Revelation 19

Revelation 19  •  19 min. read  •  grade level: 7
“AND after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up forever and ever." (Verses 1-3.) The judgment of God had overtaken the evil woman, and heaven is jubilant. A multitude on high express their joy as one with loud voice. Hallelujah, glory be to God, reverberates far and wide through the heavenly courts. They rejoice in three things, "the salvation, and the glory, and the power of our God." The word "honor" is not in the Greek. God had wrought salvation for His own, maintained His glory notwithstanding the self-glorification of Babylon, and displayed the power of His might in her complete overthrow. True and righteous are His judgments. He had caused condign judgment to fall upon the harlot-corruptress. Many of His faithful bondmen had suffered at her hand. But God had avenged their blood. A second time the vast multitude cries, Hallelujah. And the smoke of her fiery judgment ascends to the ages of ages. Long had God borne with her false glory, her corruptions, and the bitter persecutions of His people, but she had met with her reward at last, and her punishment endureth forever.
And the four and twenty elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great." (Verses 4, 5.) The whole of the heavenly saints as one fall down and worship God who sat on the throne, and who had vindicated before the whole universe the glory of His great name. They add their Amen to the just judgment of God, and their lips cause the heavens to resound again with their Hallelujah. It is followed by a voice from the throne, which appears to be that of Christ, who associates saints with Himself, for it says, "Praise our God." The heavenly saints had shown their joy in the downfall of the harlot by worshipping God, but now this voice calls upon others, saying, "Praise our God, all ye his bondmen, and ye that fear him, small and great." His servants then on earth are called upon to join in His praise, and all that fear Him (and the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom), whoever they may be, whether small or great.
“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." (Verses 6, 7.) Again the prophet: hears a vast sound which is like 'that which' proceeds from the voice of a great multitude, or as the fall of many waters of a great river, or as that of mighty thunderings reverberating in the heavens. Once more Hallelujah bursts forth, as they rejoice in the establishment of the coming kingdom. Satan's powers one after another are falling before the power of God. The final blow is about to be given. "Hallelujah," cries this vast host, "for the Lord our God the Almighty has taken to himself kingly power. Let us rejoice and exult," they cry, "and give him glory; for the marriage of the Lamb is come." Joy fills the hearts of this mighty multitude, and they are exuberant with praise, as they think of the glory of the kingdom, and of the crowning day of the espousals of the Lamb. He who had suffered and died on earth for the glory of God, and for the salvation of His people, was now taking His power manifestly, and entering into His blessed heart's long awaited joy. In that glorious day, the Lamb, the spotless and unblemished One, who, fore-ordained of God, suffered, died and bled upon Calvary, shall see of the travail of His soul, and be fully satisfied. "And his wife hath made herself ready." In verse 4 the elders (the heavenly saints) are mentioned for the last time. The hour of the marriage of the Lamb being come, His wife (the church, composed of the saints from Pentecost onward to their translation to glory (1 Thess. 4:15-1815For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15‑18)) takes her distinctive place. Everything in relation to her that needed to be ordered in view of that wondrous consummation of joy being completed; the wife is viewed as having made herself ready. "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."(Ver. 8.) This is a lovely instance of God's great grace. A special grant is made to the wife of the Lamb on this glorious occasion. Her bridal robe is composed of fine linen, bright and pure. It is not the righteousness of God. Every saint becomes that through grace in Christ, the risen One, who has been made sin for us. (2 Cor. 5:2121For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21).) But fine linen sets forth figuratively the righteousnesses of the saints. All the practical righteousnesses of His saints, wrought here in the power of the Holy Ghost, are (so to speak) like threads in that beautiful garment, which, then completed, shall adorn the wife of the Lamb on the joyous day of the recognition of those heavenly espousals.
“And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of 'thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."(Verses 9, 10.) The blessing of the bride, the Lamb's wife, is incomparable; she is one with Christ for eternity. But others are called to participate in the marriage supper, and are pronounced blessed. It has been thought by many that this privileged company comprises the saints of the Old Testament." And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. "We cannot speak certainly, but think it most probable that the speaker here is the same angel as in chapter 17. I, who shows him the whole vision. (Compare also chap. 22:8, 9.) It was blessed for John, and it is blessed for us to know that these marvelous sayings are true. They are the sayings of Him who cannot lie, and who is able to, and will, most surely keep His word. John, overwhelmed with the greatness both of the message and of the one who communicates it, fell at his feet to worship him. But he is not an object of worship, and he forbids him, saying," See thou do it not. I am thy fellow-bondman, and the fellow-bondman of thy brethren who have the testimony of Jesus." And he concludes by saying that this testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of God's prophetic utterance. There is a literal fulfillment of the word of prophecy. But the spirit of this wonderful communication in relation of God's ways is the testimony of Jesus Himself.
From verse 11 onwards we enter upon fresh unfoldings of God's ways. To help our readers to a better spiritual apprehension of this part of the Revelation of Jesus Christ and to more clearly discern the sequence of events, we would call attention here to the repeated use by the prophet of the words, "And I saw." They are mentioned some seven or eight times. Each time they are employed, a fresh vision meets his view. And they all follow, and will be fulfilled, consecutively.
Commencing at chapter 19:11, they close at chapter 21:8. (From chapter 21:9 onwards we go back; it begins a description of the glory of the true church in contrast to that of the false in chapter 17:1.) The visions are as follows: the manifestation of the true King of kings (chap. 19:11); the invitation to the great supper of God (verses 17, 18); the opposition of the beast (ver. 19); the binding of Satan (chap. 20:1); the millennial thrones (ver. 4); the great white throne and the judgment of the dead (verses 11-15); the new heaven and new earth (chap. 21:1.); the church in the glory of the age of ages. (Ver. 2.) Let us turn to the detail.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he, himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.(Verses 11-13.) It has often been said that this sets forth the Lord coming out of heaven. But it is rather the heaven opened, and the prophet sees Him ready to come out. As always, when the heaven is opened, the central Object seen is Christ. Connecting with it verses 14-16, He is seen at the head of the heavenly armies, previous to the conflict. Verse 19 gives the gathering together of the opposing armies of Satan. Verses 20, 21 give their overthrow.
First John sees a white horse, and One sitting upon it. He is called Faithful and True. In verse 12 He has a name written which no man knew but He Himself. In verse 13 His name is called "The Word of God." In verse 16, "King of kings, and Lord of lords." This fourfold designation of Christ, looked at in a general way, is in striking keeping with His presentation in the four gospels. In Mark, He is the servant Prophet, the faithful and true Witness. In Luke, He is the Son of man, whose Person is inscrutable. In John, He is the Word become flesh. In Matthew, Hel is the true King. Rejected in every way by Israel and the world, the day is rapidly approaching when He will come forth in judgment upon His enemies. Ere He appears, the Spirit reveals His fourfold character. Being seated on a white horse would skew that, whilst for the glory of God He must tread all His foes beneath His feet, it is peace that He has in view, and which He will surely establish upon the earth. Faithful and true, He both judges and makes war in righteousness. He loves righteousness and hates lawlessness (Heb. 1:99Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Hebrews 1:9)), and righteousness will characterize all His ways both in establishing and in the exercise of His rule, whether in the judgment of His enemies or in conflict against the opposing military power. "His eyes are a flame of fire," which shows the intense and all-searching penetration of His gaze. He whose eyes run to and fro in the earth' will discern all, and He will know how to discriminate between the evil and the good. "Upon his head many diadems." The diadems are His by right. One blow will bring down the power of His foes. Many kings shall be overthrown. He, whose right it is, and whom God delights to honor, will come forth in warrior power and overturn Satan's throne and take possession of His own. All kings shall fall down before Him, and all nations serve Him.
(Psa. 72:1111Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. (Psalm 72:11).) He has "a name written which no one knows but himself." This blessed One, in the inscrutable glory of His person, bears -a written name, whose glory and wondrous character no creature can penetrate. He alone knows it, in whom all wisdom dwells. "And he is clothed with a garment dipped in blood." Many have fallen into the grievous mistake of thinking that this refers to His own precious blood. It is symbolical of the blood of His enemies, which He was about to shed. When Jesus was about to be crucified, men stripped Him of His raiment, parted His garments among them, and cast lots for His vesture. (Matt. 27:3535And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. (Matthew 27:35).) Later His precious blood was shed upon the cross. But here He is clad with at garment dipped in blood. We find a similar figure in Isa. 63:1-31Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 3I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. (Isaiah 63:1‑3), where He comes from Edom in dyed garments... red in His apparel, His garments like Him that treadeth in the wine fat. In treading down His foes, their blood shall be sprinkled upon His garments, and all His raiment be stained. "And his name is called The Word of God." As already remarked, it is written of Him" that "the Word became flesh." (John 1:1414And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14).) He was the expression of the mind and heart of God. He was God manifest in flesh. (t Tim. iii. 16.) But the light of His holy presence exposed man. H ad there, been naught but grace in Him, many might have welcomed His advent. But He was full of grace and! truth. The mass could not bear the truth, and would not have it. Wherefore Jesus said, "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." (John 12:4848He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:48).) Here we have arrived at the introduction of that day. And, as He is about to come forth in judgment the Holy Ghost designates Him as "The Word of God.”
“And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean." (Ver. 14.) With Christ at their head, the heavenly armies follow. These armies, we judge, comprise the sum of the heavenly saints both of the New and of the Old Testament. In other scriptures the holy angels also follow in His train. (Matt. 25:3131When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (Matthew 25:31).) But here the clothing of the armies shows clearly that they are saints. We have seen that fine linen is figurative of the righteousnesses of the saints, and they are clad therewith-white, pure, fine linen. It shows us, as said, the heavenly armies ready, following Christ.
“And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords." (Verses 15, 16.) From the mouth of Him who is called "The Word of God" goeth a sharp sword. In Heb. 4:1212For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) we read that the word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword. He is coming in power. There is no withstanding the deadly thrust of His living word in judgment. The nations will be smitten by it. It is the commencement of the judgment of the quick or living nations, which He is about to execute. As saith the prophet Zephaniah (chap. 3:8), "for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy." "And he shall rule [or shepherd] them with a rod of iron." He is not only the Shepherd of Israel, but also of the nations. Having judged His foes, He will take His throne, wear the crown, and shepherd the spared nations. It will be with a rod of iron. (Rev. 2:27; 12:527And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Revelation 2:27)
5And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Revelation 12:5)
.) Justice and judgment will, be the habitation of His throne. All evil will be suppressed. His authority and power will be universal. The government will be upon His shoulder. When His judgments are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world shall learn righteousness. (Isa. 26:99With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. (Isaiah 26:9).) He will tread "the wine-press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty." This corresponds with chapter 14:17-20. And having thus trodden all His foes beneath His feet, gathering out of His kingdom all that do iniquity (Matt. 13:4141The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; (Matthew 13:41)), He will take to Himself His great power and reign. "Upon his garment, and upon his thigh, a name is written, King of kings, and Lord of lords." Both officially and by right and power He is universal King. Satan's false king of kings will fall before Him. All the kings and lords of the earth shall fall down before Him whose right it is. There shall be one King over all the earth, one Lord, and His name one. (Zech. 14:99And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. (Zechariah 14:9).)
“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 midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great." (Verses 17, 18.) Having beheld the vision of the Lord and of His heavenly hosts in the opened heaven, before the final stroke of judgment on the military power of the beast with His own hand, John next sees an angel calling to the fowls of heaven to assemble to feast on the carcasses of those about to be slain. The angel is seen standing in the sun. He appears to be representative of Him who is the Sun of righteousness, and who is about to exercise His supreme and glorious power. With loud voice the angel summons the birds of prey. They are called to the great supper of God (for so it should be rendered). Seven classes are included in the awful overthrow, whose flesh will be preyed upon: Kings, chiliarchs, strong men, horses, their riders, the free and bond, and the small and great. None escape.
“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army." (Ver. 19.) This is, so to speak, the array for war of Satan's human forces. The beast, the head of the revived Roman empire, the great emperor of the West, the false king of kings and lord of lords, with the kings of the earth, to whom we have already more than once alluded, surrounded with their vast armies, are gathered together swayed by Satanic power (infidel and blasphemous). They are arrayed, bold and defiant, to dispute the rights of God's King, and those who follow Him. This is the final development of the great standing armies of western and southern Europe. Prepared professedly for defense, for the hindrance of war, and for the maintenance of the balance of power, Satan goads on the rulers of the world, and these vast assemblages of armed men, until they stand up in their folly against the true Prince of princes, and are broken without hand. Formed as the united states of Western Europe, under the powerful rule of Satan's man, nothing is restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. (Gen. 11:66And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. (Genesis 11:6).) But mighty as is the power of the beast and the combined kings, they are about to meet almighty power, which brings about their sudden and irretrievable overthrow in judgment.
“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." (Verses 20, 21.) "The beast was taken." He thought to make war. But little does he realize the power of the force arrayed against him. In a moment he is taken alive. He is powerless against the Man of God's purpose, the Faithful and True, who judges and makes war in righteousness. The false prophet is with him who works miracles by Satanic power before him, and who deceives those who receive the mark of the beast, or that worship his image. The two heads of Gentile and Jewish power and deception are allied in opposition to Christ. Blasphemous political and religious power combine against Him. As Pontius Pilate, the representative of Roman power, and Herod, king of the Jews, made friends over the rejection of Christ incarnate, so will the head of the revived Roman empire and the false king of the Jews in his false prophetical role be friends in the coming crisis. Together they reject Christ in glory, and seek to contend against Him. Caught red-handed in wickedness, at the zenith of their apparent success, both are taken alive and cast into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. The lake of fire is prepared for the devil and his angels, but it is also the awful doom of the beast and the false prophet, and of whosoever is not found written in the book of life. (Chapter 19:20; 20:15.)
The remnant, or the rest, that is, the armies which followed these leaders, are slain upon the earth with the sword which goes out of the mouth of Him who sits on the horse, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who is called "The Word of God." "And all the fowls," invited to the great supper of God, feast upon the carcasses of the slain. It pictures the utter destruction of the military power of western Europe, before the Lord as Son of man shall sit upon the throne of His glory and judge the quick or living nations themselves. (Matt. 25:3131When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (Matthew 25:31).)