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Revelation 14:20

outside the city
The city is Jerusalem. Like unclean and accursed things, these will be disposed of outside the city.

For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. (Heb. Heb. 13:11-13)

The valley of Jehoshaphat was outside Jerusalem and it is there that the fullest vengeance of God shall be poured out, “the press is full” (Joel Joel 3:13).1

The judgment of the nations in Joel Joel 3:12-14 (which supplies the dual figures of harvest and vintage) takes place in the valley of Jehoshaphat, which traditions links with the Kidron valley lying between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. Zechariah Zec. 14:1-4 places the final battle on the outskirts of Jerusalem.2

See Campaign of Armageddon. and blood came out
The bloodshed associated with the judgment which falls at the Campaign of Armageddon at the close of the Tribulation period is unprecedented:

The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made overflowing with fatness, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. The wild oxen shall come down with them, and the young bulls with the mighty bulls; their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust saturated with fatness. For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion. (Isa. Isa. 34:6-8)

It results in the staining of Jesus garments (Isa. Isa. 63:1-6; Rev. Rev. 19:13+). See Blood Stained Garments. up to the horses bridles
Possibly a reference to the armies in heaven who follow after Christ on white horses (Rev. Rev. 19:14+). More likely, a reference to the horses of Christ’s enemies. one thousand six hundred furlongs
Furlong is σταδίων [stadiōn] , a distance of one-eighth of a mile (185 meters)3 . The total distance is approximately 200 miles.4

The blood stretches for 1,600 furlongs, which is approximately two hundred miles. The two hundred miles may refer to the entire area from the Valley of Armageddon to Bozrah, which is about two hundred miles. Another possible explanation is that it refers to the round trip distance between Jerusalem and Bozrah. The fighting will begin in Jerusalem and move to Bozrah (100 miles), and with the Second Coming, will return back from Bozrah to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (another 100 miles). But the best explanation is based on Jeremiah Jer. 49:20-22 . . . In the context (see Jer. Jer. 49:13-14), this passage is dealing with the Campaign of Armageddon. The massive blood-letting that begins at Bozrah begins moving south down the Arabah until it empties in the Red Sea at the present-day cities of Eilat and Akaba. The distance from there to Jerusalem is about two hundred miles.5

Armageddon is in the north of Palestine [Rev. Rev. 16:14-16+], the valley of Jehoshaphat is in the south. Bozrah is named by Isaiah as the place where the Lord treads the winepress [Isa. Isa. 63:1-6]. And the distance between the farthest points of this “front” is 1600 furlongs.6

What is signified is a vast destruction of human life over a circumscribed area. Certainly what is stated of the vast slaughter is beyond anything ever known.7

Although it is possible that this description is hyperbole, one must ask why then does Scripture mention this precise distance? Besides implicating the areas that might be involved (above), it would seem to indicate the magnitude of the final slaughter of all the ungodly. Attempts to understand the exact magnitude of the judgment are nearly impossible, but can provide some insight into the immensity of the slaughter:

Let us consider the biblical portrayal of the size of this disaster: this river of blood is 184 miles long, and its depth is the height of a horse’s bit. Now, if a horse’s bit is four feet high, we can calculate the volume required to fill a blood stream of varying widths, and as we know that the typical quantity of blood in a person is six quarts, we can then calculate how many people it would take to supply the blood. The blood from one billion human beings would make a stream not even twenty yards wide over this length of 184 miles (a trough 4’ deep with radiused sides would average 53 feet in width to hold the blood from one billion humans). If these figures are taken literally—and surely, when we recognize the literality of fulfilled prophecy in Daniel, they must be—then it is clear that God portrays the slaying of all unregenerate mankind. Notably, as the width is not given, we cannot determine the population of the earth at this time.8

See Campaign of Armageddon.

Child of Adam, hear, and be admonished now while salvation is so freely offered. Be not deceived, for God is not mocked. Those impieties of thine, those guilty sports and gaieties, will yet have to be confronted before the judgment seat. Those gatherings in the gaming-hells and drink-shops of Satan, those sneers and witty jests at sacred things, those fiery lusts burning on the altars of carnal pleasure, are all written down in the account-books of eternity to be brought forth in the great day. . . . Think, O man, O woman, how would you fare were He this night to strike! If not in the city, in reconciliation with the King, outside is only death and damnation, and nothing can make it different.9


Notes

1 Walter Scott, Exposition of The Revelation (London, England: Pickering & Inglis, n.d.), Rev. 14:19.

2 Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1977), Rev. 14:19.

3 Trent C. Butler, Chad Brand, Charles Draper, and Archie England, eds., Broadman and Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2003), 1666.

4 Several witnesses read 1606 stadia, a few read 1200 stadia. [Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1994), Rev. 14:20].

5 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 360.

6 Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), Rev. 14:20.

7 Scott, Exposition of The Revelation, Rev. 14:20.

8 Monty S. Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1987), Rev. 14:20.

9 J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), 365.

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