Revelation 19:17
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the middle of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Revelation 19:17-19. And I saw an angel standing in the sun — And therefore conspicuous to all; and he cried with a loud voice to all the fowls of heaven — To intimate the slaughter and desolation which were soon to come upon the enemies of the church; saying, Come, gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God — To the great feast which his vengeance will soon provide; a strongly figurative expression, taken from Ezekiel 39:17, denoting the vastness of the ensuing slaughter. And I saw the beast — Appearing again, as at the head of the antichristian interest, see Revelation 13:1, &c.; and the kings of the earth — The ten kings mentioned Revelation 17:12, who aided and supported that persecuting power, and had now drawn other kings of the earth to them; and their armies gathered together — All the forces they could collect, all the enemies of truth and righteousness; to make war against him that sat on the horse — To oppose the progress of his gospel, and the enlargement of his kingdom. All beings, good and bad, visible and invisible, will be concerned in this grand contest.19:11-21 Christ, the glorious Head of the church, is described as on a white horse, the emblem of justice and holiness. He has many crowns, for he is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is arrayed in a vesture dipped in his own blood, by which he purchased his power as Mediator; and in the blood of his enemies, over whom he always prevails. His name is The Word of God; a name none fully knows but himself; only this we know, that this Word was God manifest in the flesh; but his perfections cannot be fully understood by any creature. Angels and saints follow, and are like Christ in their armour of purity and righteousness. The threatenings of the written word he is going to execute on his enemies. The ensigns of his authority are his name; asserting his authority and power, warning the most powerful princes to submit, or they must fall before him. The powers of earth and hell make their utmost effort. These verses declare important events, foretold by the prophets. These persons were not excused because they did what their leaders bade them. How vain will be the plea of many sinners at the great day! We followed our guides; we did as we saw others do! God has given a rule to walk by, in his word; neither the example of the most, nor of the chief, must influence us contrary thereto: if we do as the most do, we must go where the most go, even into the burning lake.And I saw an angel standing in the sun - A different angel evidently from the one which had before appeared to him. The number of angels that appeared to John, as referred to in this book, was very great, and each one came on a new errand, or with a new message. Everyone must be struck with the image here. The description is as simple as it can be; and yet as sublime. The fewest words possible are used; and yet the image is distinct and clear. A heavenly being stands in the blaze of the brightest of the orbs that God permits us here to see - yet not consumed, and himself so bright that he can be distinctly seen amidst the dazzling splendors of that luminary. It is difficult to conceive of an image more sublime than this. Why he has his place in the sun is not stated, for there does not appear to be anything more intended by this than to give grandeur and impressiveness to the scene.

And he cried with a loud voice - So that all the fowls of heaven could hear.

Saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven - That is, to all the birds of prey - all that feed on flesh - such as hover over a battlefield. Compare the notes on Isaiah 18:6; Isaiah 56:9. See also Jeremiah 7:33; Jeremiah 12:9; Ezekiel 39:4-20.

Come and gather yourselves together - All this imagery is taken from the idea that there would be a great slaughter, and that the bodies of the dead would be left unburied to the birds of prey.

Unto the supper of the great God - As if the great God were about to give you a feast - to wit, the carcasses of those slain. It is called "his supper" because he gives it; and the image is merely that there would be a great slaughter of his foes, as is specified in the following verse.

17. an—Greek, "one."

in the sun—so as to be conspicuous in sight of the whole world.

to all the fowls—(Eze 39:17-20).

and gather yourselves—A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and Andreas read, "be gathered," omitting "and."

of the great God—A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and Andreas read, "the great supper (that is, banquet) of God."

The best conjecture I can find at the sense of these words, is, that they signify the preachers’ of the gospel bold and clear foretelling the ruin of antichrist. There are divers kinds of fowls; amongst others, some that feed on flesh. These are those fowls here mentioned, such as feed upon dead carcasses. They are invited to the supper of the great God; called so, because it is made and prepared by the power of him who is the great God, or because it is a sacrifice to the justice of God: see 1 Samuel 17:46 Isaiah 18:6 Jeremiah 12:9 Ezekiel 39:17. God’s justice upon his enemies is called a sacrifice, Isaiah 34:6 Jeremiah 46:10 Ezekiel 39:17. Idolaters were wont upon their sacrificing to have a feast; God hath also a feast upon this his sacrifice, but it is for the fowls and beasts, that feed on dead carcasses. And I saw an angel standing in the sun,.... By whom is meant, not the angel of the fourth vial, who poured it on the sun, taken in another sense than here, and therefore could not stand in it; nor the archangel with the last trumpet, for as yet the dead rise not, nor does the judgment come on; nor one of the ministering spirits; nor Christ himself, for he is the great God, to whose supper this angel invites, but a minister of the Gospel; or rather a set of Gospel ministers, such as in Revelation 14:1 who may be said to stand in the sun, in like manner as the woman, the church, was seen clothed with it, Revelation 12:1 and may denote the conspicuousness of Gospel preachers; for, as the church now will be established upon the top of the mountains, so her teachers shall not be removed into corners any more, but her eyes shall behold her teachers; and also the clear sight they shall have of the doctrines and mysteries of the Gospel, who shall now see eye to eye; and particularly the further breakings forth of the glory of the latter day, and the ensuing victory of Christ over all his enemies; and also shows the great strength of their sight, who, far from being like moles and bats, will be able both to look upon the sun, and to stand in it: and it may likewise signify the glory and majesty of Christ's kingdom; the comfortable influence of him, the sun of righteousness, who will now arise upon his people with healing in his wings; and the steadfastness of Christ's ministers to him, and his pure Gospel, and the glorious truths of it.

And he cried with a loud voice; that he might be heard far and near, having something of moment and importance to publish:

saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven; meaning not the barbarous nations, the Goths, and Vandals, and Saracens, which overrun and destroyed the western and eastern empires; these times are too late for them, they rose up under the six first trumpets; nor devils and unclean spirits, which will prey upon and torment antichrist, and his followers, in hell; nor military and avaricious men among Protestants, but Christian princes, and their people, are designed; they are such as are in heaven, the church, and of note there, who will share the spoils of the antichristian people, and possess their kingdoms, substance, and estates: these are invited by the angel, saying,

come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God. The Alexandrian copy, the Vulgate Latin, and Syriac versions, read, "to the great supper of God"; and so the Complutensian edition; not the Lord's supper, where not the flesh of men, but the flesh of Christ is eat, by faith; nor the marriage supper of the Lamb, which will be of another kind than this; nor is any spiritual repast intended, such as living by faith on Christ, and supping with him, being entertained with his promises, presence, and the discoveries of his love; but the slaughter of Christ's enemies, and his victory over them, which is his sacrifice; and these are the guests he bids, see Zephaniah 1:7 and whom he calls to share in the conquest and spoils, and to express their joy on this occasion: "the great God" is no other than Christ, the general of the armies in heaven, called before the Word of God, and King of kings, and Lord of lords; who will gain this victory, and will be known to be the great God by the judgment he will execute. This is a proof of our Lord's divinity; see Titus 2:13.

{17} And I saw an angel standing in the {18} sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the {19} midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

(17) The second part, as I said in see Geneva Re 19:11. A reproachful calling forth of his enemies into battle: in which not themselves (for why should they be called forth by the king of the world, or provoked being his subjects? for that is not comely) but in their hearing, the birds of the air are called to eat their carcasses.

(18) That is, openly, and in sight of all, as in Nu 25:4, 2Sa 12:11.

(19) That is, through this inferior heaven, and which is nearer to us: a Hebrew phrase.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 19:17-18. An angel standing in the sun summons all fowls to eat the bodies of kings, and of all the inhabitants of the earth, who are to be slain by the Lord.[4123] ἝΝΑ ἌΓΓ. Cf. Revelation 8:13, Revelation 18:21.

ἘΝ Τῷ ἩΛΙῷ, “in the sun,” because from this standpoint, and at the same time with the glory suitable to an angel, he can best call to the fowls flying ἘΝ ΜΕΣΟΥΡΑΝΉΜΑΤΙ.[4124]

Δεῦτε συνάχθητε, κ.τ.λ. Cf. Ezekiel 39:17 sqq. The punishment is, as it corresponds to the idea of the final judgment, one that is absolutely relentless; since on the slaying, the consumption of the corpses by all the fowls under the heaven follows.

ΣΆΡΚΑς ΒΑΣΙΛΈΩΝ, Κ.Τ.Λ. The exhaustive specification[4125] expressly declares, what is self-evident also from the connection, that the slain ΛΟΙΠΟΊ (Revelation 19:21) are the entire mass of inhabitants of the earth.[4126]

[4123] Cf. Revelation 19:21.

[4124] Ew. i., De Wette, Hengstenb., Ebrard, Volkm. Incorrectly, Ew. ii., p. 334: “by the sun.”

[4125] Cf. Revelation 6:15.

[4126] Cf. Revelation 13:4; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 13:14; Revelation 13:16.Revelation 19:17-21 : the rout and destruction of the Beast and his adherents, modelled upon Isaiah 56:9 f. and Ezekiel’s description of the discomfiture of prince Gog (Ezekiel 39:17-21), where beasts as well as birds are bidden glut themselves with carrion (4). This crude aspect of the messianic triumph had commended itself to Jewish speculation on the future (see En. xc. 2–4); it reflects the intense particularism of post-exilic Judaism in certain circles, and also the semi-political categories which tended to dominate the eschatology. In Asc. Isa. iv. 14, the Lord also comes with his angels and troops to drag into Gehenna Beliar and his hosts.17. an angel] Lit. one angel.

in the sun] Perhaps he is the Angel of the Sun (like the other elemental angels in Revelation 16:5 and perhaps Revelation 14:18): but the “one” makes this less likely. Probably he is stationed there only as a position commanding the “mid-heaven” (on this word See on Revelation 8:13).

to all the fowls] Ezekiel 39:17 sqq., of the slaughter of Gog and Magog: from which however this slaughter seems to be distinguished, see Revelation 20:8-9.

the supper of the great God] Read, the great supper of God. In Ezek. l.c. it is called a sacrifice, sacrifices being the only ordinary occasion for a feast of flesh: cf. Isaiah 34:6, which was probably in Ezekiel’s mind.Verse 17. - And I saw an angel standing in the sun. That is, in mid heaven (as in Revelation 8:13, etc.); in a place befitting his glory, and also whence he can appropriately issue his summons. And he cried with a loud voice. As is usual in all the heavenly utterances (see Revelation 5:2, etc.). Saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven; the birds that fly in mid heaven (Revised Version) (vide supra); see Ezekiel 39:17, et seq., for the origin of the imagery here employed. Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; come, be gathered together unto the great supper of God (Revised Version). Not, of course, the "supper" of ver. 9, but rather a contrast to it; that supper which is reserved for the ungodly, at which they form the prey. The language is employed in filling in the accessory details of the central image, and must not be pressed too far in particular directions; e.g. Andreas considers the birds to be good angels. An angel (ἕνα ἄγγελον)

Lit., "one angel."

Fowls (ὀρνέοις)

See on Revelation 18:2. Rev., birds.

Midst of heaven

See on Revelation 8:13.

Gather yourselves together (συνάγεσθε)

The best texts read συνάχθητε be gathered together, as Rev. Compare Ezekiel 39:17 sqq.

The supper of the great God (τὸ δεῖπνον τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ)

Read τὸ μέγα τοῦ for τοῦ μεγάλου, and render the great supper of God.

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