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the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Revelation 19

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

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Verses 1-21

After these things ( Revelation 19:1 )

After the destruction of Babylon religious and commercial, chapter seventeen and eighteen.

I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God ( Revelation 19:1 ):

The judgment of the earth, as far as God's wrath being poured out, has been completed on Babylon. We have one final little battle here to take place in chapter nineteen. The vials have all now been dispensed upon the earth of the judgment and the wrath of God. Now, the time has come for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself to return in power and great glory and establish God's kingdom upon the earth. And because of this there is great rejoicing in heaven. That great multitude, I expect personally to be a part of that multitude. I expect to be there in that heavenly scene declaring, "Alleluia, salvation and glory and honor and power unto the Lord our God."

For true and righteous are his judgments ( Revelation 19:2 ):

All the way through we have had this affirmation that the judgments of God are true and righteous. And I think that this has been declared all the way through, because this is one of the areas that Satan constantly challenges concerning God, the fairness of God's judgments when he deals and meats out His judgments upon man. There are always those who are ready to challenge the fairness of it. There are always those that say, "What about the people that haven't heard? What about little babies?" and so forth. God is going to be fair and just. This is the declaration that is made all through the period of judgment, "true and righteous are thy judgments, O Lord".

The concept that Satan brought to Eve in the Garden of Eden was that God was not fair, that God was trying to hold her back from something that was beneficial, that God was somehow trying to protect Himself. He had His own self interest at heart when He told Eve not to eat of the tree. That God is holding back something good and He really isn't fair to you was the insinuation behind Satan's remarks. All the way along the fairness of God's judgment has been challenged.

I don't know what God is going to do in a lot of cases. I do know that whatever He does will be absolutely fair. "True and righteous are thy judgments, O Lord." Never worry about the righteousness of God's judgments. You can be worried about the righteousness of my judgments. I sometimes make snap judgments. I sometimes judge without having all the facts in hand, and so my judgments are often wrong. And I have to apologize sometimes for my judgments. That is something that God will never have to do, apologize. It will never happen. "True and righteous are thy judgments, O Lord."

for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication ( Revelation 19:2 ),

That is spiritually in chapter seventeen, that great religious system that corrupted the earth. Who was it; Marx, that said, "Religion is the opium of the people?" I agree one hundred percent. I think that religion is a tremendous curse upon the earth. I have a hard time stomaching religious people. I believe that religion is vastly different from Christianity. I believe that religion is man's endeavor to reach God. And it is the various ways by which men are attempting to reach God. Christianity teaches that God is reaching down to man; exactly the opposite of religious thoughts, man trying to reach God.

In Christianity you have a God that is reaching out to man. That is why religions fail. You can't start with a finite base and reach to infinity. That is why Christianity is successful. It is no problem for the infinite God to reach to finite man. Religions tell you that you have to do certain things in order to please God. You have to accomplish certain works in order to be accepted by God. Christianity tells you that your righteousness is as filthy rags. You just have to come on the basis of God's grace and love for you and cast yourself upon His mercy, but that God is merciful. But there is really no good work that you can offer to God that would be acceptable in His sight, but He will accept you just as you are if you will just cast yourself upon His mercy and just ask for His mercy and grace. "Whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out" ( John 6:37 ).

So, the great religious system, spiritual fornication is that endeavor to worship God in an unprescribed way. How does God tell us to worship Him? "God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" ( John 4:24 ). And if you try to worship God in an unprescribed way, setting up little idols or whatever, which God has forbidden, that is spiritual fornication. That is worship of God in unprescribed ways. That is religion. That is letting religion enter in. God wants a loving relationship, not religion. He doesn't want you to be religious. He wants you to have a relationship with Him, a loving relationship, not a legal relationship.

So, God has judged the false religious system that corrupted the earth with her spiritual fornication.

He has avenged the blood of his servants at her hand ( Revelation 19:2 ).

Jesus found Himself at opposition with the religious forces of His day and it was the religious people who prompted the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It was the religious leaders that insisted that the Roman government put Him to death. Jesus Christ was a threat to the religious leaders as He would be to all religious leaders. He is a threat to them, because He tells you, you don't have to be religious to be accepted by God. God loves you and receives you just as you are on the basis of His grace, love and mercy. So, Jesus was at odds with the religious leaders of His day and they are the ones that prompted His crucifixion. It was the religious leaders that prompted the persecution against the church in its beginning and throughout history.

There is even at the present time, one of the leaders of the YWAM program who has been charged in Greece with a charge of proselytizing, because he gave a Bible to a Greek sixteen-year old boy, and he has been charged in the Greek courts with proselytizing. And of course, this proselytizing law was prompted by the Greek Orthodox Church, and he has been sentenced to spend three and a half years in jail in Greece. He is an American citizen and his base is in Sunland, California. He is in charge of the Anastausus Ship, but he is facing a jail sentence of three and a half years in Greece because He gave a Bible to a sixteen-year old Greek boy and the boy accepted Jesus Christ as His Savior. Now, this law that has the backing of the Greek Orthodox Church, or it was instituted because of the Greek Orthodox Church against proselytization, is the law that they used to charge him.

In Egypt it is a capital offense to lead a Muslim to a faith in Jesus Christ. One of our pastors, Imad, spent some time in the Egyptian jail. He was a medical doctor there. He had a great desire to bring his brothers, Egyptian brothers to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He wrote several tracts and was instrumental in leading several Muslims from their religion to a real relationship with God in Jesus Christ. And as a result was thrown in jail in Egypt and was then released because of the family influence, and told to get out of the country for his own welfare or he would be put to death if he stayed. So, he is one of our pastors here, but that is what religion does. Religion is threatened by life, by spiritual life.

So, God has judged that religious system and has avenged the blood of His servants at her hands. A lot of the persecution against the Christian has come from religion, religious leaders.

And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever ( Revelation 19:3 ).

That is of the judgment against Babylon.

And the twenty-four elders [representing the church] and the four beasts [cherubim] fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia ( Revelation 19:4 ).

Here we find the term "Alleluia" used really for the first in the New Testament and it is used four times here. It is a Hebrew word that has become universal, "Allel", "u", "yah", which means, "praise to Jehovah" or Yahweh.

And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great ( Revelation 19:5 ).

So here is the praise being given to God and now the encouragement for that praise coming from the throne of God.

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as a voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth ( Revelation 19:6 ).

Imagine the millions upon millions of Christians that will be gathered in that glorious assembly and when the voice of the Lord comes exhorting us to praise God and give glory to Him, and in our response to it that tremendous praise, crescendo of praise that will arise. And John heard it as the voice of many waters or rushing waters and the voice of mighty thunderings.

Glory. I can hardly wait.

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready ( Revelation 19:7 ).

So the marriage feast of the Lamb will take place here on the earth. But now He is ready to return and establish His kingdom and take us unto Himself and the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife, or bride, has made herself ready.

And to her [that is the bride of Christ, the church] was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints ( Revelation 19:8 ).

What is the righteousness of the saints? Paul, the apostle said as he was recounting to the Philippians his past credits as a Jew, "Hebrew of the Hebrews, circumcised the seventh day, the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee, concerning zeal persecuting the church", but he said, "Those things that were gain to me", those credits that I had, those brownie points, "I counted loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, for whom I suffer the loss of all things and count them but refuse that I may know Him and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which was of the Law", circumcised seventh, eighth day and so forth, not having that righteousness which was of the law, "but now having the righteousness which was of Christ through faith" ( Philippians 3:5-9 ).

So, it is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that is imparted to me through my faith in Jesus Christ. God accounts my faith for righteousness. So, I will be clothed in linen, pure and white and clean. And the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. That righteousness that God puts on my account because I believe in Jesus Christ. So it is imputed righteousness given to you by your faith in Christ. It is not a righteousness of works. It isn't that you have been faithful in your devotions, and you have witnessed to so many people, and read so many chapters of the Bible, and spent so many hours in prayer, and you have done all of the religious devotional things, not that at all. I am accounted righteous by God because I believe and trust in Jesus Christ. There is the basis for my righteousness. That is good. If my righteousness were dependent upon my keeping the Law, or keeping rules or regulations-

Let's say that we said that every day you should be reading five chapters out of the Bible. Every day you should be spending twenty minutes on your knees in prayer. Every day you should witness to at least two people. Every day-and we set up these rules for righteousness. Then you may be very good all week long, and you put your little star behind each of the categories each evening. Yes, all my gold stars, but Friday you blow it and you didn't get your prayer time in. Too bad, your unrighteousness Friday night. Just hope the Lord doesn't come Friday night. You might get left. No. My righteousness is not on such a tenuous thing as my faithfulness to devotions or works or whatever. My righteousness is something God accounts and imputes to me because of my faith in Jesus Christ. Thank God.

And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God ( Revelation 19:9 ).

Now the Lord in the end here is really putting a lot of emphasis upon the fact that these are true sayings. Over and over we will find this repeated as we approach the end of the book, these are the true sayings of God. You can believe this. You can trust in this that these are the true sayings of God.

It is interesting to me how that God took such pains to protect the innocency of Jesus Christ at the crucifixion. Judas returned the money to the priests saying, "I betrayed innocent blood" ( Matthew 27:4 ). Pilate said, "I find no fault in Him. I have examined Him. I find no fault in Him" ( Luke 23:14 ). The thief said, "We are here because we deserve to be here, but this man has done nothing amiss"( Luke 23:41 ). God is making sure that you know that Jesus is innocent as He hangs there on the cross. It is not for His crime or guilt. It is for your sin that He is dying.

Now, as the Lord closes out His revelation to man, and as He begins to talk to us about the glories of this coming age, the marriage supper of the lamb. Blessed are those that are called to be a part in this. These are the true sayings of God. You can believe this. You can trust in this.

And I fell at His feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God ( Revelation 19:10 ):

Now, John like so many people, we want to worship the instrument that God uses to bring His knowledge or love or grace to us. One of the great dangers of being in any kind of ministry where God is using you, one of the great dangers of exercising any spiritual gift, is that people so often look at the instrument that God uses. They begin to admire the instrument. They begin to worship, in a sense, the instrument that God has used. And here is John falling on his knees before the angel that is giving him all of this revelation and he is so overawed and thrilled with what is in store for him he falls at his feet to worship him. And he says to him not to do that because he is a fellowservant, but to worship God.

You see it is a apart of man to need and want to worship something, and man seems to find it easier to worship an object that he can see rather than an object that he cannot see. And so this is the hang-up of man as Paul said in Romans one, "They worshipped and served the creature more than the creator." Man gets hung up and he stops short. He sees the glorious creation of God and he worships the creation, rather than the creator.

And so John is making the same mistake and the angel corrects him and says don't do that. I am a servant of God just like you are. You worship God. And if you are wise and involved in any kind of ministry at all when attention and adulation and these kinds of things come your way, you will be wise as the angel and say, "Don't worship me. Worship God." God doesn't want you taking credit for the work that He does, receiving glory for His work.

for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy ( Revelation 19:10 ).

That is prophecy centers around the person of Jesus Christ. That is what prophecy is about. That is what history is about. History is actually "His story." He is the center of it. It all focuses before Christ and after the year of our Lord, but He is center, the focal point of history. It is "His story". So, Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. It is all centered around Him. The Lord is not so interested in telling you who you are going to marry or what is going to happen to you next week, the spirit of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. The prophecy centers around the person of Jesus Christ. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, the witness of Jesus.

And I saw heaven open, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True ( Revelation 19:11 ),

We find that Jesus is called the faithful witness. And He is called the True witness. Then He is called the "True and faithful witness" in the third chapter of Revelation. So here He is sitting upon a white horse.

and in righteousness he doth judge and make war ( Revelation 19:11 ).

Again the righteousness of His judgment attested to.

His eyes were as a flame of fire ( Revelation 19:12 ),

Again speaking of that burning judgment.

and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God ( Revelation 19:12-13 ).

In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was light; and that light was the life of man. "And the Word became 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 ) And now again He comes as the Word of God.

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses ( Revelation 19:14 ),

I will be a part of that army, as will you, because we are clothed in the fine linen white and clean, which is the righteousness of the saints.

And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword ( Revelation 19:15 ),

The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword. Out of his mouth goes this sharp sword, His word.

that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS ( Revelation 19:15-16 ).

Now, this vesture dipped in blood is probably a reference to Isaiah sixty-three. It is not his own blood, but the blood of his enemies that he tramples as he tramples out the rebellious. Isaiah sixty-three says, "Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?" And that is the question the prophet asks and Jesus answers, "I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save." The prophet asks, "Why are you red in your apparel, and your garments like those that have been treading in the wine vat?"

It used to be that they put the grapes in the vat and then they would crush them with their feet. They would have a big dance and party, as they would crush all of the grapes, they would get the juice out of them. And you could imagine the grapejuice stains all over your clothes after having spent a day treading the wine vat therein. The wine vat actually with your feet pressing down all of these grapes, you can imagine what your clothes would look like.

"Why are you red in your apparel, and your garments like the ones that have been treading in the wine vat?" He answers, "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in my anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come"( Isaiah 63:3-4 ).

So, He is coming to bring an end of man's rebellion. He is coming to trample the wine vat. There will be here upon the earth millions of people who have gathered together to war against Him at His coming. The whole Middle East area of Israel all the way through the land from the Valley of Megiddo clear on down to Edom will be crowded with the vast armies of the world. They will probably number into the hundreds of millions. There is a scripture that would indicate maybe two hundred million.

And that is when the blood will flow to the horses bridle all the way through the Valley of Megiddo clear on down to Edom through the valley of Jehoshaphat as they gather together against the Lord and His anointed. And there will the second Psalm come into play. "Why did the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing, for they have gathered together against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, Let us break His bands asunder, let us cast off His law from us; but He who sits in the heavens will laugh for He will have the nations in derision."

And so here we see Him, clothed in a vesture dipped in blood. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword by which these rebellious armies are destroyed. That is He destroys them with His word.

Now, we are told that He was in the beginning with God and that He created all things. We look at the vast universe in which we live, the material universe, and we realize that He created it. How did He create it? He spoke it into existence. It is known as a divine feat in the theological term, which means the capacity of speaking things into existence. So, darkness covered the face of the deep and God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. He just said it, "Let there be light," and light existed.

And in the Hebrew it is even more intensive. "Owr hayah owr hayah", "Light be and light was". God said, "Light be," and light was. I like that, God speaking into existence the world in which we live. And God said, "Let the waters above the firmament be separated from the waters below the firmament." And it was so. And God said, "Let the water bring forth and let the earth bring forth." And it was so. He spoke these things into existence; the power of the Word of God.

If we would only realize the power of the Word of God. The Word of God is alive and powerful, if we would only realize the power of the Word of God. We will in that day when He returns and all of the vast military might of the world gathered and assembled together to destroy Him at His coming and He just speaks the Word and it is all over. The battle is through. Oh, the power of the word of Jesus, the sword that goes forth out of His mouth. He destroys the assembled rebels who have gathered together against Him. I don't know exactly what He will say. It will be interesting to find out. I think that it might be just, "hey, you've had it." Like when this guy was breaking up with his girl, he said, "Can I have one final kiss?" She said, "You've had it."

On his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS,

And I saw an angel standing in the sun ( Revelation 19:17 );

You can't do that unless you are an angel. These angels are going to be interesting creatures to meet, aren't they? They have the capacity to stand in the sun. What is it, seven hundred and fifty million degrees Fahrenheit or something like that?

and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God ( Revelation 19:17 );

Now, we have just been rejoicing because we are coming to the marriage supper of the Lamb. There is going to be another supper, a supper prepared by God for all the birds.

That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and those that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast [that is the antichrist], and the kings of the earth [which have been drawn by the demonic forces], and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army ( Revelation 19:18-19 ).

The folly of Satan thinking that he would be able to fight against God. Well, the folly of men today that think that they are able to fight against God and to come out victorious. There are a lot of people today fighting against God. There are those who have set themselves deliberately and conscientiously to fight against God.

The humanists in their Humanist Manifesto have declared their intention of destroying God out of the minds and conscientiousness of men. To free men from the restraints that they may feel that have any kind of a Biblical base, so that you will not be feeling guilty over those things that are prohibited in the scriptures. But you can go ahead and do these things without pangs of conscience trying to destroy God out of our society, out of our lives. They will be gathered together at the inspiration of Satan.

And the [antichrist] the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and those that worshipped his image. These both [the two of them, the antichrist and his false prophet] were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone ( Revelation 19:20 ).

Otherwise, it is called in the scriptures, Gehenna, which is the final abode for the unrighteous dead. It is the place that Jesus said God prepared for Satan and his angels. And so the first two inhabitants of Gehenna will be the antichrist and his prophet and they will be the soul inhabitants, it would seem, for a thousand years. After a thousand years then they will be joined by Satan and the rest of the satanic beings or the angelic beings that joined with Satan in his rebellion against God. And then those men who have chosen to cast their lot with Satan in rebellion against God. Jesus describes it as a place of outer darkness where he said there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Hell or Hades is located in the center part of the earth. The abusso or abyss is probably in the very center of the earth, because it is called and correctly translated "bottomless pit." And there is probably an area right in the center of the earth that is hollow and because of the rotation of the earth and gravitation and all you would be constantly falling. You would never hit the bottom. It would be a constant fall. It wouldn't have to be more than ten miles in diameter to hold all of the unrighteous from Adam until now. And of course all of our finest scientific equipment could not locate such a thing there in the heart of the earth.

the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse ( Revelation 19:21 ),

What is the sword? The word that goes forth out of His mouth.

which sword proceeds out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh ( Revelation 19:21 ).

So, vultures are invited from all over the earth to come and feast on the supper that God prepares.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Revelation 19". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/revelation-19.html. 2014.
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