An Interlude: The Song of the 144,000
1 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative. I looked, and here was#tn The phrase “and here was” expresses the sense of καὶ ἰδού (kai idou). 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. 2 I also heard a sound#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. coming out of heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. Now#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the introduction of a new topic. the sound I heard was like that made by harpists playing their harps, 3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No#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. one was able to learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth.
4 These are the ones who have not defiled themselves#tn The aorist passive verb is rendered as a reflexive (“defiled themselves”) by BDAG 657 s.v. μολύνω 2. 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, 5 and no lie was found on their lips;#tn Grk “in their mouth was not found a lie.” they#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. are blameless.
Three Angels and Three Messages
6 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative. I saw another#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). angel flying directly overhead,#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.’” and he had#tn Grk “having.” an eternal gospel to proclaim#tn Or “an eternal gospel to announce as good news.” to those who live#tn Grk “to those seated on the earth.” on the earth – to every nation, tribe,#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. language, and people. 7 He declared#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. 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!”
8 A#tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. second#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. angel#tn Grk “And another angel, a second.” followed the first,#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. declaring:#tn For the translation of λέγω (legw) as “declare,” see BDAG 590 s.v. 2.e. “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great city!#sn The fall of Babylon the great city is described in detail in Rev 18:2-24. She made all the nations#tn Or “all the Gentiles” (the same Greek word may be translated “Gentiles” or “nations”). drink of the wine of her immoral passion.”#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).
9 A#tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. third angel#tn Grk “And another angel, a third.” followed the first two,#tn Grk “followed them.” declaring#tn For the translation of λέγω (legw) as “declare,” see BDAG 590 s.v. 2.e. in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and takes the mark on his forehead or his hand, 10 that person#tn Grk “he himself.” will also drink of the wine of God’s anger#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. that has been mixed undiluted in the cup of his wrath, and he will be tortured with fire and sulfur#tn Traditionally, “brimstone.” in front of the holy angels and in front of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke from their#tn The Greek pronoun is plural here even though the verbs in the previous verse are singular. torture will go up#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. forever and ever, and those who worship the beast and his image will have#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). no rest day or night, along with#tn Grk “and.” anyone who receives the mark of his name.” 12 This requires#tn Grk “Here is.” the steadfast endurance#tn Or “the perseverance.” of the saints – those who obey#tn Grk “who keep.” God’s commandments and hold to#tn The words “hold to” are implied as a repetition of the participle translated “keep” (οἱ τηροῦντες, Joi throunte"). their faith in Jesus.#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.”
13 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative. 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,#tn Or “from their trouble” (L&N 22.7). because their deeds will follow them.”#tn Grk “their deeds will follow with them.”
14 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative. I looked, and a white cloud appeared,#tn Grk “and behold, a white cloud.” and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man!#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 7:56…Rv 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). He had#tn Grk “like a son of man, having.” In the Greek text this is a continuation of the previous sentence. a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision. another angel came out of the temple, shouting in a loud voice to the one seated on the cloud, “Use#tn Grk “Send out.” your sickle and start to reap,#tn The aorist θέρισον (qerison) has been translated ingressively. because the time to reap has come, since the earth’s harvest is ripe!” 16 So#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the angel’s directions. the one seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.
17 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative. another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Another#tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. angel, who was in charge of#tn Grk “who had authority over.” This appears to be the angel who tended the fire on the altar. the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to the angel#tn Grk “to the one having the sharp sickle”; the referent (the angel in v. 17) has been specified in the translation for clarity. who had the sharp sickle, “Use#tn Grk “Send.” your sharp sickle and gather#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.” the clusters of grapes#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.” off the vine of the earth,#tn The genitive τῆς γῆς (ths ghs), taken symbolically, could be considered a genitive of apposition. because its grapes#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.” are now ripe.”#tn On the use of ἥκμασαν (hkmasan) BDAG 36 s.v. ἀκμάζω states, “to bloom…of grapes…Rv 14:18.” 19 So#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the angel’s directions. the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered the grapes from the vineyard#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 ἀ 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”). of the earth and tossed them into the great#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). winepress of the wrath of God. 20 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision. the winepress was stomped#sn The winepress was stomped. See Isa 63:3, where Messiah does this alone (usually several individuals would join in the process). outside the city, and blood poured out of the winepress up to the height of horses’ bridles#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.’” for a distance of almost two hundred miles.#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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