REVELATION CHAPTER 19

ARMAGEDDON

Chapter 19 describes two key events: (1) the celebration in Heaven anticipating Christ's victory on the Day of the Lord; and (2) the Battle of Armageddon itself. Revelation 19 opens with a fourfold hallelujah in praise to God for His wrath against the wicked. We are also given a glimpse of the marriage of the Lamb. The remainder of the chapter depicts the Lamb in judgment against Satan, Antichrist, The False Prophet and the nations at the battle of Armageddon. From the Rapture to the battle of Armageddon we see a gradual establishment of the reign of Christ. At this point in the Revelation, the reign of Christ has not been fully established.

Remember, the physical return of Jesus occurred much earlier after the opening of the 6th seal when He raptured His Church. Several years have passed. All the trumpets judgments have been executed and God’s wrath via the bowls have been poured out. Revelation 19 is a very different event, with a very different set of identifying characteristics. There is no blast of a trumpet, no rising of the dead, and no deliverance of God’s people. Jesus arrival at Armageddon is for one purpose only – to defeat the beast and his false prophet.

THE SAINTS PRAISE THE DESTRUCTION OF MYSTERY BABYLON

As Chapter 19 opens, we find Heaven and the Saints preparing for the imminent destruction of Satan at the hand of Christ. Mystery Babylon, the great prostitute, has been destroyed. The saints rejoice, as their righteous vengeance is near, and all of Heaven cries "Hallelujah."

1  After this (After the judgment of Mystery Babylon) I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven (We are not told precisely who) shouting: "Hallelujah! (Hallelujah is a word of praise that comes from the Hebrew, which literally means “praise to Yahweh.” The word is a verb, an action word.   God is to be praised for His destruction of Mystery Babylon. Interestingly, this is the only chapter in the New Testament in which the word “Hallelujah” is found.) Salvation and glory and power belong to our God (Because He is removing all that stands in the way of His kingdom – Mystery Babylon, Antichrist and the False Prophet), 2for true and just are his judgments. (God's judgment of Mystery Babylon was righteous - she got what she deserved). He has condemned the great prostitute (referring to God's judgment of Mystery Babylon described in Rev 17 & 18) who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants." (Mystery Babylon joined with Antichrist and was responsible for the martyrdom of thousands of saints - God has now avenged these deaths) 3And again they shouted: "Hallelujah! (We praise the Lord!) The smoke from her (Mystery Babylon) goes up for ever and ever."

4  The twenty-four elders (24 governing angels) and the four living creatures (the cherubim of Rev 4:4-6) fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: "Amen, Hallelujah!" 5Then a voice came from the throne (We are not told who is speaking), saying: "Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!"

HEAVEN PREPARES FOR THE MARRIAGE FEAST OF THE LAMB

The saints and angels in Heaven get ready to celebrate the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. In scripture, marriage is often used to describe the relationship of saints to God. After Christ defeats Satan and Antichrist at Armageddon, he will be united with his Bride. The marriage of the Lamb (Jesus) to the Bride (Old Testament Saints of Israel and New Testament Saints of the Church) will take place after the final triumph over evil occurs at Armageddon. Although the battle has not yet begun, the outcome is assured, and a celebration is underway in Heaven. Note that the marriage of the Lamb apparently does not occur in Heaven but on Earth.

6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude (Again, the great multitude of Rev 7, the Raptured Church, and the Redeemed of Israel), like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.

7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come (the wedding is about to commence - Jesus will soon physically reign over the Earth. Note that this is the same phrase that is used in Revelation 6:17 to describe the breaking of the seventh seal: "For the great day of their wrath has come..."), and his bride (literally, His wife, referring to all the saved of Israel and the Church. See Eph 5:25, 2 Cor 11:2, Isa 54:5,6 and Jer 31:32. At this point, no real distinction is made between Israel and the Church) has made herself ready. 8Fine linen (representing the righteous acts of the saints), bright and clean (the wedding garment is made white by the blood of the Lamb. See Rev 7:14), was given her to wear."

9 Then the angel (We are not told which angel) said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" (A joyous banquet awaits all believers) And he added, "These are the true words of God." (This is a solemn promise regarding the relationship believers will have with Jesus in His kingdom.) 10At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus (the identifying trait of all those who will reign with Christ). Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

The angel gives us some important insight into the concept of prophecy. We traditionally view prophecy as the prediction of future events. But for those in Heaven, for whom time is an elastic concept and the ultimate victory of Christ is certain, prophecy is also bound up with evangelism. In other words, all prophecy centers around Jesus Christ, who came to save, and the purpose of all prophecy is to point us to Jesus, to save our eternal souls. In this way, prophecy and evangelism go hand in hand.

CHRIST LEADS THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN INTO BATTLE

The gates of Heaven open, and Christ appears on a white horse to lead the armies of Heaven into battle. Christ rides to vanquish the beast and his false prophet, and to assume his rightful throne over the Earth. Christ will come wearing many crowns and a white robe dipped in blood. Remember that this is not the first appearance of Jesus on Earth during Daniel's 70th Week. However, it is the final and ultimate victory of God over the powers of evil.

11  I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse (a symbol of victory), whose rider (Jesus) is called Faithful and True. (Unlike the four horsemen of Revelation 6, who bring death and destruction, the rider of this horse - Christ - has come wielding righteous truth.) With justice he judges and makes war. (Christ comes to judge the wicked and make war against Antichrist and Satan).

12  His eyes are like blazing fire (Christ is filled with righteous vengeance), and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. (He has already been named “Faithful and True” see v. 11, and “The Word of God” see v. 13. That He has a secret name indicates our human minds can not comprehend its meaning nor grasp the depth of His being!)   13He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, (Jesus, the conquering warrior, is about to trod the winepress of God’s wrath and stain His garments with the blood of His enemies. This could also be a reference to the blood He shed on the Cross, and the blood of the martyrs that has been spilled for Him) and his name is the Word of God. (See John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.")

14  The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (The exact identity of the heavenly armies is unclear. While it is possible that these are the saints, but it is more likely that they are the angels. See Zech 14:5 and 2 Thes 1:7. Note that they wear no armor and carry no weapons.)

15  Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. (The only weapon in this battle is the Word of Christ, which Hebrews 4:12 describes as a sword.)

Isaiah 11:3-5   He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

"He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords. (He is known to Himself by his secret name. He is known to the Church as “Faithful & True” and “The Word of God.” This is the fourth name given to the Christ. At this point the world will know Him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!)

THE FINAL BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON

THE BEAST IS THROWN INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE

We finally come to John's description of the Battle of Armageddon itself. The battle results in the final destruction of Antichrist, the armies of the world, and the final (8th) beast empire, exactly 1290 days after the abomination of desolation. See Rev 14:14-20.

As we open, all the nations of the Earth are converging for the final battle on the plain of Megiddo. An angel calls out to the predators of the skies, alerting them to the carnage that is about to occur.

17  And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great." (The purpose of the gathering of the birds is to eat the flesh of all men and beasts that gather to fight against the Lord. See Ezekiel 38:17-20. They begin their feast by eating the dead army of the Antichrist. See Psalm 2)

Almost immediately, we are thrust into the middle of the battle.

19  Then I saw the beast (Antichrist) and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army.

We are not given much detail concerning the battle of Armageddon itself in this Chapter, apparently because this event is described extensively elsewhere in the Bible (See my notes on Ezekiel 38 & 39). The destruction of the unfaithful is likened to a harvest of grapes that are thrown into a great winepress of God’s wrath. The blood from this battle will reach to the horses bridle, which is 4-5 feet high.

Rev. 14:14-20  [14] I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one "like a son of man" with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. [15] Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, "Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." [16] So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. [17] Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. [18] Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because its grapes are ripe." [19] The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. [20] They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia (200 miles).

Isaiah 34:1-3[1] Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it! [2] The Lord is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. [3] Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench; the mountains will be soaked with their blood.

Isaiah 63:1-6[1] Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? "It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save." [2] Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? [3] "I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. [4] For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of         my redemption has come. [5] I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. [6] I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on         the ground."

Daniel 7:11[11] Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.

Daniel 7:27[27] Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.

Christ has defeated the beast, and John describes the punishment that awaits all those who rejected Christ.

20  But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. (Note that Antichrist and the False Prophet are not eaten by the birds. A different fate awaits them. In the Greek, the lake of fire is called “Gehenna” in order to distinguish it from “Hades.” At the conclusion of Armageddon, Antichrist and the False Prophet are taken alive and thrown into the Lake of Fire.) 21The rest of them (the kings and their armies) were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. (The fate of the Antichrist and the False Prophet is complete (2 Thes 2:8, Rev 19:20, Dan 7:11,26). Both are thrown alive into the lake of fire forever and Satan is bound for 1000 years.)