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REVELATION 19:1-21 Part 9
1) After these I heard as a great sound of a multitude in the heaven saying "halleluia the salvation and the glory and the power of our God,
2) for His judgments are true and just; for He judged the great harlot that corrupted the earth in her fornication and avenged His servants' blood at her hand."
3) Then again they declared "halleluia! Her smoke ascends into the ages of ages."
4) Then the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped The God seated over the throne, saying "Amen! Halleluia!"
5) Then there came forth a sound from the throne saying, "all you His servants, the small and the great who are afeared, extol our God!"
6) Then I heard as sound of a multitude and as sound of many waters and as sound of mighty thunders saying "halleluia! Kurios the Almighty God reigns!
7) Rejoicing and celebrating we will give Him the glory, for the wedding feast of the Lamb did come! And His betrothed did ready herself!
8) And it was given to her that she be arrayed in pure, bright linen; for the fine linen is the righteousness of the holy ones."
9) Then he says to me, "write: ‘blessed the ones called to the wedding feast of the Lamb'"; and says to me, "these true words are from God".
10) And I fell before his feet to pay homage to him, and he says "see you not do that, for I am the fellow servant of you and your brothers who hold the testimony of Jesus; for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
11) Then I saw the heaven opened and, lo, a white horse; and seated upon it One called Faithful and True, and He judges and wages war in righteousness,
12) His eyes as flaming fire, many diadems on His head, having a written name that is known by no one but Him.
13) He was clothed about - the raiment blood-spattered, and His Name called The Word of God,
14) the armies in the heaven - clothed in pure white linen - following Him on white horses,
15) a sharp sword proceeding from His mouth, that with it He would smite the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron. And He treads the winepress of the wine of the wrath - the vengeance of Almighty God.
16) And He has a name written on His raiment and on His thigh: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
17) Then I saw one messenger standing in the sun; and it cried out - a great sound - saying to all the birds flying in mid-heaven: "Come! Gather to the great feast of God
18) that you may eat the flesh of rulers, the flesh of commanders, the flesh of the strong, the flesh of horses and of those sitting upon them, the flesh of all - both free and slave, small and great.
19) Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered to wage war with the One sitting upon the horse and His army;
20) and the beast was seized (and with it the false prophet that did the signs before it by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and paid homage to its image); both were cast alive into the lake of fire, being burned in brimstone;
21) and the remaining ones were killed with the sword of the One sitting upon the horse - that which proceeded from His mouth; and all the birds were gorged from their flesh.
Here in chapter nineteen John sees the glory cloud open. And there He is - seated on the white horse, eyes aflame. He is called the Word of God. We heard the judgment that God spoke in chapter eighteen; and here John sees Him ready to carry out the judgment that has been spoken.
The inspired Word that John wrote at the beginning of his Gospel of Jesus Christ sounds very much the same, doesn't it? "In the beginning was The Word. And the Word was with God; and the Word was God. And apart from Him nothing was made that was made." That pronoun - HIM - is masculine. He is "Person".
Here in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, John is inspired to write the same way. He is called The Word of God (verse thirteen); so John is confirmed that the One Who he now sees is the same One Who took on the form of man, and Who gave His body and poured out His blood, and Who arose out of death and ascended to the tabernacle in the heaven.
So the One without Whom nothing was made is the Savior of all that He made!
And as John sees here in chapter nineteen, He's not only ready to execute the spoken judgment of Israel; but He's also ready, with all of His "holy ones" who hold the testimony of Jesus, to bring all the nations into submission to His divine authority.
In this sense He is the greater Joshua who was the warrior that was selected by God to overcome and cleanse the land that was promised to Israel!
The first Joshua was not faithful to do all that YAHVEH had required of him. But the warrior that John now sees in the heaven is the Word of God Who will accomplish the will and purpose of The Father. All the nations and tribes and tongues of the world will submit to Him; for He is the One Who is Faithful and True!
Now, as John writes, all of the remnant of the twelve tribes of Jacob have been saved from the wrath to come, and they've scattered throughout the nations in the little Churches... (all of that occurring during the forty years since Pentecost). They belong to The Christ; and He comforts them and assures them in this letter written by John that all that's happening is of God.
It may look as if the whole world is collapsing into chaos and oblivion. It may appear as if everything is disintegrating; it may appear that there is no order and stability in all the universe; but don't fear. Be comforted. Fear God! Hold the testimony of Jesus. Keep His Commandments. The crucified, risen and ascended King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the One Who is the Word of God, is about to appear in all His glory.
He is their new temple; and they are His new Jerusalem - His new Israel. They belong to Him, and He knows them. All of the heavens and the earth were made by Him; and they are under His authority; and He is faithful and true to do all His Father's purpose!
This is the view of the (shortly-to-come) Parousia/appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ that John is shown here; and it continues through verse sixteen of our text.
As John describes what he sees concerning our Lord's imminent Parousia, he writes: "many diadems on His head, having a written name that is known by no one but Him...."
At His Parousia and imminent judgment of the land and all those remaining in it, only the One to Whom the Name belongs knows it; and He knows it because He owns it! It's written, and it's His and His alone!
Only His sheep know His voice and follow Him. They don't know the voice of the false prophet! They are foreknown by Him, and therefore they knew His voice when He called them! And they followed Him.
But those remaining in the land don't know His name and His voice. They followed the prophets of the beast that blasphemously took the name for itself!
And the "written" name is: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (verse sixteen)... a name falsely acquired by the beast - in an imitation of the dragon!
The dragon, in all its vengeance against triune God for having been cast down from the tabernacle in the heaven, has proclaimed itself king and lord of the world (in outright defiance); and it has given the beast "great authority". And the beast is the very "image" of the dragon.
Satanos - in vengeful defiance of Almighty God, Father Son and Spirit - has produced an "image" of itself in imitation of our Lord Jesus, Who is the "Express Image" of The Father.
And satan (that serpent of old) has bestowed its authority (and its acquired name) upon its beast-image, which calls itself king of kings and lord of lords - the ruler of this world! And it's a blasphemous name because it doesn't know the Name and it's NOT the ruler of this world. And the false prophets of Israel follow it because they don't know the Name. And all remaining in the land follow it because they don't know the Name... all of this in vengeance, in an attempt to cut off the promised Seed!
The promised Seed has to be cut off! Otherwise the serpent won't be able to continue using its acquired name; and it won't be able to continue pretending that it's the "ruler" of all that was made! The fact is that the serpent nor the beast know that name.
And none of those who remained in the land were the foreknown sheep who Jesus came to seek and to save. All of those remaining in the land follow the one who has falsely - and defiantly - acquired the name for itself.
None of those remaining in the land knew His Name when He first appeared in Israel; and none of those remaining in the land knew His voice when He called. They didn't belong to Him, so they didn't know Him!
When Jesus was asked by His disciples why He spoke in parables, He quoted His Own Word through Isaiah: that their eyes remained blinded and their ears remained deafened... in order that they not see and hear; in other words that they not know Him. Only His Own heard His voice!
And here, as John writes in our text forty years later ... just before our Lord's imminent appearance in the glory cloud, He has a written Name that no one knows but Himself.
Therefore the ones remaining in the land had followed, and bowed down to, the one who had blasphemously taken that name for itself. They did not know the written Name. Should they have known it, they wouldn't have adored the beast that had falsely acquired it!
At His Parousia He has a written Name. It is holy writ for all to see; a Name spoken previously by YAHVEH to Isaiah and written in His prophecy; a Name that the dragon, nor the beast, nor the false prophets of Israel, nor the ones remaining in the land know. It does not belong to them; it only belongs to Him! That Name was written previously in the prophetic Word; and it is written on His raiment and on His thigh in John's sight of His imminent Parousia!
And then, in verse thirteen, John writes: "He was clothed about - the raiment blood-spattered...."
There is so much to deal with here, since this is, indeed, the imminent active Presence of the Christ which is shown to John. But I want to go back, for just a minute, to what was said formerly about the tenses of the verbs that John uses.
Although this "active Presence" of the King of Kings is "imminent" (i.e. it is about to happen quickly), John uses the present tense in describing to the Churches what he has been shown. He is the last prophet; and he is prophesying that which IS the case at the coming Parousia of the Christ.
Let me say that again: John is prophesying all that IS at the coming of The Christ.
Everything here in John's description of Him and His judgment of the harlot, is in the present tense... including the "sharp sword" proceeding (present tense) from His mouth.
However, there is one part of the description in which John departs from the present tense. Listen carefully: "a sharp sword proceeding from His mouth, that with it He would smite the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron" (verse fifteen).
The instrument that is presently proceeding from the mouth of the Christ (i.e. the Sword), and the rod of iron, will be used (and here the sense is future) regarding the nations. The Sword (presently proceeding from His mouth, as John writes) is ongoing in the judgment of the harlot (present tense). But it would also be the instrument by which He would smite the nations. And the "rod of iron" is that by which He will rule them.
All of this is carefully constructed by John in His letter, and what he's done is so prominent in these five verses, it makes it difficult to overlook! And therefore we can't overlook it; it is worthy of our close attention as we work our way through all that John is shown.
So, the tenses having to do with the description of Jesus and His judgment of the harlot are all written in the present (even though His Parousia is imminent - soon to be); but the tenses used with regard to the nations have a distinctive future sense. And that's to indicate that the work of the Christ in the nations depends on the judgment of Israel, and is "subsequent" to that judgment, you see.
So, when we hear the sense of the present in the words of verse thirteen, we are aware that John is making a distinction between the work of the Christ in the pronounced judgment of Israel, and the further work that He would accomplish among the peoples and nations of the earth.
Now, John writes (verse thirteen) that His raiment is "blood-spattered"!
We who know His Name and know Him; we who are known by Him; we who are now His brothers by rebirth; we who are to have the "mind of Christ"; we who are to see things through the revealed perspective and will and purpose of God, now have the blessed privilege of reflecting on the divine reasoning for showing John The Christ Who, at His Parousia, is clothed upon with raiment that is blood-spattered!
Meditation on things such as this disposes us to humility before such a One. Words like these attest to our complete dependence, and expose any arrogance that resides in us. In this light, any disposition to duplicity (double-mindedness) that remains in us is reduced to simplicity... all darkness and secret sin exposed. Insolence and hubris are turned in us to embarrassment and mourning when these words are considered... vanity and pride disappearing, and - then - meekness before God and His Word.
A number of things come to mind as we meditate on what John is shown here - the most apparent being the contrast between the raiment in which our Lord appears, and that of His "holy ones" with Him (verse fourteen).
They are the ones who, as He Himself said, He came to seek and to save. They knew His voice when He spoke, and they followed Him; and He saved them all from the wrath to come. They are the "daughter of Zion" - they are the seed of the promise.
John saw them all - all hundred and forty four thousand of them (written by John earlier in the text) - (he saw them all) standing before the throne of Almighty God, clothed in bright linen garments. And that's how they appear to John here at the Parousia of the Christ. They are holy warriors with Him in subduing the nations to the authority of the King of Kings.
And the contrast is remarkable! His raiment is blood-spattered; but theirs is pure and white!
Also, in our meditation on what John sees here in verse thirteen, we remember the law of the sacrifice as revealed to Moses at Sinai - and as prophesied of the new temple by Ezekiel in chapter forty three.
The tabernacle that Moses was to have built in the wilderness was a replica - a man-made replica - of the tabernacle in the heaven. And the sacrificial liturgy that was required by God was prophetic of the coming Savior of the World, Whose sacrifice provided depraved mankind access to a holy God Who reigned over His tabernacle in the heaven.
And before the entrance of that tabernacle in the desert, it was required that an animal sacrifice be made before there could be access to the tabernacle and its ‘holy of holies".
A portion of the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled over everything in the tabernacle to indicate that cursed and depraved mankind's access to God had been made acceptable. And it prophesied that which would come to pass in the coming Christ of God Who is the new temple of Holy Spirit.
And here in verse thirteen we see our new temple; and He is the Christ of God- the High Priest of the tabernacle Who made the sacrifice; He IS, Himself, the sacrifice; and He IS the One to Whom the sacrifice is made! And He is, as John is shown, blood-spattered just as the tabernacle in the desert was blood-spattered. And it is just as Ezekiel's new temple is absolutely cleansed of all the horrors of idolatry.
And, once again, we take note of the fact that all those with Him, for whom His blood was poured out, are arrayed in garments of pure, white linen... the sign of righteousness that was provided for them.
As we further contemplate John's sight of our blood-spattered King of Kings, we remember our Lord's Words to His disciples just before He was delivered up to be persecuted and to suffer and to be crucified at the instigation of the priests and scribes and pharisees and elders of Israel.
He said that these bloody men were the seed of serpents; and He told His disciples that they, along with the remnant of the tribes, would be pursued and persecuted and killed at their hands. And for that, these men, of this generation, would suffer the blood of all of His "holy ones" whose blood had been poured out through all of history.
You see, these holy ones with Him at His coming belonged to Him! They are His brothers! They are family members who were oppressed and afflicted and persecuted - and whose blood has been poured out! And He - The Avenger of Blood - has pursued the slayers and avenged the blood of His family members. And the blood of those murderers is spattered on His raiment.
These are all important things for us to see; and they are vital to our understanding of the Christ. And our contemplation and meditation on them brings light and life and joy and well-being; and they glorify God!
I'm sure there are more that we could mention as well. However, what John is shown here - the blood-spattered raiment of the Christ - causes us to remember, and illumines us, to one specific portion of the prophetic Word. And we are pointed to that prophecy by his words in verse fifteen. Here's what John writes:
And He treads the winepress of the wine of the wrath - the vengeance of Almighty God.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, at His Parousia. treads the winepress of vengeance... words coming from the former prophetic Word. And because of these words, we're directed to the prophecy of Isaiah at chapter sixty-three.
And a question appears in that passage: Isaiah writes: "Why is Your garment red?" And the answer to Isaiah, from YAHVEH, is exactly what John sees here in verses fourteen and fifteen of our text.
Listen to it:
2) Why is your raiment red, your garments like one that treads in the wine-press?
And then comes the answer to the question that Isaiah poses. And the answer is:
3) I tread the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood will be spattered upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
4) For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redemption is come.
5) And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: so my own arm has brought salvation to me; and my fury upheld me.
6) I will tread down the people in my anger, and make them drunk in my indignation; and I will pour out their blood on the land.
The words John writes in our text come directly from that Isaiah prophecy of the coming vengeance of Almighty God - to be carried out by The Christ - the Word of God - at His Parousia.
As John sees Him at His coming (as it was prophesied in Isaiah), His raiment is (present tense) blood spattered from treading the winepress of the vengeance of God. John is shown that Jesus Christ is the fullness of His Own Word... that He is the One Who executes the judgment pronounced on all those remaining in the land.
His red-stained raiment provides us the whole picture of Israel at the end of the age. She is, indeed, God's vineyard that produced the "grapes of wrath".
The ones who get into the winevat and stomp on the grapes get their garments stained from the red juice. The juice splashes up and stains their garments. The juice pours out into containers and left to ferment and make wine.
But at His Parousia, the winepress is Israel - all remaining in the land. And He will "stomp" them in that winepress until all their blood is poured out on the land; for they are guilty of pouring out on the land the blood of all the righteous in history.
John sees Him with His raiment already blood-spattered. And He - alone - has a red-stained raiment. All those following Him have pure, white linen for their raiment... no stains whatever!
The answer that came to Isaiah in the passage that we read says "I will tread the winepress alone; of the people there was none with Me...."
Not only was He left completely alone at His trial and humiliation and suffering and death on the cross; but He was alone in the execution of The Father's vengeance at His Parousia. None of the people helped Him in either case!
At His suffering and death, He was left alone. His disciples left Him alone. He was made "sin"; so the Father abandoned Him. And His blood alone was poured out on the land as a sacrifice- no one else's... His blood being the only satisfaction for sin. And His sprinkled blood alone could provide a new tabernacle of God - His body - in which all His people had perfect access to the throne of God.
And at His Parousia (as John writes), it was Him, alone, Who tread the winepress of the wine of the wrath of Almighty God. His people did not participate (their garments were not stained). It was His work, and His alone. "Vengeance is Mine", said YAHVEH.
It was not for those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb to execute God's vengeance upon the harlot that was betrothed to Him - only Kurios Almighty God the Son could do that. No one helped Him. He was "YESHUA", the greater Joshua, Who did complete The Father's will with regard to the land. He completely cleansed the land of all idolatry.
And one more thing before we finish....
As John looks on, there is another reason why all of those with Him at His coming appearance had pure, white linen raiment... why Jesus, alone, had red stained raiment.
Not only were they not able to participate with The Christ in treading the winepress of the wrath of Almighty God, but neither were they able to shed blood with Him at His suffering and crucifixion! He, alone, was able. No one was allowed to be with Him and to help Him when He gave His body and poured out HIS blood.
They were all full of iniquity and unclean! They had nothing whatever to offer! Only One was the perfect, unspotted Lamb. No man can do anything to please God - outside the Christ.
As much as he may try, no man can do anything to save himself - not to mention "others"... for all his anxious good works are as filthy rags before God. And He especially can't sprinkle his own blood on the new tabernacle of God and request entrance! Only the blood of the Christ was acceptable.
So when John is shown our Lord's redeemed people with Him at His Parousia, they all had on white linen garments... not red-stained garments. Their garments of righteousness were given to them freely.
Nothing was said or done to earn them. They weren't, in any way, deserving of them. They had been sought out and found; and they were reborn into the Christ; and HIS righteousness was counted as theirs. It was given them because He knew them; for they belonged to Him.
And now it is the same for all of us in the Gentile nations. His body was given for us, and His blood poured out for us - all undeserved. And all unearned... just like His chosen of the tribes of Jacob.
The white robes of righteousness are His to give - not for us to gain. We are washed clean by red blood; and His righteousness covers us as a garment, and causes us to be accounted as righteous... Just like His chosen of the tribes of Jacob.
Next Lord's Day... the warriors; One Whose garment is blood-spattered from stomping the wine-vat of Israel, all others clothed in the pure, white linen of righteousness; all seated on white horses. For the time is near.
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