Whilst chapter 18 ends with requiem for the harlot city, chapter 19 begins with praise and worship to Almighty God. As we have stated previously, the rubrics of chapter and verse were introduced by scholars for ease of reference. Chapter 18 is a continuation of chapter 17. The harlot city has been judged for harlotry and persecution of the saints and Apostles and Prophets of God. That in itself is a demonstration of God’s faithfulness to His Word. The last part of the final phase of God’s judgement is about to take place. Human history on the planet Earth, as we know it, is about to end. Adam’s lease is over. The usurper Satan, his minions and hordes of fallen angelic beings are about to be evicted from the Earth’s premesis. God’s representative in the earthly realm of His Universal kingdom is about to take physical possession of the Earth. God’s rule is about to ushered in. The 6th day is over, the 7th day, the Shabbat of the Lord is about to begin after the battle of Armageddon. Sin is about to end and the reign of righteousness ushered in. Heavens sing praise to God with one voice for His faithfulness and righteous judgement.
Doxology: Praise And Worship To God(1-10).
This is another unit of vision consisting of praises and worship to God for His faithfulness in fulfilling His promise to martyrs under the altar(Rev.6:9-11) to avenge their blood and the blood of the saints and Apostles and Prophets who were slain upon the Earth by the wicked living earth-dwellers and the Kings of the Earth who were mesmerized and compelled by the harlotries and sorceries of the great harlot:for His faithfulness in rewarding the saints and His marriage to His bride, the raptured saints, which have already taken place in heaven; and in anticipation of the destruction of the Beast, the kings of the Earth and their armies at Armageddon and the marriage super of the Lamb which is about to take place on Earth in the early part of the New Millennium: and the ushering in of the righteous reign of God in the New Millennium.
The Heavenly Choir(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:”
Rev.19 is unique in that it begins with a doxology to God. The choir consists of heavenly hosts. It is a mass choir. It is a cantata of sorts. Though there were many people, they all sang with one voice in unison. This is a perfect choir. There were no antiphonal voices. They were in perfect oneness. We are not told who they are. It does not take much stretch of the imagination to guess. They are probably the raptured saints of all ages and innumerable company of angels. They say Hallelujah. Hallelujah is the English transliteration of the Greek Hallalouia which is a transliteration of the Hebrew halleluyah, meaning , praise Yahweh. Here the reader is called to praise God, the first of three such calls. They ascribe glory, honour and power to God. He is indeed worthy, and all glory and honour and power belong to Him.
The Reason For The Choir(1 & 2)
“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: 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.”
The reason for the ascription of glory, honour, and power unto The Lord our God is the redemption of humanity. God is the Saviour of all mankind. Verse 2 says true and righteous are His judgements, for He hath judged the great whore who did corrupt the Earth with her fornication, hath avenged the blood of the saints at her hand. Our God is for ever faithful. Apart from redeeming mankind from the shackles of the law and the powers of darkness, He has avenged the blood of His saints, Apostles and Prophets, and the martyrs of Jesus as promised in Rev.6:10,11. As soon as the complete number of saints to be martyred is reached, God interrupted the persecution of the saints with cosmic and celestial disturbances which paralyzed the Beast-antiChrist and made it impossible for the him to continue his persecution of the saints(Rev.6:12-17). Besides, He instituted His Day of the Lord judgement consisting of 7 Trumpets and 7 bowls(Rev.8,9, 16-19). The final 7th bowl judgment culminates in the destruction of the harlot city and the Beast armies and the armies of the other kings of the Earth at Armageddon and the incarceration of Satan in the bottomless pit(Rev.20). In verse 3, the smoke of the fire which burned the harlot city is still visible on Earth from the ruins of the city. And the smoke rose up for ever and ever. This is a figure of speech which means that the destruction of the harlot city is total, final and irrevocable, not that the fire will burn for eternity.
The Composition Of The Choir(4,5).
“And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts 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.”
The choir consists of the four and twenty elders and four beasts who fell down on their faces and worshipped God who sat on the Throne saying, Amen; Hallelujah: These two groups appear together, in tandem, throughout the book of Revelation, in hymnodic section. Amen is a Hebrew acronym derived from el melech ne’eman, which means God is a faithful King. Our God is faithful, He has kept His promise. Hallelujah: here again for the third time, the reader is invited to praise God for His faithfulness. In verse 5, an authoritative voice came out from the Throne of God in heaven saying, praise our God all ye His servants and ye that fear Him both small and great. We have seen the four and twenty elders worship and praise God. Now the saints, the servants of our God and they who fear Him, the redeemed of all ages are called upon by this authoritative voice from heaven to praise Him. So the second group of participants in the choir and heavenly orchestra are the redeemed of humanity, and this includes infants and sucklings, boys and girls, men and women of all ages and generations.
The Universal Orchestra In Session(6 & 7).
“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 honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”
Much as the previous orchestra in heaven in Rev.5, the number swelled up in geometric progression from the four and twenty elders, the four beasts, the redeemed of all ages and then, I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and the voice of many waters, and the voice of mighty thunderings saying, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. The four and twenty elders, the four beasts, the redeemed of humanity and the elements and indeed all creation praised God in unison. The reason adduced here for the raucous joy in heaven is because the marriage of the lamb is come and His wife has made herself ready. The bride has been translated into the wife because the marriage has already taken place in heaven when Jesus our Lord returned to heaven after reclaiming God’s rule over the Earth, whilst the bowl judgements are being meted out on the wicked living earth-dwellers. Verse 8 says to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean as white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. Besides the marriage of the Lamb, the Bema seat judgement where the saints were rewarded for their works on Earth has also taken place. So the saints are also bejeweled with gold, silver, precious stones and colours. What a glorious reason for the raucous joy! Verse 9: And He saith unto me, write, “blessed are they who are called unto the marriage super of the Lamb.” And he saith unto me, these are the true sayings of God. Indeed, these are the true sayings of God. Happy and blessed are they who are called unto the marriage super of the Lamb; for many are called but few are chosen(Matt.20:16).
As I pointed out earlier, the marriage supper of the Lamb will take place here on Earth in the early days of the millennial reign of Christ. The bride and bridegroom shall be there in full nuptial regalia, the friends of the Lamb, the angels of God, and the those who enter the millennium and repopulate the Earth in their mortal bodies, both Jews and Gentiles shall be there. We shall discuss this further when we deal with the marriage supper of the Lamb in our study of eschatology. The whole scenario here is so awesome that in verse 10, John, the revelator is so carried away by the splendor of the angel who revealed this to him that he bowed down to worship the angel. But was forbidden by the angel who said: “see that thou do it not, for 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.” We see here that departed saints play angelic roles in heaven. This agrees with the teaching of Jesus: that in the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels(Matt.22:30; Mk.12:25; Luk.20:35,36). Glorified saints are even higher than the angels, being made in the image and likeness of God. If the worship of glorified humanity is forbidden, no doubt, the worship of angels who are inferior to redeemed humanity is also forbidden.
The War Of Armageddon(Rev.19:11-21).
The actors in this drama and theatre of war are The Christ and His armies, the kings of the Earth and their armies. The scene and theatre of war is the land of Israel.
The Description Of The Rider On A White Horse(11-16).
“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. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 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.”
Verse 11: “And I saw heaven opened” introduces a new vision different from the last one. The revelator beheld a white horse; and He that sat on it was called faithful and true, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. Unlike the rider on a white horse in Rev.6:1, this one is faithful and true. There is no doubt in any one’s mind who this rider is. He is Jesus The Christ. In His first Advent, He came as a Lamb, a suffering Messaiah, Messaiah Ben Joseph. But here He comes as a conquering Messaiah, Messaiah Ben David. From the time He left His seat at the right hand of the Father in heaven, took the seven-sealed scroll from The Father, His role as the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world, gentle Jesus, meek and mild, is put in abeyance. He assumes His role as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Though He stood as a slain Lamb in the midst of the throne, depicting His previous accomplished works in His first Advent, which qualifies Him to take the scroll from The Father, He is now metamorphosed into the Lion of the tribe of Judah. In Rev.5, when John the revelator wept because no man was found worthy to open the scroll and to break the seals, the angel said: “weep not, for the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David had prevailed to open the scroll and to break the seals thereof.” He was no longer described as the Lamb slain, but as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the conquering Messiah. He is coming to judge the world, but He will do so in righteousness because He is just and true. There is no unrighteousness with Him.
In verse 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. These are familiar metaphors, already used in the scroll of Revelation. His eyes were as flame of fire indicates righteous judgement. He will not tolerate sin, neither will He brook rivals. Unlike the Dragon and the nondescript composite Beast which had seven heads and seven crowns, He has only one head but several diadems. During Satan’s rule over the Earth, there were several kingdoms as signified by the seven heads, but when the Son of God rules the Earth, there would be only one kingdom. Although He has many names known, there is one name of His which no one knows but Himself. Verse 13 continues His description. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood. When a judge tries a murder case, he wears a red robe. The meaning here is two fold. He will try the world for their murders. They will be sentenced to death. The sentence would be executed immediately and swiftly by Him. Therefore His garment shall be stained with the life blood of His enemies(Is.63:1-4). It is the day of His vengeance. He will thread the winepresss alone.
His name is called the Word of God. He is called the Word of God because the Word is creative, and He is the creator. By Him all things were made(Jon.1:3). He was with the Father from the beginning. The Word is God, without Him, there was nothing made that was made(John 1:2). The Word is spirit. The Word is life(John 6:63). The Word is light(John 1:4). The Word is living waters. The Word is everything else and everything else came out of the Word. But everything else is not the Word. Because this not a thesis but a commentary, we shall not continue our description of the Word, lest we be accused of doing violence to the text. In verse 14, the revelator continues his description of the rider upon a white horse by describing Him as being followed by the armies in heaven upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. We shall take a break in describing the rider on a white horse, to describe His armies. But remember that the description of His armies is also a continuation of the description of Himself. There is really no break in continuity here. We introduce a break here for the purpose of clarity, simplicity, convenience, and symmetry and parallelism with the opposite.
The Description Of His Armies(14).
“And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”
There is no consensus of opinion amongst biblical scholars as to the identity of these armies. Some believe they are angels. Others believe they are the resurrected saints of all ages. There are some who believe they are the resurrected saints of the church age only, and others who believe they are the resurrected saints of the church age and the angels. My understanding is that they include all these. The armies or hosts of heaven includes both men and angels inasmuch as resurrected saints play angelic roles as we have seen in this chapter. The Scripture makes it clear in the words of Jesus The Christ, our Lord, that in the resurrection, men are like angels(Matt.22:30). The marriage of the Lamb and the Bema Seat judgement where the saints are rewarded for their works on Earth has just been concluded in heaven. There is nothing else left for the saints to do in heaven. Man was never created to dwell in heaven for ever, otherwise he would not need a physical body. Besides, they are the ones who would rule with Christ on Earth in the New Millennium. God gave the Earth to the sons of men(Ps.115:16).
Christ is coming with these armies to defeat, the Dragon-Beast, and the kings of the Earth, to evict Satan and his hordes of fallen, evil angelic beings called demons and evil spirits from the Earth’s premesis, take physical possession of the Earth and institute His millennial reign. Does any one have doubts that He would be accompanied by those who would reign with Him? Would the angels of God like archangel Michael and those in his command be lame ducks, sitting in limbo, as it were, whilst Jesus comes down to fight on Earth. We must remember that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. As King, He moves with an entourage, a retinue of angels and faithful saints. He is never alone(John 8:29). The Father and the Holy Spirit, though invisible, are always with Him. But He also enjoys the fellowship of an innumerable company of angels(Heb.12: 22-14). They that are with Him are called, chosen and faithful(Rev.17:14). This implies that the saints are involved. They are all clothed in white garments and ride on white horses. This signals righteousness . We have earlier proven that the angels who did not partake of the satanic revolt are locked in righteousness. So also the resurrected saints are locked in righteousness after the Rapture. They are like the angels. So both groups qualify.
The Description Of The Rider On A White Horse Ctd(15 & 16).
“And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He should rule them with a rod of iron: and He threadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
There are three rich metaphors here. Out of His out goeth a sharp sword. I hope we do not suppose that when we see Jesus there shall be a sharp sword protruding out of His mouth. He is the Word of God, and the Word is the sword of the spirit(Eph.6:12). The word comes out of His mouth. Remember that His weapons are not canal. And His word cannot return to Him void(Is.55:8-13). With this sword He shall smite the nations. Whatever He speaks shall come to pass. Whatever He commands shall be done; for His chosen and faithful saints and angels do His biddings. He shall rule the nations with a rod of iron. Even in the millennium, those who repopulate the Earth shall be in their sinful mortal bodies. He must be strict to keep them from rampant sin and evil. He must ensure that no one with the mark of Beast enters the millennial kingdom. Nations like Egypt who disobey to come and worship Him annually with the fruits of their land shall be punished with severe droughts(Zech.14:17-19). And even now He must be strict in punishing the wicked kings of the Earth and their subjects, the wicked living earth-dwellers(Ps. 2:9).
He shall break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. He shall thread them like a farmer would thread olive seed to press out the oil or grape to press out the wine. Therefore Armageddon shall be a carnage of the wicked rulers of the Earth and their armies(Rev. 14:14-20; Is.63:1-6; Eze.38:18-23; 39:17-21). No one in this sinful mortal body of ours who survives Armageddon and enters the Millennium will entertain sin having witnessed the carnage at Armageddon. Armageddon shall be the Eschatological and comprehensive consummation of the wrath of God upon the wicked and living earth-dwellers. And He has on His vesture and thigh written a name, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Although He has a name which no one knows but Himself, some other names of His like this one are known. He is king by birth and heritage. He is king because He is the Son of God and Son of Man. He is the kinsman redeemer, the goel. He is king and Lord by merit. He defeated the Devil and his fallen evil angels. He is Lord of lords. He has the title deed of the Earth. It is His by genesis because He is the architect and creator of the Earth. He redeemed humanity. He prevailed to break the seals and to open the scroll. The Father has committed all judgement to Him. He is just and righteous. He is appointed of the Fathers. The Father has committed all judgment to Him. There is no unrighteousness with Him.
Invitation To The Fowls Of The Heavens(17 & 18).
“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.”
Just as God would hold a banquet for the citizens of the Earth during His reign in the early days of the millennium, at the marriage supper of the lamb, a feast of wine on the lees(Is.25:6), He shall host the fowls of the heaven in banquet of the blood of men and their flesh. And I saw an angel standing in the sun. This angel is not affected by the high energy of the sun. We are not told his name, rank, or regalia. In all probability, he is of high rank. 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 you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, and the flesh of might men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. We know from history that vultures, Americans call them buzzards, follow armies marching to war, because there will be plenty of corpses to feed on. They are the scavengers of history. But here, it shall be something else, out of the ordinary. These canibalistic birds, carrions, in response to the powerful voice of this powerful high ranking angel shall congregate to the land of Israel for a supper organized for them of the Lord, a feast, as it were. I learned that these birds which normally lay one egg apiece, now lay about three eggs apiece. Are they getting ready for the carnage at Armageddon? Here, not only the buzzards are invited but all carnivorous birds of all sorts. They shall eat the flesh of all men, kings and nobles, great and small, and the horses and their riders.
The Composition Of The Enemy Armies(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.”
At this time, on the Earth, there shall be the 8th and final Beast Empire of Satan. This Empire shall consist of the sea-beast who is the Emperor, the ten kings of the ten nation coalition. Besides these, there shall be the kings of the East, the king of the North, the king of the South, and other kings of nations like Egypt which the Beast-antiChrist shall attack, Edom, Moab, and Ammon which are neutral or perhaps allied to the antiMessiah(Dan.11:40-42). These nations shall be opposed to the Beast-antiChrist’s world domination. When God amputates the great tribulation with cosmic disturbances, they shall know that God is about to pour out His wrath upon the living wicked earth-dwellers(Rev.6:12-7). However when the news shall reach them, of Christ’s reclaiming God’s rule over the Earth on Mouth Zion, on the 5th day of the 30-day reclamation period, they shall put away their ideological and religious differences, band up together together to deal with what they perceive to be external heavenly aggression. They will be desperadoes anxious to retain that which they have already lost.
The waters of the Euphrates shall be dried up to make way for the kings of the East- Pakistan, India, China and the like(Rev.16:12). This shall be when the 6th bowl is poured out. Whether this shall be an engineering feat or an outright miracle is not specified. However there is a historical precedent, when Gobirus one of the generals of the Medopersian army diverted the upper waters of the Euphrates River into lateral channels, enabling his forces to march into the walled city of Babylon, through the wet river bed. The northern wall of the city state was built over the Euphrates River. Belteshazzar, who was co-regent with his father Nabonidus- who was in self-imposed exile in the Arabian city of Tema, for health reasons- was taken by surprise while in the third degree of inebriation in an alcoholic banquet, thus fulfilling the interpretation by Daniel of the hand writing on the wall that same night(Dan.5:30-31). The Scriptures make it clear that this gathering of the armies of the kings of the Earth shall be the work of three high ranking unclean and evil spirits like frogs coming out from the mouth of the Satanic trinity or triumvirate, the Dragon, the sea-beast and the false prophet(Rev.16:13). How these armies shall gather together in the land of Israel shall be a miracle in itself, considering that the trumpet and bowl judgements have devastated the Earth up to this time, and 33.333 kg hailstones are raining down on the armies of the nations as they make their way to the land of Israel for the final battle of Armageddon(Rev.8,9,16-18).
The Defeat Of The Kings Of The Earth And Their Armies(20 & 21).
“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.”
In the war that ensued called the war of Armageddon, the Beast-antiChrist and the false prophet, his enforcer who performed miracles before him by means of which he deceived the wicked living earth-dwellers to take the mark of the Beast-antiChrist and to worship his enlivened images, were taken captive, and cast alive into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. In verse 21, the remaining kings of the Earth, the ten Kings of the ten nation confederation and the kings of the other nations and their armies were slain with the sword which proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord, and their flesh fed to the fowls of the heavens. By the Word of God were the heaven made, all the host of them by the breath of His mouth(Ps 33:6). But the heavens and the Earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men(2 Pet.3:7). In like manner, the heavens and the Earth shall be salted with fire. Amen.