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ch. 19:1-10     ch. 19:11-21

Hallelujah (ch. 19:1-10)


Verse 1 begins with “after this”, meaning, after the vision of chapter 18.  As I've said earlier, I tend to see the seven seal judgment as an overview of the tribulation period, or, at least this is how I believe at the moment.  Beyond that, I see the seven trumpets and the seven bowls as being in chronological order.


What we see after this is a great multitude in heaven. This great number, which I believe are redeemed people, was shouting praises to the Lord.  John said that their shouts sounded like a great roar.  We see this all the time.  People and angels shouting in heaven seem routine.  Either John’s ears were sensitive to the spiritual world in heaven or else everyone speaks very loud in heaven, or at least loud in human terms.  I think our frail earthly ears just can't handle the sounds of heaven.  Of course, that will all change once we get there. 


The multitude of people shout “hallelujah”, which means praise God.  The verb tense here expresses more of an encouraging shout.  That is to say; “come on people, let’s praise God”. 


They shout “salvation, glory and power belong to God, for true and just are His judgements”.  All of these horrific judgements that have taken place over the last number of chapters are true and just.  They will take place and when they do take place, they are based on God’s perfect sense of justice.  God is just and His justice demands judgement.  The idea that God is just is not understood in the world today.  People believe that God is love but His love can't be separated from His justice.     


Some people might view God's judgment as seen in Revelation as being overkill.  Those who believe this don't really understand the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man.  Being human, we just don't know God as He really is.  That is one reason why Jesus came to earth.  We can't understand God, but to a good degree we can begin to understand Jesus because He became one of us.              


In verse 2 we see this great crowd of people shout that God has condemned the great prostitute.  That's Babylon the great as we saw in chapters 17 and 18.  It's the literal city of Babylon that represents the international kingdom of the anti-Christ.  What we need to understand at this point is that in chapters 17 and 18 the anti-Christ's kingdom falls.  In this chapter we will see the fall of all nations and satan, the one behind the nations.  


The multitude also recognizes that God has now avenged the blood of the servants that Babylon has killed.  Scripture tells us that we are not to repay evil with evil because judgement belongs to God.  We now see this judgment.  Back in Revelation 6:9 - 11 the martyred saints ask God when He would avenge their blood.  They were told to wait a while until the total number of saints would be martyred.  This is the time.  God is now avenging the blood of the servants.              


Note the word "servants" here.  In our western style,
and I believe, hedonistic Christianity, we don't view ourselves as servants, but we should.  


In verse 3 we see the multitude acknowledge that the smoke of judgement upon the prostitute goes up “for ever and ever”.  This judgement has eternal implications.  It is not a one time judgement.  Note the smoke in verse 3 from God's judgment on Babylon .  Fire and smoke in Biblical terms shows the glory and power of God.  This eternal smoke may be in reference to the Lake of Fire.     


In verse 4 we see the twenty four elders and the four living creatures cry out to God.  They cry, “amen, hallelujah”.  They say “amen”, or “so be it” in agreement to what the large crowd of redeemed people have just said.  It appears that everyone in heaven is participating in worshiping God.   


Then in verse 5 another voice cries out, and this voice is from the throne.  We’re not quite sure just who this voice belongs to.  My assumption is that it is an angel, because we’ve seen angels cry out from the throne in previous chapters.  This angel's cry is meant to encourage God’s servants to praise Him.


When thinking of the “fear of God” in verse 5, I think some have minimized this fear to be only “reverence.  It is reverence, but it's more than that.  I believe there is an element of real fear, that is, being afraid of God.  There’s a dichotomy here.  We are afraid of God because of whom He is, so we shrink back from Him, but once we shrink back, His love draws us back to Him. Some struggle with the idea of being afraid of God, but I would suggest that if you stood in the very presence of God at this precise moment, you would be afraid of Him.  Those who think they wouldn't be afraid don't really know the God they think they know.     


In verse 6 we see another great multitude.  These may be angels or they may be the same redeemed people we saw earlier.  This multitude cries out “hallelujah” because the great wedding feast of the Lamb is now ready to take place. 


From my vantage point I believe most Prophetic Futurists believe that the bride is the church.  It is at this wedding feast that the church and Jesus are married. They say this because they understand that the church is in fact the Bride of Christ, especially since they believe Paul compares the marriage of a husband and wife to that of the church and Jesus in Ephesians 5:25.  Let me suggest something different.  


Another reason why most Prophetic Futurists understand the bride here to be the church is because the wedding feast spoken of here is called the marriage feast of the Lamb; the Lamb being Jesus.  I can certainly understand how one would believe this bride to be the church.   


It might just be possible, and this is how I am leaning at the
moment, that the bride is the saved remnant of Jews.  The Old 
Testament is filled with passages stating that God's relationship with Israel is that of a husband and wife.  That's what the book of Hosea is all about.  We see in Hosea that God divorces Israel .  We also see that at some future point he remarries Israel , which could be right here at this marriage feast. 


Remember, the book of Revelation is written in Old Testament style.  It is more Old Testament than New Testament in its wording, phraseology, and symbols.  I believe Revelation is written about the Jews and for the Jews.  The church has long since been raptured to heaven.  So, it only makes since that the bride is the remnant of saved Jews.     


Jeremiah 3:14 in both the NIV and the KJV states that God is married to Israel as her husband.  Isaiah 54:5 states that God is Israel 's husband.  These are just two more passages that show us the husband wife relationship between God and Israel .  Once this wedding feast is over, this husband wife relationship is realized in the thousand year rule of Christ from Jerusalem . 


Verse 7 states that the bride has made herself ready.
Who are these words more appropriately associated
with, the church or Israel ?  Well, I suggest Israel, not the church.  Making one's self ready in my thinking requires works, which in New Testament terms, doesn't save anyone in the church.  We in the church don't make ourselves ready.  Jesus has done that for us on the cross.  On the other hand, Old Testament Israelis are another story.  They were to do certain things to make themselves ready.   You may find this to be a weak argument and that's fine. 


Verse 8 states that those who comprise the bride were given white linen clothes to wear.  These new clothes were given them because of their righteous works, not because of their faith.  Again, I think we're talking Old Testament style language here that applies to the remnant of saved Israelis.   


Many people relate Ephesians 5:27 with this portion of Revelation.  Paul says that the church will be presented to Jesus without having a spot or wrinkle.  Some people say this is where those in the church get their spotless and wrinkle free clothes.  I suggest that we have them already because of the cross of Christ.  Again, I suggest that this verse applies to the remnant of Israelis that are saved at the end of the tribulation.            

There are a couple more things I should say concerning who the Bride of Christ is before we move on from verse 8.  Ephesians 5:22 and following concerns, that is in part, the husband and wife relationship.  Most prophetic Futurists conclude then that because of what Paul says in verse 32, that being, "this is a mystery, but I'm speaking of Christ and the church", that the church is the Bride of Christ. This is not so.  In verse 28 Paul says that husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies.  He says this because he's already said that the husband is head over the body, suggesting that the wife is actually part of the man's body.  Paul probably thinks this because woman came from man.  So, because the husband should love his wife as he loves his own body Paul says in verse 30 that the church is members of His body, and Jesus loves His body.  Therefore, we must conclude here that the church is not compared to Christ's wife, but, to Christ's body.  Simply put, the church is the Body of Christ, not the Bride of Christ in Ephesians 5. 


If Futurists claim the church is the Bride of Christ, I suggest they use 2 Corinthians 11:2 where Paul says that his intention was to present the Corinthians believers to Christ as His Bride.  Whether Paul was speaking figuratively or not may be questionable.  So, this verse, in my thinking, does not conclusively say that the church is the Bride of Christ.


In verse 9 John is instructed by an angel to write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb.  These are the true Words of God”.  Who those are who are invited to the wedding feast?  I would suggest that if the bride is the saved remnant of Israel, then all the other redeemed saints would be those who are invited to the feast.  This would include Gentile believers and all the Jewish saints that died in the past.  The guests might also include the vary number of angelic hosts as well.      


In verse 10 we see that John is overwhelmed by this wedding feast.  He falls down to worship the angel.  I believe John knew that such worship isn't right.  I'm sure He knew that such worship only belongs to God and to the Lamb but he was so overtaken by these events that he instinctively fell down and began to worship this angel.  We might well do the same if we were in John's place.  The angel immediately tells John to stop worshipping him because he’s just a fellow servant of God.  Angels serve God just as we should serve God.  Angels have their sphere of ministry just as the saints have their sphere of ministry. 


This section ends with the encouragement of the angel directed towards John to “worship God.   For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”.  This says something about prophecy.  Prophecy is more than predicting the future.  The angel says that the testimony of Jesus, or our speaking about Jesus, is actually the spirit of prophecy.  Giving a heart felt account of Jesus is prophetic in nature.


The Rider On The White Horse  (ch.19:11-21)


In verse 11 John saw heaven opened.  Whenever anyone sees heaven open, something significant is about to happen.  Stephen saw heaven open in Acts 7 when he was stoned.  Heavens door was open for him to enter through.  He saw Jesus standing and ready to receive him into His arms.  Here John sees heaven’s door wide open and Jesus ready to come out through its door.  What a sight that would be to see.


Jesus is seen here as a rider on a white horse who is called “Faithful and True”.  You might well remember the first seal judgement in Revelation 6 had a rider on a white horse.  We said then that the rider was the anti-Christ, but here we have the real Christ on a white horse.  He is the real Christ because He is called “Faithful and True”.  He is faithful to His Father and to His word.  What He says He will do, and would include all the promises that were made to Abraham, way back in Genesis.  Remember, the book of Revelation is all about God judging the nations of the world, and, judging Israel so she will fall to her knees in repentance. 


Jesus is also called True.  There is no falsehood about Jesus.  He stands for truth and that is why He is able to judge with pure justice.   


You might think that Jesus riding a white horse is pure
 symbolism,  but I'm far from convinced of that.  Zechariah 9:9 predicts that Jesus  would come riding on a donkey.  I remind you that Jesus road a donkey when He entered Jerusalem the last week of His earthly life. (Matthew 21:7)  I therefore suggest that if Zechariah's prophecy said that Jesus  would ride a donkey, I'm sure this prophecy would come true concerning Jesus riding a horse.  Most Israelis didn't take Zechariah's prophecy literally and so they missed their Messiah as He road into Jerusalem the last week of His life on a donkey.      


In verse 11 we see the angel say, “With justice He makes war”.  When Jesus fights, we can be assured that He is just in His fight.  The term "just war" has been thrown around for centuries.  It is hard to say what wars are just and what wars aren't just.  Whatever the case, we can say that any war Jesus starts is just.


The military general that we see Jesus is here is a far cry from how people view the meek and mild Jesus today.  When Jesus was on earth, to a degree, He was the meek and mild servant who gave up His life on the cross.  That's no longer the case.  We cannot view Jesus as only the Jesus we see in the gospels.  We must understand Jesus to be the present day Jesus as seen here in Revelation.     


In verse 12 we see Jesus has having many crowns.  When it comes to crowns in the New Testament, there are two types of crowns.  One crown is the victor's crown that Paul speaks about.  That is, when we win the race Jesus has for us to run we’ll receive a winner's crown.  The other crown is a crown of royalty.  The crowns that Jesus is wearing here might well be both of these crowns.  They are probably not the type of crown children think of in the western world when they play with their toys.  These crowns speak of  His power to win the last great war.    


Also in verse 12 we see Jesus has a name on His head that only He knows what it is.  Why He is the only one who knows this knew name is unknown to me.  Maybe we’ll never know His knew name, but, something tells me that when it's all said and done we'll know that knew name.  


Although we don’t know this new name, verse 13 tells us that “His name is the Word of God”.  So we may not know the exact name on Jesus’ head, but it has something to do with the Word of God.


In the last section we saw the saints dressed in white linen.  We see Jesus dressed the same way here but with one exception.  Jesus has blood stains on His clothes.  Some suggest that these stains are from the stains of blood that Jesus shed on the cross.  That may be so but I see them as the stains of war.  Isaiah 63:1 asks, "Who is He who comes from Edom and Bozrah with His garments stained red as crimson.  Many Prophetic Futurists believe that when Jesus returns to earth, He will go to Edom and Bozrah and rescue the remnant saved Israelis.  In the process His clothes get stained with blood as He fights for His people.  We must realize that the predictions of the Old Testament concerning the death of Jesus on the cross came true in all their detail.  So, I have no need to think this prophecy of Isaiah 63 won't come true as well.  Jesus' blood was shed on the cross and it thus appears that some kind of blood will be shed when He returns.     


In verse 14 Jesus is seen with the armies of heaven following Him.  They too are dressed in white clothes and riding white horses.  There is debate over just who this army is.  Some say it consists of angels only.  Some say it is the saints only.  Others say it is a combination of both.  I suggest that this army is the saints that return with Jesus as is noted in other parts of Scripture.    


In verse 15 Jesus is pictured with a double-edged sword in His mouth as He often is portrayed.  We saw this back in the first chapter of Revelation.  With this sword He will strike the nations and defeat them in battle.  We need to realize that this is not a long drawn out physical war that takes place here.  The sword represents the Word of the Lord.  With one word that Jesus utters, the nations will fall.  The Word that created all things will end this war before it begins.  So, although we call this the battle of Armageddon, there is no real fighting.  There is no real war, only a word from the lips of Jesus.  


The Apostle Paul speaks of this very moment in 2 Thessalonians 2:8.  There Paul speaks to the fact that Jesus will overthrow the anti-Christ with the breath of His mouth.  This section of 2 Thessalonians speaks of what we are reading here in Revelation 19.  It's amazing, or maybe it shouldn't be amazing, that Paul and John are saying the same thing, but of course, that's the Holy Spirit's involvement in the text.  It would not surprise me that when Jesus actually utters these words of victory that we might well see fire coming out of His mouth that resembles a flaming sword.       


Once this battle is over, it says that Jesus will rule the nations with a scepter of iron.   Jesus will rule the nations of the world here on the earth for a thousand years,  as we will see in Revelation 20.  His rule will be dominant.  He will rule with a scepter of iron.   This isn't a democracy.  It's a kingdom, and, Jesus is King of the Kingdom.  Kings decree.  They don't negotiate.  What kings say goes.                


The fact that Jesus will rule with a scepter of iron, and that He will do for a thousand years, tells me that the possibility for sin is still with humanity during His rule.  Of course, the saints who return with Jesus will have their perfected bodies.  I do not believe they will be capable of sin, but, those non-believers who survive the tribulation, and there will be some, will still be human with the ability to sin.    


Jesus is seen in verse 15 as expressing the fury of the wrath of God.  God the Father's wrath is demonstrated through Jesus.  Remember, wrath is more than anger.  It's an explosion of anger that has been pent up.           


In verse 16 we see another name that is seen on Jesus.  This time it is on His robe and on His thigh.  The name is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”.  There is no one greater than Jesus.  He has no competition and no real rivals.  He is sovereign and has final authority over all things, both spiritual and physical. 


We’ve seen the marriage feast of the Lamb mentioned earlier, and now in verses 17 and 18 we see the Great Supper of God.  There’s an angel who must be extremely bright because he can actually be seen standing in the sun.  He must be brighter than the sun.  This angel announces the Great Supper of God is ready to commence.  Those who are invited to this supper are birds.  He calls the birds of the air to come and feast on the dead carcasses of the armies of nations who have come to fight against Jesus.   


Verse 19 shifts back just a bit.  We see the armies with the beast, meaning the anti-Christ, gather together to fight Jesus.  At this point it appears to me that this army knows they are fighting Jesus.  This is a satanic led army.  They come with weapons of warfare and Jesus comes with a single word.


At this point Jesus captures the beast and the false prophet.  In verse 21 we see that these two were cast into the Lake of Fire “alive”.  They weren’t killed.  They are to be punished for ever and for ever.  The rest of the wicked army was killed. We will see later in Revelation 20 that they and the rest of the wicked from among man will also be cast into the Lake of Fire , but until then the anti-Christ and false prophet are there awaiting those they have deceived.   


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