The Triumph of the Kingly Bridegroom.
Heaven Rejoices over Babylon. v1 - 10.
1. "After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honour and power belong to the Lord our God!"
In response to the call of Rev. 18:20 heaven is filled with rejoicing over the fall of Babylon. The multitudes in heaven join their voices as one to shout: "Hallelujah or 'praise the Lord'". This is the only place in the New Testament where the word "Hallelujah" is used. The citizens of heaven rightly attribute their salvation to God alone, acknowledging all power, honour and glory to be His.
2. "For true and righteous are His judgements, 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."
God's judgements, His sentences on the wicked, are just. They are free from bias and no one can contend with them. God had accordingly judged Babylon because she had corrupted the earth with her adultery and idolatry. He repaid her for murdering His people (Rev. 6:10).
3. "Again they said, "Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!"
The final destruction of Babylon was so wonderful in the eyes of the redeemed that their voices rang out again with "Hallelujahs".
4. "And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, "Amen! Alleluia!"
For the last time the twenty-four elders are mentioned as representatives of the Church. They join the four living creatures in falling before the throne to worship God crying "Amen, Hallelujah!"
5. "Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!"
The voice from the throne, not God's voice, calls all His servants and all who fear Him from the least to the greatest to give praise.
6. "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 the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!"
These respond to the call with a loud acclamation sounding "like the waves of a hundred oceans crashing on the shore, or like the mighty rolling of great thunder." (Living Bible) Their cry was again "Hallelujah, Praise the Lord who reigns with absolute and universal sovereignty.
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb. v7 - 10.
7, 8. "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."
The saints call each other to joyously celebrate and give glory to God. The reason for their great joy is that the wedding banquet of the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ has come at last and His bride has made herself ready for Him. There are several references in Scripture to the Church being the bride and Christ the bridegroom. Jesus said it Himself in Mark 2:19, Matt. 9:15 and John 3:29. Paul does so in 2 Cor. 11:2 and Eph. 5:25. In Revelation 21:2 & 9 - 10, the new Jerusalem is referred to as "the bride of the Lamb". It is those who have prepared and are ready for His coming that will be present at this supper. The parable of the ten virgins in Matt. 25:1 - 13 ends with the words: "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming". The marriage supper of the Lamb is the celebration of the coming together of the Lord Jesus Christ with His people (bride) so that they shall never more part. It is by God's grace that believers can respond to the exhortation of His Word to be ready (1 John 3:2 - 3; Jude 1:21; 2 Pet. 3:10 - 11). The fine purified garments representing the righteous acts of the saints are given to them by Christ as a gift.
9. "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."
Then John was commanded to write that that those who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb are infinitely blessed - a fact attested to by God himself.
10. "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."
John is overcome by a feeling of awe and falls down at the feet of the angel to worship him. The angel warns him not to do this, for he is only a servant of God, as was John and all the other believers who testify of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The King of Kings. v11 - 16.
These verses set the scene for the looming battle of Armageddon.
11. "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."
As Heaven opens, a white horse appears. This war horse is symbolic of the victory about to be won. The one who sits on it is named "Faithful and True" and He alone is absolutely trustworthy. All His acts of judgement are morally right and He fights evil accordingly.
12. "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."
His flaming eyes tell the fierceness of His wrath against His enemies. The many diadems on His head reveal the total sovereignty and authority that He has in earth and Heaven. He had a name inscribed on these diadems that only He knew the meaning of (see Rev. 2:17). Even though God is our Father, and Christ is our Saviour, no one can know God fully who is not God. Matt. 11:27.
13. "He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called 'The Word of God."
His garment dipped in blood is a sign of the slaughter that is to follow (Isaiah 63:2 -3). The rider of the horse is "The Word of God", the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1 & 14).
14. "And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses."
The heavenly armies following the Lord are none other than the redeemed, for their garments are clean white linen (v8). They have no armour - Christ's righteousness is all the armour they need as they ride into battle.
15. "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."
Only Christ has a weapon and that is His Word, coming from His mouth as a sharp sword (Rev. 1:16 ; 2 Thes. 2:8). By the Word that He speaks He shall strike the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron suggests that they will not willingly submit to Him, but will be made to do so. Christ Himself will crush His enemies under foot as the one God has appointed to judge and punish (Acts 17:31).
16. "And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: 'KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS'."
Written on His garment and on His thigh, the place where a soldier's sword would normally hang, is the title that has already been given to Him in Rev. 17:14. In that day it will be clear to all that Christ is the supreme sovereign.
The Battle of Armageddon. v17 - 21.
17, 18. "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."
As Christ rode into battle, John saw an angel standing in the light of the sun where all the birds of prey could see him. With a great voice he calls them to gather together to the great feast of dead bodies that the Almighty God would set before them. For at this great battle people from all ranks of life will be gathered: kings, captains, soldiers and the common people, young and old. All these will become food for the birds of prey.
19. "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."
The Anti-Christ with his confederates and their armies are gathered together by demons to fight against the Lord Jesus Christ and His army (Rev. 16:13 & 16).
20. "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."
The first to be taken are the Beast (Anti-Christ) and the False Prophet who did mighty miracles in his presence. With these miracles he had deceived many and caused them to receive the mark of the Beast and worship the statue of him (Rev. 13:12 & 16). Both are thrown alive into the lake of fire, a living death "where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:44).
21. "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."
The remainder of the assembled army were killed by the Word that came from the mouth of the Lord Jesus. They fell before Him as if they were pierced through with a sword. All the birds of prey filled their bellies with the flesh of the dead.
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