Revelation Chapter 19: the real "Armageddon" prophecy, plus the ultimate celebration in Heaven, the marriage of the Lamb, and the defeat and destruction of the Messiah’s enemies, including Antimessiah and the False Prophet
The events of Chapters 19 and 20 can only be fully
understood in light of the prophetic significance of the Fall “Feasts” (Hebrew:
moed—appointed times) of Yehovah ("the LORD").
Yom Teruah (the Feast of Trumpets), also called by Jews (Israelites) Rosh haShanah (the Head of the New Year) and Yom haDin (the Day of Judgment), is celebrated each year as a rehearsal of the resurrection of the righteous dead at the “Last Trump” (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:52), the judgment and separation of Israel into three groups (the nobles or righteous ones, the “intermediates,” and the condemned) (cf. Isaiah 44:5), the in-gathering (“catching up”) of the righteous ones (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17), the wedding of the Messiah, and the coronation of the King. On this “Day of the Messiah” (2 Thessalonians 2:2) at the end of the Final Seven Years, the Messiah will return to gather His elect, who have already trusted Him as the Messiah, to take them to Heaven for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Matthew 24:30-31; Revelation 19:7-10). Also, on this day, the Israelites who believe in the coming Messiah but have not yet recognized that He is Yeshua ("Jesus") will recognize that He is the one they killed, repent, and be saved (Revelation 1:7; Romans 11:26). They will not be caught up to Heaven, but will be allowed to enter the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah.
Then, during the ten “Days of Awe,” the “last plagues”—the plagues of the Wrath of Elohim ("God")—will be poured out on the earth dwellers (cf. 15:1; 16:1), and the faith of the intermediates (nominal Israelites and Yehovah-fearing but unsaved Gentiles) will be severely tested (3:10).
At Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), also called Yom haPeduth (the Day of Redemption), the Shofar haGadol (the Great Trumpet) will be blown to gather in those who have, by the mercy of Yah, survived the plagues of the bowls of His Wrath. On this day, the King will pardon the “sheep” of Israel and the nations (those who have remained faithful to Yehovah and have not taken the mark of Antimessiah during the Great Tribulation nor have fallen away during the Days of Awe), allowing them to enter the millennial Messianic Kingdom. Yom Kippur is also, like Yom Teruah, celebrated as a Day of Judgment (Yom haDin), the rehearsal of the day of the final judgment at the end of the Millennium when the unfaithful “goats” will be banished to “everlasting fire” (cf. Matthew 25:32-34, 41; Revelation 20:12, 15).
Finally, during Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths), life in the millennial Messianic Kingdom is rehearsed and celebrated.
19:1-10 (a) After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, (b) "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to [Yehovah] our [Elohim]. 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." Again they said, "Alleluia! Her smoke rises up 'forever and ever!' (c) And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped [Yehovah] who sat on the throne, saying, "Amen! Alleluia! (d) Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our [Elohim], all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!" And I heard, as it were, (e) the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For [Yehovah] Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and (f) His wife has made herself ready." 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. Then (g) he said to me, "Write: `Blessed are those who are called to (h) the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of [Yehovah]." And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "See that you do not do that! I am (i) your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of [Yeshua]. Worship [Yehovah]! For (j) the testimony of [Yeshua] is the spirit of prophecy."
a. This is another major shift in focus - from Earth and the annihilation of Babylon to Heaven.
b. The final, total destruction of Babylon, burying her beneath the waves of the sea (Jeremiah 51:42) really sets off a celebration in Heaven, because not only are her evil human inhabitants gone, but the physical kingdom of Satan - the headquarters for his army of demons/evil spirits/ fallen angels (cf. 18:2) - is totally eradicated.
c. The celebration consists of praising and worshiping Yehovah for ridding Earth of Babylon, avenging the murders of Yehovah's people (cf. 6:10, and for taking back His reign over Earth (cf. 11:17).
d. The 24 elders and the four living creatures worship Yehovah.
e. A voice from the throne, apparently Yehovah’s, prompts more praise and worship, to which the multitude, apparently of Saints and angels, responds.
f. Notice that the Bride of the Messiah is given garments of fine linen (righteousness), but she has put them on herself. Again, true life in the Messiah is an active rather than a passive religion in which we must choose, by His grace, to “put on [the Messiah] ... our righteousness” (Romans 13:4; Jeremiah 23:6).
g. John’s personal angel (cf. 1:1).
h. In ancient Israeli weddings, after the groom took his betrothed to her new home, the actual marriage ceremony, the consummation of the marriage, and the marriage supper (sometimes a week-long celebration) occurred. So, in Heaven, the events involved in the marriage of the Lamb to His Bride (and His coronation as King) will occur during the Days of Awe, while the "last plagues" of the bowls of wrath are being poured out on Earth (15:1).
i. The sentence structure here is a little confusing. The angel is not telling John that he is his human brother or brother in the Messiah; he is telling him that he is John’s and John’s brethren’s fellow servant of the Lord.
j. This is an interesting insight into the roles of those who testify to the truth that Yeshua ("Jesus") is Elohim ("God"): they are actually prophesying. So, when Scripture speaks of the persecution of or killing the prophets, it is speaking of persecuting or killing those who preach the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah, who are speaking by the same spirit of prophecy as did the BBM (Before the Birth of the Messiah) prophets or any other prophets of Yehovah.
19:11-13 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, (a) a white horse. And He who sat on him was called (b) Faithful and True, and (c) in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had (d) a name written that no one knew except Himself. (e) He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called (f) The Word of [Yehovah].
a. This section reveals a thorough identification of the One who rides the white horse out of Heaven - the One who was mimicked by the false messiah when he went out to conquer the world (6:2).
b. This is a title of the One (the Messiah) who dictated the letters to the seven churches to John (Revelation 3:14).
c. In the end, He is no longer the Lamb; He is the One who righteously judges and makes war.
d. Yeshua, Messiah, Son of Yehovah, Lamb of Yehovah, King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father, Almighty Elohim, and many others are descriptive titles, but He has a mysterious, wonderful name that no one on Earth knows (cf. Judges 13:18). Because, in a mysterious way, the Son and the Father are one (John 17:22), it may be that the Son's secret name is the same as His father's (Yehovah - cf. Genesis 2:4 and John 1:1). It seems that John saw the name written but did not “know” (fully comprehend) it. Since the prohibition of speaking the name of the Father in the fourth century (when the persecution of Constantine and the Roman Church began), many Jews believe that if Elohim's secret name is spoken, the person who speaks that name will die, because the full essence of Yehovah, which no one can bear to comprehend, is expressed in His name.
e. This reflects His role as the sacrificial Lamb of Yehovah whose blood was shed to wash away our sins (1:5).
f. This is another Scriptural title (not the name) of the Messiah (John 1:1).
19:14-21 And (a) the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now (b) out of His mouth goes (c) a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. (d) He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty [Elohim]. And (e) He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Then I saw (f) 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 [Elohim], 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 (g) all people, free and slave, both small and great." And I saw (h) 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. Then (i) 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. (j) 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.
a. The armies of Heaven include both the glorified Saints and angels (Matthew 13:41; 16:27; Mark 8:38; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Revelation 15:6; 17:14; 19;8, 14).
b. There is incredible power in the Word of the Elohim, because He is the Word. He spoke the cosmos into existence (Psalm 33:6; Hebrews 11:3). His Word is incisive and powerful enough to divide soul and spirit and accurately discern the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). And now, all that He has to do is to speak, and his enemies will be vanquished.
c. This seems like a contradiction: How will the Messiah strike the nations with a sword, an instrument of death, yet rule them with a rod of iron? A key to the solution is in understanding that the Hebrew term goy (plural: goyim), translated “nation” in the Bible, can refer to either Gentile or Hebrew nations (nations formed by the physical descendants of the tribes of Israel - cf. Genesis 48:19), depending on the context.12 So, 19:15 could mean that Elohim will destroy the unsaved both of Israel and the Gentile nations (the "earth dwellers") but spare those of Israel and those Gentiles who will not take the mark of Antimessiah after the Rapture and who will inhabit the millennial kingdom of the Messiah. And, according to Old Covenant Scriptures prophecies, that is exactly what will happen. For example, Yehovah says, “My determination is to gather the nations to My assembly of kingdoms, to pour on them My indignation, all My fierce anger; all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy” (Zephaniah 3:8). However, Micah 5:3 indicates that a remnant of the tribes of Israel dispersed among the nations of the world will return to the land of Israel and be reunited with their brethren who are already in the land. Also, Scripture indicates that Yehovah will have mercy on some from the nations who gather against Jerusalem at the end of the Final Seven Years (cf. Zechariah 14:16), and bring them into the millennial kingdom. The latter will apparently be those Gentiles who do not take the mark of the beast, because all who take the mark will be destroyed by the Wrath of Elohim (14:9-10). So, it will apparently be the Jews (Israelites) who flee into the wilderness and are hidden and protected there by Yehovah during the Final Seven Years and the Gentiles who survive, by the grace of Yehovah, the Wrath of Elohim after the Rapture who will make up the nations who will inhabit the earth, where they will be ruled with a rod of iron (2:27) during the Millennium. This “separation of the sheep from the goats” will occur on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), also known as Yom haPeduth (the Day of Redemption). The spiritual descendants of Abraham - the Followers of Yeshua (cf. Romans 4:15-16) - who are caught up in the Rapture ten days earlier, on Yom Teruah (the Feast of Trumpets) will, following their return to Earth with the King of kings and Lord of lords, be in their glorified, resurrection bodies inhabiting New Jerusalem with Elohim during the Millennium. The unsaved Gentile nations (the “earth dwellers”) will have been totally destroyed. For more details, see the commentary on Chapters 20 and 21.
d. This is the fulfillment of 14:20.
e. The significance of His name being written on His robe and His thigh is not clear. In the Bible, sons are said to come from their fathers’ loins (the waist/thigh area) which would be visible on a man who is riding a horse. So, perhaps the indication is that in contrast to His unspeakable divine name is his human title: King of kings and Lord of lords.
f. Perhaps the angel is standing in the sun (light) to make himself highly visible as he summons the birds to consume the flesh of the earth dwellers destroyed by Yeshua (notice this is practically a quote from Ezekiel 39:17, indicating that this is one of the prophesied Gog-Magog wars).
g. Notice that all classes of earth dwellers, all who receive the mark of the beast and worship his image, are killed.
h. This appears to be the battle of "Armageddon" (cf. the commentary on 16:16).
i. Antimessiah and the false prophet are not even given the respite of physical death and time in Hades (Hebrew: Sheol) before the Final Judgment; they are immediately cast alive into the lake of fire ("Hell").
j. In the light of 16:12-21, the sequence of events appears to be the battle of Armageddon and the destruction of the Messiah's enemies there (the armies of the "kings of the earth" - cf. Psalm 2:2; Zechariah 14:2) followed by the events of the seventh bowl of wrath, including the destruction of Jerusalem and Babylon the Great, and the death of all remaining earth-dwellers not specially protected by Yehovah. Then, the “birds that fly in the midst of heaven” obey what the angel who stands in the sun commands them to do (consume the flesh of all those killed during the Day of Yehovah).
12For a complete exposition of the terms goy and goyim in the Bible, please go to Appendix 3 - Who are the People of Yehovah?
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Common English translations of Hebrew and Messianic terms used in this commentary:
Yehovah - the LORD or GOD
Yah - I Am (the short form of Yehovah)
Elohim - God
El - God (the short form of Elohim)
Adonai - my Lord or Master
Yeshua - Jesus
Followers of Yeshua -
Messiah - Christ
Assembly of Followers of
Yeshua - the Church
Antimessiah - Antichrist
BBM - Before the Birth of
the Messiah (rather than
BC or BCE)
ABM - After the Birth of the Messiah (rather than AD
For a complete explanation of Hebrew terms used, go to Important Terms and Concepts.
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