Monday, December 17, 2012

Revelation 20 The millennial reign of Christ Revelation chapter 20 is one of the most controversial chapters in the Bible, not because it contains anything essentially complex, but because it touches on a subject of preconceived bias. Now is the time when Satan will be taken, bound and put into the bottomless pit (abyss) where his influence will not have any effect on the Tribulation Saints who have lived through the seven years of Tribulation. Can you imagine a life where Satan isn't around to temp anyone? Do you think that the 1000 year millennium will be a time of paradise? That nothing bad will happen? No one will enter into the 1000 year millennium unless they are a believer. Most will live for the entire one thousand years and will procreate and have children. Yes even the curse on the animals is lifted and the wolf will lie down with the lamb and will live in peace with each other. But human nature is what it is. The children of those Saints will still have to be taught about Jesus, even though He will be with them constantly. Many will not accept Him. Remember, the heart is very wicked and unfortunately, that is the nature of man. Many of those children will be rebels and with a tremendous population explosion during those one thousand years, there will be probably billions of people at the end much like it is now. However the unbelievers at that point will be as "the number of whom [is] as the sand of the sea", verse 8. The Binding of Satan Rev_20:1-15 begins with the familiar phrase, And I saw an angel (cf. Rev_7:2; Rev_8:2; Rev_10:1; Rev_14:6; Rev_18:1; Rev_19:17). The “and” with which this chapter begins suggests that it continues the sequence of events begun in Rev_19:1, which is introduced with the words “after this.” In Rev_19:1-21 the Greek has “and” at the beginnings of 15 verses (but it is omitted in the NIV in Rev_19:4, Rev_19:8, Rev_19:10-11, Rev_19:13-16, and Rev_19:21 and is trans. “then” in Rev_19:5-6, Rev_19:9, and Rev_19:19 and “but” in Rev_19:20). The use of the word “and” (kai) often indicates action that follows in logical and/or chronological sequence. Accordingly there is no reason why Rev_20:1-15 should not be considered as describing events which follow Rev_19:1-21. “And” (kai) continues throughout Rev_20:1-15, beginning each verse except Rev_20:5. There is thus no linguistic or grammatical suggestion that these events are anything other than events following the second coming of Christ and occurring in sequence. In addition to the grammar which connects these incidents, there is also the causal connection of the events which follow naturally from the fact that Christ will have returned to the earth. In Rev_19:1-21 these events include casting the beast and the false prophet into the lake of burning sulfur and destroying their armies. Having disposed of the world ruler and the false prophet as well as the armies, it would be only natural that Christ should then turn to Satan himself, as He does in Rev_20:1-15. Accordingly John saw an angel descend from heaven holding the key to the Abyss and a great chain. The angel grabbed Satan, the dragon (cf. Rev_12:3-4, Rev_12:7, Rev_12:9, Rev_12:13, Rev_12:16-17; Rev_13:2, Rev_13:4, Rev_13:11; Rev_16:13), that ancient serpent (Rev_12:9, Rev_12:14-15), bound him, and threw him into the Abyss, and locked it, in order to prevent Satan’s work of deceiving the nations any more for a thousand years. This "angel" is not Jesus Himself but is a ministering spirit that Jesus has given authority to. This angel comes from heaven (near the throne). We can assume from this that Jesus has turned the key to the bottomless pit over to this specific angel and has given him power and authority for this job. This "great chain" in this angel's hand, shows the power God has given him over the devil for this task, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. The key shows authority, and the chain depicts imprisonment and binding. Before the millennial kingdom begins, Satan is bound in the Abyss. When he bound the devil for the 1000 years, the angel put him in the abyss, not in the burning hell. This burning hell was reserved for his final punishment. Here we see the devil spoken of as the dragon which we read about in a previous lesson. We also see him recognized as the serpent. You see, he was the one who deceived Eve in the garden. The devil will not be here on the earth to harass the Christians until the millennial 1000 year reign of Jesus is over. If Satan is actually deceiving the nations today, as the Scriptures and the facts of history indicate, then he is not now locked in the Abyss, and the thousand-year Millennium is still in our future. This interpretation is also supported by the final statement that after the thousand years, he must be set free for a short time (Rev_20:3). Here expositors again are at a loss to explain this except in a literal way, making possible a final satanic rebellion at the end of the millennial kingdom. The seal indicates god's authority and guarantee that Satan will not be released until a thousand years have passed. During the Millennium (Latin for "one thousand years") Satan will not be able to tempt or deceive the nations. Any temptation to sin during the Millennium must come from within those people who are born after the kingdom begins. It must be assumed that all of Satan's demons or fallen angels are also imprisoned at this time (Isaiah 24: verses 21-23). Christ will reign on earth without opposition, and His kingdom will be characterized by righteousness, peace, and love (Isaiah 2: verses 3 and 4; 11: verses 3-5, 2; Dan 7: verse14; Zech. 14: verse 9). However, after the thousand years Satan will be released for a short while (v.7-9). At the end of the 1000 years, Satan will once again be released to deceive the nations. He will find many unsaved descendants of those who lived through the millennium. There will be a very large number as we are told in verse eight as they will be like the sand of the seashore or a vast uncountable multitude. Satan's deceptive way of getting those sinners to revolt against God is not revealed, but it will fit into God's plan when He destroys those rebels. These rebels will come from the four corners of the earth is and this is also known as Gog and Magog. The first mention of Gog and Magog was in Ezek. Chapters 38 and 39 (which I suggest reading), and is mentioned here in verse eight. Revelation 20:4 The Resurrection and Reward of The Martyrs Next in the series of revelations John recorded that he saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. In addition he saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their standing true to the Lord and His Word in the Great Tribulation. The fact that John could see them implies that they had received intermediate bodies in heaven and were awaiting their resurrections. A distinction should be made between what John saw and what he received as revelation. Though he could see the souls, he was informed that they had been beheaded because they had refused to worship the beast or his image and would not receive his mark. What John saw was not all the souls in heaven but a particular generation of martyred dead who had been contemporaneous with the world ruler, the beast out of the sea (Rev_13:1). If the church were raptured prior to this event, as premillenarians teach, it would make sense to single out these martyred dead for resurrection. But if the church were not raptured, it would be most unusual to ignore all the martyrs of preceding generations, the church as a whole, and to specify this relatively small group. John apparently was not told the identity of the individuals seated on the thrones. They evidently do not include the martyred dead themselves. Christ had predicted (Luk_22:29-30) that the 12 disciples would “eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel.” As the disciples are also a part of the church, the body of Christ, it would be natural for them to sit on these thrones. According to the Scriptures a series of judgments is related to Christ’s return. The beast and the false prophet will be cast into the fiery lake (Rev_19:20), Satan will be cast into the Abyss (Rev_20:1-3), and then the martyred dead of the Great Tribulation will be judged and rewarded (Rev_20:4). In addition, Israel will be judged (Eze_20:33-38), and the Gentiles will be judged (Mat_25:31-46). These judgments precede and lead up to the millennial kingdom. John stated that these martyred dead came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Their coming to life suggests that they will be given resurrected bodies. In addition to receiving the visual revelation, John was informed as to the meaning and character of the judgment that was here taking place. Many of the writers do not believe that this thousand years is a literal time. I personally do. They believe that this is spiritual, and that Jesus bound the devil when He defeated him on the cross. If that were so, who is this terrible thing that has been nipping at my heels all the time that I have been working for God. The devil is real. Just as he brought trials and tribulation (with permission from God) on Job, Christians are allowed to go through tribulation here on this earth to make them strong. Believe me; the devil is not locked up now. In these scriptures, we find that the martyrs and those who refuse to take the mark of the beast will reign with Christ right here on this earth. Christians, from all generations, will live here on this earth during the millennium and will rule and reign with the Lord Jesus. We will rule with Christ during those years but we will not be equal as we will reign as His subordinates. Won't it be wonderful to reign with the martyrs like Stephen? The thrones represent the administration of the messianic kingdom. Those whom John sees come to life are the Tribulation martyrs, who refused to worship the beast. Christ will rule through three classes of kingdom administrators: 1. Old Testament saints (Isaiah 26:19; Dan. 12:2), who will be resurrected at this time; 2. The apostles and the church (Matt. 19: verses 28 and 29); and 3. Tribulation saints (Luke 19: verses 12 to 27). Only believers will enter the Millennium at its beginning (John 3: verses 3 - 5). God's promises to Abraham (Gen. 12: v.2-3) and David (2 Sam 7: v.16) will be fulfilled (Luke 1: v.31-33; Rom. 11: v.15 and 29). After the Millennium, Christ will deliver the kingdom to God the Father and will then be appointed Ruler forever (1 Cor. 15:24-28). Revelation 20:5 John was also informed that the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This refers to the resurrection of the wicked dead, discussed later (Rev_20:11-15). John stated that what he was seeing is the first resurrection. Posttribulationists refer to this as proof that the church will not be raptured before the Tribulation and that no resurrection has taken place prior to this point in fulfillment of God’s prophetic program. It should be obvious, however, that in no sense could this be the number-one resurrection chronologically because historically Christ was the first to rise from the dead with a transformed, resurrected body. There was also the resurrection “of many” (Mat_27:52-53) which took place when Christ died. In what sense then can this resurrection in Rev_20:5 be “first”? As the context which follows indicates, “the first resurrection” (Rev_20:5-6) contrasts with the last resurrection (Rev_20:12-13), which is followed by “the second death” (Rev_20:6, Rev_20:14). It is first in the sense of before. All the righteous, regardless of when they are raised, take part in the resurrection which is first or before the final resurrection (of the wicked dead) at the end of the Millennium. This supports the conclusion that the resurrection of the righteous is by stages. Christ was “the Firstfruits” (1Co_15:23), which was preceded by the token resurrection of a number of saints (Mat_27:52-53). Then will occur the Rapture of the church, which will include the resurrection of dead church saints and the translation of living church saints (1Th_4:13-18). The resurrection of the two witnesses will occur in the Great Tribulation (Rev_11:3, Rev_11:11). Then the resurrection of the martyred dead of the Great Tribulation will occur soon after Christ returns to earth (Rev_20:4-5). To these may be added the resurrection of Old Testament saints which apparently will also occur at this time, though it is not mentioned in this text (cf. Isa_26:19-21; Eze_37:12-14; Dan_12:2-3). The first part of verse 5 is a parenthesis, and comes chronologically after verse 11. A parenthesis is defined: A qualifying or amplifying word, phrase, or sentence inserted within written matter in such a way as to be independent of the surrounding grammatical structure. The first resurrection is the resurrection included in verse 4. It has three principal phases: 1. The resurrection of Christ (the firstfruits-1 Cor. 15: v.23; Rev. 1: v.5); 2. The resurrection of the church (the dead in Christ - 1 Cor. 15: v.23; 1 Thess. 4: v.16); and 3. The resurrection of Old Testament and Tribulation saints (v.4; Isaiah 26: v.19; Dan. 12: v.2). The rest of the dead (unbelievers) will be raised in the second resurrection, described in verses 12 and 13. The first resurrection is a resurrection to life (John 5:28, 29), whereas the second resurrection is a resurrection to death. The second death is eternal punishment in the lake of fire (see verses 14). Revelation 20:6 All those who share in the resurrection of the righteous are said to be blessed and holy, and the second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. While all the righteous will be raised before the Millennium, individuals will retain their identities and their group identifications such as Gentile believers and believers in Israel in the Old Testament, the church of the New Testament, and saints of the Tribulation. It should be noted that the term “a thousand years” occurs six times in Rev_20:1-15. This was not something that could be seen visually; John had to be informed of it and the vision had to be interpreted as relating to a period of a thousand years. While amillenarians and others have tended to view this as nonliteral, there is no evidence to support this conclusion. This is the only chapter in Revelation where a period of a thousand years is mentioned, and the fact that it is mentioned six times and is clearly described as a period of time before which and after which events take place lead to the conclusion that it means a literal thousand-year period. Since other time designations in Revelation are literal (e.g., “42 months,” Rev_11:2; Rev_13:5; “1,260 days,” Rev_11:3; Rev_12:6) it is natural to take “a thousand years” literally also. If the term “a thousand years” designates a nonspecific but long period of time, the present Age between Christ’s two advents, as amillenarians hold, then one would expect John to say simply that Christ would reign “a long time,” in contrast to the “short time” of Satan’s release (Joh_20:3). Events which precede the thousand years are (a) the second coming of Christ, (b) the beast and the false prophet thrown into the fiery lake, (c) the armies destroyed, (d) Satan bound and locked in the Abyss, (e) thrones of judgment introduced, and (f) the martyred dead of the Tribulation resurrected. These events revealed in their proper sequence make it clear that the thousand-year period follows all these events, including the second coming of Christ. The conclusion that the Second Coming is premillennial is clearly supported by a normal, literal interpretation of this text. We Christians are the blessed. You can easily see that the wicked dead have no part in this resurrection. We believers in Christ (the redeemed) are not subject to death because we have life (which Jesus breathed into us), when we were born again. We will never die. This second death mentioned here is for the lost. Not only will the Christians reign on this earth with Jesus for 1000 years, but we will live for all eternity in heaven with Jesus, because we have eaten of the Tree of Life which is Jesus Christ our Lord. What is the Millennium - Christ's 1000 year reign upon David's throne is the fulfillment of God's promises to Abraham, Isaac, Israel and to David, but its more than that. It is the final proof of the incorrigible nature of man's sinful heart. Christ is present in Jerusalem, ruling the world, and the saints of all ages in resurrected bodies administer the kingdom righteously under His direction. All evil is prohibited and punished immediately. Even Satan is locked away so that he cannot in any way influence mankind. Revelation 20:7-8 The Final Doom of Satan Apart from frequent mention of the thousand years, no details are given concerning the reign of Christ on earth except that it is a time of great blessing. Many Old Testament passages supply additional information about the Millennium. The main point of the revelation here is that the Millennium follows the Second Coming. John was told what would happen at the conclusion of the thousand years. Satan will be released from the Abyss, his prison, and will make a final attempt to induce nations — called Gog and Magog — to come and battle with him against Christ. Satan’s release will produce a worldwide rebellion against the millennial reign of Christ. The armies will be so vast in numbers that they are said to be like the sand on the seashore. Who are these who will follow Satan? Those who survive the Tribulation will enter the Millennium in their natural bodies, and they will bear children and repopulate the earth (Isa_65:18-25). Under ideal circumstances in which all know about Jesus Christ (cf. Jer_31:33-34), many will outwardly profess faith in Christ without actually placing faith in Him for salvation. The shallowness of their professions will become apparent when Satan is released. The multitudes who follow Satan are evidently those who have never been born again in the millennial kingdom. The question has been raised as to whether this war is the same one discussed in Ezekiel 38-39, where Gog and Magog are also mentioned (Eze_38:2). These are two different battles, for in the war of Ezekiel 38-39 the armies come primarily from the north and involve only a few nations of the earth. But the battle in Rev_20:7-9 will involve all nations, so armies will come from all directions. Furthermore nothing in the context of Ezekiel 38-39 is similar to the battle in Revelation, as there is no mention of Satan or of millennial conditions. In Rev_20:7 the context clearly places the battle at the end of the Millennium, whereas the Ezekiel battle takes place in connection with end-time events. Why then is the expression “Gog and Magog” used by John? The Scriptures do not explain the expression. In fact it can be dropped out of the sentence without changing the meaning. In Eze_38:1-23 Gog was the ruler and Magog was the people, and both were in rebellion against God and were enemies of Israel. It may be that the terms have taken on a symbolic meaning much as one speaks of a person’s “Waterloo,” which historically refers to the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, Belgium, but has come to represent any great disaster. Certainly the armies here come in the same spirit of antagonism against God that is found in Eze_38:1-23. Satan and his demons will be imprisoned in the abyss for 1000 years while Christ rules with unopposed sovereignty. They are not permitted to interfere in the affairs of the kingdom in any way. All those who initially went into the kingdom were without doubt redeemed sinners who had turned to Christ in faith. The bad news is that they still will possess a sinful human nature. That sin nature is passed on to their children, grandchildren, etc. Thus each generation born in the millennium will have need for salvation. Many will come to salvation but amazingly despite the most moral society the world will ever know, a great number will love their sin and reject Him. When Satan is loosed, he provides the leadership needed to bring the latent sin and rebellion to the surface of those unrepentant sinners. This act of rebellion will start immediately when he is released. Gog and Magog: The use of these names here and in Ezekiel 38 - 39 has confused some readers. A thorough reading of the two passages will reveal that the events are not the same. The one thing these events have in common is that both national entities (Gog and Magog) are driven by the spirit of rebellion against God. In these two cases, God uses the same names because of the deceptively satanic spirit that motivates them both. They will muster their forces from one corner of the globe to the other and will march on Jerusalem, where they will "surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city." But there will be no battle. No call to arms. No defensive strategy or late night negotiations or propaganda campaign or deploying of gigantic nuclear weapons. The four quarters of the earth refers to the entire globe. Gog is used as a title for an enemy of God's people, not a particular person. Magog seems to be the term used here to describe area where the sinful rebels of all the nations come from that gather together for the last war in human history. The number of these rebels will be like the sand of the seashore which is a figure of speech used in the bible to define a vast and uncountable multitude. Consider how when Joseph sent for his father and family that a total of 70 people came to Egypt. A little over 400 years later there were millions who God lead out of Egypt. There will be a lot more people left than 70 that will go into the millennium and there will be 250% more time for procreation. There will probably be many billions of people at that time so Satan could have a huge gathering that will join together for that final battle. "The number of who [is] as the sand of the sea." Revelation 20:9 The armies will surround the camp of God’s people, the city He loves. This could mean only Jerusalem, which will be the capital of the world government of Christ throughout the millennial kingdom (cf. Isa_2:1-5). The result is immediate judgment. Fire will come down from heaven and devour them. These enemies of God here come against Jesus and the saints. In fact, they surround the saints. The "beloved city" here mentioned is New Jerusalem. When the devil thinks he has won, fire comes down from heaven (from God) and devours them. Again like in the battle of Armageddon before the millennium started, this battle too will in all reality be an execution. As the rebel forces moved in to attack, they are swiftly and totally exterminated. They will be physically killed and their souls will go into the realm of punishment awaiting final sentencing to the eternal hell that will shortly take place. In contrast with Eze_38:1-23, there is no mention of earthquake, hail, or other disasters. The only similarity is that in both cases there is fire from heaven, a frequent method of divine judgment on the earth (cf. Gen_19:24; Exo_9:23-24; Lev_9:24; Lev_10:2; Num_11:1; Num_16:35; Num_26:10; 1Ki_18:38; 2Ki_1:10, 2Ki_1:12, 2Ki_1:14; 1Ch_21:26; 2Ch_7:1, 2Ch_7:3; Psa_11:6; etc.). Revelation 20:10 After Satan’s followers will be destroyed, he will be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur. Being cast into the lake that was prepared for him and his angels is the final judgment on Satan (cf. Mat_25:41). Most significant as a support of the doctrine of eternal punishment is the concluding statement, They will be tormented day and night forever and ever. The word “they” includes the devil, the beast, and the false prophet. The lake of burning sulfur is not annihilation, for the beast and false prophet are still there a thousand years after they experienced their final judgment (Rev_19:20). The beast and false prophet have been waiting for Satan in the lake of fire and brimstone for the last one thousand years. Now their deceiver joins them. There will not be a moment's peace for them all the rest of eternity. Revelation 20:11 The judgment of the great white throne The Resurrection and Judgment of The Wicked Dead The final five verses of Rev_20:1-15 introduce the judgment at the end of human history and the beginning of the eternal state. John wrote, I saw a great white throne. The events here described clearly follow the thousand years of Rev_20:1-6. The great white throne apparently differs from the throne mentioned more than 30 times in Revelation beginning with Rev_4:2. It apparently is located neither in heaven nor earth but in space, as suggested by the statement, Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. It is not indicated who sits on this throne, but probably it is Christ Himself as in Rev_3:21 (cf. Mat_19:28; Mat_25:31; Joh_5:22; 2Co_5:10 — though the throne in these references is not necessarily the same throne as in Rev_20:11). While Christ is now seated on the throne in heaven and will be seated on the Davidic throne on earth in the Millennium (Mat_25:31), this white throne judgment is a special situation. This is judgment day. Now John describes the terrifying scene set before him. He sees the Judge who is seated on His throne of Judgment and all of the accused standing before Him. The verdicts handed down from this throne will be equitable, righteous and just. We also remember Ecclesiastes 12 verse 14, which promises, "God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" as well as Romans 2 verses 5 and 6, where Paul speaks of the day of God's wrath "when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God will give to each person according to what he has done". It is a fearful thing even to imagine standing before God "from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away", and have nothing but your own wicked works to show for the time on earth the Almighty had given you. On that day the words of Paul the apostle will come true: "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God". (Rom 3 verse 19) The final word, of course, will be God's. This vision follows those of the Second Coming and those of the Millennium, immediately preceding that of the new heaven and new earth. The use for the earth is over. The earth, heaven, and everything in them are under control of God, and if He tells them go they will have to. This is an amazing, incredible statement that is describing the un-creation of the universe. The earth was reshaped by the tribulation judgments, restored during the millennial kingdom, now God will create a new heaven and a new earth as it states in 2 peter 3, verse 13. "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" The question has been raised as to whether the earth and the starry heavens as they are today will be destroyed at this point in the future or will be simply restored to a new state of purity. Many references in the Bible suggest that the earth and the heavens, as now known, will be destroyed (cf. Mat_24:35; Mar_13:31; Luk_16:17; Luk_21:33; 2Pe_3:10-13). This is confirmed by the opening statement of Rev_21:1-27, “the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” The present universe was created like a gigantic clock which is running down, and if left to itself, would ultimately come to a state of complete inactivity. Inasmuch as God created the universe and set it in motion for the purpose of enacting the drama of sin and redemption, it would seem proper to begin anew with a new heaven and a new earth suitable for His eternal purpose and built on a different principle. The new heaven and new earth described in Rev_21:1-27 has no similarity to the present earth and heaven. Revelation 20:12 The purpose of establishing the great white throne is to judge the dead. John wrote that the dead, great and small, stood before the throne. From other Scriptures it seems that all the righteous dead have been raised, including Old Testament saints, the dead of the Great Tribulation, and the church saints, the body of Christ. Thus it may be assumed that Rev_20:11-15 refer to the judgment of the wicked dead, who according to Rev_20:5 would not be resurrected until after the thousand years and will have no part in what is called “the first resurrection.” At that judgment John saw books… opened, including a book called the book of life. The text does not state clearly what these books are, but the first opened books may refer to human works and “the book of life” is the record of those who are saved (cf. Rev_3:5; Rev_13:8; Rev_17:8; Rev_20:15; Rev_21:27). The fact that these dead have not been raised before is evidence in itself that they do not have eternal life and that their judgment is a judgment of their works. The "dead" are those who are spiritually dead because of their rejection of Christ. They will stand in their resurrected state before Jesus to be judged by Him. The books contain the record of every unsaved person's life. Each unsaved person is judged in accordance with his works (Rom. 2: verses 6 and 16), which clearly show that each one is a guilty sinner (Rom. 3: verses 9 to19) deserving of eternal death (Roman 3: v.23; 6: v.23). These statements immediately call our attention back to the words of the Lord Jesus: "What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs" (Luke 12 v.3). And "There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open" (Luke 8 v.17) Remember that the Christian dead have already won their victory. Those are judged by Jesus at the Bema Seat. Now is this final fearful scene, where these include all unbelievers who have ever lived. This is the resurrection of judgment and they stand before Christ now at the White Throne Judgment. The scope of the scene is chilling. The great mass of these unbelievers before God's throne includes everyone from presidents and kings, to paupers. There is no partiality with God as all will now face judgment. "Books" is plural here. There are books which contain a person's every thought, word and deed. Nothing will be hidden. Think about the fact that God knows the secrets of one's heart. God has kept perfect, comprehensive and accurate records of every person's life (deeds), and those will be measured against God's perfect and holy standard. Those who didn't accept Jesus will have to stand or fall on their deeds. Of course, they will all fall if they didn't accept Him, because scripture clearly tells us that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." The Book of Life is the Lamb's Book of Life where the names of all believers are written who have accepted, believed and followed Christ. The Christian's sins have been done away by the blood of Jesus. Those Christians all have their names written in the Lamb's book of life and will not taste of the second death. All final judgments deal with works, whether the works of Christians rewarded at the judgment seat of Christ or the works of the unsaved which are in view here. The question of who is saved is determined not in heaven but in life on earth. What is revealed here is the confirmation of one’s destiny by means of God’s written records. Some view the book of life as the record of all the living and that when the unsaved die their names are deleted from it. A better view is that the book is the record of those who are saved whose names were “written in the book of life from the creation of the world” (Rev_17:8). Regardless of which view is taken, at this time only the saved are in the book of life. Revelation 20:13 In order for the wicked dead to be judged… the sea… death, and hades will give up their dead. Those who are unsaved at the time of death go immediately to a state of conscious punishment described in the Old Testament as sheol and in the New Testament as hades. Neither sheol nor hades ever refer to the eternal state and should not be considered equivalent to the English word “hell,” which properly is the place of eternal punishment. The lake of fire (Rev_20:14-15) referred to as “the fiery lake of burning sulfur” (Rev_19:20) is the same as gehenna (cf. Mat_5:22, Mat_5:29-30; Mat_10:28; Mat_18:9; Mat_23:15, Mat_23:33; Mar_9:43, Mar_9:45, Mar_9:47; Luk_12:5; Jas_3:6) and is translated “hell” in the NIV and KJV with the word “fire” added in several passages. Actually gehenna was originally a name for the place of burning refuse, located in the Valley of Hinnom south of Jerusalem. The term, however, goes far beyond this geographic background and refers to eternal punishment. The statement “death and hades gave up the dead” means that the physical bodies of the unsaved will be joined with their spirits which have been in hades. The mention of “the sea” giving up its dead makes it clear that regardless of how far a body has disintegrated, it will nevertheless be resurrected for this judgment. Those who are lost wait in torment in a place of punishment until judgment day. The thing is that they are aware that they will be thrown into the lake of fire on judgment day terrible. These are all of the unbelievers though all ages who have died. They will be raised up by Christ for judgment called the second resurrection. Before the sea was uncreated and disappeared out of existence, it gave up the dead that were in it. The sea may be mentioned as it is seemingly the most difficult place from which dead bodies could be resurrected. But God will summon new bodies for all who perished in the sea throughout history. Death symbolizes all of the places on land from which God will resurrect new bodies for the unrighteous, unrepentant dead. As the next scene in this courtroom drama unfolds, the lost will be summoned to appear before the judge. Since their deaths, their souls have been tormented in a place of punishment, now the time has finally come for them to be judged and sentenced. Revelation 20:14-15 The Lake Of Fire Following the great white throne judgment death and hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death, the final destination of the wicked. The doctrine of eternal punishment has always been a problem to Christians who enjoy the grace of God and salvation in Christ. The Bible is clear, however, that the punishment of the wicked is eternal. This is confirmed in Rev_20:10, where the beast and the false prophet are still in the lake of fire after the thousand years of Christ’s millennial reign. Though the wicked dead will receive resurrection bodies, they will be quite unlike the resurrection bodies of the saints. The former people will continue to be sinful but will be indestructible and will exist forever in the lake of fire. Though many have attempted to find some scriptural way to avoid the doctrine of eternal punishment, as far as biblical revelation is concerned there are only two destinies for human souls; one is to be with the Lord and the other is to be forever separated from God in the lake of fire. This solemn fact is motivation for carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth whatever the cost, and doing everything possible to inform and challenge people to receive Christ before it is too late. The second death is eternal punishment in the lake of fire, experienced only by the unsaved. Once this final judgment occurs, there is no further need for either death or hell (Hades) (1: v.18; 6: v.8, Isaiah 25: v.8; 1 Cor. 15: verses 26 and 55). An eternal separation is now made between those who have life and those who have "death" (Dan. 12: v.2; John 5: v.29). It does not mean these places are thrown into the lake. It means the inhabitants of these places. This final hell is described as the lake of fire. It may already exist but presently is not occupied until the beast and the false prophet is cast into it. They don't arrive there until the end of tribulation. Those who die in their sins in this world will die a second death in eternity. They will be sentenced to the lake of fire forever at the great White Throne Judgment. Whether this fire is symbolic, the reality it represents will be even more horrifying and painful. The bible also defines hell as a place of total darkness, which not only separates the unbelievers from the light, but from each other as well. What is written in these last two verses should drive each of us to continue to spread the gospel as long as there is breath in your body. I cannot bear to think of anyone I know going to this terrible place of torment. And that's it. In a ball of celestial flame, the rebellion is over. There will be no repeat of the plagues of the Tribulation, nor of the judgments of the Great Tribulation. Once and for all, human rebellion will have been wiped out of existence. And once and for all, it will be crystal clear to a watching universe that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is absolutely essential for making the unrighteous human heart into a receptacle of God's holiness. The Millennium will prove that even the best of conditions, a thousand years of peace, prosperity, safety, long life, health, abundance, cannot change the wickedness of the unredeemed human heart. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can do that! Awesome is the Word - It probably is not humanly possible to meditate on these awesome truths for extended periods of time. Who can long ponder the lake of fire, an eternal place of torment, possibly billions of unredeemed souls, a divine Person "from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away," or fear some books of judgment that seal the fate of the unsaved? And yet our Lord tells us of these awesome events. Why? To give us every opportunity to escape the terrible judgment that is to come. Remember, no believer in Christ will stand before God at the great white throne. That terrible spot is reserved only for those who have rejected Christ as Savior, who have decided to crown themselves king, and who have refused to accept Jesus Christ as their true Lord. Do not make that terrible mistake! Instead, place your faith in the Lord Jesus and ask Him to forgive your sins; then you will be ready "to stand before the Son of Man" at the judgment seat of Christ. (Luke 21 v.36) One thing is certain: You will stand in one place or the other. Hell or heaven. Make sure its the latter. And don't think that you can choose not to believe there is such a thing as heaven or hell. Makes no difference. Everyone will be judged and assigned to one place or the other. As on earth, it is the same there, ignorance is no excuse of the law! Sometimes, when I am with a group of people who I feel are lost, I cry for hours. I am not a crier, but I remember this Scripture. It is so easy to get your name written in the Lamb's book of life. In chapter 10 of Romans verses 9 and 10 tell you how. • 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." • 10:10: "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." You see, Jesus must be our Lord as well as our Savior. If you truly believe, you will repent and be baptized. If your name is not written in the book of life, do not delay, do it today.

Revelation 19 The song of hallelujah in heaven The Hallelujah Of The Multitudes In Heaven Revelation 4-18 dealt primarily with the events of the Great Tribulation. Beginning in Rev_19:1-21 there is a noticeable change. The Great Tribulation is now coming to its end and the spotlight focuses on heaven and the second coming of Christ. For the saints and angels it is a time of rejoicing and victory. Beginning in Rev_19:1-21 a chronological development is indicated by the phrase after this (meta tauta). Literally this phrase means “after these things,” and refers to the events of Rev_18:1-24. Accordingly John heard what sounded like the roar of many people in heaven praising God, obviously because of the judgment on Babylon. Interpreters have shown much confusion in understanding the order of the events in chapters 19-20; thus it is important to note that this praise in Rev_19:1 follows Babylon’s destruction in Rev_18:1-24. The word “roar” (phōnēn) is literally a “sound,” modified by the adjective “great” (megalēn). This loud noise is from a great multitude, the same phrase used in Rev_7:9 where the “great multitude” refers to the martyred dead of the Great Tribulation. For them in particular the judgment of Babylon is a great triumph. The Greek word for Hallelujah is hallēlouia, sometimes translated “alleluiah.” The word “hallelujah” is derived from the similar Hebrew word in the Old Testament. It occurs in the New Testament only four times, all of them in Rev_19:1-21 (Rev_19:1, Rev_19:3-4, Rev_19:6). This is the biblical “Hallelujah Chorus.” Revelation chapter 19 and 20 bring the climax of the Book of Revelation: the return of Christ to establish His Earthly Kingdom. This is Christ's Earthly Kingdom. But first, the first five verses show heaven's response to the judgment of the harlot. The multitude in heaven praises God for judging the great whore (Babylon, the harlot) and avenging the blood of the martyrs (7:9-17). The word Alleluia is the Greek equivalent of Hallelujah, and means "Praise Yahweh" or "Praise the Lord" (Psalms 106; 111-113; 117;135; 146-150). The eternal smoke symbolizes the permanence of Babylon's destruction (Isaiah 34:8-10). Amen derives from a Hebrew word meaning "to be firm," and may be translated "truly" or "so be it." This chapter is one of the most dramatic in all the Bible. In it, the Church, the Bride of Christ, is the guest of honor at the marriage of the Lamb in heaven (v.1-10) and returns with Christ in His triumphal Second Coming (v.11-21). It is the only chapter in the New Testament where this word "Alleluia" is found, and it appears four times. The people mentioned here are distinct from the other beings in heaven, for they are singing a song that includes mention of salvation. This scene incorporates believers-the Old Testament saints, the Church age saints, and the Tribulation saints. Together they join this great chorus proclaiming. "Alleluia!" The scene now shifts from the earth where it has been since chapter 6, to heaven. We hear the voices of the redeemed. This "great voice" here is because of the number of people speaking. It is not the magnitude of each voice. These words of praise here are focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. The redeemed are the ones who are praising. There are not enough adjectives in the dictionary to say enough about what Jesus has purchased for us all. The marriage of the Lamb and the marriage supper of the Lamb "in heaven" (19:6-9) are evidence of the Church being in heaven prior to the return of Christ to earth. Christ is the Bridegroom at the marriage and his Church is the Bride. The word "church" (GR. ekklesia) appears nineteen times in Revelation 1-3, and does not appear again until Revelation 22:16, emphasizing the absence of the Church from the earth during the judgments of Rev. 4-18. Verse one is most likely the voices of angels. The redeemed saints are not told to praise our God until verse 5. Heaven rejoices because salvation has now come for God's people and with it the power and glory which belongs to God. Revelation 19:2-3 In expressing their praise of God, God’s glory and power resulting from and caused by His salvation are mentioned along with the fact that His judgments are true and just. The destruction of the great prostitute (cf. Rev_17:1, Rev_17:4) is a proper act of vengeance for her martyring the servants of God (Rev_17:6). It appears that those who were redeemed were looking on from heaven and approving of the destruction of Babel, because the Messiah was bringing justice and righteousness to the world. There is a reassuring tone here telling the Lord that He was justified in His judgment. They have long waited for the time when God's justice would triumph. Now that time had come. The judgment that is wrought on her, however, is only the beginning of the eternal punishment of the wicked, indicated in the statement that the smoke from her goes up forever and ever. This is saying that this judgment is permanent and is similar to the language that God used in Gen. 19 verse 28. This is just a statement telling us it will never be built again. This destruction of the last, most powerful empire in history marks the end of man's day. The rebellion that had begun in the Garden of Eden is finally ended. Never again will there be more false religions, worldly philosophy, injustice or unrighteousness. Then entire sorry results of human depravity will finally be vanquished. Revelation 19:4-5 The Hallelujah Of The 24 Elders The 24 elders and the 4 living creatures also sing a hallelujah chorus. This is another reminder that the 24 elders, representing the church of the present Age, are distinguished from the Tribulation saints, described in Rev_19:1 as “a great multitude.” These twenty-four elders, I believe, as I said before, are two groups of twelve, twelve disciples and twelve Old Testament prophets. These are actually representative of the church. The four beasts are the cherubim as described in Rev. 4 verse 6. Together, these two groups add their voices to the angles previously described. The 4 living creatures, previously introduced in Rev_4:6-8, seem to refer to angels who praise God. Still another voice of praise, apparently coming from an angel, also praised God and exhorted all you His servants (Rev_19:5) to join in this praise. The speaker isn't identified but is probably an angel and refers to God as our God. His instructions are to praise God. The redeemed in heaven are called God's "Bond Servants" and this is the group being addressed here to add to the other 3 mentioned groups. The small and the great mean everyone which includes all human categories and distinctions. All redeemed are told to praise God. Revelation 19:6-8 The Prophetic Proclamation Of The Wedding Of The Lamb The fourth and final hallelujah of this chapter, according to John, sounded like a multitude of people, rushing waters, and loud thunder. Here the rejoicing is prophetic for what is about to happen rather than for the judgment just executed. The second coming of Christ is anticipated in the words, for our Lord God Almighty reigns. John used the word “Almighty” (pantokratōr; also in Rev_1:8; Rev_4:8; Rev_11:17; Rev_15:3; Rev_16:7, Rev_16:14; Rev_19:15; Rev_21:22). So vast is this group that they are without number. These are the faithful. When this great multitude begin to praise God, the volume would be so great as to sound like "mighty thunderings". This name used here, pertaining to our Lord, is a very strange one. This is the only place in the Bible where the word "omnipotent" occurs. Omnipotent means almighty: having unlimited power. When you couple that with "Lord", which means supreme in authority, and "God", which means supreme deity; you have an overwhelming understanding of Who this is. Then we look at "reigneth". This has no time element attached. It means continually reigns. At this point the evil world system has been completely destroyed and God's kingdom has come into its fullness. Along with the exhortation to rejoice, announcement is made that the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. The heavenly praise continues, this time for a call for gladness, rejoicing and giving God glory for a fifth reason, the marriage of the Lamb has come. The marriage of the Lamb: The wife or bride of Christ is the church (Matt. 22:2-14; John 3:29; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph 5:25-32). And the marriage is the eternal union of the church with Christ following the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:17). The fine linen, clean and white, represents the righteousness of the church, which has now been judged and purified at the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor. 3:12-15: 2 Cor. 5:10). In ancient times, a marriage was the single greatest celebration and social event in the biblical world. Preparations and celebrations were much more elaborate than those of today. And they also lasted much longer. They were in three distinct stages which first involved the betrothal or engagement. This was an arrangement by both sets of parents, was legally binding and could only be broken by divorce. Then there was a time of preparation as the groom prepared for his bride. Second was the presentation which was a time of festivities just before the actual ceremony. Those festivities could last up to a week and sometimes even more depending on the economic or social status of the bride and groom. Lastly was the wedding ceremony during which time the vowels were exchanged. The same imagery of a wedding picture's the Lord's relationship with His Church. In Scripture, marriage is often used to describe the relationship of saints to God. In the Old Testament Israel is pictured, as in Hosea, as the unfaithful wife of Yahweh who is destined to be restored in the future kingdom. In the New Testament, marriage is also used to describe the relationship between Christ and the church, but the illustration contrasts with the Old Testament, for the church is regarded as a virgin bride waiting the coming of her heavenly bridegroom (2Co_11:2). The fine linen with which the bride will be adorned is explained as representing the righteous acts of the saints (Rev_19:8). The fine linen the bride is clothed in represents the righteous acts of the saints. Just as I said, these robes have been made white by the blood of the Lamb. This "righteousness" was not ours until we received the Lord Jesus into our lives and took on His righteousness. Our own righteousness had been as filthy rags, but Jesus replaced the filth with His righteousness. Just like, as many other places in the Bible, "her" does not mean just women, it is the bride. All believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are the bride of Christ, whether they are male or female. I would like to say a few words about this "fine linen". In the tabernacle in the wilderness, the High priest wore a very ornamented robe with a breastplate of all sorts of jewels when he represented God to the people; but when he went into the Holy of Holies, he wore pure white linen. You see, all of the fineries of the world mean nothing to God. This tells us something about our approach to God. Salvation is simple. It is not complicated, just bare all to God. He knows all there is about us already. We do not have to pretend to be something we are not. He accepts us plain and simple. (In the OT the high priest’s clothing included linen: Exo_28:42; Lev_6:10; Lev_16:4, Lev_16:23, Lev_16:32.) While some think this refers to the fact that the saints are justified by faith, the plural expression “the righteous acts” seems to refer to the righteous deeds wrought by the saints through the grace of God. Though all this has been made possible by the grace of God, the emphasis here seems to be on the works of the bride rather than on her standing as one who has been justified by faith. This is the last of 14 outbursts of praise to God in the Book of Revelation by saints, angels, the 24 elders, and/or the 4 living creatures. The hymns or shouts of praise are in Rev_4:8, Rev_4:11; Rev_5:9-10, Rev_5:12-13; Rev_7:10, Rev_7:12; Rev_11:16-18; Rev_15:3-4; Rev_16:5-7; Rev_19:1-4, Rev_19:6-8. Revelation 19:9 The angel who commanded John to write (Rev_14:13) commanded him again to record the message, Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb! One of the false interpretations that has plagued the church is the concept that God treats all saints exactly alike. Instead, a literal interpretation of the Bible distinguishes different groups of saints, and here the bride is distinguished from those who are invited to the wedding supper. Instead of treating all alike, God indeed has a program for Israel as a nation and also for those in Israel who are saved. He also has a program for Gentiles in the Old Testament who come to faith in God. And in the New Testament He has a program for the church as still a different group of saints. Again in the Book of Revelation the Tribulation saints are distinguished from other previous groups. It is not so much a question of difference in blessings as it is that God has a program designed for each group of saints which corresponds to their particular relationship to His overall program. Here the church, described as a bride, will be attended by angels and by saints who are distinct from the bride. Expositors have debated whether the wedding will be in heaven or on earth. While the difference is not that important, the interpretive problem can be resolved by comparing the wedding described here to weddings in the first century. A wedding normally included these stages: (1) the legal consummation of the marriage by the parents of the bride and of the groom, with the payment of the dowry; (2) the bridegroom coming to claim his bride (as illustrated in Mat_25:1-13 in the familiar Parable of the 10 Virgins); (3) the wedding supper (as illustrated in Joh_2:1-11) which was a several-day feast following the previous phase of the wedding. In Rev_19:9 “the wedding supper” is phase 3. And the announcement coincides with the second coming of Christ. It would seem, therefore, that the wedding supper has not yet been observed. In fulfilling the symbol, Christ is completing phase 1 in the Church Age as individuals are saved. Phase 2 will be accomplished at the Rapture of the church, when Christ takes His bride to heaven, the Father’s house (Joh_14:1-3). Accordingly it would seem that the beginning of the Millennium itself will fulfill the symbolism of the wedding supper (gamos). It is also significant that the use of the word “bride” in Rev_19:7 (gynē, lit., “wife,”) implies that phase 2 of the wedding will have been completed and that all that remains is the feast itself. (The word commonly used for “bride” is nymphē; cf. Joh_3:29; Rev_18:23; Rev_21:2, Rev_21:9; Rev_22:17.) All this suggests that the wedding feast is an earthly feast, which also corresponds to the illustrations of weddings in the Bible (Mat_22:1-14; Mat_25:1-13), and thus will take place on earth at the beginning of the Millennium. The importance of the announcement and invitation to the wedding supper, repeated in Rev_22:17, is seen in the angel’s remarks, These are the true words of God. Those who are invited to the marriage supper are Israel, who will turn to Christ in faith during the Tribulation (Jeremiah 31 verses 31-34; Zech. 12 verse 10; 13 verse 9; and Roman 11 verses 25-27). The marriage supper of the Lamb represents the millennial kingdom of Christ, which will take place on earth following the return of Christ (20:4; Matt. 25:1-13; Luke 14:15-24). The Jewish marriage consisted of three major elements: (1) the betrothal; (2) the presentation; and (3) the marriage feast (supper) as was discussed just before. Figuratively, with reference to the church, 1. The betrothal takes place on earth during the church age; 2. The presentation will take place in heaven following the Rapture (v.7); and 3. The marriage feast will take place on earth following Christ's return with the church. Revelation 19:10 The Command To Worship God So impressive was the scene in heaven with the four great hallelujahs and the announcement of the coming wedding feast that John once again fell down to worship the angel, as he had done before (Rev_1:17). Then, however, he was worshiping Christ, which was proper. But here the angel rebuked him, urging him to worship only God and not him since he was a fellow servant with John. The angel added, For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, that is, the very nature or purpose of prophecy is to testify of Jesus Christ and to bring glory to Him. In the present Age one of the special functions of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ and to inform believers of “what is yet to come” (Joh_16:13). The tremendous revelation in the first 10 verses of Rev_19:1-21 is a fitting introduction to what is about to be revealed, the second coming of Jesus Christ, the subject of the entire book (Rev_1:1). John here was so awed by all of this that he fell at this angel's feet from verse 5 to worship him. Then the angel quickly tells John not to worship him. Only God is to be worshiped (22: v.8, 9; Acts 10: v.25, 26). The "testimony of Jesus" is what the whole Bible is about. Without Jesus, there would be no salvation. The Old Testament points forward to Jesus, beginning in Genesis. The New Testament is the "last will and testament" of Jesus, and to receive our inheritance, we must read the will. If you preach on prophecy, you are bringing the testimony of Jesus. If you understand the testimony of Jesus, then you must preach and prophecy so that others may live. This testimony here is not Jesus giving it, but we believers who testify of the Lord. Whoever this angel is, he too, had the testimony of Jesus. Revelation 19:11-13 The second coming of Christ As John saw heaven open, he saw prophetically Christ’s second coming and the events which will follow it. The second coming of Christ is a prominent doctrine in Scripture (Psa_2:1-9; Psa_24:7-10; Psa_96:10-13; Psa_110:1-7; Isa_9:6-7; Jer_23:1-8; Eze_37:15-28; Dan_2:44-45; Dan_7:13-14; Hos_3:4-5; Amo_9:11-15; Mic_4:7; Zec_2:10-12; Zec_12:1-14; Zec_14:1-9; Mat_19:28; Mat_24:27-31; Mat_25:6, Mat_25:31-46; Mar_13:24-27; Luk_12:35-40; Luk_17:24-37; Luk_18:8; Luk_21:25-28; Act_1:10-11; Act_15:16-18; Rom_11:25-27; 2Th_2:8; 2Pe_3:3-4; Jud_1:14-15; Rev_1:7-8; Rev_2:25-28; Rev_16:15; Rev_22:20). So this is obviously a major event in the divine program. Conservative interpreters of the Bible almost universally recognize this as a yet-future event, as indicated in orthodox creeds throughout the history of the church. Just as the first coming of Christ was literal and was fulfilled in history, so the second coming of Christ which is yet future will be fulfilled in the same literal manner. Among conservative interpreters, however, the question has been raised whether the Rapture of the church, as revealed in such major passages as 1Th_4:13-18 and 1Co_15:51-58, is fulfilled at the time of the second coming of Christ to the earth or, as pretribulationists hold, is fulfilled as a separate event seven years before His formal second coming to the earth. It should be noted that none of the many details given in Rev_19:11-21 corresponds to the Rapture of the church. In Revelation Christ returns, but in none of the Rapture passages is He ever pictured as touching the earth, for the saints meet Him in the air (1Th_4:17). Most significant is the fact that in Revelation 19-20 there is complete silence concerning any translation of living saints. In fact the implication of the passage is that saints who are on earth when Christ returns will remain on earth to enter the millennial kingdom in their natural bodies. If the Rapture were included in the second coming of Christ to the earth, one would expect to find reference to such a major event in Rev_19:1-21. But no such reference is to be found. For these and many other reasons Rev_19:1-21 is a confirmation of the teaching that the Rapture of the church is a separate earlier event and that there is no translation of the living at the time of His second coming to the earth. The Revelation of The Rider On The White Horse As John gazed into heaven, he saw Christ on a white horse. Though some have identified this rider with the rider in Rev_6:2, the context is entirely different. In Rev_6:2 the rider is the world ruler of the Great Tribulation, while here the rider is a ruler who obviously comes from heaven itself. The white horse is a sign of His coming triumph. It was customary for a triumphant Roman general to parade on the Via Sacra, a main thoroughfare of Rome, followed by evidences of His victory in the form of booty and captives (cf. 2Co_2:14). The white horse is thus a symbol of Christ’s triumph over the forces of wickedness in the world, the details of which follow. In these next six verses, (11-16) we are swept up into the triumphal entourage of redeemed saints in the heavenly procession with the King of Kings. Jesus Christ comes to make war on Satan, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the kings of the earth. He rides on a white horse and has on His head "many crowns." When this war with Satan is over, He becomes the absolute ruler of the earth. Notice several things about the description of our Lord's return. First, it will be public, obvious, and not restricted to a small group. He says His coming will be like lightning that flashes from the east to the west. Everybody will see it, and there will be no hiding it. Second, He says it will occur "immediately after" the Great Tribulation. Third, His return will be accompanied by "mourning" on the part of "all the tribes of the earth" - the mourning of sadness on the part of the Jewish nation, that it so long rejected Christ as Messiah, as well as the mourning of despair on the part of the ungodly, who reject Him as King even as He appears in the sky. Again as we saw in chapter four, a door opened in heaven. This opening of heaven is not to go in, but is the opening for Jesus and His followers to come out. The door to heaven has never been closed for the Christians to enter in. The "horse" symbolizes war, and the fact that it is "white", symbolizes victory. White, also, symbolizes holiness and righteousness. This tells us that this war is a holy war, and Jesus is victorious. Just the fact that "Faithful and True" are capitalized, lets us know that this figure is God the Son who has been made Lord of Lords and King of kings, Jesus is the Judge. He is always faithful to His promises and what He speaks is always true. This white horse is not that of 6:2. Here the True Messiah returns in victorious conquest. He is Faithful to His Word and promises. He will fulfill the twofold role of judge and warrior. His judgment of the earth will be totally righteous (Rev. 16 v.5-7; 19 v.2; Psalms 96: v.13). We are assured that His judgments are right. He has been sitting at the Right Hand of the Father in heaven, but now He is about to set up His kingdom here on the earth. The most detailed description of the Second Coming was given by our Lord Himself in Mat. 24: For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matt. 24 v.27) Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. The horse’s rider is called Faithful and True for, as John declared, With justice He judges and makes war. His piercing judgment of sin is indicated in the words, His eyes are like blazing fire (cf. Rev_1:14), and His right to rule is evidenced by the many crowns He is wearing. Written on Him is a name that no one but He Himself knows, suggesting that Christ is the ineffable, indescribable One. "eyes" show wisdom, and these, like "flames of fire" can see right into the soul of man. This "fire" here speaks of purity and judgment. The crowns indicate total sovereignty and authority (contrast 12: v.3; 13: v.1). The secret name expresses the mystery and greatness of the person of Christ (2: v.17; 3: v.12; 19: v.13, and 16; Phil. 2: verses 9 -11). There was a secret name on the stone underneath the breastplate of the high priest worn into the Holy of Holies. This was the unspeakable name of God. This name here is similar to that name. It is a name that no one knew except our Lord. In chapter 3 verse 12 of Revelation, we studied about this name the Lord will put on us. But actual titles are given for Him. Rev_19:13 says, His name is the Word of God (cf. Joh_1:1, Joh_1:14; 1Jn_1:1), and Rev_19:16 states that the name of His robe and on His thigh is KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (cf. 1Ti_6:15; Rev_17:14). The rider obviously is Jesus Christ, returning to the earth in glory. That He is coming as Judge is further supported by the fact that He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood (Rev_19:13; cf. Isa_63:2-3; Rev_14:20). This is not representative of the blood Jesus shed on the cross, but is a picture of judgment, not redemption. This is the blood of his slaughtered enemies. This is not His first battle, but His last. He has fought for His people through out redemptive history and His "war clothes" bear those stains. The blood represents the judgment of Christ's enemies (14: verses14-20; Isaiah 63: verses 1-6). Over and over in these lessons, I have given the Scriptures where the word of God took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us. In the book of John, the first chapter, we read about the Word of God. John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Jump down to John chapter 1 verse 14. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." We also see here, that this Word (Jesus) was, is, and always will be God the Word. Revelation 19:14-16 The Coming of The King And His Armies Of Heaven The drama of the scene is further enhanced by the multitude of the armies of heaven described as riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean (cf. Rev_19:8). This is speaking of the Battle of Armageddon. The armies may be (1) angels (Zech. 14: v.5; Matt. 26: v.53); (2) the raptured church; or (3) all the inhabitants of the heavenly Jerusalem: angels, the church, and spirits of Old Testament and Tribulation saints (Heb. 12: verses 22-24). They will share in Christ's victory and glory (Roman 8: verses 18 and 19). The linen symbolizes righteousness (v.8) Here we see the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ following, these are the called, chosen, redeemed, the bride. The whole army is on "white horses". They have white horses, because they have overcome the devil. They are washed in the blood of the Lamb. They have on pure white linen for the righteousness of Christ. This army has been in heaven waiting for the wrath of God, on the ungodly, to be over. In Christ’s mouth was a sharp sword (cf. Rev_1:16; Rev_2:12, Rev_2:16; Rev_19:21) which He would use to strike down the nations. The sword from His mouth depicts judgment through His spoken Word (1: v.16; 2: verses 12 and 16; Isaiah 11: v.4; 2 Thess. 2: v.8). The Bible says that it is so sharp that it can divide the soul and spirit. Hebrews 4: v.12 "For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Smite the nations: Christ will destroy all unbelievers (19: v.21; Matt. 25: verses 41 and 46; 2 Thess. 1: verses 8 and 9). Rod of iron: Christ will subject all nations to Himself, and destroy all His enemies (Psalms 2: verses 8 and 9; 1 Cor. 15: verses 24 and 25). Winepress: See 14: verses 17 to 20. Words relating to wrath and anger are found 15 times in Revelation. We see how powerful this Word is. This "rod of iron" that He is to rule with just means that His law is absolute and unwavering. He never changes. When we see this "treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath", This wrath of God is for three and a half years of Tribulation, then after those, another three and a half years that is call the Great Tribulation, making a total of seven years of God's Judgment and Wrath. The word for “sword” (rhomphaia) was used of an unusually long sword and sometimes used as a spear, thus indicating a piercing action. In addition to using the sword for striking down, He will use an iron scepter for ruling (cf. Psa_2:9; Rev_2:27). Christ is also described as the One who treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty (cf. Rev_14:19-20; and cf. “Almighty” in Rev_1:8; Rev_4:8; Rev_11:17; Rev_15:3; Rev_16:7, Rev_16:14; Rev_19:6; Rev_21:22). KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS: Christ has universal sovereignty. This expresses His sovereign triumph over all foes and His absolute rule in His soon to be established Kingdom. (17: v.14; Deut. 10: v.17; Dan. 2: v.47; 1 Tim. 6: v.15). There are approximately ninety-seven names throughout the Bible that the personage that we know as Jesus is used. The name He was called at the time had to do with the circumstance at hand. Here He is coming to the earth to take over as Supreme Ruler, so He is called by the name "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS". This scene is a dramatic indication of the awfulness of the impending judgment. Mat_24:30 indicates that those on earth will be witnesses of this impressive scene. The scene on earth is the final stage of the great world war that will be under way for many weeks. With armies battling up and down the Holy Land for victory, on the very day of the return of Christ there will be house-to-house fighting in Jerusalem itself (Zec_14:2). Combatants will have been lured to the battle site by demons sent by Satan to assemble the armies of the world to fight the armies of heaven (cf. Rev_16:12-16). Revelation 19:17-18 The Destruction Of The Wicked The armies of earth are no match for the armies from heaven. The sharp sword in Christ’s mouth (Rev_19:15) is symbolic of His authoritative word of command that destroys earth’s armies by divine power. Millions of men and their horses will be destroyed instantly. In keeping with this, John recorded that he saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all flying birds to gather together for the great supper of God to eat the carcasses of kings, generals, horsemen, and all people slain by Christ. An angel speaking in a loud voice invites all of the birds to feed on the results of the carnage which will shortly take place. This angel is declaring Christ's victory before the battle even begins. A similar passage is found in Luke 17 v.37 stating: wherever the corpse is, there the eagles (vultures) will gather. This "supper" that this speaks of, is right after the battle of Armageddon. What this is saying is that for those lying out there dead in the valley of Megiddo, it will not matter whether you were a general or a private. The birds will not know the difference. With God, there has never been a distinction. He is not impressed with your position in life. The birds will eat them all. This reveals the extent of the massive slaughter. To have one's unburied body left as food for birds would be the ultimate indignity, especially for the mighty military commanders and the proud kings. The same fate awaits the God hating rebels everywhere in the world. Revelation 19:19-21 The beast and his armies will gather to fight against Christ and His army. This beast is the Antichrist, the leader of the last and greatest empire in human history. The kings of the earth are those ten kings who rule the ten sectors which the Antichrist's worldwide empire is divided in to. The Antichrist has gathered his armies to do battle with Jesus and His army. The formidable and seemingly invincible armed might of the beast, with all of its firepower, now awaits the arrival of the Rider on the white horse. Ever since the beginning of time, the armies of God and the armies of the devil have been in mortal combat. The flesh and the Spirit have been in combat also. Isaac (Spirit) and Ishmael (flesh) are still in mortal physical combat through their descendents in Israel today. This Scripture above is speaking again of the battle of Armageddon. The outcome of this battle — referred to in Rev_16:14 as “the battle on the great day of God Almighty” — is summarized in Rev_19:19-21. Their former miraculous demonic power will no longer be sufficient to save them. Both of them will be thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The world rulers — the beast and the false prophet — will both be captured. But before the battle can even begin, it's over. Not only that, but those two demonically empowered leaders, Antichrist and False Prophet, are dealt a terrible blow. Those two are thrown alive into the lake of fire. The false prophet and the beast were used of Satan to perform his evil deeds. As the two most evil, vile and blasphemous people who have ever lived, it is fitting that they should be the first two to arrive in that awful place. And they will be there by themselves for a thousand years until the devil joins them at the end of the millennium. Then at the second resurrection (the second death) they will be joined by all unbelievers for all eternity. This is the first mention in the bible of the "lake of fire". This is the final hell and the ultimate destination of Satan, his angels (or demons) and the unredeemed. Hell has always existed, but this is hell's final form. Unlike Hades which was a temporary holding place, this is the final permanent place for incarceration and punishment. We see here, the total victory over the beast and the false prophet. This shows here that the "KING OF KINGS" throws them into the "lake of fire". This "brimstone" is sulfur. This is final victory over the earthly manifestations of Satan's power. The wicked who have died throughout the history of the world up to this point are in hades (Luk_16:23). The fiery lake, a different place, was prepared for the devil and his angels (Mat_25:41), and will not be occupied by human beings until later (Rev_20:14-15). The armies themselves will be killed by Christ’s sword (Rev_19:21; cf. Rev_1:16; Rev_2:12, Rev_2:16; Rev_19:15). The number of dead will be so great that the vultures will have more than they can eat. The defeat of the earth’s wicked will then be complete, and will be finalized as later judgments search out the unsaved in other parts of the earth and also kill them (cf. Mat_25:31-45). Then all of the rest who were with the Antichrist and the false prophet will then be destroyed and the rest of those gathered to fight against Christ. Then suddenly it will be all over. Actually there will not be any war at all as we think of war. There will be just a word spoken from the Rider who sits on the white horse. That's the same One who spoke the heavens and the earth into existence at the very beginning. The One who spoke to a fig tree and it withered away. Who spoke to the howling winds and heaving waves and the storm clouds vanished and the waves were stilled. Who spoke to a legion of demons in a man and instantly they fled. Now by His Word, the Beast is stricken where he stands. The false prophet windbag from the pit is stilled. Then they're hurled into the everlasting flames. Then another Word and all of the panic stricken armies stagger and fall down dead. Then all the birds ate and were filled with the flesh of those who were killed. The rest of the unredeemed throughout the world will be judged at the sheep and goat judgment which takes place at this time. This is not just defeat, but is physical death for those who followed the beast and the false prophet. The Word of God defeated them. They actually die in the battle of Armageddon by the Words of Christ and not by an easy death as scripture tells us that the blood in that valley ran up to the horses bridles, about 4 to 5 feet deep for the entire length of the 184 mile valley. The same inspired Word of God which so wonderfully describes the grace of God and the salvation which is available to all who believe is equally plain about the judgment of all who reject the grace of God. The tendency of liberal interpreters of the Bible to emphasize passages dealing with the love of God and to ignore passages dealing with His righteous judgment is completely unjustified. The passages on judgment are just as inspired and accurate as those which develop the doctrines of grace and salvation. The Bible is clear that judgment awaits the wicked, and the second coming of Christ is the occasion for a worldwide judgment unparalleled in Scripture since the time of Noah’s flood.