The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Revelation 19

Rev 19:2

TRUE AND JUST ARE HIS JUDGMENTS: "Appropriating highly appropriate words from the temple hymn book: 'The judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether' (Psa 19:9), where the context speaks of 'the Bridegroom coming forth out of his chamber, rejoicing as a strong man to run a race... there is nothing hid from the heat thereof' (Psa 19:5,6).

"Here, then, is clear evidence that at least some part of the divine judgement in the Last Days will be through the unwitting medium of mortal men (cp Zec 14:13; Isa 9:4; 24:19,20; Hag 2:22; Eze 38:21). As God used ruthless ambitious Jehu to work out His purpose with the harlot priestess Jezebel, who sought the lives of prophets and faithful men, so He will again harness selfish men of power to the final destruction of a corrupt system" (WRev).

Rev 19:3

HALLELUJAH: "The song they sing and the song of the twenty-four elders begins and ends with Hallelujah: 'And a second time they say, Hallelujah' (vv 3,4,6). This emphasis immediately invites comparison with the twelve Pss, which have the same structure (105, 106, 111, 113, 116, 117, 135, 146-150). [See notes, end of Psa 104:35.] Out of these, the first two stand out as being specially appropriate to the circumstances of the Hallelujah in Rev 19. For Psa 105 celebrates the faithfulness of God in fulfilling all the covenanted blessings which were promised to the Fathers, whilst Psa 106 describes the inveterate apostasy of Israel in response to the loving kindness of the Lord. Rev 19:1-9 has the same two themes in reverse order. First: 'True and righteous are his judgements: for he hath judged the great whore... ', then: 'the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.' Confirmation of this equation of the apocalyptic Hallelujah with these Psa is discernible in the fact that v 4: 'they worshipped God... saying, Amen; Hallelujah,' is identical with 1Ch 16:36 where the two preceding verses quote the beginning and end of Psa 106" (WRev).

THE SMOKE FROM HER GOES UP FOR EVER AND EVER: "It is a graphic figure to indicate the lasting character of this overthrow. By contrast with which the prophet has an awe-inspiring pen-picture of a smoke-like column over New Jerusalem: 'And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night... and there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge' (Isa 4:5,6). This is not the smoke of destruction, but the Shekinah Glory of God -- the pillar of cloud and of fire which protected Israel when the nation was saved out of Egypt (Exo 14:20,24)" (WRev).

Rev 19:4


AMEN: Cp Rev 5:14.

Rev 19:5

THE THRONE: The throne is that of David on which Christ will reign (Luke 1:32-33); the laws that will issue therefrom will command the obedience of mankind to God (see Isa 2:2-4).

Rev 19:6

LORD GOD ALMIGHTY: "Pantokrator" means literally: the One who rules or governs all. The LXX equivalent for Shaddai and for Sabaoth. The first of these throughout Genesis means the God of fruitfulness and blessing (from shad, breast). Hence it is there associated with the Promises. Hence this title in 2Co 6:18, referring back to the Promise to David (2Sa 7:11). But through most of the rest of the OT, Shaddai (Pantokrator) is clearly used in the sense of God the Destroyer, the Judge (from "shadad", destroy). This in Job and Psalms especially. But see also Joel 1:15. Hence also in the NT: "The wrath of Almighty God" (Rev 19:15) and "Armageddon... the great day of God Almighty" (Rev 16:14). Also, the frequent divine title Lord of hosts is turned into Gr as "Ho Kurios pantokrator" -- the hosts of angels, the hosts of Israel, the hosts of the redeemed, all of these.

Rev 19:7

The Lamb in Rev: his wrath (Rev 6:16); his blood (Rev 7:14); his book of life (Rev 13:8); his song (Rev 15:3); his marriage (Rev 19:7); his supper (Rev 19:9); and his throne (Rev 22:1).

THE WEDDING OF THE LAMB: "The symbol of the Ecclesia is that of a chaste virgin espoused unto Christ. Paul likens it to the second Eve, and describes Christ as the second Adam (2Co 11:2; 1Co 15:45; Eph 5:29-33).

"Thus espoused to Christ, the marriage will take place at his return, when the Ecclesia will be completely united to him, and become 'as one' (John 17:21). Then will be fulfilled the antitype of the marriage between Adam and Eve as described in Gen 2:23,24).

"There are many points of type and antitype thus revealed. Adam and Eve both recognised a common Father; so also do Christ and his bride, for the latter comprise sons and daughters of God. As Adam could say of his Bride, 'She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man,' so the Bride of Christ has been formed out of him. As Adam could describe his wife as 'one flesh' with him, so the Lord prayed, 'That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee; that they also may be one in us' (John 17:21). This glorious unity will be consummated at the marriage of the Lamb. See Psa 45 for a description of this coming marriage" (WRev).

Examples of personification: riches (Mat 6:24); sin (Joh 8:34; Rom 5:21; 6:16); spirit (Joh 16:13); wisdom (Pro 3:13-15; 9:1); Israel (Jer 31:4,18); people of Christ (Eph 4:4,13; 5:23; Rev 19:7; 1Co 12:27; 2Co 11:2; Col 1:18,24).

Rev 19:8

"It will be perceived, then, that the church as defined, is in the present state the espoused of Christ, but not actually married. She is in the formative state, being moulded under the hand of God. When she shall be completed, God will then present her to the Man from heaven, 'arrayed in fine linen, clean and white'... The presentation of Eve to the first Adam was the signal of rejoicing to the Morning Stars; and we perceive that the manifestation of Messiah's Queen will be attended with the 'Alleluia' of a great multitude, sounding like the roaring of many waters, and the echoes of mighty thunderings, saying, 'let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to the Lord God omnipotent: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his betrothed hath made herself ready' (v 7)" (Elp 48).

FINE LINEN: The clothing of priests (Lev 6:10; 16:2-4), and therefore appropriate for this company of king-priests.

Rev 19:9

THOSE WHO ARE INVITED: Mat 22:1-10; Luk 14:16-24.

THE WEDDING SUPPER OF THE LAMB: "It is common to identify the marriage and the marriage supper as one, and because of that mistakes are made in the understanding of this chapter. The following account of a marriage supper, taken from various parts of the Word, will help in the better understanding of this important part of the Apocalypse.

"The bride was dressed in white, often richly decorated (Psa 45:13,14), with a bridal girdle about her waist (Isa 49:18), and resplendent in jewels (Isa 61:10). The bridegroom set out from his home to that of the bride, accompanied by friends and musicians (Mat 25:10). Having received the bride, he conducted the whole company to his house, singing and dancing marking the route (Psa 45:15; Mat 9:15; Song 3:6-11).

"It was customary for friends to join the company on the way back (Mat 25:6). A feast was then provided to which additional friends came (Mat 22:1-10, 25:1-13). Thus the bridegroom returns with his angelic friends to meet the bride at [the place of judgment], to conduct her to Zion for the feast.

"Those who join the procession on the way back, to rejoice at the subsequent feast, will be Israel and the nations (v 17). The terms of the invitation are expressed in Rev 14:6,7. The feast is celebrated after Armageddon and before the complete destruction of those nations who reject the invitation (Ezek 39:17)" (ApEp).

The Lamb in Rev: his wrath (Rev 6:16); his blood (Rev 7:14); his book of life (Rev 13:8); his song (Rev 15:3); his marriage (Rev 19:7); his supper (Rev 19:9); and his throne (Rev 22:1).

THESE ARE THE TRUE WORDS: True, in ct typical: The glorification of saints with Christ is the true "marriage", of which natural marriages are the type.

Rev 19:11

A WHITE HORSE: Christ is riding a horse, not an ass!

Rev 19:12

MANY CROWNS: Not only priest -- as in Rev 1 -- but now king of kings, Christ wears many crowns. The Gr here is not "stephanos", but "diadem", ref the crowns of the rulers of this world (Rev 12:3; 13:1), now all placed on the head of Christ.

Rev 19:14

RIDING ON WHITE HORSES: The horse is the symbol of war. "White horses" sym the righteousness with which he will make war (v 11). In Zec 10:3, the "house of Judah" is described as Yahweh of hosts, "goodly horse in the battle." Israel after the flesh, officered by immortal saints, shall "fight because Yahweh is with them," to such effect that the Gentile "riders on horses" or rulers of the nations "shall be confounded" at their prowess (Zec 10:5). Zec 9:13-15 speaks of the successful manner in which Israel shall fight in that day, for "Yahweh will be seen over them, and His arrow (Christ) shall go forth as the lightning, and the Lord Yahweh shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with the whirlwinds." Israel after the flesh and spirit, constitute the "horses and chariots of salvation" in which the Lord shall ride, in his successful contest with the nations (Hab 3:8).

Elijah and Elisha were described as the "chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof" because they were instruments in the hands of Yahweh, guided by the spirit (2Ki 2:12; 13:14). The angelic army of heaven is similarly described when manifested belligerently in execution of Yahweh's anger (2Ki 6:17). When immortalized, the saints will assume the status now held by the angels, and in Rev 19:14 are shown riding the war horses to victory against the Gentiles.

The blood flows to the horses' bridles (Rev 14:20), but the garments of the riders remain pure and white!

Rev 19:15

A SHARP SWORD: The imagery is drawn from Isa 49:2, where Christ is represented as saying: "He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword." Christ's denunciation of the religious leaders of his day manifested this. The anointing of the Holy Spirit enabled him to answer his adversaries in a way that admitted of no reply. When he opened his mouth, words of power issued forth, uttering wisdom, counsel and knowledge. This will be even more effectively done in the age to come when "he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked (Isa 11:4).

Rev 19:16

ON HIS ROBE: "Why should the royal name be written 'on his garment'? The psa, which described the marriage of the Lamb, has this eloquent passage: 'The sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness (only Jesus has truly done both!): therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia' (Psa 45:6-8). It is in this way that the name of majesty is written on his raiment -- by the holy anointing oil which was first compounded for God's High Priest (Exo 30:23-32) and which speaks of suffering as well as glory -- properly so, for this man now honoured as King of kings first wore a royal robe in his suffering (Luke 23:11) and saw men cast lots for his vesture as he hung on a cross, acclaimed as King of the Jews" (WRev).

ON HIS THIGH: A euphemism prob ref to the organ of procreation, and thus to seed or descendants: Gen 24:2,9; 47:9,29,31; Isa 53:12.

The steward of Abraham swore loyalty to his master's will by putting his hand under his thigh (Gen 24:2,3), and so also Joseph with his aged father (Gen 47:29,31). Similarly, "all the princes, and the mighty men, and all the sons of David gave the hand under Solomon" (1Ch 29:24). So there is indication in this symbol that ultimately all kings will humbly accept the authority of Christ.

Rev 19:17

WHO CRIED: "A proclamation will be issued to the nations to accept the authority of Christ. This will be after Armageddon, and before Christ launches his attack upon [the] other nations that may not submit to his rule (Isa 60:12; Psa 2).

"Nations of goodwill, will be invited to submit by the proclamation of the Gospel of the coming age, referred to in Rev 14:6, Meanwhile, Elijah will have earlier gone forth to the Jewish people scattered abroad (Mal 4), to advise them that Messiah has come, and to invite them to accept him in faith, and they now will rise up in the various countries where they may be found, and will fight their way back to the Promised Land (Ezek 20:33-38; Isa 11:13-14)" (ApEp).

THE BIRDS... : "This gathering of the birds of prey is, of course, a symbolic way of picturing the titanic destruction of the forces of evil. What a ghoulish contrast it forms with the marriage supper of the Lamb! The description is taken almost verbatim from Ezekiel's prophecy (39:17-20) of the destruction of Gog-Magog and the ten-king confederacy, which comes against a restored Israel in the Last Days.

"Certain interesting and useful conclusions follow from this fact. Unless it be assumed that the citation of Ezek 39 is haphazard -- an assumption which would cut right across all experience of NT usage of OT authority -- there is here a clear identification of Gog-Magog with the Beast and the False Prophet (Rev 19:19). Also, because of the close connection between this passage in Rev 19 and the Sixth Thunder (Rev 14:18,20), which itself employs the familiar words of Joel 3:13, confirmation is thus supplied for the equation of Joel 3 with Ezek 38; 39. Again, since Rev 19:17,18,21 is very evidently symbolic and not at all literal in its meaning, any literal interpretation of the corresponding details in Ezek is suspect. This suggests that it would be highly unwise to take other similar details in that passage -- bows and arrows, burial of the slain, burning of weapons -- in a dogmatically literal fashion. With such a lead supplied by Rev, a certain caution is right and proper" (WRev).

Rev 19:18

EAT THE FLESH OF KINGS: This implies a sacrificial feast. By partaking of such a feast, two contracting parties were joined together as one. A special ceremony was observed, referred to in Jer 34:18-19. The sacrificial animal was divided into two parts, and the two contracting parties, having proclaimed their agreement, "passed between the pieces thereof," and then ate the sacrificial flesh. Here the "flesh of kings" sym those nations overthrown by the judgements of Christ, whilst the "fowls", etc, represent those who submit to him.

The latter are called upon to "eat the flesh of kings," in the sense of acknowledging as just the judgements that Christ will pour out upon the nations. In doing this they will vindicate his name, and figuratively eat of the sacrificial flesh provided.

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