Summary: Finally we get to the fun chapters of Revelation, more the good news about the future. Babylon has been destroyed, the world system of Satan is no longer, and in chapter 19 now we hear the rejoicing in heaven over this victory.
Finally we get to the fun chapters of Revelation, more the good news about the future. Babylon has been destroyed, the world system of Satan is no longer, and in chapter 19 now we hear the rejoicing in heaven over this victory.
We must be very careful in chapter 19 and 20 not to read this in chronological order. The first five verses of chapter 19 are a celebration of the defeat and end of Satan’s system, his rule in the world.
Verses 6-10 describe the celebration and preparations for the coming of Christ and the New Jerusalem, or the marriage and coming together of Christ and His church, often referred to as the marriage supper of the Lamb. Verses 11-21 describe the battle of Armageddon.
Then in chapter 20 we go back in time and hear a brief description of the entire history from the time of Jesus resurrection to the very end of time on earth, the final Great White Throne judgment.
I won’t spend too much time on the first half of chapter 19, because basically we are just hearing the celebration in heaven as Satan’s world system collapses and the final literal union of Christ and His church, the marriage of the Lamb to His Bride is about to take place. This is a great piece of worship that we can learn from.
There has been some disagreement about the rider on the white horse that we are introduced to in verse 11. Remember in chapter 6 there was another rider on a white horse? That was antichrist, the false Christ who came to conquer. Here in chapter 19 there is no doubt this rider is Christ. He is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war having a name that no one knows but himself.
What is this name? We don’t know for sure but it’s probably another aspect of his character that hasn’t been revealed to the world before. We know from verses 13 and 16 that he is called the Word of God, and he has written on his robe and thigh King of kings and Lord of lords, but on his head apparently there is a name no one knows. If we look ahead though we see that we will all have this name on our foreheads in the New Jerusalem.
I am pretty sure this refers to the fact that no one on the earth, the unbelievers who have been worshipping the beast, knows Jesus. He and His church are now one, so I believe himself includes the church. I think this says that those left in the world do not know him and therefore are not part of him and will not be saved. We may not know this name yet, but we will when he comes back to earth with us – His church.
A question we need to ask here is, does this coming on the horse actually happen on earth? Babylon has been utterly destroyed, it says in the previous chapter that Babylon will be found no more.
It never says that Jesus and his armies come to earth here, only that heaven was opened. If we look at verse 9 in chapter 20 it says that at the end, fire comes from heaven and consumes his enemies. Could this fire be representing Christ and his judgment?
There seems to be no reference that Jesus ever comes to the earth when he destroys his enemies at the final judgment. What do we see here? Eyes like fire, many crowns on his head, him and his army on horses, probably not literal horses, and a sword coming out of his mouth that slays the people. The blood sprinkled on his robe is not his but his enemies, remember he was trampling the winepress of God’s wrath in Chapter 14.
This is most certainly symbolic Hebrew language representing judgment in his eyes, the horse as a symbol of war, the many crowns representing his complete rule, and the sword representing the Word of God. From this it appears that he slays people with the Word of God coming from his mouth, meaning they have been judged based on what it says in the Bible, and this is the final condemnation of their unbelief.
We’ll get to the lake of fire in a moment. I can’t be certain of this interpretation, but it makes the most sense to me based on what the rest of scripture says and how it uses these symbols.
Ok then, let’s look at the very controversial chapter 20, the thousand years, otherwise known as the millennium. As you should know by now, my first response is usually to take scripture literally, and I must say that when I went into seminary studies I believed in a literal pre-tribulation rapture, a literal seven year tribulation, and a literal thousand year reign of Christ on the earth.