Revelation 19 Notes
Praise Of Victory (vss. 1-10)
- “After these things” focuses attention on the events which followed the revealing of the harlot (17:1-18) and the judgment which befell her (18:1-24). The rejoicing stands in contrast to the weeping of the kings, merchants and mariners.
- The harlot’s crime was that she had corrupted the earth. The whole world of the unregenerated had been affected by the power of lust by which the harlot deceived and enticed to immorality. The petition of the martyrs beneath the altar is now answered and their cause is vindicated. The world of lust and deceit has received its death blow.
- As the smoke of the torment of those who worship the beast and his image goes up forever (14:10-11), so also ascends the smoke of the destroyed Babylon (cf. 18:9), whose destruction is complete and final; never against shall she arise to destroy.
- From the time the angels were given the seven bowls of wrath, no one was able to enter the sanctuary of God’s presence until the seven plagues were completed (15:8). These had been finished (16:7), and now again the throne and those who stand before it come into view.
- Those in the multitude add their hallelujahs to the shout of the redeemed in heaven, the living creatures, the elders and the saints on earth. In spite of all the opposing forces, God is always in control over His universe. Through His infinite power and might He has exercised these in bringing to pass His divine will and purpose.
- The “wife” is the radiant woman under this new symbol (12:1), and her appearance gives new cause for rejoicing. The church is espoused or betrothed to Christ as His wife, preparing herself for the marriage supper which is to come in vs. 9 (cf. Ephesians 5:22-27; 2 Corinthians 11:2).
- The attire of the wife is presented in sharp contrast to that of the harlot. The white robe represents the saints’ righteous acts and life in Him; they combine to make up the bride. In Christ God has made provision for the bride’s attire (Ephesians 2:10). These righteous works or acts involve the whole of the saints’ spirit, conduct and life by which they develop the character that God demands.
- The testimony of Jesus is that truth to which He bore witness (John 18:37), which was the word given to Him from God (John 8:28; 12:47; 14:24). The testimony of Jesus is the first principle of prophecy. Although it is true that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of all prophecy previous to John’s, here the phrase has likely reference only to the prophecy of this book; He is its breath of life (cf. 1:3; 22:18).
The Defeat Of The Two Beasts (vss. 11-21)
- Now John beholds the entire heaven opened so that the Warrior and His army might be seen as they emerge to do battle with Satan’s forces. As God’s faithful and true witness He has given to man a complete revelation of the Father, of truth and of His divine purpose. In righteousness He judges and makes war against all who would hinder His purpose and destroy His kingdom; He brings each enemy to defeat and destruction.
- It is interesting that Satan wore seven crowns but Jesus wears “many” crowns, a great number, indicating the broad, unlimited extent of His rule. So great is Christ’s power that His name is known only by Himself. Knowledge of a name is in antiquity associated with the power of the god.
- Already a gory judgment has been described in which the winepress was trodden outside the city and blood covered the land (14:20). The blood sprinkled upon Christ’s garment here seems to be that of His enemies and not His own or that of the people who had died for His cause (cf. Isaiah 63:1-6). As “The Word of God,” Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God and His will; He is the guarantee that God’s purpose will be achieved.
- The army is the “called, and chosen, and faithful” who overcome with the king (17:14). The war is not to be fought at the final coming. It is a warfare that is ongoing every time the Lord’s people encounter opposition.
- The sharp sword which comes out of His mouth was the sword or word of judgment. This verse symbolizes a terrible destructive judgment and indicates His complete sovereignty in every realm.
- This third name of Christ, which all can read, is displayed on that most exposed part of his cloak, the part that covers the thigh, where it cannot escape notice. The name has already appeared attached to the Lamb (17:14). He is the absolute Lord and King, full of the divine power and authority.
- In the great battle between faith and paganism, the victory of the Lamb is to be complete and final. The picture in vss. 17-18 is a vivid symbolic portrayal of the defeat of the Lamb’s enemies. The war and the victory are spiritual, as defeat comes to the spiritual forces of evil. The symbolism finds a parallel in Ezekiel’s vision of God’s destruction of Gog and Magog, the heathen forces of old, which were antagonistic to God, His people and His purpose (Ezekiel 38-39).
- The beast is the great heathen world power of that day, the Roman Empire, which dominated the world and oppressed the saints (13:1-10). Although the worldly forces had been called together, no battle was described. Here we have no battle; only the outcome or result is described.
- The false prophet is the beast that came up out of the earth; he is associated with, backed by and used by the beast out of the sea (13:11-18). The signs wrought in the sight of the sea beast to deceive the heathen worshipers (13:13; 19:20) and cause them to be identified or marked as emperor worshipers (13:16-18; 14:9, 11; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4) confirm that the false prophet and the earth beast are the same. The Roman Empire and emperor worship backed by the imperial power were now brought to a final and complete end, never to rise again.
- “The remnant” are the kings and their hosts of individuals who make up the armies of vs. 19. These are destined to be tormented in the lake of fire and brimstone, but they are not cast there until the final judgment (20:15).
- The victory is won, and the defeat of the beast and his ally, the false prophet is complete. The Roman power and the paganism which it supported are now destroyed forever. The vision of Daniel is fulfilled (Daniel 7:11), and in this defeat and destruction is revealed the destiny of all such powers that should ever arise to fight against God and His kingdom. The sword of truth and judgment prevailed over the sword of political force and human wisdom in false worship.