In Revelation 16+, John was shown the pouring forth of the final seven bowls which contained God’s wrath. At the pouring of the seventh bowl, God’s voice was heard from the Temple saying, “It is done!” (Rev. 16:17+). Even though judgment is said to be complete at the pouring of the final bowl, we saw that several more chapters were still ahead before the kingdom of God finally arrives on earth and Satan is bound in preparation for the Millennial Kingdom to follow (Rev. 20:1-3+). Revelation 17+, 18+, and 19+ provide additional background concerning the judgment of Babylon and the overthrow of the kingdoms of man in favor of the kingdom of God and His Christ (Rev. 11:15+).In Revelation 17+ and 18+ John is shown the Harlot, Babylon the Great (Rev. 17:5+, 18+)—both her background and ultimate destruction. In this chapter, John sees the exultation in heaven at the destruction of the Harlot on the earth below. Then he sees the marriage of the Lamb which is followed by the return of Jesus Christ to earth at His victorious Second Coming. Revelation 19+ can be considered the apex of the book of Revelation because it describes the most important event remaining in history.The kingdom of the Beast has wasted the earth (Isa. 14:16-17) and great darkness prevails. Those who follow God have been more intensely exterminated than at any time in history past. The saints that remain on earth lack the mark of the Beast needed for commercial activity (Rev. 13:17+) and place their lives in danger by refusing to worship the Beast (Rev. 13:15+). They are either in hiding, living off the black market, or they are in the special place of protection provided by God (see Sheep in Bozrah). All appears to be lost.Then, at the darkest hour—which is always just before the dawn—heaven is opened and the long-awaited Saviour is seen riding forth with the armies of heaven in glorious array! Millennia of expectant waiting finally comes to fruition in the arrival of the “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” to slaughter the rebellious at the Campaign of Armageddon and to institute the glorious age of righteous rule that is the Millennial Kingdom. (See The Arrival of God’s Kingdom.)Not only is the Second Coming of Christ perhaps the most dramatic event in Scripture, it ends the continually downward trend of history. Although sin and death remain for another one thousand years (Isa. 65:20-25), the coming of the Righteous King to earth starts history on an upward path. The age of the Millennium on earth demonstrates what all of earth’s history should have been—with truly righteous rule by a righteous Man. Even this, in all its fullness, is to be surpassed in the final state when both sin and death are vanquished and the new heavens and new earth become the final abode for the righteous of all ages with full communion with God (Rev. 21:4+).This is the sweep of history before us and explains why this chapter is the Alleluia chorus—the word alleluia appearing four times in this chapter and nowhere else in the NT.1
After these things
After these things is Μετὰ ταῦτα [Meta tauta], the common phrase which separates portions of John’s vision. The phrase indicates a sequential relationship between portions of John’s vision as they are given, but the various portions are not necessarily chronological in their historical sequence. For example, John is shown the destruction of Babylon under the seventh bowl judgment (Rev. 16:19+) before he is shown additional details concerning Babylon (Rev. 17+).
I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven
John heard a similar voice (or noise) from heaven when the 144,000 redeemed of Israel learned the new song (Rev. 14:2-3+). There, the voice (or noise) was not explicitly identified as a multitude, but mention was made of numerous harps so it is probably a similar heavenly multitude in both scenes. The voices are of all those in heaven including: (1) the voices of the Church, having been raptured before the Tribulation, (2) the voices of the Tribulation saints, many of whom were martyred (Rev. 6:9+; 7:14+; 12:11+; 13:7+, 15+; 15:2+; 16:6+; 20:4+), and (3) the voices of various ranks of angels. They sing in unison as one mighty, thunderous voice (Rev. 19:6+).
A transliteration of the Hebrew, הַלְלוּ־יָהּ [hallû–yāh], a command: You all praise Jah! (e.g., Ps. 106:48).2 The first occurrence of the word Hallelujah in the OT corresponds with the context of its usage here: “Sinners shall be consumed out of the earth, and the wicked shall be no more. Bless Jehovah, O my soul. Hallelujah!” (Ps. 104:35, Darby’s Translation).3
The great multitude, who came out of the Great Tribulation, attributed salvation to both God and the Lamb (Rev. 7:9-10+). Salvation from God is said to have come at the casting out of Satan, the accuser of the brethren, from heaven (Rev. 12:10+). Glory and honor and power are attributed to God by the twenty-four elders because of His act of creation (Rev. 4:11+). Every creature in heaven and on earth gives glory and honor and power to both God the Father and the Lamb (Rev. 5:13+). Their praise recognizes the salvation found in the redemption provided by the Lamb: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood” (Rev. 5:9+) and “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” (Rev. 5:12+). Here, salvation is probably broader than personal redemption, but includes the rescue of all of creation, and especially the earth, from the corrupting influence of the Harlot (Rev. 19:2+). See Worship of God.
The same attributes attributed to the Father here are attributed to the Lamb Who rides forth on the white horse Who is “Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges” [emphasis added] (Rev. 19:11+). See commentary on Revelation 19:11.The judgments of God are accurately assessed (true), utterly just, even required (righteous). “Righteous are You, O LORD, and upright are Your judgments” (Ps. 119:137). At the pouring forth of the third bowl, the angel from the altar made the same declaration, “true and righteous are Your judgments” (Rev. 16:7+). When we consider the great upheaval and destruction which is the Tribulation, how quick we are to question God’s righteous punishment of sin! As the text reminds us time and time again, the severity of the judgments described in the book of Revelation are not evidence of God’s unfairness. Rather, their severity is a testimony to His righteousness—for only He knows the full breadth and depth of the sin which He now judges. “The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb” (Ps. 19:9b-10). See commentary on Revelation 16:5 and Revelation 16:7.
He has judged
And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. (Rev. 6:10-11+) [emphasis added]
The cry of the martyrs reminds God that He is holy and true. His holiness requires judgment of sin. His true character guarantees He will deliver judgment. If He withheld judgment, He would be neither holy nor true.
The great harlot is τὴν πόρνην τὴν μεγάλην [tēn pornēn tēn megalēn]: the harlot, the great [one]. Although there have been many harlots upon the earth, this is a unique harlot among them—“the mother of harlots” (Rev. 17:5+). John was told by an angel that he would be shown “the judgment of the great harlot” (Rev. 17:1+). Her judgment is the subject of Revelation 17+ and 18+, and is not complete until the events of both chapters have transpired. The multitude declares the events of both chapters as a single judgment of the Harlot, which is the city. There is no intimation of two judgments, as if the Harlot was some other entity than the city itself. If the Harlot is taken as being something other than the city, then Scripture fails to record any heavenly exultation over the destruction of the city itself. This exultation over the great Harlot is in response to the destruction of the city. See The Great Harlot.
Corrupted is ἔθειρεν [etheiren]: she ruined: “Ruin, destroy; . . . in morals and religion seduce, corrupt. mislead.”4 She made all the nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication (Rev. 14:8+). See commentary on Revelation 14:8. She committed fornication both with the kings of the earth and its inhabitants (Rev. 17:1+). See commentary on Revelation 17:1. The entire earth was involved because of her influence: sitting on peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues (Rev. 17:15+).
He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her
The servants of God include saints, prophets, and apostles—all those who fear and trust Him (Rev. 10:7+; 11:18+; 15:3+; 19:5+; 22:3+). The book of Revelation was given to His servants (Rev. 1:1+; 22:6+). It was God’s servants who were seduced to commit sexual immorality by Jezebel in the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2:20+). Those who serve God have been a prime target of persecution throughout history, but never more so than during the Tribulation. The Harlot was “drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. 17:6+). In her “was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth” (Rev. 18:24+). See commentary on Revelation 18:24.Since she rode upon the Beast with seven heads throughout history and sat upon all nations, she influenced those on the earth to persecute the saints. Her persecuting role found its climax in the Tribulation when she influenced the earth dwellers to execute multitudes of martyrs who had the testimony of Christ (Rev. 6:9+; 7:14+; 12:11+; 13:7+, 15+; 15:2+; 16:6+; 20:4+).It is God Who shall avenge His servants—they are not to avenge themselves (Mat. 26:51-53). Yet Scripture records times when God’s judgment is carried out through human intermediaries. In the days of Jezebel, God anointed Jehu as king and avenged His servants at the hand of the king: “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I have anointed you king over the people of the LORD, over Israel. You shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel’ ” (2K. 9:6b-7). Similarly, God’s judgment against the Harlot was carried out by the Beast and his ten kings (Rev. 17:16+). See commentary on Revelation 17:16 and Revelation 18:20.
See commentary on Revelation 19:1.
Rises up is ἀναβαίνει [anabainei], present tense: it presently rises. The same verb tense appears in Revelation 14:10+ which describes the ongoing torment of the Beast worshipers in the Lake of Fire: “And the smoke of their torment [presently] ascends forever and ever” (Rev. 14:11+a). Like the torment of the Beast worshipers, the smoke of Babylon’s destruction continually rises to emphasize the ongoing reality of her destruction.
forever and ever!
εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων [eis tous aiōnas tōn aiōnōn]: into the ages of the ages. From the time of her destruction and throughout the Millennial Kingdom, the area which was once Babylon will be burning pitch and a prison for demons (Rev. 18:2+). The text implies that her destruction is so permanent that the land itself will be continually dangerous and unavailable to humans:
Its streams shall be turned into pitch, and its dust into brimstone; its land shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night or day; its smoke shall ascend forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; no one shall pass through it forever and ever. (Isa. 34:9-10)
Forever and ever has several aspects: (1) the destruction of the city is permanent—it will never be found again; (2) those destroyed in her will suffer eternally in the Lake of Fire; (3) the area occupied by the city will continually burn until the new heavens and the new earth, when the first earth passes away (Rev. 21:1+). See The Destruction of Babylon.
The four living creatures were first seen by John in the midst of the throne. They are of a high angelic order, probably cherubim. See commentary on Revelation 4:6.
fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne
The scene is much like that which John first saw when he was transported to heaven in the Spirit to see the twenty-four elders and living creatures worshiping before God’s throne. The elders are found near the throne and continually falling in worship in recognition of the great acts of God. When John first saw the elders, they were falling before God, casting their crowns before the throne, and extolling His greatness in creation (Rev. 4:10+). Later, when the Lamb took the scroll prior to loosing its seals, the elders fall in worship and adoration while singing a song of redemption (Rev. 5:7-9+, 14+). When the great multitude who came out of the Great Tribulation give praise to God and the Lamb, the elders fall on their faces in worship (Rev. 7:9-11+). At the sounding of the seventh trumpet, when the kingdoms of this world are declared to have become the kingdom of God and His Christ, the elders fall in worship (Rev. 11:15-16+). The participation of the elders falling in worship here indicates the great importance attached to the destruction of Babylon by heaven. God gains glory by her destruction, an important step on the way to establishing the Millennial Kingdom on earth.
Amen means truly, as when expressing agreement. See commentary on Revelation 3:14. Alleluia means praise God. See commentary on Revelation 19:1. The elders and living creatures agree with the statement of the multitude and add their own praise.
The voice comes from near the throne. It is not the voice of God Himself, as indicated by what is said: “Praise our God.” It is probably the voice of an angel of high rank, such as one of the living creatures.
Praise is αἰνεῖτε [aineite], second person, plural, imperative command: you all praise! “You who fear the LORD, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, and fear Him, all you offspring of Israel” (Ps. 22:23). Many of those who praise are the very servants who’s blood was shed by the Harlot (Rev. 19:2+). They praise all the more because God has avenged their martyrdom. Having experienced greater depths of persecution, they have greater ability to extol and elevate God.
Behold, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who by night stand in the house of the LORD! Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. The LORD who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion! (Ps. 134:1-3)
Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD; praise Him, O you servants of the LORD! You who stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God, praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant. (Ps. 135:1-3)
and those who fear Him, both small and great!
Some manuscripts omit and (καὶ [kai]). If included, it should probably be translated as even since the clause which follows provides additional description of the servants and does not denote a separate category of persons. Fear of God is an important aspect of understanding Who He is (Acts 10:2). See commentary on Revelation 11:18. The company of the redeemed knows no boundaries and includes those who have had considerable influence and power in life, as well as those who are entirely unknown to the world. The cross of Christ is the great equalizer among men.
See commentary on Revelation 19:1.
This phrase describes the roar which attends heavenly voices and noises of great magnitude (Eze. 1:24; 43:2). John heard Christ’s voice as the “sound of many waters” (Rev. 1:15+).
The voice of mighty heavenly creatures (Rev. 6:1+; 10:3-4+) and the sound of the multitude of voices is like that of powerful thunder. The heavenly multitude which attended the song of the 144,000 redeemed from among Israel also was like loud thunder (Rev. 14:2+). The loudest electronic amplification system of any earthly praise will dwindle to insignificance in comparison to the thunderous praise from heaven at the accomplishment of God in His omnipotence!
See commentary on Revelation 19:1.Imagine the largest stadium in the world, filled to overflowing with a thundering crowd. Now multiply that by one thousand, ten thousand, even myriad of myriads (Rev. 5:11+)! Gather all the world’s instruments together with all the heavenly instruments—instruments and sounds and voices of unimaginable purity, power, and magnificence. On command, they all shout forth: ALLELUIA!Surely, in the spiritual realm, this thunderous praise is already beginning to erode the strength of the dragon and his unclean spirits who, at this very hour, are gathering the kings of the earth to their impending slaughter below (Rev. 16:13-14+).
Omnipotent is παντοκράτωρ [pantokratōr]. See commentary on Revelation 1:8.God is omnipotent, all-powerful: none of His purposes can be withheld or frustrated. “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (Job 42:2). “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You” (Jer. 32:17). Jesus said, “With God all things are possible” (Mat. 19:26b).
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing. (Isa. 40:12-15)
Reigns is ἐβασίλευσεν [ebasileusen]: “rule over, control completely.”5 “The aorist ἐβασίλευσεν [ebasileusen] is proleptic and ingressive. Looking back from the future point when the climactic battle of Rev. 19:19-21+ is complete, the verb tense sees God’s assumption of power in reigning over the earth.”6 In one sense, God has and always will reign supreme. His rule over all creation has never been, nor ever will be in question: “Your throne is established from of old” (Ps. 93:2a), “The LORD reigns: let the peoples tremble! . . . He is high above all the peoples” (Ps. 99:1a-2). In another sense, the physical reign of God on earth has been corrupted by fallen men and usurped by Satan. It is in this sense—the mediatorial rule of God on earth through men—that events are now rapidly moving to bring God’s kingdom to earth.
Our Father in heaven. Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven. (Mat. 6:9b-10). [emphasis added]
The worship of the multitude restates the announcement which attended the sounding of the seventh trumpet: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15+). In the destruction of Babylon, the world is but a hair-breadth away from the institution of God’s literal earthly kingdom. All that remains is the destruction of the Beast and the kings of the earth at the Campaign of Armageddon (Rev. 19:17-21+).
Their gladness and rejoicing is because the marriage has come. As in the First Coming of Christ, a long period of waiting is about to conclude (Zec. 9:9). The hopes and dreams of his servants will find consummation in His approaching intimacy.
The marriage of the Lamb has come
The time has arrived for Christ to marry His bride. We believe the bride is the Church, having been previously taken to heaven in the Rapture. Eve, having been formed from Adam’s body, was organically united with him (Gen. 2:21-24). In a similar way, the Church, consisting of all those baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit (1Cor. 12:13), is spiritually joined with Christ in a unique way. She is His Church (Mat. 16:18) which He now weds. See Marriage of the Lamb.
His wife has made herself ready
Has made herself ready is ἡτοίμασεν ἑαυτὴν [hētoimasen heautēn]: she has prepared herself. She is both the subject and the object (herself) of the preparation. The puzzling aspect of her having prepared herself is answered in an understanding of the relationship between faith and works. Scripture teaches that true biblical works are the result of faith (Jas. 2:17-18). Scripture also teaches that faith is a gift from God (John 6:44; Acts 11:18; Rom. 12:3; Php. 1:29). Thus, she made herself ready by the power of God working in her. Paul said this very same thing: he labored, even striving, but that which was working in Him was of God. So it is with the wife of the Lamb.
To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. (Col. 1:27-29) [emphasis added]
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev. 21:2+).
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. (Rev. 21:9-10+)
When the Marriage of the Lamb takes place, the descent of the New Jerusalem is at least one thousand years in the future. The city will eventually be presented as a bride, but does not participate in the marriage described here.
The bride is a figure for a material city yet to come as well as for the inhabitants of that city. The bride-figure cannot be limited to the individuals who will live in the city. It must also include the literal city with her physical characteristics (Alford).7
The New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb in the sense of the promised restoration of Jerusalem having found its ultimate fulfillment. See Jerusalem Married to God. See commentary on Revelation 21:9.The participation of the bride in her own preparation argues against any view which takes the bride as being merely the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2+, 9+) because the city on its own is inanimate.The preparation of the bride includes her judgment at the judgment seat (bema) of Christ:
Believers have to make themselves ready ere they enter on their eternal glory. That is, the story of earth has to be gone over again in the presence of Him who is Christ (2Cor. 5:10). The light of the throne will be cast over and upon every moment of our lives, discovering the hidden, and bringing out the true character of acts, and words, and service. . . . This, and more is the application of the judgment seat of Christ to the heavenly saints and precedes the marriage. . . The light of the throne has done its blessed word, bringing out into bold relief the whole story of her history on earth.8
Many references in the New Testament present the truth that the church will be judged by Christ Himself (Rom. 14:10-12; 1Cor. 3:11-16; 4:1-5; 9:24-27; 2Cor. 5:10-11; 2Ti. 4:8). Inasmuch as the translation of the church, from the pretribulational point of view, has already separated the righteous from the unrighteous, only saved people will be involved in the judgment of Christ in connection with the church. The judgment will have as its supreme question the matter of reward.9
And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen
It was granted is εδόθη [edothē], often translated: it was given. To be arrayed is Ἵνα περιβάληται [Hina peribalētai], middle voice, subjective mood: so that she might clothe herself.In one of His parables, Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son (Mat. 22:2-14). Those who were invited to the feast would not come. So the king sent his servants out to invite whoever would come. At the time of the supper, the king encountered a man who did not have on a wedding garment. Because of his lack of proper clothing, he was cast out into outer darkness.In this parable, the king is Father God and His Son is Jesus Christ, the Lamb. The wedding feast is the wedding feast of the Lamb. Those who were invited are the nation of Israel. Those from the nations who eventually attend are those who accept the gospel as it went forth to all nations after the rejection of Jesus by Israel. The importance of having the wedding garment is seen in the response of the king to the man. The proper wedding attire is provided by the redemption of Christ. It is the imputed righteousness of God (Rom. 3:21-26). The man who was cast out of the marriage feast was ignorant of God’s righteousness and sought to establish his own righteousness. He rejected the wedding garment provided by the king and so was ultimately found unfit to participate.The bride is given the fine linen by her groom:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (Eph. 5:25-27) [emphasis added]
Some suggest that the marriage itself does not take place in heaven—that the statement, “the marriage of the Lamb has come,” is to be understood as a proleptic statement which has the Millennial Kingdom in view.10 This view fails to explain the plain meaning of the text which implies that the bride is being attired prior to Christ’s return. The bride is granted her wedding garments now and found to be wearing them when she rides forth with Christ at the Second Coming (Rev. 19:14+). This indicates that the wedding itself takes place in heaven prior to the Second Coming:
One further matter of reconciliation requires a separation of the wedding itself (Rev. 19:7+) from the wedding feast (Rev. 19:9+). It is necessary to have the marriage initiated in heaven after the Rapture of the saints, because when Christ’s army of saints return with Him to earth, they will have already put on their wedding apparel (Rev. 19:8+, 14+). So the initiation of the union happens in heaven, but the celebration of that union with a grand wedding feast ensues on earth.11
clean and bright
The twenty-four elders are clothed in white robes (Rev. 4:4+) as are the angels (Luke 24:4; Acts 1:10; Rev. 15:6+). Those coming out of the Great Tribulation were also seen in white robes, having washed them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:13-14+).The bride of the Lamb is to be contrasted with the Harlot. Both wear fine linen, but of different colors. The bride’s is clean and bright, denoting her sinlessness before God, having been washed in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 1:7+). The Harlot wore purple and scarlet indicating her sinful luxurious living (Rev. 18:12+). The clean and bright linen which the bride wears corresponds to the clothing promised to the overcomers in the church at Sardis (Rev. 3:4+). Jesus told the Laodicean church that the white garments are to be obtained from Christ (Rev. 3:18+).The cleansing of the stain of sin in the lives of the faithful is illustrated in a passage from Zechariah. Joshua stands before the Lord clothed in filthy garments and the accuser of the brethren stands near, no doubt pointing to the filthiness of Joshua. The Lord responds rebuking Satan and removing Joshua’s iniquity after which he is given rich robes to wear:
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” (Zec. 3:1-4)
It is by this same means—by God’s provision of the blood sacrifice of the Lamb—that the bride will obtain her clothing. “We can wear the divine righteousness because He, first of all, wore the blood-stained garment.”12
for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Righteous acts is δικαιώματα [dikaiōmata]: righteous [things]. Her righteous acts are not found on their own. Truly righteous acts are always found in company with and motivated by faith:
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. (Jas. 2:20-24) [emphasis added]
Pentecost suggests the plural δικαιώματα [dikaiōmata] does not denote imparted righteousness, but righteousnesses which have survived judgment at the judgment seat of Christ:
It must be observed that the “righteousness of the saints” is plural and can not refer to the imparted righteousness of Christ, which is the believer’s portion, but the righteousnesses which have survived examination and have become the basis for reward [1Cor. 3:9-15].13
It is the bride which wears the fine linen which is identified as the righteous acts of the saints. The characteristics described of the bride: her making herself ready, her requiring clean clothing, and her linen being the righteous acts of the saints, identify those who have been redeemed.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isa. 61:10) [emphasis added]
Then he said to me, “Write: Blessed are those . . . ”
The person speaking is the angel who showed John “the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters” (Rev. 17:1+). Since the same angel has been with John throughout Revelation 17+, 18+, and the first part of 19, it is best to understand Revelation 17:1+ through Revelation 19:4+ as a unified passage wherein the angel shows John the judgment (singular) of the great harlot (singular). This is more evidence indicating the identity of the Harlot as the city—that there are not two judgments, but only one. The Harlot which is the city is judged by God at the hand of the Beast and his ten kings (Rev. 17:16+). See One or Two Babylons?The angel reminds John of his original commission, to write down the things which he is being shown (Rev. 1:19+; 2:1+, 8+, 12+, 18+; 3:1+, 7+, 14+; 10:4+; 14:13+).Those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb are blessed because the supper will take place in the kingdom of God: “Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, ‘Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!’ ” (Luke 14:15). Attendance at the supper is equivalent to finding entry into the kingdom of God. This is one of seven blessings given in the book of Revelation. See commentary on Revelation 1:3.
who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb
See Marriage of the Lamb. The Lamb is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Jesus Christ, who prevailed to open the scroll with seven seals (Rev. 5:5-6+).14 Are called is κεκλημένοι [keklēmenoi], perfect passive participle: while having been called. They were called in the past and now stand as invited guests.Jesus’ response to the faith of the Roman centurion (a Gentile) indicates who was invited:
When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat. 8:10-12)
The “sons of the kingdom” are the Jews. They are the ones who were initially invited to the marriage supper, but refused to come. Therefore, the invitation went out to all nations (Mat. 22:2-14).The ones who are blessed are not the ones who were invited, but refused to come. It is the ones who were called according to God’s election and predestination. See commentary on Revelation 17:14. They are the ones who are not only invited, but accept the invitation and turn to faith in Christ. Jesus indicated that although many would be called (κλητοί [klētoi]) to the marriage feast, few were chosen (εκλεκτοί [eklektoi]) (Mat. 22:14). Only the chosen ones come to faith in Christ and actually attend the feast. This includes the saints of all ages who will sit down and eat with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.Since the bride needs no invitation to the marriage supper,15 those mentioned here are a separate body of saints who are not part of the church, having never been baptized into the body of Christ. They are the saved who died before the Day of Pentecost or who came to faith after the Restrainer was removed in the Rapture of the Church. See Who is the Restrainer?Since the banquet includes the saints of all ages (not just the bride), this also indicates the feast will be held during the Millennial Kingdom. In order for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to participate, it will have to follow their resurrection (Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2). In order for the Tribulation martyrs to participate, it will also have to follow their resurrection (Rev. 20:4+).
It is with the Marriage Feast that the Millennium will begin, . . . the invitations . . . go out to all the redeemed who are not members of the Church, i.e., the Old Testament and Tribulation saints soon to be resurrected.16
Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” (Luke 22:15-18)
Since the marriage supper consistently is used in reference to Israel on the earth, it may be best to . . . view the marriage of the Lamb as that event in the heavens in which the church is eternally united to Christ and the marriage feast or supper as the millennium, to which Jews and Gentiles will be invited, which takes place on earth, during which time the bridegroom is honored through the display of the bride to all His friends who are assembled there.17
Jesus promised those in the church at Laodicea who opened to His knock that he would dine with them and that they would sit with Him on His throne. Since His throne, the throne of David, is taken up during the Millennial Kingdom, the promise likely extends to participation in the marriage supper. See commentary on Revelation 3:20.Some see the need to include the millennial saints and the mention of the New Jerusalem as the bride of the Lamb as an indication that the feast will be prolonged into the eternal state:
[The marriage feast] cannot transpire on earth in a completed sense until after the Millennium when the rest of the faithful from the thousand-year period combine with the martyrs and other saints to complete the body of the redeemed (Charles). The language of Rev. 21:2+, 9+ is quite explicit regarding the bride in the new heaven and the new earth (Lee). The better part of wisdom is to include both the Millennium and the new heaven and the new earth as the prolonged wedding feast of the Lamb and His bride (cf. Rev. 19:9+). It will commence with Christ’s glorious appearance to initiate His kingdom on this present earth.18
These are the true sayings of God
That which John sees, hears, and records is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and therefore true. John bore witness to all the things which he saw and recorded (Rev. 1:2+), angels bear witness of their truth (Rev. 19:9+; 22:6+), and even God Himself bears witness to the words of this revelation as being true and faithful (Rev. 21:5+). See commentary on Revelation 1:2.
Later, after seeing the revelation of the New Jerusalem and the eternal state, John falls again before an angel to worship (Rev. 22:8+). The events John sees, the glory of the angel, and the desire for John to worship are such that he is apparently overcome. Perhaps what transpires is best explained by the divine purpose in what results: a stronger emphasis on the prohibition of the worship of angels.In our own day, many confuse the uniqueness of the Creator with that which He has created. Angels, like men, are created beings. Thus, they are not to be objects of worship: “Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind” (Col. 2:18). When we see people placing great emphasis upon angels, even worshiping them (Satan being an angel), we see the effects of the reprobate mind which rejects God. Those who exchanged the truth of God for the lie “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25). This Creator/creature distinction is the ultimate reason why Jesus refused to yield to the temptation of Satan—for it would have meant the Creator worshiping one of His creatures (Mat. 4:9-10)!Unlike John, no rebuke was given when Joshua fell on his face to worship the Commander of the army of the LORD. In fact, the Commander said, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy” (Jos. 5:15b). Earlier, when John first saw the glorified Jesus, he fell at His feet as dead (Rev. 1:17+). The absence of any rebuke in the foregoing situations indicates that the object of worship was none other than God—Jesus Christ!
Like the people of God, the elect angels are His servants and do His will (Ps. 103:20; Dan. 7:10; Luke 1:19; Heb. 1:14). Angels can be considered to be John’s brothers in the sense that they share in the mission of carrying out God’s will. They can also be considered his brothers because, like believers, they are “sons of God.” Angels are called “sons of God” (Gen. 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7) because, like Adam (Luke 3:38), they were created by a direct act of God. Jesus also bears the title “Son of God” in recognition of His birth through the direct agency of God, the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).This can be said for all those who are spiritually born of God (Luke 20:36; John 1:12; Rom. 8:14, 19; Gal. 3:26). It is in this dual sense of doing God’s will and having their genesis in God that the angel could say he was of John’s brethren, the saints.
Although John bore witness to the testimony of Jesus, the testimony provided by Jesus (subjective genitive, Rev. 1:2+), he suffered exile to Patmos because of what he testified concerning Jesus (objective genitive, Rev. 1:9+). Later, when John attempts to worship the angel who shows him the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:9+), the angel reminds John once again that he is of John’s brethren. Here, the brethren “have the testimony of Jesus.” There, the angel refers to the brethren as those who “keep the words of this book”. If the two phrases are equivalent, then the testimony emphasizes the preservation of the revelation provided by Jesus to John (Rev. 1:1+). Preservation of the words is of little value if they are not promulgated to those who have yet to hear. Those who come to faith believe the testimony of the Father concerning the Son (1Jn. 5:9-10). See commentary on Revelation 1:2.
When Cornelius met Peter, he fell down and worshiped him, but Peter stood him on his feet and explained that, like Cornelius, he was just a man like Cornelius (Acts 10:25-26). After seeing a miraculous healing by Paul, the people of Lystra attempted to sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul. Paul explained that he and Barnabas were also men of the same nature (Acts 14:10-15). The first of the Ten Commandments written by the finger of God specifies that men “shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. 20:3). The second commandment prohibits the making of carved images nor bowing down to them. This includes any likeness of something in heaven, on the earth, in the sea, or under the earth (Ex. 20:4). Therefore, the worship of angels is prohibited. When Satan tempted Jesus to worship him, Jesus replied, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve’ ” (Mat. 4:10).
For the testimony of Jesus
Testimony is μαρτυρία [martyria]: “attestation,”19 “with Christ as the content . . . witness of (or about) Jesus.”20 The phrase testimony of Jesus can be understood in two ways. If Jesus is the subject, then Jesus is the source of the testimony (subjective genitive). If Jesus is the object, then the testimony concerns Jesus (objective genitive). Does this verse teach that the testimony from Jesus is the spirit of prophecy? Or that the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy? Both of these statements are certainly true. For it is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ (John 14:18; Rom. 8:9; 1Pe. 1:11) Who is the source of all prophecy (see below) and the primary focus of the revelation He provides concerns Jesus. See commentary on Revelation 1:1 and Revelation 1:2.In the book of Revelation, the testimony (or witness) to Jesus dominates as the reason for the persecution and martyrdom of the saints (Rev. 1:9+; 6:9+; 11:7+; 12:11+, 17+; 20:4+). Scripture records the volume of the book is written of Him (Ps. 40:7; Heb. 10:7). On the road to Emmaus, Jesus said, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:25a). Then Luke records, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:25b). Later, Jesus appeared to His disciples and explained, “all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44). Jesus told the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). Paul said that to Jesus, “all the prophets witness” (Acts 10:43a). Peter said, “Of this salvation [through Jesus] the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1Pe. 1:10-11).
is the spirit of prophecy.
All revelation given by God through His prophets was by the Spirit. “The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue” (2S. 23:2). “But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin” (Mic. 3:8). When Jesus referred to David’s statement in Psalm 110, He said, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him “Lord”?” (Mat. 22:43). Peter said, “this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas” (Acts 1:16). Jesus said it would be by “the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father” that the apostles would receive testimony concerning Him (John 15:26), “He will tell you things to come” (John 16:13). The NT prophet Agabus “stood up and showed by the Spirit that there as going to be a great famine throughout all the world” (Acts 11:28). Later, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles’ ” (Acts 21:11). Two passages written by Peter, by the power of the Spirit, are of particular importance:
Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into. (1Pe. 1:10-12)
Peter indicates that it was “the Spirit of Christ who was in” the prophets that testified. Thus, the Spirit of Jesus was the empowering source of their testimony. Yet Peter also indicates that the Spirit “testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” In other words, the message which the Spirit testified concerned Jesus Christ.
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2Pe. 1:19-21)
Peter indicates that all prophecy came by the Spirit. When the prophets spoke, God spoke by His Spirit. They were moved (φερόμενοι [pheromenoi]) by the Holy Spirit. It was not their own will, but God’s initiative which produced their inspired testimony. They were born along by God’s Spirit much like a ship is driven by wind and weather (Acts 27:15). They were not in ultimate control, but were vessels which God moved according to His purpose (John 3:8).
Opened is ἠνεῳγμένον [ēneōgmenon], perfect tense participle: having been opened. Heaven was now open when John saw it, having been previously opened. Just like the door which John saw by which he first ascended in his vision (Rev. 4:1+). See commentary on Revelation 4:1.
The overcomer who rode forth at the opening of the first seal also rode a white horse (Rev. 6:2+). He was the one who was granted authority by God to overcome the saints for a season (Rev. 13:5+) and to appear initially as a peacemaker (Dan. 9:27). Now, the peace that he brought is seen to be a false peace and the time has arrived for the True Overcomer to ride forth to defeat him (Rev. 19:20+). See commentary on Revelation 6:2.
He who sat on him
This is the Lamb, riding forth as a glorified man. Previously, He stood in the midst of the throne opening the seven seals (Rev. 5:6-8+). Before that, He had been seated at the right hand of the Father (Rev. 3:21+) awaiting the time to initiate the sequence of events which would culminate in His ride.
called Faithful and True
Previously, He was called the “faithful witness” (Rev. 1:5+). His witness is faithful because it is impossible for Him to lie (Num. 23:19; Rom. 3:4; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18). Therefore, He alone is a reliable witness to Himself (John 8:14). He referred to Himself as “truth” (John 14:6). Because God alone is truly faithful, Jesus is holy—unique, like no other (Rev. 3:7+). See commentary on Revelation 1:5.
Because He is faithful [Rev. 19:11+] He must discharge His office as judge, not shrinking from the administration of discipline or punishment where it is needed. Because He is true [Rev. 19:11+] He cannot alter the standards of God which condemn sin. Favoritism and laxity cannot be found in Him, for He is the perfect administrator of justice in a world where injustice has long since reigned. . . . The meekness of Calvary and the sternness of Armageddon may seem inconsistent, but wherever sin exists, they may both be found.21
Both are present-tense verbs: He is judging and making war. These are activities which take place at the time of His ride. Because His judgment is righteous, the Campaign of Armageddon will be a just war: “Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One, with Your glory and Your majesty. And in Your majesty ride [on a horse!] prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness” (Ps. 45:3-4a). The psalmist said, “For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His truth” (Ps. 96:13). The horrible slaughter, unique in all history (Rev. 14:20+), will be completely just and a reflection of the absolute truth of man’s sinfulness and rebellion. Although man rationalizes his sinful condition with relativistic truth so as to deny his depravity, the judgment of God will assess his true condition. Man judges on a curve. God judges on an absolute scale. It is this difference which explains the magnitude of the slaughter as true justice.His righteous judgment in the Campaign of Armageddon is the prelude to His righteous reign during the Millennial Kingdom to follow as the “Branch of righteousness” (Jer. 23:5-6): “Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:7). “In mercy the throne will be established; and One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness” (Isa. 16:5).Even now, our own land languishes under unjust judgment. Having rejected the cornerstone of our judicial system, we are rapidly tilting toward calling that which is evil good and that which is good evil (Isa. 5:20). By the time of the end, the earth will utterly yearn for true justice.Makes war is πολεμεῖ [polemei], the same root which is translated as the “battle of that great day of God Almighty” [emphasis added] (Rev. 16:14+). See commentary on Revelation 16:14. See Campaign of Armageddon.Incredibly, many preterists do not see the Second Coming of Christ in the chapter before us:
There are some fully-realized preterists who do not believe that the Bible speaks of Christ coming to earth in the future [this is heresy]. They believe that all the references to the “Second Coming” in the Bible were fulfilled in A.D. 70. . . Most preterist commentators, however, seem to expect an actual coming of Christ in the future—much as do those who take other approaches to Revelation. Even these expositors, however, do not generally see the Second Coming of Christ in the passage before us. The coming of Christ on the white horse may be thought of by many as the quintessential vision of the Second Coming at the end of the present age, but most preterists agree with Jay Adams, who believes it applies to the continuing warfare of the church through the proclamation of the gospel following the fall of Babylon in the previous chapters.22
It is difficult to know how to respond to such an unwillingness to take God’s word plainly. If most preterists don’t see the Second Coming of Christ in the passage before us, we wonder what, if anything, they do see? If the events of Revelation 19+ do not describe the Second Coming of Christ, then we search in vain elsewhere in Scripture for a more detailed and dramatic account of this, the second most important event in history.
[This passage] answers specifically the theme verse of Rev. 1:7+ which tells of the worldwide audience this event will have (cf. Mat. 24:27-31). In fact, this is the only event in Revelation that corresponds to that coming narrowly construed to refer to Christ’s personal coming.23
His eyes match the description which John saw in his first vision of the glorified Christ (Rev. 1:14+ cf. Rev. 2:18+). His gaze is absolutely piercing and impossible to hide from. His absolute righteousness and the justice of His judgment would be impossible to endure except through identification with Him as one of His own: “Who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap” (Mal. 3:2). See commentary on Revelation 1:14.
Crowns is διαδήματα [diadēmata]. He no longer wears the crown of thorns (Mat. 27:29; Mark 15:17; John 19:2, 5). He is crowned with glory and honor and has been set by the Father over the works of His hands (Heb. 2:7-9). MacArthur suggests the many crowns are an indication of the crowns He will gather when He vanquishes the kings of the earth:
Many indicates His collecting of all the rulers’ crowns, signifying that He alone is the sovereign ruler of the earth. Collecting the crown of a vanquished king was customary in the ancient world. After defeating the Ammonites, David “took the crown of their king from his head . . . and it was placed on David’s head” (2S. 12:30).24
More likely, the many crowns worn by Christ are an indication of His right to rule and the many facets of the character of His rule. Zechariah saw two of these crowns: His simultaneous role as priest and king. Only in Messiah, the BRANCH, will these two rules coincide:
Then take silver and gold, and make crowns,25 and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; and speak unto him, saying, thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zec. 6:11-13, KJV) [emphasis added]
The high priest wore a crown above the miter (Zec. 3:5; Lev. 8:9). Messiah shall wear many crowns, one surmounting the other (Rev. 19:12+). It was a thing before unknown in the Levitical priesthood that the same person should wear at once the crown of a king and that of a high priest (Ps. 110:4; Heb. 5:10). Messiah shall be revealed fully in this twofold dignity when He shall “restore the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6).26
He had a name written
Had a name written is γεγραμμένον [gegrammenon], perfect passive participle: a name having been written. The name was written upon Him in the past. The MT text has having names written, and a name written. In other words, having many names written, but one specific name which no man has known.
no one knew except Himself
Οὐδὲς οἶδεν εἰ μὴ αὐτός [Oudes oiden ei mē autos]: no one knew if not Him.27 All the guessing of men throughout history will prove to no avail in identifying this name or else the Word of God would be broken. His unknown name is the subject of a proverb written by Agur the son of Jakeh:
Surely I am more stupid than any man, and do not have the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom nor have knowledge of the Holy One. Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know? (Pr. 30:2-4)
This riddle surfaces numerous times in various attempts to identify the Angel of the Lord. When Jacob wrestled with the man at Peniel, he asked the name of the man, but the man (the Angel of the Lord) did not provide it (Gen. 32:29). When Jehovah instructed Israel to follow the Angel He would send before them, He warned them not to provoke the angel, “for my name is in Him” (Ex. 23:21). When the Angel of the Lord appeared to Samson’s mother-to-be, she mentions He did not tell her His name (Jdg. 13:6). Later, when Samson’s father met the Angel and asked for His name, the Angel replied, “Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?” (Jdg. 13:18). (Wonderful is one of the known names of Messiah, Isa. 9:6.)Agur interpreted his ignorance of the name of the Son as a lack of knowledge of the Holy One. To this we could add the words of Jesus, “no one knows the Son except the Father” (Mat. 11:27; Luke 10:22). We believe the mysterious name of Jesus is a secret shared between only He and the Father and is intended to indicate their inviolate unity. God only shares His secrets with those who have intimacy with Him (e.g., Daniel, John). The secret name of Jesus will not be revealed until He and the Father choose to do so, possibly at His Second Coming. Whatever the name is, it will undoubtedly reveal some splendor concerning His character, like His many other names.Overcomers in the church at Philadelphia were promised to have the name of the Father and of the New Jerusalem written upon them as well as Jesus’ new name (Rev. 3:11+). Perhaps Jesus’ new name is this secret name.This same idea that shared secrets demonstrate intimacy is found in the promise to the overcomers in the church at Sardis who were promised a white stone with a new name written upon it which no one knows except God and the one receiving it (Rev. 2:17+).
Dipped is βεβαμμένον [bebammenon], perfect passive participle: having been dipped. This verb is from βαπτω [baptō]: to baptize. But here, it probably denotes garments stained in blood.28 Used of “coloring cloth dip into dye, dye (Rev. 19:13+).”29 Patristic evidence and a few manuscripts have variations of ῥαντίζω [hrantizō]: to “sprinkle someone or something,”30 but the evidence is weak and ambiguous.31Some suggest the blood is His own:
Notice how Jesus will be proudly arrayed in His garment which is covered in blood; this will be the basis of divine judgment—that the world has spurned His blood. Jesus wears it proudly; we will be dressed in our white garments—He will be arrayed in His bloody one. The host that will accompany Jesus is proof positive of the effectiveness of His blood.32
As attractive as this idea may be, it has several weaknesses: (1) nowhere in Scripture is there indication that Jesus wears His own blood; (2) His blood was spilled at the cross during His First Coming for redemption. This is a picture of His Second Coming which is in judgment and wrath. This is not His own atoning blood which is associated with His First Coming (Lev. 14:51; Rev. 1:5+; 5:9+). This is the blood of His enemies from His trampling them in the “winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Isa. 63:3; Luke 19:27; Rev. 14:20+; 19:15+).33 See Blood Stained Garments.
called the Word of God
Called is κέκληται [keklētai], perfect passive: having been called. This is a unique title of Jesus used by John the Apostle (John 1:1; 1Jn. 1:1; 2:14; 5:7 TR; Rev. 1:2+; Rev. 19:13+) and provides evidence that he is the author of the book of Revelation. See Authorship.Like God’s literal word which He has magnified above His name (Ps. 138:2), God highly exalted Jesus and has given Him the name above every name (Php. 2:9). Scripture informs us: “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth” (Ps. 33:6 cf. Heb. 11:3; 2Pe. 3:5). Elsewhere, John uses this title to emphasis Jesus as the revelation of God in His incarnation:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1Jn. 1:1-3)
The Logos or Word is the expression of God’s nature in understandable terms, and whether those terms be mercy or judgment they are both equally the message of God.34
This title also emphasizes Jesus’ role in creation (John 1:1-3; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; Rev. 3:14+)—a key theme explaining why God has ultimate dominion to retake the earth at His Second Coming (Rev. 3:14+; 4:11+; 10:6+).
Armies is στρατεύματα [strateumata]: “troops,”35 “armed force.”36 The army is composed of “saints” which denotes those who are set apart and dedicated to God. This term includes both angels (e.g., Dan. 8:13) and men (e.g., Ps. 16:3; 34:9; Acts 9:13). Joel indicates that God’s “mighty ones” will be among them—almost certainly a reference to angels (Joel 3:11).Scripture records rare glimpses into the abilities of these mighty ones. When Hezekiah petitioned the LORD for defense against Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, the LORD sent His angel who killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night (2K. 19:35). When forces came against Elisha and his servant became alarmed, Elisha prayed that the LORD might open his eyes: “And behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2K. 6:14 cf. Ps. 68:17).Paul also indicates that angels will attend the revealing of Christ to those upon whom He will take vengeance:
. . . since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. 2Th. 1:7-10 [emphasis added]
We also know, from what the angel previously told John, that “those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful” (Rev. 17:14+). This describes believers. Thus, those returning with Christ include both angels and believers, although it may be that only believers are on horses: “A factor which causes hesitation in identifying the armies as angels, however, is the unlikelihood that they would be on white horses as their leader is.”37 See commentary on Revelation 17:14.
The word [armies] is in the plural number, meaning that at least two separate armies will return with Him. One army is known as hosts of the Lord, or the angelic army [Mat. 16:27]. . . . Another army that will return with Jesus is the army of the Church saints who had been raptured previously, . . . [Jude 1:14-15].38
Although it is possible that the plural form, armies, denotes two categories of soldiers, this is not necessarily so because the same force is later referred to as “His army (στρατεύματος [strateumatos], singular)” (Rev. 19:19+).Since The 70th Week of Daniel is not over until Christ has returned to earth, it seems that the OT saints have not yet been resurrected (Dan. 12:2). Therefore, they are not a part of the army which rides forth. If the resurrection of the Tribulation saints occurs at the institution of the Millennial Kingdom (“they lived,” Rev. 20:4+)—and the Tribulation has not yet officially ended—neither will they have been resurrected to participate in the army. This infers that the human element of the army is limited to the previously-raptured Church.
All the saints, both angels and believers, appear in bright, white attire (Rev. 3:4+; 15:6+). The white clothing of the angels is a reflection of their elect status and the glory of God. The white clothing of the believers indicates the righteousness of Christ which is attributed to them on account of His redeeming blood (Rev. 1:5+; 7:14+). See commentary on Revelation 19:8.
He should strike is πατάξῃ [pataxē]: “Strike down, slay.”39 “As inflicting a heavy or fatal blow.”40 Nations is ἔθνη [ethnē] which can also be translated Gentiles. With one exception (Rev. 11:2+), the context in the book of Revelation indicates that the Jewish nation is included in this term.41 Those among Israel who reject Jesus as Messiah will be included among the slain at His Second Coming (Eze. 20:34-38).If Jesus literally and physically slays His enemies at His Second Coming (Rev. 19:21+), how is it that the sword is figurative—coming out of His mouth? It represents the sword of the Spirit, the word of God: that which God has set forth as His spoken will (Eph. 6:17). Those who are slain meet their doom because they are judged by God’s righteous word (Heb. 4:12). They have consistently violated its precepts and standards and their destruction has been prophesied. In many ways, the action of their slaying is the unavoidable result of what God has said. This is why Jesus slays His enemies with His lips: “He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked” (Isa. 11:4). His mouth is like a sharp sword (Isa. 49:2). Hence, when Antichrist is destroyed, he is consumed “with the breath of [the Lord’s] mouth” (2Th. 2:8). The ultimate reason they are slain is found in God’s testimony—the law written in stone found in the ark of the covenant (Rev. 11:19+; 15:5+). The written law is His word, thus the weapon is said to come forth from His mouth. See commentary on Revelation 1:16.They are actually slain twice by His word. First, the enemies of Christ are physically killed at His Second Coming (Rev. 19:21+). This is the first death. Next, the enemies of Christ are judged by God’s word before the Great White Throne and cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:12+). This is the second death. See commentary on Revelation 2:11.
He Himself will rule is αὐτὸς ποιμανεῖ [autos poimanei]: He, He shall rule. Emphasis is placed upon the identity of the One Who will rule in contrast to the thousands of years during which usurpers and unfit substitutes have clamored for that which alone is His. This is the promised rule of the male child which the woman who fled to the wilderness bore (Rev. 12:5+). See commentary on Revelation 12:5. He shall rule is ποιμανεῖ [poimanei] which speaks of herding, nurturing, or tending as a shepherd. But his initial rule is violent because “they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels” (Ps. 2:9):
Revelation indicates that the conquest of evil will be a crisis and not a process, nor will the evil be removed by the gradual improvement of civilization. The outward manifestation of the kingdom will occur only when Christ Himself returns.42
See Trouble Ahead.Rod is ῥάβδῳ [hrabdō] which can be translated by “rod,” “staff,” or “scepter.” Balaam saw this scepter which was to rise out of Israel: “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult . . . Out of Jacob One shall have dominion” (Num. 24:17-19). This prophecy of Balaam is widely interpreted of Messiah:
I see him, but not now; I behold him, but he is not near; when a king shall arise out of Jacob and be anointed the Messiah out of Israel. He shall slay the princes of Moab and reign over all mankind.—Targum Onkelos43
I see him, but he is not at the present time, I behold him but he is not near: but when a mighty king of the house of Jacob shall reign, and shall be anointed Messiah, wielding the mighty scepter of Israel. He shall slay the Moabite princes and shall bring to naught all the sons of Seth, the armies of Gog, destined to wage war against Israel, and their dead bodies shall fall before him.—Targum Pseudo-Jonathan44
The scepter (rule) of Messiah from the line of Judah is also the subject of the prophecy of Jacob on his deathbed: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (Gen. 49:10). Shiloh means to Him Whose right it is and refers to Messiah:
The transmission of dominion shall not cease from the house of Judah, nor the scribe from his children’s children, forever, until the Messiah comes. to whom the kingdom belongs, and whom nations shall obey.—Targum Onkelos45
THE SCEPTRE [STAFF] SHALL NOT DEPART FROM JUDAH alludes to the Messiah, son of David, who will chastise the State with a staff, as it says, Thou shalt break them with a rod [staff] of iron (Ps. 2:9).—Midrash Rabbah, Genesis XCVII, New Version.46
UNTIL SHILOH COMETH: he to whom kingship belongs (shelo). Rather than transliterating into English “Shilo” as though it were a proper name, the Rabbis translated the exact meaning of “Shilo” as “to whom it belongs/pertains.”—Midrash Rabbah, Genesis XCIX, 8-9.47
He [the Messiah] will come and set on edge (makheh) the teeth of the nations of the world. . . He will upbraid them and show them how wrongly they had acted.—Midrash Rabbah, Genesis XCVIII, 8.48
And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold-the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure. (Dan. 2:44-45) [emphasis added]
I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed. (Dan. 7:13-14)
Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him. (Dan. 7:27)
This is the culminating phase of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream and Daniel’s Vision, when the Messianic King will finally reign. See The Arrival of God’s Kingdom.Jesus promised the overcomer in the church of Laodicea that he would co-rule with Christ (Rev. 2:27+). See commentary on Revelation 2:27.
He Himself treads is αὐτὸς πατεῖ [autos patei]: He, He is presently treading. As with His rule, His identity as the One Who treads is emphasized. His rule is future tense whereas His treading is present tense. This indicates He is treading the winepress at His Second Coming before He takes up His rule over the nations. This provides further evidence that His rule upon the throne of David begins after His return (Mat. 25:31).Although the armies of heaven are with Him (Rev. 19:14+, 19+), it appears that He alone does the work of judgment: “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. . . . I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me” [emphasis added] (Isa. 63:3-5).
Isaiah 63:1-6 made it clear that although the armies of saints and angels will return with him, they will not participate in the fighting. Messiah will fight this battle by Himself.49
He is responding to the command recorded by Joel: “Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow—for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:13b-14). When John saw Him in His glory, He had feet like fine brass, “as if refined in a furnace” (Rev. 1:15+). This glowing hot feet foreshadow His trampling the winepress in judgment which John sees now. See commentary on Revelation 1:15. See Grapes of Wrath.
Fierceness and wrath are τοῦ θυμοῦ τῆς ὀργῆς [tou thymou tēs orgēs]. Θυμοῦ [Thymou] describes a shorter-term, intense anger. ὀργῆς [orgēs] refers to a longer-term steady smoldering desire for revenge. See commentary on Revelation 14:10.Almighty is παντοκράτορος [pantokratoros]. See commentary on Revelation 1:8.This is the “great winepress of the wrath of God” (Rev. 14:19+). The NU and MT texts have “fierceness of the wrath.”
Thigh is μηρὸν [mēron]: “The part of the leg somewhere above the knee.”50 Written is γεγραμμένον [gegrammenon], perfect tense: having been written. Like the name written that no one knew except Himself (Rev. 19:12+).
King of kings is βασιλεὺς βασιλέων [basileus basileōn]. Lord of lords is κύριος κυρίων [kyrios kyriōn]. Each phrase involves two words which have the same lexeme51 in a relationship indicating the supreme member: the supreme King among kings, the supreme Lord among lords.52 This usage is carried over from the OT (Deu. 10:17; Ps. 136:3) and reflects the lack of comparative and superlative forms in Hebrew.53When the final bowl of judgment is poured forth, then the proclamation attending the sounding of the seventh trumpet will be an accomplished reality: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15+).54All the crowns of history will be recognized for what they are: usurpers who were unqualified to rule in the place of Messiah. The dragon had seven heads, each with a crown (Rev. 12:3+). One of the heads had ten horns which were also found on the Beast. Each of the horns had a crown (Rev. 13:1+). The crowned heads on the dragon represent seven world empires. The crowned horns (all on the seventh head) of the Beast represent ten kings at the time of the last Beastly empire. All of these various heads and horns had contested for the position which alone belongs to Christ, the King of kings. Christ will obtain the kingdom, but it will be achieved according to the will of the Father (John 4:34) and not by the avenue offered by Satan (Luke 4:5-8).
The assumption of the rule of the world will likewise bring with it the great desideratum of the race. When Adam was in Eden God was king. In the days of Israel’s greatest triumph it was the same. And until the original Theocracy is restored, and the powers of heaven again take the rulership and control of the nations, there is no peace, no right order for man. There is no earthly blessing like that of good, wise, and righteous government; but there is no such government outside of the government of the Father and the Son. Some are better than others, but none are satisfactory. Men have experimented with power for 6,000 years, and yet there is no department in which there is more disability, corruption, and unsatisfactoriness than in the administrations of government.55
Previously, the angel explained to John that Christ would overcome the Beast and his ten kings, “for He is Lord of lords and King of kings” (Rev. 17:14+).
Standing is ἐστῶτα [estōta], perfect tense: having stood. The angel had taken his position prior to John seeing him. Fausset suggests his position in the sun is “so as to be conspicuous in sight of the whole world.”56 “Though some have taken this as a very unusual phenomenon, the most natural explanation is that the angel is standing in the light of the sun with the angel himself possibly shining with even greater brilliance.”57
Supper is δεῖπνον [deipnon], the same word which describes the marriage supper of the Lamb. Both suppers are hosted by God, but with dramatically different guests and foods. Those who are slaughtered for this supper share in the curse of Deuteronomy: “Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away” (Deu. 28:26). Jesus indicated at His Second Coming there would be great bloodshed upon which birds would feast: “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together” (Mat. 24:27-28). Those who are served to the birds following the Campaign of Armageddon suffer the same fate as those taken in judgment “when the Son of Man is revealed”:
“I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.” And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” (Luke 17:34-37)
Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ question alluded to a passage in Job:
Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make its nest on high? On the rocks it dwells and resides, on the crag of the rock and the stronghold. From there it spies out the prey; its eyes observe from afar. Its young ones suck up blood; And where the slain are, there it is. (Job 39:27-30) [emphasis added]
Captains is χιλιάρχων [chiliarchōn]: leaders over a thousand troops. The same word is translated commanders in Revelation 6:15+. These same categories of men previously hid in caves from God’s wrath (Rev. 6:15-17+). See commentary on Revelation 6:15.Normally, men are to offer up animals in sacrifice to God. Here, as when God judges Gog on the mountains of Israel, He reverses the normal roles and offers up men as a sacrifice to animals (Eze. 39:17-20 cf. Isa. 34:6-7).Goliath threatened David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” (1S. 17:44). David replied, “This day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel” (1S. 17:46).
The repetition of the word flesh, occurring five times over, flesh, flesh, is very revealing. The race has walked in carnal enmity against God, living after the flesh, and now the day of His patience is at an end.59
This is the Beast who rose from the abyss in a miraculous restoration from death and was worshiped by the earth dwellers. See The Beast. See #16 - Beast. See commentary on Revelation 13:1. The angel previously told John, “These [the Beast and the ten kings] will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them” (Rev. 17:14+).
the kings of the earth
Beyond the ten kings allied with the Beast, Scripture mentions “the kings from the east” as well as “the kings of the earth” (Rev. 16:12+, 14+). The Beast and his ten kings destroyed Babylon (Rev. 17:16-18+) while the rest of the kings of the earth lamented her destruction (Rev. 18:9+).It is these specific kings of history, the kings of the earth at the time of the end, which provide the ultimate fulfillment of Psalm 2: “The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed [Messiah = Christ], saying, ‘Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us’ ” (Ps. 2:2-3). These are the final kings of history who fail to “kiss the Son, lest He be angry” so they “perish in the way” (Ps. 2:12).
gathered together to make war against Him
Gathered together is συνηγμένα [synēgmena], perfect tense: having already gathered together. This is the gathering which was initiated by the three unclean spirits like frogs “which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14+). Having unknowingly followed Joel’s instructions, they have beat their plowshares into swords and their pruning hooks into spears (Joel 3:9). This is Gods’ assembly of kingdoms upon which He promised to pour out His indignation and fierce anger (Zep. 3:8). See Campaign of Armageddon.
We may wonder how rational men could be carried with one impulse into an attempt so daring and so absurd; but when people put the truth from them, and submit themselves to the Devil’s lead, what is there of delusion and absurdity into which they are not liable to be carried?60
False prophet is ψευδοπροφήτης [pseudoprophētēs], a compound word made up of ψευδής [pseudēs] (false) and προφήτης [prophētēs] (prophet). This is the second beast which John saw rise up out of the earth (Rev. 13:1+). The False Prophet is found with the Beast because his power can only be exercised in the presence of the Beast (Rev. 13:12+). See commentary on Revelation 13:12. See #18 - False Prophet.
The False Prophet “had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon” (Rev. 13:11+). He was a dragon in lamb’s clothing! See commentary on Revelation 13:11. The main purpose of the False Prophet was to deceive the earth dwellers into worshiping the first Beast who was miraculously restored and to cause them to receive his mark and worship his image (Rev. 13:12-17+). He was empowered by Satan to perform lying signs and wonders for the purpose of “unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth” (2Th. 2:9). Their rejection of the love of the truth and salvation resulted in the compounding of their deception at the hands of God: “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2Th. 2:11-12).
These two were cast alive is ζῶντες ἐβλήθησαν οἱ δύο [zōntes eblēthēsan hoi dyo]: while living they were thrown, these two. Their being cast alive is emphasized by appearing first in the Greek. The repetition of they ... these also emphasizes the uniqueness of their treatment when compared with all others who reject God. This is also seen in the opening phrase of the next verse. They are given unique treatment. Rather than being killed, they become the only two individuals in history to be cast alive directly into hell (the Lake of Fire)!62 Their responsibility as leaders of the great opposition to God in the Tribulation results in their being denied access to stand at the Great White Throne Judgment. This may indicate their torment differs from that of the rest of the unsaved, which is by degrees based on their works. The Beast and False Prophet appear to receive unmitigated torment. See commentary on Revelation 20:11.63They may also receive this unique treatment in order to serve as a witness to the horrors of eternal damnation. In a passage in Isaiah, which appears to describe the Millennial Kingdom, all flesh goes forth to look upon corpses which appear to be in a location matching the description of the Lake of Fire:
“And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD. “And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” (Isa. 66:23-24)
This is probably not the eternal state, after the Great White Throne Judgment, when all the unsaved dead have been cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15+) because there is mention of New Moons and keeping Sabbath. If so, then the Beast and False Prophet are among the occupants of the Lake of Fire during the Millennial Kingdom.Today, no one is in the Lake of Fire (hell).64 The Lake of Fire becomes populated as follows:
- The Beast and the False Prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire at the Second Coming of Christ (Rev. 19:20+).
- After the Second Coming, immediately prior to the Millennial Kingdom, the non-believing goats among the nations are sent “into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mat. 25:41).65
- The devil is cast into the Lake of Fire at the end of the Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 20:10+). His angels, having been imprisoned in the scorched regions of Babylon and Edom during the Millennial Kingdom (see commentary on Revelation 18:2), are probably also cast into the Lake of Fire at this time (Mat. 25:41).
- After the Millennial Kingdom and the Great White Throne Judgment, the unsaved dead, who are not written in the Book of Life, are cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15+). These awake from the dust of the earth to everlasting contempt (Dan. 12:2).
Although the Beast and False Prophet are cast while alive into the Lake of Fire, the process results in their death: “I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame” (Dan. 7:11). Paul told the church at Thessalonica, “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume (ἀνελεῖ [anelei]) with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2Th. 2:8). Consume is ἀνελεῖ [anelei]: “take away, do away with, destroy . . . of persons kill, murder, usually in a violent way.”66 Since the Lake of Fire only contains individuals and not systems or institutions, their destination provides additional evidence of their identity as individuals.The contrast between the false overcomer (Rev. 6:2+; 13:7+) and the true overcomers (see Who is the Overcomer?) can now be seen. The Beast overcame physically for a time. Yet, in the end he lost both soul and body in hell. The saints whom he killed lost their physical lives, but their souls were immune to his persecution. “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat. 10:28).
The Lake of Fire continually burns with brimstone, yet its occupants are never consumed. After one thousand years, the Beast and the False Prophet are still there when Satan joins them after his final rebellion (Rev. 20:10+). Everyone has eternal existence, although for the unsaved it is better described as eternal death for they are tormented continually and eternally (Rev. 20:10+). The same breath which destroyed the Beast (2Th. 2:8) also provides a stream of brimstone which kindles their torment (Isa. 30:33). The Lake of Fire provides everlasting torment. It is unquenchable (Mat. 3:12; 25:41, 46; Mark 9:43-46; 2Th. 1:9; 2Pe. 2:17; Jude 1:13; Rev. 14:11+; 20:10+).
The rest emphasizes the unique treatment of the previous two in comparison with these. Unlike the Beast and the False Prophet, the rest of those who war against Christ are killed. Their destination is Hades (Luke 16:22-23) where they undergo immediate torment while awaiting the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11+). They will be in Hades awaiting judgment for the one thousand year period of the Millennial Kingdom.
As we saw earlier, Jesus Himself treads the winepress (Rev. 19:15+) and does all the killing at His Second Coming. The sword proceeding from His mouth is a figure pointing to the word of God as the basis for the death of those who oppose Him. See commentary on Revelation 19:15.The bloodshed is enormous (Rev. 14:20+):
Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any who can deliver from My hand. For I raise My hand to heaven, and say, “As I live forever, if I whet My glittering sword, and My hand takes hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to My enemies, and repay those who hate Me. I will make My arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh, with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the heads of the leaders of the enemy.” (Deu. 32:39-42)
Come near, you nations, to hear; and heed, you people! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world and all things that come forth from it. For the indignation of the Lord is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to the slaughter. Also their slain shall be thrown out; their stench shall rise from their corpses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. (Isa. 34:1-3)
See Campaign of Armageddon.Jesus strikes the nations with the sword (Rev. 19:15+), including unbelievers from the nation of Israel. During the entire period which is Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation, God has said that two-thirds will be cut off and die with only one-third remaining (Zec. 13:8). As a result, the remaining third will “call on My name, and I will answer them” (Zec. 13:9). This is the horrible reality attending the spiritual regeneration of the nation of Israel (Eze. 37; Rom. 11:25-27). Truly, to whom much is given much is required! Heavy is the responsibility of the chosen nation.67 Most of the Jews who survive the Second Coming are found in the special place which God has prepared for them. See Sheep in Bozrah.It is shortly after this time when Jesus takes up the throne of David and all from among the nations who were not direct participants in the Campaign of Armageddon are gathered before Him. There, He will separate the sheep from the goats and judge their eternal destiny by how they have treated His brethren—the faithful Jews who suffered so terribly during Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation (Mat. 25:31-46).68 Those who demonstrated their faith by providing for His brothers will be given entry into the kingdom, arriving in the kingdom just in time for the marriage feast to follow.
The most graphic portrayal of Christ’s second coming is found in Revelation 19:11-21+. In this extended passage Jesus Christ is described as leading a procession of angels and saints or armies in heaven to claim the earth, destroy the armies of the world, and defeat the Antichrist and False Prophet. This passage shows that Christ’s return will be one that entails great physical destruction and many deaths. For those who are not Christ’s own, it will be a terrifying and terrible event. For those of us who know Him as Savior, it will be a time of great joy, vindication, and anticipation. . . . Let us remember that for the believer this present life on Earth is the worst things will ever be for us. But, for the unbeliever, this present life will be the best they will ever experience.70
People may indulge their unbelief and passions during these days of forbearance and grace, and see no disadvantages growing out of it. They may be angry at our earnestness, and account us croakers and fools when we put before them the demands and threatenings of the Almighty. But “woe to him that striveth with his Maker!” There is a deluge of bottled fury yet to be poured out on them that refuse to know God, and on the families that call not on his name, from which there is no escape, and from whose burning and tempestuous surges there is no deliverance. God help us to be wise, that we come not into that sea of death!71
3“In the Hebrew text, it appears at the ends of Psalms 104, 105, 115, 116, 117, at the beginning of Psalms 111 and 112, and at the beginning and end of Psalms 106, 113, 135, and 146.”—Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1995), Rev. 19:1.
7Ibid., Rev. 21:11.
15“That they are invited guests marks them as a distinct group from the church, since a bride would hardly be invited to her own wedding.”—John MacArthur, Revelation 12-22 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2000), Rev. 19:7.
19Frederick William Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 493.
24MacArthur, Revelation 12-22 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Rev. 19:12.
25Some object to rendering the plural עֲטָרוֹת [ʿăṭārôṯ] as crowns. The thought is that it is impractical and out of step with OT practice for more than one crown to be placed upon the head of Joshua. They suggest it should be rendered by the crown (NKJV) and that what was made was a single ornate crown combining both silver and gold and indicating the unification of both the priestly and kingly station. This may be possible, but the natural rendering is the plural crowns. The same interpreters don’t express a similar reluctance to take the crowns as plural in the equivalent statement in the NT: : “on His head were many crowns (διαδηματα [diadēmata])” (Rev. 19:12+).
26A. R. Fausset, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine,” in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, 1877), Zec. 6:11.
27Οἶδεν [Oiden] is a perfect tense verb with present tense force. See [Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software, 1999, 2002), 578].
28“In this case Rev. 19:13+ means a garment dyed in blood (see JAScott, Class. Journal 16, ‘20, 53f for examples of βαπτω [baptō]=’stain’ with blood from Batrachom. 220 and Lucian, Ver. Hist. 18 [2, 38 Teub.]).”—Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 132.
32Monty S. Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1987), Rev. 19:13.
33Some suggest that mention of blood on His robe requires that it be so stained while He is yet in heaven, before He rides forth. But the entire scene is one of action in-progress. Within two verses of the mention of His robe, He is treading (present tense) the winepress. “The epithet of the garment dipped in blood is proleptic as is the symbolism of the white horse and the white robes of His followers. It looks forward, not backward.”—Thomas, Revelation 8-22, Rev. 19:13.
45Ibid., Gen. 49:10.
50James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament), electronic ed (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997), G3382.
51“Lexeme: n. A minimal unit in the semantic system of a language; the words listed in a lexicon, as opposed to all the grammatical variants that the lexeme can produce (buy in relation to buys, bought, buying, buyer, etc.).”—Matthew DeMoss, Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2001), 79.
52“A further subset of the genitive of subordination category might be ‘the genitive in relation to a par excellence noun’ (though, at times, the nuances depart some from the subordination notion). That is, rarely a genitive indicates the class of which the head noun is the supreme member. When this occurs, both head noun and genitive noun have the same lexeme. For example, note βασιλεὺς βασιλέων [basileus basileōn] in Rev. 19:16+; ἅγια ἁγίων [hagia hagiōn] in Heb. 9:3 (where the meaning is not strictly speaking that of subordination, just par excellence).”—Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, 103.
53“Since Hebrew lacked the comparative and superlative forms, some sort of circumlocution was necessary to suggest this notion. Often a genitive having the same lexeme as the head noun (or adj.) was so used, as here. Such expressions were rare in Greek; most in the NT are due to Semitic influence and many are stock phrases from the OT.”—Ibid., 298.
54The MT and NU texts have kingdom rather than kingdoms: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15+). See commentary on Revelation 11:15.
55J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), 423.
60Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation, 440.
62The Lake of Fire is what is often called hell. Unfortunately, there is some confusion on this matter because the KJV also translates Hades as hell. Hades is a holding place of torment for the unsaved between their death and the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:13+). It is not the final destination of the unsaved dead. After judgment, the unsaved dead are cast into the Lake of Fire, their final abode called “the second death” (Rev. 20:14+).
63 [Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation, Rev. 19:20] suggests that both the Beast and the False Prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire because they ascended from the abyss and can no longer be slain as mortals. But Scripture says nothing about the False Prophet ascending from the abyss. Nor does the miraculous restoration of the Beast necessitate the conclusion that he cannot subsequently die.
67Concerning Israel as the chosen nation: Ex. 3:7, 15, 18; Ex. 6:6; 19:5-6; Lev. 20:26; Deu. 4:34, 37; 7:6-8; 10:15; 14:2; 26:18-19; 2S. 7:23; 1K. 8:53; 1Chr. 16:13; 17:21; Ps. 105:6; 106:6-7; 135:4; Isa. 41:8; 43:1, 10; 44:1; 45:4; Jer. 10:16; Mat. 24:22; Rom. 9:4; 11:5.
68Some try to make His brethren mean the redeemed in general. But this has the fatal objection of being unable to explain who the sheep are. If His brethren are the redeemed and the sheep inherit the kingdom (Mat. 25:34), then the sheep must be the redeemed as well and the distinction collapses. The Jewish context of Matthew 24 and 25 indicate that His brethren are the Jews of the Tribulation, among them the 144,000 sealed of God (Rev. 7:4+).
70Thomas Ice, “Some Glorious and Incomparable Promises of the Bible,” Pre-Tribe Perspectives, vol. 8 no. 10, February 2004, p. 5.
71Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation, 443.