Revelation, Chapter 19

Revelation chapter 19 and 20 bring the climax of the Book of Revelation: the return of Christ to establish His Earthly Kingdom. This is Christ’s Earthly Kingdom.

But first, the first five verses show heaven’s response to the judgment of the harlot.

The multitude in heaven praises God for judging the great whore (Babylon, the harlot) and avenging the blood of the martyrs (7:9-17). The word Alleluia is the Greek equivalent of Hallelujah, and means “Praise Yahweh” or “Praise the Lord” (Psalms 106; 111-113; 117;135; 146-150). The eternal smoke symbolizes the permanence of Babylon’s destruction (Isaiah 34:8-10). Amen derives from a Hebrew word meaning “to be firm,” and may be translated “truly” or “so be it.”

This chapter is one of the most dramatic in all the Bible. In it, the Church, the Bride of Christ, is the guest of honor at the marriage of the Lamb in heaven (v.1-10) and returns with Christ in His triumphal Second Coming (v.11-21). It is the only chapter in the New Testament where this word “Alleluia” is found, and it appears four times. The people mentioned here are distinct from the other beings in heaven, for they are singing a song that includes mention of salvation. This scene incorporates believers-the Old Testament saints, the Church age saints, and the Tribulation saints. Together they join this great chorus proclaiming. “Alleluia!”

The scene now shifts from the earth where it has been since chapter 6, to heaven.

 Chapter 19

19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

In the last chapter, we saw the terrible destruction of commercial and political Babylon symbolized by its capital city of Babylon.  Now the scene totally changes to heaven. We hear the voices of the redeemed. This “great voice” here is because of the number of people speaking. It is not the magnitude of each voice. These words of praise here are focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. The redeemed are the ones who are praising. There are not enough adjectives in the dictionary to say enough about what Jesus has purchased for us all.

The marriage of the Lamb and the marriage supper of the Lamb “in heaven” (19:6-9) are evidence of the Church being in heaven prior to the return of Christ to earth. Christ is the Bridegroom at the marriage and his Church is the Bride. The word “church” (GR. ekklesia) appears nineteen times in Revelation 1-3, and does not appear again until Revelation 22:16, emphasizing the absence of the Church from the earth during the judgments of Rev. 4-18.

Verse one is most likely the voices of angels. The redeemed saints are not told to praise our God until verse 5. Heaven rejoices because salvation has now come for God’s people and with it the power and glory which belongs to God.

19:2 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.

It appears that those who were redeemed were looking on from heaven and approving of the destruction of Babel, because the Messiah was bringing justice and righteousness to the world.

There is a reassuring tone here telling the Lord that He was justified in His judgment. They have long waited for the time when God’s justice would triumph. Now that time had come.

19:3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.

This is saying that this judgment is permanent and is similar to the language that God used in Gen. 19 verse 28. This is just a statement telling us it will never be built again.

This destruction of the last, most powerful empire in history marks the end of man’s day. The rebellion that had begun in the Garden of Eden is finally ended. Never again will there be more false religions, worldly philosophy, injustice or unrighteousness.

Then entire sorry results of human depravity will finally be vanquished.

19:4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.

These twenty-four elders, I believe, as I said before, are two groups of twelve, twelve disciples and twelve Old Testament prophets. These are actually representative of the church.

The four beasts are the cherubim as described in Rev. 4 verse 6.

Together, these two groups add their voices to the angels previously described.

19:5 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.

The speaker isn’t identified but is probably an angel and refers to God as our God. His instructions are to praise God.

The redeemed in heaven are called God’s “Bond Servants” and this is the group being addressed here to add to the other 3 mentioned groups.

The small and the great mean everyone which includes all human categories and distinctions. All redeemed are told to praise God.

19:6 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.

So vast is this group that they are without number. These are the faithful. When this great multitude begin to praise God, the volume would be so great as to sound like “mighty thunderings”.

This name used here, pertaining to our Lord, is a very strange one.  This is the only place in the Bible where the word “omnipotent” occurs. Omnipotent means almighty: having unlimited power. When you couple that with “Lord”, which means supreme in authority, and “God”, which means supreme deity; you have an overwhelming understanding of Who this is.

Then we look at “reigneth”.  This has no time element attached.  It means continually reigns.

At this point the evil world system has been completely destroyed and God’s kingdom has come into its fullness.

19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

The heavenly praise continues, this time for a call for gladness, rejoicing and giving God glory for a fifth reason, the marriage of the Lamb has come.

The marriage of the Lamb: The wife or bride of Christ is the church (Matt. 22:2-14; John 3:29; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph 5:25-32). And the marriage is the eternal union of the church with Christ following the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:17). The fine linen, clean and white, represents the righteousness of the church, which has now been judged and purified at the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor. 3:12-15: 2 Cor. 5:10).

In ancient times, a marriage was the single greatest celebration and social event in the biblical world. Preparations and celebrations were much more elaborate than those of today. And they also lasted much longer.

They were in three distinct stages which first involved the betrothal or engagement. This was an arrangement by both sets of parents, was legally binding and could only be broken by divorce. Then there was a time of preparation as the groom prepared for his bride.

Second was the presentation which was a time of festivities just before the actual ceremony. Those festivities could last up to a week and sometimes even more depending on the economic or social status of the bride and groom.

Lastly was the wedding ceremony during which time the vows were exchanged.

The same imagery of a wedding picture’s the Lord’s relationship with His Church.

19:8 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.

The fine linen the bride is clothed in represents the righteous acts of the saints.

Just as I said, these robes have been made white by the blood of the Lamb. This “righteousness” was not ours until we received the Lord Jesus into our lives and took on His righteousness. Our own righteousness had been as filthy rags, but Jesus replaced the filth with His righteousness. Just like, as many other places in the Bible, “her” does not mean just women, it is the bride. All believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are the bride of Christ, whether they are male or female.

I would like to say a few words about this “fine linen”. In the tabernacle in the wilderness, the High priest wore a very ornamented robe with a breastplate of all sorts of jewels when he represented God to the people; but when he went into the Holy of Holies, he wore pure white linen. You see, all of the fineries of the world mean nothing to God. This tells us something about our approach to God. Salvation is simple. It is not complicated, just bare all to God. He knows all there is about us already. We do not have to pretend to be something we are not. He accepts us plain and simple.

19:9 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.

Those who are invited to the marriage supper are Israel, who will turn to Christ in faith during the Tribulation (Jeremiah 31 verses 31-34; Zech. 12 verse 10; 13 verse 9; and Romans 11 verses 25-27).

The marriage supper of the Lamb represents the millennial kingdom of Christ, which will take place on earth following the return of Christ (20:4; Matt. 25:1-13; Luke 14:15-24). The Jewish marriage consisted of three major elements: (1) the betrothal; (2) the presentation; and (3) the marriage feast (supper) as was discussed just before.

Figuratively, with reference to the church,

  1. The betrothal takes place on earth during the church age;
  2. The presentation will take place in heaven following the Rapture (v.7); and
  3. The marriage feast will take place on earth following Christ’s return with the church.

19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

John here was so awed by all of this that he fell at this angel’s feet from verse 5 to worship him. Then the angel quickly tells John not to worship him. Only God is to be worshiped (22: v.8, 9; Acts 10: v.25, 26).

The “testimony of Jesus” is what the whole Bible is about. Without Jesus, there would be no salvation.  The Old Testament points forward to Jesus, beginning in Genesis. The New Testament is the “last will and testament” of Jesus, and to receive our inheritance, we must read the will.

If you preach on prophecy, you are bringing the testimony of Jesus.  If you understand the testimony of Jesus, then you must preach and prophecy so that others may live.  This testimony here is not Jesus giving it, but we believers who testify of the Lord. Whoever this angel is, he too, had the testimony of Jesus.

19:11 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.

In these next six verses, (11-16) we are swept up into the triumphal entourage of redeemed saints in the heavenly procession with the King of Kings. Jesus Christ comes to make war on Satan, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the kings of the earth. He rides on a white horse and has on His head “many crowns.” When this war with Satan is over, He becomes the absolute ruler of the earth.

Notice several things about the description of our Lord’s return. First, it will be public, obvious, and not restricted to a small group. He says His coming will be like lightning that flashes from the east to the west. Everybody will see it, and there will be no hiding it. Second, He says it will occur “immediately after” the Great Tribulation. Third, His return will be accompanied by “mourning” on the part of “all the tribes of the earth” – the mourning of sadness on the part of the Jewish nation, that it so long rejected Christ as Messiah, as well as the mourning of despair on the part of the ungodly, who reject Him as King even as He appears in the sky.

Again as we saw in chapter four, a door opened in heaven. This opening of heaven is not to go in, but is the opening for Jesus and His followers to come out. The door to heaven has never been closed for the Christians to enter in. The “horse” symbolizes war, and the fact that it is “white”, symbolizes victory. White, also, symbolizes holiness and righteousness. This tells us that this war is a holy war, and Jesus is victorious.

Just the fact that “Faithful and True” are capitalized, lets us know that this figure is God the Son who has been made Lord of Lords and King of kings, Jesus is the Judge. He is always faithful to His promises and what He speaks is always true.

This white horse is not that of 6:2. Here the True Messiah returns in victorious conquest. He is Faithful to His Word and promises. He will fulfill the twofold role of judge and warrior. His judgment of the earth will be totally righteous (Rev. 16 v.5-7; 19 v.2; Psalms 96: v.13).

We are assured that His judgments are right. He has been sitting at the Right Hand of the Father in heaven, but now He is about to set up His kingdom here on the earth.

The most detailed description of the Second Coming was given by our Lord Himself in Mat. 24: For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matt. 24 v.27)   Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt. 24 v. 29-31)

19:12 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.

“eyes” show wisdom, and these, like “flames of fire” can see right into the soul of man.

This “fire” here speaks of purity and judgment. The crowns indicate total sovereignty and authority (contrast 12: v.3; 13: v.1). The secret name expresses the mystery and greatness of the person of Christ (2: v.17; 3: v.12; 19: v.13, and 16; Phil. 2: verses 9 -11).

There was a secret name on the stone underneath the breastplate of the high priest worn into the Holy of Holies. This was the unspeakable name of God. This name here is similar to that name. It is a name that no one knew except our Lord. In chapter 3 verse 12 of Revelation, we studied about this name the Lord will put on us.

19:13 And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

This is not representative of the blood Jesus shed on the cross, but is a picture of judgment, not redemption. This is the blood of his slaughtered enemies. This is not His first battle, but His last. He has fought for His people through out redemptive history and His “war clothes” bear those stains. The blood represents the judgment of Christ’s enemies (14: verses14-20; Isaiah 63: verses 1-6).

Over and over in these lessons, I have given the Scriptures where the word of God took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us. In the book of John, the first chapter, we read about the Word of God.

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Jump down to John chapter 1 verse 14. “And 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.” We also see here, that this Word (Jesus) was, is, and always will be God the Word.

19:14 And the armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

This is speaking of the Battle of Armageddon.

The armies may be (1) angels (Zech. 14: v.5; Matt. 26: v.53); (2) the raptured church; or (3) all the inhabitants of the heavenly Jerusalem: angels, the church, and spirits of Old Testament and Tribulation saints (Heb. 12: verses 22-24). They will share in Christ’s victory and glory (Roman 8: verses 18 and 19). The linen symbolizes righteousness (v.8)

Here we see the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ following, these are the called, chosen, redeemed, the bride. The whole army is on “white horses”.  They have white horses, because they have overcome the devil. They are washed in the blood of the Lamb. They have on pure white linen for the righteousness of Christ. This army has been in heaven waiting for the wrath of God, on the ungodly, to be over.

19:15 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.

The sword from His mouth depicts judgment through His spoken Word (1: v.16; 2: verses 12 and 16; Isaiah 11: v.4; 2 Thess. 2: v.8). The Bible says that it is so sharp that it can divide the soul and spirit. Hebrews 4: v.12 “For 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.”

Smite the nations: Christ will destroy all unbelievers (19: v.21; Matt. 25: verses 41 and 46; 2 Thess. 1: verses 8 and 9). Rod of iron: Christ will subject all nations to Himself, and destroy all His enemies (Psalms 2: verses 8 and 9; 1 Cor. 15: verses 24 and 25). Winepress: See 14: verses 17 to 20.

Words relating to wrath and anger are found 15 times in Revelation. We see how powerful this Word is. This “rod of iron” that He is to rule with just means that His law is absolute and unwavering. He never changes.

When we see this “treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath”,  This wrath of God is for three and a half years of Tribulation, then after those, another  three and a half years that is call the Great Tribulation, making a total of seven years of God’s Judgment and Wrath.

19:16 And he hath on [his] vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS: Christ has universal sovereignty. This expresses His sovereign triumph over all foes and His absolute rule in His soon to be established Kingdom. (17: v.14; Deut. 10: v.17; Dan. 2: v.47; 1 Tim. 6: v.15).

There are approximately ninety-seven names throughout the Bible that the personage that we know as Jesus is used. The name He was called at the time had to do with the circumstance at hand. Here He is coming to the earth to take over as Supreme Ruler, so He is called by the name “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS”.

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 midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

An angel speaking in a loud voice invites all of the birds to feed on the results of the carnage which will shortly take place. This angel is declaring Christ’s victory before the battle even begins. A similar passage is found in Luke 17 v.37 stating: wherever the corpse is, there the eagles (vultures) will gather.

This “supper” that this speaks of, is right after the battle of Armageddon.

19:18 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.

What this is saying is that for those lying out there dead in the valley of Megiddo, it will not matter whether you were a general or a private. The birds will not know the difference. With God, there has never been a distinction. He is not impressed with your position in life. The birds will eat them all.

This reveals the extent of the massive slaughter. To have one’s unburied body left as food for birds would be the ultimate indignity, especially for the mighty military commanders and the proud kings. The same fate awaits the God hating rebels everywhere in the world.

19:19 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.

This beast is the Antichrist, the leader of the last and greatest empire in human history. The kings of the earth are those ten kings who rule the ten sectors which the Antichrist’s worldwide empire is divided in to.

The Antichrist has gathered his armies to do battle with Jesus and His army. The formidable and seemingly invincible armed might of the beast, with all of its firepower, now awaits the arrival of the Rider on the white horse.

Ever since the beginning of time, the armies of God and the armies of the devil have been in mortal combat. The flesh and the Spirit have been in combat also. Isaac (Spirit) and Ishmael (flesh) are still in mortal physical combat through their descendents in Israel today. This Scripture above is speaking again of the battle of Armageddon.

19:20 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.

But before the battle can even begin, it’s over. Not only that, but those two demonically empowered leaders, Antichrist and False Prophet, are dealt a terrible blow. Those two are thrown alive into the lake of fire.

The false prophet and the beast were used of Satan to perform his evil deeds. As the two most evil, vile and blasphemous people who have ever lived, it is fitting that they should be the first two to arrive in that awful place. And they will be there by themselves for a thousand years until the devil joins them at the end of the millennium. Then at the second resurrection (the second death) they will be joined by all unbelievers for all eternity.

This is the first mention in the bible of the “lake of fire”. This is the final hell and the ultimate destination of Satan, his angels (or demons) and the unredeemed.

Hell has always existed, but this is hell’s final form. Unlike Hades which was a temporary holding place, this is the final permanent place for incarceration and punishment.

We see here, the total victory over the beast and the false prophet. This shows here that the “KING OF KINGS” throws them into the “lake of fire”. This “brimstone” is sulfur. This is final victory over the earthly manifestations of Satan’s power.

19:21 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.

Then all of the rest who were with the Antichrist and the false prophet will then be destroyed and the rest of those gathered to fight against Christ.

Then suddenly it will be all over. Actually there will not be any war at all as we think of war. There will be just a word spoken from the Rider who sits on the white horse. That’s the same One who spoke the heavens and the earth into existence at the very beginning. The One who spoke to a fig tree and it withered away. Who spoke to the howling winds and heaving waves and the storm clouds vanished and the waves were stilled. Who spoke to a legion of demons in a man and instantly they fled.

Now by His Word, the Beast is stricken where he stands. The false prophet windbag from the pit is stilled. Then they’re hurled into the everlasting flames. Then another Word and all of the panic stricken armies stagger and fall down dead.

Then all the birds ate and were filled with the flesh of those who were killed.

The rest of the unredeemed throughout the world will be judged at the sheep and goat judgment which takes place at this time.

This is not just defeat, but is physical death for those who followed the beast and the false prophet. The Word of God defeated them. They actually die in the battle of Armageddon by the Words of Christ and not by an easy death as scripture tells us that the blood in that valley ran up to the horses bridles, about 4 to 5 feet deep for the entire length of the 184 mile valley.



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