Notes on Revelation 19:11-21

Revelation 19:11‑21  •  20 min. read  •  grade level: 7
CHAPTER 19:11-21
In the marriage of the Lamb we see what Christ is to the church; in the judgment of the beast, what Christ is as a Judge. The violence which rises against the power of the Lamb is the object of judgment. Before this there must be the glory of Jesus with the church, and the marriage of the Lamb.
" All was created by him and for him," Col. 1:1616For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (Colossians 1:16). Everything was created for His glory; but men of the world do not think of this. Every knee shall bow before Him; He is the center of all the thoughts and of the justice of God. Jesus made Himself of no reputation; Jesus shall be glorified. Man makes use of the humiliation of Jesus order to despise Him; but God shall glorify Him even there where He made Himself of no reputation, and in that very form which He took, and He shall glorify Him through those for whom He did thus make Himself of no reputation.
To philosophy God is only a means man uses to extol himself; but God has been pleased to bring low the wisdom and the intelligence of man by saving, through the foolishness of preaching, all those who believe. There where the Son of man has been humbled He shall be glorified; and man must bow the knee before the Last Adam. God will have the Lord Jesus as the Lord of glory; and He will be glorified in Jesus, in rendering men submissive to Jesus as Lord. Jesus must be recognized such as God has presented Him, according to the foolishness of preaching, or one must recognize Him, without hope of mercy, when His glory shall be manifested. If one will not have a Savior, one must have a Judge. There is no one that will not have to bow the knee to Jesus. If one does not do it now, it is ingratitude and baseness.
The second thought of God in His counsels is the church. As He associated Eve with Adam, so He has associated the church with Christ. We have spoken of the marriage of the Lamb, and of the church risen and glorified, united to Christ risen and glorified. It is a thing quite different from the good-will of God towards His creatures. It is an intimate relationship between the children and the Father, between the bride and the Bridegroom. The church is reckoned as being not of the world but of heaven. Her origin is from above. Besides this there are the relations of God with the world- the government of God. Man will not have Christ to govern the world; he wishes to govern it himself and exclude God out of it: " This is the heir [not the Bridegroom], come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance," Matt. 21:3838But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. (Matthew 21:38).
As long as it is the accepted time, the time of salvation, man gives himself up to iniquity without restraint. He will have his own way in spite of God, and be like God. In this sense every man has the spirit of Antichrist, whom the Holy Spirit characterizes by these words, " And the king shall do according to his will," Dan. 11:3636And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. (Daniel 11:36). This cannot last. Man must at last be judged of Him whom he has rejected. Is heaven to govern the earth? Yes; but man says, It is I who shall govern the world, and not God.
On four different occasions God has spoken solemnly, or will, with man. God spoke with man for the first time in the garden of Eden. All relation with God had already ceased then, for man never spoke with God that he was not already condemned before God had spoken to him. The second time was on Mount Sinai. Israel, in dismay, said, " Let not God speak with us " (Ex. 20:1919And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. (Exodus 20:19)), for the glory of God had inspired terror in the heart of man. The third time was in Jesus, God manifested in the flesh. Man would not have God in love: hence, it became necessary to be either a Christian or an anti-Christian. The fourth time is when Jesus will come again to execute the judgment on all those who will not bow to Him as Lord. Man will be found either for Him or against Him. All those who have not received the love of the truth will be condemned.
Christ and the church appear in glory, and only in judgment. Heaven opens for their glorious manifestation. Man being a sinner, heaven cannot open itself to him. When Jesus was on the earth, heaven opened itself; Jesus was recognized as Son of God, and the Holy Ghost came down upon Him. Through the Holy Spirit Stephen sees heaven open; Acts 7:3535This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. (Acts 7:35). But the case is reversed. He looks into heaven and finds his portion there with Jesus, being, as He was, rejected from the earth, but identified with the glory of God. This also is the position of the whole church. At the end heaven will be opened to manifest the Son of man; and when it opens thus, it is that the Lord Jesus should come Himself and execute judgment on earth. Only when the evil forces God to notice it, does God smite it: until iniquity has come to the full (Gen. 15:1616But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. (Genesis 15:16)), God has long patience.
The last beast, the Roman empire revived, comes up out of the bottomless pit and goes to perdition. This is what we have brought before us. Men's passions will be inspired and excited by Satan, " whose coming," we read, " is after the working of Satan," 2 Thess. 2:99Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Judas is an example of this. We do not only see in him covetousness, and the temptation of Satan presented to covetousness; but Satan taking possession of the heart, and hardening all the natural affections of a disciple towards Jesus. At that time also Satan shall harden the hearts of those of whom he shall have taken possession, even against the manifestation of all the glory of Jesus. Some natural feelings are found remaining, until Satan has taken possession of the heart; but after this man is capable of doing anything. Thus the chief priests would have killed Lazarus (John 12: to), because Jesus had raised him to life again, and because of this many of the Jews believed in Jesus, and left them; and they determined to put Jesus to death, because He had raised Lazarus from the dead; John 11:47-5747Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. 49And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. 53Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. 54Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples. 55And the Jews' passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves. 56Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast? 57Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should show it, that they might take him. (John 11:47‑57).
The man of the earth lifts his head even up to heaven. Like Adam, he wishes to be as God Himself: he wishes to be so under the character of Christ, and he is Antichrist. He wants to possess the earth and make war with heaven; Isa. 14:13, 1413For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:13‑14). Endowed with all the power of Satan, all man's faculties in exercise, inspired by Satan's energy, he assumes authority over all, and would seat himself at Jerusalem as king of all the earth, and extol himself like unto the Most High. It is then that the Son of man, who has humbled Himself, and whom God has exalted, shall come down from heaven, and the man of the earth who has exalted himself shall he abased. The question is now, and this is all the question, Whether the man of the earth is to prevail over the Man of heaven. The last beast, having seized upon the earth, and being followed by the kings of the earth, makes war with Christ. We must know whether God will be the stronger, not only in the conscience, but in the world and in glory. Jerusalem is already becoming the center of man's thoughts in the earth, because it is there the nations are to be gathered for judgment; Zech. 12:1-31The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. 2Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. 3And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. (Zechariah 12:1‑3). The nations appear to be beginning to burden themselves with Jerusalem. They do so without acknowledging the rights of Christ, who is alone the true King of Jerusalem; but God shall make good the claims of Christ. The nations are laboring in the fire for very vanity (Isa. 50:1111Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. (Isaiah 50:11)), in order that He that has been despised may be glorified.
Verses 12, 13. Jesus appears. He has His essential glory, a name known to Him alone. All He does is the manifestation of what God has revealed. He will be the Word of God in judgment, and the executor of the revelation of God against sin. Now, the word is judging morally; then, it will be in reality. The white horse is a sign of victory. The sharp sword is already seen; Rev. 1:1616And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. (Revelation 1:16).
Verse 15 is in allusion to Psa. 2:8, 98Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. (Psalm 2:8‑9): " 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." This is what Jesus shall execute at His glorious appearing. To break the nations with a rod of iron is quite another thing from the gospel. He has the nations, not as His bride, but as His inheritance. The little stone (Dan. 2:34, 3534Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 35Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2:34‑35)) becomes a great mountain, filling the whole earth. The church (Rev. 2:26, 2726And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Revelation 2:26‑27)) is made a partaker with Him in His power over the nations. Jesus has received power of His Father, not merely to secure the church, but also to break the nations, and the church shall be with Jesus. Jesus has not yet asked for the inheritance; but is praying that His own may be kept. He is the sovereign High Priest, not of the world, but of the church. We have a High Priest; Heb. 4:14, 1514Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:14‑15); chap. 8: 1. The rebellious Jews shall be judged. The judgment of the world is by Jesus-such is the use of the rod of iron which He wields.
Verse 16 informs us that Jesus does not take His title of King of kings before the kingdom of the world, on the sound of the seventh trumpet being heard, becomes the kingdom of the Lord and of His Christ. When political attention is attracted to Jerusalem, when things are preparing rapidly for the judgment of Christ in the earth, when this judgment is going to be executed, it is just then that the nations reject Christ and harden themselves against Him. Jesus shall appear as the Faithful, the True, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, being already the Bridegroom of the church glorified.
It is after this that the judgment of the beast will take place. This beast is the wicked one announced to the Thessalonians, the Antichrist of Daniel. The false prophet is here found identified with the second beast. The distinction between the church glorified and the world judged is very evident in the chapter before us. Antichrist extols himself, and Christ comes only to judge him. The things which God will separate in judgment are already separated in His mind, and they are as much so now as when they will be seen, the one in the lake of fire, and the other in heaven. The judgment shall merely manifest this to the world. There are three characters of the beast and of Satan's power.
Firstly, the Roman empire in its eighth head, the chief of the last form of the beast at the time of the Gentiles. Secondly. This chief does his own will, and will establish his throne at Jerusalem. Thirdly. He is the wicked one; iniquity has reached to the full. The false prophet is the second beast in chapter 13, which had horns like the lamb and spoke like the dragon. Babylon has disappeared from the scene.
Verse 17. The supper of the great God is a very strong figure of the destruction of kings, captains, powers, of horses and their riders, of freemen, slaves, of small and great, and of all those, in short, whose bodies are given to the birds of prey. The angel, standing in the sun, acts in the power and supreme authority of God, in judgment against him who stands in opposition to God. Dan. 7:7, 87After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. 8I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. (Daniel 7:7‑8) shows to us the fourth beast, the fourth monarchy, as a blasphemous power, which God judges and totally destroys. The description of this destruction is given to us in the Revelation.
Dan. 7:17, 1817These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. 18But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. (Daniel 7:17‑18). The saints of the Most High not only take the place of authority, instead of the beast which uttered great things against God, but also that of the four beasts. In verse 21 the horn which uttered great things makes war with the saints. But, if God permits the beast to overcome the saints, it is until Christ, the Ancient of days, comes, until judgment be given to the saints of the Most High, and until they obtain the kingdom. What puts an end to the authority of the beast is the coming of the Ancient of days, and not the preaching of the gospel. This is the character of the beast and its end.
In the Revelation and in Daniel there are ten kingdoms. The beast has a mortal wound, but comes out of the bottomless pit. The ten kings give their power to it, and the dragon his throne; but it goes into perdition. The kings associate themselves with it, and this satanical power, which at all times has overcome the saints, and which has been set up again, goes to perdition. It is the apostasy and antagonism of power against God. The eighth head is the beast. All its power is concentrated in the head, in the chief of the Roman empire. This is not yet manifested. Antichrist, who is the chief of the iniquity of the human heart, fills up the measure of the rebellion of the Gentiles, to whom God had entrusted power when He removed His throne from Jerusalem, at the time of the Babylonish captivity. Instead of glorifying God in His kingdom, man rejects Jesus, and in the end is found making war against Jesus.
2 Thess. 2:1-121Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:1‑12). In verse 3 Antichrist is the son of perdition. He goes to perdition. Antichrist, the wicked one, has brought the iniquity of man to its height. To have sinned against God, violated the law, and rejected Jesus, although nothing morally was wanting to the sin of man-all this was not yet the height of iniquity. The mystery of iniquity is that evil which acts in a hidden manner in the bosom of the church, as a germ destined to grow until the revolt-a revolt which will pursue its course till it rises up openly against Christ manifested in glory. While men were slumbering, the enemy has sown the tares. The mystery of iniquity, which had already begun at the time of the apostle, ends in the revolt of Christianity, the professing church. God does not judge what is only yet in a state of mystery. The mystery is that which is known only by its revelation, and without this it remains hidden to all human intelligence. It is the same also with the mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh, and with the mystery of the union of Christ and the church. What a mystery of iniquity it is, that the church should have been made the nest where Satan has begun and brought forth the fullness of the iniquity of man! Jude wished to write of the salvation common to them, but he could not. The evil had begun, and he urges them to contend earnestly for what they had. The evil had begun. He warns them, " for certain men have crept in among you unawares, who have turned the grace of God into lasciviousness," and who end in denying the Lord Jesus. Those were the same of whom Enoch had prophesied. It is to deny the Savior recognized according to the testimony given by the Holy Ghost, and to revolt against Him: this will be the fullness of iniquity; after that comes the judgment.
To the Thessalonians Paul explains the progress of the mystery of iniquity, until that which is now an obstacle to it be taken away. When this is taken out of the way, then shall the wicked by revealed. He is the representative of the iniquity, and he will be manifested when that which restrains iniquity shall be taken away. His character is to be without law, to do his own will, man's will. The word rendered by " the wicked one " signifies " he that is without law." Christ, the Man of God, says, " Lo, I come, O God, to do thy will," Psa. 40:7, 87Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (Psalm 40:7‑8); Heb. to. He has been a servant in everything. He gives the kingdom to those for whom the Father has prepared it. His only will was to do the will of God. " Not my will, but thy will." " By the obedience of one many are made righteous," Rom. 5:1919For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19). He has not in anything done His own will.
What characterizes this age, and what this age is boasting of, is the right of doing its own will. It is also what characterized the sin of Adam, before evil concupiscences came into the world. The character of Christ, the elect King of God, is obedience. " But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do," John 14:3131But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence. (John 14:31). Jesus was obedient unto death. The power of God was thus acting in Him, to render Him, notwithstanding the difficulties, so obedient as to make Himself of no reputation in the sight of God, and to do all things for God. The character of the wicked is to be without law, to do his own will. Then comes the contest between the Man of God and the man of the earth, to know who is to succeed. The principle of evil is to have a will. For a long time God restrains and confines the evil. When He takes away that which now letteth, then shall the wicked, who does his own will, manifest and exalt himself even against the manifestation of the glory, as he did exalt himself in the mystery of iniquity; so now against the manifestation of grace, as well as when Jesus was here below. There is no independence for man; he must be either subject to God, or subject to Satan. He alone is independent who can secure himself from death.
God permits Satan to act with efficacy. They would do their own will. They will work signs, wonders, and miracles of falsehood. The wicked one will be the expression of the iniquity of man without restraint, who will have no law. He will put himself under the influence and bondage of Satan, who will give him all his power. It is in its full power the principle of the first Adam, but with a decided will, knowing it and wishing it, and acting after the thoughts and according to the power which Satan inspires him with. The question is, Who is to succeed, the Man of God, or the man of the earth who will do his own will?
Dan. 11:36, 4536And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. (Daniel 11:36)
45And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. (Daniel 11:45)
, shows to us that Antichrist, the king, shall do according to his will. As king, he will reign over the Jews at Jerusalem. He shall exalt and magnify himself above every god; he shall speak marvelous things, and shall prosper till the indignation against the Jews be accomplished. He will be king at Jerusalem, the chief or the head of the beast; in him iniquity has come to its full. Afterward, he is destroyed. This is the end of the times of the Gentiles. The beast and the false prophet are, before all the others, thrown into the lake of fire and of brimstone. It is, at least as to them, the judgment of the living. The beast, as Antichrist, denies the Father and the Son; 1 John 2:2222Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22). He denies Jesus Christ come in the flesh, and he denies that Jesus is the Messiah. It will be through this last means that he will attach to himself the infidel Jews. He denies Christ come in the flesh, and he gives himself for the Christ [i.e., presents himself as Messiah].
The false prophet (v. 20) is the second beast of chapter 13: 12. He has the form of the power of Christ, and the voice of Satan. He performs prodigies. (Compare chap. 19: 20 with chap. 13: 12-14.) These passages show the identity of the second beast with the false prophet.
This character of the beast is that of an empire. In losing its character of beast, it ceases to be a secular power, and becomes a power only through its doctrine. It exercises the power of the beast, and causes it to be adored. It is judged as a false prophet. We see in this false Christianity, which, after having lost its worldly and terrestrial dominion, has retained the power of its doctrinal influence. The temporal power of popery (or rather of hierarchy, including the pope) is, to a certain extent, destroyed; but it subsists as false prophet, and it always is more evidently this and with more influence.