Tuesday, February 9, 2010

#Revelation 19> Things Which Shall Be Hereafter> Bowl Judgments> ( #Prophecy )

3. The things which shall be hereafter (4-22)
     A. Judgment on the inhabitants of the earth (4 - 19)
           6. The Bowl Judgments (15-19) 
 
Chapter 19 describes rejoicing in heaven and the return of Christ to earth.

First, chapter 19 describes rejoicing in heaven for the righteous judgments of God, the reign of our Lord, and the readiness of His wife.

John sees rejoicing in heaven for the righteous judgments of God. "After these things" sets the time of these events just after the destruction of Babylon the Great. The scene appears to be heaven, where the voice of "much people" says "Alleluia" (praise the Lord), and ascribes salvation, glory, honour, and power, to "the Lord God".
 
The reason for this is that His judgments are "true and righteous". This refers to God's act of judging the "great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication". Such plagues "avenged the blood of his servants at her hand". That the smoke of the harlot rises up for ever and ever, seems to denote the eternal nature of her punishment.

Also, there will be rejoicing, in heaven, over the fact that, having judged the earth, God will reign. A voice from the throne calls upon all God's servants, and those who fear Him, to "praise our God". Following this, John heard the "voice of a great multitude" (which sounded like "the voice of many waters", and "mighty thunderings") saying, "Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Heaven will rejoice because God reigns.

Finally, there will be rejoicing, in heaven, for the readiness of Christ's wife. Apparently, the multitude in heaven sees itself as a separate entity from the wife. Rather, Ephesians 5:26-27 describes the church as Christ's bride (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2).

If we understand the marriage customs correctly, there were three phases to marriage. First, the parents of the couple would arrange the legal aspects, which would include a dowry. Next, the groom would come to the house of the bride, and take her to his home. Third, the husband and wife would attend the marriage supper.

It seems significant to note, that the word used for the woman is "wife", rather than the one commonly used for "bride". Further, "marriage" (v7) is the same word translated "marriage supper" in (v 9). If we understand the customs correctly, this seems to indicate that the bride has already been taken to the home of the groom, and that she is now the "wife", who has prepared herself for the marriage supper.

If this is the case, and since Christ has not yet returned to earth, this may indicate that the church is with Him during the tribulation, and is here seen as prepared to return for the marriage supper during the millennial kingdom (Revelation 20).

It was "granted" to the wife that she "should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white". This is identified as "the righteousness of saints" (v8). The word for righteous, here, is plural, and means "righteous deeds". That the wife is clothed in the righteous deeds of the saints does not indicate salvation by merit. These works were "granted" to the wife.

Ephesians 2:8-10, in connection with the claim that salvation is by grace, through faith, and not by works, goes on to say that God has ordained that we should walk in good works. This refers to deeds which God works in us to will and do (Philippians 2:13). Ephesians 5:26-27 says that Christ presently cleanses us "with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Heaven rejoices over the readiness of the wife.

The voice from the throne then said to John, "Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb". Matthew 22:1-14, and chapters 24-25 seem to describe events relating to those who live on earth during and after the tribulation. Of those who survive, Christ will determine who may enter the marriage supper and His millennial kingdom.

At this scene of heavenly praise and rejoicing, John fell to worship the messenger of the revelation. But the messenger said, "See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy". Evidently, the focal point of true prophecy is testimony of Jesus. Thus far, the book of Revelation has revealed Christ as the head of the church (chapters 1-3), and judge of the earth (4-19). In the remaining text, we see Christ as the king of kings. Heaven rejoices over God's righteousness, reign, and the readiness of His wife (v1-10).

Second, Revelation 19 reveals the return of Christ to earth. He will come from heaven on a white horse, as "Faithful", "True", and righteous. His eyes will be like a flame of fire (possibly referring to his penetrating judgment), and many crowns will adorn His head (perhaps referring to the fact that He reigns). He has a name which no man knew but He Himself (some think this may refer to His nature as the eternal Son of God, cf. "no man knoweth the Son but the Father"), and will be clothed with a vesture dipped in blood (perhaps symbolizing His judgment on the nations). He will also be called, "the Word of God" (11-13).

Armies from heaven will follow Christ, riding white horses, and clothed in fine, clean, white linen. This could refer to the church, saints in general, angels, or maybe all (v14).

From His mouth, Christ will wield a "sharp sword", with which He will smite the nations. The word used, here describes a very long sword. That it is sharp, and comes out of His mouth, may indicate that He will pierce the nations with the word of His mouth. This would fit with His name, "the Word of God", and the description of God's Word as a sword (Hebrews 4:12, cf. Isaiah 11:4).

As prophesied, Christ will rule the nations with a rod of Iron (cf. Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27), and tread "the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. This last part seems to refer to His defeat of the nations who have gathered to war at Armageddon (cf. 14:19-20; Isaiah 63:1-6). Christ will truly show Himself to be "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS", as He stomps the life from the combined forces of all the kings on earth.

So great will be the slaughter, that the fowls which fly in the midst of heaven will be called to gather together "unto the supper of the great God". They will eat the flesh of kings, captains, mighty men, horse and rider, and "the flesh of all [men, both] free and bond, both small and great".

The beast and false prophet will be cast, alive, into the lake of fire burning with brimstone, and the fowls will be filled with the flesh of the remnant Christ slew with the sword of His mouth.

Revelation 19 describes rejoicing in heaven, and the return of Christ to the earth.

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