Revelation Chapters 14 through 19, Part 8
by Karl Kemp
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We will finish this verse-by-verse study of Rev. 14:9-19:21 here in Part 8, starting with Rev. 19:12.
(12) And His eyes are a flame of fire [cf. Dan. 10:6; Rev. 1:14; and 2:18], and upon His head are many diadems [cf. Rev. 6:2; 19:16]; and He has a name written upon Him which no knows except Himself. (13) And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood [I'll quote from Robert H. Mounce ("Book of Revelation" [Eerdmans, 1977], page 345). "The Palestinian Targum on Genesis 49:11 reads in part, 'How beauteous is the King Messiah! Binding his loins and going forth to war against them that hate him, he will slay kings with princes, and make the rivers red with the blood of their slain.... His garments will be dipped in blood and he himself like the juice of the winepress' cf. Rev. 14:14-20."]; and His name is called The Word of God. [See John 1:1, 14. I'll quote again from Mounce (pages 345, 346), "... In Hebrew thought a word is not a lifeless sound but an active agent that achieves the intention of the one who speaks (Gen 1:3, 7, 9, etc.). ... This idea finds expression in Hebrews 4:12, 'the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.' The same concept is found in the Wisdom of Solomon in connection with the death of the firstborn in Egypt: 'thy all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne, into the midst of the land that was doomed, a stern warrior carrying the sharp sword of thy authentic command' (19:15-16). The Messiah as avenging warrior is appropriately named the Word (the powerful and active utterance) of God."
I'll also quote part of what Philip E. Hughes said here ("Book of the Revelation" (Eerdmans, 1990), page 204). "As the Word of God the Son is both the revealer of the divine mind and also the agent of the divine will. Since the word of God never fails to effect what it decrees (cf. Isa. 55:11), it is through him who is the eternal word that the will of God is brought to pass not only in creation but also in re-creation (2 Cor. 4:6) and in judgment (Acts 17:31)."]] (14) And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean [cf. Rev. 19:8], were following Him on white horses. (15) And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron [[This ruling with a rod of iron includes destroying those who persist in rebellion. Psalm 2:9, from which the words about ruling with a rod of iron were derived, includes this idea: "Thou shalt break [another reading is "rule"] them with a rod of iron, Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware." The raptured saints who are "following [Christ] on white horses" will also rule with a rod of iron from the time they are glorified in the middle of Daniel's 70th week (cf. Rev. 2:26, 27; 12:5).]]; 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 [cf. Rev. 17:14; Deut. 10:17; and Dan. 2:47].'
EXCERPT FROM MY "THE MID-WEEK RAPTURE #23" ON REV. 19:12-16.
I didn't comment very much on these verses (Rev. 19:12-16) in the original version of this paper, but I referred the reader to the discussion of Rev. 19:11-16 on pages 25-29 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." Here I'll include a four page excerpt from my article titled, "The Mid-Week Rapture #23" that deals with Rev. 19:12-16. These verses are quite important.
I'll read Rev. 19:12, "His eyes are a flame of fire [see Dan. 10:6; Rev. 1:14; and 2:18.], and on His head are many diadems [or, crowns]; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself." We probably will be able to know and understand the meaning of this name after we are glorified, or at least by the time His eternal kingdom has been fully established, with its new heaven and new earth and its new Jerusalem. I'll read Rev. 3:12 (Jesus is speaking here), "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, AND MY NEW NAME [my emphasis]." Also see Rev. 2:17. That verse speaks of our being given a new name, a name which no one knows and understands but the one who receives it. Our new name will undoubtedly reflect our new glorified status and existence (in union with the Lord Jesus), so too for the Lord Jesus Christ.
The fact that the Lord Jesus Christ has many crowns on His head could demonstrate that He has the authority to judge and fully take over the world (verse 16 mentions, for example, that he is King of kings, and Lord of lords; also see Rev. 17:14), but these could be crowns of enemies He has conquered already. In 1 Cor. 15:25, the apostle Paul (speaking of Christ's end-time reign) said, "He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet." In verse 24 he mentioned that Christ will abolish "all rule and all authority and power."
We'll go on to Rev. 19:13, "He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God." Many Christians have trouble with this verse because they think that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming to the earth at this time (very near the end of Daniel's 70th week) to judge the world, but His robe has already been dipped in the blood of His enemies. However, as we have discussed, the book of Revelation shows that He returned to the earth in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, and He has already judged and removed Babylon the great harlot and the first six bowls of wrath have already been poured out. As I mentioned, these words about His robe being dipped in blood serve to strongly confirm that the Lord doesn't come to judge the world at Rev. 19:11 (near the end of Daniel's 70th week); He comes at Rev. 11:15-18 (right in the middle of the seven-year period). (I should mention that some say that the blood in view here is the atoning blood of the Lamb of God. I don't believe that view is tenable in this context.)
These words about the Lord Jesus Christ's robe being dipped in blood build on Isa. 63:1-6. I'll read these verses, "Who is this who comes from Edom [Edom is used here, as it is in Isaiah chapter 34, as a symbol for the world. God's judgment of Edom here includes His end-time judgment of Babylon the great harlot and His judgment of Antichrist and his followers.], With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah [Bozrah was a city of Edom.], This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength? 'It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.' [God cannot fully save His people, or fully establish His kingdom, until He has judged and removed His unrepentant enemies.] (2) Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? (3) 'I have trodden the wine trough alone, And from the peoples there was no man with Me. [There are some things that God must do Himself, but the book of Revelation informs us that the glorified saints will be reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ (and even ruling with a rod of iron, but He clearly has the DOMINANT role) from the time of the rapture.] I also trod them in My anger And trampled them in My wrath; And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, And I stained all My rainment. (4) For the day of vengeance was in My heart [This includes God's avenging all the shed blood of His people (cf., e.g., Rev. 6:10; Deut. 32:43).], And My year of redemption has come. (5) I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So My own arm brought salvation to Me, And My wrath upheld Me. (6) I trod down the peoples in My anger and Made them drunk in My wrath, And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.' "
The verses in Isaiah speak of God's treading His enemies in the winepress in His end-time judgment of the world. Revelation 19:15 goes on to mention that the Lord Jesus Christ "treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty." Iíll comment further on treading the wine press when we discuss verse 15.
On God the Son's name being called the Word of God, see John 1:1, 14; cf. 1 John 1:1.
Let's go on to Rev. 19:14, "And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses." The fact that verse 8 mentions that it was given to the glorified saints to wear "fine linen, bright and clean" demonstrates that the armies here in verse 14 at least include the glorified saints; they have been reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ from the time of their glorification and rapture in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. The angels of God will certainly be present too, but apparently they are not mentioned here.
The glorified, raptured saints will be with the Lord, reigning with Him, and following Him forever from the time of their glorification and rapture. I'll give some important cross-references on this point: I'll read 1 Thess. 4:16-18, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, AND SO WE SHALL ALWAYS BE WITH THE LORD [my emphasis]. (18) Therefore comfort one another with these words." Yes! I guess so! I won't read Rev. 2:26, 27; 3:21; or 12:5, but those verses demonstrate that the glorified, raptured saints will be reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ. Two of these verses even mention that we will be ruling with a rod of iron. Revelation 14:1-5 picture the glorified saints with the Lord Jesus right after the rapture. Verse 4 mentions, "These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes." The "fine linen, white and clean" of Rev. 19:14 is matched by the righteousness of the saints mentioned in Rev. 14:4, 5. Revelation 14:1-5 are discussed in chapter 23 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." In Rev. 14:14-16 the glorified saints are undoubtedly included with the Lord Jesus Christ on the white cloud as He swings His sickle over the earth to judge Babylon the great harlot. See the discussion of Rev. 14:14-16 in this paper. I'll read Rev. 17:14 and briefly comment on this verse, "These [referring to Antichrist and his ten associates] will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, AND THOSE WHO ARE WITH HIM ARE THE CALLED AND CHOSEN AND FAITHFUL [my emphasis]." "The called and chosen and faithful" who are with the Lord Jesus Christ are the glorified, raptured saints. Antichrist and his ten associates will be waging war against the Lord throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week. Of course the Lord could destroy His enemies at any time, but (as we have discussed) God is going to use Antichrist in His end-time judgment of the world before He destroys him and his followers. Revelation 19:19 demonstrates that Antichrist and the gigantic multitude who gather to Har-Mageddon will be waging war against the Lord Jesus Christ AND AGAINST HIS ARMY, which at least includes the glorified, raptured saints. I'll read Rev. 19:19, "And I saw the beast [Antichrist] and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse AND AGAINST HIS ARMY [my emphasis]." Also see Rev. 13:6 (We are God's "tabernacle" now, and in a fuller sense after the glorification and rapture.)
Let's go on to Rev. 19:15, "From 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 [God the Father]." On the sharp sword that comes out of the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ, see Rev. 1:16; 2:12, 16; and 19:21. Revelation 19:21 shows that the Lord kills His enemies with the sword that comes out of His mouth. Verses like Isa. 11:4; 49:2; and 2 Thess. 2:8 confirm that this figurative language of a sharp sword coming out of His mouth means that the words He speaks will cause the death of His enemies. The Lord Jesus Christ speaks with total authority; His words, backed up by all the power of heaven, will strike down all the unrepentant enemies of God.
These words about His ruling with a rod of iron build on Psalm 2:9. This rule of the Lord Jesus Christ with a rod of iron, which will begin at the time of His mid-week return, very much includes the judgment and removal of His unrepentant enemies, including Babylon the great harlot and Antichrist and his followers. Revelation 2:26, 27; 12:5 prophesy that the glorified saints will also rule with a rod of iron, as they reign with the Lord Jesus Christ. It isn't clear how involved the glorified saints will be in the judging and warfare of the second half of Daniel's 70th week, but it is clear that the Lord Jesus Christ will be the primary One ruling with a rod of iron. He is the One who has a sharp sword coming out of His mouth for striking down the nations, and this verse goes on to say that "He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty." Furthermore, verse 13 only mentions the blood of His enemies being on His robe (not on the garments of those with Him), and verse 21 speaks of Antichrist's forces being killed by the sword which comes from Christ's mouth. As I mentioned, there are some things that God must do Himself, but the book of Revelation informs us that the glorified saints will be reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ, and even ruling with a rod of iron. And, as I mentioned, Rev. 19:19 speaks of Antichrist and the kings of the earth and their armies waging war against the Lord Jesus Christ and against His army. I assume we will be quite active in this warfare.
Now we'll discuss these words at the end of verse 15, "and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty." Isaiah 63:1-6, which I quoted above, mentioned a wine press in verse 2, and it mentioned treading in the wine press in verses 2, 3, and treading down His enemies in verse 6. Verse 2 spoke of His garments being red, and verse 3 spoke of their lifeblood being sprinkled on His garments. Revelation 19:13, which speaks of the Lord's garments being dipped in blood before He judges Antichrist and his forces at the end of Daniel's 70th week, helps confirm that these words about treading the wine press include Christ's judgment of Babylon the great harlot. And, as I mentioned, Edom, which is a symbol for the world in Isa. 63:1-6, includes Babylon the great harlot - Babylon is a symbol for the world too.
Will the Lord Jesus Christ literally have the blood of His enemies on His robe? It is possible, but we must face the fact that the book of Revelation is packed with figurative language, figurative language that deals with reality and communicates very important truth in powerful ways. I have found that many Christians go way too far with insisting that every detail in the book of Revelation must be understood in a literal sense if it is at all possible to take it in a literal sense. Our goal must be to interpret God's Word in the sense He intended. It is also true, of course, that some Christians totally misinterpret the book of Revelation (and other parts of the Bible) by taking just about everything in a symbolic/figurative sense. We need the wisdom of God to rightly interpret His Word. It is clear (I believe) that the Lord will not have a literal sword coming out of His mouth, and it is clear (I believe) that He will not literally smash His unrepentant enemies with a rod of iron, and that He will not literally tread on His enemies with His feet. Since He won't literally tread on His enemies, He probably won't have His robe dipped in their blood. But His enemies will be killed by His judgment, and the wrath of God will be manifested in powerful ways.
Let's go on to Rev. 19:16, "And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, 'King of kings, and Lord of lords.' " See Rev. 1:5; 17:14. The expression "King of kings and Lord of lords" is used of God the Father in 1 Tim. 6:15. God the Father has put all things (obviously not including Himself) under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Cor. 15:27, for example).
That completes the excerpt on Rev. 19:12-16. Now we come to Rev. 19:17.
(17) And 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 [The angel is in a central location and cries out with a loud voice so all the birds which fly in midheaven can hear him; cf. Rev. 8:13; 14:6, 7.], 'Come, assemble for the great supper of God; (18) in order 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 [cf. Rev. 13:16].' [See Ezek. 39:17-20; Rev. 19:21.] (19) And I saw the beast [Antichrist; cf. Rev. 16:13] and the kings of the earth [cf. Rev. 16:14; Psalm 2] and their armies, assembled [[I would translate "gathered," or "gathered together" (with the NIV). It's important to see that this is the same gathering spoken of in Rev. 16:12-16, the gathering that takes place under the sixth bowl of wrath. The Greek participle used here in 19:19 that I would translate "gathered," or "gathered together," was formed from the Greek verb "sunago," the verb used in 16:14 ("to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty"), and in 16:16 ("they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon"). As we discussed under Rev. 16:17-21, the destruction of Antichrist and his forces gathered to Har-Magedon seems to be the primary objective, if not the total objective, for the seventh bowl of wrath. It would be possible to think of the judgment and removal of every person still living on the earth at that time (at the end of the seven-year period) who has worshiped Antichrist and taken his mark (see under Rev. 14:17-20). We know that all such people will be removed before the millennial kingdom begins (cf. Rev. 14:9-11).]] to make war against Him who sat upon the horse [Rev. 19:11; 17:14], and against His army [Rev. 19:14; 17:14]. (20) And 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 [cf. Rev. 13:11-18; 16:13]; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. [[See Rev. 14:9-11; 20:10, 14, 15; 21:8; Isa. 66:24; and Dan. 7:11. These two men apparently are the first men (even the first persons/beings) ever to be thrown into the eternal "lake of fire," which can also be called hell, or Gehenna. On the yet-future eternal fire, also see Matt. 3:12; 13:40-42, 49, 50; 18:8, 9; 25:41, 46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 3:17; and Jude 1:7. The word "Gehenna" (Greek "geenna") came from the Hebrew. The Greek noun geenna was used twelve times in the New Testament (Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; and James 3:6.) It was always translated "hell" by the NASB and NIV; the KJV translated it "hell" nine times and "hell fire" three times.
There is confusion in the Body of Christ because the KJV also always translated the Greek noun "hades" as "hell" in the New Testament. The NASB translates it as "Hades" in all of its ten uses in the New Testament (Matt. 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; 16:23; Acts 2:27, 31; Rev. 1:18; 6:8; and 20:13, 14). The NIV has "Hades" five times (Matt. 16:18; Rev. 1:18; 6:8; 20:13, 14), "depths" two times (Matt. 11:23; Luke 10:15), "grave" two times (Acts 2:27, 31), and "hell" one time (Luke 16:23; I wouldn't translate hades as hell in this verse either).
"Hades" (Hebrew "sheol") was where the dead went in the days before the new covenant, including the believers (but for them it wasn't a place of torment). Now that the new covenant is in effect, believers go to heaven at death (heaven in a preliminary form in that the resurrection and glorification haven't taken place yet); unbelievers still go to Hades/Sheol at death. Revelation 20:14 shows that Hades will be cast into the lake of fire (into hell/Gehenna) at the end of the millennium, before the eternal state begins.]] (21) And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse [cf. Rev. 19:15, 19], and all the birds were filled with their flesh. [Cf. Rev. 19:17, 18]. [[The rest of those who were gathered to Har-Mageddon will be killed. We can also safely assume that any of the people who have worshiped Antichrist and his image and taken his mark who still remain alive on the earth at this time, right at the end of Daniel's 70th week, will also be killed (cf. Rev. 14:9-11), whether they were gathered to Har-Mageddon, or not (cf. Ezek. 39:6). Surely none of them will enter the millennial kingdom. Revelation 20:3 shows, however, that many people from the nations (the remnant of the nations), who aren't part of true Israel, will be spared to enter the millennium, but none of them will have worshiped Antichrist and his image and taken his mark.]]
May God's will be fully accomplished through this paper and His people be edified!
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