Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, May 29th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 19

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

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Verses 1-5

Reactions to Babylon’s fall (18:9-19:5)

Those who grew prosperous through their commerce with the city weep and mourn at its destruction. The rulers of the nations stand afar off, watching the destruction but doing nothing to help the city in its distress (9-10). Merchants and businessmen mourn for the burning city, not because they have any love for it, but because they have no more market for their goods. Like the rulers they are guided by motives that are entirely selfish. They are distressed only because of their loss of profits (11-16). Ship-owners and others who profit from international trade likewise mourn because their source of gain has suddenly been cut off (17-19).
Christians see the city differently. Because they stood firm for God and refused to follow the ways of the world, they rejoice that Babylon has been overthrown. For them the occasion is one of victory (20).
With the destruction of Babylon, sinful human society exists no more. All activities cease, whether connected with recreation, work, or the everyday affairs of life. Merchants and businessmen are especially condemned, since they are the ones who, through their greed, corrupted the city (21-23). But the main reason for the city’s destruction is that it attacked God’s people (24).
The scene then shifts to heaven, where there is much rejoicing and praise. God’s justice has been demonstrated in the fitting punishment of those who rebelled against his rule and persecuted his people (19:1-3). Although the Christians have triumphed, the one who has given them victory is God. He alone is the object of worship, whether offered by heavenly beings or his redeemed people (4-5).

Verses 6-10

Wedding feast of the Lamb (19:6-10)

God’s rule has been clearly demonstrated in the destruction of the anti-Christian world system and the triumph of his persecuted people. That triumph is now pictured in a heavenly wedding feast in which the redeemed are seen as the bride of Christ. They are clothed in pure white to indicate their heavenly purity (6-8).
The symbolism then changes. The redeemed, though pictured collectively as a bride, are pictured individually as those invited to share the wedding feast with Christ. John, overcome by the vision, is tempted to worship the angel who explained it to him. He is reminded that Jesus, not the angel, is the source of all these revelations (9-10).

Verses 11-21

19:11-20:15 THE TRIUMPH OF GOD

Up till now the visions have mainly been concerned with the power of evil and the sufferings of believers. Persecuted Christians have been encouraged to endure their trials by the assurance that God is still in control. He guards his people, allowing the wicked to exercise their power only within the limits that he has set according to his eternal plan. Leaving behind the subject of the power of evil in the world, the visions now move on to their climax. They picture the final triumph of God over all enemies and his complete conquest of evil.

The holy war (19:11-20:3)

God’s victory over a rebellious humanity and its satanic leaders is now pictured in a terrifying war (cf. 16:12-16). Jesus descends majestically to judge in righteousness and rule in power. His secret name indicates his unique authority (11-12). His blood-soaked robe signifies that his triumph has come through his death on the cross. Armies of angels are with him, but his conquest is not by armies or weapons. It is by the sword that goes out of his mouth. He is the living Word, the active agent of God who expresses God’s will and carries it out. He speaks and it is done. As King of kings and Lord of lords he exercises God’s rule over all humankind, and in divine wrath punishes the wicked (13-16).
An angel calls flesh-eating birds to prepare for a feast such as they have never had before, for the corpses on the battlefield will be beyond number (17-18). Once Jesus enters the battle, it is soon over. The antichrist and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire, signifying punishment from which there is no escape. Meanwhile the armies of the antichrist perish in battle (19-21).
With the antichrist and the false prophet destroyed, only the first member of the evil trinity remains to be dealt with, Satan himself. However, Satan is not yet destroyed. He is thrown into the abyss (see 9:1; 11:7; 17:8) where he is imprisoned for a long period, symbolized by a thousand years, so that he is no longer able to tempt the human race to rebel against God. At the end of this time he will be released for a short while (20:1-3).

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Revelation 19". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/revelation-19.html. 2005.
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