Re 19:1-21. The Church's
Thanksgiving in Heaven for the Judgment on the Harlot. The Marriage of the Lamb: The Supper: The Bride's
Preparation: John Is Forbidden to
Worship the Angel: The Lord and His
Hosts Come Forth for War: The Beast and
the False Prophet Cast into the Lake of Fire: The Kings and Their Followers Slain by the Sword Out of
1. As in the case of the opening of the
prophecy, Re 4:8; 5:9, &c.; so now, at one of the great
closing events seen in vision, the judgment on the harlot (described in
18:1-24), there is a song of
praise in heaven to God: compare Re 7:10, &c., toward the close of the seals,
11:15-18, at the close of the
15:3, at the saints' victory
over the beast.
And—so Andreas. But A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and
a great voice—A, B, C, Vulgate,
Coptic, and Andreas read, "as it
were a great voice." What a contrast to the lamentations Re 18:1-24! Compare Jer 51:48. The great manifestation of God's
power in destroying Babylon calls forth a great voice of praise
Alleluia—Hebrew, "Praise ye
Jah," or Jehovah: here first used in Revelation, whence Ellicott infers the Jews bear a
prominent part in this thanksgiving. Jah
is not a contraction of "Jehovah," as it
sometimes occurs jointly with the latter. It means "He who Is": whereas
Jehovah is "He who will be, is, and was." It implies God experienced as
a PRESENT help; so that "Hallelujah,"
says Kimchi in Bengel, is found first in the Psalms on the
destruction of the ungodly. "Hallelu-Jah" occurs four times in this
passage. Compare Ps 149:4-9, which is plainly parallel, and indeed
identical in many of the phrases, as well as the general idea. Israel,
especially, will join in the Hallelujah, when "her warfare is
accomplished" and her foe destroyed.
"The salvation … the glory … the power."
and honour—so Coptic. But A, B,
C, and Syriac omit.
unto the Lord our God—so Andreas. But A, B, C, and Coptic read, "(Is)
of our God," that is, belongs to Him.
2. which did corrupt the
earth—Greek, "used to corrupt" continually.
"Instead of opposing and lessening, she promoted the sinful life and
decay of the world by her own earthliness, allowing the salt to lose
its savor" [Auberlen].
avenged—Greek, "exacted in
retribution." A particular application of the principle (Ge 9:5).
blood of his servants—literally shed
by the Old Testament adulterous Church, and by the New Testament
apostate Church; also virtually, though not literally, by all who,
though called Christians, hate their brother, or love not the brethren
of Christ, but shrink from the reproach of the cross, and show
unkindness towards those who bear it.
3. again—Greek, "a second
rose up—Greek, "goeth up."
for ever and ever—Greek, "to
the ages of the ages."
4. beasts—rather, "living
5. out of—Greek, "out from the
throne" in A, B, C.
Praise our God—Compare the solemn act
of praise performed by the Levites, 1Ch 16:36; 23:5, especially when the house of God was
filled with the divine glory (2Ch 5:13).
both—omitted in A, B, C, Vulgate,
Coptic, and Syriac. Translate as Greek, "the
small and the great."
6. many waters—Contrast the "many
waters" on which the whore sitteth (Re 17:1). This verse is the hearty response to
the stirring call, "Alleluia! Praise our God" (Re 19:4, 5).
the Lord God omnipotent—Greek,
reigneth—literally, "reigned": hence
reigneth once for all. His reign is a fact already established.
Babylon, the harlot, was one great hindrance to His reign being
recognized. Her overthrow now clears the way for His advent to reign;
therefore, not merely Rome, but the whole of Christendom in so far as
it is carnal and compromised Christ for the world, is comprehended in
the term "harlot." The beast hardly arises when he at once "goeth into
perdition": so that Christ is prophetically considered as already
reigning, so soon does His advent follow the judgment on the
7. glad … rejoice—Greek,
"rejoice … exult."
give—so B and Andreas. But A reads, "we will give."
the marriage of the Lamb is come—The
full and final consummation is at Re 21:2-9, &c. Previously there must be the
overthrow of the beast, &c., at the Lord's coming, the binding of
Satan, the millennial reign, the loosing of Satan and his last
overthrow, and the general judgment. The elect-Church, the heavenly
Bride, soon after the destruction of the harlot, is transfigured at the
Lord's coming, and joins with Him in His triumph over the beast. On the
emblem of the heavenly Bridegroom and Bride, compare Mt
22:2; 25:6, 10; 2Co 11:2.
Perfect union with Him personally, and participation in His holiness;
joy, glory, and kingdom, are included in this symbol of "marriage";
compare Song of Solomon everywhere. Besides the heavenly Bride,
the transfigured, translated, and risen Church, reigning over
the earth with Christ, there is also the earthly bride, Israel,
in the flesh, never yet divorced, though for a time separated,
from her divine husband, who shall then be reunited to the Lord, and be
the mother Church of the millennial earth, Christianized through her.
Note, we ought, as Scripture does, restrict the language drawn from
marriage-love to the Bride, the Church as a whole; not
use it as individuals in our relation to Christ, which Rome does in the
case of her nuns. Individually, believers are effectually-called
guests; collectively, they constitute the bride. The harlot
divides her affections among many lovers: the bride gives hers
exclusively to Christ.
8. granted—Though in one sense
she "made herself ready," having by the Spirit's work in her put
on "the wedding garment," yet in the fullest sense it is not she, but
her Lord, who makes her ready by "granting to her that she be
arrayed in fine linen." It is He who, by giving Himself for her,
presents her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, but holy
and without blemish. It is He also who sanctifies her, naturally
vile and without beauty, with the washing of water by the word, and
puts His own comeliness on her, which thus becomes hers.
clean and white—so Andreas. But A and B transpose. Translate, "bright
and pure"; at once brilliantly splendid and spotless as
in the bride herself.
"righteousnesses"; distributively used. Each saint must have
this righteousness: not merely be justified, as if the righteousness
belonged to the Church in the aggregate; the saints together
have righteousnesses; namely, He is accounted as "the
Lord our righteousness" to each saint on his believing, their robes
being made white in the blood of the Lamb. The righteousness of
the saint is not, as Alford erroneously
states, inherent, but is imputed: if it were otherwise,
Christ would be merely enabling the sinner to justify himself. Ro 5:18 is decisive on this. Compare
Article XI, Church of England. The justification already given to the
saints in title and unseen possession, is now GIVEN them in manifestation: they openly
walk with Christ in white. To this, rather than to their primary
justification on earth, the reference is here. Their justification
before the apostate world, which had persecuted them, contrasts with
the judgment and condemnation of the harlot. "Now that the harlot has
fallen, the woman triumphs" [Auberlen].
Contrast with the pure fine linen (indicating the simplicity and
purity) of the bride, the tawdry ornamentation of the harlot. Babylon,
the apostate Church, is the antithesis to new Jerusalem, the
transfigured Church of God. The woman (Re 12:1-6), the harlot (Re 17:1-7), the bride (Re 19:1-10), are the three leading aspects of
9. He—God by His angel saith unto
called—effectually, not merely
externally. The "unto," or into," seems to express this: not merely
invited to (Greek, "epi"), but called INTO, so as to be partakers of (Greek,
"eis"); compare 1Co 1:9.
marriage supper—Greek, "the
supper of the marriage." Typified by the Lord's Supper.
veritable sayings which shall surely be fulfilled, namely, all the
10. at—Greek, "before." John's
intending to worship the angel here, as in Re 22:8, on having revealed to him the glory of
the new Jerusalem, is the involuntary impulse of adoring joy at so
blessed a prospect. It forms a marked contrast to the sorrowful
wonder with which he had looked on the Church in her apostasy as
the harlot (Re 17:6). It
exemplifies the corrupt tendencies of our fallen nature that even John,
an apostle, should have all but fallen into "voluntary humility and
worshipping of angels," which Paul warns us against.
and of thy brethren—that is, a
fellow servant of thy brethren.
have the testimony of Jesus—(See on Re 12:17).
the testimony of—that is,
is the spirit of prophecy—is the
result of the same spirit of prophecy in you as in myself. We angels,
and you apostles, all alike have the testimony of (bear testimony
concerning) Jesus by the operation of one and the same Spirit, who
enables me to show you these revelations and enables you to record
them: wherefore we are fellow servants, not I your lord to be
worshipped by you. Compare Re 22:9, "I
am fellow servant of thee and of thy brethren the prophets";
whence the "FOR the testimony," &c.,
here, may be explained as giving the reason for his adding "and (fellow
servant) of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus." I mean,
of the prophets; "for it is of Jesus that thy brethren,
the prophets, testify by the Spirit in them." A clear
condemnation of Romish invocation of saints as if they were our
superiors to be adored.
11. behold a white horse; and he that sat upon
him—identical with Re 6:2. Here
as there he comes forth "conquering and to conquer." Compare the
ass-colt on which He rode into Jerusalem (Mt 21:1-7). The horse was used for war: and
here He is going forth to war with the beast. The ass is for
peace. His riding on it into Jerusalem is an earnest of His reign in
Jerusalem over the earth, as the Prince of peace, after all
hostile powers have been overthrown. When the security of the world
power, and the distress of the people of God, have reached the highest
point, the Lord Jesus shall appear visibly from heaven to put an end to
the whole course of the world, and establish His kingdom of glory. He
comes to judge with vengeance the world power, and to bring to the
Church redemption, transfiguration, and power over the world.
Distinguish between this coming (Mt 24:27, 29, 37, 39; Greek, "parousia") and
the end, or final judgment (Mt 25:31; 1Co 15:23). Powerful natural phenomena shall
accompany His advent [Auberlen].
12. Identifying Him with the Son of man
similarly described, Re 1:14.
many crowns—Greek, "diadems":
not merely (Greek, "stephanoi") garlands of victory, but
royal crowns, as King of kings. Christ's
diadem comprises all the diadems of the earth and of heavenly powers
too. Contrast the papal tiara composed of three diadems. Compare
also the little horn (Antichrist) that overcomes the three horns
or kingdoms, Da 7:8, 24
(Quære, the Papacy? or some three kingdoms that
succeed the papacy, which itself, as a temporal kingdom, was made up at
first of three kingdoms, the exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom
of the Lombards, and the state of Rome, obtained by Pope Zachary and
Stephen II from Pepin, the usurper of the French dominion). Also, the
seven crowns (diadems) on the seven heads of the dragon
12:3), and ten diadems on
the ten heads of the beast. These usurpers claim the diadems which
belong to Christ alone.
he had a name written—B and
Syriac insert, "He had names written, and a name
written," &c., meaning that the names of the dominion which
each diadem indicated were written on them severally. But A,
Vulgate, Origen, and Cyprian omits the words, as English
name … that no man knew but …
himself—(Jud 13:18; 1Co 2:9, 11; 1Jo
3:2). The same is said of the
"new name" of believers. In this, as in all other respects, the
disciple is made like his Lord. The Lord's own "new name" is to be
theirs, and to be "in their foreheads"; whence we may infer that His as
yet unknown name also is written on His forehead; as the high
priest had "Holiness to the Lord" inscribed on the miter on his brow.
John saw it as "written," but knew not its meaning. It is,
therefore, a name which in all its glorious significancy can be only
understood when the union of His saints with Him, and His and their
joint triumph and reign, shall be perfectly manifested at the final
13. vesture dipped in blood—Isa 63:2 is alluded to here, and in Re 19:15, end. There the blood is not His
own, but that of His foes. So here the blood on His "vesture,"
reminding us of His own blood shed for even the ungodly who
trample on it, is a premonition of the shedding of their blood
in righteous retribution. He sheds the blood, not of the godly, as the
harlot and beast did, but of the blood-stained ungodly, including them
The Word of God—who made the world, is
He also who under the same character and attributes shall make it anew.
His title, Son of God, is applicable in a lower sense, also to
His people; but "the Word of God" indicates His incommunicable Godhead,
joined to His manhood, which He shall then manifest in glory. "The
Bride does not fear the Bridegroom; her love casteth out fear. She
welcomes Him; she cannot be happy but at His side. The Lamb [Re 19:9, the aspect of Christ to His
people at His coming] is the symbol of Christ in His gentleness. Who
would be afraid of a lamb? Even a little child, instead of being
scared, desires to caress it. There is nothing to make us afraid of God
but sin, and Jesus is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of
the world. What a fearful contrast is the aspect which He will wear
towards His enemies! Not as the Bridegroom and the Lamb, but as the
[avenging] judge and warrior stained in the blood of His enemies."
14. the armies … in heaven—Compare
"the horse bridles," Re 14:20.
The glorified saints whom God "will bring with" Christ at His advent;
17:14, "they that are with
Him, called, chosen, faithful"; as also "His mighty angels."
white and clean—Greek, "pure."
A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Cyprian omit "and," which Origen and Andreas
retain, as English Version.
15. out of his mouth …
sword—(Re 1:16; 2:12, 16). Here in its avenging power,
2Th 2:8, "consume with the Spirit of
His mouth" (Isa 11:4, to
which there is allusion here); not in its convicting and converting
efficacy (Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12, 13, where also the judicial keenness of the
sword-like word is included). The Father commits the judgment to the
he shall rule—The HE is emphatic, He
and none other, in contrast to the usurpers who have misruled on earth.
"Rule," literally, "tend as a shepherd"; but here in a punitive sense.
He, who would have shepherded them with pastoral rod and with
the golden scepter of His love, shall dash them in pieces, as
refractory rebels, with "a rod of iron."
treadeth … wine-press—(Isa 63:3).
of the fierceness and wrath—So Andreas reads. But A, B, Vulgate,
Coptic, and Origen read, "of the
fierceness (or boiling indignation) of the wrath," omitting
Almighty—The fierceness of Christ's
wrath against His foes will be executed with the resources of
16. "His name written on His vesture and on
His thigh," was written partly on the vesture, partly on the thigh
itself, at the part where in an equestrian figure the robe drops from
the thigh. The thigh symbolizes Christ's humanity as having
come, after the flesh, from the loins of David, and now
appearing as the glorified "Son of man." On the other hand, His
incommunicable divine name, "which no man knew," is on His head (Re 19:12), [Menochius].
KING OF KINGS—Compare Re 17:14, in contrast with Re 19:17, the beast being in attempted usurpation
a king of kings, the ten kings delivering their kingdom to
17. an—Greek, "one."
in the sun—so as to be conspicuous in
sight of the whole world.
to all the fowls—(Eze 39:17-20).
and gather yourselves—A, B,
Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and Andreas read, "be gathered," omitting "and."
of the great God—A, B, Vulgate,
Syriac, Coptic, and Andreas read,
"the great supper (that is, banquet) of God."
18. Contrast with this "supper," Re 19:17, 18, the marriage supper of the
captains—Greek, "captains of
thousands," that is, chief captains. The "kings" are "the ten"
who "give their power unto the beast."
free and bond—specified in Re 13:16, as "receiving the mark of the
beast." The repetition of flesh (in the Greek it is
plural: masses of flesh) five times in this verse, marks the
gross carnality of the followers of the beast. Again, the giving
of their flesh to the fowls to eat, is a righteous retribution for
their not suffering the dead bodies of Christ's witnesses to
be put in graves.
19. gathered together—at Armageddon,
under the sixth vial. For "their armies" in B and Andreas, there is found "His armies" in
war—so Andreas. But A and B read, "the war," namely,
that foretold, Re 16:14; 17:4.
20. and with him the false prophet—A
reads, "and those with him." B reads, "and he who was with him, the
miracles" (literally, "signs") recorded already (Re 13:14) as wrought by the second beast
before (literally, 'in sight of') the first beast. Hence it
follows the second beast is identical with the false
prophet. Many expositors represent the first beast to be the
secular, the second beast to be the ecclesiastical power of Rome; and
account for the change of title for the latter from the "other beast"
to the "false prophet," is because by the judgment on the harlot, the
ecclesiastical power will then retain nothing of its former character
save the power to deceive. I think it not unlikely that the false
prophet will be the successor of the spiritual pretensions of the
papacy; while the beast in its last form as the fully revealed
Antichrist will be the secular representative and embodiment of the
fourth world kingdom, Rome, in its last form of intensified opposition
to God. Compare with this prophecy, Eze 38:1-39:29; Da 2:34, 35, 44; 11:44, 45; 12:1;
Joe 3:9-17; Zec 12:1-14:21.
7:8) makes no mention of the
second beast, or false prophet, but mentions that "the little horn" has
"the eyes of a man," that is, cunning and intellectual culture; this is
not a feature of the first beast in the thirteenth chapter, but is
expressed by the Apocalyptic "false prophet," the embodiment of man's
unsanctified knowledge, and the subtlety of the old serpent. The first
beast is a political power; the second is a spiritual power—the
power of ideas. But both are beasts, the worldly Antichristian
wisdom serving the worldly Antichristian power. The dragon is both lion
and serpent. As the first law in God's moral government is that
"judgment should begin at the house of God," and be executed on the
harlot, the faithless Church, by the world power with which she had
committed spiritual adultery, so it is a second law that the world
power, after having served as God's instrument of punishment, is itself
punished. As the harlot is judged by the beast and the ten kings, so
these are destroyed by the Lord Himself coming in person. So Zep 1:1-18 compared with Zep 2:1-15. And Jeremiah, after denouncing
Jerusalem's judgment by Babylon, ends with denouncing Babylon's own
doom. Between the judgment on the harlot and the Lord's destruction of
the beast, will intervene that season in which earthly-mindedness will
reach its culmination, and Antichristianity triumph for its short three
and a half days during which the two witnesses lie dead. Then shall the
Church be ripe for her glorification, the Antichristian world for
destruction. The world at the highest development of its material and
spiritual power is but a decorated carcass round which the eagles
gather. It is characteristic that Antichrist and his kings, in their
blindness, imagine that they can wage war against the King of heaven
with earthly hosts; herein is shown the extreme folly of Babylonian
confusion. The Lord's mere appearance, without any actual encounter,
shows Antichrist his nothingness; compare the effect of Jesus'
appearance even in His humiliation, Joh 18:6 [Auberlen].
had received—rather as Greek,
"received," once for all.
them; that worshipped—literally, "them
worshipping" not an act once for all done, as the "received"
implies, but those in the habit of "worshipping."
These both were cast … into a
lake—Greek, "… the lake of fire," Gehenna. Satan
is subsequently cast into it, at the close of the outbreak which
succeeds the millennium (Re 20:10).
Then Death and Hell, as well those not found at the general judgment
"written in the book of life"; this constitutes "the second death."
alive—a living death; not mere
annihilation. "Their worm dieth not, their fire is not quenched."
21. the remnant—Greek, "the
rest," that is, "the kings and their armies" (Re 19:19) classed together in one indiscriminate
mass. A solemn confirmation of the warning in Ps 2:10.