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ingredients. In the hand of Jehovah, (saith the Psalmist,) there is a cup, and the wine is turbid ; it is full of mixed liquor, and he poureth out of it, (or rather he poureth out of one vessel into another, to mix it perfectly, according to the reading expressed by the ancient versions,) all the ungodly shall wring them out and drink them. The expression in the Septuagint (Psa. Ixxv. 8,) ποτηριον-οινου άκρατου πληρες κερασματος, which in the Chaldee is called a cup of malediction, throws additional light on this passage. (Compare also Psa. xi. 6; Ix. 3; Jer. xxv. 15, 16,&c.; Lam. iv. 21; Ezek. xxiii. 32, &c.; Hab. ii. 16; Zech. xii. 2; also Hom. Il. xxii. 527; Odyss. iv. 220.” 1 Such terms were used to express the anger of God, terrible by temporal punishments, but most terrible by those torments beyond the grave, “where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched ;” which ideas are also forcibly expressed in the words now before us; “the smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever.” Thus the terror of the greater evil is exhibited, to enable Christians to undergo the less with patient courage described in the twelfth verse.
1 Bishop Lowth, on Isaiah li.
The blessedness of those who die in the Lord,
Chap. xiv. ver. 13.
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.
The voices of the angels had pronounced the punishments of those who, for worldly purposes receiving the antichristian mark, deny their Lord. A voice from heaven, from the throne itself, confirms their denunciations, adding thereto this consolation; that if the fiery trial proceed to its last stage, even to temporal death, this death shall be blessed; shall introduce the martyr to an eternal freedom from pain and trouble; his sufferings on earth shall be recompensed with everlasting rest and glory. Their good works have been acceptable to God through the Redeemer, and will not be forgotten in the day of judgment, for they “ follow with them :" for so should be translated ακολουθει μετ' αυτών.
These four proclamation are plain in their meaning, and of easy solution to those who are versed in scriptural language. They seem intended to be so, in order that all Christians may be encouraged in time of trial to preserve their allegiance to their Lord, the Lamb, whose banner is unfolded in this chapter.
SECTION V I.
The Vision of the Harvest and of the Vintage.
CHAP. xiv. ver. 14 to the end.
14 And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat, like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap; for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
16 And he that sat on the cloud, thrust in his sickle on the earth ; and the earth was reaped.
17 And another angel came out of the temple, which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God.
20 And the wine-press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the wine-press, even unto the horse-bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
Times of persecution, such as have been now represented under the antichristian powers, are times when the faith and virtue of Christians are tried by the severest tests. Many are they, “who gladly receive the word, but in time of persecution fall away.” Now such methods of God's Providence
separate the good seed from the tares. But the time of harvest and vintage, represented also in the Old Testament, (Jer. li. 33; Joel iii. 13; Isa. Ixiii. 1–7,) is a time not only of separation of the good from the wicked, but also of the final punishment or destruction of the latter, expressed by the act of burning the tares and chaff; and also by the bloody and furious appearance of him who, stained with the juice of grapes, treadeth the wine-press, (Gen. xlix. 11; Psa. Ixiii. 1–7; Lam. i. 15. Invov étaTNTE.) The imagery of both harvest and vintage are brought together in the prophecy of Joel; which seems to give, in a short and abstracted form, the same picture as this passage in the Revelation.
Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, get you down, for the press is full, the fats overflow:—for, their wickedness is great,” (Joel iii. 13.) This final vengeance of the Almighty upon his enemies, is evidently not yet accomplished. But such a general view of “God's righteous judgments” was proper to accompany the warnings and encouragements delivered in this chapter; in which is also generally displayed the successful warfare of the Lamb and his followers. “ What particular events are signified by this harvest and vintage, it appears impossible for any man to determine ; time alone can with certainty discover: for, these things are yet in futurity; only it may be observed, that these two signal judgments will certainly come, as harvest and vintage succeed in their season, and, in the course of Providence the one will precede the other, as, in the course of nature, the harvest is before the vintage ; and the latter will greatly surpass the former, and be attended with a more terrible destruction of God's enemies. It is said, ver 20, that the blood came even unto the horses' bridles ;' which is a strong hyperbolical way of speaking, to express vast slaughter, and effusion of blood ; a way of speaking not unknown to the Jews; for the Jerusalem Talmud, describing the woeful slaughter which the Roman emperor Adrian made of the Jews at the destruction of the city of Bitter, saith, that the horses waded in blood up to the nostrils. Nor are similar examples wanting even in classic authors; for Silius Italicus, speaking of Annibal's descent into Italy, useth the like expression : the bridles flowing with much blood.”ı
1 Which our Lord and his angels are represented as doing, in Matt. xiii. 41, 42 ; Mark iv. 29; where the word operavov is also used.