Victory is at Hand
And so we are now at the conclusion of the book of Revelation we have only four chapters remaining. We have spent twenty-five weeks so far looking at the details and the intricacies of this single book. Throughout these many weeks we have seen on full display the just judgment of the wicked. We were given a glimpse of the overwhelming nature of the righteous character of our God. And we have seen the future of God’s perfect plan for our world. I’m not sure I was always able to accomplish my goal but I hope that our time together in this amazing book and the few weeks we have left have brought us to a point that we seek to passionately worship Jesus and to share Him at all costs. We have spent time looking at a “tale of two cities.” Thus far we have primarily focused on the great city Babylon which represents all that is evil within the world system that we find ourselves right now. But throughout we have had glimpses of hope for something better still yet to come. And that something better is the New Jerusalem. But this is the tale of a love story in the end. And we might say a tale of two women. Today we are going to be introduced to the second woman in our story. The first was the prostitute Babylon who hates the groom at our stories wedding. And because the groom is out of reach from her wiles and power she seeks to destroy the bride. And today we are going to be introduced to the bride in our story. Our bride is better known as the bride of the Lamb. She is the Church. She is you and I. This is the part in the grandest love story every told that you and I play. Throughout our story we have seen the prostitute attempt to destroy the bride. But today and next week we will see the Groom come into the picture as a knight in shining armour so to speak riding tall and proud upon His horse to scoop up His bride and to bring her finally to the wedding.
And so today we are looking at Revelation chapter nineteen and what I like to call the final “Hallelujah” of the angels as they are about to witness Jesus rescue His bride from the clutches of Satan eternally.
And we read in verse one.
After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
Look this hallelujah chorus has just begun. However, it begins with the greatest words ever sung by the angels. Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. Jesus alone has the power to save His bride and when He exercises that power all glory is due to Him and Him alone.
Then in verse two we read.
for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
As long as Babylon and the influence of Satan exist within this world the Kingdom of God cannot be established. Why? Because the all encompassing nature of the influence of Babylon and Satan. And so Babylon and Satan must be removed in order to preserve and protect the Bride of Christ eternally.
Then in verse three we read.
Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”
Will the smoke from the destruction of Babylon go up forever and ever. I don’t believe so. I believe that this is simply a poetic way of saying that her destruction is complete and utter. There is nothing of the great prostitute that will remain.
Then in verse four we read.
And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”
Now we see the heavenly court we might call it of God Most High fall before the awesome nature of their God. And they sing His praises.
Then in verse five we read.
And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.”
And now the voice of an angel calls out from the throne and calls all the saints to join the worship of our Lord and Savior. We have seen several times the word Hallelujah. This word is a call for all those who hear it to praise our God. And as such the two are used interchangeably throughout our passage.
The first five verses we might call the introductory fanfare or music to the presentation of our bride before the groom. And the next five verses we could consider the celebration of the entrance of the bride. And in verse six we read.
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
The angels again gather together and in one massive booming voice cry out, Hallelujah for the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
This is the greatest praise and worship event to ever occur.
And in verse seven they continue and we read.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;
This is the public proclamation that the wedding between the Lamb and His Bride, the Church is about to take place. And when the two finally come together the wedding is consummated. The relationship between the Groom and the Bride is made complete. There relationship between Jesus and the Church will be made perfect. And in that moment the two will know each other perfectly. Listen very carefully, I’m not trying to be trite. But this perfect picture of a marriage between a groom and His bride was begun before the fall in Genesis chapter two. And God has throughout the scriptures and throughout our lives used the picture of marriage as means to point to His relationship with each one of us. This is why the church needs to hold fast to and guard what we have come to call the institution of marriage. It plays such an important part in the greatest love story ever told between God and His people.
Then in verse eight we read.
it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
As in marriage a bride where a white gown in order to signify her purity in her relationship between herself and her husband. The bride of Christ will one day be clothed in fine white linen cleansed of all of her sin perfect and spotless.
In verse nine we read.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
No one can attend the great marriage supper of the Lamb without first being invited by the Groom. And the thing that I have always found most interesting in this picture that is being presented is that there are no real “guests” per se. Except we might say, perhaps, the angels. But, rather it is the bride that in fact receives the invitation to come and dine eternally with her groom. Essentially, I believe that this states that there are those who exist within the Kingdom of God, they will receive an invitation. And there are those who exist within the Kingdom of Satan and they will not be invited. And just in case you were concerned someone might try to attempt to crash the party uninvited. The angel turns to John and says, these are the true words of God.
Then in verse ten we read.
Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
John is so overwhelmed by the beauty of the story that he has just witnessed that he is overcome and he falls before this angel in worship and the angel corrects him. And the angel redirects Johns worship towards the one true God the only one worthy of worship. John was overwhelmed by the content of the prophecy that was show to him. And the truths that are revealed through true prophecy or the nature of prophecy must have at its core the testimony of the grace of Jesus. It is His story that is paramount above all else within this world.
And now in verses eleven through sixteen the Groom rides onto the scene and we read in verse eleven.
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
The hero of our story now appears. And is there anything greater that could be stated concerning a brides groom, than the fact that he is faithful and true. And the outflow of His faithfulness towards both Himself and His bride He is going to bring righteous judgment and He will make war against those who have sought to bring about her downfall as His bride.
Then in verse twelve we read.
His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.
Jesus is seen here as having eyes are brought forth to show that he sees everything and that in his eyes stand the fires of judgment against sin. He wears many diadems because He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. And then we are told that He bears a name that no one knows but Himself. It’s not unknown because He has kept it as a secret. Jesus isn’t purposefully hiding something about himself in order to keep himself hidden somehow. So far in this chapter He has been called the word of God and faithful and true. But rather this name is, I believe, unknown because when the fully glorified Jesus reveals Himself then we will see Him as no fallen mind can grasp the depths of today.
Then in verse thirteen we read.
He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.
Jesus appears as the conquering King. He comes to His bride as a warrior fresh from battle. Even though we are still yet to read of the battle in the next chapter. I believe that this picture is given prior to all of that that is still yet to occur as a means of hope for His bride. Even though evil still persists and Satan is still at large Jesus will be victorious.
Then in verse fourteen we read.
And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.
The angelic host is arrayed for battle behind their King who will overcome all of His foes. And this angelic host is similar in appearance to their King because they will share in his coming victory.
Then in verse fifteen we read.
From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
The only weapon that is to be used in this great cataclysmic battle is the word of Christ.
In the beginning God spoke and creation leapt into existence. And as a result the final judgment that is to come will come in similar fashion as well.
Jesus will not raise a hand against His enemies. He will simply speak judgment and judgment will be done. What that actually looks like we are not told.
Then in verse sixteen we read.
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Now we have a fourth name that is given to Jesus. King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Here is what is most interesting about the names in this section.
When he is revealed in His relationship with the Church he is called Faithful and True and the Word of God.
We are told in relation to himself in a sense there is a name that is beyond the human mind to understand.
And then finally here when we see Jesus being revealed in relation to the fallen world He is given the name King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
This name is already true for the believer, but when He returns it will become a truth that is acknowledged by all of creation.
Then in the last few verses we return to the final conflict between Christ and the Antichrist. And in verse seventeen we read.
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God,
Clearly one of the major themes that is being revealed throughout scripture is this constant conflict between God and Satan. And the fact that this conflict spills over into history even now. Not only during the end times.
Here’s the hard part for some of us. We want details. And they simply are not revealed. The great battle and the final triumph of Christ over the Antichrist is simply affirmed as factual reality. It is not fully described. The battle of Armageddon and what that looks like is never revealed. There is an announcement given in chapter sixteen that the battle is coming. And then we are essentially whisked to the end and we are given the conclusion of the battle.
And at the end of the battle there are two dinners. One for the victor and one for the losers. That might not be quite accurate but you’ll understand. There is to be the great wedding supper of the Lamb and then there is this new great supper of God to which the birds have been called.
And now let’s read of this supper and in verse eighteen we read.
to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”
Those whom the birds of the air are to feast upon at the conclusion of Armageddon are all those who took the mark of the beast.
Now, I want us to see something very important. At this point in our reading of the book of Revelation, how many resurrections have occurred? Absolutely none have been spoken of. This is all of humanity who entered into the great tribulation, survived significant tribulation and judgment from God, and then took the mark of the beast. That is who will be arrayed against Christ Jesus at the battle of Armageddon.
Then in verse nineteen we read.
And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.
Christ Jesus we have read sits upon His horse at the vanguard of His assembled army. And as well, the antichrist, stands before His army arrayed behind him prepared for battle.
Then in verse twenty we read.
And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.
The beast and the false prophet are now captured, they are not destroyed, they are not killed. They are captured. You see justice must be met. Punishment is due for their crimes against Christ and His creation. And so they are thrown into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. This lake of fire is what is often times referred to as Gehenna. This is not Hades. Hades is the intermediate state between death and the resurrection. Hades is essentially the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament word Sheol. I want to make this distinction because you will find the word Hades in the New Testament and it is important to distinguish to the two from one another.
Here in verse twenty our reference to the lake of fire that burns with sulfur is Hell. Or as you may read in some translations or other writings Gehenna.
I want us to understand these distinctions because this lake is going to come up again several times in the next couple of chapters.
I think that one of the most important things to realize is that Gehenna is not spoken of in a manner that primarily speaks of mental anguish. But rather is always described in a manner that would primarily bring physical pain and anguish. Now I do believe that the affects of this physical punishment would lead to both mental as well as spiritual distress.
Finally, in verse twenty-one we read.
And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.
The very words of Jesus will issue forth and death will come against all those who stand against Christ Jesus. And a feast will begin.
So, some of you are begging God to make Garey skip any discussion about this feast and simply move on to the so what.
Truth is we don’t really need to discuss those details. Instead I want to discuss two topics that are present within our chapter but so often missed because of the stuff at the end.
The first of this are Joy and Worship
Joy and Worship
Joy and Worship
Some of you are sitting there like really where was that at. And I understand it is so easy when we get to the last half of the passage to have already forgotten the first half.
Verses one through ten are all about the vindication and joy that are coming for the righteous in Christ Jesus.
We are promised a far greater relationship one day with Jesus when we have the opportunity to experience a permanent union with Christ Jesus just like marriage.
This section also encourages us to worship God and God alone, and this includes angels. As we saw John mistakenly do.
Half of this passage is dedicated to the Joy that we will experience when we stand before Christ Jesus.
And we are all of us here today meant to experience a foretaste of that when we gather together as His church in worship of Him.
Our worship, no matter what your voice sound like, is a joyful noice to the Lord.
The second point I want to make is that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit
Empowerment. It has become a catch word in our culture today for anyone that feels slighted in any way. What you need is fill in the blank empowerment. Some of it isn’t necessarily bad. But much of it has its source straight from Satan himself. Look, most modern day empowerment junk is meant to move us away from the foundation of what we call the nuclear family.
Sexual empowerment, female empowerment, or is it womens empowerment. I don’t know which word we are supposed to use today. Most all of these modern day movements within society, I believe, have as their source, Satan. Why? Because in the end they bring the downfall of the family. There may be good things, good nuggets, hidden within the movements, but in the end the movements are destroying the family.
We will as humans always, because of the fall, seek empowerment. But for what purpose. Usually the purpose is to rule over others.
The womans empowerment movement is completely antithetical to the picture that is given biblically of how a family is meant to function. I hate to say it but the word used to describe a womans relationship with her husband is submission. That is not popular in todays culture I get it. I need to also say this. Men you need to lead your family, just as Jesus leads the church. And when both of these are occuring within a family. You will find a healthy family that raises healthy children.
Sorry. That was all just my own cultural commentary on what I see happening today. But for any of this to work properly. All of us must first and foremost be submitted to the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
And when we do so we will see families that are ordered by God and not by men.
But, that’s not the true focus of the empowerment of the spirit in this passage.
Instead in verse ten we are told that we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit for a mission. And that mission is all about Jesus.
When we are willing to live lives submitted to God we will speak the name of Jesus. We will seek his righteousness in our lives. We will grow in our walk with Him by His grace for His glory.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.