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Revelation Nineteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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

Alleluia. The great cry, “Alleluia,” sounds out four times from the great assembly in heaven (Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, 6), and these are the only occurrences of the word in the New Testament. Meaning, “Praise the Lord!” it is the same as “Hallelujah,” and occurs in the Hebrew in the first and last verses of each of the last five psalms of the book of Psalms. These final “Hallelujah Psalms” thus may well represent the praise songs of all the redeemed as they gather in preparation for the great marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).

Revelation 19:2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.

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

for ever and ever. The smoke plumes from the burning of Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17:16) as well as that from the restored city of Babylon itself (Revelation 18:8-9, 18), whatever may have been their respective proximate causes, will continue ascending forever into space even after the fires themselves have ceased, obeying God's eternal law of mass conservation and bearing mute testimony to the eternal suffering of those who will shortly be dispatched to the lake of fire (Revelation 14:11).

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

Revelation 19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.

Revelation 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

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

marriage of the Lamb The very first marriage, that of Adam and Eve, was to establish the pattern for all honorable future marriages (Matthew 19:4-6), and all such marriages represent in miniature the relation of God to His loved ones, created in His image. In the Old Testament, the Lord is pictured as the husband of the earthly nation Israel. In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus is seen as the future Bridegroom of His church, who will be coming to Him as a virgin Bride. Yet both are sinful and must be redeemed and purified before Israel can be restored as the Lord's earthly wife or the church claimed by Christ as His chaste Bride. The price of redemption and purification, of course, for all sinners—whether before or after Christ—is nothing else than the cleansing blood of the Lamb of God. Thus, for earthly Israel, God says: “For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel: The God of the whole earth shall He be called” (Isaiah 54:5; see also Hosea 2:19-20 and Jeremiah 31:32). And for the heavenly Bride, Paul says: “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2). “Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing” (Ephesians 5:25-27).

made herself ready. After the redemption price has been paid, both the restored wife and future bride must be made ready, the one for service on earth, the other for service in heaven. Israel will be purged and purified as a nation in the great tribulation, the church as individual believers by the testing fires at Christ's judgment seat (1 Corinthians 3:11-15), being made like Him (Philippians 3:20-21; Romans 8:29; xTerm 3:2-3).

Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

righteousness. “Righteousness” is actually in the plural, and could well be rendered “righteous deeds.” We who are saved shall have removed the “filthy rags” of our own self-righteousness (Isaiah 64:6) and have “put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27), with His “garments of salvation,” and His “robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). By His grace, He will use the very righteous deeds and good works which He created in us to perform (Ephesians 2:10) as the material for the fine linen of our raiment.

Revelation 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

marriage supper. Though all the different groups of saints throughout the history of the world will no doubt retain their distinct identities in the ages to come, they will all be at the great marriage supper, for all will be in the presence of the Lord forever. In fact, the ultimate eternal home of the saints, the New Jerusalem, is even called “the Bride, the Lamb's wife” (Revelation 21:9-10). She is inscribed with both the names of the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Revelation 21:12, 14), indicating that both the pre-Calvary saints in Israel and the post-Calvary saints of the Gentile age will be a part of the Bride, dwelling in the Holy City. The only requirements for being at the great supper are: (1) responding to His invitation and donning the garments of salvation (Matthew 22:1-14), and (2) assuming the right attitude of heart and life toward the Bridegroom and His revealed will (Matthew 25:1-13).

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

do it not. Only God, not even the mightiest angel, is to be worshipped. To “worship” means, literally, to “bow down to the will of the one being worshipped,” and it is God's will with which we must be concerned, not that of any creature of God. The sin of the devil was his desire to be worshipped and obeyed as God.

testimony of Jesus. This verse is the only place where the phrase “the testimony of Jesus” (i.e., about Jesus) appears in the Bible, and also the only place where the phrase “the Spirit of prophecy” appears. Thus a true prophet, inspired by the Holy Spirit, will testify that God was indeed incarnate in the man Jesus (xTerm 2:22; 4:1-3). Therefore Jesus is God, and is to be worshipped, but He alone.

Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

he that sat upon him. At His initiation of the tribulation on the earth and with the opening of the sealed scroll, the great Rider had set forth to conquer His own rightful domain from its usurper, the old dragon. The Rider now appears again to terminate the tribulation and complete His conquest.

Revelation 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

he himself. He is known by many names, including three in this passage alone (Revelation 19:11-16). However, He now has “the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9), and that name represents the fullness of who He is and what He does. Even though we shall learn more and more of our great Creator and Redeemer as the ages of eternity roll on, we can never reach that fullness, for He is infinite. Thus the ultimate name above every name can never be known save by God Himself.

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

vesture dipped in blood. The vesture was dipped in blood as He rode triumphantly down the great winepress, where the spilled blood had reached the horses' bridles (Revelation 14:20). He will begin His journey deep in Edom at Bozrah (Isaiah 63:1), and continue on, “red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat” (Isaiah 63:2), until He reaches Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. “In thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things” (Psalm 45:4).

The Word of God. Note John 1:1-3 and Hebrews 11:3. The same one who created the universe and framed the aeons will also triumph over all the hosts of darkness and wickedness.

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

armies which were in heaven. All the saints are prepared for the marriage supper (Revelation 19:8) but it will be held on earth, so the earth must first be purged. Therefore, they will follow the Rider to the battle, but they will not be involved in the battle, for He has the only weapons needed (Revelation 19:21).

followed him upon white horses. Note Zechariah 14:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Jude 14. His saints will accompany Christ both at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:14) and at His glorious appearing on the earth, as described here.

Revelation 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

out of his mouth. Compare Revelation 19:21; also Revelation 1:16; Isaiah 11:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:8. With “the breath of His mouth” He had called the hosts of heaven into being (Psalm 33:6). He can surely destroy the hosts of darkness with that same omnipotent Word.

rule them. To be understood in the context of shepherd, “rule” is actually “feed,” in the sense of using His shepherd's rod to compel the “sheep” to travel the paths of righteousness (Psalm 23:3-4). On His “rod of iron,” see Psalm 2:9.

winepress. See notes on Revelation 14:14-20; notes on Isaiah 63:1-6.

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

LORD OF LORDS. Note also 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14.

Revelation 19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

fowls that fly. The armies of devils will have gathered together all the world's armies to Armageddon (Revelation 16:14-16) to fight with God (Revelation 19:19). Now God, through an angel, would gather all the scavenger birds of the world together to cleanse the land of their carcasses. There may have been a similar, though smaller, avian feast some seven or so years previously at the slaughter of the armies of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 39:17-20). The latter, however, may also refer to this same feast at Armageddon.

Revelation 19:18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

Revelation 19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

the beast was taken. Every person in the vast assemblage of armies will be instantly slain in the great winepress by the slashing “sword” (Revelation 19:15) from the mouth of the Rider on the white horse—perhaps a blast of such overwhelming pressure as to explode every blood vessel and result in a great vat of human and animal blood extending down the 180 mile valley (see note on Revelation 14:20). Or perhaps the violent pelting of great boulders from the sky will contribute (Revelation 16:21). More likely, it will simply be the power of His omnipotent Word itself. Whatever the nature of the “sword” may be, it will spare no one except the two human leaders, the beast and the false prophet. These are designated for a different fate, that of being the first occupants of the lake of fire, which is the final hell. The souls of the rest of the slain multitudes will join all other lost souls in Hades, in the heart of the earth, there to await the final judgment. As for the old dragon, Satan, he also will be cast into Hades, into the “bottomless pit” section, and no doubt all his angels will be cast there with him. See notes on Revelation 20:1-3.

lake of fire. The “lake of fire” is the ultimate hell, the place of “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). It is not the same as Hades, although that Greek word is often translated “hell” (e.g., Luke 16:23). Rather, it is the place called gehenna, which also is often, somewhat confusingly, translated “hell” (e.g., Matthew 5:22). Gehenna was a word coined from the use of the Valley of Hinnom near Jerusalem, as a perpetually burning refuse dump, thus having the appearance of an everlasting lake of fire. On the location of the lake of fire, see note.

Revelation 19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.