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Revelation 19

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Verses 1-6

Rev 19:1-6


Revelation 19:1-10

In the preceding chapter three angels picture in vivid colors the fall of spiritual Babylon, and tell what the effects will be upon those deceived by her false religion; in this paragraph we have recorded the thanksgiving that will be expressed by the heavenly hosts.


(Revelation 19:1-6)

After these things.--After the symbolic act and words of the third angel (Revelation 18:21-24), John heard another loud voice, as of a great multitude, coming from heaven. The invitation was extended to saints, apostles, and prophets (Revelation 18:20) to rejoice over the harlot’s desolation. These verses contain the response to that invitation.

Hallelujah.--This word means "praise ye Jehovah," and the song ascribes salvation, glory, and power to God. This is right because only by his permission can any blessing be received.

True and righteous.--The final punishment of the great harlot will come because she corrupted the earth with her false doctrines and because she caused the blood of saints to be shed. Her punishment will avenge that blood. A righteous God will allow only righteous punishment. A second time John heard the redeemed saints say, "Hallelujah."

For ever and ever.--Smoke continuing to go up without end means that this refers to the final punishment after the judgment.

Fell down and worshipped God.--On the twenty-four elders and four living creatures see notes on Revelation 4:4-8. In addition to apostles, prophets, and saints, the spirit beings around the throne of. God rejoice over the final victory of the church. They give credit to God for the overthrow of Babylon. Another voice that appeared to come from the throne invited all servants of God to give him praise.

God, the Almighty, reigneth.--John next heard a voice as if coming from a multitude that sounded like many waters and mighty thunders; a grand chorus of all the spiritual hosts of heaven saying that God reigneth. This harmonizes perfectly with Paul’s statement that at Christ’s coming and judgment the kingdom will be delivered back to the Father. (1 Corinthians 15:23-24.) Then Christ will also become subject to the Father, and God will become all in all (verse 28), and his endless reign will begin

Commentary on Revelation 19:1-6 by Foy E. Wallace


(Revelation 19)

There is a striking analogy between these scenes of the church emerging in victory from the period of persecution, described by John in this nineteenth chapter, and the deliverance of Israel from Babylonian exile, described by Ezekiel in the closing section of his prophecy from the thirty-sixth to the thirty-ninth chapters.

The nation of Israel was comforted, and their release was described in terms of a figurative resurrection; and the return to their homeland was pictured as a “new heaven and a new earth.” (Isaiah 66:22) The closing chapters of Revelation from chapter nineteen to twenty-two follow the course of Ezekiel’s apocalypse of Israel returning from the seventy years of exile, but here the church was seen emerging from the period of persecution. The symbols are similar, and the parallel is evident.

(1) The heavenly acapella chorus—Revelation 19:1-6.

The great castrophe of Revelation, the fall of symbolic Babylon, Jerusalem, also called Sodom and Egypt, bringing an end to Judaism, was envisioned as having occurred. The harps and harpers ceased, giving place to a great voice of much people rejoicing over the vindication of divine justice, in answer to the cry of the souls of the slain under the altar, who as a martyred host responded in the alleluia (hallelujah) of the heavenly chorus.

The word alleluia, in Revelation 19; Revelation 1, meant praise ye the Lord. In this equivalent it is used first in Psalms 104:35; thereafter it is used repeatedly to introduce and end the chapters in the Psalms. The word alleluia itself is used only in Revelation 19:1; Revelation 19:3-4; Revelation 19:6, which lends special significance to the chorus of the heavenly multitude praising God for Salvation from enemies, and righteous judgments on Jerusalem; and for avenging the blood of the martyrs. This was the reason for the ascription of special praise, as indicated in verse two.

It was not the general or usual form of worship and praise, but a special hallelujah for true and righteous retribution on the harlot woman--apostate Jerusalem--and her affiliates. The words of Revelation 19:3 decreed that this judgment was a pronouncement of final doom on Jerusalem. And her smoke rose up forever and ever. This was the declaration that the old Jerusalem would never be restored. It is the parallel of the Lord’s declaration in Luke 21:24 : “And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled"--which meant that Jerusalem was permanently trodden down; for the times of the Gentiles. and the fulness of the Gentiles were commensurate with the entire gospel dispensation. A comparison of the prepositionuntil with such passages as Luke 16:16; Galatians 3:19; Galatians 4:2; Hebrews 9:10 will exemplify that until signified termination.

For further treatment of the times and fulness of the Gentiles in relation to Jerusalem, reference to GOD’S PROPHETIC WORD (pp. 152-155), is suggested.

Among the heavenly worshippers were listed the four and twenty elders of Revelation 19:4, a symbol based on the twelve patriarchs and the twelve apostles, representative of the whole and true Israel of God--the church; as discussed in Rev chapters 5, 8, 14, and Revelation 11:18. The song of praise was an anthem of victory for the whole church.

The voice from the throne, in Revelation 19:5-6, proclaimed in mighty volume that the Lord God omnipotent (Almighty) reigneth; which was manifested in the destructions of the Harlot woman, and the defeat of the persecuting agencies of the Roman beast. The universal aspect of this joyful victory was expressed in the refrain: Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great--all classes of men who were servants of God were bidden to rejoice. The greatness of the heavenly multitude joined in chorus as one voice, Revelation 19:6, was not only a scene of awe and veneration, but was impressive of the magnitude of the significance attached to the end of Jerusalem and the Jewish state, and the removal of Judaism as the greatest obstacle to the expansion of Christianity from the path of the church. With the Harlot City, and the system of Judaism which she represented destroyed; there remained only the execution of judgment against political minions who had shared in her spiritual fornication s and abominations.

Commentary on Revelation 19:1-6 by Walter Scott




Revelation 19:1-4. — After these things I heard as it were a loud voice of a great multitude in the Heaven, saying, Hallelujah: the salvation, and the glory, and the power of our God. For true and righteous (are) His judgments; for He has judged the great harlot which corrupted the earth with her fornication, and has avenged the blood of His bondmen at her hand. And a second time they said, Hallelujah. And her smoke goes up to the ages of ages. And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God Who sits upon the throne, saying, Amen, Hallelujah. “After these things.” We have had two separate visions of Babylon in which her character, guilt, and relations to the empire and Christendom, and her awful and overwhelming judgment are unfolded. Chapters 17 and 18 record a distinct vision each, which is really the filling up of the details of the historical place which Babylon occupies in Revelation 14:8; Revelation 16:19. In a vision everything is present to the mind of the Seer. The scenes shift and change, and pass successively before the mental gaze. There is no past nor future, but all is present. Other Scriptures, however, enable us to apportion the various visions and their separate parts as well to their chronological place in the history or prophecy, as the case may be.

Now it is plain that so long as Babylon remained unjudged the true bride could not be brought out and displayed in her beauty and coronation robes. She is hid in Heaven till the usurper on earth is destroyed and removed out of sight. The whore and the bride cannot co-exist. “After these things,” an apocalyptic formula (Revelation 4:1; Revelation 18:1), refers to the fall (Revelation 17:1-18) and total destruction of Babylon (Revelation 18:1-24). The same event is viewed very differently in Heaven and on earth. On earth the dirge of sorrow is heard. In Heaven the paean of praise. That which leads to general lamentation and mourning on earth calls forth the full rejoicing of Heaven. The cry of triumph immediately follows the destruction of Babylon. Her presence on earth had ever proved the chief hindrance to the manifestation of the glory of God, and an offence to Heaven besides. Now, however, by the total extinction of Babylon room is prepared, and the way open for the Lord God to be publicly owned on His throne, and for the Lamb to take His bride — the two great subjects of praise.

Revelation 19:1. — The call to rejoice (Revelation 18:20) is here taken up by the heavenly hosts. “I heard as it were a loud voice. The words “as it were inserted in the Revised Version (see also v. 6) are omitted in the Authorized Version. There is a certain purposed vagueness in the passage which is lost in the Authorized Version by the omission of the words. Who are the “great multitude” who loudly and joyously proclaim the triumph of God over the judgment of Babylon? We read of another, a Gentile company, termed a “great multitude” in Revelation 7:9, but, as we have seen, those are on earth, whereas the company before us is in Heaven. Nor can the “great multitude” of our text be identified with angels, but rather with the twenty-four elders, the mystic representatives of the redeemed translated at the Coming into the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). (See remarks on the term elders on Revelation 4:4.) The various martyred companies, that is, those of the coming crisis, are viewed as distinct from the elders. Hence, we gather that the “great multitude” is that of all saints then in Heaven.

Revelation 19:1 — “Hallelujah,” (Alleluia in our version is from the Greek spelling of the Hebrew word Hallelujah. Why drop the H?) they say. This beautiful Hebrew word occurs four times in these celebrations of praise (Revelation 19:1; Revelation 19:3-4; Revelation 19:6), but in no other part of the New Testament. It is a word of frequent occurrence in the book of Psalms. It is the opening and closing word of each of the last five psalms — psalms which as a whole and in their united character express the millennial praise of Israel. Hallelujah means, “Praise ye Jehovah,” or “Jah,” an abbreviated form of Jehovah.

Revelation 19:1The salvation and the glory and the power of our God. (The Rev. W. F. Wilkinson, in his useful work, “Personal Names in the Bible,” considers that Jehovah in its etymological signification is derived from the Hebrew verb to be, and that its meaning to English readers is found in God’s own declaration of His Name and Being to Moses, I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3:14), and further, that I AM answers to Jah, while the larger and fuller title is the expression of Jehovah. Without doubt the dread and sacred name, Jehovah, which is never used of, nor applied to, any created being, signifies, “The necessary, continuous, eternal, personal existence of God.” On this hallowed and ineffable Name of names, see pages 24, 31 (Revelation 1:4; Revelation 1:8) of our “Exposition.” See footnote on pages 142 and 170 (Revelation 5:11-14; Revelation 7:11-12).) The article before each of the three nouns makes the subject of specific application. The first of the three terms signifies deliverance, the second God’s moral glory in judgment, and the third His might displayed in the execution of the judgment upon the harlot. This ascription of praise is to “our God.” Angels in their place and station say “our God” (Revelation 7:12). Here however, it is the language of a redeemed and heavenly company, not that of angels.

Revelation 19:2. — The ground of their triumph is next stated. “For true and righteous (are) His judgments. “ In Revelation 15:3 the harpers on the sea of glass sing “Righteous and true are Thy ways;” while in Revelation 16:7 the altar says “True and righteous are Thy judgments.” In the former the ways of God are in view; in the latter, as also in our text, the judgment of God on His enemies is in question. It is a fundamental truth of the Scriptures, and one to be firmly maintained, that all God’s dealings with His creatures, whether in grace or judgment, are characterized by truth and righteousness. Now these essential attributes of the divine Being have been conspicuously displayed in the judgment of the “great harlot,” whose two great sins are once again, and for the last time, named: “which has corrupted the earth with her fornication,” morally blighted and ruined the whole scene, where once the truth was known and God worshipped, “And has avenged the blood of His bondmen at her hand.” The cry of the martyred band, from Abel downward, calling for judgment is heard, and God in righteous judgment pours out the indignation of His nature upon that system of harlotry and blood which had so long been a curse on the earth.

A second time, as marking the greatness of the triumph, they say Hallelujah,” or Praise ye Jehovah. “And her smoke goes up to the ages of ages” is a striking and impressive figure of the finality and perpetuity of the divinely-executed judgment. The doom of the mystical Babylon is an everlasting witness to the righteous judgment of God (compare with Isaiah 34:10).

But the volume of praise rolls on through the vault of Heaven. The elders, the representatives of the redeemed and enthroned saints, and the living creatures, the symbols of God’s government in creation, (See my notes on Revelation 4:1-11.) “fell down and worshipped God.” How profound the worship! How fitting the action! It is God, not Christ, Who is the object of their homage. It is God Who has judged Babylon, and hence to Him the worship is rendered. Besides, Christ has not at this juncture taken up the government of the earth. God is the Judge of Babylon. Christ is the Judge of the Beast; this judgment is an event subsequent to the former, and the first public act of the Coming Christ (Revelation 19:11-21). The elders and living ones say “Amen, Hallelujah.” They put their seal to the truth of what has been announced, and themselves join and joy in the triumph of all in Heaven over the everlasting doom of the harlot. In Revelation 5:8 the living ones take precedence of the elders; here the elders are first named as being more directly concerned in the judgment of the harlot.


Revelation 19:5. — And a voice came out of the throne saying, Praise our God, all ye His bondmen, (and) ye that fear Him, small and great. In a former vision we had the cry of the altar (Revelation 16:7, R.V.); here the throne itself speaks. In some of the past scenes, where a body of witnessing and suffering saints were in view, the altar came into prominence, but here it is direct judgment upon evil on the earth, for God is upon His throne, as Christ is about to sit on His. The very throne is moved to speech (symbolic, of course); thus from the center and source of government — the terror of the wicked, the joy of the saints — goes forth a call to “praise.” All who serve and all who fear Him, small and great, are invited to join in the glad song, which is a relief after the dark picture unfolded on earth. Here the terms are sufficiently wide to embrace every soul in Heaven — angels, servants, and every redeemed one. Nor is it a call addressed to an unwilling congregation. All are ready, but a new cause of joy is to be furnished, a new ground of praise. THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB is about to be announced.


Revelation 19:6-10. — And I heard as it were a voice of a great multitude, and as it were a voice of many waters, and as it were a voice of strong thunders, saying, Hallelujah, for (the) Lord our God the Almighty has taken to Himself kingly power. Let us rejoice and exult, and give Him glory; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready. And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright (and) pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints. And he says to me, Write, Blessed (are) they who are called to the supper of the marriage of the Lamb. And he says to me, These are the true words of God. And I fell before his feet to worship him. And he says to me, See (thou do it) not. I am thy fellow-bondman and (the fellow-bondman) of thy brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God. For the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus. We have transcribed in full this passage of surpassing interest. There are two main subjects: God manifestly assuming His kingly power, and the Lamb taking to Himself His bride — the Church of the New Testament. The moment has not yet arrived for the Lord Jesus Christ, Who suffered as none ever did, to mount His throne. But all is getting ready for that grand event. O blessed moment for which creation groans and waits, for which the Church hopes and prays, and for which the wearied tribes of Israel long with eager expectation! The Nazarene is God’s appointed King. But two events must necessarily take place before the throne of the world is occupied by Christ: Babylon must be judged on earth, and the marriage of the Lamb be celebrated in Heaven. We have had the one; we are now about to witness the other.


The call of the throne (Revelation 19:5) meets with a magnificent and immediate response. The praise is loud, deep, and full, and characterized by strength and grandeur. The “great multitude” (Revelation 19:6) here probably embraces all the redeemed in Heaven, save the bride. If this is so, as a careful study of the whole passage would seem to indicate, then the “great multitude” must be a larger and more comprehensive company than that mentioned in verse 1. In the former passage (Revelation 19:1) the “great multitude” is not distinguished from the elders, the representatives of the redeemed of past and present ages; while in the latter (Revelation 19:6) the “great multitude” is evidently a company apart from the bride (Revelation 19:7). The voice heard by the Seer is likened to the sound of “many waters” and “strong thunders,” that is, majesty and power combined. (In various parts of the Apocalypse the symbols of waters and thunders are separately noted, but here, as also in Revelation 14:2, they are united. Waters have a double signification. First, when in motion is conveyed the idea of MAJESTY and GREATNESS; when still the symbolic reference is to NATIONS and PEOPLES; for rivers, sea, etc., see page 190.) Having had the summons from the throne, the mighty choir takes up the strain in a voice of majesty and power — not voices, for the mind of Heaven is one. We now hear what fell upon the enraptured soul of the Seer; the last “Hallelujah” is sounded. It is not now Christ the object of praise, but God on the throne in holy and righteous action. The titles under which He is worshipped gather up all the various manifestations of God to His people of old. Separately they set forth distinctive relations and glories; when combined they form a tower of strength; when seen as united in Him the grandeur of the whole is beyond all telling. We have already remarked on the meaning and force of these various titles in a former part of our exposition. (See Revelation 11:15. “He now reigned as the Lord God Omnipotent — that character, or those characters in which He dealt with the earth, whether as God, Creator, Promiser, and Shield of His people while strangers, or the everlasting Accomplisher of all He had promised, Jehovah, Elohim, Shaddai. All these He took now in power and reigned.” — Darby.)

We gather that this is the moment anticipated in Revelation 11:15. The kingdom has now come, and kingly power is assumed. This is the first great subject of praise by the heavenly host. What a relief to creation, burdened with six thousand years of sin and sorrow! But ere the second theme is announced, calling for the adoration of the redeemed, we read, “Let us rejoice and exult, and give Him glory.”

In the revelation of God on His throne as Jehovah and the Almighty the whole being is bowed before Him. The soul is awed, not in fear, but in profoundest depth, and surely that is right and proper as we contemplate Him in the greatness of His Being.

But in the subject now to be introduced the affections are deeply stirred and the heart moved to its very centre. Hence the prefatory call to rejoice and give God glory, for the “marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

Commentary on Revelation 19:1-6 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 19:1. For several verses the vision will show the heavenly hosts rejoicing together over the victory that has been won over Babylon by the work of the Reformation. Alleluia means "praise ye the Lord," and the exclamation is made in view of His great works. Salvation is to be ascribed to the Lord because no other has the power to save, and for that reason we should give all honor to Him and acknowledge that all power belongs to Him.

Revelation 19:2. The great voice is still speaking and acknowledging the righteousnes of God’s judgments. Those acknowledgements are general and now they will become specific. Judged the great whore refers to the overthrow of Babylon which was accomplished by the Reformation. Hath avenged the blood of his servants. This fulfilled the promise made to the souls under the altar (Revelation 6:11).

Revelation 19:3. Her smoke arose up for ever and ever. "Where there is smoke there is fire." If the smoke ascends for ever the fire will be of the same continuance- Of course this is first applied figuratively to Babylon, meaning her downfall is to be permanent. It is next applied to the individuals who were leaders and supporters of the corrupt beast, who are destined to go into perdition where the fire is endless.

Revelation 19:4. The four beasts (living creatures) felt happy over the victory of Christ because it was through His blood that they had been redeemed from sin. And the four and twenty elders had the same motive for praising God, because they represented the two organized systems of salvation that had produced the four living creatures.

Revelation 19:5. The voice thus far in these verses seems to have come from the people in general who respect the Lord. Now the voice comes out of the throne as if to acknowledge the congratulations just offered to God, and endorsing the idea that all servants of whatever degree or rank should praise Him.

Revelation 19:6. So many people of the civilized world had suffered under the oppression of Rome through the Dark Ages, that it explains why the voice of a great multitude was heard praising God. Voice of many waters is the same except it is in symbolic form, waters in figurative language being used to represent human voices in action. Omnipotent means almighty; God can do anything that is right. The difficulty of conquering the giant influence of the beast in Rome was regarded so great, that it brought to their attention the might of God and called forth these words of praise, andcaused the declaration that He reigneth.

Commentary on Revelation 19:1-6 by Burton Coffman

Revelation 19:1

In this chapter, the judgment of the beast ridden by the harlot is presented, the presentation reaching its climax in the final destruction of both in Revelation 19:19-21, where the harlot is also mentioned again under the figure of the false prophet. This is the central one of three chapters, each of which is concluded with a description of the judgment day.

Revelation 18 ends with the desolated whore at the judgment.

Revelation 19 ends with the beast destroyed at the judgment.

Revelation 20 ends with the dragon (Satan) destroyed at the judgment.

This is the exact reverse order of their appearance in Revelation, beginning at Revelation 12:1. This book of Revelation is very neatly and skillfully organized, and the structure of it is a marvel of logical design and synchronization. The chronology of these three chapters is identical, each of them dealing with the entire Christian dispensation between the two Advents of Christ. The "forty-two months," the "one thousand two hundred and three score days," and the "one thousand years" are three different symbolical terms used in the successive chapters as the designation of the same chronological period, the entire dispensation, each of them reaching its terminus at the judgment.

This chapter, therefore, is not "the beginning of the millennial age."[1] The only connection that it has with the millennium is that it prophesies of events throughout the whole current dispensation, which is the 1,000 years, the 42 months, or the 1,260 days, each of these expressions meaning the same thing. Thus, each of the three chapters (Revelation 18; Revelation 19; and Revelation 20) covers the same period of time ending at the judgment, as do also other sections of the prophecy.

Prior to the narration of the destruction of the kings (the beast in his final phase, the period of the ten horns), presented in Revelation 19:11-21, there are two proleptic scenes of praise, the first (Revelation 19:1-5) looking backward to the destruction of the harlot, and the second (Revelation 19:6-10) looking forward to the destruction of the beast. Many commentators, notably Beckwith and Bruce, treat the first five verses as actually a part of the preceding chapter; but it makes little difference, for both outbursts of praise in heaven are very similar to other parenthetical and anticipatory scenes scattered throughout the prophecy.

This chapter dealing with the sea-beast in the later phase of his existence, the period represented by the ten horns, is of very great significance, for it places the complete fulfillment of Revelation at least half a millennium later than this first phase which ended with the collapse of the pagan empire in 476 A.D. The narrow preterist view that all of Revelation was fulfilled in the time of the first generation receiving it is totally denied by this, as also by the fact that a period of time represented by a full thousand years is also represented as intervening prior to the final judgment in Revelation 20. The final judgment day is the key to understanding Revelation, for it appears no less than seven times within these 22 chapters. The greatest misunderstanding of Revelation apparent in the works of so many writers is their efforts to get rid of the various depictions of the final judgment. Every conceivable device of doing this has been utilized; but none of them, nor all of them, can remove the stark dramatic language which simply cannot logically apply to anything else except the judgment day.


[1] James William Russell, Compact Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1964), p. 650.

After these things I heard as it were a great voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah; Salvation, and glory, and power, belong to our God: (Revelation 19:1)

Plummer thought that, "A new phase of the vision begins here";[2] and perhaps this is correct, since the recapitulation of the whole time between the two Advents is again presented, this time with the focus upon the destruction of the sea-beast in his final manifestation of the ten horns.

Hallelujah; Salvation, and glory and power ... "The only times that Hallelujah actually appears in Scripture are on the four occasions in this chapter."[3] Like "Abba," "Hosanna," and a few others, it is a transliterated word from the Hebrew. It is also found in some translations of the Old Testament, where "Praise the Lord" is also used instead of it.

[2] A. Plummer, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 22, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 447.

[3] William Barclay, The Revelation of John (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), p. 169.

Revelation 19:2

for true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged the great harlot; her that corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.

True and righteous are his judgments ... It is appropriate for Christians to be reminded that the terrible judgments upon nations, cities, and individuals who spurn his mercies are "righteous." The holy and righteous God cannot, nor will he, accommodate to human wickedness. "The moral law can no more be broken than the law of gravity; it can only be illustrated."[4] "There is nothing flabby or colorless about these anthems; the ring with stern joy at the judgment executed upon Babylon."[5] It is plain that the first part of this praise passage still has in view the destruction of the harlot related in the previous chapter. See next verse.

For he hath judged the great harlot ... The ultimate overthrow of all evil will take place at the final judgment, an event here viewed as in the past, the rejoicing throng being depicted in the vision as looking back upon it. This harmonizes with the understanding of the last paragraph of chapter 18 as a prophecy of the final judgment.

[4] T. S. Kepler as quoted by Barclay, Ibid.

[5] Albertus Pieters, Studies in the Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1954), p. 262.

Revelation 19:3

And a second time they say, Hallelujah. And her smoke goeth up for ever and ever.

The smoke for ever and ever ... The final nature of the judgment depicted at the end of chapter 18 is indicated by this. "This refers to the final punishment of the wicked following the judgment."[6] "This Scripture also cries out against all forms of universalism which are so prevalent today."[7]

[6] John T. Hines, A Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1962), p. 265.

[7] James D. Strauss, The Seer, the Saviour, and the Saved (Joplin, Missouri: College Press, 1972), p. 233.

Revelation 19:4

And the four and twenty elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God that sitteth on the throne, saying, Amen; Hallelujah.

The four and twenty elders and the four living creatures ... These come from the early chapters (Revelation 4 and Revelation 5) of the prophecy. Hendriksen understood the 24 elders as symbolizing "the entire church, and the living creatures as representing the cherubim";[8] however, there is little use of pursuing their identity, because the rejoicing is clearly for the benefit of the saints on earth and is intended to show how they will rejoice upon their entry into heaven.

"The violent hatred of Rome" shown in these passages is alleged by some to be "not Christian"; but Beckwith exploded such charges by pointing out that God’s hatred "is not of people, but of a corrupt anti-Christianity."[9] It is not Christian vengeance which is seen here, but divine retribution. The thing to keep in focus here is a vision of "God that sitteth on the throne."

[8] William Hendriksen, More than Conquerors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1956), p. 214.

[9] Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1919, p. 723.

Revelation 19:5

And a voice came forth from the throne, saying, Give praise to our God, all ye his servants, ye that fear him, the small and the great.

Give praise to our God, all ye his servants ... This is the message intended by the praise in heaven. The persecuted saints should praise God who still sits on the throne; and no enemy, either of good or of the redeemed, shall escape his judgment.

Small and great ... is an idiom for "all" of God’s true servants.

The repeated Hallelujah’s are the keynote of all Revelation:

Though the enemies of good rage against his people like savage beasts, and Baby]on exults in her insolence, "God remains supreme, keeping watch above his own," and ready to call his foes to account when their rebellion has passed the point of no return.[10]

Just as these first five verses look back to the judgment of the harlot, the next four look forward to the true Bride, the Lamb’s wife, to be glorified in subsequent chapters. It is impossible not to see that in these obvious and dramatic contrasts between the harlot and the true wife of Christ, the true nature of the harlot as "apostate religion" is revealed.


[10] F. F. Bruce, A New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1969), p. 660.

Revelation 19:6

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 thunders, saying, Hallelujah: for the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigneth.

This, together with Revelation 19:7, constitutes a proleptic or anticipatory announcement of the "Marriage of the Lamb," an event that does not take place until the Second Advent.[11]

The Lord our God, the Almighty reigneth ... This is grossly misunderstood when it is thought to mean that God "reigneth" only after the harlot, the beast, and the dragon are destroyed. The word "reigneth" is the eternal present. Let any one in doubt go back to Revelation 4 and Revelation 5 and read them again. God has never left his throne.

The Almighty ... This is a characteristic designation for God in this prophecy.

It occurs ten times in the New Testament; once it is in an Old Testament quotation (2 Corinthians 6:18); and the other nine times are in Revelation (Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8; Revelation 11:17; Revelation 15:3; Revelation 16:7; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:6; Revelation 19:15; Revelation 21:22).[12]

The Almighty God is eternal, and there has never been the fraction of an instant when he was not in complete and universal control of the entire universe, nor has there ever been the slightest interruption of his eternal reign. Oh to be sure, rebels have flaunted his laws; but they never broke any of them! They merely illustrated them! "The Scriptures cannot be broken" (John 10:35). See full comment on this in my Commentary on John, pp. 265-267.

The first clause in this verse is "John’s usual way of showing a new division."[13] "The first hymn (Revelation 19:1-5) looks backward; this one (Revelation 19:6-10) looks forward."[14]

[11] George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), p. 245.

[12] William Barclay, op. cit., p. 173.

[13] Isbon T. Beckwith, op. cit., p. 725.

[14] Ibid.

Commentary on Revelation 19:1-6 by Manly Luscombe

1 After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! There is great rejoicing in heaven. The entire host, a great multitude, are honoring and praising God for his victory over Babylon. All power, honor and glory belong to God.

2 For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” God is righteous. His judgment is true and upright. When God avenges the blood of the saints, all will agree that God did what was right and proper. Keep the faith. God will avenge the blood of those harmed by this general of Satan’s horde. Many have followed in her footsteps. They will all be punished.

3 Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!” 4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!” Babylon is suffering in the smoke of hell. She and her cohorts will suffer. The 24 elders and the four living creatures are around the throne. They join in the rejoicing and worshiping of God.

5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” We are servants who seek to remain faithful. There is immorality all around us. There is filth and corruption everywhere. How do we keep or garments white in the midst of all this? That is the challenge before us.

6 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! The angelic host, the 24 elders, and the four living creatures are now joined by the great multitude of all the saints. God is omnipotent. We serve an Almighty God. He reigns. He is on the throne and in control.

NOTE: The sound of many waters and mighty thunderings are descriptions of the volume of the host of humanity joining together to praise God.

Verses 7-10

Rev 19:7-10


(Revelation 19:7-10)

Let us rejoice.--The reason given here for rejoicing is that the "marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife bath made herself ready." The meaning is that the coming of the Lord coming to- receive the prepared church is similar to a bridegroom coming for his bride. Marriage, as a symbol or illustration, is used four times in the New Testament, but each time to teach a different lesson--that is, some phase of marriage is used to illustrate a special feature of the relationship of saved people to Christ. (1) Romans 7:4 and Ephesians 5:22-32 show that the relationship of individuals, and the church as a whole, to Christ now is comparable to the natural relationship of marriage ; therefore the saved are correctly represented as being spiritually"married" to Christ. (2) In Matthew 22:1-14 the idea of a marriage feast is presented, and saved people are represented as guests. Nothing in the parable represents the wife, for the reason that the parable is constructed to teach the necessity of proper character. This is better done by the idea of guests suitably dressed. (3) In Matthew 25:1-13 the lesson is sufficient preparation for the Lord’s coming in order to be ready. This is best presented by representing the saved as wise and foolish virgins. But in the parable these virgins are not the bride ; in the application they represent the two elements of the church.

Again, the bride is left out of the parable, yet the church is the bride or wife. (4) In our text the lesson is the joy of being prepared for that eternal home Jesus has prepared for his own. This is like the joy of a bride going to the home prepared for her. These are the lessons based upon marriage as a symbol, and must not be confused, for all of them are true. When this passage is used as proof that the church is not "married" to Christ now, the figures are jumbled and Romans 7:4 and Ephesians 5:22-32 are ignored.

In 2 Corinthians 11:2 Paul says, "For I espoused you to one husband." This is no contradiction of what has been said ; for, if obedience to the gospel is represented here as an espousal, it would only be another comparison with the natural marriage which would, in some way, be similar to the spiritual. It would not set aside any of the four mentioned, but just add a fifth, or another text to those given. The Revised text of Romans 7:4 gives "joined to another" instead of "married to another." But the illustration is marriage, and verses 2 and 3 are talking about being freed from, and joined to, a husband. Joined to Christ then means as a spiritual husband. It must be allowed that these verses so present the case or Paul has used language that does not mean what it says.

Fine linen, bright and pure.--As a bride adorns herself with fine linen, so Christians adorn themselves with "righteous acts."

Blessed are they.--That is, blessed are those bidden to the "marriage supper of the Lamb." Those bidden are those who have washed their robes in Christ’s blood (7:14), and are faithful unto death (2:10). Here again the saved are presented as guests at a feast; the idea of bride or wife is not in this verse, though mentioned in verse 7. "Marriage supper" clearly indicates the joys of heaven. Wedding feasts soon end ; the joys of heaven are eternal. The angel next asserts that what he said were the true words of God; a solemn confirmation of fact.

Fell down before his feet.--This was the customary way in showing great respect for a superior. John was overcome by the majesty of the scene and the deep significance of the words he heard, and gave way to this Eastern custom. The speaker, who doubtless was an angel, promptly forbade it on the ground that he was a fellow servant with John. As the papal church, symbolized by the harlot, worships saints, this incident may have occurred in the vision to teach that it is sinful to worship any creature. At least that is the lesson taught by it.

The spirit of prophecy.--The angel not only declared himself the fellow servant with John, but also "with thy brethren." In Revelation 22:9, a parallel assage, he says "with thy brethren the prophets." The meaning is that this angel held a similar position with John and other prophets in making known the will of God; that no one should worship a fellow servant. The angel then adds "worship God." The testimony to Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. That testimony is given by those endowed by the spirit, whether angels from heaven, prophets of old, or the apostles. They are servants; God is the object of worship.

Commentary on Revelation 19:7-10 by Foy E. Wallace

(2) The marriage supper of the Lamb—Revelation 19:7-10.

The symbolism expressed in the marriage of the Lamb of Revelation 19:7, signified the blessed union of the church with Christ, the Head. But the use of the symbol here did not signify that the church had not been thus related to Christ before this apocalypse. The apostle, in Romans 7:4, represented the marital union of Christ and the church as bringing forth the fruit of wedlock in spiritual offspring. If the marriage did not exist the fruit would be illegitimate. The marriage union of Christ and the church is not a single act or thing. Every union of a believer with Christ in baptism is marriage to Christ, and is representative of the whole relation.

This marriage occurs every time one is baptized into Christ, and it is therefore always in process and is continuous. The accentuation on the marriage to’ Christ in this context was due to the interference of the persecutions with gospel evangelization. Now, that the persecutors were overcome, conversions to Christ would again prevail; hence, the renewed symbol of marriage.

As the marriage itself is continuous, so must be the marriage supper, and it symbolized the continuous fellowship of all who are united to Christ; and it is as continuous as the baptism of believers and of the church itself. This part of the song of victory was based on the renewal of the interrupted fellowship of Christians by the afflictions and the tribulations of persecution.

The figurative clause his wife hath made herself ready was the symbol of victory over the evil forces of opposition --the verse declares that she was already his wife, and envisions the spiritual relation as a complete process, not as a single thing.

That the Lamb’s wife should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white was explained to be the righteousness of the saints, the purity of the New Jerusalem church in contrast with the iniquities of the harlot Jerusalem, which had gone up in the smoke of destruction forever. This attire of clean and white vestures was a beautiful symbol of the character of all who are truly joined in union with Christ. They were the ones called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb, the equal in number of all who were in the married relation with Christ. This metaphor comparable to the illustration of the wedding garment in the parable of Matthew 22:11-13, which was necessary to entrance into the feast; without which the intruder would have been cast out. The guests of the marriage feast were themselves the Bride in the parable, and parallel with they which are called unto the marriage supper in Revelation 19:9. They were equal in number with the church itself.

The angelic admonition in Revelation 19:9 for John to write was addressed personally to him, by the voice from the throne, not by an angel, and indicated the distinguished honor of being’ the recipient of the revelation of these things of such tremendous significance.

Having unfolded the visions in two parts, the closing scene of the second part put the emphasis on the state of blessed union with Christ of all who had overcome the trials and tribulations attending the fall of the harlot Babylon. Angels could have no higher or holier relation. The epilogue, these are the true sayings of God, meant that they were not mere words of John in visional narration, or of the angels; but they were the very words of God to the Seer; the directly inspired words of God.

In this connection it was twice repeated that, He saith unto me. The equivalent of these words occurs several hundred times in the Old Testament, and is repeatedly affirmed in the New Testament. The positive affirmation of this verbal inspiration is affirmed throughout all the scriptures; but has been marred and mutilated by the sacrilegious pseudo-translations of the perverted new versions. They have been advertised as new translations, but they are in fact no translations. They ruin Revelation as they do all other portions of the verbally inspired word of God.

The words of the angel hadimpressed John as a message direct from God; and verse ten stated that he fell at his feet to worship him. In bodily prostration John was about to worship the angel. But the angel refused the homage, saying, See thou do it not: I am a fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God. This testimony of Jesus had reference to the message of Revelation; and being a fellow servant with thy brethren was an expression of humility as expressed by John himself in Revelation 1:9.

The closing statement of this section, in Revelation 19:10, is: For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. The word spirit here does not signify the Holy Spirit, but rather the inner spirit, the vital element, the life and soul-the essence of the apocalypse was the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ to his servant John by his servants, the angels.

Commentary on Revelation 19:7-10 by Walter Scott


Revelation 19:7. — This great and grand event is the consummation of joy to Christ as man. It is not said the marriage of the bride, but the marriage of the Lamb. It is His joy that is specially in view; not ours. The marriage, of which no details are given, takes place in Heaven, and on the eve of the Lord’s Return in power, or the Appearing, several years at least subsequent to the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:1-18; John 14:3). The marriage is the disclosed secret of Ephesians 5:32. Not Israel, nor a remnant thereof, but the Church of the New Testament is the bride. Israel in her land was the wife of Jehovah (Jeremiah 3:14-20; Isaiah 54:1), but the wife was divorced because of her iniquity. Israel, however, is to be reinstated in Jehovah’s favour. But a divorced wife can never again be a virgin, and it is not a divorced wife but a virgin whom the Lord marries (Leviticus 21:14 : compare v. 13 with 2 Corinthians 11:2). Israel, moreover, has her place and blessing on the earth; the marriage of the Lamb is in Heaven, the Church’s proper home. The exclusively heavenly character of the scene forbids the application of it to Israel. (See remarks on Revelation 12:1-2; on Revelation 17:2 and footnotes in latter page.)

Of whom is the bride composed? We answer unhesitatingly, all saints embraced between these two epochs, i.e., Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47) and the Translation (1 Thessalonians 4:17). These events respectively mark the commencement and the termination of the Church’s sojourn on earth.

The twenty-four elders, the mystic representatives of the redeemed seen in Heaven immediately after the Translation (Revelation 4:1-11), are named for the last time in verse four of our chapter. We gather, therefore, that the moment has now arrived when the distinct body, the Church, the bride, first comes into view. The elders divide, so to speak, and the bride and guests take their respective places in the economy of Heaven. All up till now had one place. There are special blessings to the saints of this Dispensation (Matthew 11:11; Hebrews 11:40), and there are others common to all believers. Now in the course of the apocalyptic visions (Revelation 4:1-11 — 19: 4) no differences or distinctions of any kind appear amongst the elders. The term elders disappears as the various companies of saints take their allotted place in relation to the Lamb. The Church is the bride. The Church is imperishable because founded on the glory and dignity of Christ as Son of God (Matthew 16:18). His body, too, is the nearest of all to Him (Ephesians 1:23), as the bride is the dearest object to His heart and eye. He has loved the Church with a deathless and unchangeable love, a love ever active, and knowing no cessation till He presents her in glory to Himself (Ephesians 5:25-27). The Church has weathered many a storm, has longed for her heavenly Bridegroom through cloud and sunshine, has in conjunction with the Spirit on earth oft times cried to Him, the Bright and Morning Star, “Come” (Revelation 22:16-17). We who have had our place in the Father’s house, according to John 14:3, are about to be displayed in the kingdom as the bride and wife of the Lamb. What a moment of joy! His glory and joy exceedeth. (The presentation of the Church in glory to Himself (Ephesians 5:27) is a private matter, and precedes the public event, the marriage of the Lamb. The one is the corollary of the other.) More of the oil of gladness is poured upon His head than upon ours (Hebrews 1:9). Our place, our blessing, our gladness are wrapped up in His. “The marriage of the Lamb is come.” Then shall He Who died see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied.


Revelation 19:7His wife has made herself ready. In this connection the term bride would not be an appropriate one. Now there are two sorts of fitness, and the Church is the subject of both. First, God in the exercise of His sovereign grace makes one fit for heavenly glory, as we read, “Giving thanks unto the Father which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:12). Second, believers have to make themselves ready ere they enter on their eternal glory. That is, the story of earth has to be gone over again in the presence of Him Who is light. Our lives have to be reviewed at the bema of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). The light of the throne will be cast over and upon every moment of our lives, discovering the hidden, and bringing out the true character of act, word, and service. The enigmas of life will be explained, unsolved problems cleared up, and all mistakes and misunderstandings rectified. This, and more, is the application of the judgment seat of Christ to the heavenly saints, and precedes the marriage. “His wife has made herself ready.” The light of the throne has done its blessed work, bringing out into bold relief the whole story of her history on earth. What would it be if in glory we remembered one incident of a painful kind which had not been set right? The thought would be intolerable. But all will come out at the judgment seat as a matter between each saint and God. It will not be a public exposure before others. Nor must this be understood as signifying judicial judgment. All that has been settled on the Cross. We appear before the bema of Christ crowned and glorified, “raised in glory” (1 Corinthians 15:43), to have the light of the throne cast upon the past. What a mercy that it is so. We shall then pass from the bema with its searching light into the loved presence of the Lamb as His bride and wife for ever.


Revelation 19:8. — It was given to her to be clothed in fine linen, bright (and) pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints. The harlot was gorgeously arrayed, but her pomp, splendor, and ornaments were claimed as a matter of right. With the bride it is different; she is arrayed as a matter of grace. “It was given to her.” Undoubtedly there are rewards for service done, as Matthew 25:14-23 clearly show. “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love” (Hebrews 6:10). But it might be well for us to forget. He never will.

There is, however, another side to this question which should ever be borne in mind, namely, the sovereignty of God. His right it is to give or withhold. Many an eminent servant of God has made shipwreck of true life and service by neglect of the great balancing truth — God is sovereign. The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:1-46 shows the grace of God in rewards; whilst the parable of the householder in Matthew 20:1-34 is a demonstration of the sovereignty of God in giving to all alike, irrespective of toil or length of service.

The garment of pure linen in which the Vial angels are arrayed (Revelation 15:6) expresses the righteous character of their mission, which is one of judgment. (Both in the case of the angels and of the bride the clothing is linen; but of the latter it is added fine linen.” See remarks on Revelation 7:14, and on Revelation 15:5, with footnotes on both pages.) The fine linen, pure and lustrous, of the bride is her righteousness, or “righteous acts” (R.V.), done on earth. But she claims no merit, for these righteous acts were wrought by the power of the Holy Ghost in her. Later on we have the bride covered with the glory of God (Revelation 21:11); here her own righteousness, not God’s, is in question. The gaudy colors in which the harlot is arrayed present a sharp contrast to the pure, white, and bright linen of the bride. Her garments bespeak her practical character. She can now enter on the enjoyment of eternal companionship and union of the closest nature (that of wife) with her husband, the Lamb. Her deeds on earth have been appraised at their true value in Heaven. She is arrayed in them, or in the expressive words of our text, “has made herself ready.” She passes from the bema to the marriage, and from thence to the kingdom.


Revelation 19:9. — Write, Blessed are they who are called to the supper of the marriage of the Lamb. The bride and guests are clearly distinguished. The former is, of course, in more immediate relation to the Lamb. The bride is wed; the guests sup.

The angel, addressing the Seer, says, “Write.” This command, frequently repeated during the progress of the visions, marks the importance and speciality of the communication. “Blessed” are those called to the supper. This is not said of the bride. Her blessing, which is that of the highest order and character, is expressed in the simple words, bride and wife. What unspeakable joy is conveyed in these terms! But the guests are pronounced blessed. Who are they? We answer, the friends of the Bridegroom. But as the friends of the Bridegroom they enjoy a higher and dearer character of blessedness than they would if merely the friends of the bride. John the Baptist expressly tells us that he is a friend of the Bridegroom (John 3:29). The Baptist was martyred before the Church was formed, hence he comes in as perhaps the most honored of the guests at the marriage supper. Old Testament saints constitute the large company of called guests, each one being a friend of the Bridegroom, and rejoicing in His presence and voice. The apocalyptic martyrs are not raised till after the marriage, hence cannot be numbered amongst the guests. Angels may be spectators of the scene, but guests they cannot be. Angels are never spoken of in the way that these are. It is called a supper, perhaps in contrast to the subsequent supper of judgment (Revelation 19:17). The former is in connection with the Lamb and His joy; the latter is in relation to God and the judgment He executes on the ungodly — administratively by the Lamb and His heavenly saints.


Revelation 19:9. — These divine communications, whether spoken by an angel or seen in vision by John, have attached to them all the weight and authority of God Himself. These are the true words of God. (“Are the very truth of God, and shall veritably come to pass.” — Alford.) The basis of our faith is not conjecture, but the certainty that God has spoken. The truths thus divinely authenticated are those stated within the first nine verses of the chapter. Absolute certainty is of prime importance in these days when the dogmatism of belief in a divine revelation is considered to savour of a narrow and illiberal spirit. In old times God spake in the prophets; in New Testament times God has spoken in His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2, R.V.). How blessed, therefore, to have the confirmation of these grand and heart-gladdening truths from God Himself!


Revelation 19:10. — Evidently the Seer was overwhelmed by the exalted character of the communications vouchsafed to him; probably, too, the angel who appeared to him in vision was a too glorious object for mortal gaze. He fell before his feet to worship him,” not at his feet” as in the Authorized Version. But angels are jealous for the glory and rights of God. Homage may be rendered to a creature in superior position, but worship is the due of the Creator alone. The movement on the part of John was instantly checked, “See (thou do it) not.” To worship even the most exalted of God’s creatures is idolatry. Both angels and saints worship God and Christ, as this book abundantly testifies. On a second and subsequent occasion (Revelation 22:8-9) John was about to do so, and again prohibited by the angel.

Revelation 19:10 — “I am thy fellow-bondman. (Servants and slaves (bondmen) are distinguished. See Revelation 2:20; Matthew 22:13; for the latter see Romans 6:20; Revelation 1:1.) The angel and the apostle were fellow-servants, rather bondmen. As a slave is bound for life to the service of his master, so angels and saints are bound to the everlasting service of the blessed God — His glad and willing slaves. All intelligent creatures really stand on this ground. In the case of angels the right is founded on their creation and place; in that of saints on the ground of purchase and redemption (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Had the passage stopped with the angel’s declaration that he was a fellow-servant, or slave, with the apostle it might have been supposed that the highest in the Church (First apostles” (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11 : Revelation 21:14; Matthew 19:28).) could alone be so regarded. But angels who delight to serve are also fellow-bondmen with the brethren of John, who have, or keep, “the testimony of Jesus.” The testimony of Jesus in the Apocalypse is of a prophetic character, referring to His public assumption of governmental power to be displayed in the kingdom (see Revelation 1:2). If this passage, which has needlessly perplexed students, were read in connection with Revelation 12:17, where the same words occur, the difficulty would disappear. The godly remnant of Judah in the coming crisis “have the testimony of Jesus,” and surely we cannot fail, with the Psalter in our hands, to understand the character of that testimony, which in their circumstances is prophetic; they long, and sigh, and pray for the open and direct intervention of God on their behalf. The presence of the Messiah, His Advent for their deliverance, is the goal of hope. The direct address of the angel to John ends with the authoritative declaration, “Worship God,” a truth ever in season for Heaven and earth, for angels and men.

Commentary on Revelation 19:7-10 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 19:7. Marriage of the Lamb is come. The subject of marriage is spoken of in the Bible from two different angles, and unless this is understood we may think there are some contradictions. For instance, Christians are said to be married to Christ at the present time (Romans 7:4), and now our verse says the marriage is about to take place. In old times an engagement was regarded in the light of marriage as far as the moral obligation is concerned. That is why Genesis 19:14 speaks of the men who had "married his [Lot’s] daughters" when they were engaged to them. And in Matthew 1:18 it says that Mary was espoused to Joseph, while the next verse calls him her husband. So Christians are actually only espoused (engaged) to Christ now. That is why Paul says "I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2). But the actual marriage is what is meant in our verse. His wife bath made herself ready. This remark is based on the common practice that causes a woman to prepare her garments for the important occasion.

Revelation 19:8. This verse names the kind of raiment that is to be worn by the bride, namely, clean and white linen. Since that is figurative the apostle explains that it means righteousness, so the making of herself ready mentioned in the preceding verse, means she has followed a righteous life in preparation for her marriage.

Revelation 19:9. This will be one marriage and accompanying "refreshments" at which there will be no human guests but the bride. Hence the blessing pronounced on those who are called to the supper, means in reality the people should become a part of the espoused bride by becoming Christians. Before going further in the comments it will be well to make some explanatory remarks as to the "hour of the ceremony." Revelation 19:7 says the marriage is come, when we know we will find that the work of the Reformation is to be gone over again by the vision. There will be no difficulty if the reader recalls that the book has more than once departed from the chronological order of events to take up some other period of the Christian Dispensation. Hence these preceding verses brought us down to the last day and announced the final marriage of Christ to his bride (the church). The vision will now take up some principles of a general character, then bring us again to the work just preceding the Reformation.

Revelation 19:10. The pronouns his and him refer to the angel who was sent to show the vision to John (Revelation 1:1). It was natural for John to have this inclination toward worship of the angel, for the great vision shown made the apostle have a feeling of inferiority. There are some conditions when even a man may receive some form of wor ship from others (Luke 14:10), but under the present circumstances it would have been improper. The reader may see a complete explanation of the word worship at Matthew 2:2 in the first volume of the New Testament Commentary. I am thy fellowservant reminds us of Hebrews 1:14. Of thy us of Hebrews 1:14. Of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus. This is equivalent to describing the ones for whom the angels are sent forth to minister. To have the testimony does not merely mean to have access to it (everyone has that), but it is those who hold themselves faithfully to it. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. This means that the subject of Jesus as the Saviour of mankind is the main thought running through all the prophetic writings.

Commentary on Revelation 19:7-10 by Burton Coffman

Revelation 19:7

Let us rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us give the glory unto him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.


The marriage of the Lamb is come ... "The marriage feast is the day of the Lord’s Second Advent."[15] The figure of marriage to represent the relationship between the Lord and his people is often used in the New Testament, but in various analogies. In Matthew 22:1-4, the Christians are guests at the wedding. In Matthew 15:1 ff, they are certain of the bridesmaids. In 2 Corinthians 11:1-3, they are chaste virgins betrothed unto the Lord. In Ephesians 5:22-32 and in Romans 7:4, the analogy is that Christians are now married to the Lord. "When passages like this (Revelation 19:7) are pressed as proof that the church is not now married to the Lord, these figures are ignored."[16] Also, in this connection, it is exceedingly important to remember that the Jewish customs of marriage are those prominent in all of these usages. The betrothal, which often took place as much as a year before the actual marriage, was fully equivalent legally to the marriage itself; during this period of waiting, the bridegroom was absent preparing a place for the bride (as in John 14:1-13), and any infidelity upon her part was considered as adultery; then came the great day of the marriage supper when the bridegroom and the bride began to live together. These and other peculiarly Jewish customs are all prominent in the New Testament employment of this metaphor. "The marriage supper," here, comes after the long period of waiting is over, and the bride and the bridegroom are taking up life together. For further elaboration of this, see under the above references in this series of commentaries, also in my Commentary on Matthew, pp. 6-8.

And his wife hath made herself ready ... This verse shocks the "faith only" people, who at once "correct this" by the comment that she made herself ready "not by doing anything of her own," and pointing out that "it was given to her, given by the pure grace of God, that she be clothed."[17] We might add that, of course, God gave her the clothes, but she had to put them on! That is what is meant by making herself ready. The whole analogy is beautifully exhibited in Matthew 22:12, where the wedding guests (Christians) had all received proper wedding garments, but one of them neglected to dress himself, with disastrous results for him; and so it will be for all who neglect to do the good works of the Christian life, which are a moment later identified as the wedding garments. By putting these on, the bride "worked out her own salvation" (Philippians 2:12); in this way she made herself ready. All of the ingenuity of people who do not believe it will never be able to eliminate this plain teaching of the word of God. We also add that no one could possibly believe in the free grace of God any more than does this writer!

[15] James Moffatt, Expositor’s Greek New Testament, Vol. V (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), p. 464.

[16] John T. Hinds, op. cit., p. 266.

[17] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Revelation (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943), p. 542.

Revelation 19:8

And it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright and pure: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

For the linen is the righteous acts of the saints ... This clearly means that the righteous acts done by Christians are indeed the fine linen in which the bride must be arrayed. But are not these "given to her"? Yes, but not in any sense of her not having to do them. God gives his saints all kinds of righteous deeds through his holy commandments telling them what to do, and through the motivation to do them provided in the selfless example of our Blessed Lord. "The double nature of the process is here set forth, tit was given to her;’ the power came from God; and yet she arrays herself; the action is still voluntary."[18] "Righteous acts flow from a righteous character, which is entirely of the grace of God";[19] but the righteous deeds do not do themselves! They are not done by the believer’s faith, nor by the Holy Spirit, but they are done by the believer. Morris voiced a common view thus, "The white robes are not provided by any righteous acts on the part of the wearers,"[20] but this is true only in a certain limited sense. The metaphor of putting on the garments is also prominent here. The bride arrayed herself. "From one point of view, she made the dress herself; she worked out her own salvation."[21] The impact of this verse is so strong against the popular heresy of Solifidianism, that some of the commentators have reached for the explanation of last resort and called it "a gloss"! "It has the sound of some commentator’s explanation."[22] Of course, there is no evidence whatever of this verse being a gloss; and those who resort to such an allegation confess in so doing that it contradicts what they are teaching.

[18] A. Plummer, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 22, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 448.

[19] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Revelation (Chicago: Moody Press, 1968), p. 111.

[20] Leon Morris, Tyndale Commentaries, New Testament, Vol. 20, The Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969), p. 227.

[21] Michael Wilcock, I Saw Heaven Opened (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1975), p. 172.

[22] Isbon T. Beckwith, op. cit., p. 727.

Revelation 19:9

And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they that are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true words of God.

Blessed are they that are bidden ... All people are bidden in the sense of being invited by the gospel of Christ to accept the salvation of God; but, in the New Testament, the "called" means those who "have accepted and obeyed the call." "Bidden" means those who accepted God’s invitation through their believing and obeying the gospel.

These are the true words of God ... This may be understood as a solemn assurance that "all of the Scriptures" are the true words of God. There is no need to limit this to the invitation to the marriage supper; but that in itself encompasses the entire scope of God’s message to people in the Holy Scriptures.

Revelation 19:10

And 50fell down before his feet to worship him. And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren that hold the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

This incident recorded here is of vast importance and significance. The background of its appearance in the vision, or perhaps the reason for God’s giving this, may have been the tendency to worship angels which is said to have prevailed in some quarters in the primitive church. Moffatt, for example, quoted Clement of Alexandria as saying that, "angel worship had for some time fascinated the Asiatic churches here and there."[23] The impact of what is taught by this, however, far exceeds the bearing it has in forbidding angel worship.

And I fell down before his feet to worship him ... In this instance, John actually was so carried away by the marvelous visions that he had seen that he impetuously fell down to worship the glorious angel who had aided in the revelations. This, at once, was revealed as sinful.

And he saith unto me, See thou do it not ... This clearly indicated the sinfulness of what John did in falling down before him.

"I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren that hold the testimony of Jesus ..." This is exceedingly interesting, for it gives angelic testimony to the high rank of the apostle John. "They that hold the testimony of Jesus," as used here, is a reference to the Twelve Apostles. They alone, in the ultimate sense, held the testimony of Jesus; and that it is in that higher sense that the words were used here by the angel appears in the addition of the clause: "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." This forbids, therefore, understanding the brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus as merely the Christians of all ages who also, in a sense, are bearers of the glad tidings. The angel spoke of those Spirit-endowed people who were the chosen witnesses to bear the testimony through their writings in the New Testament to all generations. They were prophets; Christians are not prophets.

Even a glorious angel is merely one of God’s servants, and therefore not to be worshipped by people. Worship is reserved for God alone. The acceptance of the worship by people on the part of Christ does not mean that other people may accept the worship of their fellows, but it identifies Christ as God come in the flesh.

I am thy fellow-servant ... Regarding the "service" which angels give to the redeemed, see in my Commentary on Hebrews, p. 31.

Worship God ... This means that only God is to be worshipped, either by an act of obeisance, prostration, or bowing down before the presence, or by any subjective adoration, the latter being not "worship" in the New Testament sense, but the emotional accompaniment of it. See thorough discussion of what worship actually is in my Commentary on Acts 208-211. If even one of the glorious angels of heaven may not be honored by a Christian’s bowing before his presence, how much less may any religious prelate allow people to kiss his ring, or the hem of his garment, or prostrate themselves on their bellies as when the entire college of Cardinals so prostrate themselves before the Pope? Such reverence given to a mere human being is a sin.

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy ... We regret that the vast majority have failed utterly to understand this. "There is no way absolutely to determine whether John is speaking of the witness given by Christ himself, or whether the witness is about Christ."[24] Ladd thought that, "It is the witness borne by the church to Jesus."[25] Beasley-Murray interpreted it to mean the "testimony which Jesus gives."[26] All such explanations fall short. Bruce was nearer the truth when he wrote: "Here New Testament prophecy is meant, as in the similar statement regarding Old Testament prophecy in 1 Peter 1:10 f.[27] This harmonizes completely with our view of it given in the fourth paragraph under Revelation 19:10. We see this clause as a qualifier of those whom the angel meant were his fellow-servants. He spoke of the Twelve Apostles, and this verse indicates that meaning, for the apostles alone were truly "prophets" of the New Testament.

Barclay’s interesting comment on this is included here, not because it touches this vital meaning of the passage, but be cause it gives attention to the "double meaning" phenomenon often found in the New Testament.

This is the kind of double meaning of which the Greek language is capable; and it may well be that John intended the double meaning. The true prophet is the man who receives from Christ the message he brings to men, and whose words and works are at one and the same time an act of witness to Christ.[28]

We cannot accept the view that a true Christian, however effective his "witness," is in any sense a possessor of the "spirit of prophecy." The clause is a designator of the Twelve. We whole-heartedly agree with another of Barclay’s comments on this verse, thus, "God alone must be worshipped. Any other intermediary than Jesus Christ between God and men must be utterly opposed."[29] Angels are above all people, who are made a "little lower" than the angels; and, if it is sinful to worship an angel, how far greater is the sin of worshipping people, or of invoking their names in prayer, or of bowing down in the presence of images consecrated to them?

Zerr, who is usually quite dependable, cannot be correct in his notion that, "There are some conditions when even a man may receive some form of worship."[30] One commentator even suggested that John got mixed up and forgot about relating this incident when he included it a second time in Revelation 22:8-9; and even J. W. Roberts wrote: "This scene is duplicated in Revelation 22:6 ff."[31] No! This is not duplicated there, where a most important and significant difference will be pointed out and discussed.

[23] James Moffatt, op. cit., p. 465.

[24] James D. Strauss, op. cit., p. 237.

[25] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 251.

[26] G. R. Beasley-Murray, The Book of Revelation (Greenwood, South Carolina: The Attic Press, 1974), p. 276.

[27] F. F. Bruce, op. cit., p. 660.

[28] William Barclay, op. cit., p. 177.

[29] Ibid., p. 176.

[30] E. M. Zerr, Bible Commentary, Vol. 6 (Marion, Indiana: Cogdill Foundation, 1954), p. 339.

[31] J. W. Roberts, The Revelation of John (Austin, Texas: R. B. Sweet Company, 1974), p. 161.

Commentary on Revelation 19:7-10 by Manly Luscombe

7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” It is time to celebrate. This is not just a time to be happy. It is more than just a party. It is time to celebrate the marriage of the Lamb. The time for the marriage has come and the bride (church) has made herself ready for the wedding.


Some comments about the customs of the typical Jewish wedding of this era will be helpful. The comments here about the marriage feast and the marriage of the Lamb and his bride (the church) are based upon the custom of this time. There are at least four areas of importance.

1. Engagement. Coffman writes, “The betrothal, which often took place as much as a year before the actual marriage, was fully equivalent legally to the marriage itself; during this period of waiting, the bridegroom was absent preparing a place for the bride (as in John 14:1-13), and any infidelity upon her part was considered as adultery.” (5, 442) The church is the bride of Christ. We are engaged, and waiting for the wedding. (2 Corinthians 11:2)

2. Invitation. As the time of the wedding is approaching, the bride and groom invite many guests to come for the wedding. In Matthew 22:4; Matthew 22:9 the king is bidding many to come to the marriage. This is a parallel with Christians inviting people to come to the gospel.

3. Garments. As people come to the wedding, a garment is given. To make sure there not any uninvited guests, the king comes in and looks around to make sure all the guests are in their proper attire for the wedding. Those without the correct garment are removed. (Matthew 22:11) The parallel with the church is this: When we are baptized, we put off the garments of the flesh and put on the white garments. Our task to keep our white garment white and ready for the marriage.

4. Feast. We have been invited to the feast. This will take place in heaven. This will occur when the church, now waiting for the bridegroom to come, is taken to the home the groom is preparing. (John 14:3)

8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. The church, the true and faithful church, is dressed in fine linen. Their garment is clean, bright and white. There are many references to show that white is the color of purity and cleanliness. (Isaiah 1:18; Psalms 51:7; Daniel 12:10; Revelation 3:4-5; Revelation 3:18; Revelation 7:14). Jesus will not come to claim a bride that is dirty, unkempt and not ready. Christ is looking for spotless, wrinkle-free, pure white garments. (Ephesians 5:27). Each Christian received a white garment when they were baptized. How is your garment now? Is it wrinkled, soiled, or spotted? Is it still clean, unblemished and smooth? Do you look like you need to do some washing and ironing or do you look like you are ready to attend the marriage of the Lamb of God?

9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” Here is another of the seven beatitudes in the book of Revelation. There is a blessing pronounced on those who are called, accepted, and ready to attend the marriage supper. This supper is not the Lord’s Supper or communion, which Christians observe to remember the death of Christ. This is the celebration of the wedding. It takes place when Jesus comes for his ready and waiting bride.

10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” John began to worship the angel bringing this announcement. The angel instructs John to get up. Angels are not to be worshipped. They worship God. So should we. Cornelius began to worship Peter. He was told to stand up. Peter is also a man. (Acts 10:26) Our Lord is God and we are to worship Him only. The angel here is also a fellow servant, along with the brethren. (See 1:9)

Verses 11-16

Rev 19:11-16


Revelation 19:11-16

11 And I saw the heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and he that sat thereon called Faithful and True; --In 18:1 to 19:10 we have a most vivid picture of the final overthrow of evil under the symbol of Babylon. In this paragraph John is allowed to see a vision describing the Lord’s victorious army in this last struggle. This is not a new and later event, but a pictorial representation of the Lord’s part in the one just described. In this book we are frequently brought back to events already related for the purpose of giving additional information.

The white horse, as we have already seen, is a symbol of successful or victorious warfare. See notes on Revelation 6:2. Faithful and true are characteristics of Christ (1:5; 3:14), and, in connection with other expressions in this paragraph, make it certain that the rider on the horse represents him. But for reasons given in the notes on Revelation 6:2 the rider there is not Christ. These texts then are not parallel.

and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.--The prophets declared that "righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins." (Isaiah 11:5.) His decisions will all be just and his warfare in defense of the truth always right.

12 And his eyes are a flame of fire, and upon his head are many diadems; --His eyes were sharp, piercing, and bright, indicating his power to penetrate and see every object. He had on his head, not the "crown"--victor’s wreath--but the "diadem" --symbol of his regal authority. "Many" diadems indicate the universal nature of his rule, and the complete victory he was to gain over all in the last conflict. This idea is expressed more fully in verse 16.

and he hath a name written which no one knoweth but he himself.--John saw the name, for it was written, but where it was written is not stated. No one knew it means that no one could understand what it signifies. It probably is the same as the "new name" (Revelation 2:17), which will be given those who overcome, and therefore will not be known till the final state is reached. This implies that it expresses some heavenly relationship which men in the flesh cannot understand.

13 And he is arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood:--The King James Version has the word "dipped" in place of "sprinkle." This is a matter of textual criticism, and the Revisers have decided in favor of "sprinkle" as the correct reading. Some expositors explain this as referring to the blood shed in the last war, some of which would be sprinkled on the garment of the victorious rider of the white horse. This would indicate that the last conflict would be a destructive victory over the Lord’s enemies. Others think the reference is to the shed blood of Christ through which he will gain the final overthrow of wickedness. If this is the reference, the word "sprinkle" is still appropriate. Peter speaks of the "sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:2.) As the first covenant was dedicated by the sprinkling of blood (Hebrews 9:18-20), so the new covenant by the blood of Christ, figuratively called the "blood of sprinkling" (Hebrews 12:24) because that was the literal way the blood of animals was applied.

and his name is called The Word of God-Some commentators think this cannot be the same as the name mentioned in verse 12 or the new name of Revelation 2:17, for the reason that this one had already been given and could not therefore be "new." To this others reply that it is not known by man in the sense that no one can fully comprehend its meaning--that is, no one can understand the full import of God’s Son being called the "Word." Of course this is true in fact, and may be the correct view of the expression, though hardly probable. See verse 12.

14 And the armies which are in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and pure.--We should remember that the text describes what John saw in the vision; what it represents is another matter. There are two important questions regarding this heavenly army: (1) Who are included in it? (2) What part will they take in the conflict? Without doubt the passage refers to the coming of Christ and the last struggle between sin and righteousness. Some think this army will be composed of angels only and base their conclusion on Matthew 16:27; Matthew 25:31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7. Others think it includes the martyrs and means the same as those mentioned in Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 14:1-5; Revelation 20:4. Still others think this army will include the redeemed saints as well as those martyred. It should be observedthat this army clothed in white linen has no implements of war, which indicates that they are present as witnesses, not as actual fighters. There will be no fighting in the ordinary sense of that word, for all the wicked people in the world are no match for divine power. Under the withering touch of divine power 185,000 in the Assyrian army perished in one night without the touch of human hands. (2 Kings 19:35.) So the almighty power of Jesus, when he comes, will destroy Satan’s army--a victory sudden and complete. The angelic hosts of heaven will be present to rejoice.

15 And out of his mouth proceedeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations:--Jesus said his kingdom was not to be defended with a carnal sword. (John 18:36.) Paul declares that Christians fight with the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:17.) The thing that proceeds from the mouth means words. God’s words are even sharper than a literal sword. (Hebrews 4:12.) From all this it is evident that smiting with the sword in this emblem represents the victory Christ will gain by his word. As the worlds were created by the word of God, so by the word of Christ wickedness will be banished. This agrees perfectly with Paul’s statement that when Jesus comes he will slay the lawless one ("man of sin") with "the breath of his mouth." (2 Thessalonians 2:8.) Not carnal bloodshed; but Christ will speak the word and divine power will do the rest. This text shows that wicked nations will be here when Jesus comes else there would be none for the Lord to smite.

and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty.--Ruling with a rod of iron means in strict justice, whether in imparting favors or in inflicting punishment. This thought is expressed a number of times. (Psalms 2:7-9; Revelation 2:27; Revelation 12:5.) The setting of the expression in this text shows that it means a just reward to the wicked. The preceding expression speaks of "smiting the nations," and the following one says that he will tread the wine press of God’s wrath. Verses 17-21 show that the "winepress" of God’s wrath refers to the final punishment of the wicked, a scene pictured in Judges 1:14-15. The meaning is that as the treader presses out the wine from the grapes, so Jesus will inflict the fierceness of God’s wrath against the wicked, but with absolute justice.

16 And he hath on his garment and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.--Seeing this title written upon the garment further identifies the rider of the white horse as Christ. Just as the kingdom (mountain of the Lord’s house) is above or greater than all other kingdoms (Isaiah 2:2), so Christ’s position as King is superior to all other kings. Legally and rightly that has been his position since he took his seat (throne) at God’s right hand. (Ephesians 1:19-23; Acts 2:36.) This symbol represents him as still having that authority when he comes to execute God’s wrath upon the wicked.

Commentary on Revelation 19:11-16 by Foy E. Wallace

(3) The vision of Christ the conqueror—Revelation 19:11-16.

After the symbolic Babylon, the Sodom-Egypt, apostate harlot-Jerusalem had been utterly overthrown; the temple demolished and Judaism removed; and the Jewish state terminated; all that Jerusalem represented no longer existent--then the visions of Revelation turned to the ‘victory of the church over heathenism. The visions of this conflict were presented in the language of high symbols, and there is danger of literalism in their application.

In Revelation 19:11-14, a name was given to the Rider of the white horse; he was called Faithful and True. He was the Christ himself, leading the procession of triumph, with a heavenly army consisting of the legion of martyrs and overcomers of persecution, to wage war against Caesar-worship and heathenism. With him in this glorious war of Christ against idolatry were the chosen faithful who shared the triumph of the procession of victory.

He was identified as the same Rider of the white horse in Revelation 6:2; then going forth to conquer, but now in procession of victory over the emperial persecutors; to judge andmake war against all heathenism. This war was to be waged by the sharp sword which proceeded out of his mouth--that is, a war on the heathen minions by the word of God, the two-edged sword of Hebrews 4:12, and the sword of the Spirit of Ephesians 6:17. His descriptions were put in symbols of a royal and ruling conqueror, which compared with the array of the Son of man in the midst of the seven churches in Revelation 1:13-16. The vestures of the Rider were dipped in blood, an imagery of the battle with the persecuting beasts who had slain the martyrs and had shed the blood of the saints. With the heavenly army Christ, the Rider, subsequent to the extermination of Judaism, was seen marching against the strongholds of heathenism.

In Revelation 19:12 it is stated that the Conqueror had a second name--a name written which no man knew, but he himself--which indicated the things of God and Christ unrevealed to me. It compares with the statement of Jesus in Matthew 11:27 : “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” Jesus Christ alone has “a name above every name,” which signifies a power over heaven and earth that no one can know but Himself --the sole owner of the name and the one possessor of the inherent power of the undefined and unrevealed name.

In Revelation 19:13, the Rider was called by a third name --The Word of God. The Word was not a name without significance. The same John of the apocalypse referred to the Son of God as the Word in the gospel of John l:1-14. The word is the vehicle of conveying thoughts--and Jesus Christ was the full and complete expression of God’s will to man; the beginning and the end of all revelation; hence, his title The Word. The name The Word Of God, signifies the armament of the warfare in which he was in this vision to engage--it was the conflict of Christianity with heathenism, and the truth was the weapon against all error.

In Revelation 19:14 the armies that followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were the overcomers of the tribulation--redeemed from the period of persecution. In Revelation 19:15 it was declared that the Rider would smite the nations and rule them with a rod of iron. The process of this smiting was indicated in God’s commission to Jeremiah, Jeremiah 1:10 : “See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” In the Revelation text the phrases, smite the nations and rule them with a rod of iron, were symbolic of the impact of the gospel on the heathen world.

This inherent power and force of Christianity was prophesied in Psalms 2:1-3 : “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

The psalm prophecy is quoted by the apostle Peter in Psalms 2:1-3 with this application of the effect of preaching Christ to the heathen world. The ruling with a rod of iron referred to the inexorable character of the law of Christ--the invincible word of God. The treading of the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of God was the symbol of the execution of the inflexible judgment of retribution. And in Revelation it was Almighty God, the supreme Judge of all men, who should formulate the sentence and render the judgment against the heathen nations.

In Revelation 19:16 a fourth name was inscribed on the Rider--King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This was the highest title to be conferred. It symbolized the position and power over all kings and rulers of all rank in the heathen world, all of whom must yield to the invincible Word of God. This stage of the vision was in repetition of Revelation 11:15 : The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ. It was the sublime apocalypse of the conquering Lord, and his victorious church. The conquest of “the kingdoms of this world” was spiritual, not literal; and it was to be accomplished by the spread of the gospel and expansion of Christianity over the heathen world, as stated in Matthew 24:31 and as prophesied in the second Psalm.

The names and insignia attached to the Rider comport with the Psalm prophecy and with all the divine offices of the Christ Rider. His insignia were: the white horse, the diadems, the blood-dipped garments, the flaming eyes, and the inscribed name, unknown to men. His divine works were: to judge, to wage war, to smite with a verbal sword, to tread the winepress of God’s wrath, and to rule with the inflexible iron rod of the inexorble law of the Christ.

Commentary on Revelation 19:11-16 by Walter Scott


(Revelation 19:11-21).


Revelation 19:11-16. — “And I saw the Heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and One sitting on it (called) Faithful and True, and He judges, and makes war in righteousness. And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head many diadems, having a Name written, which no one knows but Himself. And (He is) clothed with a garment dipped in blood; and His Name is called the Word of God. And the armies which (are) in the Heaven followed Him upon white horses, clad in white, pure, fine linen. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He might smite the nations; and He shall rule them with an iron rod; and He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. And He has upon His garment and upon His thigh a Name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.

The remaining portion of the chapter to which we have given the general title, Heaven Opened, naturally divides into three parts: (1) the mighty Monarch and His victorious armies (Revelation 19:11-16); (2) the call to the ravenous birds of prey to feed upon the slain, to partake of “the great supper of God” (Revelation 19:17-18); (3) the complete overthrow and destruction of the opposing army, the leaders consigned alive to the lake of fire, and their followers slain (Revelation 19:19-21).

The special scene before us (Revelation 19:11-16) is one of surpassing interest. We have had many and varied displays of Christ, for the whole book is more or less about Him, while all for us “upon whom the ends of the ages are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11, R.V.). But the present vision in its character and far-reaching results is second to none. It is unique. We have not here the Lamb enthroned as in Revelation 5:1-14, but the Warrior-King great in victorious, all-conquering power. Before Christ, as here described, the hosts of earth shall quail, and the stout hearts of the mighty stand appalled; but that sight of sights is a gladdening one to saints, for they know Him. The King and Judge is their everlasting Friend.



Revelation 19:11. — I saw the Heaven opened. This book is full of heavenly action. The scenes in Heaven as witnessed by the Seer are numerous and diversified. Voices heard, songs sung, angels and glorified saints seen, elders and the living creatures bowed in worship, thrones, crowns, robes, harps, books, and more, tell of the happiness and ceaseless activity of Heaven’s inhabitants. Glimpses into Heaven we have had, but Heaven itself opened is a grand and overpowering sight. In the opening of the heavenly section of the book (Revelation 4:1-11) we read, “I saw, and behold, a door opened in Heaven.” How much greater the astonishment of the Seer as he beholds, of course, in vision Heaven itself opened, not simply an opened door for admission. This action is in keeping with the magnificent pageant — the triumphal procession out of Heaven. A door opened in Heaven was for the Seer to pass in. Heaven opened was for the heavenly armies to pass out. Four times do we read in the New Testament of the heavens being opened (Matthew 3:16; John 1:51; Acts 7:56; Revelation 19:11), and on each occasion in connection with Christ. Two of these instances are past, two are future. His moral glory in humiliation called for it. His manifested glory above demands it. The holy Jerusalem is seen in a subsequent vision descending out of Heaven (Revelation 21:9), but it is not said Heaven is then opened for egress; it is opened once, and that is enough.



Revelation 19:11 — The first part of the description beheld by the Seer was a white horse,” the symbol of victorious power. (See notes on Revelation 6:2, page 148, and footnote.) The horseman who guides and controls bears the mystic name of “Faithful and True.” Others may in measure be characterised by these qualities, but Christ alone can be so designated without qualification. He is in His Person and ways the perfect embodiment of these attributes.(*See notes on Revelation 15:3, and on Revelation 21:5.) Faithful in the performance of every promise and every threat, while every word and act bears the stamp of absolute truth.

Revelation 19:11He judges and makes war in righteousness. He comes to settle the destinies of the world for a thousand years. He is not only the mighty Warrior, but He judges the world as well as conquers it. God “hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man Whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men in that He hath raised Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). The appointed day is about to dawn, and the ordained Man is before us as the Commander of the hosts of Heaven. This is no iniquitous war; it is not one undertaken for love of conquest, nor for enlargement of territory. The judging is named before the warring, because all is done intelligently. The war and its issues are wisely directed. Righteousness is characteristic of Him as Judge and as Warrior.

Revelation 19:12His eyes are a flame of fire. In Revelation 1:14 and Revelation 2:18, of Christ it is said His eyes are as a flame of fire,” but here the as of comparison is omitted (R.V. and other authorities). “His eyes are a flame of fire;” that is the divine omniscience which observes all and searches out every hidden evil, and the piercing judgments which He executes are characteristic attributes of Him in the earlier notices, whereas in our text they are in exercise. The action is here more intense.

Revelation 19:12Upon His head many diadems. Crowns and diadems are distinguished. (See remarks on Revelation 12:3, and on Revelation 13:1.) The saints in Heaven have crowns (Revelation 4:4; Revelation 4:10), the expression of their royal dignity, but on the head of Christ rest diadems, denoting His absolute and supreme authority. The dragon has on his seven heads diadems (Revelation 12:3), and the Beast has diadems on his ten horns (Revelation 13:1). Thus both the dragon and the Beast affect supreme authority. There is but One Who can be entrusted with the exercise of absolute authority and dominion, and He is the Son of Man (Psalms 8:1-9). Seven diadems on the dragon, and ten on the Beast; but many upon the head of the conqueror Christ denote that every form and kind of government is vested in Him. The Authorizsed Version fails to distinguish between the symbols “crown” and “diadem;” the Revised Version, however, supplies the omission.

Revelation 19:12Having a Name written which no one knows but Himself. There are certain divine names as God, Jehovah, Jesus, Christ, Lord, etc., which severally express the divine Being in a certain relation to His creatures. But here is a name not revealed. There is that in Christ — ever was and ever will be — which no name can express. The Son in the fulness of His divine nature can alone be known by the Father (Matthew 11:27). Christ ever carries in Himself the knowledge of who and what He was and is.

Revelation 19:13. — Clothed with a garment dipped in blood. (It seems absurd to apply the “garment dipped in blood” to the blood of the Cross, as many do. The Lord is here viewed on a mission of judgment, not one of grace. The blood is not His own, but that of His enemies. The context clearly determines the sense.) This striking and impressive figure proclaims His vengeance in judicial dealing with the opposing hosts of apostate Europe who have come out to do battle with the Lamb. In Isaiah 63:1-4 we witness the triumphant return from the land of Edom, and from its capital city Bozrah, of the Lord with vengeance in His heart and His garments and vesture stained with the blood of His enemies, but here His garment dipped in blood is witnessed ere He enters on the conflict, a sure token that righteous vengeance shall be meted out to the full upon the gathered hosts under their two great chiefs, the Beast and the False Prophet,

Revelation 19:13. — His Name is called the Word of God. Of the eight sacred writers of the New Testament, John is the only one who applies this title to Christ. As the Word He represents and expresses God in His Being, character, and works. He is ”The Word of Life (1 John 1:1), as being in His Person and ways its living embodiment. He is termed “The Word of God,” as perfectly expressing Him in judgment. As the WORD He has personal, independent, eternal existence (John 1:1-2); and as the WORD He is the maker of all things (John 1:3). He is the Revealer of God, the ONE Who makes Him known. Our words ought to be the exact expression of what we are; the words of Christ were the absolute expression of what He ever is (John 8:25). As the WORD He reveals God in His essential nature as light and love, and as the only begotten Son” He declares the Father. The first without the second would have left a huge blank, for the heart craves for a known and enjoyed relationship. God is our Father.

The title here used of Christ has peculiar significance in this connection. It is God Who is here seen roused to action. His very nature demands the judgment of those who on earth madly attempt to thwart His purpose to set His Son as King on Mount Zion and put into His hands earth’s government. Christ, “The Word of God,” is the absolute expression of God in the scene of judgment about to take place.


Revelation 19:14. — The armies in Heaven follow their renowned Leader on “white horses,” for His victory is their victory, and His triumph their triumph. These armies represent the heavenly saints, those of Old Testament times and those comprising the bride. Each one is arrayed in robes which bespeak personal righteousness, which tell of personal struggle here in doing right, in maintaining the rights of God in the midst of a scene of contrariety and opposition to God and Christ. The clothing of the bride (Revelation 19:8) is the clothing of each of the militant hosts (Revelation 19:14). The armies in Heaven which triumphantly follow Christ and swell His train are not angels, but saints. What a military spectacle is here presented! These armies of saints in Heaven follow their Captain. He goes first, and heads the triumphing hosts. We have here the fulfilment of Enoch’s prophecy uttered more than five thousand years ago, but alone recorded in Jude’s epistle, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints” (Judges 1:14). Zechariah (Zechariah 14:5) writes of the same Coming, but to deal with the powers opposed to the Jews, whereas the apocalyptic scripture reveals as the first object of judgment the nations opposed to the Lamb. Angels, too, follow in the train and swell the triumph of the Lord (Matthew 16:27; Matthew 25:31; Hebrews 1:6). Triumphant power (white horses) is put forth on the day when the wrath of the Lamb is so awfully expressed. The statement of the armies in Heaven following Christ in His career of righteous war is an interruption to the general description of Christ which is now resumed. The war itself is merely mentioned (Revelation 19:19), but the personal description of the great Captain of our salvation is lengthily dwelt upon. We delight to hear Him well and much spoken of. (“The description of the battle is as remarkable for its brevity as that of Christ is for its length; quite naturally, as there can properly be no sustained conflict against Him who slays with the breath of His mouth.” — Hengstenberg.)


Revelation 19:15. — Next we hear of the only offensive weapon amongst the militant, heavenly hosts, a sharp sword.” The armies have no weapons, they need them not, for the battle is the Lord’s. “Out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He might smite the nations.” (In Revelation 1:16 and Revelation 2:12, the sword is said to be not only sharp, but “two-edged.” Many authorities insert the word in the text of Revelation 19:15, but it is a doubtful reading.) The reference is to Isaiah 11:4. He speaks as He did in the garden when His enemies fell to the ground (John 18:5-6). His Word at once smites and slays. The power is irresistible. No carnal weapon is in question, but a destructive power more terrible in its effects than any weapon forged by human skill — the spoken Word of the Lord.

Revelation 19:15. — He shall rule them with an iron rod. The second Psalm is evidently before the writer in this glorious description of almighty power. The stern and inflexible rule exercised over the rebellious nations is intimated in the firm unyielding rod of iron. “He shall rule,” that is, govern (Revelation 12:5). Our association with Him in His government of the world (Psalms 149:6-9), and judgment of His foes, in no wise clashes with the truth in our text, “He shall rule them with an iron rod.” It is His work, and He is invested with plenitude of power to do it. The determined will of the nations must be broken and their power shivered to atoms.

Revelation 19:15He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. This is not the figure of the harvest in which the good is separated from the bad, but the vintage which is unsparing vengeance on evil, on religious evil developed into apostasy (Revelation 14:17-20). (See remarks on the “winepress,” Revelation 14:20.) There are three symbols of judgment in Revelation 19:15. (1) A sharp sword for immediate, judicial punishment, probably death. (2) A rod of iron for righteous, inflexible government. (3) The winepress of wrath for the guiltiest of all. This latter is the expression of “extremest wrath.” The Almighty God is roused. “Vengeance is Mine,” saith the Lord. Again, the personal pronoun marks off the judgment as the work of the Lord alone. “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the peoples there was none with Me” (Isaiah 63:3). (The armies in Heaven are not said to be associated with Christ when He bathes His sword in Idumea, but they are in His victory over the Beast. In the act of taking vengeance the Lord is alone, whether in Idumea or amongst the gathered European apostate nations, but in sessional judgment His heavenly saints take part, as the promise to the overcomer in Thyatira shows (Revelation 2:26-27). On certain powers the Jews take part in the execution of judgment (Zechariah 9:13; Zechariah 12:6; Zechariah 14:14; Isaiah 11:14).)

Revelation 19:16. — This lengthened description closes with a grand assertion of His glory, He has upon His garment and upon His thigh a Name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords. (“He is publicly, officially, and intrinsically King of kings and Lord of Lords.” — “Synopsis of the Books of the Bible,” vol. 5, p. 635, Morrish ed.) His garment, His outward character and ways as beheld by others, bears the title expressive of universal dominion. Instead of the sword on the thigh (Psalms 45:3), the Name here mentioned is written on it. The sword is in His mouth; the Name on the thigh. There one would naturally look for the sword, instead of which they read the pre-eminent dignity of Christ as Monarch of all who reign; and Lord of all lesser ruling authorities. In Revelation 17:14 the same titles are applied to the Lord; there, however, stated in inverse order, “Lord of lords” preceding “King of kings.” No pen can do justice in the attempt to set forth the glorious Personage of these verses. In the interpretation of symbol and literal statement care is needed, but there is no real difficulty. Seize upon the circumstance, the occasion, and the reason of war; that actual peoples on earth are found in open, daring, armed rebellion against the authority of God, whether exercised morally or governmentally; further, that the nations on earth and the saints issuing from Heaven are literal armies, and in purpose, aims, and projects opposed. The foregoing considerations may help one out of the vague and uncertain into what is real and about to happen, and in which we all shall have our part.

Commentary on Revelation 19:11-16 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 19:11. White horse symbolizes a war animal that is to engage in a war for purity. The rider was Christ who is described as Faithful and True. That is because the war in which He is about to engage (the Reformation) is a righteous one.

Revelation 19:12. Eyes of fire would signify that which is bright and penetrating. Many crowns. Actually no king wears more than one crown as far as the article as a unit is concerned, but in some way the ornamentations on it showed that Christ had won over all others. Name no man knew does not indicate some dark or mysterious secret, for Revelation 19:16 gives a great description of His name as written on his clothing. But no mere man can appreciate the name of Christ until he becomes His disciple.

Revelation 19:13. Vesture dipped in blood is because Christ shed his blood for the sake of mankind. The Word of God is the name which all men can read and hence is not a secret, but they cannot realize what it means unless they appropriate that name to themselves by wholehearted obedience to its commandments. (See the name at John 1:1.)

Revelation 19:14. This is a symbolic picture of the war that is about to be fought against the beast that has been defying Heaven’s authority for 1260 years.

Revelation 19:15. The sharp sword is the sword of the Spirit(Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). Smite the nations with this Word by the work of the Reformation. Rule with a rod of iron. Iron is both firm and severe, and it will be used in the latter sense against the wicked nations who have been supporting Babylon. Treadeth the winepress is explained at Revelation 14:10.

Revelation 19:16. King of kings and Lord of lords. King indicates supreme authority and lord means one who governs the conduct of others. Jesus was given these two titles because He had overcome all who opposed him. Having the title attached to his vesture (clothing) was on the principle of decorations given men who have distinguished themselves in the service of their country.

Commentary on Revelation 19:11-16 by Burton Coffman

Revelation 19:11

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

A white horse, and he that sat thereon called Faithful and True ... This seems to be one of the few places in Revelation where all the opinions meld into one. This is a description of the Lord Jesus Christ. We also identify him with the rider of the white horse in the first seal (Revelation 6:2). It is objected that those seals are judgments; but what is the scene here if it is not a judgment, not merely a judgment, but the final and last judgment? The judgment in the seals (Revelation 6:2) was due to the preaching of the truth, an odor of life to some, death to others; and this judgment is the final and total execution of the judgment determined by the preaching of the gospel, which always results in the salvation of some and the rejection of others, and culminates in the wicked being overthrown as in this judgment.

The dark scenes of the balance of this chapter are objected to by many who find what they call their "Christian sensibilities" offended. They say this contradicts the conception of a gracious and merciful Christ; but such views are simply incorrect. "Everywhere in the New Testament, the element of victory through judgment is an inescapable aspect of Christ’s total work."[32]

The warfare now to be described must be understood as that which is taking place between the hosts of Christ and Satan throughout the period of the world’s existence.[33]

We reject the type of slander of this part of Revelation which declares that, "There is little or nothing that is specifically Christian in the whole section."[34] People with such views have merely overlooked the New Testament doctrine of judgment. Even Roberts overlooked the judgment here, thinking that John "expected a thousand year reign of the saints before the end of the world and the judgment."[35] He and so many others overlooked the recapitulatory nature of these chapters (Revelation 18; Revelation 19, and Revelation 20). It is true, of course, that the 1,000 years’ reign comes before the judgment, as the recapitulation in the next chapter shows. But the judgment here in this chapter is exactly the same as the judgment there. "This chapter does not give us a picture of the millennial age"[36] in Any sense of its being any different from the rest of the Christian dispensation. The chapter is a view of the whole "millennial age," the "forty two months," the "one thousand two hundred and sixty days," etc., all of which are synonyms, symbolical representations of the total time between the two Advents of Christ, covering exactly the same time-period as that already covered in this prophecy, again, and again, and again.

Keep in mind that Revelation 18 gave the overthrow of the harlot; this chapter gives the overthrow of the beast (in his phase of the ten kings, the final phase, that of the eighth head); and the next chapter (Revelation 20) gives the overthrow of Satan (the dragon). These three: the dragon (Satan), the sea-beast (world persecuting governments), and the harlot (the land-beast, also the false prophet), are the three great enemies of Christianity depicted in Revelation. Their destruction in these three chapters occurs in exactly the reverse order of their appearance in the prophecy (beginning at Revelation 12:1); and despite their overthrow being related in separate chapters and separate recapitulations, "All three go down together:"[37] They are all three destroyed simultaneously in the final judgment, and shall continue "alive" and active until the very last day of time.

The circumstance that each is revealed in a separate vision should not lead us to think that there is an interval of centuries, either between their appearances (or their overthrow). In reality, all perish together by the Parousia of the Lamb.[38]

[32] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 151.

[33] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 449.

[34] James Moffatt, op. cit., p. 466.

[35] J. W. Roberts, op. cit., p. 158.

[36] James William Russell, op. cit., p. 650.

[37] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 547.

[38] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 547,548.

Revelation 19:12

And his eyes are a flame of fire, and upon his head are many diadems; and he hath a name written which no one knoweth but he himself.

And his eyes are a flame of fire ... The glorious appearance of Christ here recalls the first vision of him with which the prophecy opened (Revelation 1). The flaming eyes suggest purity, truth, and omniscience.

Many diadems ... The vast and eternal authority of Christ as set forth in Matthew 28:18-20 is symbolized by these.

Name ... which no man knoweth but he himself ... There are two excellent interpretations of this, either one of which, or both of which, may be correct. "The unknown name of Christ comports with the fact that his nature, his relationship to the Father, and even his relationship to humanity, transcend all human understanding."[39] Barclay thought it might be, "The sacred tetragrammaton, the sacred YHWH, the unpronounceable, unknown name of God."[40] The status of Christ as God in the New Testament makes this altogether reasonable and logical. The sacred Hebrew word for God is still not known to any man; and it would be appropriate enough applied to Christ.

[39] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 280.

[40] William Barclay, op. cit., p. 180.

Revelation 19:13

And he is arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood: and his name is called the Word of God.

Garment sprinkled with blood ... The imagery of this is thought to reflect the figure of the winepress in Isaiah 63, but there the blood was the blood of the Lord’s enemies. As Caird pointed out, "The Rider’s garment is already soaked in blood before the battle begins."[41] Some point out that Christ has already won many victories before the one pointed out here; but we seem to be compelled to seek the meaning symbolized by the bloodstains in that eternal victory of the Cross, where the enabling victory of all that came afterwards was achieved. "His garment is dipped in blood because Christ shed his blood for mankind."[42]

And his name is called the Word of God ... "This is a title of Christ used only by the apostle John (John 1:1; John 1:14,1 John 1:1; 1 John 5:7)."[43] The apostle is thus linked with all three writings.

[41] G. B. Caird, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), p. 242.

[42] E. M. Zerr, op. cit., p. 340.

[43] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, op. cit., p. 112.

Revelation 19:14

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

And the armies which are in heaven followed him ... Any literalism here, as in most of the prophecy, is impossible. We agree with Pieters that this does not symbolize Christians. "It is an idea alien to the Scriptures to speak of Christians going forth again to wage war on evil, after attaining a heavenly rest."[44] The Lord never depicted his sheep as organized in a campaign of destruction directed against the wolves! "The armies which are in heaven must be angelic armies."[45] This also corresponds to the oft-repeated mention of a host of holy angels participating in the final judgment (Matthew 13:41; Matthew 13:49,2 Thessalonians 1:7). The undeniable identification of the last part of this chapter with the final judgment is inherent in the makeup of this vast army. Caird thought these were Christians,[46] and Rist identified them as "the martyrs";[47] but such views impose great difficulty in fitting them logically into the entire vision.

[44] Albertus Pieters, op. cit., p. 204.

[45] Ibid.

[46] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 265.

[47] Martin Rist, The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. XII (New York-Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1950), p. 514.

Revelation 19:15

And out of his mouth proceeded 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 of the wrath of God, the Almighty.

And out of his mouth proceeded a sharp sword ... Again, all voices agree as one in seeing this as a symbol of the word of God (Hebrews 4:12-13; Ephesians 6:17 f).

With it he should smite the nations ... rule them with a rod of iron ... These are not references to the merciful and benign reign of Christ through his saints on earth in the present dispensation, but to the final wrath and judgment of God upon the ungodly.

He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God ... This tells what Christ is depicted as doing in this scene. It is a picture of final judgment. "All three of the figures in this verse are representations of the word of Christ, by which he executes with indisputable authority the judgment of God."[48] No "battle" of any kind takes place here. The so-called Battle of Armageddon, as usually conceived, is nothing but man’s imagination. Christ needs no armies, whether of angels, or anyone else. His word which hurled the suns in space will execute his will when the time comes. To be sure, the language here suggests Armageddon, the great spiritual conflict going on throughout history, the results of which will be announced and executed on the last day. Note that there is no fighting or conflict of any kind in view here. At the moment of this vision, the conflict is already over; only the judgment remains to be executed; the issues which were long ago determined are here to be revealed and executed in the final judgment of all people.


[48] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 281.

Revelation 19:16

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

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS ... This makes it mandatory to view the similar passage in 1 Timothy 6:15 as also being a plain reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. See comment on that reference in this series.

This superlative title does not refer to what Christ will become after this so-called "battle." "He will conquer the monster and the kings because he is already King of kings and Lord of lords."[49] This section teaches:

That Christ is reigning; he is reigning through the power of his word; he is reigning in every heart that will yield to the gospel. When he comes in the clouds of his glory (with his angels, as here), the final stroke will be delivered.[50]

See the dissertation on "The King of Kings and Lord of Lords" in my Commentary on 1Timothy, pp. 229-234.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Frank L. Cox, Revelation in 26 Lessons (Nashville: The Gospel Advocate Company, 1956), p. 113.

Commentary on Revelation 19:11-16 by Manly Luscombe

11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. Heaven opened up. A white horse appears with Christ as the rider. The focus is on the rider. The rider is named Faithful and True. He is the judge. His judgments are righteous. He is also the captain of our salvation, the leader of the army of God. He is ready to make war. Some have great difficulty here. It is argued - How can the prince of peace come to make war? We must understand this is not a literal war of men, weapons and bloodshed. This is a spiritual warfare. All Christians are in this war. We are fighting evil (immorality) and corruption in high places. We are not fighting flesh and blood. Our war is against principalities and powers in heavenly places.

12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. These verses give a graphic description of Jesus. All of these terms are descriptions of Jesus.

1. He is on a white horse. His name is Faithful and True. He is the judge. He is the leader of the army (Revelation 19:11)

2. His eyes are alive with the flame of fire. He wears all the crowns. He has a name that only He can wear. (Revelation 19:12)

3. He wears a robe dipped in blood (His death on the cross). He is called the Word of God. John uses this term in his gospel and in the first epistle. (John 1:1-4; 1 John 1:1-3) (Revelation 19:13)

4. He has an army of soldiers clothed in white clean linen. The whole army is on white horses. (Revelation 19:14)

15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. He speaks and we are judged. (John 12:48). His judgment will fall upon all the nations. Jesus rules. He is the king. He is also the judge. He will tread the winepress of God’s Almighty wrath.

16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Jesus is the “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” To better understand these phrases, replace the word “of” with the word “over” and you will see that Jesus is King over all kings. He is Lord over all lords.

Verses 17-21

Rev 19:17-21


Revelation 19:17-21

17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in mid heaven,--The sun is the brightest shining orb in the world, and an angel so brilliant as to be distinguished when standing in the sun is beyond human description. This angel announced the result of the final conflict in a most impressive symbol. The fowls here mean birds of prey--those that eat flesh, and the image is that of such birds hovering over a battlefield ready to consume the bodies of the slain.

Come and be gathered together unto the great supper of God; --In verse 9 the saved are invited to the "marriage supper of the Lamb," which evidently means the rewards to be given finally to the faithful; here the "supper of God" means that the punishment of the wicked will be like giving to birds of prey bodies slain in battle. The picture of bodies thus consumed is the horrible emblem of the final destiny of the lost.

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 thereon, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, and small and great.--John sees in the symbol the birds assembled to the battlefield to consume leaders, common men, and even animals. This means that the wicked of all classes will suffer the final banishment from God’s presence. There will be no chance for rulers to escape any more than the common man; young and old will meet the same fate.

19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat upon the horse, and against his army.--In Revelation 16:13-16 John sees three unclean spirits coming from the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet to gather the kings of the whole world together for the last struggle--"the war of the great day of God." Here lie sees that battle and its results. The hosts on both sides are assembled. This emblematic language means that evil on earth will be ended by the Lord at his coming, not that a real flesh and blood battle will be fought. This will include all kinds of evil represented by the beast and kings of the earth.

20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought the signs in his sight, wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and them that worshipped his image:--On the identity of the beast and false prophet, see notes on Revelation 16:13. The fact that this language shows the false prophet wrought pretended miracles in the sight of the beast and deceived them who had received the "mark of the beast" indicates that the false prophet is the same as papal Rome. If so, then the "beast" would be political Rome in its so-called Christianized form while dominated by the papacy. This shows that in the last conflict corrupt political powers and false religions will both be used by Satan in his final effort to destroy Christianity. In the symbol John sees them both taken--defeated. The false prophet is a general expression broad enough to include all false teachers, and by implication all false systems of religion.

they two were cast alive into the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone:--This means the end of these two kinds of wicked powers and the final punishment of those who supported them. The lake of fire refers to the last and complete torment of those banished from God forever. (Mark 9:47-48 ; Revelation 14:10-11; Revelation 20:14-15.) The last reference says the lake of fire is the second death which will take place when death and Hades are cast into that lake. This is final in showing that this paragraph refers to the separation of the good and bad at the judgment.

21 and the rest were killed with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, even the sword which came forth out of his mouth: and all the birds were filled with their flesh.--This is what John saw in the vision. Seeing the armies that followed the beast and false prophet killed with a sword and the birds feeding upon their flesh means that those who practice sin in corrupt politics or religion will be condemned to everlasting punishment. Thus again in this symbol we have seen the final conflict between sin and righteousness end in the vindication of Christ and his teaching. A decision from which there is no new hearing.

Commentary on Revelation 19:17-21 by Foy E. Wallace

(4) The great sacrificial Supper—Revelation 19:17-18.

These verses represented a feast on the flesh of kings consumed by the birds of prey and was one of the most highly metaphorical sections of the entire series of visions.

In Matthew 24:28, Jesus said: “For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” This forecast was the Lord’s illustration of the siege of Jerusalem, which was the carcass; and the Romans were the eagles, whose armies swooped on Jerusalem to destroy and devour it. But in this vision the metaphor was reversed. The rulers of the persecuting powers, with all the forces opposing Christ and his church, were the victims of this supper of the Great God. The sacrifice of animals was the common method of celebrating victories; such as king Saul, without warrant, had presumptuously planned in celebration of victory over Amalek, as recorded in 1 Samuel 15:15; 1 Samuel 15:21. Here in this vision the eating of the flesh of kings, as the victims of the sacrificial supper, was symbolic of the victory of the saints over all the persecuting powers of the heathen governments, including all Roman tributaries which were the minions of the composite Roman beast. This symbolic representation was a repetition of the previous figurative descriptions of the fearful visitations of divine wrath on the wicked persecutors, which no kings or rulers of nations could withstand.

The same metaphorical representation of the celebration of the return of Israel from exile, subsequent to the fall of Babylon, was employed by Ezekiel in Ezekiel 39:17-20 :

“And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord God.”

It is apparent that this sacrificial supper in Revelation was the vision of celebration for the triumph of the church over all the forces of heathenism. The inclusion in the metaphor of the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, 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 meant that no class or condition of men in the heathen society which formed a part of the forces of persecution and of opposition to the church, were exempt from retribution; but were all alike victims of this symbolic celebration of the victory over heathenism in the sacrificial supper of the great God.

The vision of the angel standing in the sun, of Revelation 19:17, indicated not only the glory of this messenger of Christ, but the central station from which to summon the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven. The word heaven in the previous visions has designated the ruling authorities of the earth, or place of the nations. The reference to the fowls in the mid-heaven indicated that the birds of prey, symbolizing this awesome picture of visitation of divine wrath, were flying in the very midst of these evil authorities ready to descend on the carrion of the pagan persecuting powers, the defeatedforces of heathenism.

The foregoing descriptions were designed to symbolize that no class or condition, high or low, in the heathen world could stand against the spiritual forces of Christ, the Conqueror and Rider of the white horse--and from this imagery of spiritual victory over all the forces of heathenism, the vision turns to the scene of judgment and final banishment of the Roman beast and his subordinate beast, the false prophet, who had beguiled the people into the emperor-image worship, and who was the original source of the spiritual war delineated in the apocalypse.

(5) The complete destruction of the persecuting power of the Roman beast and his subordinate false prophet—Revelation 19:19-21.

The fact that these visions anticipated events before, during and after the destruction of Jerusalem, should be observed and retained in the mind, as the considerations advance from one stage and scene to another.

The scene of Revelation 19:19-21 reverted to the spiritual battle between the heavenly armies of the Rider, and the armies of the Roman beast--the heathen persecutor. It was after the destruction of Jerusalem; and after the evil forces of heathenism were diverted from the scene of Jerusalem and Judaism to converge on the church.

But the vision saw the triumph of Christianity. It was declared in Revelation 19:21 that the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet . . . with which he deceived them that received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. This beast was the original first sea-beast of Revelation chapter 13--personified in the emperor, the source of authority for all the persecutions. The false prophet was identical with the second land-beast, of Judea and Palestine, described in Revelation chapter 13, as the subordinate of the imperia1 beast who seduced the inhabitants of Judea to worship the emperor. As previously postulated, the mark of the beast was submission to the decree for emperor worship and acceptance of the image of the emperor as deity and the worship of the Roman image in acts of idolatry for the emperor.

After accomplishing the destruction of Jerusalem and the obliteration of the Jewish state, the vision represents the beast as having lost the battle against the church. The invincible spiritual forces of Christianity prevailed against all powers of heathenism, and both the beast and his satellite false prophet were taken; that is, captured and consigned to the bottomless pit of banishment, symbolized by the lake of fire burning with brimstone. The object of this vision was to symbolize the war of righteousness led by Christ Himself, the Head of the church, against the wickedness of heathenism. It described the progress of the persecution of the church, after the fall of Jerusalem, through the period of tribulation of Revelation 2:10; and of the hour of trial in Revelation 3:10; in the deadly conflict with the heathenism of the Roman world.

The entire second psalm is a magnificent prophecy of the defeat of all the cohorts of heathenism by the King whom God had set “upon the holy hill of Zion,” and is worthy of insertion here in its entirety:

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, 0 ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”

This psalm was quoted more than once in the New Testament as having fulfillment in the universal expansion of the kingdom of Christ. The messianic psalm finds its climax in these visions of Revelation where the “heathen raged” and “the kings of the earth set themselves . . . against his Anointed.” The rulers did “take counsel together,” and determined to “break their bands asunder,” and thus to scatter the forces of the Anointed; but “the Lord shall have them in derision” and “shall break them with a rod of iron” which was done in the descriptions and fulfillment of these visions. In this imagery the Psalmist foresaw the establishment of the kingdom of Christ, and the defeat of all heathen opposition by the gospel’s rod of iron--the invincible Word of Truth.

The apocalypse of these last verses of chapter nineteen follows the same pattern in visions of the defeat of the hosts opposing Christ. The second Psalm decreed that thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel, and the apocalypse declared that they were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. One of these passages cannot be considered more or less literal than the other--both were figurative expressions which signified the utter end of the persecuting authorities of heathenism against Christianity. The phrase cast alive into a lake of fire was equivalent to burned alive, and it symbolized complete destruction.

The signal triumph of the cause of truth represented by the burning alive of the beast and the false prophet did not symbolize the destruction of the Roman Empire, but of the persecutions waged by the emperors, which the beasts represented. The lake of fire was not literal any more than the beast was literal. Neither was subject to literal application--both were figurative. The beast symbolized the persecuting power of the Roman emperor; and casting him into a lake of fire signified the complete defeat of the heathen powers he represented in the war against the church; and it was accomplished by the sword that proceeded out of the mouth of Jesus Christ, the Rider of the white horse. The sword was not a literal steel blade; it was the Word of God, the weapon by which the church won the victories over heathenism and idolatry; and which is even yet the only righteous weapon in the warfare of the truth against error.

The last passage of Revelation 19:21, was the brief vision of the defeat of the remnant which had been slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse. This remnant symbolized the enemies of Christ other than the persecuting beasts. It represented all forms of error and evil and doctrines of antichrist that stood in the way of the church. They were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse; and the text identified the sword by the modifying phrase: which sword proceeded out of his mouth --the Word of God. By his word all forms of heathenism were exposed and the enemies of his cause, in the battle imagery, were slain, or defeated. They were figuratively slain, by a figurative sword: which sword proceeded out of his mouth--that is, by the teaching of the truth and the spread of the gospel.

To complete the visional and metaphorical picture, ends with Revelation 19:21 in the final statement: And all the fowls were filled with their flesh. As the birds devour the carrion, the truth consumes every form of error inimical to the cause of Jesus Christ.

The Lord foretold that this result would follow the destruction of Jerusalem in Matthew 24:31 : “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” The equivalent declaration of the apocalypse is in Revelation 11:15 : “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Another parallel to this Revelation passage is the reference of Paul in Ephesians 5:5 to the inheritance in “the kingdom of Christ and of God.” The kingdom is everlasting; the inheritance is eternal; and therefore the reign is forever and ever.

These parallels between the Lord’s account of these events in advance of their occurrences, and the visions of John in anticipation of the same series of events, have formulated accumulative evidence throughout the book, that the apocalypses of Revelation were but the extension of the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew--the Lord’s own forecast of the events preceding and subsequent to the destruction of Jerusalem.

Commentary on Revelation 19:17-21 by Walter Scott


Revelation 19:17-18. — We have had the joyous marriage supper of the Lamb; here we have the great supper of God. The epithet great is attached to the supper (R.V.), not to God (A.V.).

Revelation 19:17I saw an angel standing in the sun. He stands in the very center, so to speak, of governmental authority. He stands where he can be seen by all, and from whence he can survey the whole scene of conflict. The supper to which he invites the ravenous birds of prey comes after the battle. But the birds are summoned in vision before the fight. The great supper is of the dead. Kings, captains, mighty men, horses and their riders, free and bond, small and great, lie in the silence of death, their bodies a prey to the fowls of Heaven. They have been slain by the one sharp sword in the heavenly army. Christ speaks, and at once judgment overtakes the gathered opposing hosts. We would again repeat this is a true and most awful literal scene. The issue of the war is anticipated, and its result disclosed. These slain rise again to meet once more their Lord, not on the horse of victorious conquering power, but on the throne where condemnation immediately follows judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). Their resurrection takes place one thousand years after their punishment on earth.

Revelation 19:18. — Five times do we read of “flesh” as the food of the fowls of Heaven. Ah, what a humiliating end to the pride, pomp, strength, and chivalry of Europe! The vulture, eagle, and other birds of prey feeding upon the great and mighty whose very names may be enshrined in the pages of the history of this time (compare with Ezekiel 39:4; Ezekiel 39:17-20). “All the birds were filled with their flesh” (v. 21), gorged to repletion. How awful the slaughter! How immense the number of the slain!



Revelation 19:19-21. — And I saw the Beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to make war against Him that sat upon the horse, and against His army. And the Beast was taken, and the False Prophet that (was) with him, who wrought the signs before him by which he deceived them that received the mark of the Beast, and those that worshipped his image. Alive were both cast into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which goes out of His mouth: and all the birds were filled with their flesh. We are now about to witness the most gigantic confederation of kings and peoples ever beheld. The Beast is first named as being the center and soul of the movement. All the material strength and resources of the mighty revived empire are embraced in the term the Beast. Then we have mentioned “the kings of the earth,” the very kings who wailed over the destruction of Babylon. The political and social authorities of Christendom combine with the Beast in this insensate war. (The ten kings had already given themselves over to the Beast (Revelation 17:17). They are of course active in this war, for we read, “These shall make war with the Lamb” (Revelation 17:14), but they are not specifically mentioned in this, the fuller account of the war, their identity being lost, so to speak, in that of the Beast.)

Next, “their armies,” that is, the armies of the Beast and of the kings.

All are gathered together.” It may be supposed that this almost universal assemblage of powers is effected by human agency. But no Caesar or Napoleon could bring about such a vast combination, and for such a purpose as we have here. Satan is behind the movement. In Revelation 16:13-14; Revelation 16:16 we have the veil lifted and the true character of it exposed. Three unclean spirits, satanic in source and character, endowed with miraculous power, “go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world to gather them to the battle (war) of that great day of God Almighty.” The gathering place is also named, Armageddon (Revelation 16:16). (See remarks on Revelation 16:16.)

After a statement of the forces in opposition by whom they were gathered, and where they were gathered to, we are next directed to the plainly-stated but startling fact that the hosts of earth are assembled “to make war against Him that sat upon the horse, and against His army.” Can history furnish a parallel to this? The nations of Europe, and even of a wider area, enlightened and christianized, so deluded by Satan that they dare to enter the lists with “The King of kings and Lord of lords!” What madness! What folly! The sovereignty of the earth is really the question of that day, and is decided once and for ever by the impending battle. Their hatred is expressed against the Rider upon the white horse, the Lamb and King, the former title sacrificial, the latter regal; for whether as the Lamb slain or the King to reign, Christendom hates Him. Then comes the opposition to those who are His. They make war also “against His army.” We have here the contrast between “their armies” and “His army,” consisting of called, chosen, and faithful followers. One army as having but one mind and purpose with their renowned Leader. No details are furnished, for actual conflict there could not be. The result alone is disclosed; the awful slaughter had been already anticipated (Revelation 19:17-18).

Revelation 19:20. — And the Beast was taken. The personal chief of the empire gave to it his character. The empire and its ruling head were really to all intents and purposes one. They can, of course, be distinguished as in Daniel 7:1-28, but here, and elsewhere in the Apocalypse, the Beast and its last great imperial chief are so vitally connected that the former perishes in the everlasting ruin of its head. The Beast is cast alive into the lake of fire — a man, of course, yet spoken of as the Beast” — the usual designation of the empire.

Revelation 19:20And the False Prophet that was with him. This is the Antichrist, the embodiment of religious apostasy. His fellow, the Beast, is the distinguished Gentile chief on whom Satan conferred almost boundless political authority. Three times is the title “the False Prophet” used of the Antichrist as descriptive of his seductive teachings in Judea and in Christendom generally.” (See remarks on Revelation 16:13, on Revelation 19:20, and on Revelation 20:10.) “Was with him,” i.e., the Beast, intimates that they were acting together. The Beast supplied the strength, the False Prophet the counsel. The latter is by far the more energetic of the two.

Revelation 19:20Who wrought the signs before him (i.e., the Beast) by which he deceived them that received the mark of the Beast, and those that worship his image. He deceived them by the miraculous signs he wrought, his grand effort being to get world-wide worship for the Beast, his superior in temporal power, although his inferior in craft and malignant satanic influence. The diabolic work of the “False Prophet,” that which had been his special work as the coadjutor of the Beast, is the main subject of Revelation 13:11-17, there entitled “another Beast,” here “the False Prophet,” but one and the same person.


Revelation 19:20 — “Alive were both cast into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. Who can paint in words the horror of such a doom? Literally, actually this is the predetermined punishment of two individuals, one a Jew and the other a Gentile, and perhaps both on the earth at this moment! These two men are not killed, as their deluded followers are. Physical death in their own persons they will never know, but grasped by the hand of Omnipotence, seized red-handed in their crimes, they are at once cast into the lake of fire — a collection of agonies unutterable. They do not proceed, nor are driven onward to their fearful doom, but are cast alive into it, as you would throw aside that which is worthless. A thousand years afterwards Satan joins them in the same awful place, as the next chapter unfolds. The lake of fire is never at rest. Fire and brimstone denote unspeakable torment (Isaiah 30:33). The lake, not of water, but of fire, is the eternal place of punishment for the devil and for lost men and fallen angels. It is a place, and not a condition. And is it not significant that the phrase, which has rightly become crystallized in our minds from earliest years as the expression of all that is dark and agonising, should be mentioned here for the first time? Perhaps the first inhabitants of the lake may be those two men.

Revelation 19:21. — The rest were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which goes out of His mouth. The pride and armies of Europe lie in the silence of death, killed, but not by a literal sword. The angry voice of the King of kings shall strike through the serried ranks, suddenly depriving them of their two great chiefs; then death on the spot, the awful portion of the apostate and rebellious host. It is a terrible story briefly told. Enoch and Elijah were taken up to Heaven without seeing death; the Beast and False Prophet (their names withheld) are cast into the lake of fire without dying. So awful is the slaughter that the fowls of Heaven are filled with the flesh of the dead. The ultimate destiny of the worshippers and adherents of the Beast is unfolded in Revelation 14:9-11; Revelation 20:11-15.

Commentary on Revelation 19:17-21 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 19:17. When a man makes a great "killing" he often invites his friends to come and share the feast with him. The effects of the Reformation are symbolized in this and the following verse. It is especially appropriate to base the imagery on the fowls of the heaven, for they are generally thought to prefer feeding on the flesh of animals that have been slain and left on the field. (See Matthew 24:28.) The present case is one where the beasts were notkilled and dressed as would be done ordinarily. They were to be killed to get them out of the way, and the birds might as well get the benefit of it since that is the kind of food they prefer. Standing in the sun was the appropriate place for the angel to stand where he could make his invitation to the creatures that live above the earth.

Revelation 19:18. Of course this is symbolical of the defeat and destruction that is about to be imposed upon Babylon (church and state). Yet it is appropriate to use the symbols named because the conflict is actually to be with kings and their captains and mighty men, and these made use of horses in their warfare.

Revelation 19:19. Beast is Babylon and the kings are the inferior rulers under her. All mustered their forces to resist the attack of Christ through the Reformation.

Revelation 19:20. The lake of fire for the present is the destruction of Babylon, but in the day of judgment it will be the lake of fire that is unquenchable. The false prophet and miracles are explained at various passages preceding this.

Revelation 19:21. The remnant means the straggling individuals who were left as "die-hards" after the beast of Babylon as a unit had been given a death blow by the Reformation.

Commentary on Revelation 19:17-21 by Burton Coffman

Revelation 19:17

And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in mid heaven, Come and be gathered together unto the great supper of God;

An angel standing in the sun ... The function of angels as aids in the final judgment is an oft-recurring New Testament phenomenon. See under Revelation 19:14.

Come and be gathered together for the great supper of God ... This is the counterpart of the Lord’s Supper, or the marriage supper of the Lamb, as it applies to the wicked. Very well, if people who are bidden to the marriage supper will not come, there is another supper prepared for them; and they shall surely be present for it!

But why no battle? What happened to Armageddon? The answer provided by Eller for this is:

Jesus in his death and resurrection did all that needed to be done, won the only victory that needs to be won, in order to take care of Evil once and for all.[51]

Of course, "There is no cavalry kept in heaven, no literal supper of human flesh eaten by the birds."[52] These things must be understood symbolically. Eller pointed out one thing that may be intended. In the extensive attack upon God and the supernatural by the massive hordes of evil men on earth, "It is not the supernatural powers that get eaten, but people."[53]

[51] Vernard Eller, The Most Revealing Book of the Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974), p. 178.

[52] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 278.

[53] Vernard Eller, op. cit., p. 178.

Revelation 19:18

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 thereon, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, and small and great.

Inherent in this is the fact that if people choose to live like animals, denying any image of God in themselves, or even that God exists, the final result will bring them to exactly the same end as that of a dead horse. It is the injection of that phrase "and the flesh of horses" which strongly emphasizes this point here. If man was born of evolution, being only material, then he has no more cosmic value than a worm or a dog.

We shall not dwell on the revulsion that such an awful scene as this brings to mind. The utter horror of such a holocaust staggers the imagination. One thing should be pointed out: this is exactly the same scene, from a different viewpoint, that was described in Revelation 6:16-17; the same characters are here: kings, captains, mighty men, the bond and the free, the great and the small. It is another presentation (in vision) of the final judgment, described by the apostle John over and over, each picture closing a different prophecy, and each vision covering the same ground between the two Advents. "History attains its end in a complete division of the human race into two groups.."[54] These are the Church which is loyal to her true head, and the world which casts its lot in with evil. "Here we are dealing with the last judgment, nothing else."[55]

[54] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 282.

[55] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 557.

Revelation 19:19

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

I saw the beast ... kings ... armies ... These are the same. This is the scarlet sea-beast of the seven heads and ten horns (Revelation 13:1). Note the mention of "the kings"; these are the "ten kings" (Revelation 17:11-17) who hate and burn the harlot (the seventh head of the beast), becoming themselves the eighth head; but this phase of the scarlet beast is relatively short, "one hour" symbolizing an indefinite but short time. There is no way to know whether such a symbol means years, decades, or centuries. All time with reference to eternity is only a day. The total and final end of the scarlet sea-beast is depicted here.

How strange, how tragic is this situation in which the kings of earth unite in one terrible effort to destroy the anointed of God. How contrary this revelation is to the dreams of men and the foolish statements of their false prophets, that human society is ever progressing.[56]

It appears certain that the prophecy here is of the near endtime, in which period it is prophesied here that wickedness will become very aggressive against righteousness. We find it impossible to disagree with the comment that:

Never before has there been such a widespread revolt against all standards of decency and honesty. Never before have religious leaders advocated not only a "new theology" but a "new morality" which flouts God’s laws. The stage is being rapidly set for the end of the age.[57]

It is this final, terminal opposition of evil to God’s will which is here styled a "battle." It will not be a "battle" in any ordinary understanding of the word; but the final conflict will be so severe that it fully deserves the title. This is not the struggle that takes place after Christ comes, but the one that is going on now. "The warfare takes place while Christians are upon earth."[58]

[56] Wilbur M. Smith. Wycliffe Bible Commentary, New Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971). p. 1092.

[57] Ralph Earle. Beacon Bible Commentary, Vol. 10 (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1967), p. 608.

[58] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 450.

Revelation 19:20

And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought the signs in his sight, wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and them that worshipped his image: they two were cast alive into the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone:

And the beast was taken ... and the false prophet ... The false prophet (the harlot, the land-beast; all three terms refer to the same thing) was destroyed in the judgment scene of chapter 18, and the mention of the same thing being done here, under a different figure, is merely to show that this judgment is exactly the same as that.

They two were cast alive into the lake of fire ... There is no way to understand a statement like this as being anything else except a reference to the final judgment of the wicked as foretold by Christ (Matthew 25:41). Note that the destruction of the harlot, here called the false prophet, shall be simultaneous with the destruction of the scarlet sea-beast of Revelation 13:1. This means that apostate Christianity will not perish before the final judgment. Both the harlot and the sea-beast (in the form of his eighth head) will be alive and doing a flourishing business when the end comes. Earle likewise stressed the truth that the two beasts of chapter 13 are the same as the beast and the false prophet here.[59] We have also identified the harlot with the second beast (land-beast). Note that John says nothing here of any "battle." "He may mean that there was no battle."[60] Of course, he could hardly mean anything else. And the wrath of the Gentile unsmote by the sword Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

[59] Ralph Earle, op. cit., p. 608.

[60] Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 232.

Revelation 19:21

and the rest were killed by the sword of him that sat upon the horse, even the sword which came forth out of his mouth: and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

And the rest were killed with the sword of him ... Of course, that was no literal sword, but a symbol of the word of the Lord. The word alone is all-sufficient for achieving the total purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ. But should not these armies that followed the beast, the kings and the false prophet have also been cast into the lake of fire? "You are right; they were; Revelation 20:15 says so."[61]

This particular recapitulation of the warfare between Satan and Christ (Revelation 19:11-21) "has given special attention to the overthrow of the powers of evil."[62] "This covers the same ground as the vision of the seals,"[63] and other parallel visions of this prophecy. The whole pattern will again be repeated in Revelation 20 with another recapitulation of the warfare going on in this dispensation, with the focus upon the overthrow of Satan himself, and ending in exactly the same place all of the recapitulations have ended; namely, at the final judgment of the last day. The chronology of all these parallel visions lies principally between the two Advents of Jesus Christ.

[61] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 563.

[62] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 450.

[63] Ibid.

Commentary on Revelation 19:17-21 by Manly Luscombe

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God,…The end is near. For the church, the waiting for the bridegroom is about over. It is almost time for the great supper. The invitations have been sent out. You are invited to get ready. Are your garments white, wrinkle-free, spotless? Are you ready for the wedding? If you have to “get ready” then you need to get started, NOW!

18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” The time is coming that the army of faithful soldiers of Christ will mete out judgment on the wicked. All kinds of men will be lost - 1) kings, 2) captains, 3) mighty men, 4) free people, 5) slave people, 6) small people, and 7) great people. All those who harmed Christians will be ruined.

19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. We are about to see the beast of persecuting governments and the beast of false religions. The civil governments, ruled by the kings of the earth, and their armies try to oppose the King of kings. They will not succeed.

20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. Here is what God says will happen to the beast and the false prophet. They are cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. The beast (persecuting civil governments) and false prophets (false religious teachers) are cast in the eternal pit called Hell. Along with them are all who followed them, received the mark of the beast and worshipped his image.

21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. Finally all the rest of Satan’s army are destroyed. This is the end. The three generals have now been defeated. Next is Satan, himself.

Sermon on Revelation 19:1-21

The Victorious Christ

Brent Kercheville

Chapter 18 describes the wailing of the world when the Roman Empire fell. The economic impact of its fall was amazing. The warning was given to God’s people to come out from the wickedness and worldliness and be separate. God’s people must maintain holy lives even when the world is full of immorality. Revelation 19 continues to describe the impact of Rome’s fall.

Rejoicing In Heaven (Revelation 19:1-5)

John hears what sounds like a great multitude in heaven crying out, “Hallelujah!” The English word is a transliteration of the Greek word, which in turn is a transliteration of the Hebrew word. It is a compound word. “Hallel” means praise and “Jah” is Yahweh. Hallelujah means “Praise the Lord.” Or as our songbook has it, “Hallelujah, praise Jehovah.” Praise the Lord because salvation, glory, and power belong to our God. They are praising God because God’s judgments have been executed. He has judged the great prostitute who has corrupted the earth with her immoralities. He has judged the great prostitute, avenging the blood of his servants.

Wickedness will receive its due judgment. We grasp the difficulty of looking at the world who rejects God yet seems to prosper despite its evil acts. Sometimes we cannot understand why the righteous suffer while the wicked succeed. In the context of Revelation we are reading that the servants of God are going to suffer and be slain. Meanwhile those who worship the beast and its image have no consequences whatsoever. They will not die while the Christians will die. For many chapters we have read that those who are in Christ will be victorious and those who worship the beast will be judged. Justice has finally come. Judgment has finally come. Vindication has finally come. God will be just and God will judged. Praise the Lord because the smoke rises forever and ever. The nation has collapsed and the people are judged. Isaiah used the same language of Babylon.

Night and day it shall not be quenched; its smoke shall go up forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever. (Isaiah 34:10 ESV)

The 24 elders and the four living creatures that we read about in Revelation 4 are praising the Lord along with the voice of the great multitude. From the throne we hear the words, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.” These words come from the Hallel section of the Psalms (Psalms 113:1; Psalms 115:13). No words can be better than “Praise the Lord.”

Marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-10)

Then the voice of a great multitude has another reason to praise the Lord. The sound is described like the roar of many waters and like the sounds of mighty peals of thunder. Friends, this is quite a loud sound, a nearly terrifying sound. The call is to praise the Lord. Rejoice, exalt, and give God glory because the marriage of the Lamb has come. A wedding is taking place. The Lamb is pictured as the groom. The bride is pictured as the people of God. The bride has made herself ready through their righteous deeds. The people of God have remained pure through this tribulation period, remaining faithful to the Lamb and refusing to worship the beast.

This is a picture used in other places in the New Testament to show the relationshipof God’s people with the Lamb. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV). Jesus also describes the kingdom of God in terms of a wedding feast (Matthew 22:1-14). This matches the words of the angel in Revelation 19:9, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” These are the true words of God. Being joined to the Lamb is the most important thing and it is the great promise of God to be in relationship with him.

Then we reach an interesting part of the narrative. John falls down at the feet of the angel to worship him. However, the angel instructs John not to do that. The angel is also a servant. Worship God. Obviously John knows that we only worship God. I believe he is overcome with the glory and greatness of the message that he falls down in worship. The message the angel has brought is simply amazing! This is likely recorded in Revelation because the second half of this book has been about encouraging Christians to worship the Lamb alone. Do not worship the beast. Do not worship the image of the beast. Do not even worship angels sent from God. Worship God. The testimony given by Jesus is the substance of what the Spirit inspires Christian prophets to speak. The angel is not the source of this awesome prophetic revelation. Jesus is the source. Therefore, worship him.

The Victorious Christ (Revelation 19:11-21)

Heaven opens and John sees a white horse. Riding on the white horse is one who is called Faithful and True. He judges and makes war in righteousness. As we noted in Revelation 6:2 that the white does not represent purity but victory. In regards to the great multitude in Revelation 7:9, they wear white robes symbolizing victory because of their faithfulness. His eyes are like a flame of fire and on his head are many diadems. He has a name that no one knows but himself. Further, he is clothed in a robe dipped in blood and the name he is called by is The Word of God. The language makes it evident that this is Jesus the Christ. Jesus calls himself the faithful and true witness to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14. The description of eyes being flames of fire is applied to Christ in Revelation 1:14 and Revelation 2:18. Earlier in the book of Revelation we saw Jesus wearing seven crowns. Now he is pictured as wearing diadems. I believe the change of imagery suggests that he is wearing the diadems of the beast because he has conquered the beast. The beast has been vanquished and he is wearing those diadems on his head showing he has conquered it. This fits the rest of the imagery. Revelation 19:11 shows he is the one who makes war in righteousness. Further, his robe is dipped in blood or sprinkled in blood. This imagery comes from Isaiah 63:1-6 showing God trampling the enemies.

Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come. I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” (Isaiah 63:1-6 ESV)

Following him are the armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen that were white and pure. Here comes the armies of the Lord and Christ is the leader on the white horse with his clothing sprayed in blood. Revelation 19:15 reveals messianic imagery. The sharp sword coming out of his mouth was seen in Revelation 1:16. He is going to strike down the nations and rule with a rod of iron. This is a reference to the messianic prophecy in Psalms 2:9 and Isaiah 11:4. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God. We saw this predicted in Revelation 14:17-20. This image of Christ acting in the anger of the Lord against the disobedient nations and peoples. The name written on his robe and thigh is “King of kings” and “Lord of lords.” It is interesting that these names are located on his thigh. The thigh was the location of the sword and it was also the place where oaths were made (cf. Genesis 24:2; Genesis 24:9; Genesis 47:29).

Revelation 19:17-18 are a graphic, grotesque description of the destruction of the beast. Christ will be victorious. His armies are with him and he will conquer. This graphic is used by the prophet Ezekiel in a prophecy against the nations of the earth called Gog and Magog (which we will read about in Revelation 20).

4 You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.

17 “As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feastthat I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. 18 You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth—of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan. 19 And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. 20 And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,’ declares the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 39:4; Ezekiel 39:17-20 ESV)

Before the battle has begun and before anyone joins in the fight the result is certain. At the same time as the evil forces are gathering for battle, the carrion birds are gathering in the air for the inevitable slaughter. The circling of vultures overhead indicates the coming doom. Thus, John looks and sees the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against Christ and his army. This is a reminder from Revelation 16:14 where the kings of the earth were gathering at Armageddon. We noted that gathering at Armageddon symbolized a decisive, catastrophic loss. The loss is decisive and catastrophic. The beast was captured along with the false prophet and are thrown in the lake of fire. The rest are slain by the sword that comes out of the mouth of Christ and all the birds ate their flesh. Notice that there is no battle. Christ’s victory is immediate. When the sword comes out from Christ’s mouth, the battle belongs to the Lord and the enemies are crushed. Being thrown alive into the lake of fire seems to indicate the experiencing of the eternal punishment and torment. Revelation 20:10 tells us that the lake of fire is the place of eternal torment. The book of Revelation wants us to clearly understand that Christ is one who has destroyed the beast. Christ is the one who is victorious. Christ is the one who is the Lord of heaven’s armies.

This chapter has a twofold message of encouragement to the Christians, and for us by extension. The marriage to the Lamb has come and we make ourselves ready for this marriage to the Lamb with our righteous acts. Not that we are make ourselves deserving of this great relationship. Rather, we are making the necessary preparations in purity and holiness to be transformed into what God wants us to be. The second message of encouragement is seeing the victorious Christ. Christ has won. Christ rules with all power and might over the nations and peoples of the earth. Do not leave Christ and worship something else. Worship God. Be on the winning team. Those who rebel against Christ are eternally punished in torment.



Read Revelation 19

1. After the fall of Babylon unto whom did the voice of a heavenly multitude ascribe salvation, glory and power? Ans. Revelation 19:1.

2. With what kind of judgment did God judge the great harlot? Ans. Revelation 19:2.

3. Whose blood did he avenge? Ans. Revelation 19:2.

4. What did the heavenly multitude say a second time? Ans. Revelation 19:3.

5. Tell what the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures said and did. Ans. Revelation 19:4.

6. What was said by the voice from the throne? Ans. Revelation 19:5.

7. Describe the voice that uttered the third Hallelujah. Ans. Revelation 19:6.

8. Give two reasons why the heavenly host should rejoice and glorify God at this time. Ans. Revelation 19:7.

9. In what was the wife arrayed? Ans. Revelation 19:8.

10. What is the "fine linen" with which she is clothed? Ans. Revelation 19:8.

11. What was John told to write? Ans. Revelation 19:9.

12. Whose words were these? Ans. Revelation 19:9.

13. Then what did John endeavor to do, and how was he prevented? Ans. Revelation 19:10.

14. Who alone should be worshiped? Ans. Jno. 4: 24; Matthew 4:10.

15. What appeared when the heaven was opened? Ans. Revelation 19:11.

16. Describe the person on the white horse. Ans. Revelation 19:12-13.

17. Who followed him? Ans. Revelation 19:14.

18. What was the weapon of his warfare, and what was the instrument of his rule? Ans. Revelation 19:15.

19. What was his name and where was it written? Ans. Revelation 19:16.

20. What were all the birds commanded to do by the angel standing in the sun? Ans. Revelation 19:17-18.

21. For what purpose did the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies gather together? Ans. Revelation 19:19.

22. How were the beast and the false prophet disposed of? Ans. Revelation 19:20.

23. How were the rest destroyed? Ans. Revelation 19:21.


I. Discuss the church as the bride of Christ, paying special notice to the duties and responsibilities implied by the marriage illustration.

E.M. Zerr

Questions on Revelation

Revelation Chapter Nineteen

1. In what place did John hear a great voice?

2. What did they ascribe to God?

3. State their estimate of His judgments.

4. To what judgment did this now refer?

5. What had she corrupted?

6. Tell what vengeance God had effected.

7. What did they again acclaim?

8. What rose up continuany?

9. Who then fell down to worship God?

10. Tell what they proclaimed.

11. From where did a voice come?

12. Ten what it said.

13. What did John next hear?

14. Whose reign did they acknowledge?

15. What did they bid all do?

16. Ten what event was about to happen.

17. What preparation had been made?

18. Tell what grant was made to her.

19. What does the linen represent?

20. Who were to be blessed?

21. Repeat their comment on the sayings of God.

22. At this where did John fall?

23. For what purpose did he do so?

24. Tell what the angel said to him.

25. What is the spirit of prophecy?

26. What did John see in the open heaven?

27. Name its rider.

28. What was his work?

29. On what principle was he acting?

30. Describe his eyes.

31. What were on his head?

32. What secret possession did he have?

33. How was he clothed?

34. State his complete name.

35. Who followed him?

36. How were they clothed?

37. What proceeded from his mouth?

38. Tell what use was to be made of it.·

39. Describe his rule over the nations.

40. Tell what he shall tread.

41. Repeat the name written on his vesture.

42. Where was the angel standing?

43. To what creatures did he cry?

44. State the invitation he made.

45. On what will the guest eat?

46. Whom did John see in a gathering?

47. Tell what they were to do.

48. What was done with the beast?

49. Who was taken with him?

50. What had this person done?

51. Tell what was done with both these.

52. What was done with the remnant?

53. State what was done with their flesh.

Revelation Chapter Nineteen

Ralph Starling

Much people in heaven continued rejoicing,

Singing and shouting Alleluia with their voices,

For God’s judgments are true and righteous.

The treatment of the whore was true and right.

The 4 and 20 Elders and the 4 beasts said "Amen."

Praise God ye servants and ye that fear Him.

And there was heard voices as of many waters

Thundering Alleluias from many quarters.

Now is time for a special event

The marriage of the Lamb with God’s consent.

The Bride was dressed in linen and white,

For all who were called to witness the sight.

The Lamb was the Christ, God’s son.

The Bride, His church, the two to be one.

The Lamb was received with many a nod,

For his name was written, "THE WORD OF GOD."

He would go forth with the Word as his swords,

For he was to be "King of Kings and Lord of Lords."

The Beast and the kings made war against him,

But with their prophets & miracles they couldn’t win.

The Beast and all that were with him were disowned,

And were cast into that Lake of fire & brimstone,

And those that remained were slain by the Lamb’s sword,

For the Word is HIS sharp sword not to be ignored.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Revelation 19". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/revelation-19.html.
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