Expositor's Bible Commentary
And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:CHAPTER XV.
THE PAUSE OF VICTORY AND JUDGMENT OF THE BEAST AND THE FALSE PROPHET.
THOSE who have followed with attention the course of this commentary can hardly fail to have ob served its leading conception of the book with which it deals. That conception is that the Revelation of St. John presents to us in visions the history of the Church moulded upon the history of her Lord whilst He tabernacled among men. It is the invariable lesson of the New Testament that Christ and His people are one. He is the Vine; they are the branches. He is in them; they are in Him. With equal uniformity the sacred writers teach us that just as Christ suffered during the course of His earthly ministry, so also His people suffer. They have to endure the struggle before they enjoy the victory, and to bear the cross before they win the crown. But the peculiarity of the Apocalypse is, that it carries out this thought much more fully than the other New Testament books. St. John does not merely see the Church suffer. He sees her suffer in a way precisely as her Lord did. He lives in the thought of those words spoken by Jesus to Salome at a striking moment of his life with regard to his brother and himself, "The cup that I drink ye shall drink; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized."1 That very cup is put into his hands and into the hands of his brethren, who are "partakers with him in the tribulation, and kingdom, and patience which are in Jesus;"2 with that very baptism they are all baptized. (1 Mark 10:39; 2 Revelation 1:9)
Now we know from the fourth Gospel what the light was in which St. John looked back, at a distance of more than half a century, upon the life of Jesus. Nothing therefore was more natural than that, dealing only with the great principles at work in God s government of the world and guidance of His Church, and seeing these principles embodied in visions, the visions should present to him a course of things precisely similar to that which had been followed in the case of the Forerunner of the Church and the Captain of her salvation.
Turning then to the fourth Gospel, it has long been acknowledged by every inquirer of importance that the struggle of Jesus with the world, which the Evangelist chiefly intends to relate, ends with the close of chap. 12. It is equally undeniable that with the beginning of chap. 13 the struggle breaks out afresh. Between these two points lie chaps. 13 to 17, five chapters altogether different from those that either precede or follow them, marked by a different tone, and centering around that institution of the Last Supper in which, Judas having now "gone out," the love of Jesus to His disciples is poured forth with a tenderness previously unexampled. In these chapters we have first a narrative in which the love of Jesus is related as it appears in the foot-washing and in the institution of the Supper, and then, immediately afterwards, a pause. This pause - chap. 13:31 - ch. 17 - together with the narrative preceding it, occurs at the close of a struggle substantially finished - "I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do."* - and only yet again to burst forth in one final and unsuccessful effort against the Prince of life. (* John 17:4)
It would seem as if we had a similar structure at the point of the Apocalypse now reached by us. There is a transition narrative which, so far as the thought in it is concerned, may be regarded either as closing the fourth or as beginning the fifth section of the book. It is probably better to understand it as the latter, because the mould of the Gospel is thus better preserved; and, where so much else speaks distinctly of that mould, there is no impropriety in giving the benefit of a doubt to what is otherwise sufficiently established. Although therefore the fifth section of the Apocalypse, the Pause, begins properly with Revelation 19:11 of this present chapter, the first ten verses may be taken along with these as a preparatory narrative standing to what follows as John 13:1-30 stands to John chap. 13:31 - chap. 17. The probability, too, that this is the light in which we are to look at the passage before us, is rendered greater when we notice, first, that there is in the midst of the preliminary narrative, and for the first time mention made of a "supper," the marriage supper of the Lamb,1 and, secondly, that at a later point in the book there is a final outburst of evil against the Church, which, notwithstanding the powerful forces ranged against her, is unsuccessful.2 (1 Revelation 19:9; 2 Revelation 20:7)
What we have now to do with is thus not a continuation of the struggle. It is a pause in which the fall of Babylon is celebrated, and the great enemies of the Church are consigned to their merited fate: -
"After these things I heard as it were a great voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah; Salvation, and glory, and power, belong to our God: for true and righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great harlot, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and He hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand. And a second time they say, Hallelujah. And her smoke goeth up forever and ever. And the four-and-twenty elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God that sitteth on the throne, saying, Amen; Hallelujah. And a voice came forth from the throne, saying, Give praise to our God, all ye His servants, ye that fear Him, the small and the great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunders, saying, Hallelujah: for the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigneth. Let us rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us give the glory unto Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And it was given unto her that she should clothe herself in fine linen, bright and pure: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are bidden unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are true words of God. And I fell down before his feet to worship him. And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren that hold the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:1-10)."
Babylon has fallen; and the world, represented by three classes of its inhabitants - kings, merchants, and sailors - has poured out its lamentations over her fall. Very different are the feelings of the good, and these feelings appear in the narrative before us. A great multitude is heard in heaven, not necessarily in the region beyond the grave, but in that of the righteous, of the unworldly, of the spiritual, whether in time or in eternity. This "multitude" is probably to be identified with that of Revelation 7:9. The definite article, which would render the identification complete, is indeed wanting; but we have already found instances of the same method of speech with regard to the one hundred and forty and four thousand of Revelation 14:1, and with regard to the glassy sea of Revelation 15:2. The whole ransomed Church of God is therefore included in the expression. They sing first; and the burden of their song is Hallelujah, or Praise to God, because He has inflicted upon the harlot the due punishment of her sins and crimes. Nor do they sing only once; they sing the same ascription of praise a second time. The meaning is not simply that they do this twice, the "second time" having more than its numerical force, and being designed to bring out the intensity of their feelings and their song. Then the four-and-twenty elders, the representatives of the glorified Church, and the four living creatures, the representatives of redeemed creation, answer, Amen, and take up the same song: Hallelujah. All creation, animate and inanimate, swells the voice of joy and praise.
Meanwhile the smoke of the harlot’s torment goeth up forever and ever. Again, as once before, we have here no right to fasten our thoughts upon immortal spirits of men deceived and led astray. Such may be included. If they have identified themselves with the harlot, we need not hesitate to say that they are included. But what is mainly brought under our notice is the overthrow, complete and final, of sin itself. Babylon has been utterly overthrown, and her punishment shall never be forgotten. Her fate shall remain a monument of the righteous judgment of God, and shall illustrate unto the ages of the ages the character of Him who, for creation s sake, will "by no means clear the guilty."* (* Exodus 34:7)
A voice from heaven is then heard calling upon all the servants of God to praise Him; and this is followed by another voice, as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunders, saying, Hallelujah: for the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigneth. He always indeed really reigned, but now He has taken to Himself His great power, and everything acknowledges its King.
Thus a new moment is reached in the history of God’s saints. The Lamb is come to claim His bride, and His wife hath made herself ready. She has been long betrothed, and has been waiting for the Bridegroom. Through storm and calm, through sorrow and joy, through darkness and light, she has waited for Him, crying ever and again, "Come quickly." At last He comes, and the marriage and the marriage supper are to take place. For the first time in the Apocalypse we read of this marriage, and for the first time, although the general idea of supping with the Lord had been once alluded to,1 of this marriage supper. The figure indeed is far from being new. The writers both of the Old and of the New Testament use it with remarkable frequency.2 But no sacred writer appears to have felt more the power and beauty of the similitude than St. John. In the first miracle which he records, and in which he sees the whole glory of the New Testament dispensation mirrored forth, He who changed the water into wine is the Bridegroom of His Church3; and, when the Baptist passes out of view in the presence of Him for whom he had prepared the way, he records the swan-like song in which the great prophet terminated his mission in order that another and a higher than himself might have sole possession of the field: "Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. He that hath the bride is the bride groom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled."4 (1Comp. Revelation 3:20; 2Comp. Psalm 45:9-15; Isaiah 54:5; Hosea 2:19; Matthew 22:2; Ephesians 5:32, etc.; 3 Joh 2:1-11; 4 John 3:28-29)
Such is the moment that has now arrived, and the bride is ready for it. Her raiment is worthy of our notice. It is fine linen, bright and pure; and then it is immediately added, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. These acts are not the imputed righteousness of Christ, although only in Christ are the acts performed. They express the moral and religions condition of those who constitute the bride. No outward righteousness alone, with which we might be clothed as with a garment, is a sufficient preparation for future blessedness. An inward change is not less necessary, a personal and spiritual meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light. Christ must not only be on us as a robe, but in us as a life, if we are to have the hope of glory.1 Let us not be afraid of words like these. Rightly viewed, they in no way interfere with our completeness in the Beloved alone, or with the fact that not by works of righteousness that we have done, but by grace, are we saved through faith, and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God.2 All our salvation is of Christ, but the change upon us must be internal as well as external. The elect are foreordained to be conformed to the image of God’s Son3; and the Christian condition is expressed in the words which say, not only "Ye were justified," but also "ye were washed, ye were sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it the Spirit of our God."4 (1 Colossians 1:27; 2 Ephesians 2:8; 3 Romans 8:29; 4 1 Corinthians 6:11)
Thus "made ready," the bride now enters with the Bridegroom into the marriage feast; and, as the whole of her future rises before the view of the heavenly visitant who converses with the Seer, he says to him, Write, Blessed are they which are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
Once before St. John had heard a similar, perhaps the same, voice from heaven, saying, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth."* Then we believed; now we see. The clouds are dispelled; the veil is rent asunder; we enter into the palace of the great King. There is music, and festivity, and joy. There is neither sin nor sorrow, no privilege abused, no cloud upon any countenance, no burden upon any heart, no shadow from the future to darken the rapture of the present Here is life, and life abundantly; the peace that passeth understanding; the joy unspeakable and glorified; the inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading. (* Revelation 14:13)
In particular, when we think of this marriage supper of the Lamb, we cannot but return to that supper in the upper chamber of Jerusalem which occupies so strikingly similar a position in the life of Jesus. There Jesus said, "Take, eat: this is My body, which is for you;" "This cup is the new covenant in My blood: drink ye all of it."* That was a feast, in which He gave Himself to be forever the nourishment of His Church. And in like manner in the marriage supper of the Lamb the Lord who became dead and is alive for evermore is not only the Bridegroom, but the substance of the feast. In Him and by Him His people lived on earth; in Him and by Him they live forever. (* Matthew 26:26-27; 1Co 11:24-25)
All this St. John saw. All this, too, he heard confirmed by the statement that, wonderful and glorious as was the spectacle, it was yet true words of God. He was overwhelmed, and would have worshipped his angelic visitant. But he was interrupted by the declaration on the angel’s part, See thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren that hold the testimony of Jesus: worship God. These fellow-servants are first the prophets, but then also all true members of Christ’s Body. The last not less than the first hold the testimony of Jesus1; and because they do so, they too are prophets, for prophecy, whether in Old or in New Testament times, testifies to Him. In Him all revelation centers. He is the expression of the God whom no man hath seen. He is thus the Alpha and the Omega, "over all, God blessed forever."2 (1Comp. Revelation 1:3; Revelation 1:9; Revelation 6:9; Revelation 11:7; Revelation 12:17; Revelation 20:4; 2 Romans 9:5)
By so contemplating Him we are prepared for the next following vision: -
"And I saw the heavens opened, and behold a white horse, and He that sat thereon, called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He hath a name written, which no man knoweth, but He Himself. And He is arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and pure. And out of His mouth proceedeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His garment and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:11-16)."
Of the position of this passage in the structure of the Apocalypse we have already spoken; and, looked at in that its true light, it may be called the Pause of Victory. There is no renewal of the struggle. A Warrior is indeed presented to us; but He is a Warrior who has already conquered, and who comes forth not so much to subdue His enemies as to inflict upon them their final punishment.
Heaven is open, and our attention is first of all directed to a rider upon a white horse. The description given of this rider leaves no doubt as to who He is. The "whiteness" of the horse is the emblem of a purity that can be connected with the kingdom of God alone. The description of the Rider - Faithful, who will not suffer one word that He has promised to fail; True, not true as opposed to false, but real as opposed to shadowy - corresponds only to something essentially Divine; while the particulars of His appearance afterwards mentioned take us back to the glorified Son of man of chap. 1, and to other passages of this and other books of the Bible which speak of the same glorious Person. There are the eyes like a flame of fire of Revelation 1:14 and Revelation 2:18. There are upon His head many diadems, a fact not previously mentioned, but corresponding to the many royalties which belong to Him whom all things obey. There is the name which none but He Himself knoweth, for "no one knoweth the Son save the Father."l There is the garment sprinkled with blood, of which we read in the prophet Isaiah,2 the blood, not that of the Conqueror shed for us, but the blood of His enemies staining His raiment as He returns victorious from the field. There is the name The Word of God, with which St. John alone has made us familiar in the opening of his Gospel. There are the armies which are in heaven, following Him upon white horses, and clothed in fine linen, white and pure, to which our attention is directed, not for their sake, but for His, for He has made them partakers of His victory. There is the sharp sword proceeding out of His mouth of Revelation 1:16 and Revelation 2:12. There is the smiting of the nations, of which we have already heard in Revelation 2:27 and Revelation 12:5. There is the treading of the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God, spoken of in Revelation 14:19-20. Finally, there is on His garment and on His thigh the name KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. All these traits leave no doubt who this Captain of salvation is; and all are noted that we may better understand both the glory of His person, and the nature of His accomplished work. (1 Matthew 11:27; 2 Isaiah 63:3)
One thing therefore alone remains: that the great adversaries of His people shall be consigned to their doom; and to this the Seer proceeds: -
"And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in mid-heaven, Come and be gathered together unto the great supper of God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit thereon, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, and small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat upon the horse, and against His army. And the beast was taken, and he that was with him, the false prophet that wrought the signs in his sight wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. They twain were cast alive into the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, even the sword which came forth out of His mouth: and all the birds were filled with their flesh (Revelation 19:17-21)."
The angel beheld at the beginning of this scene is the first of the three forming the second group of that series of seven parts of which the triumphing Conqueror was the center. He stood in the sun, which is to be thought of as in the zenith of its daily path, in order that he may be seen and heard by all. It is to the birds that fly in mid-heaven that he calls; that is, to those strong and fierce birds of prey, such as the eagle and the vulture, which fly in the highest regions of the atmosphere. His cry is that they shall come to the great supper of God, that they may feast upon the flesh of all the enemies of the Lamb. The idea of such a feast is found in the prophecies of Ezekiel; and there can be no doubt, from the many accompanying circumstances of similarity between the description of it there and here, that St. John has the language of the prophet in his eye: "And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God; Speak unto the birds of every sort, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to My sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fallings of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of My sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. And ye shall be filled at My table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord God."1 Yet, while the picture of the prophet is unquestionably before the Seer’s mind, it is impossible to doubt that we have in this supper a travesty of that marriage upper of the Lamb which had been spoken of in the previous part of the chapter.2 In contrast with the joyful banquet at which the children of God shall be nourished by Him whose flesh is meat indeed and whose blood is drink indeed, the wicked, to whatever rank or station they belong, shall themselves be a meal for all foul and ravenous birds. The whole passage reminds us of the spectacle at Calvary, as it is set before us in the fourth Gospel, and may be accepted as one of the innumerable proofs of the similarity between two books - that Gospel and the Apocalypse - at first sight so different from each other. On the Cross Jesus is the true Paschal Lamb, not so much in the moment of its death as at a subsequent stage, when it was prepared for, and eaten at, the paschal meal. In the conduct of the Jews on that occasion St. John appears to behold an inverted and contorted Passover. The enemies of Jesus had not entered into the judgment-hall of Pilate, "lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover."3 They had not eaten it then Amidst the tumult and stormy passions of that dreadful morning, when had they an opportunity of eating it? St John does not tell us that they found one. Rather is the whole narrative so constructed, so full of close, rapid, passionate action, that it is impossible to fix upon any point at which we can insert their eating until it was too late to make it legal. May it not be that they found no opportunity for eating it? They lost their Passover. Lost it? Nay; the Evangelist seems to say, they found a Passover. Go with me to the Cross; mark there their cruel mockeries of the Lamb of God; and you shall see the righteous dealings of the Almighty as He makes these mockeries take the shape of a Passover of judgment, a Passover of added sin and deepened shame.4 (1 Ezekiel 39:17-20; 2 Revelation 19:9; 3 John 18:28; 4The wriJter has endeavored to unfold this view of Jesus on the Cross in two papers in The Expositor, first series, vol. 17, 129)
The punishment of the wicked, and especially of the three great enemies of the Church, now proceeds; and it ought still to be carefully observed that we have to do with punishment, not war or overthrow in war. It was so at Revelation 19:17, where, after the triumphing Conqueror had ridden forth, followed by His armies, there is no mention of any battle. There is only the angel s cry to the birds to gather themselves together unto the great supper of God. The battle had been already fought, and the victory already won. We are now told indeed of the gathering together of the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, to make war against Him that sat upon the horse, and against His army. But, whatever may have been their design, it is not executed. No actual fighting is spoken of. The enemies referred to are at once taken, apparently without fighting, and are consigned to the fate which they have brought upon themselves.
Two of the three great enemies of the Lord and of His Church meet this fate, - the beast and the false prophet. The first of these is the beast so frequently mentioned in previous chapters. More particularly it is the beast of chap. 17, the representative of the antichristian world in its last and highest form. The second is not less certainly the second beast of chap. 18, of whom it is said that "he deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by reason of the signs which it was given him to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell upon the earth, that they should make an image to the beast."* The "signs," the "deception" and the "worship" of the beast now spoken of can be no other than those thus referred to. (* Revelation 13:14)
One point may be noticed further. According to what seems to be the best reading of the original Greek, we are told here, not that "the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet," but "the beast was taken, and he that was with him, the false prophet." In other words, the language of St. John is designed to bring out the closeness of connection between these two beasts, the fact that the one is always dependent on the other. They are never separated. The first cannot act without the second. Hence in all probability the reason why, in treating of the doom by which these enemies of the Church are overtaken, a separate paragraph is not assigned to each. They are taken together.
A more important question has been raised in connection with the words before us; and it has been urged that they conclusively prove that both the beast and the false prophet are persons, not personifications.1 We have already seen that in regard to the " beast " that conclusion is hasty. It appears to be not less to in regard to the "false prophet" The simple fact that he deceiveth them - that is, all that had received the mark of the beast - is inconsistent with such an idea, unless we ascribe to him a ubiquity that is Divine; or unless we suppose, what Scripture gives us no warrant for believing, that there is in the realm of evil a personal trinity - the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet - corresponding to the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is much more natural to think that St. John’s statements upon this point spring from that general method of conception which distinguishes him, and by which everything existing in the realm of good is thought of as having its counterpart in the realm of evil. The question thus raised is wholly independent of any consideration of the fate by which the two beasts are overtaken. When principles are viewed as persons, they must be spoken of as persons; and it will surely not be urged that death and Hades are persons because it is said of them, in Revelation 20:14, that they "were cast into the lake of fire." (* Burger in loc.)
The beast and the false prophet then are cast together into the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone; and this lake of fire is further explained in Revelation 20:14 to be "the second death." It is impossible to avoid the questions, How are we to conceive of this "lake of fire"? and, What is its effect? Yet, so far as at present concerns us, the answer to these questions must be taken from St John alone. In the first instance at least we have nothing to do with the general teaching of Scripture on what is called the doctrine of "eternal punishment" Our only inquiry must be, What impression is the language employed by the Seer in these visions intended to convey? Upon this point it would seem as if there can be little doubt To St John it is no matter of consequence to tell us what shall be the condition of the enemies of the Church throughout the ages of the future, or whether they shall be preserved everlastingly alive in torment and misery and woe. His one aim is to deal with the condition of the kingdom of God while it contends with its foes in this present scene. His one object is to tell us that these foes shall be destroyed forever, and that the world shall be wholly purged from them. No further information is required to comfort us. We may leave them in the hands of God.
Looking at the matter in this light, we do not need to ask whether by " the lake of fire we are to understand a lake in which the wicked are consumed or one in which they are upheld in undying flames. Either interpretation is consistent with the Apostle’s course of thought, and with the impression which he wishes to produce.
No doubt it may be said that the principle of contrast, of which we have so often availed ourselves in interpreting this book, implies that, as the righteous shall be upheld amidst the joys of everlasting life, so the wicked shall be upheld amidst the torments of everlasting death. But it is precisely here that the peculiarity of St. John’s mode of thought comes in. To him "life" is in the very nature of the case everlasting. Were it not so, it would not be life. Only therefore in so far as the conception of everlasting torment lies in the idea of "death" can it be truly said that the principle of contrast, so deeply rooted in St. John’s mode of thought, demands the application of everlasting torment to the wicked. But the idea of torment ever lastingly continued does not lie in the idea of "death." Death is privation; when inflicted by fire, capacity for torment is speedily destroyed; and death itself is cast into the lake of fire. The natural conclusion is that the idea of torment belongs to the mode by which the death spoken of is inflicted - fire - and that the words with which we are dealing may mean no more than this, - that the eternity of effect following the overthrow of the beast and the false prophet is the leading conception associated with the "fire that burneth with brimstone" to which these great enemies of God’s people are consigned.
If what has been said be correct, the whole question of the everlasting suffering of the wicked is left open so far as these passages in the Apocalypse are concerned; and St. John’s main lesson is that when the beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire they shall no longer have power to war against the righteous or to disturb their peace.
When these two enemies of the Church had thus been destroyed, the rest were killed with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, even the sword which came forth out of His mouth. The persons thus called "the rest" are those who stand to the beast and the false prophet in the same relation as that in which "the rest of the woman’s seed," spoken of in Revelation 12:17, stand to the man-child "caught up unto God and unto His throne." The man-child exalted and glorified is the same as "He that sat upon the horse," and in that condition a sword proceedeth out of His mouth.1 The Guardian and Protector of His own, who has kept their true life safe amidst all outward troubles, brings also these troubles to an end. Their enemies are "killed." They are not yet cast into the lake of fire, because their hour of judgment has not come. By-and-by it will come.2 Meanwhile not only can they harm the righteous no more, but they afford a supper to the ravenous birds already spoken of; and the birds are more than satisfied: they are gorged with the unholy banquet All the birds were filled with their flesh. (1 Revelation 1:16; Revelation 19:15; 2 Revelation 20:15)