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REVELATION 19:1-21 Part 11
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.
My son John says that he would like to make a movie – a 3-D movie, of the Revelation of Jesus Christ at the end of the age. I’d have to grow a beard, but I’m just about the right age to play the apostle (if you need a lead).
It was said to the apostle: “you must prophesy one last time”; so it is the “capstone” of all the prophetic Word. And since it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, to be sent to the Churches, it is the best script, and the most accurate script, ever written!
And John says the technology would have to be developed for the 3-D glasses… a technology that would distinguish between those who believed what they were hearing and seeing, and those who didn’t! (And that equates, of course to those who belong to the Christ and those who don’t.)
And with those new glasses, all believers would see it from God’s perspective of His will and purpose; but non-believers would see only that which comes from their own perspectives!
While I’m here, let me just mention that what I’ve heard so far is that what you want to hear next is the preaching of Paul’s letter to the Churches in Rome. If I were so blessed as to be given the time to do that, we would hear (as just one of the great doctrinal discourses of the apostle) the composition of the “new Israel”; for, as Paul says (as written some ten or fifteen years before The Revelation), “all Israel will be saved”. And, by the way, that’s nothing “new”, since the “new Israel” is prophesied in the older Scripture.
Now, if John’s movie were to be produced, what would be heard from all the politically correct unbelievers, is a roar of “anti-semitism” – bigotry; for they would only see the judgment of Jerusalem and the land by the Sword of the Christ! Jews and (yes) muslims would be terribly offended!
They wouldn’t see the salvation of every last one of those who Jesus came to seek and to save; they wouldn’t see all hundred and forty four thousand of the house of Jacob (Israel) that were clothed in the white garments of virginity at the wedding feast of the Lamb; they wouldn’t see all of those from the twelve tribes of Jacob freed from bondage and scattered into the nations before the wrath of God was poured out upon the harlot; they wouldn’t see all of them as followers of Jesus on white horses – the messenger/warriors of the Word of God to the Gentile nations!
The advanced technology of the new 3-D glasses would allow them to see what they wanted to see… what their perspective caused them to see!
But what the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Roman Churches was that Jacob’s grandfather was Abraham! And the covenant YAHVEH made with Abraham was for all the nations, tribes and tongues to be added to him! They would be His “seed” in Jesus Christ. By the Sword proceeding from the mouth of Jesus Christ the Word of God, the warrior/messengers would speak that Word to the farthest places on earth! And through the faith given to the Gentiles by Word and Spirit, Abraham would be their grandfather as well! And, therefore, “all Israel would be saved”.
You see, these messengers (in our text) following Jesus on white horses are all Jews. They are the elect of the house of Jacob at the end of the age; and they are the ones sent to the Gentiles with the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Jews evangelizing Gentiles!
How offensive would that movie be!
Maybe we should set Johnny 5th and Jeremy and Erik to work on those glasses.
In the meantime, we still have a long way to go; and what I want to do first this morning is to expand somewhat on what we’ve recently heard, because we are the “messengers” of this Word in our time; so if there’s anything that we should spend some extra time on, it’s right here.
All through the Scripture we’re made aware of the prophetic “Word of God”. The Word was put into the mouths of the prophets; and they were to go wherever they were sent, and speak that Word. And the apostle John was the last one.
And as creative and dynamic as the Word is, It brings to pass all that which has been spoken! That’s why we can be so confident that what we read is Faithful and True and perfectly consistent. All that has been spoken will be brought to be… because it has been spoken! And that Word was made flesh; and that which comes to be is revealed (as in John’s Revelation) in the same language in which it was spoken.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ IS prophecy, you see; therefore what John “sees” and “hears” isn’t mysterious, or weird. He actually “sees” what has previously been spoken!
John was told that he was to “prophesy” once last time. And we know that his prophecy is the written Word of God which he received; and it is, in every way, consistent with all other prophecy; and it is concerning the things which are shortly to come to pass – all of which had been spoken previously. And it all will come to pass because it has been spoken! The prophetic Word of God is “creative”; and it brings to pass all that it pronounces!
And, once again, that Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us; HE dwelt among us. And He was called “Jesus”.
Here John sees Him – the glorified Person… Jesus – in all His ascended glory; and the Sword from His mouth is His creative and dynamic spoken Word that will accomplish all that has been spoken. And that Sword confirms that Jesus Christ is the One Who is spoken from the beginning.
God the Word was made flesh; He bodily arose out of death and the grave; He ascended bodily through the tabernacle in the heaven – into the Presence of Almighty God the Father; and John sees Him with the Word coming forth from His mouth.
God the Son; the Word of God; His “Strong Right Arm”…. He IS living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. He IS the prophecy.
The words uttered by the false prophet are those of a “beast”; they are completely ineffectual. But the Word of God performs – accomplishes – all that is spoken.
The Sword of His mouth not only enforces and achieves the judgment pronounced upon the harlot Israel; but that same Word also pursues and brings to pass that which has been previously spoken with regard to the nations and peoples and tribes and tongues of the earth.
That Sword relentlessly pursues every enemy of God and every denier of the Christ of God, and He overcomes them all. The Sword proceeding from His mouth indicates that He is that Word. It comes forth from Him, and it IS Him!
Listen again to Isaiah at chapter forty-nine:
1) Listen to me, O you islands, and give attention, you peoples far away. YAHVEH called Me from the womb, from the body of my mother He named My name.
2) He made my mouth as a sharp sword….
If you read the texts of the prophets, you’ll find that each of them was confronted by God. The prophets were given the Word of God to speak. It was put into their mouths, and they were “sent”; and by their mouths they “spoke” that Word. Jesus Christ, here in our text is called “The Word of God”. HE is the One they spoke!
The mouths of the prophets (including the apostle John here) are as sharp swords, because they’ve been given to speak the Word of God; and their words are two-edged swords that “slay” (on the one hand) and bring “light” (on the other)!
And we see here in our text that it is by the Sword of His mouth that He executes the pronounced judgment upon the land. It has been spoken previously, you see. He IS that which has been spoken by the prophets; and the prophets spoke that judgment to the land.
And (additionally) it is by the Sword of His mouth that He will bring light to the nations! That, too, was previously spoken by the prophets.
He, Jesus, is “God The Son” – “The Word Of God”. That which proceeds from His mouth slays the wicked; and (just as the dawn breaks forth in the East) that which proceeds from His mouth brings “light” and life to the nations.
The terms that are used by John here in verse fifteen are: to “smite”, and to “rule”. His Word is a Sword and a Rod in His mouth.
The peoples and tribes and tongues of all the islands and coastlands and faraway places on the earth must be “smitten” by the Word of God; and they will be ruled by His Law-word. It’s the same as we’ve heard previously when the Churches are told that they are to “hold the testimony of Jesus”, and they must “keep His Commandments”! That’s His purpose!
The word “to smite” (as used here) in no way indicates the final judgment that is to befall the land. The “smiting” of the nations and peoples is purposed for their inclusion rather than for their exclusion! Remember, God the Word accomplishes all He purposes! And here the “smiting” of the nations is to bring them all under the reign and rule of the King of Kings… for they have been “given” to Him!
And see again that all of those who are shown with Jesus are not only clothed with the white linen of His righteousness; but they, too, are seated on white horses. They are warriors in His Name. But they don’t have swords coming from their mouths! They are not prophets (John was the last one.) At His appearance there’s no need for any more prophets; for the Sword is HIS! What the warriors are to speak is HIS Word; for only the Word of God is sharper than any actual two-edged sword.
The only weapon that’s needed is the one weapon that “smites’ the nations… the proclamation of the Word of God.
It’s those who think that the sword comes from their mouths that expose themselves as false prophets. You see, the work of saving the world is His. His Word goes forth accomplishing all His purpose; and it won’t return unto Him void.
And that Word was especially relevant and essential to His original Churches at the end of the age. The writer to the Jewish Christians in the Churches in the Gentile nations said this (Hebrews chapter four):
9) So there remains a Sabbath for the people of God,
10) for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from His.
11) Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
12) For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul - of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13) And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account.
The written word from Moses (which he received directly from God) says that God worked for six days. And then He “rested” the seventh. And the writer to the Hebrews says that we (His people) are to enter into that “rest”. You see, it isn’t our work… it’s the work of God the Word that “smites” the nations and brings them under His rule.
As warriors of His – covered in His righteousness, and riding white horses of His dominion – His people are “messengers” from His mouth!
Just as it is all through the Scripture, the Word of God was sent by messengers flashing forth from the Glory Cloud – directly from God’s mouth – to bring the Word to men… so His people are messengers to the nations… from His mouth. The message is His; and the purpose of the messages belongs to Him. The “armies” of warriors following Jesus on white horses (here in our text) are “messengers”! They’re not shown as having swords. They aren’t prophets… the prophetic Word is complete! They are to speak what proceeds from HIS mouth! That’s their task in the overcoming of the world! HE – God the Word – is the One Who works… the One Who brings to pass all His will and purpose.
Our Lord “overcomes” the nations by His mouth; He smites the nations by His bare Word. And according to His Words to His disciples in Matthew twenty-four, it is immediately after the judgment of Jerusalem that His work in the nations flourishes; for as the Churches hold the testimony of Jesus and keep His Commandments, and as they deliver the message, the world empire is splintered and scattered as a potters vessel.
As we’ve noted before, there will never be a contender for world dominion; for He will smite any that would be so bold with the Sword of His mouth. His Word will defeat any pretender, and crush and scatter Him to the four winds.
That’s what we celebrate on the first day of the week! There remains a Sabbath for us (as the writer to the Jewish Christians said); for we rest in full apprehension of the work of the Savior of the world.
And all nations are required to be Christian, aren’t they? Any nation that doesn’t submit to the rule of God the Son will perish. One day all the nations will submit and acknowledge Him - King of Kings. He is sovereign over all that has been given to Him; and He will be recognized and acknowledged as such!
The promise is right there in Psalm forty six at verse ten: “I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.”
But, you see, the warriors with Him – following Him – are messengers. The work is done by Him; for the Sword is His. It proceeds from His mouth and His alone.
And as He takes dominion over the tribes and tongues of the earth, His people share in that dominion. That dominion is by the rod of His mouth, for it is His holy Law-word. (God’s Law IS the spoken Word, you see. Not only is His moral character obvious in all that He created, but it was spoken to Moses at Sinai.)
But for those who deny His Law-word, or seek to speak another law-word, or to speak their own law-word, there only comes dissipation and chaos… and judgment by the Sword of His mouth; for He IS the spoken Law-word of God!
Isaiah writes at chapter sixty and verse twelve:
“the nation and kingdom that will not serve You shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted”.
His purpose will be done. His Kingdom is coming here… as it is in the heaven. And it is not by your work; and it isn’t by my work. So… enter into His rest! It will be done by the Sword of His mouth; for He is eternally-begotten God the Son – The Word of God.
What a movie this would be! Christians have a magnificent heritage which speaks not only of Christ born and crucified (as glorious as that is), but of Christ the resurrected and ascended Overcomer of all that is evil; Christ the Logos, the Alpha and the Omega (the beginning and the end); Christ, the great "I AM"; Christ, the Creator, Sustainer of the entire cosmos.
Listen to the apostle Paul as he wrote to the Philippian Church in chapter two: Who being in very form – God, did not consider Himself equally God something to be grasped (taken hold of), but meeked Himself, taking the very form of a servant, being made human in form, and made in form – a man, he humbled himself and made Himself obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
And again to the Colossian Church in chapter one:
“For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities”… all things were created by Him and for Him. He IS before all things, and in Him all things hold together. God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood poured out on the cross.
The entire created realm – the cosmos – exists because of Him; it was all brought to be by Him; and He is its “rock” to Whom it is attached; and all of it will be reconciled to God because of Him. That’s a mighty cosmic revolution, for He is God the Word Who performs all that He speaks! Depraved mankind and a cursed creation will be overcome by Him!
Humanity and the societal structures that it creates ignores, distorts, and rebels against His moral order to its own peril and destruction; for by the Sword of His mouth He will impose His Own morality upon the nations, tribes and tongues of the earth. And they will be smitten with His Sword and ruled by the Rod of His mouth; and they will acknowledge Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords… to the glory of God the Father!
You and I are to hold His testimony, keep His Commandments, deliver the Message, and rest in His work (just as God rested in His completed work of creation).
Now, as we move on in the text we observe that there are two “great feasts” revealed to John in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The first was the wedding feast of the Lamb. When He arrived, the harlot didn’t know Him; and she hated Him. But at His Word, the disciples were sent to call the elect of the house of Jacob to feast upon the paschal Lamb with bread and wine. They all knew Him when His Word was spoken to them. And they followed Him. Here in the text (verse nine) those called to the feast are “blessed” ones.
Then, here in verses seventeen and eighteen, John is shown a second great feast. Here it is again:
17) Then I saw one messenger standing in the sun (that’s one of the four cherubs at the mercy seat); 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.
At the wedding feast of the Lamb, by His Word there was a gathering of His elect of the house of Jacob. Here at this feast, also by His Word, there is a gathering of the vultures. One of the cherubim that called for the four horses to “Come!”, now calls the birds of prey to “come”.
First let’s listen to the prophet Ezekiel at chapter thirty-nine. The words here are the same ones that are heard by John as they are applied to all those remaining in the land. Listen to it:
17) And you, son of man, thus says YAHVEH God: Speak to the birds of every kind, and to every beast of the field: Come! Gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood.
18) You shall eat the flesh of the great, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth – as of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them as fatlings of Bashan.
19) And you shall eat fat till you are gorged and drink blood till you are drunken of my sacrifice which I sacrifice for you.
20) And you shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with great men, and with men of war, says YAHVEH God.
As these same words from God are heard by John, the words of Ezekiel are made appropriate and germane to all those remaining in the land (verse 21), for the vultures of the air will gorge themselves at the table of God on the flesh of the great and the insignificant alike. There will be no distinctions.
And let’s not forget the curse of the Law of God spoken to Israel by Moses in Deuteronomy chapter twenty-nine:
45) And all these curses shall come upon you, and pursue you, and overtake you, till you be destroyed; because you hearkened not unto the voice of YAHVEH your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you;
46) and they shall be upon you for a sign and for a wonder, and upon your seed for ever….
26) your dead body shall be food to all the birds of the heavens, and to the beasts of the earth; and there shall be none to drive them away….
The warning that was given to Israel, should they not obey YAHVEH, that the curse of God would include their bodies being eaten by birds of prey; and that there would be no one there to inhibit them, or prevent them or… to drive them away!
And you remember when Jesus was asked by His disciples about what were the signs of His Parousia (coming), He spoke to them about the shakings and plagues and famines; and He said (Matthew twenty four at verse twenty eight): “Wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered.” As Moses said to Israel fifteen hundred years before, being eaten by birds of prey is part of the curse of God upon disobedient Israel.
There is a particularly poignant passage having to do with the birds at Genesis chapter fifteen.
“And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.”
Listen very carefully, now, for our understanding of this is very important!
At the sacrificial confirmation of the covenant with Abram, the carcasses of animals were split – part of each carcass on one side and part on the other. And fire from under the mercy seat appeared in the middle… between the carcasses. Birds of prey came down to eat the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
But at the covenantal sacrifice of all those remaining in the land (as revealed to John here in the Revelation), the carcasses were whole; and no one drove the birds away.
At Abram’s sacrifice, God was pleased to distinguish between the “parts” of the animal carcasses, for the part on one side indicated the ones of Israel for whom His Son would be sacrificed. And the part on the other side would be the ones who would, themselves, be sacrificed to satisfy His terrible wrath upon Israel. And since both parts were there at the covenantal confirmation to Abram, the birds could not eat, because one part of the sacrifice would not suffer the curse of Moses. The vultures were driven away.
However, as the Sword of the Christ terminated all remaining in the land, the entire part of the sacrifice for whom the Christ died had been removed; and only that part that remained would, themselves, be sacrificed to satisfy the wrath of God. And, so, the birds were not driven away. All those remaining in the land were the subjects of Moses’ curse… to be eaten by birds of prey. And that covenantal separation was all confirmed by fire from the tabernacle of God in the heaven.
So, as you can see, all that we’re hearing here in the text of John’s Revelation had already been portrayed, twenty five hundred years previously, in the sacrificial confirmation of the covenant made with Abraham.
Our Lord said that however often we come to the table of the Lord, we are to “remember”. There are two “tables”, you see. There has already been a sacrifice for us; so we are not to attend the “other” table… the one for the vultures. His chosen people of Jacob were sought out and found and clothed in His righteousness, and “birthed” from the harlot Israel, rescued before the wrath of God, and sent into the nations to deliver the message to all of us… the Gentiles of all the nations.
He received the wrath of God for them… and for us. And our Father is satisfied with that sacrifice – fully satisfied. And we are to attend this table; and remember… and hold His testimony, and keep His Commandments – and deliver the message.
And we are also to remember that no matter how things may “appear” to us at any given point in time, there are no other “contestants” in the warfare! Anything or anyone that pretends to usurp His Lordship over what belongs to Him will be dealt with – without mercy. They will be participants in the “other” feast… the one at the “other” table.
The Word of God will accomplish all that He purposes. And we must enter into His Sabbath “rest”.Return to the Sermons on Revelation Show Page
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