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REVELATION 19:1-21 Part 12
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.
As I’ve mentioned once or twice before during the last six years of preaching through this letter from John, the Greek word “apocalupsis” appears as the first word in the text… chapter one, verse one – first word.
Rather than being translated, the word (apocalupsis) has been transliterated into English. And the transliteration is “apocalypse”. In the process, the meaning of the transliterated English word “apocalypse” has been infused and filled with words having to do with “conflagration” and “catastrophe” and “doom” and “finality”, and a “last things” concept.
The name of the book, therefore, has become widely assumed to be the “Apocalypse”; and the things revealed in it thought to be of an apocalyptic nature and character, as in “the final things having to do with the end of history as we know it”.
It could be debated, I suppose, as to whether that transliterated word has had much to do with how John’s letter to the Churches is now perceived; or, on the other hand, whether more recent interpretations have altered and affected the word.
But, either way, “apocalupsis” has never been translated “apocalypse”. The only translation of that word is “Revelation”. This letter to the Churches of the first century begins: “Revelation of Jesus Christ”….
And it continues (right there at the beginning): “blessed the ones who hear and keep what is written; for the time is near”.
And John is told that the letter is to be sent to the Churches so that they may be comforted and assured that all that is about to be is “of God”. And John is told that he must prophesy one last time.
In other words, he would be the last prophet (in a long line of those who had spoken [and written] the Word of God). He was confronted by the glorified Jesus Christ (as all other prophets before him had been confronted by God in Person); and what he saw and heard was to be sent immediately to the Churches to allay their fears and encourage them and quiet their anxieties… and to confirm them in the prophetic Word.
All that John wrote to them was a continuation of that which had been previously spoken by former prophets, for they had all prophesied “the last days” and “the Day of YAHVEH”.
And that was what was “at hand”… shortly to come. All that YAHVEH had told the former prophets was now “to be”! John was the last prophet, because now it was time.
All this to say that Revelation of Jesus Christ was seen and heard by John, written by John, and sent to the Churches in what was (then) contemporary… the content of the letter having to do with the will and purpose of God at the end of the age.
To say that this letter was sent to the original Churches to assure and comfort them in what was going to happen two thousand years (or more) later is blatant foolishness. It would require a practiced, well-formulated agenda to force this prophecy out of its own contemporary setting! (Well, pernicious prophetic myopia might be considered a reason… but certainly nothing short of that!)
As John wrote, he did so in the present tense (having watched and listened); and in that present tense he sees and hears all that has been prophesied in the past, all that was presently occurring, and all that was about to be… all of it confirming the Churches in the perfect continuity of prophecy!
God’s people in the Churches can see and hear, through John’s words, exactly what John was shown, and would understand that it is all connected; and that John’s (present tense) letter IS, WAS, and SHALL BE. It IS the very Word of God.
It IS God’s spoken will and purpose; It IS shown to John from the perspective of Its Author; It IS written in the language in which It has always been revealed (since Its Author is the same); and since Its Author is Almighty God, that which was spoken before IS, and that which will be IS. So, all that is “about to be” is written to the first century Churches as presently “about to be”.
I know that’s a bit complex; but that’s how it must be read and understood. God’s people in the original Churches of the first century were to see and hear Revelation of Jesus Christ as John was seeing and hearing it.
And the Churches are confirmed in the Word of God in so many other ways as well. Even the “structure” of the letter is confirmation of the fullness of prophecy.
The “completeness” of the prophetic Word at the end of the age is indicated to them (for example) all through the Revelation, in “sevens”. Father, Son and Spirit, infinite and eternal “threeness”, authored the “completion” of His prophetic Word in “sevens”.
As far as the numbers are concerned, absent the infinite and creative mind and will of God, there would be no mathematics, you see. There would be no sense to it; it would be totally irrational. The Person and mind of God is the “root” of mathematics. And He has assigned its purpose.
“Threeness” is One, and it is Many. God IS One and He IS Many. Threeness is quantitative perfection. Our One God is Three. This cosmos was created in His Image, and it is “unity”; and it is “diversity”. It is both one and many – the very image of our Triune God. The cosmos has depth and breadth and height (as the apostle Paul had said earlier), and it has past and present and future – neither of which would exist without God’s “oneness” and “threeness”.
And (in the infinite mind of God) He has purposed and assigned “seven” as qualitative perfection. The entirety of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is shown to John (and therefore the Churches) in “sevens” to indicate its “fullness” and “completion”. As the apostle is called to prophesy one last time, he is the final prophet of God; he is the one who sends the completed prophetic Word to the Church of Jesus Christ. And, in the consistency of the “sevens”, the Churches are confirmed and assured that this is the completed prophetic Word. And therefore there is nothing more to be prophesied.
All of the prophecy having to do with Israel at the end of the age comes to a close. And then all of the prophecy having to do with the constitution of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and His Church comes to a close… not the Kingdom; not the Church – but the prophecy of the Kingdom and the Church.
So, in our text here – the last half of it (beginning with verse eleven) – the emphasis of the prophetic Word is extended; and it reaches its most glorious in the appearance of Jesus Christ and the Revelation of His Kingdom. And remember, the things written here are “about to be”.
The completed prophetic Word shown to John began (chapter one) with an appearance of the Son of God/Son of Man in all His glory, and with the Sword proceeding from His mouth – exactly as He appeared to Daniel at the prophecy of the Son of Man appearing at the end of the age. At that time Daniel was shown a scroll with seven seals – a scroll to be opened only in the last days.
Daniel saw the Word of God made flesh at the end of the age. The Word of God made flesh appeared to Daniel six hundred years before the end of the age; and His appearance then was as He appeared to John at the end of the age!
He IS the Word of God made flesh; He IS the One Who was prophesied; He IS the prophecy of the One Who was prophesied! And John sees Him just as Daniel did.
And John sees Him standing in midst of seven lampstands – indicating the fullness and completeness of the work of Holy Spirit, Who is the very “Breath” of God.
And the Word of God, the One with the Sword proceeding from His mouth, sends seven messages – one each to seven Churches. And those messages warned the seven Churches about the entire history of Israel’s apostasy! One after another these Churches (composed mostly of the first Jewish Christians), these Churches were warned about allowing any form of judaism, for judaists, throughout their history, are idolaters and murderers and hypocrites. Any Church that allowed or harbored judaism in its midst would suffer a “visit” from the King of Kings at His Parousia!
As John writes at the end of the age, he is then called up into the tabernacle of God to see and to hear what has happened, what is happening and what is about to happen here at the “end of the age”.
And He is shown what has been happening and what is happening (all of which was prophesied previously). And it is all in the same language in which it had previously been prophesied.
John sees the Lamb of God open the seven seals of the scroll that was sealed to Daniel… the scroll that was to be opened only in the last days.
Then he is shown seven messengers with seven trumpets; and then seven bowls… all having to do with the seventy years that constituted the “last days”; seventy years beginning with the birth of the promised Son of God/Son of Man (the same language as that spoken to Daniel.
Writing in the present tense, John sees the seven seals of the scroll opened one at a time. And he is shown the prophesied plagues and famines and death upon the harlot nation… all under the authority of the One with the diadems and the covenantal bow, and riding on the white horse that was prophesied in Zechariah.
And he also sees the entirety of the ones who Jesus came to seek and to save; and they’re all standing in the Presence of Almighty God in their robes of righteousness provided by the crucified and resurrected Son of God/Son of Man. They’ve all been rescued from the final wrath of God upon the harlot nation, for they are the ones who were called to the wedding feast of the Lamb of God. They are the remnant of the twelve tribes of Jacob – now scattered into the nations.
At the opening of the seventh seal, John is then shown the seven messengers with the seven trumpets. And as the trumpets are sounded, John writes (present tense) of the prayers of the holy ones that rise up as incense to God. They are prayers for God’s vengeance to be poured out upon the harlot nation; for that nation had poured out the blood of the righteous throughout its history. It had poured out the blood of the prophets; it had poured out the blood of the Son of God/Son of Man; and it had persecuted and poured out the blood of many who Jesus came to seek and to save.
And as the trumpets are sounded by the seven messengers, all hell breaks out in the land (as John watches); and the paradise of God begins to disintegrate. In the perspective of God, this edenic land that He had created its own cosmic paradise collapses in the vengeance of God as He answers the prayers of His holy ones for vengeance.
It is the very curses pronounced by Moses in Deuteronomy chapter twenty eight; and John watches as they all come to pass… the “finality” and “completeness” of it all indicated in the “sevens”.
And He is shown the dragon, and the beast made in its image that it called up from the sea of humanity, and the second beast from the land (the false prophet)… the two beasts that meet their final end here in our chapter nineteen text.
And He is shown the woman and her seed that YAHVEH has preserved for Himself. God gathers His holy ones to Himself; and He judges all the remainder.
The seventh trumpet blast indicates that there will be no more delay.
Then John is shown the seven messengers having the seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God. It was the seven final plagues. And John hears that they would be carried out in full.
It is YAHVEH’s covenantal lawsuit that was first prophesied in The Song of Moses, as recorded in chapters thirty-one and thirty two of Deuteronomy.
The nation that God had betrothed to Himself at Sinai has been a harlot through the entire betrothal. Therefore, in His great jealousy, He would make a final end.
The first messenger poured out its bowl of the wrath of God upon the land, and it became a teeming malignancy on all who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
The second and third messengers poured out their bowls on the sea and on all the rivers and water-sources; and they all became blood; for the harlot – Israel – had poured out the blood of the holy ones of God.
The fourth poured out its bowl on the sun; and it was caused to burn all remaining in the land with scorching heat. And no one repented – but blasphemed the God of heaven and earth.
The fifth poured out its bowl on the seat of the beast, bringing thick darkness to its entire realm.
The sixth poured out its bowl on the Euphrates River so that it would be dry for the armies of the nations to cross. And evil spirits were sent to the ten kings of the earth – to conscript them and gather them under the authority of the beast for the war of the great day of YAHVEH.
Then the seventh messenger poured out its bowl of wrath on the air. And the very “elements” of Israel’s existence exploded and disintegrated. And a loud sound saying “It is come” came forth from the tabernacle of God. Once again, please note that that is said, and written, in the present tense!
I know I go through this often; but let’s do it one more time just so we’re sure (and it may not be the last time!). John has been told to write what he is shown and caused to hear, and send it to the Churches (for the time is near). And that’s what he did. He writes just the way he sees it and hears it… present tense.
And as he writes (in the present), he is shown all of that which has happened, all that is happening, and all that is about to happen – all from the present perspective of God in His tabernacle.
John is very specific in the tenses that he writes, that the contemporary “present” is preserved in all His letter; and, at the same time, cognizant of the fullness and completion of the past prophetic Word, aware of the present activity of the risen and ascended Son of God/Son of Man at His Parousia, and is conscious and vigilant with regard to all that is about to happen! And it is all seen and heard by him, in the present, as a completed and full Revelation of Jesus Christ.
“It is COME! (present tense). That mighty sound came from the tabernacle when the seventh bowl was poured out on the land; yet, it is about to happen!
From God’s perspective the prophecy is full and complete, you see; and John writes it that way. It may be complex, but to read it and understand it from the perspective in which it was received and written by John is an exegetical necessity.
Okay! Then one of the seven messengers approaches John with a message for him concerning the harlot. And John is caused to see her in all of her abominations and uncleanness. And she is called the greater Babylon whose fall is imminent. And then he sees the kings and merchants and ship’s captains and seamen from all over the world as they watch her burn.
Then in our present chapter, chapter nineteen, the multitude in the heaven shouts “halleluia”; for YAHVEH has judged (past tense) the great harlot that had corrupted the entire earth with her fornication; and He has avenged the blood of His holy ones.
And immediately after that, the host of the tabernacle breaks out in another great, cosmic “halleluia” for Kurios the Almighty God (The Son) for His righteous dominion over all that has been given to Him.
And John sees Him in all His glory – King of Kings and Lord of Lords – seated on the white horse and the Sword coming from His mouth!
That’s verse eleven of our text. It begins: “Then I saw….”
He has come forth to take dominion of all that is His – overcoming and to overcome; for all authority in the heaven and on the earth and under the earth has been given to Him.
And with Him are all who were called to the wedding feast of the Lamb. They are the remnant of Israel… the twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Jacob; and they’ve been given the white robes of righteousness, and they, too, are seated on white horses. They are messengers of the Word of God to the Gentile nations.
The judgment has been pronounced; the curses that Moses prophesied to come have been rendered; thunderous halleluias have come forth from the host of the heaven, for the vengeance of YAHVEH upon the harlot has been spoken and it has been shown to John….
And now, “Then I saw………” (verse eleven).
There are seven of them.
Over the last six years of preaching The Revelation, we’ve heard a lot about the break-up of the text into chapters and verses. John’s letter to the Churches didn’t have any chapters; and it didn’t have verses. It was a continuous letter.
But sometime later, somebody got the bright idea that, in order for readers to find things easier, the letter should be broken up into smaller portions and numerically identified. And since then, that’s what we have in all of the translations.
But there are always unintended consequences, aren’t there? With a sincere desire to make it easier to read and easier to find a certain spot in the text, the break-up of verses and chapters has caused grave difficulties for the casual reader, and some exegetical hurdles for commentators and preachers.
The text (the way it is now) is often confusing… especially to hearers. It’s natural to think that the end of a chapter is the end of an event, and the start of a new chapter begins another one! And (for a specific example) that chapter nineteen ends with the completion of a thought process, and that chapter twenty starts a new one.
But such is not the case!
It’s all too obvious that, if the chapters and verses were better enumerated, the opening of the tabernacle in the heaven for John to see the King of Kings and Lord of Lords at His Parousia (verse eleven), then it should start a new chapter!
And remember the sevens! The sevens indicate fullness and completion. The Churches are to understand that here is the full, and complete, and final Word of God revealed to the last prophet – John.
And John begins the seven. “Then I saw….” “Then I saw….” “Then I saw”. There are seven of them. Three of them are here in the last verses of chapter nineteen, and four of them after this chapter concludes!
The chapters are broken up in the wrong place, you see. And we are to make sure that we aren’t confused by it.
John sees the tabernacle open for the spectacular sight of the One Who has been given all authority; He is seated on His white horse, many diadems crowning His head; the covenantal bow of Almighty God above His head; the Sword of the Word of God proceeding from His mouth; His warrior army seated on white horses with Him (the ones Who He sought out and saved from the wrath to come.) And He is ready to take dominion of all that is His.
And John says: “and I saw…” seven times!
And what he saw was our Lord OVERCOMING! He saw it all in the present tense. And he saw it all YET TO BE! Remember the words John wrote at the beginning of the letter:
Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show His servants that which is necessary to be done in quickness, and He did make it known having sent through His messenger to His servant John,
“who did bear witness the Word of God and the witness of Jesus Christ all he saw.
“Blessed the one reading and the ones hearing the words of the prophecy and keeping things having been written in it, for the time is near.”
The full and complete prophetic Word of God (beginning at verse eleven) now advances – extends – to the Parousia (appearance) of the One Who has been given dominion!
His Parousia is revealed in the present… to a contemporary audience (the first century Churches in the nations). It is revealed to John as full and complete. And it is shown to Him as being “near” – about to be! Right now (as John watches)… it is about to be!
At verse eleven John says, “then I saw…” What he was shown (that was about to be) was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords seated on His white horse, the diadems on His head, His eyes aflame, and a sharp Sword proceeding from His mouth. And with Him (also seated on white horses) all who were called to the wedding feast of the Lamb of God. And they are His “warrior army”. They are to deliver the message to the Gentile nations. And it is the Sword of the mouth of God the Son that they are to deliver. The Sword – the Word of God – is He Who does the work.
Here, you see, is the “appearance” of the One Who has dominion and all authority.
His work (as John sees at verse seventeen) includes the full performance of the judgment that has been pronounced on the land. All that has been spoken with regard to the betrothed harlot is the Word of God; and it is by the Sword of His mouth that the judgment is carried out.
John says (the second time) “then I saw…” It was a messenger standing in the sun. The “Daystar” is arisen. The deconstruction of the paradise land of God is complete; and it is the full light of His Parousia. His work of judgment is complete; and it’s time for the prophesied curse of Moses. The corpses of priests and scribes and pharisees and elders and soldiers and paupers – everyone, both great and insignificant, all remaining in the land (verse twenty-one), are food for the birds.
“Then I saw…” (the third one). That which is shortly to come to pass – IS. It is decreed; and the decree is revealed to John… to be delivered to the Churches.
The dragon is deceived. The beast that it raised up to cut off the Seed is deceived; the ten kings conscripted by the beast were deceived by evil spirits sent for that purpose; the false prophet whose eyes and ears were darkened to cause all remaining in the land to worship the image, was deceived.
They were all deceived into accomplishing the Word of God concerning the wrath and judgment upon the harlot. The “Seed” promised from the beginning were already removed from the land.
John says, “then I saw…” And what he is shown is exactly what he has been shown all along. From the perspective of God in His holy tabernacle, it has been decreed and spoken through the prophets. And it is the full and completed prophetic Word. As he writes in the present to Churches in advance of the imminent Parousia of the Christ, he writes what he is shown to come shortly; and it is the complete and final end – not only of all remaining in the land, but the complete end of the deluded and deceived false prophet, the complete end of the deluded and deceived kings of the earth, the complete end of the deluded and deceived beast that was raised up by the dragon.
YAHVEH laughs, for they had all been tricked into doing what had been decreed; and at the Parousia of the Christ, they would suffer their full and final reward for doing what they did.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of God… not the false prophet of Israel. The Lord Jesus Christ is the One with all authority in the heavens and on the earth and under the earth… not the kings of the earth. The Lord Jesus Christ is the One given dominion of all the nations… not the beast raised up by the dragon to cut off His Kingdom.
The final reward for all who would gather against YAHVEH and His King is the lake of fire. The complete end for all pretenders and contenders for His dominion is the lake of fire.
That’s what John is shown here as he says (the third time) “then I saw…” The beast and the kings and the false prophet all meet their final end at the Parousia of the Christ. Antagonists, adversaries, challengers all meet the same end.
The false prophet of Israel ceases to exist; the ten kingdoms conscripted at the end of the age meet their definitive end; the beast in the image of the dragon meets its definitive end… for a new “day” was about to dawn in the appearance of the Savior of the world. His authority is unrestricted and uninhibited! And John sees that authority exercised in the complete end of His enemies. It’s God’s decree, your see; and it’s His perspective. It’s what John presently sees and hears… and it’s shortly to come, for the time is near.
Next time we meet (if I’m ready to preach by then), we begin the remainder of the seven “then I saw…” at the Parousia/appearance of the Christ. Chapter twenty.Return to the Sermons on Revelation Show Page
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