Bible Commentaries
Revelation 19

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

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Verse 1

And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

As in the opening of the prophecy (Revelation 4:8; Revelation 5:9, etc.), so now, at one of the closing events in the vision, the judgment on the harlot (described, Revelation 18:1-24), there is a song of praise in heaven to God: cf. Revelation 7:10, etc., toward the close of the seals, and Revelation 11:15-18, at the close of the trumpets; Revelation 15:3, at the saints' victory over the beast.

And. So Andreas; but 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, omit.

A great voice. 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Coptic, Andreas, read, 'as it were a great voice.' What a contrast to the lamentations, Revelation 18:1-24! Compare Jeremiah 51:48. The great manifestation of God's power in destroying Babylon calls forth a great voice of praise in heaven.

People - `multitude.'

Alleluia - `Praise ye JAH:' here first in Revelation, whence Elliot infers the Jews bear a prominent part. Yaah (H3050) is not a contraction of Yahweh (H3068), since it sometimes occurs with the latter. It means 'He who IS:' Yahweh, 'He who will be, is, and was.' It implies God experienced a PRESENT help; so that 'Hallelujah,' says Kimchi, is found first in Psalms on the destruction of the ungodly. 'Hallelu-Jah' occurs four times here. Compare Psalms 149:4-9, plainly parallel, identical in many phrases, as well as the general idea. Israel, especially, will join in the Halleluia, when 'her warfare is accomplished' and her foe destroyed.

Salvation - `The salvation ... the glory ... the power.'

And honour. So Coptic; but 'Aleph (') A B C, Syriac, omit.

Unto the Lord our God. So Andreas; but 'Aleph (') A B C, Coptic, read, '(Is) of (belongs to) our God.'

Verse 2

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.

Which did corrupt the earth - `used to corrupt' continually. 'Instead of opposing, she promoted the sinful decay of the world by her earthliness, allowing the salt to lose its savour' (Auberlen).

Avenged - `exacted in retribution.' Application of the principle (Genesis 9:5).

Blood of his servants - literally shed by the Old and the New Testament apostate church; also virtually, by all who, though called Christians, hate or love not the brethren of Christ, but shrink from the reproach of the cross, and show unkindness to those who bear it.

Verse 3

And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.

Again - `a second time.'

Rose up - `goeth up.'

Forever and ever - `to the ages of the ages.'

Verse 4

And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.

Beasts - `living creatures.'

Sat - `sitteth.'

Verse 5

And a voice came out of the throne saying Praise our God all ye his servants and ye that fear him both And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.

Out of, [ apo (G575)] - 'out from the throne' in A B C.

Praise our God. Compare the solemn praise by the Levites (1 Chronicles 16:36; 1 Chronicles 23:5): the house of God was consequently filled with the divine glory (2 Chronicles 5:13).

Both - omitted in 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Coptic, Syriac: 'the small and the great.'

Verse 6

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

Many waters. Contrast the "many waters" on which the whore sitteth (Revelation 17:1). This verse is the hearty response to the stirring call, 'Halleluia! Praise our God,' etc. (Revelation 19:4-5).

The Lord God omnipotent - `the Omnipotent.'

Reigneth - reigned: hence, reigneth once for all. His reign is a fact established. Babylon, the harlot, was one great hindrance to His reign being recognized. Her overthrow clears the way for His advent to reign: not merely Rome, but all Christendom, in so far as it compromised Christ for the world, is comprehended in the 'harlot.' The beast hardly arises when he at once "goeth into perdition;' so Christ is considered as already reigning, so soon does His advent follow the judgment on the harlot.

Verse 7

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.

Glad ... rejoice - `rejoice ... exult.'

Give. So B 'Aleph ('), Andreas; but A, 'we will give.' 'Glory'-`the glory.'

The marriage of the Lamb is come. The full, final consummation is at Revelation 21:2-9, etc. Previously there must be the beast's overthrow, etc., at the Lord's coming, the binding of Satan, the millennial reign, the loosing of Satan, his last overthrow, and the general judgment. The elect Church, the heavenly Bride, soon after the destruction of the harlot, is transfigured at the Lord's coming, and joins in His triumph over the beast. On the emblem of the heavenly Bridegroom and Bride, cf. Matthew 22:2; Matthew 25:6; Matthew 25:10; 2 Corinthians 11:2. Perfect union with Himself, and participation in His holiness, joy, glory, and kingdom, are included in this symbol (cf. Song). Besides the heavenly Bride, the transfigured, translated, and risen Church, reigning over the earth with Christ, there is also the earthly bride, Israel, in the flesh, never yet divorced, though for a time separated, from her Divine Husband, who shall then be re-united to the Lord, and be mother-church of the millennial earth, Christianized through her, (Isaiah 50:1; Isaiah 54:1-17; Isaiah 60:1-22; Isaiah 61:1-11; Isaiah 62:1-12; Isaiah 65:1-25.) Scripture restricts the language of marriage-love to the Bride, the Church as a whole. Individuals, in relation to Christ, ought not to adopt it, as Rome does as to her nuns. Individually, believers are guests; collectively, they constitute the Bride. The harlot divides her affections among many; the Bride gives hers exclusively to Christ.

Verse 8

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Granted. Though in one sense she 'made herself ready,' by the Spirit's work in her, putting on "the wedding garment," yet, in the fullest sense, not she, but her Lord, makes her ready, by 'granting to her that she be arrayed in short linen.' It is He who, by giving Himself for her, presents her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, but holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:5-27). He sanctifies her, naturally vile and without beauty, with the washing of water by the Word, and puts His own comeliness on her.

Clean and white. So Andreas: but 'Aleph (') A B transpose, 'bright and pure:' brilliantly splendid and spotless as the Bride herself.

Righteousness - `righteousnesses:' distributively. Each saint must have righteousness; not merely be justified, as if it belonged to the Church in the aggregate. The saints together have righteousness: Christ is accounted "the Lord our righteousness" to each on believing, the robe being made white in the blood of the Lamb. The righteousness of the saint is not inherent, but imputed. If it were otherwise, Christ would be merely enabling the sinner to justify himself. Romans 5:18-19, is decisive. Compare Article XI, Church of England. The justification already given in title and unseen possession, is now GIVEN the saints in manifestation-they openly walk with Christ in white. This, rather than their primary justification on earth, is the reference here. Their justification before the world, which persecuted them, contrasts with the judgment on the harlot. 'Now that the harlot has fallen, the woman triumphs' (Auberlen). Contrast with the Bride's [ bussinon (G1039), not the linon (G3043) of the angels, Revelation 15:6 ] pure fine linen (indicating simplicity and purity), the harlot's (Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:16) tawdry ornamentation. Babylon, the apostate church, is antithesis to new Jerusalem, the transfigured Church. The woman (Revelation 12:1-17), the harlot (Revelation 17:1-18), the Bride (Revelation 19:1-21), are the Church's three aspects.

Verse 9

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. He - God by His angel saith unto me.

Called - effectually. The "unto" [ eis (G1519)], 'into,' expresses this: not merely invited to [ epi (G1909)], but made partakers of (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:9).

Marriage supper - `the supper of the marriage.' Typified by the Lord's supper.

True, [ aleethinoi (G228)] - 'genuine;' veritable; which shall surely be fulfilled-namely, all the previous revelations.

Verse 10

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: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

At - `before.' John's intending to worship the angel, as in Revelation 22:8, who revealed the coming glory, is the involuntary impulse of adoring joy at so blessed a prospect. It forms a contrast to the sorrowful wonder with which he looked on the Church as the harlot (Revelation 17:6). How corrupt is our fallen nature, that even John, an apostle, should have all but fallen into "voluntary humility and worshipping of angels" (Colossians 2:18), which Paul warns against!

And of thy brethren - i:e., a fellow-servant of thy brethren.

Have the testimony of Jesus - (note, Revelation 12:17.)

The testimony of - i:e., respecting Jesus.

Is the spirit of prophecy - emanates from the same spirit of prophecy in you as in myself. We angels, and you apostles, alike bear testimony concerning Jesus by the same Spirit, who enables me to show you these revelations, and you to record them: wherefore we are fellow-servants-not I your lord to be worshipped. Compare Revelation 22:9, 'I am fellow-servant of thee and of thy brethren the prophets;' whence the "FOR the testimony," etc., here may give the reason for his adding, 'and fellow-servant of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus.' I mean, of the prophets; 'for it is of Jesus that thy brethren, the prophets, testify by the Spirit in them.' A condemnation of Romish invocation of saints, as if they were our superiors.

Verse 11

And I saw heaven opened and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Behold a white horse: and he that sat upon him. Identical with Revelation 6:2. He comes forth "conquering and to conquer." Compare the ass-colt on which He rode into Jerusalem. The horse was used for war: here He is going forth to war with the beast. The donkey, for peace. His riding on it into Jerusalem is an earnest of His reign in Jerusalem over the earth, as Prince of peace, after all hostile powers have been overthrown. When the security of the world-power and the distress of the people of God have reached their highest, the Lord Jesus shall appear from heaven to end the whole world-course, and establish His kingdom of glory. He comes to judge with vengeance the world-power, and bring to the Church redemption, transfiguration, and power over the world. Distinguish this coming (Matthew 24:27; Matthew 24:29; Matthew 24:37; Matthew 24:39 [ parousia (G3952)]) from the end, or final judgment (Matthew 25:31; 1 Corinthians 15:24). Powerful natural phenomena shall accompany His advent (Auberlen).

Verse 12

His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

Identifying Him with the Son of man (Revelation 1:14).

Many crowns - `diadems:' not merely [ stefanoi (G4735)] garlands of victory, but crowns, as KING OF KINGS. Christ's diadem comprises all diadems of the earth and of heavenly powers. Contrast the papal tiara of three diadems. Compare also the little horn (Antichrist) that overcomes the three horns or kingdoms, Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:24 (the Papacy? which, as a temporal kingdom, was made up of three kingdoms-the exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom of the Lombards, and the state of Rome, obtained by Pope Zachary and Stephen II. from Pepin, the usurper of France). Also, the seven crowns (diadems) on the seven heads of the dragon (Revelation 12:3), and ten diadems on the ten heads of the beast. These usurpers claim the diadems belonging to Christ.

He had a name written. B, Syriac, insert, 'He had names written, and a name written,' etc. The names of the dominion which each diadem indicated were written on them severally. But 'Aleph (') A, Vulgate, Origen, Cyprian, omit.

That no man knew but he himself - (Judges 13:18; 1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 2:11; 1 John 3:2.) The same is said of the "new name" of believers, Revelation 2:17. In all respects the disciple is like his Lord. The Lord's "new name" is to be theirs, "in their foreheads" (Revelation 3:12; Revelation 14:1; Revelation 22:4); therefore His as yet unknown name also is written on His forehead: as the high priest had "Holiness to the Lord" inscribed on the mitre on his brow. John saw it as "written," but knew not its meaning. A name which, in all its glorious significancy, can be only understood when the union of His saints with Him, and their joint triumph and reign, shall be perfectly manifested.

Verse 13

And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Vesture dipped in blood - (Isaiah 63:2: cf. Revelation 19:15, end.) The blood there is not His own, but that of His foes. Here the blood on His "vesture," reminding us of His own blood, shed for even the ungodly who trample on it, prefigures the shedding of their blood in retribution: not that of the godly, as the harlot and beast shed, but of the blood-stained ungodly, including them both.

The Word of God - who made the world, is He who, under the same character, shall make it anew. Son of God is applicable, in a lower sense, also to His people; but "the Word of God" indicates His incommunicable Godhead, which, joined to His manhood, He shall manifest in glory. 'The Bride does not fear the Bridegroom: love casteth out fear: she welcomes Him: she cannot be happy but at His side. The Lamb (Revelation 19:9) is the symbol of His gentleness. Even a little child, instead of being scared by a lamb, caresses it. There is nothing to make us afraid of God but sin: and Jesus is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. What a fearful contrast is the aspect He will wear toward His enemies! Not as the Bridegroom and Lamb, but as the Judge and Warrior stained in the blood of His enemies.'

Verse 14

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

The armies ... in heaven - (cf. Revelation 14:20.) The glorified saints whom God "will bring with" Christ at His advent: both the living transfigured, and those raised and meeting the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:1-18: cf. Revelation 17:14); also "His mighty angels" (2 Thessalonians 1:7).

White and (so 'Aleph (') Origen, Andreas) clean - `pure.' A B, Vulgate, Syriac, Cyprian, omit "and."

Verse 15

And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Out of his mouth ... sword - (Revelation 1:16; Revelation 2:12; Revelation 2:16.) Here in avenging power; 2 Thessalonians 2:8, "consume with the Spirit of His mouth" (Isaiah 11:4, to which there is allusion); not in its converting efficacy (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12-13, where the sword-like Word's judicial keenness is included). The Father commits the judgment to the Son (John 5:22).

He shall rule. HE is emphatic: none other; in contrast to the usurpers who misruled on earth. [ Poimanei (G4165), 'tend as a shepherd.'] He who would have shepherded them with pastoral rod and golden sceptre of His love, shall dash them in pieces as refractory rebels, with "a rod of iron."

Treadeth the wine-press - (Isaiah 63:3.)

Of the fierceness and wrath. So Andreas; but 'Aleph (') A B, Vulgate, Coptic, Origen, 'of the fierceness (boiling indignation) of the wrath,' omitting "and."

Almighty. Christ's wrath against His foes will be executed with the resources of omnipotence.

Verse 16

And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

'His name written on His vesture and thigh' was partly on the vesture, partly on the thigh itself, where, in an equestrian figure, the robe drops. The thigh was touched in taking an oath, as the seat of strength: it symbolizes Christ's humanity, as, sprung from the loins of David, according to His covenant, and now the glorified "Son of man." His incommunicable divine name, "which no man knew," is on His head, Revelation 19:12 (Menochius). KING OF KINGS. Contrast Revelation 17:14; Revelation 17:17, the beast being in usurpation a king of kings, the ten kings delivering their kingdom to him.

Verse 17

And I saw an angel standing in the sun; 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;

An - `one.'

In the sun - conspicuous in sight of the whole world.

To all the fowls - (Ezekiel 39:17-20.)

And gather yourselves. 'Aleph (') A B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, Andreas, read, 'be gathered,' omitting "and."

Of the great God. 'Aleph (') A B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, Andreas, 'the great supper (banquet) of God.'

Verse 18

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 of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

Contrast Revelation 19:17-18, with the marriage-supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).

Captains - `captains of thousands.' The "kings" are "the ten" who "give their power unto the beast."

Free and bond - Revelation 6:15; Revelation 13:16, 'receiving the mark of the beast.' The repetition of flesh (plural, masses of flesh) five times, marks the gross carnality of the beast's followers. Again, the giving of their flesh to the fowls to eat, is a righteous retribution for their not suffering the dead bodies of Christ's witnesses to be put in graves (Revelation 11:9).

Verse 19

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

Gathered together - at Armageddon, under the sixth vial. For "their armies," in 'Aleph (') B, Andreas, there is 'His armies' in A.

War. So Andreas; but 'Aleph (') A B, 'the war'-namely, that foretold, Revelation 16:14; Revelation 17:4.

Verse 20

And 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 them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

And with him ... So 'Aleph ('); but A, 'and those with him;' B, 'and the false prophet who was with him.'

Miracles - `the miracles' ('signs') recorded already (Revelation 13:14) as performed by the second beast in sight of the first beast. Therefore the second beast is the false prophet. Many represent the first beast the secular, the second the ecclesiastical, power of Rome; and think the change of title for the latter, from the 'other beast' to the "false prophet," is because, by the judgment on the harlot, the ecclesiastical power will then retain nothing except the power to deceive. I think the false prophet will succeed to the spiritual pretensions of the papacy; while the beast, in Its last form, as the fully-revealed Antichrist, will be the secular embodiment of the fourth world-kingdom, Rome, in its last intensified opposition to God. Compare Ezekiel 38:1-23; Ezekiel 39:1-29; Daniel 2:34-35; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 11:44-45; Daniel 12:1; Joel 3:9-17; Zechariah 12:1-14; Zechariah 13:1-9; Zechariah 14:1-21. Daniel (Revelation 7:1-17; Revelation 8:1-13) does not mention the second beast, but "the little horn" with "the eyes of a man" - i:e., spiritual and intellectual culture.

This is expressed by the apocalyptic "false prophet," embodying man's unsanctified knowledge, derived from the old serpent. The first beast is political, the second is spiritual. Both are beasts-anti-Christian wisdom serving anti-Christian power-both lion and serpent. As God's moral government requires that "judgment should begin at the house of God," executed on the harlot, the faithless Church, by the world-power with which she intrigued, so also that the world-power, after being God's instrument of punishment, should itself be punished. As the harlot is judged by the beast and the ten kings, so these are destroyed by the Lord in person. So Zechariah 1:1-21: cf. Revelation 2:1-29. Jeremiah, after denouncing Jerusalem's judgment by Babylon, ends with denouncing Babylon's own. In the interval between judgment on the harlot, and the Lord's destruction of the beast, etc., earthly mindedness will culminate, and anti-Christianity triumph, for its short three and a half days while the two witnesses lie dead. Then shall the Church be ripe for glorification, the anti-Christian world for destruction. The world, at its highest development of material and spiritual power, is but a decorated carcass round which the eagles gather. Antichrist and his kings, in their blindness, imagine they can war against the King of heaven with earthly hosts: betraying the extreme folly of Babylonian confusion. The Lord's appearance, without actual encounter, shows Antichrist his nothingness. Compare the effect of Jesus' appearance even in His humiliation, John 18:6 (Auberlen).

Had received - `received,' once for all.

Them that worshipped - `them worshipping:' not an act once for all, as "received," but in the habit of 'worshipping.'

These both were cast alive into a lake - `the lake of fire,' Gehenna. Satan is subsequently cast in, at the close of the outbreak, after the millennium (Revelation 20:10). Then death and hell, with those not found at the general judgment "written in the book of life:" this constitutes "the second death." "Alive" - a living death; not annihilation. 'Their worm dieth not, their fire is not quenched' (Mark 9:44; Mark 9:46; Mark 9:48).

Verse 21

And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

The remnant - `the rest;' i:e., 'the kings and their armies' (Revelation 19:19), one indiscriminate mass. A solemn confirmation of Psalms 2:10.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 19". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.