Revelation 14:2
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:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) And I heard a voice . . .—Translate, And I heard a voice out of the heaven. The saints stand with their Lord, the Lamb, on Mount Zion, and just as of old a voice came from heaven bearing witness to Christ, so round the abode of the saints heavenly voices are heard, full of majesty, terribleness, and sweetness, as though the sounds of sea and thunder blended with the music of heavenly harps. We call to mind the magnificent 29th Psalm; there the saints, secure in Zion, hear all around them the voice of God in the thunder and in the sea, while in His safe sanctuary the saints can sing of His honour.

14:1-5 Mount Sion is the gospel church. Christ is with his church, and in the midst of her in all her troubles, therefore she is not consumed. His presence secures perseverance. His people appear honourably. They have the name of God written in their foreheads; they make a bold and open profession of their faith in God and Christ, and this is followed by suitable actings. There were persons in the darkest times, who ventured and laid down their lives for the worship and truth of the gospel of Christ. They kept themselves clean from the wicked abominations of the followers of antichrist. Their hearts were right with God; and they were freely pardoned in Christ; he is glorified in them, and they in him. May it be our prayer, our endeavour, our ambition, to be found in this honourable company. Those who are really sanctified and justified are meant here, for no hypocrite, however plausible, can be accounted to be without fault before God.And I heard a voice from heaven - Showing that the scene is laid in heaven, but that John in the vision was on the earth.

As the voice of many waters - As the sound of the ocean, or of a mighty cataract. That is, it was so loud that it could be heard from heaven to earth. No comparison could express this more sublimely than to say that it was like the roar of the ocean.

As the voice of a great thunder - As the loud sound of thunder.

And I heard the voice of harpers - In heaven: the song of redemption accompanied with strains of sweet instrumental music. For a description of the harp, see the notes on Isaiah 5:12.

Harping with their harps - Playing on their harps. This image gives new beauty to the description. Though the sound was loud and swelling, so loud that it could be heard on the earth, yet it was not mere shouting, or merely a tumultuous cry. "It was like the sweetness of symphonious harps." The music of heaven, though elevated and joyous, is sweet and harmonious; and perhaps one of the best representations of heaven on earth, is the effect produced on the soul by strains of sweet and solemn music.

2. from—Greek, "out of."

voice of many waters—as is the voice of Himself, such also is the voice of His people.

I heard the voice of harpers—A, B, C, and Origen read, "the voice which I heard (was) as of harpers."

As the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder; a loud voice, and terrible also to the followers of antichrist.

The voice of harpers harping with their harps; a musical, melodious voice, as of persons rejoicing. Mr. Mede rather thinks, that the voice as of many waters, signifies no more than a great multitudes, and indeed it is so expounded, Revelation 19:6. And I heard a voice from heaven,.... The same with the voices heard in heaven upon the sounding of the seventh trumpet, Revelation 11:15;

as the voice of many waters; very loud, and uttered by a great multitude of people, signified by waters in this book, Revelation 17:15; the same with those that praise the Lord for the destruction of antichrist, and for the marriage of the Lamb, Revelation 19:1;

and as the voice of a great thunder; to which the Gospel may be compared for its open, loud publication, being heard far and near, as thunder is:

and I heard the voice of harpers, harping with their harps; that is, singing the praises of God, for the fall of Babylon, the happy state and condition of the church, and the blessings of grace; the harp being a musical instrument, used under the Old Testament in singing praise: Brightman thinks that these different sounds represent the course of Gospel doctrine, and the church's voice throughout the reign of antichrist; that when the church first went into the wilderness, her voice was like the murmuring of waters, confused and indistinct; when she began to revive under the Waldenses and Albigenses, Wickliff, Huss, &c. her voice was like thunder, loud and terrible; and at the Reformation, it was as the voice of harpers, when confessions of faith were published with sweet harmony and consent. Others have thought that the different properties and efficacy of the Gospel are designed; as its rapidity and irresistible force, by the many waters; its striking and shaking the consciences of men, by the thunder, Christ's ministers being sometimes "Boanergeses", sons of thunder; and its harmonious music, pleasant sound, peace, joy, and comfort it brings, by the voice of harpers. The Alexandrian copy, the Complutensian edition, the Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions, read, "the voice which I heard was as harpers", &c.

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb {1} stood on the mount Sion, and with him {2} an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's {3} name written in their foreheads.

(1) The history of the Church of Christ being finished for more than a 1300 years at which time Boniface the eighth lived as has been said: there remains the rest of the history of the conflicting or militant church, from there to the time of the last victory in three chapters. For first of all, as the foundation of the whole history, is described the standing of the Lamb with his army and retinue in five verses, after his worthy acts which he has done and yet does in most mighty manner, while he overthrows Antichrist with the spirit of his mouth, in the rest of this chapter and in the two following. To the description of the Lamb, are propounded three things: his situation, place and attendance: for the rest are expounded in the former visions, especially in the fifth chapter.

(2) Prepared to do his office see Ac 7:56, in the midst of the church, which mount Zion pictured before.

(3) This retinue of the Lamb is described first by divine mark

(as before in) Re 7:2 in this verse. Then by divine occupation, in that every one in his retinue most earnestly and sweetly Re 14:2 glorify the Lamb with a special song before God and his elect angels. Flesh and blood cannot hear this song, nor understand, Re 14:3. Lastly by their deeds done before, and their sanctification in that they were virgins, pure from spiritual and bodily fornication, that is, from impiety and unrighteousness. They followed the Lamb as a guide to all goodness, cleaved to him and are holy to him, as by grace redeemed by him. In truth and simplicity of Christ they have exercised all these things, sanctimony of life, the guidance of the Lamb, a thankful remembrance of redemption by him and finally (to conclude in a word) they are blameless before the Lord, Re 14:4,5.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 14:2-3. ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ. Cf. Revelation 10:4; Revelation 10:8. Many of the expositors who have transferred Mount Zion, Revelation 14:1, to heaven, have[3437] ascribed the voice from heaven to the one hundred and forty-four thousand themselves. Ew. ii., as in Revelation 12:10 sqq., Revelation 19:1 sqq., understands the voices as those of the martyrs, Revelation 7:9 sqq.

ὡς φων. ὑδύτων πολλ. Cf. Revelation 1:15.

ὡς φων. βροντῆς μεγ. Cf. Revelation 6:1. The strength of the heavenly voice does not prevent its sounding at the same time charmingly, like the melody of players on the harp: ὡς κιθαρῳδῶν, κ.τ.λ.[3438] The ἐν, which designates the instrument, is here still easier than in Revelation 6:8.

ᾠδὴν καινήν. Cf. Revelation 5:9. The conception καινἡν has nothing to do with the ἀπαρχή,[3439] Revelation 14:4; for the one hundred and forty-four thousand do not sing this song. In this passage, also, the relation of the καινήν, as to how this song is to be called because of its contents, is to be understood from the connection. The general reference to the work of redemption is not sufficient;[3440] but the subject has reference to that which is displayed to the gazing prophet, through the vision presented to him, and therefore to the faithfulness of God and the Lamb, whereby believers, upon the ground of the redemption accomplished by Christ, are preserved amid all the enticements or persecutions, on the part of the antichristian secular power, and brought to victory and eternal glory.[3441]

ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου, κ.τ.λ. There the song, according to its most inner relation, belongs, because it describes the blessed goal of God’s ways, whose attainment was of itself pledged by the significant glory of the heavenly scene, ch. 4, upon which the entire arrangement of God’s ways rests.

καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο μαθεῖν τ. ᾀδ., κ.τ.λ. The one hundred and forty-four thousand, however, could learn this new song, i.e., not merely understand,[3442] but also appropriate it so as to afterwards sing it,[3443] because they alone have the experience of that which is celebrated in the song.[3444]

οἱ ἠγορασμένοι ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς. On the thought, cf. 4, Revelation 5:9. The construction of the masc., with αἱ χιλιάδες, is according to the sense, as Revelation 5:13.

[3437] As C. a Lap., Vitr., Beng., Hengstenb.

[3438] Cf. Revelation 5:8.

[3439] Against Beng.: “A new song suits well these first fruits.”

[3440] De Wette.

[3441] Cf. Hengstenb.

[3442] Grot., who besides evades: “No one could understand the cause of such joy.”

[3443] Ew., De Wette.

[3444] Cf. Revelation 2:17, also Revelation 19:12.2. as the voice … great thunder] It was as loud and as multitudinous as these, but was harmonious, and apparently articulate.Revelation 14:2. Καὶ ἡ φωνὴ ἣν ἤκουσα ὡς[153]) Thus Comp. Copt. and almost all the copies. But the reading of Erasmus, καὶ φωνὴν ἤκουσα, without ὡς (which particle is however found even in And. 1), is scarcely supported by one or two ancient authorities. I wish the reader to observe my Edition, connected by Wolf more distinctly than by the printer with the Complutensian, and not with the Græco-Anglican. John by degrees more articulately describes the voice which he heard; and the article has the force of a relative, by which the meaning is conveyed, that the same voice was heard first as of many waters and of great thundering, and next as of harpers.[154]

[153] So ABCh Orig.; but Rec. Text, φωνὴν ἤκονσα. Vulg. “vocem quam audivi.”—E.

[154] 4. τῷ Θεῷτῷ ἀρνίῳ, to Godthe Lamb) Hence they sing a hymn before the throne of the Former, and they think it an honour to afford themselves as followers of the Latter.—V. g.Verse 2. - And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder. Evidently the song of the heavenly inhabitants, as described also in Revelation 7:9-11, where we are told they "cried with a loud voice." The greatness of the voice is evidence of the vastness of the number. "Heaven," from which the sounds come, includes the "Mount Zion" of ver. 1, on which the Lamb and his followers stand. And I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps. The Revised Version is better, and the voice which I heard [was] as [the voice] of harpers harping with their harps. This reading is supported by א, A, B, C, and other good authorities. As the voice; that is, in regard to its pleasantness; reminding the hearer of the temple worship. (On the word "harp," see on Revelation 5:8.) And I heard the voice of harpers (καὶ φωνὴν ἤκουσα κιθαρῳδῶν)

The correct reading is, καὶ ἡ φωνὴ ἣν ἤκουσα ὡς κιθαρῳδῶν and the voice which I heard (was) as (the voice) of harpers. Κιθαρῳδός is from κιθάρα a harp (see on Revelation 5:8) and ᾠδός a singer. Properly, one who sings, accompanying himself on the harp.

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