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Bible Commentaries

Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation

Revelation 19

Verses 1-10

CHAPTER 19:1-10 brings us to

THE HALLELUJAH CHORUS AND THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB

Verse 1.

"The great multitude" joining in this chorus of rejoicing over the defeat of all evil is THE WHOLE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT IN HEAVEN. THE LAMB’S BRIDE of verses 7-9 is of course "THE CHURCH." "She has made herself ready" (verse 7). She has long been betrothed, and has been waiting for "the bridegroom." Now He has come. Clearly, the Lamb’s bride is THE CHURCH. The church which is made up of all those who have given their lives wholly to Christ. (Those who are called in the book of Revelation "THE MARTYRS"). Jesus had described the coming of His Kingdom as a wedding feast (Matthew 25:1-13). The Apostle Paul described the church as preparing herself as the bride of Christ--2 Corinthians 11:2. As in any wedding the attention is focused on the bride and her dress--John writes in verse 8 "She is clothed with fine linen, bright and pure--for fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints." Protestants hesitate to talk about "good deeds" for fear of being suspected of believing in salvation by works. But while good works do not redeem us and we depend entirely on Christ for redemption, yet we are saved for a purpose. Our salvation does not end in a privilege to be enjoyed, it issues (to use John’s language) "IN THE RIGHTEOUS DEEDS OF THE SAINTS." John describes the material from which the wedding gown of the church is formed as these good works. In closing our study of this section of the fall of Babylon let us look at TWO IMPORTANT LESSONS FROM JOHN’S VISION OF THE HALLELUJAH CHORUS IN CHAPTER 19:6.

II. MEDITATION--Revelation 17, 18, 19:1-10
--HALLELUJAH CHORUS

We are accustomed to think of the Hallelujah chorus in the setting Handel has given us.

1. "Hallelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."

This is the important fact which arises from the fall of Babylon and the marriage of the church to Christ.

In the light of this fact we should ask ourselves WHAT IS THE BIGGEST FACT OF LIFE FOR ME AT THIS MOMENT?
Is it my HOME?
or my WORK?
or my HAPPINESS AND SECURITY?

If so, there is something wrong with me.

For the great central important fact of life for a Christian is this--"THE LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT REIGNETH."

This involves freedom from our worries
--the defeat of sin
--the comfort of sorrow.

2. When we grasp the fact that "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth" then, as verse 7 has it:
"LET US REJOICE AND EXALT AND GIVE HIM THE GLORY"

John’s vision of the fall of the harlot and the marriage of the bride reminds us of Mary’s song in Luke 1:46-55 :

"He has shown strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted those of low degree."

Surely the members of the church of God have every reason to
PRAISE THE LORD!

The Hallelujah chorus is Introduced in verse 4 "And the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures fell down and worshipped God who is seated on the throne, saying, AMEN. HALLELUJAH!"

The 24 elders and the 4 living creatures symbolise the whole church and all mankind. John describes their worship in the two words "AMEN, HALLELUJAH". What do these words mean?

"Amen" means "So let it be." "God’s will be done."

"Hallelujah" means "Praise the Lord, the Almighty."

James Stewart suggests that these two words remind us of the four notes of all real worship.

The "Amen" of worship means firstly ACCEPTANCE of God’s Will; and secondly the COMMITMENT of ourselves to DO that will. The "Hallelujah" of worship means--a sense of FELLOWSHIP with God, and also a sense of JOY in the ASSURANCE of God’s victory. Our worship as Christians involves our acceptance of the will of God for our daily lives--and our commitment to do God’s will. The "Amen" is not a groan of resignation to God’s will but a shout of resolution.

And our worship involves the Hallelujah of praise and joy.

If we have lost our joy in the pressures of modern living with our cares and troubles--then we need to recapture in our worship the Hallelujah Spirit of Revelation 19:4

"Praise to the Holiest in the height, And in the depth be praise, In all His words most wonderful, Most sure in all His ways"

"Amen, Hallelujah!"--"For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!"

There are immense personal implications in Revelation 19:1-21 : verse 6.

That God’s will is supreme in every sphere of life--and I am not.

That God is the power in the universe.

That God who acted in the past, and present, will also act in the future.

That God will bring the climax of creation and judgment--God is supreme and I am not.

Neither you nor I have the right to act as if we owned the world and its goods.

You and I must be God-centerd and not self-centerd.

God is supreme; and fate, material possessions and death itself is not supreme. To respond to the implications of the Hallelujah chorus is to sing and act accordingly.

"Reign over me, Lord Jesus! Oh make my heart Thy throne. It shall be Thine, dear Saviour It shall be Thine alone."

Verse 9

ONE OF THE BEATITUDSE OF REVELATION

4.

"Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb" (Revelation 19:9). To be left out of the list of invitations to a wedding is a sting most people have felt at one time or another. Here John pictures the greatest privilege of all.

Verses 11-16

This is the last main section of the Book of Revelation. Here we have described to us the visions of The Conquering Christ (19:11-16), the judgments of the beast and of the false prophet and of Satan (19:17-20:10), the judgment of the wicked (20:11-15), the visions of the New heaven, the New earth and the New Jerusalem (20:16-22;5). And the LAST WORDS (22:6-21).

But first--THE CONQUERING CHRIST

I. STUDY NOTES--Revelation 19:11-16
--THE CONQUERING CHRIST

John saw heaven opened and a RIDER UPON A WHITE HORSE verse 11. We noted the first appearance of a WHITE HORSEMAN in chapter 6:2. There we interpreted as "CHRIST EVANGELISING". There is no doubt that THE RIDER ON THE WHITE HORSE In 19:11 IS CHRIST. "WHITE" is a symbol throughout the book of Revelation for PURITY and VICTORY.

This rider is called "FAITHFUL AND TRUE"--"faithful" because we can depend on His promises. He is "true," for He is the answer to all our hopes. Unlike the kings of the earth who wage war in selfishness, "in righteousness He judges and makes war."

Verse 12.

"His eyes are like a flame of fire" seeing all the secrets of our lives. Nothing is hidden from Him. (Hebrews 4:13). He is crowned as conqueror. "He has a name inscribed which no one knows but Himself." We do know some of His names "Jesus, the Christ, The Son of God, Shepherd, Redeemer, Saviour, Prince of Peace, King of Kings and Lord of lords"----but the fullness of His love and power none of us has yet realized. There is more that we still have to learn of Him. (verse 16--We know who He is "King of kings and Lord of lords").

Verse 14.

"The armies of heaven" wear the fine linen, white and pure" "which is the righteousness of the saints" (19:8).

Verse 15.

The Sword--The Word of His mouth--is now wielded in judgment. The Word that Christ spoke will judge men at the last day. (John 12:48). His Word is "a two-edged sword." If not blessing it judges.

Verse 16.

THE KING rides at the head of His armies. On His robe where it spreads out at His waist HIS TITLE is inscribed. His Kingship is universal--But one thing remains--that the enemies of His people be consigned to their doom. To this the vision now proceeds at verse 17.

II. MEDITATION--; Revelation 19:11-16

Link with John’s vision of Revelation 19:11-16 a meditation on the Hymn "Crown Him with many crowns" and also the stirring Hymn "Onward Christian soldiers." Read the verses thoughtfully.

The armies of the church militant on earth, and the church triumphant in heaven are not engaged in physical battles of guns and bloodshed, but in spiritual struggles for control of the minds and spiritual forces of men and women. To us, as His soldiers, Christ says "As My Father has sent Me so send I you." (John 17:18). The weapons of this warfare are described in Ephesians 6:12.

Let us rejoice as we serve in this army.

"Crowns and thrones may perish Kingdoms rise and wane But the Church of Jesus Constant will remain. Gates of hell can never ’Gainst that Church prevail."

If we had to find another title for the Book of Revelation to describe its message--then it would bear the title--
"King of kings and Lord of lords."

For everything in this book begins and ends in Christ. In our day men prophecy "the end of Christ’s church", but Christ’s Word is mightier than any word that men can utter. Let us rise up to serve The King of kings.

Verses 17-21

III. STUDY NOTES--Revelation 19:17-21
--THE BEAST AND THE FALSE PROPHET ARE JUDGED

Verse 17.

"The angel standing in the sun"--a symbol of the divine presence (see 1:16; 10:1; 12:1). He stands so that he can be seen and heard by all "the birds that fly in mid heaven." That is, the strong birds of prey such as the eagle and the vulture which fly high.

Verse 18.

This carrion meal is a picture drawn from Ezekiel 39:17-20.

Verse 18.

"The beast and the kings of the earth" gather to battle against the King of kings. (see 16:14-16; 17:14; 20:8).

Verse 20.

Two enemies of Christ and His church meet the fate they have brought upon themselves--the beast and the false prophet--these were described in chapter 13. We were told in 17:8, 11 that "the beast is to go to perdition." Now we are told that both the beast and the false prophet are "cast into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone." This picture reminds us of the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19:1-38, Numbers 16:32-34; Isaiah 5:14). We also read of this again in Revelation 20:10; Revelation 20:14-15; Revelation 21:8. John tells us in 20:14 that by this "lake of fire" he means "this is the second death." Exactly what this may mean we may not be sure, it is enough to know that these two foes are judged and the world is freed from them. Worldly governments and false religion is fallen, judged and destroyed in this part of John’s vision of the beast and the false prophet. Dr. J. P. Love writes of this scene in Revelation 19:17-21. "In a sense this episode presents something which often occurs in history. In each generation Christ rides victoriously to overthrow the power of false government (the beast) and false religion (the false prophet) that have conspired to wreck that generation. But in a deeper sense we have come now to that position of the Book of Revelation where John is describing finalities for all ages and all times. There will come a day when the human dictatorship will reach its last sea, and that will not be a sea of victory, but a lake of fire (complete defeat and judgment) into which Christ drives His foes. Then Christ fully takes His throne and reigns. While Christ comes to us in many senses, comes to the individual believer at his death, to the church at its time of crises, to each generation to bring it to judgment--it is also true that in a very real way there is a final "COMING" of the Lord. Judgment, though it goes on from day to day, is brought at last completely upon all humanity and upon every satanic source of evil. Judgment and salvation are both alike present and future, and the White Horseman brings both to final completion at His coming to reign." (Dr. J. P. Love "Layman’s Bible Commentary on John--Jude--Revelation" SCM Press, Page 107). These words of Dr. Love’s are worthy of meditation, before we move to chapter 20--to the judgment of Satan himself.

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Bibliographical Information
Norris, Harold. "Commentary on Revelation 19". "Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/nor/revelation-19.html. 2021.