Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Revelation 19

Verses 1-10

Heaven’s Praises for Babylon’s Fall Revelation 19:1-10 describes the scene in heaven when praise goes forth for the fall of Babylon.

Alleluia - The Greek word ἀλληλουϊ ̈ α (G239) is used four times in the New Testament (Revelation 19:1; Revelation 19:3-4; Revelation 19:6), and each time it is transliterated into English as “Alleluia.” This word literally means, “praise Yahweh” ( BDAG). Its Hebrew equivalent ( הַ֥לְלוּ יָ֨הּ ), meaning “praise the Lord,” is used throughout the Old Testament, particularly in the last few psalms.

Jack Taylor notes that in the preceding chapters (Revelation 17-18) John draws a picture of a political system which has joined hands to unite the world, with a prostitute riding the back of the beast. Now, in Revelation 19:1-8 John describes four movements in this great drama of redemption. Taylor offers the following sermon outline:

Verse 1 - The Alleluia of His Redemption is completed (crowned). Salvation: event past, future accomplishment, and a present reality. It is not static.

Verse 2-3 - The Alleluia of Retribution is completed. Sin, justice will find man out. The false church and system is cast down

Verse 4-5 - Alleluia of the Reign confirmed. God is reigning

Verse 6-7 - Alleluia of the Relationship consummated. What God has started, He has finished. Death will be last that shall be put away.

Jack Taylor says Jenners put together an oratorio in 1741. It was sent to a musician in London named George Fredrich Handel, who then wrote the music, “I think I saw all heaven, God with it.” [118]

[118] Jack Taylor, “Sermon on Revelation 19:1-8,” Sunday Night, Southcliff Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas, 17 October 1982

Revelation 19:5 “both small and great” Comments - The phrase “both small and great” in Revelation 19:5 does not refer to the physical stature of men and women, but rather, their positions before God’s throne. This implies that there will be a reward system for all believers when they get to heaven. Some will be considered great, while others small, in the divine reward system that all of us must accept.

Revelation 19:10 “for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” Comments In order to understand this statement, it will help to refer to similar passages in the Scriptures. For example, we know that the books of Old Testament were written under the spirit of prophecy. Jesus tells us in John 5:39 that they testify of Him.

John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”

He then tells us in John 15:26 that under the New Covenant the Holy Spirit will continue to testify of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

John 15:26, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”

Verses 1-10

Babylon and Its Fall Revelation 17:1 to Revelation 19:10 describes Babylon, its rebellion against God (Revelation 17:1-18), its fall (Revelation 18:1-24), and praise unto God for its destruction (Revelation 19:1-10). The fact that the Tribulation Period marks the end of the Times of the Gentiles, a period in which Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome raised empires that ruled the known world, suggests that the fall of Babylon in Revelation 17:1 to Revelation 19:10 essentially marks the end of human rule upon earth. Jesus will return to earth at this time and set up His earthly kingdom, ruling from the holy city of Jerusalem. Whether biblical scholars interpret Babylon in the book of Revelation to symbolize the Roman Empire or to literary mean the city of Babylon, the fact is that the world’s system of rule that began with Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome ends at this time, ushering in a new era of God’s plan of redemption for mankind.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Babylon as an Earthly Institution Revelation 17:1-18

2. The Fall of Babylon Revelation 18:1-24

3. Heaven’s Praises for Babylon’s Fall Revelation 19:1-10

The Personification of the City Called Babylon In Revelation 17:1-18 John the apostle introduces a figurative character of a woman, a harlot, whom he calls Babylon, and later describes as the great city. The most popular interpretation of this passage is to identify the city as Rome, whom John personifies in this passage of Scripture as the “mother of harlots.” One of the strongest argues in support of the city of Rome is the description of her sitting upon seven hills (Revelation 17:9). The city of Rome has been popularly known as the city of seven hills since antiquity, as seen in Classical literature, with Virgin and Propertius using very similar language to John the apostle in personifying the city of Rome with her enthronement and pomp among the nations.

The Latin scholar Varro (116-27 B.C.) writes, “Where Rome now is, was called the Septimontium [Seven Hills] from the same number of hills which the City afterwards embraced within its walls.” ( On the Latin Language 5.41) [106]

[106] Virro, On the Latin Language, vol. 1, trans. Roland G. Kent, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1938), 39.

The Latin poet Virgil (70-19 B.C.) writes, “…thus Rome became of all things the fairest, and with a single city's wall enclosed her seven hills.” ( Georgics 2:535) [107] He also personifies the city of Rome much like John the apostle, writing, “Lo! under his auspices, my son, that glorious Rome shall bound her empire by earth, her pride by heaven, and with a single city's wall shall enclose her seven hills, blest in her brood of men: even as the Berecyntian Mother, turret-crowned, rides in her car through the Phrygian cities, glad in her offspring of gods, and clasping a hundred of her children's children, all denizens of heaven, all tenants of the heights above.” ( Aeneid 6.783) [108]

[107] Virgil, vol. 1, trans. H. Rushton Fairclough, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1938), 153.

[108] Virgil, vol. 1, trans. H. Rushton Fairclough, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1938), 561.

The Latin poet Horace (65-8 B.D.) writes, “To the Immortal Gods a hymn to raise Who in the seven-hilled City take delight.” ( The Secular Hymn 5) [109]

[109] The Works of Horace, vol. 2, trans. Theodore Martin (Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1881), 97.

The Latin poet Propertius (50-45 to 15 B.C.) personifies the city of Rome, using a number of similar statements to John the apostle, writing, “No day shall ever free thee of this stain, O Rome…The city high-throned on the seven hills, the queen of all the world, was terrified by a woman’s might and feared her threats! What boots it now to have broken the axes of Tarquin, whose proud life brands him with the name of ‘proud,’ if we must needs endure a woman’s tyranny? Rome, take thy triumph and, saved from doom, implore long life for Augustus. Yet didst thou fly, O queen, to the wandering streams of timorous Nile!” (3.11.36, 46-52) [110]

[110] Proterius, trans. H. E. Butler, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1916), 215-217.

The Latin poet Ovid (43 B.C. to A.D 17) writes, “…but Rome, that gazes about from her seven hills upon the whole world, Rome, the place of empire and the gods.” ( Tristia 1.5.69) [111]

[111] Ovid: Tristia, Ex Ponto, trans. Arthur Leslie Wheeler, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1939), 33.

The Latin historian Pliny (A.D. 23-79) writes, “Romulus left Rome possessing three or, to accept the statement of the authorities putting the number highest, four gates. The area surrounded by its walls at the time of the principate and censorship of the Vespasians, in the 826th year of its foundation, measured 13 miles and 200 yards in circumference, embracing seven hills.” ( Natural History 3.66-67) [112]

[112] Pliny, Natural History, vol. 2, trans. H. Rackham, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1961), 51.

The Latin poet Juvenal (late 1 st or early 2 nd c. A.D.) writes, “Juv. Fear not: you will never want a pathic friend, These hills standing and safe : from every where to them There come together, in chariots and ships...” ( Satires 9.130-132) [113]

[113] Juvenal and Persius, vol. 1, trans. M. Madan (Oxford: J. Vincent, 1839), 305.

Verses 11-21

Christ on the White Horse Defeats the Beast and His Armies: The Battle of Armageddon In Revelation 19:11-21 we have the description of the final battle that ends the seven-year Tribulation Period. Jesus comes from Heaven riding a white horse with a host from heaven. Other parallel passages tell us that the beast and his mighty army have gathered against the holy city Jerusalem. Jesus opens His mouth and smites them with a mighty slaughter. He then invites the beasts of the earth and the fowls of the air to gather together to feast upon the slain. We find a similar battle described in Ezekiel 38:1 to Ezekiel 39:29 in which Russia and its allies gather against Jerusalem. In this battle the beasts and fowls are also called to feast upon the dead. Thus, many scholars believe that these two passages describe the same event. Some call it the Battle of Armageddon that will take place in the plain of Megiddo.

Revelation 19:13 “and on his head were many crowns” Comments The multitude of crowns on the head of Jesus Christ represents His unlimited rulership over the nations of the earth.

Revelation 19:15 Scripture Reference - Note:

Isaiah 11:4, “But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.”

Revelation 19:17-18 Comments - The Fowls and Beasts are Called to Devour the Slain We find a parallel passage to this in Ezekiel 39:17-20.

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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Revelation 19". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.