Summary: Like the cavalry to the rescue, Jesus comes riding back to earth on a white horse to wipe out the enemy and set up His kingdom. What does that mean to us as we find ourselves in need of rescue right here and now?
As we move into chapters 19 and 20 of The Book of the Revelation we can breathe a big sigh of relief. No more plagues and catastrophes, no more rebellion and evil ruling the planet. We transition from what’s going on in heaven and earth separately - to the two becoming one - as Jesus Christ returns to earth, opening up the curtain to the spirit world - and giving the evil one who inspired all this trouble his comeuppance.
Verses 1 - 5
Babylon represents man’s final attempt to rule his own destiny and to be free from any relationship with the God who created him. That effort - inspired and fueled by Satan - has been overthrown and finally put to rest.
Babylon is known as the great prostitute because man giving himself to anyone but his Creator is prostituting himself to other gods who aren’t really gods at all.
Notice "His judgments are true and just." No one will be able to say at that time that God isn’t fair in judging the evil in man and Lucifer. All the arguments that man is basically good at heart and left to his own will slowly progress towards good and create the utopian society. Babylon - the final world system - will show once and for all that "man’s heart is evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).
To be honest, I have a hard time with verse 3 - the fact that the smoke from the torment of those in hell will never end. But hell is a reality - one that we ignore to our own peril.
The word "halleluiah" is found only here in the New Testament - and four times in this chapter alone. It is a combination of two Hebrew words that mean "praise" and "Yahweh." This word is the same in every language - this is one time when no matter what tongue we speak, we say the same thing.
Verse 4 reminds us that it doesn’t matter how important or insignificant you are - what matters is that you fear the Lord and give Him praise!
Now comes one of my favorite parts of the Bible - the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
Verses 6 - 10
There is a great worship song to this verse - and I just can’t wait to hear all the saints from the Old and New Covenant sing it out - those that trusted in God for salvation by grace through the coming Messiah, and those that looked to Jesus for that grace.
Notice a couple of things:
1. The church acknowledges that God reigns - the opposite of Babylon
2. We will give Him glory for all that we have done
3. We are ready for the supper because "it was granted" for us to put on the white clothes of righteousness. That gift came from the Lord Himself and His death on the cross.
4. The linen represents righteous deeds - but it is really Him doing them through us.
We are blessed indeed to be invited to that feast. There is a neat picture of the Jewish wedding that is fulfilled here. The wedding took place in three stages: Betrothal, collection, and feast.
1. Betrothal. The groom and witnesses would meet at the Father’s house and sign an agreement outlining the payments necessary for the arrangement. The groom would then seal the deal by giving the bride something of value. The groom would spend the time between the betrothal and the wedding preparing the house. This is Jesus paying for our sins so we can be His bride and giving us the Holy Spirit as a down payment. He said "I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)
2. The Collection - on the wedding day the groom would collect his bride in a torchlight processional through the streets and bring her to the father’s house. The bride and groom would dress in their finest apparel - as well as the guests. This is the rapture. (1 Thes 4:17)
3. The Feast. The wedding feast could last up to 7 days after the marriage ceremony. Those in attendance would wash their hands to purify themselves - and during the feast songs and poetry would be shared. That’s what we see here in Revelation 19 - an event I think takes place just before Jesus’ return to the earth.
In verse 10 John is overwhelmed by what he witnesses and tries to worship the angel who is like his guide through all of this vision. The angel is not embarrassed but tells him clearly to worship the Lord.
The main purpose of prophecy is to declare God’s truth - so in giving a witness for the reality of Jesus Christ we are prophets. All prophecy focuses on Jesus.