INTRODUCTION TO Revelation 19
This chapter contains the triumph of the saints over Babylon, and their thanksgiving to God because of his judgments on her; the marriage of Christ and his church, and a battle between him and his and her enemies, with the success of it. The congratulations are first of a promiscuous multitude in the church, ascribing salvation, praise, honour, glory, and power to God, because of the righteousness of his judgments, and because of the perpetuity of them, Revelation 19:1 and then of the four and twenty elders and four living creatures, who worship God, assent to what had been before said, and join in praising the Lord, Revelation 19:4 and then another voice out of the throne is heard, calling upon all the servants of the Lord, and those that fear him, whether small or great, to praise our God, Revelation 19:5 after which is heard the voice of a great multitude, stirring up one another to praise, because of the reign of the Lord God Almighty, and to rejoice and be glad because the time of the Lamb's marriage with his bride was come; who is described by her dress, the righteousness of the saints, comparable to fine linen, clean and white, Revelation 19:6 upon which an angel bids John write those persons happy who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb, and affirms these to be the true sayings of God; wherefore John, in a transport of joy, was just going to worship the angel, had he not been forbidden by him; from which he dissuades him, by observing that he was his fellow servant, that God only is the object of worship, and that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, Revelation 19:9 next follows a vision of a battle between Christ and his enemies; and first he the General is described, by the horse he sat upon, a white one; by the characters he bears, faithful and true; by what he did, judging and making war in righteousness; by his eyes, which were as a flame of fire; by his having many crowns on his head; by having a name, or names unknown, and particularly one, which is the Word of God; by his habit, a vesture dipped in blood; by the armies he was at the head of, riding on white horses, and clothed in fine linen; by a sharp sword coming out of his mouth, with which he should utterly destroy the nations; and by having a name on his vesture and thigh, King of kings, and Lord of lords, Revelation 19:11 upon which an angel is seen standing in the sun, and calling to all the fowls of the heaven to come to the supper of the great God, and to eat the flesh of kings, captains, mighty men, horses and horsemen, of all ranks, and degrees, Revelation 19:17 and next an account is given of the armies of the beast, and of the kings of the earth, that came to make war with the above warrior, Revelation 19:19 the issue and success of which follow; the beast and false prophet are taken, and cast alive into a lake of fire and brimstone; and the rest are killed by the sword of the above General, and the fowls have a feast of their flesh, Revelation 19:20.
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:And after these things,.... After the angel had declared the fall of Babylon, a voice from heaven had called the people of God out of her, and had ordered them to take vengeance on her; after the mournful lamentation of the kings, merchants, and seafaring men; after another voice had called upon the saints to rejoice at her overthrow, and a mighty angel had described the manner of it, and had expressed her ruin in the strongest terms, with the reasons of it, John heard the songs of the righteous, as follow:
I heard a great voice of much people in heaven: not literally taken, for these are not the innumerable company of angels, who are never called people; nor the spirits of just men made perfect, or the souls of departed saints, but men on earth; wherefore heaven designs the church, as in Revelation 18:20 and frequently in this book; the people are the same with the 144000 seen with the Lamb on Mount Zion, Revelation 14:1 and with those on the sea of glass, who had got the victory over the beast, Revelation 15:2 and are no other than God's covenant people, who are given to Christ, and made willing to be his in the day of his power; and though they are but a seed, a remnant, a small company, when compared with the world and carnal professors; yet are a large body of themselves, especially they will be at this time, when the nation of the Jews shall be born at once, and the fulness of the Gentiles will be brought in: and their voice on this occasion, the downfall of Rome, is said to be "great" partly on account of their number, who will join together in acclamations of praise, and partly on account of their great affection and vehemency of spirit, which will be raised hereby:
saying Alleluia; an Hebrew word, which signifies "praise ye the Lord". The Jews say (n), that the book of Psalms consists of ten sorts of songs, but Hallelujah is the greatest of them, because it comprehends the name (Jehovah) and praise in one word: and it is observable that this word, which is often used in the Psalms, is first used when the Psalmist desires the utter consumption and destruction of sinners and wicked men on earth, and is here taken up by the saints at the destruction of the man of sin and son of perdition; see Psalm 104:35 and its being an Hebrew word shows that at this time the Jews will be converted, and that Jews and Gentiles will become one church state, and will worship and praise the Lord together; for the word is a call upon the saints to join together in solemn praise and thanksgiving; who is to be praised for the perfections of his nature, for the works of his hands, both of nature and grace; and for his righteous judgments on his and his church's enemies; and this is to be done in concert:
salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: salvation, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, is of God; "salvation" from antichristian power and tyranny, and from all enemies, and the everlasting salvation of the soul; and the "glory" of it belongs to all the three Persons; they are glorious in themselves, and deserve all glory to be ascribed to them by man, and especially by the saints: "honour" is also their due; God the Father is to be honoured because he is the Father, and the Son is to he honoured as the Father is, and the Holy Spirit is not to be grieved, but to be highly esteemed and valued, and equally with the other two Persons: and "power" belongs to them all, and is seen in the works of creation, redemption, and sanctification.
(n) Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 89. 1. T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 117. 1.
For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.For true and righteous are his judgments,.... As in See Gill on Revelation 15:3; see Gill on Revelation 16:7, this is to be understood of God's judgments in general, and is a reason of the attribution of praise and glory to him; which may be said to be true, because, being threatened, are now fulfilled; and to be "righteous", because according to the demerit of sin; and particularly God's judgments on antichrist are intended:
for he hath judged the great whore; Jezebel, Babylon, the Romish antichrist, before spoken of, Revelation 17:1 not only by passing a sentence of condemnation on her, but by executing it, putting it into the hearts of the kings to hate and burn her, and utterly destroy her; and which is judging right, since it follows:
which did corrupt the earth with her fornication; drew the kings and inhabitants of the Roman empire into wicked and idolatrous practices, and so corrupted and destroyed them in soul, body, and estate; See Gill on Revelation 11:18 for this vision is contemporary with the seventh trumpet:
and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand; shed by her, Revelation 18:20 and this being done in righteous judgment, is matter of joy and praise to the saints.
And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.And again they said, Alleluia,.... Or a "second time" they said it; they began and ended their solemn worship and service with it; so some psalms begin and end with this word, translated in the Old Testament by the words "Praise ye the LORD", as in Psalm 106:1 &c. and the repeating of the word shows how hearty, arnest, and constant they were in the work of praise on this account:
and her smoke rose up for ever and ever; they repeated their hallelujah, or gave one spiritual "huzza" more at the burning of Rome, and this followed: or the words may be rendered, "for her smoke rose", &c. and so are a reason for the second "hallelujah": it looks as if Rome, like another Sodom and Gomorrah, would sink into a sulphurous burning lake, and continue so: respect is had to the everlasting punishment of antichrist and his followers in hell, and to the everlasting burnings that will follow Rome's temporal destruction, which was an example and symbol of the vengeance of eternal fire; see Revelation 14:11 so the Jews (o) say of the burning of Rome, that its fire shall not be quenched for ever, and that "its smoke shall rise up for".
(o) Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 48. 2.
And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts,.... Mentioned in Revelation 4:4 and who represent the churches of Christ and ministers of the Gospel in the several periods of time, these join in the chorus, and praise the Lord on the account of the destruction of Rome, and ruin of antichrist; so they are often heard of in this book, when any remarkable thing is done, or when there is any breaking forth of the kingdom and glory of Christ; see Revelation 5:8 these
fell down; on their faces before God, as in Revelation 4:10 in great reverence of him, and of his righteous judgments:
and worshipped God that sat on the throne; described in Revelation 4:2 this refers to the public worship of God in the churches, by the ministers and members of them:
saying, Amen; Alleluia; they said "Amen", and signified their assent to what the much people in heaven had said, Revelation 19:1 and joined in the same "hallelujah", or expressions of praise to God, for this great appearance of his in the downfall of Babylon. Both these words are used together in Psalm 106:48, see Revelation 5:14.
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.And a voice came out of the throne,.... Not from God the Father, that sat upon it, for the phrase,
praise our God, could not be said by him with propriety and pertinence; but rather from Christ, the Lamb, in the midst of the throne, who as Mediator could say of him to his people, my God and your God, and my Father and your Father, John 20:17 though it seems best to understand it of the voice of one of the angels about the throne, since one of these is afterwards spoken of, whom John would have worshipped, but was forbid, Revelation 19:9 and which may design either one of the ministering spirits, or a preacher of the Gospel, and a set of such, calling upon the saints to the discharge of their duty, or to return to it on this occasion:
saying, praise our God, all ye his servants; meaning not the ministers of the Gospel only, who serve in the Gospel of Christ, by preaching and defending it, and in the administration of Gospel ordinances to the comfort of the saints, but all the people of God; for though they are sons, and no more servants to sin and Satan, and the world, yet they are servants of God and of righteousness, and serve him willingly and cheerfully in a way of duty, and without slavish fear, and with a godly one, and from principles of love and gratitude, and without mercenary views and selfish ends; and these are called upon, as a part of their service, to say hallelujah, or to sing the praises of God for his judgments on antichrist; see Psalm 134:1.
and ye that fear him, both small and great; who fear the Lord, not with a servile, but filial fear, with the new covenant grace of fear, which springs from, and is increased by, the goodness and grace of God; whether greater or lesser believers, fathers, young men, or children; whether Jews or Gentiles, or of whatsoever nation, kindred, or people; see Psalm 115:13.
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 thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude,.... Even of all the servants of the Lord, and them that fear him, small and great; a vast multitude of converted Jews and Gentiles, in the several parts of the world, who in answer to the voice out of the throne, which came with great power and energy, lift up their voices in praise to God, both for their own conversion, and for the downfall of Babylon:
and as the voice of many waters: falling down in a descent, or in rough and rocky places, which make a great noise, and is heard afar off; and such must be the united voice of so great a multitude of converts as will be gathered together everywhere at this time: the same metaphor is used of the voice of Christ in Revelation 1:15
and as the voice of mighty thunderings; violent claps of it, which are sometimes so loud that they rend the very heavens, and strike the inhabitants of the earth with the utmost consternation: these are the same voices which will be heard in the church when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, Revelation 11:15
saying, Alleluia; or praise ye the Lord; they will call upon one another to celebrate the praises of God, on account of the above things, in the same manner, and using the same word the people in heaven, and the four and twenty elders and four living creatures, do; and this is the fourth time the word is used in this context, and confirms the observation that has been made, that this vision refers to the conversion of the Jews, which will quickly follow the destruction of Rome: and the Jews themselves have a notion, that when Rome is destroyed the Messiah will come; and so he will in his spiritual reign. They say (o),
"our redemption will be immediately upon the destruction of Rome.''
And again (p),
"the root of our redemption depends upon the destruction of Rome.''
The reason for their saying "hallelujah" follows,
for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth; by whom is meant the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, and God over all, blessed for ever, and is the Almighty; and though he was set up as King over the holy hill of Zion, and has reigned over the church in every age, and came as King into this world, though his kingdom was not of it, and at his resurrection was declared Lord and Christ, and his kingdom was then more manifest, and he has ever since displayed his kingly power in defending his church, and defeating the enemies of it; yet now will he reign more visibly and gloriously, his kingdom will be enlarged from one end of the earth to the other, and he will be King over all the earth, which will occasion great joy to Jews and Gentiles; see Psalm 47:1 and See Gill on Revelation 11:17.
(o) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 148. 1.((p) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 163. 4.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.Let us be glad, and rejoice, and give honour to him,.... The saints particularly; the converted Jews will call upon one another to express their gladness at the glorious display of Christ's kingly power and authority, and at the destruction of his enemies, and the happy and comfortable state of his church and people; and to rejoice in him as the Lord their righteousness and strength, and to give him the honour and glory of salvation, and to return him thanks for all the benefits they shall have received from him, particularly on account of what follows:
for the marriage of the Lamb is come; that is, of Christ, the Son of God, with the Jewish church more especially; there was a secret betrothing of all the elect to Christ before the world began; and there is an open espousal of every individual of them at conversion; but the public and general solemnization of the nuptials will not be until the new Jerusalem church state takes place in the personal reign of Christ, hereafter mentioned, Revelation 21:1 but here, and as previous to that, there will be a very general and open marriage of Christ with the people of the Jews, who have long rejected and forsaken him; for if the conversion of a single person may be called a marriage with Christ, much more the conversion of such members; and which is often prophesied of under this metaphor of a marriage, as in Isaiah 62:4. And now the time will be come for the accomplishment of it, the evidence of which follows:
and his wife hath made herself ready, or "dressed herself"; by decking herself with jewels, and putting on her wedding garment provided for her, and given to her by her husband, the Lamb, as appears from the next verse: this preparation will lie partly in the number of converts that will be brought into the Jewish church, which she will receive and clothe herself with, as with the ornament of a bride, Isaiah 49:18 and partly by the exercise of the several graces of the Spirit upon Christ, comparable to the jewels of a bride, with which she will be adorned for her husband; and also by putting on the robe of his righteousness, hereafter mentioned, which the old Jewish synagogue rejected, and therefore was cast off, Romans 10:3. The Arabic version reads, "the marriage of the Lamb is now come with his spouse, prepared for him"; and the Ethiopic version, "the marriage of his Lamb is come, and the wife is prepared"; and that her preparation is not by her own merits and works of righteousness, but by the grace of her husband, is clear from the following verse. Mr. Daubuz, by "the marriage of the Lamb", understands the first resurrection, and the state of the church at that time; and by "the fine linen", the dress of the church, next mentioned, the incorruptible body of the saints compared to a garment, 1 Corinthians 15:53 and by those who are afterwards said to be "called to the marriage", the converted nations in a mortal state: but all the saints will share in the first resurrection; besides, as yet the beast and false prophet are not destroyed, which must be before the first resurrection, as the following vision shows.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen,.... Or "Byssine": the "Byssus", of which fine linen is made, is said to grow on a tree, in height like to a poplar, and its leaves like a willow, and to be brought out of Judea into Egypt, which the Egyptians used in most of their holy things (q). A dress neat and modest, and not like the attire of the whore of Rome, Revelation 17:4 and this is said to be
clean and white, and is interpreted in the next clause:
for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints, or "righteousnesses"; not good works, or their own righteousness; for though these are evidences of faith, by which the saints are justified, and are what God has prepared for them, that they should walk in them; yet these are not comparable to fine linen, clean and white, but are like filthy rags, and cannot justify in the sight of God; but the righteousness of Christ is meant, and justification by that; for that is the only justifying righteousness of the saints: and though it is but one, yet it may be called "righteousnesses", or "justifications", in the plural number; partly because of the several seasons in which the act of justification passes, first in God's mind from eternity, next on Christ as the surety, when he rose from the dead, and on all the elect in him, and then in the consciences of the saints when they believe, and the sentence of it will be notified and declared to men and angels at the last judgment; and partly because of the many persons that are justified by it, as also because of the excellency of it; so the Jews use the word in the plural number: the Targumist on Zechariah 3:4 paraphrases the text, "I will clothe thee" "with righteousnesses" (r); upon which words Jarchi has this note,
"change of beautiful garments is all one as if it had been said "righteousnesses": and because sin is like to filthy garments, righteousness is like to garments beautiful and white.''
Christ's righteousness may be compared to fine linen, clean and white, because of its spotless purity; those that are arrayed with it being unblamable and irreprovable, and without spot and blemish, and without fault before the throne; with this the Jewish church will be clothed; all the Lord's people will be righteous, they will have on the best robe, and wedding garment, which was despised by the Jews in Christ's time, who refused to come to the marriage feast; and their being arrayed with it will be owing to the grace of Christ, who grants it; and so Christ's righteousness is called the gift of righteousness, the free gift, and gift by grace, and abundance of grace; and faith, which receives it, and puts it on, is the gift of God, Romans 5:15. Not only the garment is a gift of grace, but the putting of it on is a grant from Christ, and what he himself does, Isaiah 61:10.
(q) Philostrat. Vita Apollon. l. 2. c. 9. Vid. Apul. Apolog. p. 225. Pausan. l. 5. sive Eliac. p. 294. (r) See Isaiah 61.10. & Targum in Hos. x. 12.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.And he saith unto me, write,.... What follows, because of the importance of it, and to show the certainty of it, and that it may be regarded and remembered: the person speaking is either the voice from the throne, Revelation 19:5 or the angel that attended John all along, and showed him this revelation, Revelation 1:1 or the angel that proposed to show him the judgment of the great whore, Revelation 17:1.
Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb; by which is meant the Gospel ministry and ordinances, and communion in them, to which the Jews will be called to partake of in the latter day; these at the first of the Gospel dispensation are called a "dinner", to which, the Jews were invited, but refused to come, and now a "supper", because made in the evening of that dispensation; to which being called with an effectual calling, they will come and partake of it; on which account they are pronounced blessed, being the bride, the Lamb's wife, having on his righteousness, partaking of his benefits, and being called unto, and made meet for eternal glory and happiness; or else these may design converted Gentiles, who will be invited to join with them, and will.
And he saith unto me, these are the true sayings of God; the Syriac version reads, "these my true words are of God"; being true, it is plain they are of God, and being of God, it is certain they are true; for he is the God of truth, and cannot lie, and therefore may be depended upon.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.And I fell at his feet to worship him,.... Being transported with the news he brought him of the marriage, or conversion of his countrymen the Jews, and struck with reverence and awe of the glory and majesty in which the angel appeared to him; and forgetting himself, that worship was only due to God, he behaved in this manner; which is not to be excused nor justified, as appears from the angel's words:
and he said unto me, see thou do it not; the words are in the original very short and concise, and are spoken in an abrupt manner, and in great haste; as fearing he would be guilty of idolatry, before he could speak all his mind, and use the arguments that were necessary to dissuade from it:
I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus; if this was one of the ministering spirits, he was a servant of the same Lord as John; and if he was a minister of the Gospel, he was still more literally a fellow servant of his, and of the apostles, and preachers of the Gospel; which is meant by the testimony of Jesus, that bearing testimony to the person, office, grace, obedience, sufferings, and death of Christ, and the glory following; and therefore being but a servant, and a servant in common with John and his brethren, was by no means to be worshipped; not the servant, but master; not the creature, but the Creator:
worship God and him only, even God the Father, Son, and Spirit; not the Father to the exclusion of the Son, the firstborn, whom all the angels are called upon to worship; nor of the Spirit, who is equally joined with the Father and Son in baptism, a part of religious worship, and in other parts of it also; but this excludes all creatures, angels, and men, things animate or inanimate, and images of them; the worshipping of which will now be no more, or at least will be quickly at an end.
For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy that is, the testimony of Jesus, or the Gospel which John and his brethren had, is the very spirit, life, and soul of the prophecy of this book; for as all the prophets bore witness to Christ, so does the Spirit of God in this; or the testimony which they had, and bore to Christ, was equal to the spirit of prophecy with which this angel was endowed; so that he and they were upon an equal foot; and he was no more a proper object of divine and religious adoration than they were.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.And I saw heaven opened,.... This vision refers not to the same time the first seal does, Revelation 6:2 for though a white horse, with a rider on it, is seen here, as there; that respects the first times of the Gospel, this the latter part of the dispensation of it; nor to the war in heaven between Michael and the dragon, and their angels, Revelation 12:7 that issued in the downfall of Paganism in the Roman empire, this will issue in the downfall of the Papacy in it; nor to the personal coming of Christ to the last judgment, of which an account is given in the following chapter; but to the battle at Armageddon, to which the sixth vial is a preparation, and which is finished under the seventh, Revelation 16:13 and what is briefly hinted at there is at large related here; in which Christ, the General, and his armies, on the one hand, and the kings of the earth, with the beast and false prophet, and their armies, on the other hand, appear to give battle to each other: and the issue of the battle is particularly represented, in order to have a view of which, "John saw heaven opened": not literally, as at Christ's baptism, and at the stoning of Stephen, nor in a spiritual sense, by the blood of Christ, but visionally, as in Revelation 4:1 and since heaven, often in this book, signifies the church on earth, a more glorious and comfortable state of the church may be designed; when her gates shall be opened continually, and not shut day nor night, to receive the forces of the Gentiles, and their kings, Isaiah 60:15 such a state as is referred to in Revelation 11:19 to which visions this is contemporary; and it may denote a very glorious appearing of Christ, not in person, which will be after this, but in his kingdom and power, in defeating his enemies, and reigning spiritually with his saints: and it may also design the clear revelation and discerning John had of the following things:
and behold a white horse which, as in Revelation 6:2 may be a symbol of the Gospel, and Gospel ministers, as there in the former, here in the latter part of the Gospel dispensation; signified by a horse, to denote the swift progress of the Gospel in the latter day, the majesty, power, and authority with which it will come, bearing down all opposition made against it; and by a white horse, to express the purity of the Gospel, and of its preachers and professors, and the peace it publishes, and gives, and the joy it brings, and the triumphs that will attend it.
And he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True: that Christ is here meant, is evident from the description of his eyes, Revelation 19:12 being the same as in Revelation 1:14 and from his name, Revelation 19:13 which is the peculiar name of the Son of God, John 1:1 and he sits upon, and is bore by, and rides forth in the Gospel, and the ministry of it, with glory and majesty, and prosperously, Psalm 45:3 and the characters of faithful and true well agree with him; See Gill on Revelation 3:7. See Gill on Revelation 3:14. He is "faithful and true" to God, who appointed him a Leader and Commander of the people, and to them he is the Commander of: and these characters well suit him now, when he will accomplish all the glorious things spoken of the church, relating to her spiritual and happy state in the latter day, and serve greatly to recommend him as a General.
And in righteousness he doth judge and make war; which is to be understood not of the last judgment, though that will be executed in righteousness, and therefore is called the righteous judgment, yet in that day there will be no war, no opposition, the wicked will at once submit; but of Christ's judging of his people, and avenging their blood on their enemies, and the remainder of them among Papists, Pagans, and Mahometans; who will be gathered together at Armageddon in battle array against them, when there will be an utter discomfiture of them in righteous judgment; for as in times past the beast made war with the saints and witnesses, and overcame them, Christ will enable his people to make war with him and his accomplices, and overcome them, as the sequel of this vision shows, Christ being at the head of them, though not in person, yet in power.
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.His eyes were as a flame of fire,.... Which denotes the perspicuity and penetration of them, the omniscience of Christ to look into and discover the secret machinations, schemes, and devices of his enemies against his people, and his exercise of it in favour of them, his eyes, like a flame of fire, running to and fro on their behalf; and also this may signify the fierceness of his anger against the enemies of his people, the eyes of his glory being provoked by their cruelty and wickedness; and likewise the suddenness of their destruction, and the inevitableness of it.
And on his head were many crowns; for he has not only a crown, as the Creator and Governor of the universe, in right of nature, but he has one which his Father has put upon his head, when he set him as King over his holy hill of Zion, Psalm 21:3 and there is another which his mother, the church, crowned him with in the day of his espousals, Sol 3:11 and besides these, every believer puts a crown on his head, gives him the glory of their salvation, and all of them cast their crowns at his feet: to which may be added, that the crowns of all the kings of the earth are his; they reign by him, and are accountable to him. This part of the description may be expressive of that all power in heaven and earth, given to Christ at his resurrection, and exercised by him ever since; and particularly of the extensiveness of his kingdom at the time this vision refers to, when the kingdoms of this world shall be his, Revelation 11:15 for this vision, and the seventh trumpet, are contemporary; and it may be a symbol of the many victories obtained by him, and of the last and closing one that should now be obtained by him.
And he had a name written that no man knew but he himself; which seems to be his name, the Son of God, as the unknown name of the overcomer, in Revelation 2:17 is a child of God; and the sense is, that his divine nature, in which he is the Son of God, is incomprehensible, and that the begetting or generation of him, as such, is ineffable, Proverbs 30:4 and that without a divine revelation the name itself could not be known; or it could not be known that God had a Son, and that Christ is he, and bears that name, Matthew 11:27 or else his name Immanuel. The incarnate God may be intended, which is a secret and wonderful name, and contains in it, without controversy, a great mystery, which cannot be comprehended by finite minds; or his name, "wonderful, secret", Isaiah 9:6. This name is said to be "written"; that is, in the Scriptures of truth, in which it is revealed that Christ is the Son of God, and Immanuel. In Revelation 19:16 the name of King of kings, &c. is said to be written on his vesture, and on his thigh; and the Ethiopic version makes this to be written on his crown or diadem, reading the words thus; "and upon his head a crown, and there was written in his diadem a name, and no man knew it, but he himself only"; as the high priest had "holiness to the Lord" written on his mitre. The Syriac version inserts a clause between the two last, "having names written", and then follows, "and a name written", &c. and so the Complutensian edition.
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood,.... Either in his own, by which he became the Saviour of his church and people; or else in the blood of his saints, he now comes to avenge; or rather in the blood of his enemies, with which he appears as stained, before the battle is fought, the victory being sure, and their slaughter unavoidable: the metaphor is taken from persons treading in a winepress, whose garments are stained with blood of grapes; see Revelation 19:15. Here may be also an allusion to the Roman general's vesture, which was sometimes purple or scarlet, in which he fought, as did Lucullus (s).
And his name is called the Word of God; the name of Christ, often used by John in his Gospel, epistles, and in this book, John 1:1 1 John 1:1. Of the signification, reason, and import of this name; see Gill on John 1:1. The reason why he is called by it here may be partly to express his greatness, glory, and majesty, this being a name which principally belongs to him, is a person, as the Creator of all things, and as previous to his incarnation; and partly because all the promises of God in his word, and which are all yea, and amen in Christ, will be now shortly fulfilled.
(s) Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 1. c. 20.
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.And the armies which were in heaven,.... Not the angels, though they are God's host, and are the armies of the heavens; they are in heaven, and dwell there, and follow Christ, attend upon him, and minister to him, and have been sometimes represented by horses and horsemen, 2 Kings 2:11 and they are pure and holy creatures, and will come with Christ to judgment: but this vision refers not to the day of judgment; and besides, the saints are meant, as appears by their habit, for the fine linen, white and clean, is the righteousness of the saints, Revelation 19:8 and the righteousness of angels and saints is not the same. Moreover, these are the same company described in Revelation 17:14. The saints are in a state of warfare, have many enemies to fight with, sin, Satan, and the world; they are enlisted as volunteers under Christ, the Captain of salvation; they are provided with the whole armour of God, and are very numerous, and always more than conquerors through Christ: these are described by the place where they were, "in heaven"; not being glorified saints in heaven; with these indeed Christ will come to judgment, even with all his saints with him; but members of the church militant, said to be in heaven, because that is often called the kingdom of heaven; and because their names are written in heaven, and they are of heavenly extract; they are born from above, and are partakers of the heavenly calling; they belong to heaven, they are citizens of it, and are pressing on to it. And these
followed him; Christ, their Leader and Commander in the exercise of grace, and in the discharge of duty; having gone on in his ways through a train of sufferings, and cleaved unto him, and now attend him; not to assist in fighting, but to add to the glorious and triumphant appearance of their General; and therefore are said to be
upon white horses; they had served Christ in his Gospel, which some of them had preached, and all professed, and had maintained the purity of it in doctrine and practice, and now triumphed in Christ, and along with him, riding upon horses of the same colour with his, as being his princes and nobles, and whom he had made kings as well as priests; the former may be signified by their horses; see Judges 5:10 and the latter by their following habit,
clothed in fine linen, white and clean; not the horses, but the armies on them; which designs not their inward purity, which was very glorious; nor their outward conversation garments, washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb; but the robe of Christ's righteousness, which is pure and spotless: these have no armour on, for they are not to strike a blow, only their General, who has the bloody garment on, is to tread the winepress, and destroy antichrist with the breath of his mouth, or with his sword proceeding out of it, as follows.
And out of his mouth goeth 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 and wrath of Almighty God.And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword,.... The Complutensian edition, and all the Oriental versions, with the Vulture Latin, read, "a sharp twoedged sword". The word of God, or the judiciary sentence of Christ according to it, and which he will fully execute, to the utter destruction of all his enemies; See Gill on Revelation 1:16 that with it he should smite the nations; the Gentiles, the Papists, the antichristian states, those that have adhered to Babylon, and have drunk of the wine of her fornication. This is predicted in Numbers 24:17 and on account of this the nations will be angry under the sounding of the seventh trumpet, with which this vision is contemporary, Revelation 11:18.
And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; use them with the utmost severity; the phrase is taken out of Psalm 2:9 a prophecy of Christ, and mentioned twice before in this book; see Gill on Revelation 2:27, Revelation 12:5,
and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God; the fierce wrath of God against sinners is compared to a winepress; and the wicked antichristian party are likened to clusters of grapes; who being ripe for destruction, are cast into it, and pressed, squeezed, and trodden down by the mighty power of Christ, the Word of God, whose vesture is therefore before said to be dipped in blood; the same metaphor is used in Revelation 14:19 the allusion seems to be to Isaiah 63:3.
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written,.... This name, afterwards expressed, is said to be written on his vesture, in allusion to the custom of persons of note and eminence having their names interwoven in their garments, and which was sometimes done in letters of gold, as Zeuxis had (t); and it is expressive of the conspicuousness of Christ's kingdom, which now will come with observation; his judgments, the administrations of his kingly office, will be manifest, and he will reign before his ancients gloriously: and its being said to be written on his thigh may mean either that it was upon that part of his garment which covered his thigh; or else that it was also on his sword, which he sometimes girt upon his thigh. Mr. Daubuz has given an instance out of Victor Vitensis, of Clementianus, a monk, who had written on his thigh,
""a manichee" disciple of Jesus Christ.''
And this being done in Africa, he supposes it to be a Phoenician custom continued. It may here denote the perpetuity of Christ's name, power, and dominion, which will continue to the latest posterity, Psalm 72:17 which spring from the thigh; and it may denote the subjection of his people to him, signified by the putting the hand under the thigh, Genesis 24:2. And this name is
King of kings and Lord of lords; which will well suit him now when he shall be openly King over all the earth; See Gill on Revelation 17:14.
(t) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 35. c. 9.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;And I saw an angel standing in the sun,.... By whom is meant, not the angel of the fourth vial, who poured it on the sun, taken in another sense than here, and therefore could not stand in it; nor the archangel with the last trumpet, for as yet the dead rise not, nor does the judgment come on; nor one of the ministering spirits; nor Christ himself, for he is the great God, to whose supper this angel invites, but a minister of the Gospel; or rather a set of Gospel ministers, such as in Revelation 14:1 who may be said to stand in the sun, in like manner as the woman, the church, was seen clothed with it, Revelation 12:1 and may denote the conspicuousness of Gospel preachers; for, as the church now will be established upon the top of the mountains, so her teachers shall not be removed into corners any more, but her eyes shall behold her teachers; and also the clear sight they shall have of the doctrines and mysteries of the Gospel, who shall now see eye to eye; and particularly the further breakings forth of the glory of the latter day, and the ensuing victory of Christ over all his enemies; and also shows the great strength of their sight, who, far from being like moles and bats, will be able both to look upon the sun, and to stand in it: and it may likewise signify the glory and majesty of Christ's kingdom; the comfortable influence of him, the sun of righteousness, who will now arise upon his people with healing in his wings; and the steadfastness of Christ's ministers to him, and his pure Gospel, and the glorious truths of it.
And he cried with a loud voice; that he might be heard far and near, having something of moment and importance to publish:
saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven; meaning not the barbarous nations, the Goths, and Vandals, and Saracens, which overrun and destroyed the western and eastern empires; these times are too late for them, they rose up under the six first trumpets; nor devils and unclean spirits, which will prey upon and torment antichrist, and his followers, in hell; nor military and avaricious men among Protestants, but Christian princes, and their people, are designed; they are such as are in heaven, the church, and of note there, who will share the spoils of the antichristian people, and possess their kingdoms, substance, and estates: these are invited by the angel, saying,
come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God. The Alexandrian copy, the Vulgate Latin, and Syriac versions, read, "to the great supper of God"; and so the Complutensian edition; not the Lord's supper, where not the flesh of men, but the flesh of Christ is eat, by faith; nor the marriage supper of the Lamb, which will be of another kind than this; nor is any spiritual repast intended, such as living by faith on Christ, and supping with him, being entertained with his promises, presence, and the discoveries of his love; but the slaughter of Christ's enemies, and his victory over them, which is his sacrifice; and these are the guests he bids, see Zephaniah 1:7 and whom he calls to share in the conquest and spoils, and to express their joy on this occasion: "the great God" is no other than Christ, the general of the armies in heaven, called before the Word of God, and King of kings, and Lord of lords; who will gain this victory, and will be known to be the great God by the judgment he will execute. This is a proof of our Lord's divinity; see Titus 2:13.
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 on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.That ye may eat the flesh of kings,.... Of the earth, and of the whole world, who will fall in the battle at Armageddon; see Revelation 16:14 and design either those antichristian kings and states, which have drunk of the wine of Rome's fornication, and will bewail the downfall of Babylon, Revelation 18:3 or those Pagan kings which will be drawn in by the pope and Turk, to aid and assist in this war, or both, when, upon the defeat of them, the Christian princes will seize upon, possess, and enjoy their kingdoms and dominions, which is meant by eating their flesh; See Gill on Revelation 17:16.
And the flesh of captains; of their generals, and officers under them:
and the flesh of mighty men; the common soldiers, who are so called, Jeremiah 46:5 who will be rifled and plundered:
and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them; whose rich trappings and clothes will be taken away from them:
and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great; that is, the substance of all the inhabitants of the antichristian empire, both eastern and western, of whatsoever rank, state, and condition they be, Revelation 13:16. The metaphors are taken from, and there is a manifest allusion to, Ezekiel 39:17 and the whole denotes the entire slaughter and utter ruin of the whole antichristian army, and the certainty of Christ's victory over it before hand; and also the destruction of all that are the followers of antichrist, throughout his dominions, which will now wholly fall into the hands of the saints, and be enjoyed by them.
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.And l saw the beast,.... Not the devil, for after this he is taken and bound for a thousand years, and then loosed, and laid hold on again, and cast into the lake of fire; not but that this war will be by his instigation, and under his influence, Revelation 16:14 not the Roman Pagan empire, which has been destroyed long ago, under the sixth seal, and was the issue of the battle between Michael and his angels, and the dragon and his; but the antichristian civil powers, or antichrist in his civil capacity; and which, though it may chiefly regard the western antichrist, and the remains of the Latin idolatry, yet may take in the eastern antichrist, or the Mahometan powers, which may all join together in this battle; the beast will survive for a while the downfall of his seat, Babylon or Rome.
And the kings of the earth; these, as they stand distinguished from the beast, or the antichristian kings, and civil states, may design as many of the Pagan kings and princes, as the pope and Turk by their emissaries can persuade to assist them in this war; See Gill on Revelation 16:14.
And their armies gathered together; at Armageddon, or in the valley of Jehoshaphat, Revelation 16:16
to make war against him that sat on the horse; the white horse, Revelation 19:11 as the Arabic and Ethiopic versions read, which must be downright folly and madness, since he is the Word of God, the great God, the King of kings, and Lord of lords:
and against his army, Revelation 19:14 who, though unarmed, and only clothed in fine linen, have nothing to fear, since Christ, the Captain of their salvation, is at the head of them.
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.And the beast was taken,.... At the first onset, as soon as ever the battle begun, and carried away captive, as it was threatened he should, Revelation 13:10 and this by Christ, who will destroy him with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming, 2 Thessalonians 2:8.
And with him the false prophet; that is, the second beast in Revelation 13:11 as appears by the characters by which he is here described, or antichrist in his ecclesiastic capacity; that is, the pope with his clergy: and indeed, when the antichristian princes and states are taken and destroyed, which are the support of the Papacy, that must in consequence sink, be crushed and ruined; the Alexandrian copy reads, "and they that are with him, the false prophet Jezebel"; the false prophetess and her children, who will now be killed with death, Revelation 2:20
that wrought miracles before him: the beast, or the civil antichristian powers, even signs and lying wonders, which were approved of, and applauded by him, by which, believing them, he was confirmed in antichristian principles:
with which he deceived them that had the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image; the several subjects of the antichristian states; see Revelation 13:14 but none of God's elect, who cannot be seduced by such means, Matthew 24:24.
These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone; which is the second death, Revelation 21:8. The severe punishment of antichrist, considered in both his capacities, civil and ecclesiastic, is expressed by being "cast into a lake of fire", not material fire, but the wrath of God, which will be poured out like fire, and will be intolerable; and by this lake "burning with brimstone", which, giving a nauseous stench, aggravates the punishment. Says R. Joden (t), when a man smells the smell of brimstone, why does his breath draw back at it (or catch)? because he knows he shall be judged with it in the world to come. The allusion seems to be to the place where Sodom and Gomorrah stood, which is become a sulphurous lake, and is an emblem of the vengeance of eternal fire, Jde 1:7 and these two are said to be "cast alive" into it, which shows that they will not only suffer a corporeal death at this battle, and in the issue of it, but will be destroyed, body and soul, in hell: the phrase denotes the awfulness, inevitableness, and severity of their punishment; there seems to be some reference to the earth's swallowing up Korah and his company alive, Numbers 16:33 see Daniel 7:11.
(t) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 51. fol. 45. 4.
And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.And the remnant were slain,.... Not only the kings of the earth, and their armies, that will now be gathered together, but all the remains of Papists, Pagans, and Mahometans, in the several parts of the world, even all the enemies of Christ: these will be slain
with the sword of him that sat upon the horse; upon the white horse, as the Ethiopic version reads; the Arabic version reads, that sat upon the throne,
which sword proceedeth out of his mouth, Revelation 19:15 and is the word of God, or the judiciary sentence of Christ according to it; and the meaning is, either that these shall be subdued, conquered, and converted by the word; and so are fitly called a "remnant", a remnant according to the election of grace among the antichristian party; and which sense agrees with Revelation 11:13 or else that they will be convicted and confounded, and not be able to stand against the light and evidence of the word of God, and will be sentenced by Christ to everlasting punishment; and it may be partly one, and partly the other.
And all the fowls were filled with their flesh; all the Christian princes and people will be satisfied with their kingdoms, riches, and wealth, and will rejoice at their destruction, and in the righteousness of God, which will be displayed in it; and now the world being clear of all Christ's enemies, Pagan, Papal, and Mahometan, the way will be prepared for Christ's open and glorious kingdom in it.
Exposition of the Entire Bible by John Gill [1746-63].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.