Part 9. The final victory (19:1—20:15)
9.1. Hymn of vindication (19:1-5)
9.2. Marriage of the Lamb announced (19:6-10)
9.3. The Warrior-Messiah appears (19:11-16)
9.4. Antichrist and allies destroyed (19:17-21)
† PICTURE: John heard a large multitude praising God and announced the wedding of the Lamb. Christ appears with God’s army against the army of antichrist. He quickly destroyed the evil army with His power. The beast and the false prophet are captured and thrown into the fiery lake.
19:1 After the dark funeral song of the fall of Babylon, John witnesses a completely different scene in heaven, a joyful celebration of God’s judgment and the announcement of the coming marriage of the Lamb. The great multitude is probably the triumphant church.
The word “Hallelujah” occurs only 4 times in the NT, all in this chapter (vv.1,3,4,6). It is derived from 2 Hebrew words (halal and Jah), and means “Praise Yahweh.”
19:2 God’s judgments are described as true (valid) and just (fair).
19:3 God is praised again because the destruction of the wicked city is absolutely final.
19:4 The 24 elders and the 4 living creatures provide the refrain for the praise by the church.
19:5 The voice from the throne is probably one of the heavenly being near the throne. “Both small and great” possibly means people of all ages or people of every stage of spiritual maturity.
19:6 The kingdom of God becomes a visible reality. The de jure rule (in law) of Christ becomes de facto rule (in fact). The aorist tense means that God “has taken up His reign.” This will last to eternity. The previous 3 “Hallelujahs” pointed back to the destruction of Babylon in ch.18. This 4th Hallelujah points forward to the coming wedding of the Lamb.
19:7 The wedding in ch.21 is announced here. In the Bible, the relationship between God and His people has been portrayed as a marriage (Hos 2:19; Isa 54:5-7; Eph 5:32).
19:8 The brightness of the fine linen is a symbol of the purity of the church.
19:9 The angel is probably the interpreting angel of ch.17. The wedding banquet is variously described in: Isa 25:6-8, Lk 13:29, Mt 26:29. Note that the church is pictured both as the bride and the guests who are invited to the wedding. The bride is a representation of the church as a whole while the guests are individual believers.
19:10 Overwhelmed by what he had seen or heard, John worshipped the angel. But he is sharply rebuked with the command, “Don’t do it!” The reason is that both Christians and angels are fellow servants of the same Lord. Only God is worthy of worship.
The proclamation of the angel is a testimony to Jesus and this testimony comes from the spirit of prophecy, God the Holy Spirit. So only God should be worshipped.
19:11 This passage contains 4 titles given to Christ: “Faithful and True” (v.11), a secret name (v.12), “The Word of God” (v.13), “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (v.14). In Hebrew thought, to be true is to be reliable as God of truth in Jer 10:10 is the God who can be trusted to keep His covenant (in contrast to Greek thought where truth is correspondence to reality). Therefore the two words are practically synonymous.
19:12 Christ’s blazing eyes reflect His eagerness to carry out His mission. It can also mean that nothing can be hidden from the penetrating gaze of the Messiah. Many crowns are on His head, indicating unlimited sovereignty. This is in contrast to the 7 crowns of the dragon (12:3) and 10 crowns of the beast out of the sea (13:1). The Rider bears a name that only He knows. It expresses the mystery of His person as God can never be fully known.
19:13 Christ’s robe dipped in blood (of the enemy) symbolizes His coming victory. The name “The Word of God” is corresponding to Jn 1:1. The Word of God is God’s thought uttered so that men can understand it. Here, the Word of God refers to God’s authoritative word of judgment.
19:14 The Messiah commands a heavenly army that appears the same as the saints who wear fine linen. Also, in the prophecy in 17:14, the army that follows the Lamb is described as “called, chosen and faithful” so that the saints are implicated. Apparently, the army does not take part in the battle as the army of the antichrist is destroyed by the sword of the Messiah (vv.15,21). The Messiah’s army accompany Him simply to witness His exercise of authority in judgment.
19:15 Messiah is portrayed as:  He strikes down the nations with a sharp sword that comes out of His mouth. It is possible that the enemies of God are destroyed simply by a command from the Messiah’s mouth. The command alone is then the sword (Heb 4:12).  He rules the nations with an iron scepter. To rule with an iron scepter means to destroy rather than to govern in a stern fashion (Ps 2:9).  He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. This describes destruction caused by God’s wrath, similar to the vision in 14:20.
19:16 The name “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” is inscribed on His garment which falls across His thigh. The name emphasizes His universal sovereignty. It occurs 4 other times in the Bible (Dt 10:17; Dan 2:47; 1Ti 6:15; Rev 17:14).
19:17 The following passage describes the destruction of the antichrist and his allies. In ch.18, the destruction of Babylon is the end of the socio-political forces of the world. Now, the root of the evil, the underlying spiritual forces, will be destroyed. The angel’s call for the birds to feed on the flesh of the fallen is a fulfilment of the prophecy in Eze 39:17-20.
19:19 After the kings of the whole world joined the beast in 16:16, the battle of Armageddon has finally arrived.
19:20 While the preparation of the warfare is described, there is no description of the actual warfare. God’s enemies are simply defeated with God’s power (Dan 8:25). In Dan 2:34-35, the 10 kings are said to be destroyed by “a rock was cut out, but not by human hands.”
A lake of burning sulphur would not only be intensely hot, but with a stinking smell as well. It is an appropriate place for all that is sinful and wicked in the world. After the antichrist and the false prophet are thrown into it, others will join them later, including the devil (20:10), Death and Hades (20:14), and all evil people (21:8).
19:21 The sword is the proclamation of divine retribution that slays all who have join the army of the antichrist. God’s enemies are totally destroyed.
† In 19:8, the bride of Christ, the church, is described as wearing bright fine linen which is explained to be the righteous acts of the saints. While salvation is not based on works but purely on faith, those who believe are expected to live and act in righteousness worthy of their salvation. These are acts that are right in the eyes of God, that is, obedience to God’s Word. We have to ask ourselves: Am I obedient to God’s Word? Am I a worthy participant in the wedding of the Lamb?