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The. .Bible > A Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Chapter 19) by Tom Stewart

A Commentary on the BOOK of REVELATION

Or, A Disclosure From Jesus Christ
About What Must Shortly Come To Pass

by Tom Stewart

Chapter 19

His Name is called the Word of God.


Chapter 19:
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

The focus of this chapter of Revelation is the physical return of the LORD Jesus Christ to the planet Earth to sit upon His Throne, i.e., "and He shall rule them with a rod of iron" (19:15), while the Beast (the Antichrist) and the False Prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire to be tormented forever, i.e., "both were cast alive into a Lake of Fire burning with brimstone" (19:20). "I am the LORD: I will speak, and the Word that I shall speak shall come to pass" (Ezekiel 12:25). Many newspapers have reserved their largest print type, which they call "Second Coming Type," for headline news of the highest importance. Why shouldn't the headline, "Jesus Christ Returns to Earth," be deemed the greatest headline possible by even the secular press, if atheists curse with the name of God upon their lips, and all walks of life make some kind of appeal to the Almighty in dire circumstances? "10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in Earth, and things under the Earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:10-11).

At this point in the Divine Narrative,
"a great voice of much people in Heaven" (19:1) signifies all mankind, who have been saved by the Blood of the Lamb, who have been resurrected or raptured after the "mystery of God ['concerning Christ and the Church' (Ephesians 5:32)] should be finished" (Revelation 10:7), praising God in a Heavenly Scene around the Throne of God. What is the reason for this Great Noise in Heaven? A command has been echoed by God's creatures to praise and worship God, i.e., "Alleluia" (19:1). In the Greek, allelouia means Praise ye the LORD or Hallelujah. It comes from the Hebrew words halal (praise) and Yahh (Jehovah). Only four times does "Alleluia" occur in the New Testament. All four times are in this chapter (19:1, 3, 4, 6), and each time in preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Worship does not merely state the obvious facts of Who God Is, but it enters into hearty agreement with God about the truth of those facts. "Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the LORD our God" (19:1). Because He has saved us, we glorify God, agreeing and declaring that glory, honour, and power rightfully belong to God "for His wonderful works to the children of men!" (Psalm 107:31). This heartfelt praise comes because of the Almighty's magnificent judgment of the Great Whore (Revelation 18); further, the Glorified Saints must be excited because they are about to enter into their Marriage Supper with the Lamb (19:7-10). And, before the Beast and False Prophet face their final doom in the Lake of Fire (19:20), the ultimate conflict of all time, Armageddon (19:17-19), must be emblazoned on the consciousness of all Moral Beings. "15 And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled: 16 But the LORD of Hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness" (Isaiah 5:15-16).

Since we have been taught to "love [our] enemies, [and] bless them that curse you" (Matthew 5:44), we must again agree with Christ that "true and righteous are His judgments" (19:2). It has long been our proper understanding that True Love is willing to be stern and hard where it is necessary, e.g., "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes [Hebrew, shachar, early]" (Proverbs 13:24). And, if God does not guard the efficacy of the sanctions and punishments of the Moral Law of Love, i.e., "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), then Satan himself would eventually be paroled from the Lake of Fire. But, we have been assured that the Judgment that follows this life is forever because: (1) Sinners will dwell with Everlasting Burnings, i.e., "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with Everlasting Burnings?" (Isaiah 33:14), (2) Transgressors will always feel an Unquenchable Fire, i.e., "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh" (Isaiah 66:24), (3) The Goats (in the Judgment of the Nations of Matthew 25:31-46) will depart into Everlasting Fire, i.e., "Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into Everlasting Fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41), and (4) The Cursed will go into Everlasting Punishment, i.e., "And these shall go away into Everlasting Punishment: but the Righteous into Life Eternal" (Matthew 25:46).

As we have seen from Revelation 18, already Jehovah
"hath judged the Great Whore" (19:2), but how could such an Accursed Entity been so pervasive on the face of the planet without everyone knowing her identity far in advance of her judgment? In answer, the Great Whore is already known by her (1) Moral Pollution of doctrine and practice, e.g., the sex scandals of the Roman Catholic priests of the 21st Century, i.e., "which did corrupt the Earth with her fornication" (19:2) and (2) Violent Killing of her enemies, as in the extermination of 70,000 to 100,000 French Protestant Huguenots by the Church of Rome (beginning in Paris on St. Bartholomew's Day of August 24th 1572 and continuing through October 1572 throughout France), i.e., "the blood of His servants at her hand" (19:2). Such naming of names is consistent with the conduct of the LORD Jesus Christ, when He publicly labeled the Established Religious Teachers, "who [held] the Truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18), He called them seven times in one encounter, "scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites" (Matthew 23:13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29). Christian Objectivity would realize Rome's sin, while holding out the Hope of Salvation for those who come out of her "that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4). [See our article, "An Earnest Appeal to Roman Catholics" ---New Window, for a call to a True Christianity outside the walls of the Church of Rome. Read or reread our comments on Revelation 17, "Revealing the Mystery of Babylon the Great and the Beast" ---New Window, for the Apocalyptic context of identifying the Great Whore with Rome. Also, our Babylon the Great series ---New Window of articles even more extensively reveals the roots and lineage of Rome, where this Commentary is more restricted.]

This second time the Inhabitants of Heaven cry out their praise of God, i.e., "Alleluia" (19:3), for their hearty agreement with His judgment of the Great Whore. Pause for a moment and think of your loved ones who have "fallen asleep in Christ" (1Corinthians 15:18). You do not think of that cherished, departed loved one as mean spirited or vindictive, yet you would agree that both they and yourself would then be in absolute agreement with the judgment of the Great Whore. True, "if he repent, forgive him" (Luke 17:3), but if they die in their sins (as the Great Whore certainly does), God will judge them, and that forever, i.e., "her smoke rose up for ever and ever" (Revelation 19:3). "9 The LORD knoweth how to deliver the Godly out of temptations, and to reserve the Unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished: 10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the LORD. 12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. 17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever" (2Peter 2:9-17).

Do you remember these "four and twenty elders" (19:4) worshipping around the throne of God, especially in Revelation 4, 5, and 11? They are said to sit upon their own seats or thrones before God, i.e., "And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats [Greek, thronos, a chair of state having a footstool]" (Revelation 11:16). Each time the expression "Come up hither" (4:1; 11:12) is used, the "four and twenty elders" are present. If they represent the Church, as it appears they do, is it any wonder that the First "Come Up Hither" (4:1) occurs immediately before the opening of the Seal Judgments (Revelation 6) and would coincide with the Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Watching and Waiting Saints, while the Second "Come Up Hither" (11:12) occurs soon before the pouring out of the Vial Judgments (Revelation 16), indicating a coincidental Pre-Wrath Rapture shortly before the end of the Tribulation Week? Notice also that the concept of the Rapture is most often taught with the passage from 1Thessalonians 4 where the Trumpet sounds, the Dead in Christ are resurrected, and the Living Saints are caught up into the clouds, i.e., "16 For the LORD Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the Voice of the Archangel, and with the Trump of God: and the Dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the LORD in the air: and so shall we ever be with the LORD" (1Thessalonians 4:16-17). This actually better describes the timing of the Pre-Wrath Rapture; however, the concept of the LORD finding a way for His people to escape-- "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36)-- finds a Pre-Tribulational Rapture also modeled, when the Apostle John was commanded to come up for a better look at what is going to prophetically take place. "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in Heaven: and the First Voice which I heard was as it were of a Trumpet talking with me; which said, Come Up Hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter" (Revelation 4:1). The Voice of a Trumpet talking with John is none other than the LORD Jesus Christ Himself. "10 I was in the Spirit on the LORD's Day, and heard behind me a Great Voice, as of a Trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the Seven Churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea" (Revelation 1:10-11). Jesus is calling and commanding His Church Home before He progressively unleashes the various stages of His Final Judgment upon the Earth. "The LORD knoweth how to deliver the Godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished" (2Peter 2:9).

The consensus of the
"four and twenty elders" (19:4) is agreement, i.e., "Amen; Alleluia" (19:4), with the "Great Voice of much people in Heaven" (19:1) and with the Angelic Creatures, who are here called the "four beasts" (19:4). Again, these Angelic Creatures or Seraphim-- compare them to Isaiah's "seraphims: [who] each one had six wings" (Isaiah 6:2) with the "four living creatures" (Ezekiel 1:5) of Ezekiel's vision-- are the Angels, who stand in the Presence of God directing the worship of Him. "And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of Hosts: the Whole Earth is full of His Glory" (Isaiah 6:3). "And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come" (Revelation 4:8). Note also that the word "Amen" (19:4) is the same in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English; thus, it is universally understood as an expression of affirming absolute confidence and trust. What is everyone in Heaven affirming? God "hath judged the Great Whore" (19:2)! Confusion to the enemies of God! No more do we hear the sophisms warning against judging God's enemies, for if it is not then clear to you that the Righteous must "judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24), then you could not possibly be in Heaven, for all of Heaven agrees with the Judgment of Babylon the Great. "He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man" (1Corinthians 2:15). Judging the Great Whore is entirely consistent with a state of Continual Worship of the Living God, as demonstrated here by the "four beasts" (19:4). Never cast doubt into your mind that identifying the Church of Rome (the institution of Roman Catholicism) with the Great Whore is anything but the Truth affirmed in Heaven and echoed with the "Amen; Alleluia" (19:4) of all Holy Beings. "For True and Righteous are His Judgments: for He hath judged the Great Whore, which did corrupt the Earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand" (Revelation 19:2). [See the memoirs of a notable, former Roman Catholic priest, Charles Chiniquy (1809-1899), "Fifty Years in the Church of Rome" ---New Window, for a testimony of Rome's character in Canada and America during the 1800s. Also, Pastor Chiniquy, in a short testimony, "A Gift for You" ---New Window, gives an easy to read account of the difference between the Gospel Salvation of the Scriptures versus Rome's historic and still current position that "they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it" (Catechism, 846).]

For the Unconverted, it is a mindless and senseless thing to praise God; and, it is unbearable even to contemplate the thought of doing so for Eternity. "But the Natural Man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1Corinthians 2:14). But, for the Redeemed, it is pleasurable to hear that voice come out of the throne, "Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great" (19:5). We understand the purpose for which we were made. "Thou art worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11). Worship and praise of God for Eternity is settling into the natural and comfortable end for our existence, which the philosophers, humanists, and falsely called scientists of this world could never teach us. "18 For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" (1Corinthians 1:18-20). The voice out of the throne commands all to praise our God, but is it a burdensome and grievous thing for Heaven's Inhabitants to be required to do so? Hardly. If we are truly redeemed now, then we already comprehend the concept of willingly, lovingly seeking out the commandments of God, i.e., "LORD, what wilt Thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6), that we may perform whatever is required. "For this is the Love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous [Greek, barus, burdensome]" (1John 5:3). Imagine the force for good when God channels His Power through a multitude of Christians scattered throughout the world bent on performing His will; and, imagine again how the Great Whore would delight in redirecting any or all of this multitude by subterfuge and deception into the camp of the Antichrist! "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the Very Elect" (Matthew 24:24).

A "voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants" (19:5), and joyfully, the antiphonal response comes from the "voice of a great multitude" (19:6). Praise to God begins with God, finds a willing heart, then comes back to God, which in this instance takes the form of a "voice of a great multitude" (19:6). God puts great stock in His Voice, for He declared through the mouth of His servant Moses, "Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His Voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him" (Deuteronomy 13:4). The LORD Jesus Christ is the Incarnate Word of His Voice. "1 That which was from the Beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life [Christ Jesus]; 2 (For the Life was manifested, and we have seen It, and bear witness, and shew unto you that Eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;" (1John 1:1-2). Likewise, the Almighty expects our words to be acceptable to Him. "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer" (Psalm 19:14). The voice of the Psalmist, who said, "My mouth [shall] be filled with Thy praise and with Thy honour all the day" (Psalm 71:8), will be multiplied by the power of a "great multitude" (19:6). That Great Host of Already Departed Saints will be joined by ourselves and the Angelic Host around the Throne of God, singing: "Alleluia: for the LORD God Omnipotent reigneth" (19:6). Have you ever heard a large group of voices singing hymns to God in unison? With any kind of proper direction, such singing is certainly a foretaste of this Heavenly Chorus. "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand [100 million], and thousands of thousands" (Revelation 5:11). Two things describe the sound of that Heavenly chorus: (1) The voice is "as the voice of many waters" (19:6), and (2) Their sound is "as the voice of mighty thunderings" (19:6). While the substance of the lyrics of the Heavenly Chorus will be, "Alleluia [Praise ye the LORD]: for the LORD God Omnipotent reigneth" (19:6), the scope of the praise will be as the sound of a Mighty Niagara of many waters, and the crescendo of the praise will rise majestically to be punctuated as with the roar of "mighty thunderings" (19:6). "For thus saith the High and Lofty One That Inhabiteth Eternity, Whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isaiah 57:15). The roar of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is said to be heard forty miles away, while Niagara Falls (Niagara is from an Iroquois word, which can be interpreted as "Thunder of Waters") has been described by various European explorers and observers as producing a distant rolling thunder that can be heard variously from twenty to thirty miles away. These are only poor, physical parallels of the great sound of praise that will be made by a vast number of both Angels and Redeemed Humankind, i.e., "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands" (Revelation 7:9), that will join in the thunderous chorus of praise to God for His judgment of the Great Whore.

We know that Jesus Christ is the "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), and this verse tells us that Heaven is in a condition of gladness and rejoicing, "for the marriage of the Lamb is come" (19:7). Marriage throughout human history has most often been a time of great rejoicing, and it is no different at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, i.e., "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him" (19:7). The very concept of marriage for the Godly has been to bring forth the fruit of a "Godly Seed" (Malachi 2:15), which is also what the LORD Jesus intends from His Spiritual Union with us. "I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). Man has been commanded to "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the Earth" (Genesis 1:28), and he has been given the physical urge or drive to procreate, for even the Creator said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him" (Genesis 2:18). Though polygamy was practiced by the pre-Flood antediluvians and others of the Old Testament, monogamy-- one woman and one man-- has always been the ideal, for even the balance of population of male and female in most nations is practically equal unless custom, e.g., infanticide, or other factors, e.g., genetic manipulation or abortion, unnaturally impose an imbalance. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). Spiritually, the LORD Jesus Christ, the "Altogether Lovely" One (Song of Solomon 5:16), makes Himself attractive to ourselves (His Bride) that we would together produce the Fruit of Righteousness. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the Vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me" (John 15:4). Love is the point of marriage, for our Divine Bridegroom is the "God of Love" (2Corinthians 13:11), and the selflessness of marriage is illustrated by the fact that both Bride and Bridegroom become "one flesh" (Ephesians 5:31), where spouses are willing to lay down their lives, each for the other. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it" (Ephesians 5:25).

An excerpt from our article, "
A Tale of Ten Virgins" ---New Window, will give us some light on the Bride of Christ, who will participate in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb: "Who is the Bride of Christ? 'Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife' (Revelation 21:9). What did the angel show the Apostle John? 'And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God' (21:10). Is the Lamb of God to be married to a city? No, Jesus will be married to what the city represents-- His people. Israel's Twelve Tribes will be represented by the City's twelve gates. 'And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel' (21:12). The Old Testament Saints are identified with Israel, just as the New Testament Saints are identified with the Church. Abraham looked for the New Jerusalem. 'For he looked for a City which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God' (Hebrews 11:10). The Church will be represented by the City's twelve foundations-- one for each Apostle. 'And the wall of the City had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb' (21:14). Both Israel and the Church are the Bride of Christ."

Scripture reveals how the Lamb's wife makes
"herself ready" (19:7). A potential marriage relationship was most often determined by fathers or older brothers for the upcoming husband and wife, e.g., "Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house... Go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac" (Genesis 24:2, 4). "Laban [Rebekah's brother] and Bethuel [Rebekah's father] answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. 51 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the LORD hath spoken. 58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go" (Genesis 24:50-51, 58). In the same manner, before our consensual marriage to the LORD Jesus Christ, we have been called, i.e., "called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28), predestinated, i.e., "In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who Worketh All Things After the Counsel of His Own Will" (Ephesians 1:11), commanded, i.e., "Repent ye, and believe the Gospel" (Mark 1:15), as well as drawn to participate in this Spiritual Union, i.e., "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the Last Day" (John 6:44), to become the Bride of Christ. A wedding most commonly involved a feast or marriage supper, which was served at the house of the groom or his parents. "2 The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a certain King, which made a marriage for His Son, 3 And sent forth His servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, He sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared My dinner: My oxen and My fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage" (Matthew 22:2-4). Recall that Jesus performed His first miracle at a marriage feast in Cana of Galilee, "and manifested forth His glory" (John 2:11). It is just such a Marriage Supper that we have been called to as the Bride of Christ. We should "be glad and rejoice" (19:7), but, according to this text, we should also make ourselves "ready" (19:7). How can we live in a Continual State of Ready? Primarily through faith in God, He has promised to keep us that we should be ready, i.e., "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the Last Time" (1Peter 1:5). By sanctifying God in our hearts, we will be ready, i.e, "But sanctify the LORD God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1Peter 3:15). If we walk in the Spirit carefully unto sanctification, we will be "accounted worthy" (Luke 21:36) not simply to escape the Tribulation Week, but we will please Him, i.e., "walk worthy of the LORD unto all pleasing" (Colossians 1:10). "But without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6).

And, how is it that Christians are considered to be both the Bride of Christ and the Lamb's
"wife" (19:7)? Historically, the betrothal relationship was considered so permanent that a betrothed damsel was already considered a wife, i.e., "23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you" (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Even before cohabitation with the physical consummation of the relationship, to end the betrothal relationship would have been considered divorce, e.g., Joseph was contemplating divorcing Mary when he found that she was pregnant before their marriage relationship was consummated. "18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily" (Matthew 1:18-19). But, keep in mind that the Union of Christ to His Church is before and after marriage, always a Spiritual Union. "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you" (John 15:16).

What a glorious condition for formerly sinful man to "be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white" (19:8)! Indisputably, man has little claim to anything but his sad and detestable history of sin. "10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Romans 3:10-12). The True Saints of the Old Testament understood Jehovah to be their righteousness. "This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the LORD" (Isaiah 54:17). New Testament Saints look back in faith upon the atoning work of Christ on the Cross to find any righteousness for themselves. "And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Philippians 3:9). Just so, Old Testament Saints looked forward in faith to the atoning work of the Messiah. "5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:5-6). This whole discussion of Righteousness of the Saints has no merit without the essential understanding that no man can be accounted righteous before God unless he first puts his confidence and trust in God. "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted [Greek, logizomai, imputed, reckoned] to him for righteousness" (Galatians 3:6). The Apostle John stated the case thus: "If ye know that He [Christ] is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him" (1John 2:29). This doing of righteousness represents the Works of Faith that the Epistle of James so strenuously advocated as necessary for Salvation and as representative that there is True Faith present, i.e., "17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God" (James 2:17-23). This righteousness that must needs be demonstrated in our conduct manifests that we know the Righteous Christ. "7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother" (1John 3:7, 10). In summary, any man who feels himself worthy of being ascribed righteous independent of the Righteousness of Christ, is not worthy of the "fine linen [which] is the righteousness of Saints" (19:7). "8 But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows" (Hebrews 1:8-9).

John the Beloved was told by a "fellowservant" (19:10) to "write [Greek, graphon]" (19:9) or commit to writing the message concerning the blessedness of the participants of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Why should John write? The essence of an idea in the mind of God would not be known to us unless expressed in an intelligible form, as in this Divine Declaration, "Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb" (19:9). This is the Word of God, which is a "More Sure Word of Prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a Light that shineth in a dark place" (2Peter 1:19). Scripture is an even "More Sure Word of Prophecy" (1:19) because It records for examination and re-examination what would have only been heard or seen by one or a few, and not necessarily recounted (and that, infallibly) to others. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2Peter 1:21). The message that has been vouched as one of the "true sayings of God" (19:10) is: "Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb" (19:9). Why such blessedness? At that point in time, all of the Saints have been raptured from the planet-- first by Pre-Tribulational Rapture and finally by Pre-Wrath Rapture-- and though there are still Elect upon the Earth, they have yet to repent and be saved. Therefore, to be at this Marriage Supper of the Lamb means that you are among the Most Wonderfully Blessed Group of Beings Existing in the Universe-- the Righteous, who have been redeemed "with the precious Blood of Christ" (1Peter 1:19). The LORD Jesus put His disciples into the proper perspective when He explained at an earlier time what should be the better reason for such gladness-- that they were "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6)-- after the Seventy returned from a fruitful evangelistic trip. "17 And the Seventy returned again with joy, saying, LORD, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. 18 And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from Heaven. 19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in Heaven" (Luke 10:17-20). Even so, though we can hardly wait to see or hear what will come to pass at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, i.e., "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1Corinthians 2:9)-- we should right now rejoice that we are in the "Lamb's Book of Life" (Revelation 21:27)! What honour could be greater?

It was a very understandable reaction that John was so overwhelmed with the blessedness of the revelation of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb that he prostrated himself before the angel speaking to him, i.e., "I fell at his feet to worship him" (19:10). However, though angels are a higher order of creation than man-- for Christ, Who became a man, was said to be "made a little lower than the angels" (Hebrews 2:9)-- the angel strictly forbade such worship to be given to himself, i.e., "See thou do it not" (19:10). This same honest reaction was given by Cornelius the Roman centurion to the Apostle Peter, when Peter came to instruct him that Gentiles too were to be equally received with Jews into the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ. "25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. 26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man" (Acts 10:25-26). We shall further see that the overpowering sense of awe and joy caused the Apostle John again to prostrate himself before the messenger angel as the last of the Revelation was given him. "8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this Book: worship God" (Revelation 22:8-9). And again, the angel gently reproved John, not for sin, but with a correction to keep him and all who read the Revelation worshipping God "in Spirit and in Truth" (John 4:23, 24). Angels are an entirely separate and superior order of created beings from man, but this verse points out that both men and angels are: (1) "fellowservants [Greek, sundoulos]" (19:10), i.e., "All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother [Greek, adelphos], and a faithful minister and fellowservant [Greek, sundoulos] in the LORD" (Colossians 4:7), and (2) "brethren [Greek, adelphos]" (19:10), i.e., "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He [Jesus] laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren [Greek, adelphos]" (1John 3:16). The angel referred to himself as having the "testimony of Jesus" (19:10). What is the "testimony [Greek, marturia, witness] of Jesus" (19:10)? He immediately explains that the "testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy" (19:10), but what does this mean? Both man and angel are given the witness of Jesus through His Spirit concerning the prophetic events that are to come to pass. "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come" (John 16:13). In other words, it magnifies God and promotes for both men and angels confidence, stability, and permanence for the Kingdom of God when the LORD testifies what He will do before it comes to pass. "9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth My counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it" (Isaiah 46:9-11).

The narrative of that grand event known as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ begins in this verse with a description of the LORD Jesus Christ returning to Earth as a Judge and not a Saviour. "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the LORD cometh with ten thousands of His Saints" (Jude 14). [See our comments on Revelation 14:20 ---New Window for a description of the Manner of the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ, and our comments on Revelation 16:16 ---New Window on the Nature of the Battle of Armageddon.] You will notice in this chapter of Revelation that the ensuing Battle or Campaign of Armageddon represents only a relatively small punctuation in the vastly more significant statement of the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ. "Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man Whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). All of the Universe awaits with bated breath the opening of the curtains for the greatest stage entrance that has ever occurred, i.e., "I saw Heaven opened, and..." (19:11). No actor, the Son of God is the "Judge of All the Earth" (Genesis 18:25). "Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into Hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him" (Luke 12:5). In these Laodicean times, it is forgotten that Jesus came "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10), because we departed from obedience to the Everlasting Law of Love. "Sin is the transgression of the Law" (1John 3:4). Too often, we have placated ourselves with the assurance that the decisive difference between ourselves and the world is that we are Saved Sinners, while they are Lost Sinners-- but, all Sinners nonetheless, i.e., "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24). And yet, the reality is "that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness" (Romans 6:16). You were saved and the Holy Spirit was given to establish you in a present, holy walk, long before you ever reach Heaven. "And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My Statutes, and ye shall keep My Judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:27). Salvation is not merely saving you from a Well Deserved Punishment, but it is the establishment in you of a New Principle of Life, which is Holiness or a Salvation From Sinning. "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not" (1John 5:18). When Jesus returns the Second Time, He will in judgment restore obedience to His Law of Love and punish with the Sword "Out of His Mouth" (Revelation 19:15) every disobedience. "Every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward" (Hebrews 2:2). [Note: If the Doctrine of Sin Nature was properly defined and understood, then it would be possible to win the seemingly No-Win War of Sin vs. Holiness. We invite you to read a short editorial, "Is It Possible to Guarantee Our Obedience?" ---New Window to encourage you in this crucial battle. Also, a more lengthy article, "Must We Then Sin? Or, A Response to the Doctrine of Sin Nature or the Doctrine of Original Sin, Or, A Clarification of What is Sin, Why We Sin, and How Not to Sin" ---New Window, represents an even more thorough attempt to deal with this subject.] So again, Christ is returning to restore worldwide what we should be doing now-- Uninterrupted Obedience to His Law of Love. "3 And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His Commandments. 4 He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the Love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him" (1John 2:3-5).

As Heaven opens, we notice a
"white horse" (19:11). Who said there were not horses in Heaven? This white is the Greek word, leukos, which means brilliant from whiteness or dazzling white; and, we were earlier told that white was significant because it is identified with holiness or righteousness, i.e., "she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of Saints" (19:8). What sets apart this dazzling white horse? The Rider of the brilliantly white horse is none other than the "KING of Kings, and LORD of Lords" (19:16). Now we have the proper focus of the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ-- the person of Jesus Christ. "Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:7). Sitting majestically upon His steed, all eyes are riveted upon the Worthy Rider, for He is "Faithful and True" (19:11). Certainly, Heaven comprehends His majesty, but Scripture testifies that even all of Earth's Godless Inhabitants will have opportunity to see this sight while they are still in the flesh, and gain an inkling of their plight. "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen" (Revelation 1:7). What makes the Rider of this horse so eminently fit to be Judge and Executioner? "He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True" (19:11). Only One Entity can naturally be described as Omnipotent, i.e., "All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in Earth" (Matthew 28:18), Omniscient, i.e., "Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts" (1Corinthians 4:5), Omnipresent, i.e., "the Spirit of Christ" (Romans 8:9), Immutable, i.e., "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8), and Eternal, i.e., "I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last" (Revelation 22:13), which is the Rider of this horse. But, these natural qualities alone are not here brought forth; instead, the Rider's moral qualifications are the reasons enumerated, i.e., "Faithful and True" (19:11). Just because God is naturally capable of such judgment, Who alone is morally worthy of such judgment, but the Epitome of Faithfulness and Truth-- the LORD Jesus Christ Himself? In the same way, it is much better to compliment a child for their Moral Character as displayed by faithfulness and truthfulness than for simply their natural qualities, such as physical height or beauty. Your own experience proves that Christ is Faithful: (1) "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1Corinthians 10:13), (2) "But the LORD is faithful, Who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil" (2Thessalonians 3:3), and (3) "If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself" (2Timothy 2:13). Your own consciousness verifies that the Son of God is True: (1) "Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6), (2) "Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art Thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the Truth. Every one that is of the Truth heareth My voice" (John 18:37), and (3) "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is True, and we are in Him that is True, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the True God, and Eternal Life" (1John 5:20).

The twofold purpose of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is here summarized:
"in righteousness He doth judge and make war" (19:11). Judge and Executioner will then denote the governmental functions of the LORD Jesus Christ because He will have already been rejected as Saviour for the surviving population of the world, who had viewed the Almighty's Moral Law of Love as distasteful and pointless, and had disdained the Lawgiver with contempt and hatred. "37 But last of all He sent unto them His Son, saying, They will reverence My Son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the Son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill Him, and let us seize on His inheritance. 39 And they caught Him, and cast Him out of the vineyard, and slew Him" (Matthew 21:37-39). Is it not fitting that Jehovah defines the Concept of Sin as an offense or transgression against the Law? "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the Law: for sin is the transgression of the Law" (1John 3:4). Too often the discussion of Moral Government raises only a question mark in the minds of Professed Christians, when in fact, the whole drama of Human History will narrow down to the Saviour returning to judge and execute worldwide all rebels without exception to cleanse the world of unrighteousness. "That they all might be damned who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2Thessalonians 2:12). True, if they had repented and believed the Gospel they would certainly partake of the LORD's glory and bliss in Heaven, and they would have cooperated with the Holy Spirit in persevering to the end. "6 But Christ as a Son over His Own House; Whose House are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end" (Hebrews 3:6, 14). Though they will be impenitent, would it not be well for us, while time remains, to restore the manward emphasis of Salvation to a Return to Obedience to the Moral Law of Love? "Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of Hosts; Turn ye unto Me, saith the LORD of Hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of Hosts" (Zechariah 1:3). How many people would be spared their tragic part in this Second Coming Judgment and Execution, if we would now only hold forth the Truth that Gospel Obedience is possible and not Pharisaical or Legalism. "1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that Grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:1-2). How many traditions have been passed down from generation of Professed Christians to newer generations of Professed Christians that have de-emphasized obedience as if the nature given to us by the Creator was sinful and obedience should not be expected as a rule until we get to Heaven? But, does not the Scripture tell us in plain language that our Obedience to God is the measure of our Love to Him? "For this is the Love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous [Greek, barus, burdensome, i.e., impossible]" (1John 5:3). Should we not instead trust Him and His Spirit to work in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13)? "He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19). [See our article, "He Will Subdue Our Iniquities" ---New Window, to see how overcoming sin and walking in obedience has always been intended for us in the here and now. Also, our article, "Exceeding Great and Precious Promises" ---New Window, intends to show "How God Has Ingeniously Designed His Promises to Sanctify His People."] We should not only succeed in cooperating with the Spirit of Christ in saving ourselves "from this untoward generation" (Acts 2:40), but we may even be responsible for cooperating with Christ in saving others "with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh" (Jude 23).

What a fierce magnificence is this upcoming picture of Christ! "His eyes were as a flame of fire" (19:12). Christ initially gave in the Revelation a manifestation of Himself to the Apostle John as a God of Judgment, i.e., "His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire" (Revelation 1:14). The burning, searching eyes of the Incarnate Word of God will pierce the innermost heart of all humankind. "12 For the Word of God [the Eternal Logos, Jesus Christ] is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His [Jesus'] sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him With Whom We Have to Do" (Hebrews 4:12-13). This is a grand picture of the once lowly Saviour, who came the First Time to redeem man, but also to restore respect for His Law of Love. "But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the Grace of God should taste death for every man" (Hebrews 2:9). What a travesty that as we approach the Second Time that the Judge of All the Earth comes-- this time to judge the Earth-- the understanding that He returns to uphold the misunderstood and trampled Royal Law of Love, has been all but forgotten! "O Earth, Earth, Earth, hear the Word of the LORD" (Jeremiah 22:29). Of course, the Almighty has always sought the highest good of Himself and the universe of Moral Beings, but the value of restoring respect to the Moral Law of Love is even a necessity in seeking the future happiness of the Redeemed. "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil" (Matthew 5:17). How could there be happiness in Heaven, if there were toleration of a lying rebellion against the God of Love? "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life" (Revelation 21:27). So, the flaming eyes of the Son of God represent His Second Coming capacity of Judge. "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son" (John 5:22).

What is the significance that on the head of the LORD Jesus Christ,
"were many crowns [Greek, diadema]" (19:12)? We already know that the LORD Jesus is the King above every king and the LORD above every lord, not simply because it is an exalted thought or title, but because it is the clearest understanding of God, that He is most fit to be the Moral Governor of the Universe. "14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our LORD Jesus Christ: 15 Which in His times He shall shew, Who is the Blessed and Only Potentate, the KING of Kings, and LORD of Lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to Whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen" (1Timothy 6:14-16). What a name to be applied to Christ-- King of Kings, and LORD of Lords! And, we see here that He has the God-Only Capacity of possessing a "name written, that no man knew, but He Himself" (19:12). "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). The Second Coming emphasizes His execution of judgment against all breakers of His Law, which even Moses understood that the glory of God's Laws was the wisdom and understanding that clothe all those who humbly submit themselves to Their rule. "1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. 5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. 8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this Law, which I set before you this day?" (Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-6, 8). Do not fret about the now defunct Ceremonial and Civil Laws of Old Testament Israel, but rejoice that we will ever have the Moral Law of Love as a guide for Christ to rule us for now and for Eternity. "29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The LORD our God is one LORD: 30 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:29-31).

It is no mystery that the returning Son of God is the "Lamb that was slain" (Revelation 5:12) for the redemption of mankind, but this verse describes His appearance as "clothed with a vesture dipped in blood" (19:13). Rather than alluding to His previous Work of Redemption, this seems more to point at His Work of Judgment. "1 Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in His apparel, travelling in the greatness of His strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2 Wherefore art Thou red in thine apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me: for I will tread them in Mine anger, and trample them in My fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My raiment" (Isaiah 63:1-3). Much easier it is to dwell upon the Joy of Salvation and Heaven, but the price of that freedom cost the Son of God His Life upon the Cross and the Labour of Judgment at His Second Coming, for all of this secures the peace and tranquility of His Heavenly Kingdom. "15 Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. 16 Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. 17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. 18 And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places" (Isaiah 32:15-18).

One further evidence of the identity of the Rider of the dazzling white horse (19:11) is the fact revealed to us that
"His name is called the Word of God" (19:13). "And the Word was made 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" (John 1:14). It seems to have been a difficult concept for humanity to grasp that our words are unimportant, but His Word is all important. "72 The Law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. 97 O how I love Thy Law! It is my meditation all the day. 101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy Word. 102 I have not departed from Thy Judgments: for Thou hast taught me. 103 How sweet are Thy Words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 111 Thy Testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart" (Psalm 119:72, 97, 101-103, 111). What a discovery, yet what a pity that anyone after a lifetime of collecting and studying man's words would only stumble upon the thought that God's Word is Preeminent! "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). If life still remains within us, let us resolve before God by the aid of His Spirit to abide in His Word-- long before it becomes apparent to the whole world that we have always stood before the Word of God with whom we have to do. "7 If ye abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love" (John 15:7-9).

Such a sight is now uncommon for a battlefield commander to precede his troops into combat, but that is the picture of our LORD at His Second Coming, for the "armies which were in Heaven followed Him" (19:14). This is not without precedent, for kings have fought and died in battle throughout history. "29 In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him. 30 And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father's stead" (2Kings 23:29-30). Some may conceive of any battle pitting God against anyone as unfair, but this is true. What modern battlefield commander desires to give an enemy a fair fight, but rather craves overwhelming battlefield supremacy? And, only a morally insane being would fight against the Almighty. "1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the Earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His Anointed [Hebrew, mashiyach, Messiah, whose Greek equivalent is christos, anointed, Christ], saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee. 8 Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for Thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the Earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him" (Psalm 2:1-12).

The Commander-in-Chief rides a white horse, and so do His armies; consequently, the stables of Heaven must be bursting with innumerable
"white horses" (19:14)! How large are the LORD's "armies" (19:14)? According to Revelation 5:11, just the Angelic Host around the Throne of God would number more than 100 million. And, how many Justified Saints since Adam can be added to that count? "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33). As clumsy or awkward as we can be imagined in combat or on horseback, we can be certain that our Leader has completely prepared and equipped us for this engagement. "So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him" (Isaiah 59:19). The Messiah's White Army will be "clothed in fine linen, white and clean" (19:14), so no mistaken friendly fire will be directed at this Host of White. The message is clear: Christ's Army is pure, "even as He is pure" (1John 3:3). Practical Holiness has always been the only acceptable and attainable standard for the Saints. "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous" (1John 3:7).

This Apocalyptic picture of Jehovah Jesus with a "sharp sword" (19:15) proceeding out of His mouth may strangely bring to mind man's adage, "The pen is mightier than the sword," but even more unusual, the LORD is here both Sword and the Word. The sword of verse 15 is the unusually long Thracian rhomphaia [Greek]-- found six times in Revelation 1:16; 2:12, 16; 6:8; 19:15, 21-- which was a very long sword, commonly worn on the right shoulder, made of iron, and used as an offensive weapon of slaughter; especially, when compared to the shorter machaira [Greek] sword-- found three times in Revelation 6:4; 13:10, 14-- which was used for personal defense, as well as the butchering of animals. Note that the Word of God, which is described as a "twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow" (Hebrews 4:12), is properly the machaira. This depicts more the surgical removal of unwanted parts, while the rhomphaia speaks of the offensive function of slaughter, killing, execution, and nothing else. We are further told that the Son of God will use the "sharp [Greek, oxus, swift, quick]" (19:15) rhomphaia out of His mouth to "smite the nations" (19:15). Theoretically, the KING of Kings is returning to slaughter the entirety of all humanity that remains alive on planet Earth, so a surgical strike appears unnecessary; however, there is still the issue of the Nation Born in a Day and the discussion of who will physically populate the Earthly Millennial Kingdom.

First, Israel is prophesied to resurrect as a Godly Nation, not by United Nations decree, but by the Grace of God that promised it. "Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the Earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children" (Isaiah 66:8). Revelation 12 speaks of the "woman [who] fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days" (12:6). This is Unsaved But Still Elect Israel fleeing from the Antichrist from the Abomination of Desolation at the Middle of the Tribulation Week until the End of the Tribulation Week approximately 1,260 days later. "15 When ye therefore shall see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains" (Matthew 24:15-16). God has promised for Himself Israel as a people and nation, who will again actively trust in Him-- unlike the beginning of this 21st Century. "18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the Earth, and will make them to lie down safely. 19 And I will betroth thee unto Me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. 20 I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD. 21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the Earth; 22 And the Earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. 23 And I will sow her unto Me in the Earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My people, Thou art My people; and they shall say, Thou art my God" (Hosea 2:18-23).

Second, concerning the Gentiles that must repent at the End, the removal of all the Redeemed at a Pre-Wrath Rapture-- remember, there has also been a Pre-Tribulational Rapture at the Beginning of the Tribulation Week, as well-- occurs only days before the End of the Tribulation Week, but prior to the Vial Judgments, where it is recorded that mankind
"repented not" (Revelation 16:9, 11). It is a certainty that some Gentiles will repent at the End. "2 And it shall come to pass in the Last Days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations [Hebrew, gowy, Gentiles] shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:2-3). Lost But Still Elect Gentiles will remain impenitent until the very day of the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ; but, prior to their heart change, they will have been pummeled by the Judgments of God, terrorized by the malevolent rule of Antichrist towards his own, and castigated by their own conscious' that they have been acquiescing with Evil. "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43).

Lastly, both Finally Redeemed Israel and the Finally Redeemed Gentiles will be separated by the LORD Jesus Christ from the Damned.
"32 And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats: 33 And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 41 Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into Everlasting Fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:32-34, 41). What does it mean that "He shall rule them with a rod of iron" (19:15)? Nothing gentle is obvious to the mind, because He must come down upon the ungodly with an Iron Rod of Judgment, i.e., "Depart from Me, ye cursed, into Everlasting Fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41). Truly, "He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (19:15), and who can stay His Hand? "3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me: for I will tread them in Mine anger, and trample them in My fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My raiment. 4 For the Day of Vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of My redeemed is come. 5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me; and My fury, it upheld Me. 6 And I will tread down the people in Mine anger, and make them drunk in My fury, and I will bring down their strength to the Earth" (Isaiah 63:3-6). Remember that day where the LORD said He would repay? "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the LORD" (Romans 12:19). Well, that Day has come, and "who shall be able to stand" (Revelation 6:17)?

Another portrayal is given to us of the LORD Jesus Christ, i.e., "He hath on His vesture [Greek, himation, upper garment, cloak, tunic, mantle] and on His thigh [Greek, meros, thigh, upper part of the leg between the hip and knee] a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (19:16). Perhaps the LORD Jesus will be wearing some kind of sash draped across His chest extending down past His hip with His title of KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS, that will certainly be read and understood by the least to the greatest of His Armies, whether His enemies can read it or not. "And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest" (Hebrews 8:11). If meekness is to be properly understood as mild tempered and not easily provoked or irritated, then Jesus, who said, "I am meek and lowly of heart" (Matthew 11:29), must be properly and legitimately provoked, because He is returning to Earth with a Slaughter Weapon proceeding out of His mouth and a banner declaring His zeal to uphold the Moral Law of Love, i.e., I am KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. "Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The Zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:7). Should not our zeal for His Law of Love also be seen in the present as we demonstrate the Love to God and our Brethren that should define us? "34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:34-35). As we consider this word-painting of our LORD in His Second Coming, compare a few differences between the First and Second Advents of the LORD Jesus Christ: (1) Few knew of His Birth the First Time, but "every eye shall see Him" (Revelation 1:7) the Second Time, (2) He came as a "Saviour" (Luke 2:11) the First Time, but His Governmental Office of "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (19:16) will be exercised the Second Time, and (3) Some chose to reject Him, but were later saved the First Time, while those Obstinate Rejecters not "slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse" (19:21) at Armageddon, will be cast "into a furnace of fire" (Matthew 13:42), "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:44, 46, 48) the Second Time.

This is the famous Battle of Armageddon matching the Christ against the Antichrist in the Final Conflict, but the battle is completely against the Antichrist, for "there is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD" (Proverbs 21:30). "2 God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserveth wrath for His enemies. 3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. 4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. 5 The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the Earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 6 Who can stand before His indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him" (Nahum 1:2-6). We see an "angel standing in [Greek, en, in, by, with, among, at, on] the sun" (19:17). Even at the onset of the 21st Century, no one but some supernatural being could conceivably stand on the surface of the Sun-- a natural thermonuclear reactor, which could easily hold one million Earths, and whose surface temperature is 6,000 degrees Celsius (10,832 degrees Fahrenheit) and whose atmosphere of the surrounding corona is even hotter at over one million degrees Celsius (greater than 1,800,032 degrees Fahrenheit)-- but, this is not foreign to our God, as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego can well testify. "Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire" (Daniel 3:26). The "angel standing in the sun" (19:17)-- probably the "fourth angel [which] poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire" (16:8)-- cries "with a loud [Greek, megas, great] voice [Greek, phone, voice, sound], saying to all fowls that fly in the midst of heaven" (19:17) a message that only their Creator can communicate to both man and beast. A more lengthy text of the angel's message is given prophetically by the Prophet Isaiah. "1 Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the Earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. 2 For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies: He hath utterly destroyed them, He hath delivered them to the slaughter. 3 Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. 4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. 5 For My sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of My curse, to judgment. 6 The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. 7 And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness. 8 For it is the day of the LORD's vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion" (Isaiah 34:1-8). Specifically, what does the angel declare in this verse of the Revelation? "Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God" (19:17). Without any brag, but just a statement of Omniscient Fact, the flesh and blood of the armies of the Antichrist will be eaten by the animals for supper. "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19). Interesting parallel: The Godly will eat with their LORD at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, while the Ungodly will be eaten by scavenging birds at Armageddon. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).

The advance of weaponry since both World Wars, the Cold War, the Gulf War, and the most recent toppling of the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq has provided the media with ample opportunity to advertise the capabilities of military technology, but what chance do man's weapons have against the KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS, if those weapons cannot succeed even against the lowliest of Christ's Saints who claims this promise? "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the LORD" (Isaiah 54:17). Rather than a detailed analysis of the Antichrist's battlefield tactics, the LORD gives John the specifics of the results of the battlefield carnage of the Antichrist's armies. Vultures, ravens, hawks, eagles, crows, magpies, and gulls shall be given the "flesh [Greek, sarx, physical flesh] of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great" (19:18) to eat. Though the Almighty is capable of creating something out of nothing (ex nihilo), i.e., "God said... and it was so" (Genesis 1:9, 11, 24), and conversely to make something nothing, i.e., because "by Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:17), the Judge of All the Earth has graphically chosen to physically kill each rebel in this wholesale slaughter of Armageddon to make an impression upon all Moral Beings, especially upon those who will physically enter into the Earthly Millennial Kingdom, as well as for the stability of His Heavenly armies. "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you" (John 15:16). Remember, Heaven is not a place where a Moral Lobotomy has been performed to disable the Moral Capacity of Its inhabitants, but the LORD has overwhelmingly and eternally persuaded Heaven's Citizens to seek Him, His Kingdom, and His Righteousness first. "We love Him, because He first loved us" (1John 4:19). The method to God's purpose in Creation (design), the Judgment of Rebelling Angels (awe), the Flood (judgment), the Call of Abraham (preservation), the Giving of the Law (stability), the Founding of the Nation of Israel (propagation), the Judgment of Wayward Israel (restoration), the First Coming of the Messiah (hope), the Giving of the Gospel (love), the Pouring Out of the Spirit of the New Covenant (efficiency), the Judgment of the Professed Church (reclamation), and the Second Coming of Christ to Judge the World (holiness), all make powerful impressions upon the clay of the Moral Agency of Angels and Men to seek the Highest Good of Being-- to love God first and their neighbour as themselves. "37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40).

The actual Battle of Armageddon, the "battle of that great day of God Almighty" (16:14), is only briefly mentioned here, and not by name. Many personages of the Old Testament have already engaged in historic battles at Armageddon, e.g., Deborah and Barak at the "waters of Megiddo" (Judges 5:19), Gideon "in the valley of Jezreel" (Judges 6:33), King Saul "fell down slain in mount Gilboa" (1Samuel 31:1) at the southeast of the Vale of Jezreel, and King Josiah "came to fight [Pharaoh Necho] in the valley of Megiddo" (2Chronicles 35:22). [See our article, "The Conflicts of Armageddon" ---New Window, for more details on these past battles.] Not all of the world will be gathered at Armageddon, but the Beast (the Antichrist) will assemble the "kings of the Earth, and their armies" (19:19) to confront Jesus Christ as He returns to Earth. But, why would someone as demonically intelligent as Satan even bother to fight against Omnipotence, unless the Sin of Rebellion is a Moral Insanity? "This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead" (Ecclesiastes 9:3). Though the rank and file foot soldier of Antichrist is also committed against Christ, how do they know to assemble in Israel to oppose the returning Christ, unless the chain-of-command has been directed by Satan? "13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the Dragon [Satan], and out of the mouth of the Beast [the Antichrist], and out of the mouth of the False Prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the Earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty" (Revelation 16:13-14). Point of fact: Since "both small and great" (19:18) will be slain by the Returning LORD Jesus Christ, at this time, like any other, subordinates should have realized that commands and orders from superiors to do wrong or sinfully have no validity, and that they should have suffered the consequences at the hand of man for instead choosing to obey the higher commands of God. "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15). We, who are not presently gathered together to fight the LORD Jesus Christ at Armageddon, have chosen to throw in our lot with "Him that sat on the horse" (19:19) and to be a part of "His army" (19:19), for it is an impossibility to take a middle ground-- we must be either for or against His cause. "He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad" (Matthew 12:30). Besides, we do not wish to take the position of the Laodicean Christianity today that similarly is "lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot" (Revelation 3:16), whom Christ further promised, "I will spue thee out of My mouth" (3:16).

We are told that both the Antichrist and the False Prophet will be captured alive and cast into the Lake of Fire, i.e., "these both were cast alive into a Lake of Fire burning with brimstone" (19:20). Since the Lake of Fire is the Final Place of Torment for those resurrected and judged at the White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20, then the Antichrist and the False Prophet have been given the dubious distinction of their own special judgment, "for they are worthy" (Revelation 16:6). Those who believe that death is the annihilation of existence would have difficulty with Jehovah's Judgment eternally keeping the condemned alive, while forever delivering the most perfect physical and spiritual torment. "4 And I say unto you My friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will forewarn you Whom ye shall fear: Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into Hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him" (Luke 12:4-5). The implication of Christ's words is that physical death is not the end of torment for the wicked. "The Only Wise God Our Saviour" (Jude 25) has evaluated the weight of sin and found it to be death, but this death is most properly an Eternal Death. "43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into Life maimed, than having two hands to go into Hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:43-44). Just as Heaven is the Unimaginably Wonderful Place where "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1Corinthians 2:9), the Lake of Fire will be the Unimaginably Horrible Place of Torment, where not just the Resurrected Physical Bodies of the Wicked will feel the pain of the fire and brimstone, while not being allowed to succumb or be released from their torment, but they will be forever separated from the presence of the One Who Only is the Source of Joy. "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of Joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Psalm 16:11). If God's Punishment sounds excessive, then we clearly do not comprehend correctly God's Justice. "Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside Me; a Just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me" (Isaiah 45:21). God must put limits on His Love and Mercy, or else He will be guilty of making meaningless any warning of punishment for disobedience, and further, it would even cast doubt on the certainty of His reward for obedience. "19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it" (Isaiah 1:19-20).

"Lake of Fire burning with brimstone" (19:20) is an apocalyptic symbol, as well as the substance of the Judgment of God Without Mercy, because it is the wisest way for God to punish the Wicked and support the Righteous, for what Child of God would want the release of Wickedly Wild Denizens from the Lake of Fire to terrorize the tranquility and peace of Heaven? "10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as Brute Beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. 12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever" (Jude 10-13). Perhaps you have viewed pictures of streams of lava flowing at night from a volcano. This would give you some idea of the Lake of Fire. Brimstone in the Greek is theion, which is the chemical element sulfur (sulphur). Sulfur is found in its free form in hot springs and volcanic regions. When oxidized, brimstone has the distinctive and suffocating rotten egg smell, and it burns with a blue flame. Sulfur is used in the manufacture of phosphate fertilizers. Though sulfur is a necessary component of all living cells, matches and gunpowder have been some of the more notable uses of sulfur. Also, acid rain has become one of the common ways sulfur pollutes the planet. Is it any wonder that God has chosen such a sight and smell to accompany His Judgment of the Wicked? "For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it" (Isaiah 30:33). This Lake of Fire is not only the destiny of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, but those who are deceived by them will receive their punishment there, as well. Scripture clearly commands and warns all, "Be not deceived" (1Corinthians 6:9; 15:33; Galatians 6:7), so those who are deceived, loved not the Truth. "3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition; 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2Thessalonians 2:3, 10-12). The combined action of the Deceived is that they "received the Mark of the Beast" (19:20) and "worshipped [the Antichrist's] image" (19:20). [Our editorial, "Repentance After the Mark of the Beast?" ---New Window, suggests the slight possibility of repentance up to the Second Coming, but stresses that "no one should ever take the Mark-- much less, take it with the mental reservation that they they will repent of it later." "Ye know not what shall be on the morrow" (James 4:14).]

In context, the
"remnant [that] were slain with the sword of Him [Christ] that sat upon the horse" (19:21) are the soldiers of the Antichrist at Armageddon, who are not immediately slain by the LORD Jesus Christ before the Beast and False Prophet have been cast alive into the Lake of Fire. Christ's "take-no-prisoners" conduct resembles the conquest of the Promised Land by the Old Testament Israelites-- preventing a future snare for God's people. "2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: 16 And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee. 16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth" (Deuteronomy 7:2, 16; 20:16). No mercy is appropriate, when the Wisdom of God requires it, as in the Final Judgment. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the Judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Birds, which the LORD promised, "The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the Earth, and upon every fowl of the air" (Genesis 9:2), will be compelled to feast upon the dead bodies of Christ's slain enemies, i.e., "Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God" (Revelation 19:17), with the result that "all the fowls were filled with their flesh" (19:21). Thus, the fury of Antichrist's Condemned Army will be reduce to carrion for the birds. "Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?" (Luke 12:24). The Judgment of the Nations, though not formally mentioned in this text, must occur at this point before the Millennium begins in the next chapter. The Gospel of Matthew mentions the Judgment of the Nations or Separation of the Sheep from the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46), which would be the separation of the Saved Jews (Nation Born in a Day) and Saved Gentiles (who repent at the Second Coming) from the remainder of the Lost World. "31 When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: 32 And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 41 Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye Cursed, into Everlasting Fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 46 And these shall go away into Everlasting Punishment: but the Righteous into Life Eternal" (Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46). The Sword that "proceeded out of [the LORD's] mouth" (19:21) will be the last thing that the Wicked Remnant will experience as they are personally killed by the LORD Jesus Christ. "Whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable" (Luke 3:17). With all the tender pictures we have of the Saviour, we must add to them the reality that He is also the Judge of All the Earth that must enforce punishment of those who have violated the Law of Love. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). The carnage of this closing scene before Christ's Millennial Reign on Earth begins, is necessary to root out and physically slay all Rebels, for the LORD poignantly promised, "If ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it" (Isaiah 1:20). If Wisdom shows a way to reach the Lost in the present, do so, for prophetic events are transpiring so quickly that if left unconverted, that Lost One may well be numbered among the slain described in this scene following the Second Coming of Christ. "The LORD of Hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand" (Isaiah 14:24).

(future chapters will be added to complete the entire Book)

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