THE SECOND COMING
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
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We have now arrived at the amazing biblical account of THE VISION OF JESUS CHRIST IN RETURN (Chapters 19-20). The Second Coming of Jesus Christ has been long awaited and very much anticipated by the people of God. It is a major theme in both the Old and New Testaments. Here in chapter 19, we will read the description of exactly what it will be like when Christ himself descends back from Heaven to Earth, destroying his enemies and solidly placing his precious feet once again on the Mount of Olives.
After these things I heard [NU adds: something like] a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ’Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to [NU omits: the Lord] our God! For true and righteous are his judgments, because he has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants shed by her.’ Again they said, ’Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!’ And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, ’Amen! Alleluia!’ Then a voice came from the throne, saying, ’Praise our God, all you his servants and those who fear him [NU omits: both] small and great!’ And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ’Alleluia! For [NU changes: the to: our] Lord God Omnipotent reigns!’
This chapter of the Bible has been called the Hallelujah chapter. The word, ’Alleluia, is exclaimed four times here in the first 6 verses. This ancient Hebrew word literally means praise ye Jah. It is found many times in the Psalms. In fact, fifteen of them begin with it.
Our focus is directed back up to Heaven now ... away from the burning ruins of Babylon down below. Up there, a party is going on. It began in the last chapter at verse 21. All of Heaven is rejoicing because God has arisen and taken direct and devastating action against Satan and Antichrist's dark kingdom. John says that he heard the voice of a great multitude [ὄχλου (oxlou)], shouting, ’Alleluia! Then, he heard them crying, salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are his judgments, because he has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants shed by her.
This great victory chant was then followed by another booming ’Alleluia which apparently came from the angels. They added, Her smoke rises up forever and ever. The angels could see the smoke of Satan's kingdom below as it was ascending continuously upward.
A third ’Alleluia was cried out by the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures as they fell down to worship before the throne.
This great act of worship was followed by a fourth Alleluia … which was the greatest of all. It had been called for by a voice from the throne ... most likely it came from one of the living creatures. The voice said, Praise our God, all you his servants, and you that fear him, both small and great. The response was deafening! John says it rolled forth like the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings. Now that’s a ’Alleluia, brothers and sisters! One day soon, it will fill Heaven's atmosphere like the roar of a mighty cataract of waters. Like peals of thunder, multitudes of God's creatures, servants, angels, Old Testament saints, Living Creatures, the Church and all the Tribulation Saints lifted their voices and hearts as one exclaiming, the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! What a celebration that day will bring, aye? And, the amazing thing is, you and I were actually there that very day participating in it. John was actually witnessing it in the future, you see, by way of this vision. So, strange as it may sound, among the voices that John actually heard that day ... was your voice and mine!
Let us be glad and rejoice and give him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' " And he said to me, ’These are the true sayings of God.’ And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, 'See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’
While Babylon continued to smolder down below, a marriage was being consummated up above. We learn here that, time wise, the marriage of the Lamb will take place just prior to our Lord’s Second Coming to Earth and just after the destruction of the seventh Bowl judgment.
Now, Jesus came into our world as a Jew, made under the Law (Galatians 4:4-5). Then, by his death on the cross, he instituted a New Covenant between God and his Jewish people, sealed by his own blood. We Gentiles have been grafted into that Covenant like a wild olive branch is grafted into a natural olive tree (Romans 11:13-21). This is why the Church's marriage feast with their Lord will follow Jewish marriage custom. And, believe me, it will be the greatest wedding feast of all time. When Jesus was on Earth, he likened himself to a bridegroom. In Matthew 9:14-15, we read,
Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ’Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ’Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.’
The Apostle Paul describes the Church as, “the bride of Christ.” As you have it in Second Corinthians 11:2,
…for I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
In Ephesians 5:25-32, he says,
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her, that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that he might present her to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
In Jesus' day, Jewish marriages had three parts ... a contract, a retrieval and a celebration.
…First, the marriage contract was signed. This was sometimes entered into by the parents of Jewish children when the prospective bride and bridegroom were still very young. At that point, as far as Jewish law was concerned, they were legally married.
…Next, came the retrieving of the bride. This took place when the couple became of age or after a reasonable waiting period. Then, the groom and his friends would go to the bride's home to fetch her and bring her to live permanently in the bridegroom’s home.
…The third and final step was the marriage celebration and feasting. This great celebration took place at the groom’s home. It usually lasted for a week. Jesus was attending one of these feasts at the wedding in Cana (John 2), when the host ran out of wine. Jesus performed his first miracle there, helping the host out by changing water into wine. And, as it turned out, it was the best wine they had yet consumed!
We who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior will also experience all three phases of this Jewish customary wedding ceremony. First, when we receive Christ, we are formally wed to Christ ... having been immediately baptized into his Body by his Holy Spirit (First Corinthians 12:13). At that first moment of belief in Christ, we became members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones (Ephesians 5:30). This was our marriage contract … signed, sealed and delivered by our now indwelling Christ. All true believers are spiritually married to the Lamb of God (Ephesians 5; II Corinthians 11). What now remains for us, however, is the second and third steps of the wedding … namely, his coming to get us and then for us to sit down with him at the marriage celebration and partake of the feast he has prepared for us in his home above.
One glorious day, our Bridegroom and his friends will come to get us and escort us to he, and his Father’s house in Heaven (First Thessalonians 4:16-17; John 14:23; 17:24). Then, as we have it here in Revelation 19, we will sit down at the great celebration of the marriage supper of the Lamb. There is a place reserved for you and me at that table, dear believer. At that time, we will all sit down together with Him and celebrate the final phase of our marriage to Christ in our new home above. Won’t that be wonderful? I suspect there will be more looking, listening, talking, introducing and rejoicing than eating though.
John was actually at, that future day, as he described here in our text. Notice, he says, his wife has made herself ready. He says she (the Church) was resplendent in the clothing that had been granted to her. Significantly, the text calls these garments, the righteous acts of the Saints. There is something very important for us to understand here. All of Christ's Church saints will be at the marriage supper of the Lamb and all will be dressed in the beautiful robes that he has provided for them. However, the unique design of each individual's garment will actually reflect the good things that they have done while they were living for Christ on Earth. That is why their robes are said to be, the righteousnesses, the word is a plural in the Greek, (the ESV translates it, "the righteous deeds") of the saints. So, at the marriage supper of the Lamb, Christ’s saints are going to be actually and visibly wearing their good works. Now, tell me how we live down here doesn't matter! It’s going to matter a great deal when we sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb. We need to really take this to heart, dear saint. It is so very important to take great care in how we build our lives on Christ while we are living down here. Philippians 2:12, says,
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
In First Corinthians 3:11-15, we read,
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
The crucial question then becomes, Am I really building my life on Christ? Am I living in the light of who I really am and who I’m going to be for all eternity? Have I been making ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb? Build your life of good deeds purposefully, beloved. Lay them carefully and thoughtfully, because one day, you and I will be wearing them to the wonderful occasion that is set before us here.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. First Corinthians 15:58
One last thought before we leave this subject, the angel told John, Write: ’Blessed are they who are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ Now, we Church saints are the Bride of Christ and this is our wedding supper. We are not called to this occasion, it is our wedding. We do the inviting. The Bridegroom and the Bride issue the invitations to their wedding. Those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb refers to the guests who will be invited. Do you know who they might be? Well, Jesus will do the inviting. So, I would expect to see Adam and Eve there, Seth and Enoch and Noah, Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Rebeka, Jacob and Rachel, Joseph and Moses and Joshua, King David, Job and Ezra, Nehemiah and Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Rahab and all the rest of God's Old Testament saints … and all the Tribulation saints as well. There will be many historic, unique and happy guests at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Being a guest at this great event will be a blessing for all concerned.
Finally, the angel solemnly proclaims, These are the true sayings of God. He is emphasizing that these things are sure and certain. We have the Word of God on it.
John says, And I fell at his feet to worship him. Poor fellow, he was so overcome by all of this that he committed a very human blunder. Don’t be too hard on him. I say that for at least three reasons. First, it must have been very difficult for John, still in human flesh and burdened with human frailties, to respond in the right way in the heavenly realm. Second, angels are incredibly awesome beings. The book of Hebrews says, he makes his angels ministers of fire (Hebrews 1:7). If you or I found ourselves in the presence of one of these awesome creatures, I suspect we might become a bit discombobulated as well! And third, the nature of all the revelations that John had been receiving had to have been so disturbing that, like Daniel of old (Daniel 8:27; 10:8-9), he no doubt became temporarily unhinged by them.
The angel immediately corrected John saying, I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God. By the way, did you know that Jesus never once turned down worship? This is solid evidence that he was indeed who he said he was … God of very God. Jesus is worthy to receive worship. There were many occasions in Jesus' life when he readily and openly received worship. One that comes to mind is found in John 9:38. There, a blind man said, ’Lord, I believe!’ Then, we read, And he worshiped him. Receiving worship is the sole privilege and realm of God Almighty, beloved. The fact that our Lord always received it, tells us that he was fully aware of just who he was (John.1:1, 14). Hebrews 1:6, quotes the Father's decree about this in relation to angels,
But when he again brings the firstborn [Jesus] into the world, he says: ’Let all the angels of God worship him.’
The angel concluded, Worship God: For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. In effect, he was telling John, Don't fall before me. Fall before Jesus. He is the one of whom all the prophets speak!
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And he who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God.
O Lord Jesus how long, how long?… go the words of that great old hymn of the faith, Christ Returneth. Here in John's vision, the wait is over. He is here at last! This is what the people of God have looked and prayed for, for millennia. It is that wonderful day when their God and Savior will have risen off his throne and come to intervene upon the earth. This is also that great work of Messiah that the faithful among the Jewish people have so long looked and longed for. All the orthodox Jews of Jesus day were waiting for their conquering Messiah and Deliverer to appear. Unfortunately, they didn’t catch the truth of their many scriptures that taught that at Messiah’s first appearing he would come as the meek and lowly One to die for their sins (Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, et. al.). But, as recorded here in Revelation 19, the great conquering Messiah and Deliverer of Israel will one day come at last. Let's take a moment and look at a few of the prayers and prophecies in scripture that speak of this Second Coming of the Messiah and Savior. Isaiah said,
The LORD shall go forth like a mighty man; he shall stir up his zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud; he shall prevail against his enemies. ‘I have held my peace a long time, I have been still and restrained myself. Now I will cry like a woman in labor, I will pant and gasp at once. I will lay waste the mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation; I will make the rivers coastlands, and I will dry up the pools.’ Isaiah 42:13-15
Oh, that you would rend the heavens! That you would come down! That the mountains might shake at your presence; as fire burns brushwood, as fire causes water to boil; to make your name known to your adversaries that the nations may tremble at your presence! Isaiah 64:1-2
David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, prayed,
Bow down your heavens, O LORD, and come down; touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. Psalm 144:5
Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered; let those also who hate him flee before him. Psalm 68:1
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and all its fullness; let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the LORD. For he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth. Psalm 96:11-13
These prophecies and prayers encapsulate the hopes and dreams of all of God's people of all ages. They will be answered in spades when Christ Jesus returns to Earth at the end of the Great Tribulation. And, by means of John's vision here, we are given the privilege of seeing it as if we were actually there.
Now, the positioning of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ here in chapter 19, of the book of Revelation, clearly teaches us that the Lord’s Second Coming to the earth will take place at the end of the Great Tribulation. Christ will return to Earth, only after Antichrist's Babylon is lying in smoldering ruins. When that occurs in time ... just north of Antichrist’s ruined city, a great army will have gathered in the valley of Megiddo. You will remember that this was initiated by the pouring out of the Sixth Bowl judgment (16:12-16). The massive army that will assemble will have come from all over the world. Doubtless, they will be seething with anger. Their homes, their cities and their livelihoods, will all be laying in smoking ruins from the knock-out punch of the seventh Bowl. No doubt, the personal cost to each combatant will have filled their hearts with a burning desire for revenge. All the vast armies of the east … China, India and Asia ... will be on hand, just as predicted back in 16:12,
Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.
These ungodly armies will have gathered in the valley of Megiddo to do or die! They will have come to the Holy Land on behalf of Antichrist's throne. What an awesome stage will have been set in the valley of Megiddo in that future day. It is described to us in verses 11 through 16. This is the climactic event toward which all history will have been moving from time immemorial.
Then, at last, there He will be. Suddenly, majestically, the great Lord of Glory will appear in the skies above Earth. As we have it in Psalm 24:7-10,
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah (KJV)
Doubtless, Christ’s enemies will instinctively lift their weapons at him. As we had it back in 17:14,
These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with him are called, chosen, and faithful.
What a scene! When Jesus came into our world the first time, he entered it as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. He lived and walked among us as the meek and lowly one. He lived out his life as a poor peasant. He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey's colt, the picture of humility and peace. Without the slightest resistance, He allowed himself to be nailed to a Roman cross, to die the ignominious death of a common criminal for our sins. He had come to Earth as the Lambslain from the foundation of the world. But … what a contrast we see in him here! He appears in the skies above Antichrist's wicked and blasphemous armies ... astride a great white stallion and surrounded with the roiling Shekinah glory clouds of Heaven. As we have it in his own words,
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24:29-30
First Timothy 6:14-15, says,
…that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, which he will manifest in his own time, he who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
On that day, there will be no mistake about who Jesus is ... nor will there be for a good long while after! This time, he will not appear as the Lamb of God. Rather, he will ride forth as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah … King of kings and Lord of lords … the God-Man … Lord of Glory ... Lord of Hosts and Creator of the whole earth.
Christ's great warhorse was the first thing that caught John’s eye, as it came forth stamping and prancing proudly across the skies. Then, as John’s eyes focused on its Rider, he recognized him and exclaimed that this is the one who is called Faithful and True. Never has anyone had a name so befitting of their person as this Man. Let’s think further on that name for a minute…
…His name is Faithful. Jesus always is and always will be, the completely faithful One. He was always faithful to his Father. As we have it in Hebrews 3:1-2,
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to him who appointed him, as Moses also was faithful in all his house.
He has always been completely faithful to you and me as well. As we have it in Hebrews 2:17,
Therefore, in all things he had to be made like his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
…His name is True. Those who have taken the time to carefully examine the person of the Lord Jesus Christ have invariably discovered that he is Truth incarnate. As he himself put it in John 14:6,
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 1:17, says,
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
…in righteousness he judges and makes war. I'm certainly glad for that, aren’t you? He never errs in his judgments. He never makes mistakes. Always, He is exactly and precisely right. We should be thankful that one day our Lord will evaluate each and every one of his children. I will be glad for my Lord's judgment of me personally because, for better or worse, he will get it right. He will make no mistakes. He will know completely my every motive and be cognizant of every word, action and event in my life. In absolute righteousness and complete mercy and understanding … he will correctly evaluate and reward each of his saints. Though we may be inclined to shrink from such an examination now … when that day actually comes … I believe most, if not all, of his saints will find it to be a day of unprecedented blessing. Isaiah 11:2-4, says,
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and he shall not judge by the sight of his eyes, nor decide by the hearing of his ears; But with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
And, as you have it in First Corinthians 4:5,
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.
…His eyes were like a flame of fire. As John continued to watch, again he was struck by the fiery eyes of Heaven’s cloud Rider above. He first described them to us back in chapter 1. You will remember that they speak of the fact that this is the Omniscient (all knowing) and Holy One of God. He is the one who will carry out God's fiery-eyed and righteous wrath against the wicked. He will be able to simultaneously see into the heart of every human being arrayed against him at the battle of Armageddon ... and know each and every one of them completely!
…He had a name written, that no one knew except himself. This mysterious name speaks of Christ's deity. He is God of very God embodying all the mystery and incomprehensibleness which that implies. This is the Inscrutable One. For many hundreds of years, the Jews, out of respect for their God, would not pronounce the name that he had revealed to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3. That Hebrew tetragrammaton consisted of four consonants, YHWH. It is translated I Am in Exodus 3:14. Much later, the Jews began to pronounce it only when their scholars supplied it with the first three vowels of the Hebrew alphabet. After that, its pronunciation became YAHWEH which, when transliterated into English, becomes Jehovah. There is no record of how Moses heard it pronounced, however. To this day, no one knows that exact pronunciation except God himself. I strongly suspect this was the name that John saw written that no one knew except himself. Jesus took the Greek form of this name to himself in John 8, when he told the Pharisees, before Abraham was, I Am. They knew exactly who he was saying he was … and they immediately took up stones to kill him for blasphemy.
…clothed with a robe dipped in blood. The garment that John saw on Heaven's Cloud Rider was bloodied from top to bottom. I believe that was because he had just come from his judgment of wicked Israel … having tramped out the vintage of the great winepress of the wrath of God outside the City above (14:19-20). He will be wearing the same judgment robe at his Second Coming because of the similar business of physical judgment he is about to take care of at the battle of Armageddon. Isaiah quoted this Judge of all the earth as saying,
I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me. For I have trodden them in my anger, and trampled them in my fury; their blood is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained all my robes. Isaiah 63:3
…His name is called The Word of God. This certainly tags down the Rider's identity beyond question, does it not? The Lord Jesus Christ alone is called The Word of God in Scripture. As you have it in John 1:1 and 14,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
And the armies in heaven, clothed in [NU changes: fine] pure white linen, white and clean, followed him on white horses.
As John’s eyes shifted away from Heaven’s Cloud Rider, he now observes that there were armies following him. Who might they be? Well, for one, his angels are going to be accompanying him. Second Thessalonians 1:7-8, says,
…and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, I hope you know how to ride because you and I are going to be with him on that day as well. We are in the other army John saw. Not to worry though, you can be sure that we will have no problem riding on that day and we will not have to lift a finger to fight in battle either. Since we are looking at the actual scene of this future event, if John had taken a photograph of it, and had the photo enlarged, you would find your face and the horse you will be riding in this scene! The saints will be following Christ when he descends from Heaven on that day so that they can witness their vindication and, also, witness his awesome justice and power. Here are a few scriptures that speak to this:
Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, ’Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’ Jude 14-15
Then you shall flee through my mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with you. Zechariah 14:5
Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it. Psalm 37:34
Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Psalm 91:8
Now out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should strike the nations. And he himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
The sword that John saw coming from Christ's mouth is the same symbol that we saw back in 1:16. It needs no explanation. But, as a reminder, here is Hebrews 4:12, once again.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Christ’s Word will be his weapon on that future day. He will need no other. And, what an awesome weapon it will be in the day of battle. He will not need to strike or exert himself for … just as it was when he created all that exists in the first place … He will simply speak and it will be done. He is the one who spoke the universe into existence and is the one who is presently holding it together by the word of his power (Genesis 1; Colossians 1:16; John 1:3; Hebrews 2:10). When he descends to Earth on that future day, he will take on the armies of Antichrist below with the pure and awesome weapon of the Word of his mouth, fulfilling many prophecies in Scripture in the process. Here are a few of them.
He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. For behold, the LORD will come with fire and with his chariots, like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. Isaiah 11:4b
For by fire and by his sword The LORD will judge all flesh; and the slain of the LORD shall be many. Isaiah 66:16
You have also given me the necks of my enemies, so that I destroyed those who hated me. They cried out, but there was none to save; even to the LORD, but he did not answer them. Then I beat them as fine as the dust before the wind; I cast them out like dirt in the streets. Psalm 18:40-42
…and he himself will rule them with a rod of iron … And, he himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. This is a clear reference to Psalm 2:8-9. There the Father, speaking to the Son, says,
Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.
…he treadeth out the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Make no mistake about it … Jesus is the Judge of the whole Earth. He pronounces judgment and he carries it out. He is the one who said, Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay (Romans 12:19). And, so he shall.
And he has on his robe and on his thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
What a sight it will be when Christ Jesus rides across the skies of Earth with these awesome inscriptions on his robe and thigh! Psalm 95:3, says,
For the LORD is the great God, and the great King above all gods.
Zechariah 14:9, says,
And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be;’The LORD is one, and his name one.’
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, ’Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.’ And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him who sat on the horse and against his army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
John heard an angel call out to the birds of prey that supper was ready! He calls them to eat the flesh of kings and captains and mighty men and horses and those that sit upon them. The angel knew the outcome of this battle was a foregone conclusion, you see. What misguided illusions mere humans and their lord, Satan, think they possess! But, against El Shaddai, how shall they possibly stand? What utter fools. In Second Kings 19, when the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, came into Israel with his mighty army to do harm to good king Hezekiah and his people, God sent one solitary angel to deal with them. And, when the sun arose the next morning, all that was left of Sennacherib’s army was a hundred eighty five thousand corpses. If that is the power of just one of God’s angels, what might be the result of the wrath of the omnipotent Son of God himself? We are about to see the answer to that question.
John says, And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him who sat on the horse and against his army. What utter insanity! Never, in all of Earth's long history, will there have been so many fools gathered together in one place as will be congregated in the valley of Megiddo when Christ Jesus returns. Solomon hit the nail on the head when he said,
Even when a fool walks along the way, he lacks wisdom, and he shows everyone that he is a fool. Ecclesiastes10:3
To a man, they are all foolish adherents of Antichrist’s money grubbing empire and Satan’s depraved religion and will all perish together at Armageddon. When they said, “No”, to Christ, they said, “Yes”, to their own foolishness, delusion, bondage, misery, judgment and death. What a horrendous day of reckoning that day will be for them. The scene before us is incredible. Psalm 110:5-6, says,
The Lord is at your right hand; he shall execute kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the nations, he shall fill the places with dead bodies, he shall execute the heads of many countries.
Notice the brevity of this battle. Verse twenty simply says that the beast and the false prophet were captured. Like a big cat snatching up two mice, Christ will grab those two reprobates and with one shake he will cast them alive into the lake of fire. Daniel predicted this would be Antichrist's end, by the way.
Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means. Daniel 8:25
Isaiah also predicted it saying,
…that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: ’How the oppressor has ceased, the golden city ceased! The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers; he who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he who ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted and no one hinders. The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing. Indeed the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ”Since you were cut down, no woodsman has come up against us. Hell from beneath is excited about you, to meet you at your coming; it stirs up the dead for you, all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations." You will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land and slain your people. The brood of evildoers shall never be named.’ Isaiah 14:4-9, 20
Did you notice that Isaiah said that Antichrist would not be buried? The text here in Revelation 19:20, agrees. As for what actually happens to Antichrist’s armies, Isaiah addresses that issue as well.
Woe to the multitude of many people who make a noise like the roar of the seas, and to the rushing of nations that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters; but God will rebuke them and they will flee far away, and be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind, like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. Then behold, at eventide, trouble! And before the morning, he is no more. This is the portion of those who plunder us, and the lot of those who rob us. Isaiah 17:12-14
He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore his own arm brought salvation for him; and his own righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; the coastlands he will fully repay. So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him. The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, says the LORD. Isaiah 59:16-20
Our text simply says, And the rest were killed with the sword that proceeded from the mouth of him who sat upon the horse. Zechariah, however, tells us a good bit more.
And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths. It shall come to pass in that day that a great panic from the LORD will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, and raise his hand against his neighbor's hand; Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be gathered together: gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance. Such also shall be the plague on the horse and the mule, on the camel and the donkey, and on all the cattle that will be in those camps. So shall this plague be. And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain. Zechariah 14:12-17
John concludes … And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved
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