress was stomped. See Isa 63:3, where Messiah does this alone (usually several individuals would join in the process).

67 tn L&N 6.7 states, “In Re 14:20 the reference to a bit and bridle is merely an indication of measurement, that is to say, the height of the bit and bridle from the ground, and one may reinterpret this measurement as ‘about a meter and a half’ or ‘about five feet.’”

68 tn Grk “1,600 stades.” A stade was a measure of length about 607 ft (185 m). Thus the distance here would be 184 mi or 296 km.



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