The Book of REVELATION
James J. Barker
THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
- When we study Bible prophecy, we see a distinction between the rapture of the church, and the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- At the rapture, Christ comes for His saints. At the revelation, Christ comes with His saints (I Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 19:11-16).
- At the rapture, Christ does not come to earth, but at the revelation His feet shall stand upon the mount of Olives (I Thess. 4:17; Zech. 14:1-4).
- At the rapture, no one on earth will see our Lord, but at the revelation "every eye shall see him" (Rev. 1:7).
- At the rapture there is no evidence of immediate judgment upon the earth, but at the revelation Christ will come to earth with the specific purpose of bringing divine judgment and establishing His righteous rule (Matthew 24:27-31; 25:31-46).
- After the rapture, the tribulation will begin (Rev. 6--19), but after the revelation Christ will establish His millennial kingdom (Rev. 20:1-6).
- Merrill C. Tenney describes the revelation of Christ in His second coming as following "the pattern of a Roman triumphal procession... Mounted on a white horse, the general rode at the head of his troops" (The Book of Revelation).
THE KING WILL RETURN IN JUDGMENT
- The second coming of Christ will be a glorious event which all the world will behold.
- The first time our Lord came to earth, He was born in obscurity. He was born in a manger. He was rejected and despised; betrayed and crucified.
- But it will be entirely different at the second coming of Christ. John says in Revelation 19:11, "And I saw heaven opened..." (cf. Rev. 19:11-16).
- Matthew 24:27 says, "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
- Our Lord is "called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war" (Rev. 19:11).
- Ignorant people say the God of the Old Testament is a God of war, and the God of the New Testament is a God of peace. They do not seem to understand that the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament (Rev. 19:11)!
- Malachi 3:6 says, "For I am the LORD, I change not."
- Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
- John Walvoord says the second coming of Christ will "be the demonstration of the sovereignty and righteousness of God even as Christ in His first coming demonstrated grace and truth" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- Verse 12 says our Lord's eyes are "as a flame of fire."
- Revelation 1:14 and 2:18 also say, "his eyes were as a flame of fire."
- This speaks of His deity, and His omniscience, and His righteous judgment upon sin.
- His head is crowned with many crowns, the symbol of sovereignty (19:12).
- Verse 13 says He possesses a name which no man knows, as yet unrevealed, and His vesture is declared to be “dipped in blood.” The blood represents divine judgment upon wicked men.
- Revelation 14:19 describes the battle of Armageddon as "the great winepress of the wrath of God" (cf. Rev. 19:15).
- But here our Lord is on His way to Armageddon so his vesture (robe) "dipped in blood" anticipates the bloodshed to come (cf. Isa. 63:1-4).
- The name given to Christ in verse 13 is “The Word of God."
- John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
- First John 5:7 says, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
- Accompanying Christ on His second coming will be those described in Revelation 19:14 as “the armies which were in heaven.”
- John Walvoord says the spectacle "of Christ on a white horse with a vesture dipped in blood accompanied by innumerable heavenly beings clothed in fine linen is a demonstration that now at long last the filthy, blasphemous situation in earth is going to be wiped clean with a divine judgment of tremendous character" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- "And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword," which will be used to smite the nations and bring them under His rule (19:15).
- The expression of ruling “with a rod of iron” is also found in Psalm 2:9 and Revelation 2:27, with a similar expression, “the rod of his mouth,” in Isaiah 11:4.
- The sharp sword and the rod of iron represent "unyielding, absolute government under which men are required to conform to the righteous standards of God" (Walvoord).
- The latter part of verse 15 says “he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” This reminds us that in the day of judgment it will be too late for men to expect mercy from God.
- Walvoord says, "There is nothing more inflexible than divine judgment where grace has been spurned. The scene of awful judgment which comes from this background is in flat contradiction of the modern point of view that God is dominated entirely by His attribute of love" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- He is “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (19:16).
- Revelation 17:14 says the antichrist and his allies "shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
- First Timothy 6:14 and 15 says at His appearing, the Lord Jesus Christ "shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords."
THE SUPPER OF THE GREAT GOD (19:17, 18, 21).
- We have many contrasts in Revelation 19. There is the judgment of the great whore (19:2), and the marriage of the Lamb's bride (19:7, 8).
- Another contrast is the marriage supper of the Lamb, which will be wonderful and "blessed" (19:9), and "the supper of the great God" (19:17), which will be horrifying and dreadful (19:18).
- Worldly sinners who rejected their invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb would become supper for the fowls of the air (19:17, 18).
- This is a vivid picture of the battle of Armageddon (19:17-21).
- Armageddon is the most famous battlefield in the world. It was there that Sisera fought against Barak (Judges 5:19). King Ahaziah died there (II Kings 9:27), and so did King Josiah (II Chron. 35:22-24).
- But the most famous battle of all is still future. The carnage and bloodshed will be so terrible that the Lord has spared us most of the gory details (cf. Rev. 14:20; 16:13-16).
- Many Bible teachers refer to the battle of Armageddon as a "campaign," i.e., a series of battles. This is clear from Daniel 11:36-45.
- So great will be the slaughter at Armageddon that "an angel standing in the sun" will cry 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" (Rev. 19:17, 18; cf. Matt. 22:1-14).
- Our Lord referred to this supper in His Olivet Discourse, when He said, "For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together" (Matt. 24:28).
- Ezekiel 39:17-22 also describes this dreadful supper for buzzards and beasts.
- The words, "the flesh," are repeated five times in Revelation 19:18, emphasizing the severity of the judgment.
- According to Revelation 14:20, these dead bodies will be piled up for nearly 200 miles. It will take a great number of vultures to eating that many dead carcasses.
- Revelation 19:21 says that "all the fowls were filled with their flesh," indicating there will be such an abundance of dead bodies that the fowls will be satiated as they gorge on them.
THE BEAST AND FALSE PROPHET WILL BE CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE (19:19, 20).
- John in his vision of Armageddon sees not only the carnage on the battle field, but also the capture of the beast (the antichrist) and the false prophet (19:19, 20).
- "The kings of the earth" (19:19) are the ten kings referred to in Daniel 7 and Revelation 17. Their armies will gather on the battle field to make war against the Lord Jesus Christ (19:19).
- Daniel 11 describes conflicts between the antichrist and various segments of the one-world empire at the time of the second coming of Christ. But when our Lord will appear at the battle of Armageddon, they will forget their differences and join together in battle against Him.
- The antichrist and the false prophet will be taken and will be cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone (19:20).
- The lake of fire is mentioned again in 20:10, 14, 15 and 21:8. It seems that the beast and the false prophet will be the first to inhabit the lake of fire. Up until this point, the unsaved are cast into hell.
- Psalm 9:17 says, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."
- Our Lord said to the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:33, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"
- Our Lord described hell as a place of torment, a place of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. But it is distinct from the lake of fire, which will be the final prison for the lost (20:14, 15; 21:8).
- Satan’s emissaries will precede Satan himself to the lake of fire. He will be cast in a thousand years later (20:10).
- The rest of the wicked dead after being judged at the great white throne will follow the beast, the false prophet, and the devil into this horrible place of torment (20:11-15).
- John Walvoord says this prophecy describes the "total defeat of man at the height of his satanic power when brought into conflict with the omnipotence of God" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- The words "for ever and ever" are found twelve times in the book of Revelation (cf. 14:11; 20:10).
- Heaven is "for ever and ever." And so is hell.