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FINAL VICTORY OF THE LAMB
CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL NOTES
THE time now draws near for the final termination of the conflict. The irrevocable doom has been pronounced. But before the final consummation there is, as usual, a relief passage We have the song of victory sung in anticipation. These relief passages of this book the writer designed to cheer the spirits of the suffering and persecuted saints, and for their sake the book was written. The contents of the Revelation 19:1-10 of this chapter may be thus divided:
1. All the inhabitants of the heavenly world join in a song of holy thanksgiving, in view of the coming vindication of the Divine honour.
2. A voice from the throne requires renewed praise, which is shouted.
3. The glorious prospect of suffering martyrs is disclosed. Then St. John falls at the feet of the angel-interpreter, who refuses homage which is due only to Him who is Lord and Master of them both.
Revelation 19:2. Simcox gives a sentence from the book of Enoch, 47:4, in which a similar joy in God’s judgments is expressed. “Then were the hearts of the saints full of joy, because the number of righteousness was arrived, the supplications of the saints heard, and the blood of the righteous appreciated by the Lord of Spirits.” In the second portion of the chapter there is again a threefold division.
1. The appearance of the Great Captain of Salvation, with His hosts around Him, from the heavenly world (Revelation 19:11-16). The Son of God Himself undertakes to lead the final battle.
2. The proclamation made to the ravenous beasts and birds to come and glut themselves with the slaughtered (Revelation 19:17-18).
3. The final overthrow and excision of the beast, the false prophet, and their army (Revelation 19:19-21). Note that the victory is gained by purely spiritual means. Probably the confederacy of the powers of the world, under the leadership of Antichrist, will be primarily intellectual and spiritual.
MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Revelation 19:1-21
The Vision of the “Word of God.”—Are we to see in the victorious apparition of the Christ, described in chap. 19, an event purely spiritual, or a visible phenomenon? Jesus compares it to the lightning which shines instantaneously from the one end of heaven to the other (Luke 17:24). The latter view is the only one compatible with this expression. On the other hand, it follows from His use of this image that Jesus had no thought of a permanent and visible abode of His glorified Person on the earth, whether at Jerusalem or elsewhere, as the millenarians in all ages have thought. The Parousia will be, on the contrary, like the stroke of the red-hot rod, which is to startle mankind, absorbed in fleshly living, and to prepare the way for the mighty reaction whence the plenitude of the spiritual blessings of the millennium is to proceed. Living in a higher sphere, but near at hand, the faithful, who will have been glorified at the advent of the Lord, will be in communion with the early Christendom, just as the Risen Christ was in communion with His disciples until the ascension. This will be the time of the complete development of spiritual worship and of Christian civilisation, in which, as in the Middle Ages, but under the effects of the shining forth of a more intense and pure light, science, art, industry, commerce, will lend their resources to the Christian spirit to enable it to incarnate itself completely in the life of man. Then will be fulfilled the image of the leaven which leaveneth the whole lump. The number “a thousand,” is symbolical, like all numbers in the Apocalypse. It represents a complete development which nothing external to itself will interfere with or abridge—an era which shall expand itself at ease in the latter days of history. It does not seem to us that the apocalyptic vision of the reign of a thousand years contains a single feature which overpasses the conception of which we have just sketched the outline. It is that perfect state of things which Ezekiel had already described in the last nine chapters of his prophecy, under the image of an ideal temple.—F. Godet, D.D.
SUGGESTIVE NOTES AND SERMON SKETCHES
Revelation 19:12. The Crowned Christ.—This was a symbolic revelation of the extent and variety of the kingdoms over which Christ rules.
I. In times of deep religious earnestness the very intensity of men’s desire to serve Christ perfectly often makes them forget the actual service to which He has appointed them.—The first impulse of some persons, when they begin to be in real earnest about serving Christ, is to look at a great part of their life as alienated from His service. Remember that on the head of Christ are many crowns, that all occupations of human life are His, and that every one who desires to serve Him can give Him, not fragments, but the whole of life, from first to last. You need not give up trade, if it is an honest one, to serve Christ. Serve Him in the trade itself, and remember that in trade, as in everything besides, He is King.
II. And He is the King of the province of public life, too, and in politics, whether imperial or local, Christian men should still be serving and honouring Him.—Christ is the King of our political life, and in that, as in every other province of our activity, we have to serve and honour Him.
III. Christ is King of the spiritual life of man.—Much of the weakness and sorrow of Christian people arise from forgetting this: we have to give Him reverence as well as trust, fear as well as love. We have to recognise His authority. The awe and devout fear with which we bow down before God are His, for He is God manifest in the flesh.—R. W. Dale, D.D.
Many Crowns.—We have all heard of uncrowned kings; but the term is a misnomer. St. John’s surpasses all thoughts of one crown for earth’s victor-kings.
I. On His Head is the crown of the conquest of sin.—This is THE victory. “All have sinned.” Jesus is the “Lamb of God.” “Unto Him Who loved us,” etc.
II. The crown of the conquest of sorrow.—He revealed the Fatherhood of God. Holy compensation, the Father’s house. “Let not your heart be troubled.”
III. The crown of the conquest of suffering.
IV. The crown of the conquest of Satan.—No light conquest. In the wilderness and on the Cross. The humblest Christian warrior may now meet the assaults of the Evil One.
V. The crown of the conquest of death.—In heaven the redeemed feel and know death to be a conquered power.—G. M. Statham.
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Revelation 19". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter