Revelation 14:20
And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
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14:14-20 Warnings and judgments not having produced reformation, the sins of the nations are filled up, and they become ripe for judgments, represented by a harvest, an emblem which is used to signify the gathering of the righteous, when ripe for heaven, by the mercy of God. The harvest time is when the corn is ripe; when the believers are ripe for heaven, then the wheat of the earth shall be gathered into Christ's garner. And by a vintage. The enemies of Christ and his church are not destroyed, till by their sin they are ripe for ruin, and then he will spare them no longer. The wine-press is the wrath of God, some terrible calamity, probably the sword, shedding the blood of the wicked. The patience of God towards sinners, is the greatest miracle in the world; but, though lasting, it will not be everlasting; and ripeness in sin is a sure proof of judgment at hand.And the wine-press was trodden without the city - The representation was made as if it were outside of the city - that is, the city of Jerusalem, for that is represented as the abode of the holy. The word "trodden" refers to the manner in which wine was usually prepared, by being trodden by the feet of people. See the notes on Isaiah 63:2. The wine-press was usually in the vineyard - not in the city - and this is the representation here. As appearing to the eye of John, it was not within the walls of any city, but standing without.

And blood came out of the wine-press - The representation is, that there would be a great destruction which would be well represented by the juice flowing from a wine-press.

Even unto the horse bridles - Deep, as blood would be in a field of slaughter where it would come up to the very bridles of the horses. The idea is, that there would be a great slaughter.

By the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs - That is, two hundred miles; covering a space of two hundred miles square - a lake of blood. This is designed to represent a great slaughter; but why the space here employed to describe it was chosen is unknown. Some have supposed it was in allusion to the length of Palestine. Prof. Stuart supposes that it refers to the breadth of Italy, and that the allusion is to the attack made on the city of the beast. But it is impossible to determine why this space was chosen, and it is unnecessary. The idea is, that there would be a slaughter so great, as it were, as to produce a lake or sea of blood; that the enemies of the church would be completely and finally overthrown, and that the church, therefore, delivered from all its enemies, would be triumphant.

The "design" of this, as of the previous representations in this chapter, is to show that all the enemies of God will be destroyed, and that, therefore, the hearts of the friends of religion should be cheered and consoled in the trials and persecutions which were to come upon it. What could be better suited to sustain the church in the time of trial, than the assurance that every foe will be ultimately cut off? What is better suited to sustain the heart of the individual believer, than the assurance that all his foes will be quelled, and that he will ere long be safe in heaven?

20. without the city—Jerusalem. The scene of the blood-shedding of Christ and His people shall be also the scene of God's vengeance on the Antichristian foe. Compare the "horsemen," Re 9:16, 17.

blood—answering to the red wine. The slaughter of the apostates is what is here spoken of, not their eternal punishment.

even unto the horse bridles—of the avenging "armies of heaven."

by the space of a thousand … six hundred furlongs—literally, "a thousand six hundred furlongs off" [W. Kelly]. Sixteen hundred is a square number; four by four by one hundred. The four quarters, north, south, east, and west, of the Holy Land, or else of the world (the completeness and universality of the world-wide destruction being hereby indicated). It does not exactly answer to the length of Palestine as given by Jerome, one hundred sixty Roman miles. Bengel thinks the valley of Kedron, between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, is meant, the torrent in that valley being about to be discolored with blood to the extent of sixteen hundred furlongs. This view accords with Joel's prophecy that the valley of Jehoshaphat is to be the scene of the overthrow of the Antichristian foes.

And the winepress was trodden without the city: by the city, Dr. More thinks Babylon is here meant, and that the meaning is, that the powerful convictions of the word before mentioned, shall not reach Babylon, the Romish hierarchy and polity, as being hardened against any such thing. But Mr. Mede and others think, that the city of Jerusalem is here meant, or the Holy Land, which comprehends exactly one thousand six hundred furlong, that is, two hundred Italian miles, or one hundred and sixty Grecian miles. But what that place shall be, where this slaughter shall be, is a great secret.

And blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs: it is plain it shall be a great slaughter, by the depth of the blood mentioned, and the length of the ground which it should to that depth overflow. It is very probable, that great battle is meant, mentioned Revelation 19:20,21, in the place called Armageddon, upon the pouring out of the sixth vial, Revelation 16:16. In so difficult a business nothing can be positively determined.

And the winepress was trodden without the city,.... The beloved city, the new Jerusalem, into which none of the wicked will enter, and without which are dogs, &c. Revelation 20:9. The allusion may be, as Dr. Lightfoot thinks, to the olive presses, which were without the city of Jerusalem, from whence Gethsemane had its name, whither our Lord went, and where his sorrows began the night he was betrayed: hell is sometimes expressed by outer darkness, and said to be far off from heaven, and between the one and the other a great gulf is fixed, the distance is considerable; hence men are said to go forth to behold the miseries of the wicked; see Matthew 22:13.

and blood came out of the winepress; alluding to the juice squeezed out of grapes, called the blood of grapes, Genesis 49:11.

Even unto the horses' bridles, for the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs; which is only an hyperbolical expression, setting forth the largeness and universality of the destruction of the wicked, and the impossibility of their escaping it. In like manner the Jews express a great slaughter of men; so of the slaughter at Bither, by Adrian, they say (e), they went on slaying , "until a horse plunged in blood up to his nostrils", and the blood ran four miles into the sea; which is not to be understood literally, but as expressing a prodigious effusion of blood: and as to

the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs, perhaps there may be an allusion to the measure of the land of Israel, and the common notion of it among the Jews, who make it to be the square of four hundred parsoe (f): hence they often speak of the land of Israel shaking and moving four hundred "parsoe", upon some extraordinary occasions (g); and a "parsa" contained four miles (h), so that four hundred "parsoe" made a thousand and six hundred miles; and if miles and furlongs are the same, in which sense only the land of Israel could be so large, here is the exact space; for Jerom (i), who was an inhabitant of it, says, it was scarce 160 miles in length, to which agrees R. Menachem (k); and it may be observed, that the Arabic version renders the words, "by the space of a thousand and six hundred miles". The Ethiopic version, very wrongly, reads, "sixteen furlongs".

(e) T. Hieros. Taanioth, fol. 69. 1.((f) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 28. 1. Gloss. in ib. (g) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 3. 1. & Bava Kama, fol. 82. 2. & Menachot, fol. 64. 2.((h) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 92. 2. Gloss. in ib. (i) Ad Dardanum, fol. 22. 1. Tom. 3.((k) In Gen. fol. 60.

And the winepress was trodden without the city, {15} and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

(15) That is, overflowed very deep, and very far and wide: the speech is exaggeration to signify the greatness of the slaughter. These are those pleasant fruits truly, of the contempt of Christ, and desiring of Antichrist rather than him, which the miserable, mad and blind world reaps at this time.

Revelation 14:20. The heathen are stamped and crushed till their blood gushes out of the wine-press to the height of a horse’s bridle and to the extent of about two hundred miles. This ghastly hyperbole, borrowed partly from Egyptian (wine = the blood of those who fought against the gods) and partly from Jewish eschatology (En. c. 3: “and the horses will walk up to the breast in the blood of sinners, and the chariot will be submerged to its height”), happens to be used later by the Talmud in connexion with the carnage at Bether (cf. Schlatter’s Die Tage Trajans, p. 37; also Sib. iii. 633 f.; 4 Esd. 15:35; Sil. Ital. iii. 704). The place is to be a veritable Senlac (sang lac).—ἀπό κ.τ.λ., probably a round number (see crit. note) compounded out 4 and its multiples (like 144,000 out of 12), to denote completeness (Vict. = per omnes mundi quattuor partes). After the fall of Rome (Revelation 14:8 f.), the rest of the world (ex hypothesi impenitent, Revelation 14:6-8) is ripe for the traditional (Daniel 9:26) judgment. The same sequence is reproduced roughly and on a larger scale in 17–18. (fall of Rome) and 19–20. (doom of other nations). This parallelism and the sense of the Joel passage militate against the attractive idea that Revelation 14:14-16 is the ingathering of the saints (so Alford, Milligan, Bruston, Briggs, Titius, Gilbert, and Swete).—ἔξωθεν κ.τ.λ. This fearful vengeance is located by Jewish tradition in some valley (of Jehoshaphat = Yah judges?) near Jerusalem (Joel), on the mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4), or in Palestine generally (Daniel 11:45; cf. below on Revelation 16:16), i.e., as a rule in close proximity to the sacred capital, where the messiah was to set up his kingdom.

20. the city] Probably Jerusalem, see on Revelation 14:1.

blood] Isaiah 63:3.

even unto the horse bridles] Literally, even unto the bridles of the horses—though no horses are mentioned in the context. Probably the A. V. is right—that it is meant as a mere measure, that any horseman riding there finds his horse bridle-deep in blood: but some think of the horsemen of God’s avenging army in Revelation 19:14. There can hardly be a reference to the horses of chap. 6 or of Revelation 9:17.

by the space of] Lit. from—perhaps best translated “from a distance of.”

a thousand and six hundred furlongs] 200 Roman miles, or about 183 English. It is hardly likely that it is meant, that the blood covered a space of 40 furlongs square—more probably, that it extended 1600 (or perhaps 800) in every direction from the city. It has been imagined that the distance specified stands for the length of Palestine, which is estimated by St Jerome at 160 Roman miles, by modern surveys at about 140 English.

Revelation 14:20. Αἷμα, blood) the blood of clusters of grapes, red wine, that is, the blood of the wicked. The Figure Metalepsis. The slaughter of the wicked is intimated, not their eternal torture. Other enemies also afterwards fall into the wine-press: ch. Revelation 19:15.—ἄχρι τῶν χαλινῶν τῶν ἵτπων, ἀπὸ σταδίων χιλίων ἑξακοσίων, unto the bridles of the horses, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs) Each phrase denotes a deep and long torrent of blood. Comp. ch. 11 Ἀπὸ σταδίων, κ.τ.λ., is also used of an interval of space, John 11:18. Some followers of the Rabbinical school refer this to the circuit or to the length of Palestine. But its length, even if you include the districts which are lofty and secure from inundation, is much less: its circuit is much greater. What if the valley Kidron, which lies between the city Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12), be meant? For the torrent in that valley, together with its windings, and in the sea itself, as far as it shall be stained with blood, may have a length of 1600 furlongs. Let us take the expression literally. [Comp. Ezekiel 32:6.—V. g.]

Verse 20. - And the wine press was trodden without the city. "The city" is Jerusalem (cf. ver. 1), that is, the Church of God; the idea thus being either

(1) that the wicked are punished in a place apart from the just (cf. Revelation 22:15); or

(2) that no unclean thing (e.g. the blood) can enter the city of the saints (cf. Revelation 21:27). And blood came out of the wine press, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs; as far as sixteen hundred stadia. The Greek stadium is rather less than an English furlong, being about six hundred and six English feet; it was the length of the race course at Olympia, and the eighth part of the Roman mile. The "blood," of which the juice of the grape is a type, depicts the punishment inflicted. Horses seem to be mentioned by proleipsis, in anticipation of Revelation 19:14. The description, of course, implies the terrific nature of the punishment - probably nothing more. In the same way the distance mentioned is no doubt intended to denote the extensive nature of the punishment, though why that particular number is chosen is not absolutely clear. Possibly it is derived from the square of 4 multiplied by the square of 10; four being significant of the created world (see on Revelation 4:6), and ten being the sign of completeness (see on Revelation 13:1); the number thus portraying completeness as regards the created world, and the inability of any one to escape God's judgment.

Revelation 14:20Furlong (σταδίων)

The furlong or stadium was 606 3/4 English feet.

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