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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 19

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

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Revelation 19:0


(Revelation 18:21-4)Heaven Exults Over BabylonPraises in Heaven(Revelation 18:24-4)Songs of Victory in Heaven
The Marriage Supper of the LambRevelation 19:1-10Revelation 19:1-4The Wedding Feast of the LambRevelation 19:1-4
Revelation 19:5-8Revelation 19:5-8Revelation 19:5-8Revelation 19:5-10
Revelation 19:9-10Revelation 19:9-10Revelation 19:9
Revelation 19:10a-b
Revelation 19:10c
The Rider on the White HorseChrist on a White HorseThe Victory of Christ and His Heavenly ArmiesThe Rider on the White HorseThe First Eschatological Battle
Revelation 19:11-16Revelation 19:11-16Revelation 19:11-16Revelation 19:11-16Revelation 19:11-16
The Beast and His Armies Defeated
Revelation 19:17-21Revelation 19:17-21Revelation 19:17-21Revelation 19:17-18Revelation 19:17-18
Revelation 19:19-21Revelation 19:19-21

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired but it is the key to following the original author's intent which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


A. The chapter division in this section of Revelation was made in an inappropriate place (chapter divisions, paragraph divisions, verse divisions, capitalizations, and punctuation are not part of the inspired original Greek text). Revelation 19:1-10 is obviously the concluding remarks about the destruction of the great whore described in Revelation 17:1-24. As people rejoiced over the fall of Assyria and Babylon in the OT, now holy angels (cf. Revelation 19:4) rejoice over the fall of Babylon, the harlot (i.e., human government apart from God), as did the believers in Revelation 18:20.

B. The series of praises of Revelation 19:1-10 is in response to Revelation 18:20.

C. This is generally understood as being the chapter which describes the Second Coming of Christ (cf. Revelation 19:11-16). But it must be seen that this chapter closes another cycle of judgment. The return of Christ is described in this chapter in very Jewish terms, which seem to be altogether different from the Pauline description of 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18. The Jews expected the Messiah to return in the manner described in Revelation 19:11-16. The NT describes the Second Coming in several different, but related, ways. Most Christians see the end-time in terms of Jesus' Mt. Olivet discourse (cf. Matthew 24:0; Mark 13:0; Luke 21:0) and Paul's discussion of the "man of sin" (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:0).

D. To those suffering persecution, Jesus as Warrior, Defender, and Judge was a comforting perspective.


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. List the different groups who praise God in Revelation 19:1-8 and the reasons for their praise.

2. Where does the concept of the marriage feast of the Lamb come from and what are its implications?

3. What does Revelation 19:10 imply about angels?

4. Explain the significance of Revelation 19:11-16 as they apply to Christ.

5. What battle is described in Revelation 19:17-21? How many battles are there in the End-time?

Verses 1-5

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 19:1-5a 1After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; 2because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her." 3And a second time they said, "Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever." 4And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, "Amen. Hallelujah!" 5And a voice came from the throne, saying,

Revelation 19:1 "I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven" This is an allusion to Jeremiah 51:48. Chapters 17-18 draw heavily from Jeremiah 50-51 (the destruction of Babylon) for their imagery. This same phrase or concept is also found in Revelation 11:15 (the Second Coming after the seventh trumpet) and Revelation 19:6. There has been much discussion about who the multitude might be, but it is simply speculation as to whether it is the faithful angelic host, redeemed humanity, or both.

"Hallelujah" This Hebrew term means "praise YHWH" (BDB 237 II and 219). This is the only occurrence of this term in the NT. It appears in this context four times: Revelation 19:1, Revelation 19:3, Revelation 19:4, and 6. The OT background to this is found in the praise Psalms used in the liturgy of both the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles (cf. Rev. 104:35; 105:45; 106:48; 111:1; 112:1; 113:1; 116:19; 117:2; 125:1,21; 146:1,10; 147:1;148:1,14; 149:1,9; 150:1,6). A parallel phrase is found in Revelation 19:5b.

"salvation" This characterizes God's desire for all mankind (cf. Revelation 9:20-21; Revelation 14:6-7; Revelation 16:9, Revelation 16:11; Revelation 21:7; Revelation 22:17; Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 18:30-32; John 3:16; John 4:42; 1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Timothy 4:10; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 4:14). It can refer to the OT concept of physical deliverance, but probably relates to a total, eternal, cosmic salvation for believing individuals, and all physical creation (cf. Acts 3:21; Romans 8:18-25; Colossians 1:19).

"glory and power" Throughout the book heavenly choirs break into songs of praise to God. Often these praise songs are the key to interpreting the immediate context.

Revelation 19:2 "because His judgments are true and righteous" This may be an allusion to Psalms 19:9; Psalms 119:138 and 142. God's judgments are appropriate and fair (seen in the three cycles of judgment). This would have been very encouraging to a group of Christians undergoing persecution (cf. Revelation 19:11; Revelation 15:3, Revelation 15:4; Revelation 16:7).

"the great harlot" This fallen, anti-God world system goes by several names:

1. the great city

2. Babylon

3. the prostitute (cf. Revelation 14:8; Revelation 16:19-21; Revelation 17:1-24)

Verses Revelation 19:1-4 continue the context from Revelation 17:0 and 18.

"who was corrupting the earth with her immorality" This refers to materialism, idolatry, or immoral pagan fertility worship, or emperor worship (cf. Revelation 2:14, Revelation 2:20, Revelation 2:21; Revelation 9:21; Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17:2, Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:3).


"He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on Her" This may be an allusion to Deuteronomy 32:43 or 2 Kings 9:7 (cf. Romans 12:19). God acts on behalf of the prayers of His saints (cf. Revelation 6:9-11; Matthew 7:7-8; Matthew 21:22; John 21:22; John 14:13-14; John 15:7, John 15:16; John 16:23-24, John 16:26; James 4:2; 1 John 3:22; 1 John 5:14-16).

The anti-God world system has always been involved in the persecution and killing of God's people. God allows evil to reveal its true intentions (cf. Revelation 13:5, Revelation 13:7, Revelation 13:15).

Revelation 19:3 "Her smoke rises up forever and ever" This is an allusion to Isaiah 34:10 which describes universal judgment. We must remember that this literary genre (apocalyptic) uses symbols to communicate truth. The truth here seems to be one of two possible foci:

1. eternal punishment (cf. Revelation 6:10; Matthew 3:12; Matthew 25:41; Luke 3:17; Mark 9:43, Mark 9:48)

2. complete destruction (cf. Isaiah 34:8-10). This same truth is found in Revelation 14:11

Revelation 19:4 "the twenty-four elders" See Special Topic at Revelation 4:4.

"Amen" This term is used in Revelation 1:6, Revelation 1:7; Revelation 3:14; Revelation 19:4 and 7:12; 19:4; 22:20; and Revelation 22:21. It is a form of the OT Hebrew word for "faith" (emeth, cf. Habakkuk 2:4). Its original etymology was "to be firm" or "to be sure." It came to be applied in the OT to the trustworthiness of God. However, in the NT, its use is primarily liturgical in the sense of "I agree" or "I affirm." See SPECIAL TOPIC: AMEN at Revelation 1:6.

SPECIAL TOPIC: Believe, Trust, Faith, and Faithfulness in the Old Testament (אמן)

Revelation 19:5 "and a voice came from the throne saying" Because of the phrase "our God" (Revelation 19:5b), this must be an angel, not Deity. Jesus never calls God "our God" (Michael MaGill, NT Transline, p. 1011).

Verse 5

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 19:5-6a 5b"Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great." 6Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

"Give praise to our God" This is an allusion to Psalms 115:13; Psalms 134:1; Psalms 135:1. The term is a present active imperative, but it is a different term than "Hallelujah," which is found in Revelation 19:1, Revelation 19:3, Revelation 19:4 and 6. It is theologically unusual that an angel would use the words, "Our God," but Revelation 19:10 shows that angels identify themselves not only with the saints in service, but also with the saints in their testimony concerning Jesus.

"all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great" This is an allusion to Psalms 115:13 (used earlier in Revelation 11:18).

Revelation 19:6 These descriptive phrases were used

1. of God in Ezekiel 43:2

2. of a powerful angel in Daniel 10:6

3. of Christ in Revelation 1:15

4. of the redeemed community in Revelation 14:2

5. in context this seems to be an angelic choir

Verse 6

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 19:6-8 6b"Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. 7Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. 8It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints."

"the Lord our God, the Almighty" This threefold title for God from the OT (YHWH, Elohim, and El Shaddai, see SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY at Revelation 4:8) appears in various forms in Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8; Revelation 11:7; Revelation 15:3; Revelation 16:7, Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:15; and Revelation 21:22.

The pronoun "our" is very unusual because it is spoken by an angel. It appears in no other occurrence with this threefold title. However, the textual evidence for its inclusion is strong.

1. "Lord the God of us" in an early corrector of MS אcf8 i2 (UBS4 puts this in the text but gives it a "C" rating)

2. "the God, the Lord of us" in the original MS of א*

3. in some later minuscule Greek texts, "the God of us" (MSS 051, 209)

4. "Lord God" (MS A)

5. "Lord" (Peshitta and Coptic versions)

"reigns" There has been much discussion over this aorist tense verb (cf. Revelation 11:17). Some see it as God beginning to reign (an ingressive or inceptive aorist, cf. Psalms 93:1; Psalms 97:1, NJB). However, God has always reigned (a constative or gnomic aorist, cf. Psalms 99:1). Some see it as God reigning on the earth now as He has in heaven (a culminative or effective aorist, cf. Matthew 6:10). The end of time and the consummation of God's kingdom occurs several times in Revelation at the end of the different cycles of judgment (seals, trumpets, bowls). This seems to be parallel to Revelation 11:15. It may be an allusion to Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 52:7 or Micah 4:7. See SPECIAL TOPIC: REIGNING IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD at Revelation 5:10.

Revelation 19:7 The first two verbs in Revelation 19:7 are subjunctives.

1. let us rejoice present active

2. let us exult present active

The third verb has several variants.

1. dôsômen (irregular aorist active subjunctive) MS P

2. dôsomen (future), "we will give glory" MSS אcf8 i2, A

3. dômen (aorist active subjunctive) MS א*

Numbers 1:0 and 3 would be translated like the first two verbs, "let us give glory." Number 2 would be translated "we will give glory" (RSV). The UBS4 gives #1 a "C" rating; the UBS3 gave it a "D" rating. The committee could not decide which was original.

"give the glory to Him" This may be a metaphorical phrase for trusting, believing, or placing faith in Christ. In Revelation 11:13 it could mean that some repented and became believers as a result of God's acts of judgment. This phrase is used of God's people in Revelation 14:7 and of tormented unbelievers' refusal to worship God in Revelation 16:9.

"the marriage of the Lamb" "Lamb" has an OT sacrificial connotation (cf. Lev. 1-7). This phrase links a sacrifice element with a communal meal (peace offering). There is an allusion to this marriage feast in Matthew 8:11; Matthew 26:29; Luke 14:15; Luke 22:16. It focuses on the Jewish marriage custom of a betrothal period, a waiting period, and a seven-day wedding feast. It is interesting to note that within a few passages the metaphor changes to God's people, not as bride, but as wedding guests (cf. Revelation 19:9 and Matthew 22:1-14). The metaphor will change again in Revelation 21:2, Revelation 21:9 to God's people as "the New Jerusalem." The concept of a marital relationship between God and His Church is found in the OT in Isaiah 54:4-8; Isaiah 62:5; Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 16:0; and Hosea 2:14-19. The metaphor is seen in the NT in 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:21-31; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 21:2, Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:17. Also, Jesus is depicted as a bridegroom (cf. Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19-20; Luke 5:34-35; John 3:29). Several parables in Matthew continue this theme (cf. Matthew 22:1-14; Matthew 25:1-13). Marriage may be the best human example of the concept of a biblical covenant.

"His bride has made herself ready" This is an aorist active indicative. Some have interpreted this as meritorious human works. The aorist passive of Revelation 19:8 shows this interpretation cannot be true. This context affirms the paradoxical relationship between God's initiating activity (cf. John 6:44, John 6:65) seen in the invitation of Revelation 19:9, which is a perfect passive participle, and mankind's necessary faith response (cf. Mark 1:15; Acts 3:16, Acts 3:19; Acts 20:21). This paradoxical relationship can be seen in Philippians 2:12-13. It is supported by the fact that in Revelation 19:8 God gives permission to dress, but the dress refers to the good deeds (righteous acts) of God's people (cf. Revelation 14:13; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Timothy 5:25).

In Word Pictures in the New Testament A. T. Robertson has an interesting comment on Revelation 19:7. "Three metaphors of women appear in the Apocalypse (the Mother in chapter 12, the Harlot in 13 to 19, and the Bride of Christ here to the end). 'The first and third present the Church under two different aspects of her life, while the second answers to her great rival and enemy (Swete)'" (p. 449).

Revelation 19:8 "the righteous deeds of the saints" The term "righteous acts" (dikaiôma) has several usages in the NT.

1. it refers to God's acts of justice (cf. Revelation 15:4)

2. it refers to Jesus' act of dying on behalf of mankind (cf. Romans 5:16, Romans 5:18)

3. it refers to believers' lives of justice (cf. Revelation 19:8)

4. it refers to a decree, a law, or an ordinance, usually the Law of Moses (cf. Luke 1:6; Romans 1:32; Romans 2:26; Romans 8:4; Hebrews 9:1, Hebrews 9:10).

The main theological issue related to this family of Greek terms (dikaioô, dikaiôsis, dikaios, dikaiosune) is how fallen mankind can claim to be right, righteous, just, justified. It must be stated emphatically that this spiritual condition was not accomplished by human effort (cf. Romans 3:21-30; Ephesians 2:8-9), but by Divine choice (the Father), through a Divine act (the Son), and the Divine drawing of the Spirit (cf. John 6:44, John 6:65). Mankind can only receive the finished result (cf. Romans 5:0; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

The goal of right standing is right living, Christlike living (cf. Romans 9:29; Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 2:10). Righteous living is evidence of a relationship with God (cf. Revelation 14:13), not the grounds of that relationship (cf. Galatians 3:1-3)! See Special Topic at Revelation 19:11.

Verses 9-10

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 19:9-10 9Then he said to me, "Write, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" And he said to me, "These are true words of God." 10Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

Revelation 19:9 "Blessed are" This is the fourth of seven blessings to the redeemed in Revelation (cf. Revelation 1:3; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 16:15; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:14).

"those who are invited" This is a Perfect passive participle, which emphasizes God's call to salvation (cf. Revelation 17:14; John 6:44, John 6:65).

"These are the true words of God" This phrase emphasizes the trustworthiness of the angel's message (cf. Revelation 21:5; Revelation 22:6).

Revelation 19:10 "Then I fell at his feet to worship him" There has been much discussion about John's attempt to worship an angel (cf. Revelation 22:8). Possibly John included it intentionally as a word against angel worship (cf. Revelation 22:9; Colossians 2:18). John was awed by this powerful angelic person and may have assumed that he was either a divine personification (cf. Genesis 16:7-13; Genesis 22:11-15; Genesis 31:11, Genesis 31:13; Genesis 48:15-16; Exodus 32:4; Exodus 13:21; Exodus 14:19; Judges 2:1; Judges 6:22-23; Judges 13:3-22; Zechariah 3:1-2; Luke 24:5) or a physical manifestation of the Spirit (cf. Revelation 22:8-9).

"I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus" John called himself by this same term in Revelation 1:1. The angel identifies himself not only as a servant of God (cf. Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalms 103:21; Dan. 17:10) but also of redeemed mankind (cf. Hebrews 1:14). This angel also identifies himself with the testimony of Jesus, which is normally said of saints rather than angels (cf. Revelation 12:17).

"for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" This is a highly unusual phrase and has been widely interpreted. It may refer to either

1. Jesus as the focus of prophecy

2. the fact that prophecy has returned as a sign that Jesus has brought in the new age of the Spirit (cf. Revelation 1:2; Revelation 6:9; Revelation 12:17 and Revelation 14:12 for a similar use of this phrase)

3. Jesus is the very breath of prophecy (similar to "God breathed" of 2 Timothy 3:16)

The context shows that those who have trusted in Christ have been led by the Spirit. No one can come to Christ unless

1. the Spirit woos him (cf. John 6:44, John 6:65)

2. helps him understand the gospel message

3. encourages him to trust Christ

4. baptizes him into Christ

5. forms Christ in him (cf. John 16:8-11)

The Spirit's ministry is magnifying Christ!

Verses 11-16

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 19:11-16 11And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

Revelation 19:11 "And I saw heaven opened" This is a perfect passive verbal form and may relate to Ezekiel 1:1. Several times in Revelation heaven has been opened (in partial ways) to reveal truth to John in progressive stages (cf. Revelation 4:1; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 15:5). See Special Topic at Revelation 3:7.

"a white horse" The bridegroom in the previous paragraph is revealed further as an all-conquering warrior. This describes Jesus' coming as the Jews expected Him the first time, a powerful military general. This is somewhat different from Paul's description of the Second Coming (the Parousia) found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. For a group of persecuted Christians this is an extremely encouraging metaphor. Interpreters must remember

1. that this is not a full and complete discussion of the Second Coming

2. that it is clothed in symbolic, apocalyptic language

3. that it is true; our God, in Christ, is personally coming again to receive His own (cf. John 14:2-3) and to judge all mankind according to their deeds (cf. Galatians 6:7)

"He who sat on it" Although there is a white horse in Revelation 6:2, this is obviously different.

"called faithful and true" The terms "Faithful and True" in Hebrew convey trustworthiness (cf. Revelation 3:14 as well as Revelation 1:5; Revelation 3:7).



"in righteousness He judges and wages war" This is an allusion to Isaiah 11:3-5 (cf. Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 16:5; Isaiah 32:1; Psalms 96:13), which describes the New Age of righteousness, the New Age of the Spirit. See Special Topic below.


Revelation 19:12 "His eyes are a flame of fire" This is a description of Jesus from Revelation 19:4 and 2:18. It has an OT angelic background from Daniel 10:6.

"On His head are many diadems" This refers to royal crowns. Jesus has more crowns than

1. the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6:2 (which symbolizes effective warfare)

2. Satan (the red dragon of Revelation 12:3)

3. the beast of Revelation 13:1

"and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself" This may be an allusion to Revelation 2:17, but if it is, its meaning is still uncertain. Some see it as an allusion to the ancient belief that to know the name of gods was to have power over them. Others believe that it represents the fact that no one can completely know the character of Christ. Since the title is unknown, it does not refer to any of the titles of Jesus ("Faithful and True" of Revelation 19:11, and "The Word of God" of Revelation 19:13) found in this passage (or in the book) including "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" of Revelation 19:16.

Revelation 19:13 "He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood" This is an allusion to a poem of YHWH's judgment from Isaiah 63:3, which is also alluded to in Revelation 19:15. The term "dipped" (MS A, UBS4 gives it a B rating) or "sprinkled" (MSS א*, P from Isaiah 63:3) is in perfect tense; commentators disagree as to whether it refers to

1. the blood of his enemies, which seems to be the focus of the paragraph and is reflected in a Targum on Genesis 49:10-11 (however, in context, the battle has not occurred)

2. His own redemptive, sacrificial blood in which the saints have washed their own garments white (cf. Revelation 7:14)

3. it is even possible it is the blood of His witnesses, who are precious to Him

In context option #1 seems best.

"and His name is called The Word of God" This is the term logos, which links the book of the Revelation with the Apostle John, for he is the only biblical author who uses this as a title of Jesus (cf. John 1:1, John 1:14; 1 John 1:1).

The gospel is both a person (the Living Word of God, Jesus) and a message (the written Word of God, the Bible). This same dual aspect is reflected in the biblical use of the term "faith," which is both a personal act of welcoming Jesus and a cognitive act of believing doctrinal truths ("the faith," cf. Jude 1:3, Jude 1:20).


Revelation 19:14 "the armies which are in heaven" This has been interpreted in two ways.

1. Because of Revelation 17:14 and the description of the saints in Revelation 19:8 in this immediate context, many have assumed that this refers to the saints.

2. Because of the OT background of Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalms 68:17; and Zechariah 14:5 as well as the NT passages of Matthew 13:41; Matthew 16:27; Mark 8:38; Mark 13:27; Luke 9:26; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7, many believe that it must refer to the angels.

This same ambiguity is present in many passages.

Revelation 19:15 "from His mouth" This is an allusion to Isaiah 11:4 and Revelation 1:16 and Revelation 2:16. This same judgmental metaphor has been found in Jewish apocalyptic literature (cf. IV Esdras Revelation 12:6; the Psalms of Solomon 17:10,45,49; and the book of I Enoch 62:6).

"a sharp sword" This is a metaphor for the power of the gospel or of God's spoken word (cf. Genesis 1:0; Isaiah 55:11; John 1:1; Revelation 19:2 Thess. 7:8), not a literal description.

The end-time destruction of rebellious human armies is depicted in Ezek. 38-39. This destruction is accomplished by (1) the sword (cf. Ezekiel 38:21 and Revelation 19:15, Revelation 19:21) or (2) fire from heaven, cf. Ezekiel 38:22; Ezekiel 39:6; and Revelation 20:9. This parallel between Revelation 19:0 and Revelation 20:0 (i.e., the different ways of destroying the armies of the nations), both of which reflect Ezekiel 38-39, implies a recapitulation. The Second Coming of Christ in 19 is repeated in different language in Revelation 20:1-10. Recapitulation has already been seen between the seals, trumpets, and bowls.

"the nations" The OT origin of these armies is the godless nations listed in Ezekiel 38:0 from all over the Ancient Near East (cf. Revelation 19:2, Revelation 19:5, Revelation 19:6, Revelation 19:13). John is using the end-time battle of Ezekiel 38-39 (or possibly Psalms 2:0) as the source of his imagery about the eschatological battle between good and evil! Jesus has by far the biggest sword! See notes at Revelation 2:26 and Revelation 10:11.

"He will rule them with a rod of iron" This is the second of three descriptions about the one riding on the white horse. This description of judgment comes from Psalms 2:9 and 110:5-6 (cf. Revelation 2:27; Revelation 12:5).

"and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty" This third description of judgment is an allusion to Isaiah 63:2-3; Jeremiah 51:33; Lamentations 1:15; Joel 3:13 (cf. Revelation 14:19-20). The color of crushed grapes reminded the ancients of blood, death, and battle!

For "wrath of God" see note at Revelation 7:14.

Revelation 19:16 "on His thigh a name written" There has been much discussion about the term "His thigh":

1. this was the place that a sword normally hung

2. this was the place that His garment was most clearly seen on horseback

3. it was the strongest muscle of his body and was symbolic of His might

"KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" Does this refer to one name or two? Revelation 17:14 shows that it refers to one name (cf. 1 Timothy 6:15). It has two possible OT backgrounds:

1. a description of YHWH (cf. Deuteronomy 10:17 and Enoch Revelation 9:4)

2. a Babylonian and later Persian title of deity transferred to YHWH (cf. Daniel 2:37)

It is interesting to note that this phrase in Aramaic adds up to 777, in contradistinction to the number of the beast, which is 666. Ultimate perfection versus ultimate imperfection.

Verses 17-18

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 19:17-18 17Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, "Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great."

Revelation 19:17 "to all the birds" This gruesome paragraph is an allusion to two OT passages which deal with battle scenes. This context is the same battle discussed in Revelation 16:12-16, called Armageddon. The predatory birds are described as drawn to battlefields as in 1 Samuel 17:46 (cf. Matthew 24:28; Luke 17:37) and Ezekiel 39:17-20, which is the end-time battle of Gog and Magog. John often uses the OT imagery in new ways. In chapter 20 the battle of Gog and Magog deals with Satan after the millennium, whereas the battle in chapter 19 occurs before the millennium and deals with the wild beast and his false prophet.

"Come, assemble for the great supper of God" The word translated "come" is an adverb used as an aorist active imperative plural which matches the second word, "assemble," which is an aorist passive imperative plural. This is an antithesis to the Lamb's banquet mentioned in Revelation 19:7 and 9. The Lamb invites lost people to come and be saved and join His wedding feast. But the angel invites the birds of prey to come to the feast of dead bodies (and dead souls) at the great end-time battle (cf. Jeremiah 12:9; Ezekiel 39:17). God's wrath is real and symbolized as a feast, on the flesh of His enemies (cf. Isaiah 34:6; Jeremiah 12:12; Jeremiah 46:10; Zephaniah 1:7).

Revelation 19:18 This goes back to Revelation 6:15, which is also an eschatological setting where these same general categories of mankind were also mentioned. The horror of being unburied was especially shocking to the people of the Ancient Near East.

The victorious return of Jesus occurs at the end of each judgment cycle: seals, Revelation 6:12-17; trumpets, Revelation 11:15-18; and bowls, Revelation 19:1-21.

Verses 19-21

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 19:19-21 19And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Revelation 19:19 The actual battle begins. This is an allusion to Psalms 2:0. Does this refer to a specific, literal end-time battle, or is it symbolic of the struggle between good and evil? The genre of Revelation implies symbolic; the parallel passages in Matthew 24:0; Mark 13:0; Luke 21:0; and 2 Thessalonians 2:0 imply literal. This ambiguity is the source of great disagreement in the interpretation of Revelation by godly people. Dogmatism is surely inappropriate!

Revelation 19:20 "the false prophet who performed the signs" He is the second beast (cf. Revelation 13:11-18; Revelation 16:13). This goes back to Revelation 13:12-13, where the false prophet's relationship to the sea beast is a parody of the Holy Spirit's relationship to Christ.

"received the mark of the beast" (cf. Revelation 13:16-17).

"these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire" The phrase "lake of fire" is unique to the book of the Revelation, but is a synonym for the term Gehenna (see Special Topic at Revelation 1:18), which Jesus used so often to denote Hell. The specific OT allusion may be to Isaiah 30:23-33 and Daniel 7:11. There are so many prophetic passages that connect judgment with fire or burning. This theme of an eternal fire is developed in apocalyptic Judaism (cf. Enoch 27:1ff; 54:1ff; 56:3ff; 90:26; IV Ezra 7:36; Apoc. of Baruch 59:10; 85:13 [list taken from George E. Ladd, Revelation, p. 258]). This phrase is used in Revelation in Revelation 20:10, Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8. It was a place prepared for Satan and his angels, but humans who rebel against God will also find this as their ultimate dwelling place. It is the final dwelling place of Satan. It is the natural result of rebellion against God and is a permanent form of the abyss (cf. Matthew 25:46; Revelation 9:11; Revelation 11:7; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:1, Revelation 20:3).

Revelation 19:21 Those who received that mark of the beast (cf. Revelation 13:16; Revelation 14:9, Revelation 14:11), the very ones who had persecuted the believers, are now killed by the word of Christ (as the sea beast will be, cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:8).

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Revelation 19". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/revelation-19.html. 2021.
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